Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. I do own Leaf Warriors.

Thanks for all the reviews. I really appreciate it. Sorry for the long wait and I will try and be quicker in the future.

I am in my 3rd year in college and it is very hard to update with the other things I have going on. Forgive me though.

Hope you all like it.

'Normal Thoughts/Flashback'


'summons thoughts/Inner Sakura'


"Normal People Speak"


"Naruto!" Tsunade said as she surveyed the damage in front of her. The Naruto clones cleaning the blood off her burst into plumes of smoke as Tsunade pushed them away to help the real one. She struggled to make her way towards Naruto but his voice stopped her.

"Don't come any closer. There is nothing you can do for me now. I barely manged to move in time to avoid a direct hit to my heart. This man...I have met him once before. You will surely also die if you try and fight him with your fear of blood." Naruto said through ragged breaths.

"I see you and Kimimaro-san have been formally introduced Naruto-kun." Kabuto said.

"Yes, I have met him." Naruto said aloud while thinking to himself 'It was not a friendly first meeting.' Coughing up a glob of blood, Naruto grabbed onto the bone sword protruding from his stomach and said "But I will make sure that this is the last time we will meet in this life."

Naruto then used his other hand and reached into his pocket for a scroll. Unrolling the scroll, He applied some chakra to it before Kimimaro could move out of the way. Black flames immediately engulfed the two. Loud cries of pain were distinctly heard throughout the clearing as Kimimaro let go of his bone sword and Naruto fell to the ground, impaled and burning.

Kabuto grinned evilly as he saw the pain and helplessness flash across Tsunade's face. "Such a self sacrificial person, wasn't he? He had such a big dream too. For a second there, he almost had me believe that he could become the Hokage eventually. Surely, your will is broken far past the point of salvation Tsunade-sama. The fate of the leaf village has been sealed Tsunade. It will be burned to the ground because you were to weak to stop us. And I will be a part of that history, standing beside the master of all jutsu. Orochimaru-sama."

Kabuto's words were only punctuated by Naruto and Kimimaro's cries of pain and pleas for help. Shizune's darting eyes also amused Kabuto. She was obviously trying to decide whether to save Naruto, or protect Tsunade, or kill Kabuto.

"What? What about your subordinate? Does his pain mean nothing to you?" Shizune shouted with tears in her eyes.

'Another who has probably lost her will to fight. Pathetic.' Kabuto thought while voicing. "He is merely Orochimaru-sama's tool. He has served his purpose though, but I suppose I shouldn't let such a faithful servant die so easily." Kabuto looked towards Kimimaro and saw the boy in immense pain. A few hand seals later, a lot of water was rushing towards Kimimaro. Kabuto was however shocked that the flames didn't die out and the water immediately evaporated. 'Impossible, only one person could have created such a flame. Orochimaru only mentioned it in passing when talking about his former comrades. Amaterasu. Uchiha Itachi's technique. If Naruto-kun knows of it and has fought it, that means he probably knew the consequences of releasing such a flame. Could he have escaped somehow?'

Kabuto's eyes narrowed as he looked towards the spot Naruto had fallen. Tsunade's eyes followed and they both realized the same thing, and at the same time, the body in the black flames glowed yellow, before bursting into a puff of smoke and leaving the flames to dance on the ground. 'He's gone!'

"First of all, I don't believe in fate."

Kabuto jumped into the sky, just as Naruto burst out from the ground below him and Kabuto was forced to dodge several poisoned senbon from Shizune, while in mid-air. Again his agility saved his life, but he was unprepared for the surprise that awaited him when he landed. As soon as he landed, he was treated to a devastating kick to the chin, and another Naruto grabbing him in an arm lock from behind.

Kabuto was not a man who would panic easily, but there were some things in life that were definitely worth getting slightly nervous about. One Naruto holding him from escaping, and another Naruto in the air in front of him with a rasengan and drawing closer to decapitating him.

However, he was not a jounin level shinobi for nothing.

Raising his knee and pushing Naruto's thrust a bit wide, while taking some damage Kabuto managed to wiggle out of the Naruto's the grip. He quickly righted himself and dispersed the clone behind him as swiftly as possible. Knowing the Naruto holding the Rasengan was also righting himself, Kabuto performed a Kawarimi with a nearby rock. The rock was blown to pieces, and even Jiraiya and Orochimaru stopped to watch the pure destruction Naruto was capable of with that jutsu.

Kabuto landed close by, standing next to another rock as he healed the little damage done by the Rasengan scoring a glancing hit. 'Amazing that someone so young could manage to touch me at all with such a jutsu. Such a wide arc, that any Ninja worth his grain of salt should be able to dodge it. Still his speed is great enough that anyone below jounin level in experience would probably be defeated easily. However, I am most concerned by how he knew that Kimimaro would be here? I am sure that won't kill Kimimaro, but it would have made things so much easier to deal with if he could still fight.'

Kabuto looked towards Kimimaro when he noticed he could no longer hear his shouts of pain. What he saw made him smirk slightly, but not enough to catch the attention of the others. Naruto was there with three Kage Bunshin flanking him in case someone tried to kill him. He was sealing the Amaterasu back into a scroll, thinking Kimimaro was dead. Well, the boy was pretty much dead, but he would definitely not die from physical injuries like burns. He would be bed-ridden for a little bit, but he had at least one more mission after this in him. The boy's healing factor and pain tolerance was on a totally different level from what should be considered normal for a shinobi.

Naruto stood up from the ground after sealing the Amaterasu, and closing Kimimaro's eye's. Kabuto wasn't sure, but he thought he saw Naruto say a little prayer for the supposedly dead Kimimaro.

Naruto turned to face Kabuto and continue the fight in earnest now that he knew there would be no more interruptions and Amaterasu could not be sealed by someone else and used against hime. Shizune's shout alerted him so an incoming danger though.

"He isn't dead yet, Naruto."

Turning as quickly as he could, Naruto performed a quick kawarimi with one of his clones. It was sliced into two halves the moment the switch was completed, and Naruto avoided joining his other clones in the afterlife by jumping away from Kimimaro who was swinging his flexible spine bone fluidly.

"Kuso, I didn't think he could live through being in a fire for that long." Naruto said as he turned his attention towards Kimimaro, expecting him to get up and give chase. The boy simply broke the spine chord apart and continued laying there on the charred ground. A seal glowed across his heart, and he disappeared. 'A teleportation seal! Orochimaru must have put it on him so he never ran away. Until he dies, he is essentially bound to Orochimaru's bases. At least he is out of this fight for good but I will definitely be facing him again, if he manages to survive this ordeal. Kuso.' Naruto thought.

"Tell me one thing Naruto-kun. How did you know not to come yourself, and that Kimimaro-san would be here?" Kabuto asked.

"One thing I have always excelled at because of my pranks is stealth and chakra sensing. I wasn't sure about his presence here, because he is obviously very adept at hiding himself, but my Kage Bunshin recognized his chakra signature from the first time you talked with Tsunade. It was fleeting and something I could have easily passed off as paranoia, but my gut instinct said you wouldn't come unprepared, so I prepared myself." Naruto said as he tried to make some discrete hand signs to Shizune. She caught them and prepared herself to support Naruto from long range.

"Truly impressive!" Kabuto said before he started dodging a hail of poisoned senbon courtesy of Shizune. "Still, Kimimaro and Sasuke-kun are still so much better. Your luck truly knows no bounds."

"Better to be lucky than unlucky, won't you say Kabuto-san?" Naruto said from behind Kabuto who had been slightly preoccupied with Shizune's senbon. Naruto had his katana drawn and speed seals activated. Kabuto cursed as his attention faltered for a second and one of Shizune's senbon hit him on the arm. He pulled it out sharply while dodging Naruto's strikes.

Even with all Naruto's advantages in seals, Naruto still wasn't as experienced as Kabuto. 'Well, that rules out the possibilty of hitting him head on. This will be difficult and I may be in a great deal of pain afterwards, but I will win Tsunade's trust. She will definitely become the Fifth Hokage.'

Naruto watched in fascination as Kabuto brought out a kunai and cut himself deeply in the spot where Shizune's senbon had hit him. Naruto was chasing after Kabuto when Kabuto almost succeeded in blinding him by throwing blood into his eyes. Naruto raised his arm and protected his face at the last moment, but was unable to protect himself from the ruthless kick that slammed into his stomach a second later.

On the other end of the clearing, Naruto felt Shizune's comfortable hands wrap around his body and cushion his fall. Shizune then pushed Naruto out of the way, just as Kabuto came towards her while chewing a blood clotting pill. His hands were already glowing in the light green that came from the chakra scapel. He proceeded to cut the tendons in Shizune's arms and legs before she could raise a reasonable enough defense, which made her fall to the ground like a puppet. Kabuto didn't even spare her a second glance as she whimpered on the floor. His focus already on Naruto who was standing a little bit away from him.

"You seem to want to say something, Naruto-kun. Well, before you do, I want to say this again. In front of me and the three Legendary Ninja, everything you do seems utterly insignificant." Kabuto said with a small smirk. 'He can't possible believe his chances are still okay. It was fun while it lasted, but I expected a little bit more.'

"Ah, yes I do have something to say Kabuto-kun." Naruto said with a smile while closing his eyes. "I guess there really is no hiding it. If I hold back, it will only get the people I care about killed. It will only make people like you feel like they are special. You like dealing with special people, right Kabuto?"

Kabuto looked puzzled, but stood ready even though Naruto was not looking at him.

Jiraiya and Orochimaru had long stopped fighting to watch what was going on with the others in the group. Tsunade seemed to be shaking slightly and watching the fight as well. Kimimaro had been dispatched sooner than Orochimaru had expected, but that was understandable considering what technique Naruto had used on him.

"Your student has no real chance against Kabuto now that Tsunade-hime's girl is out of the fight. Kabuto also will not falll for the Amaterasu sealing technique. You should have trained him better and given him more jutsu. That is the only true way to gain true strength." Orochimaru said as he saw Naruto close his eyes.

"Still as blind as ever I see. It is not the amount of jutsu you teach a person, but the strength of a person's will. Without a strong will, all jutsu in the world are useless. Naruto understands that and fights to protect what he loves. He cannot and will not fail." Jiraiya said confidently. "Your Kabuto friend is just about to experience how strong Naruto is first hand."

"I see you are still the naive blabbering fool you were before." Orochimaru supplied as he continued watching. 'This is a risk, waiting for Jiraiya's chakra to come back to normal, but I need Kabuto if I want to defeat this man. He may be a fool, but he is no slouch. Hurry and finish this Kabuto. That boy's death will also have the effect of reducing Jiraiya's morale as well as basically killing Tsunade.'

"Watch Orochimaru. The true fight begins now. A power even you feared and will learn to fear again." Jiraiya quipped. 'Make me proud Naruto.'

"Then let me show you just how special I am." Naruto said as he opened his eyes. Kabuto watched confused as Naruto's eye's had changed to gold, with two blue stars in the center of each eye. "Watch me Tsunade-baachan. I'll only be doing this once."

Kabuto watched in stunned silence as Naruto's bandages glowed brighter than ever, and he disappeared from right in front of him. 'He's faster.' Kabuto thought. He barely had any time to complete the thought before he was kicked from underneath himself again 'Kuso. I didn't have time to put chakra in my jaw this time. I think I just lost a few teeth. What is he trying to prove by doing this technique again?'

Kabuto was glad that his chakra scapel was still activated though. The boy may have been fast, but you could only get so fast in the air and Kabuto doubted Naruto had the chakra control to shunshin in the air. Turning completely around, Kabuto found no sign of Naruto. Kabuto looked downward and still no sign of Naruto. Kabuto looked up and his mind blanched as he found Naruto favorite wind attack aimed at him.

"Fuuton: Migite no kami." A Naruto clone said right before it used up all it's chakra and dispersed into a puff of smoke. Heading straight back to earth was the real Naruto embedded within his own wind chakra hand and speeding towards Kabuto. Kabuto braced himself when he saw Naruto also holding onto a fully formed Rasengan. "You can't escape this."

Kabuto had already come to that conclusion and was flooding the soon-to-be affected parts with chakra. When Naruto got close enough, Kabuto put his chakra scapel hand through the Fuuton: Migite no Kami, and onto Naruto's chest. Naruto's eye's widened as the pain flooded through his system and he felt his control on the Rasengan slip slightly before it reached Kabuto.

He looked beyond Kabuto and in that second, his enhanced eyes caught everything. The pride on Jiraiya's face, even as his protective side started setting in from the injury Naruto just received. The awe on Shizune's face as she wondered who on earth Naruto was and the worry that was beginning to appear on her face. The calculated curiosity and anger on Orochimaru's face. 'Definitely not a good sign. I would hate to have him interested in me.' Finally, the hurt on Tsunade's face. Jiraiya had explained Tsunade's past to Naruto and he was easy to let her off the hook. She had been through a rough life, but he was no stranger to that either. Still, she was obviously afraid to lose someone else. Someone who held the same dream as the ones she loved more than anything. 'Why won't my body move anymore. So much is riding on me winning this fight. C'mon, Naruto move!' Naruto thought as he lost more control of the Rasengan.

'Come back from your mission safe Naruto-kun. Please.'

'Hinata?' Naruto questioned mentally.

'Troublesome. You won't fail her would you? It would be so much easier to just lay down and watch the clouds, but we have to protect. Is failure even an option?' A mysterious voice said. It sounded so much like the voice that spoke to him while he was fighting Gaara, but still a lot more laid back. Naruto didn't really pay much attention to the voice though.

'No, I can't fail. I promised everyone that I would bring back someone to heal Lee, Kakashi-sensei and Sasuke. I promised Hinata-chan that I would come back. I am Uzumaki Nara Kazama Naruto. I never go back on my word.'

'Then protect them Naruto.' The voice quipped before finally fading away.

With the last bit of energy, Naruto pushed Kabuto's hand away with his free arm, and pushed the Rasengan into Kabuto's torso. The effects were instantaneous. A great wind picked up around the whole clearing, and the two locked in battle landed on the ground that Shizune had just vacated after healing her injuries as best she could.

Kabuto came down first, having taken the full brunt of both jutsu. As soon as he landed, he coughed up a copious amount of blood and his body made it's own crater from the force and speed of his impact. Naruto spared Kabuto nothing, as he came down with an extra punch to Kabuto's jaw before bouncing off Kabuto's prone body and rolling to a stop a little away from Kabuto's body. Dust kicked up and obstructed the view of everyone watching the fight.

"Naruto!" Tsunade shouted as she crawled next to the crater that had formed. What she saw surprised her. A large hand imprint with a huge spiral hole in the middle of it. Kabuto's imprint was in the center of that. Tsunade stayed silent for a few seconds, just watching the two. It appeared they were both still breathing, but it was Kabuto who moved first. He attempted to sit up, but only managed to convulse violently and cough up more blood. 'Amazing, for someone so young to be so resilient. He had to have put chakra into every part and organ of his body to have survived with such minimal damage. By all accounts, he should be long dead.'

Kabuto then surprised everyone further by reaching into his pouch and pulling out three pills. He took them in a certain sequence, from blood clotting pill, to a blood replenishing pill, to a chakra replenishing pill. Kabuto looked a bit dazed, and Tsunade marveled at his stubbornness and unwillingness to stay down. He stood up and slowly made his way out of the crater.

Tsunade was still in no condition to fight as she could see quite a little bit of blood on the ground, but she slowly made her way to Naruto. When she got there, she started healing him as much as she could. When he was stable enough, she carried him out of the crater and unto higher ground again. She found everyone back in mortal combat with each other.

Then an arm reached out and snagged the necklace from her neck. "I won it fair and square Baa-chan."

She smiled, but couldn't help the tears that came to her eyes. "Why would you go so far, just to prove a point? You almost got killed out there."

"Because I needed to keep my Hokage alive. Konoha needs you, and without Konoha, I am nothing. I protected you, so you could protect my precious people. That is what a Hokage does, right?"

"Hai." Tsunade said as she raised Naruto's head and put the necklace around his neck. "Arigatou Naruto-kun. Let me take over now."

Tsunade gently wiped some blood away from Naruto's mouth and stood up. She started walking closer as if to join the fight. Orochimaru, Jiraiya, Shizune and Kabuto stopped to regard her. "Listen close because I will only say this once. I have inherited the will of fire, and anyone who intends to hurt Konohagakure will have to go through me because I am the fifth Hokage."

Orochimaru cursed silently, and quickly used his tongue to grab Jiraiya and toss him towards Tsunade with such force that Tsunade had no choice but to catch Jiraiya. Before Tsunade and Jiraiya could re-orrient themselves, Orochimaru grabbed both of them with his tongue and threw them a distance away. It didn't do much to harm them as they both landed on their feet, but it got them away from Orochimaru's real target. Naruto lay helpless on the ground watching with half lidded keigan enhanced eyes as Orochimaru appproached. Orochimaru could tell the boy was trying to move as Naruto was squirming.

"You are too much of a disturbance to my plans. You hold too much power and I can't let that power grow anymore. I would use you as a lab rat, but I hated your father enough to see you die right now." Orochimaru said as a snake came out of his mouth and revealed the Kusanagi no Tsurugi.

"Naruto!" Jiraiya and Tsunade echoed as they ran to Naruto's aide. They all knew they wouldn't make it in time and they were already preparing jutsu to destroy Orochimaru the moment they got to him.

"Kage Hijutsu: Kage engo." Naruto whispered, but everyone heard. A translucent box made of shadow chakra immediately enveloped Naruto and the Kusanagi was stopped short. Orochimaru made one more attempt before jumping away from Jiraiya's hair spike jutsu.

'What is this? I have never even heard of this jutsu. Could this be part of the jutsu that no Nara has been able to perform since their first known ancestor?' Orochimaru thought as he analyzed the situation. It seemed Tsunade may have over come hear phobia, and he wouldn't get another opportunity to kill Naruto during this fight.

"Kabuto!" Orochimaru said quickly. He bit his hand and watched blood dripped from his hand freely. Looking at Tsunade made him finalize his prior thoughts. 'She didn't even flinch! What an inopportune time for her to get over her phobia.'

Kabuto had thankfully arrived by his side and started taking blood from him. A second later, three shouts were heard throughout the clearing.

"Kuchiyose no jutsu."

On one end of the clearing, there was a Snake. On the other, a Toad. Lastly, there was a slug. On top of their heads were the greatest summoners of all time. The Legendary three Ninja of Konoha.

"After today, the Legendary three will be no more. You will fall today Orochimaru and You shall not terrorize this world any longer." Tsunade said as Jiraiya nodded in affirmation.

Then the clash between the three titans began.

Naruto woke silently. No need to be loud, when the last thing you remember was falling in the middle of a battle between people who had a lot more experience than him. He could have been kidnapped for all he knew. Waiting a few seconds for his senses to come back to him, Naruto decided to listen in to the conversation that was going on in the next room. That would give him an idea on what he was dealing with. The choices were to stay if they were friendly, or run like never before if it was Orochimaru.

"Baka, Why didn't you tell me he was that man's son? I would have chosen my words a little more carefully then." Tsunade said in an annoyed voice.

'Good, she is alive and well.' Naruto thought while bringing his arm up to the necklace that was resting on his chest. 'And I did it. Konoha is safe now.'

"I didn't tell you because I didn't think it would matter. Arashi was my student and not yours. I don't know why you are getting so upset with me." Jiraiya replied equally heated.

"Ano, I think he is awake now." Shizune said as she stood up and started walking towards his room. When she got there, she knocked and then walked in when Naruto said she could. "How are you feeling, Naruto-kun?"

"Ah, Shizune-neechan. A bit hungry, and sore, but I will be fine once I get some food in my stomach." Naruto said. Shizune blinked at the sudden endearment at the end of her name.

"It's just the way he is. You will learn to accept it." Jiraiya said as he walked in behind her. "Now that you are up, we can start getting ready to go back to Konoha."

"Ossu!" Naruto said as he started to get up from his bed. Tsunade's hand on his chest stopped him from standing up. "What are you doing Tsunade-baachan? I need to get ready so we can start going. My friends are waiting. My sensei and best friend need your help. We need to get there as soon as possible."

Tsunade's eyebrow was twitching from the nickname Naruto had given her, but she explained undeterred. "Your body couldn't have healed fully from all the injuries you sustained. We can stay a few more days for you to recuperate."

"No can do Tsunade-baachan. You have a responsibility as Hokage now. You can't throw it off and go gambling like before. This is serious, and other people need your help." Naruto supplied.

"Why you good for nothing brat. Stop calling me old." Tsunade said while releasing some killing intent.

"In my opinion, you are old. Get over it, so we can leave." Naruto quipped happily.

"Outside now!" Tsunade said as she marched out of the room. Shizune and Jiraiya followed to allow Naruto time to change and make his way down for the battle.

"I hope you are ready gaki." Tsunade said with amusement.

"Yes. Come quickly, or you will be forced to age further Baa-chan." Naruto said.

Tsunade wasted no time in dashing forward. Naruto wasn't wearing his bandages, because Jiraiya had taken them off after the battle, to make repairs, but had not finished doing that. Fortunately, Naruto was also not wearing his weights and was just fast enough to throw Tsunade off. She wasn't expecting him to be that fast. Naruto threw a punch that was blocked, and then his fist was caught.

Naruto looked up to see a finger right in front of his face. 'This can't end well for me.'

Naruto was the struck on the forehead and he could feel himself falling backwards, forehead protector gone and completely vulnerable, only to be stopped by his arm going taught. Tsunade had stopped him from hitting the ground. Then he felt a pair of lips touch his forehead. He looked up to see Tsunade there, with a smile on her face.

"Grow up to be a fine young man Uzumaki Naruto. Grow up and make us all proud, by protecting the people you care about. Grow up and become the finest Hokage the world will ever see." Tsunade said.

Naruto smiled and looked up to her again. Storing the memory in his mind forever, he finally replied.

"I will. That's a promise, and Uzumaki Naruto never goes back on his promises."

Another boring day at the gates of Konoha. Izumo and Kotetsu sighed as they both threw another pebble at the ground, hoping to hit another pebble far away. Kotetsu almost seemed to hit it, until it shifted from it's original position on the road.

"What the hell?" Izumo said as he saw all the pebbles on the road shift after another second.

"Something big is coming. Be on your guard." Kotetsu said as he drew his weapon. They were both in battle stances until they saw a shinobi drop out of the trees. He had his back to them and was fighting something else. A few seconds later, a huge toad about twice the shinobi's height and a lot wider, flew out of the trees. It was armed with two katana and looked intent on decapitating the boy who Izumo and Kotetsu had yet to identify. The boy seemed to be holding his own and blocking the katana without even drawing the smaller katana at his sides. "Toads mean that it's Jiraiya-sama. Let's provide long range support from here."

Izumo and Kotetsu waited and watched for a little bit while retrieving several kunai from their pouches. The boy seemed very small, to be fighting off a toad so huge. They were even more surprised when he cleanly cut through the toads katana with a slashing motion. It was then they saw the translucent katana he held in his hand. The toad vanished in a puff of smoke and Izumo and Kotetsu saw their chance to attack. Throwing their kunai as hard and accurately as they could, they heard another voice shout to alert the boy. They paled when they heard the name, because they were sure to get into trouble for harming a fellow Konoha Shinobi.

"Naruto-kun, behind you." the shout came from the forest where Naruto had emerged, and Shizune came crashing through. Naruto turned and noticed the kunai coming towards him at accelerated speeds. Shinobi instict kicked in as his hand started forming seals at incredible speeds.

"Fuuton: Shishi houkou no jutsu."

Izumo and Kotetsu watched in amazement as Naruto opened his mouth and the shape of a huge lion formed behind him. Instead of the lion running forward it stayed immobile. A roar that sounded exactly like a lion came out of Naruto's mouth. With it a huge gust of wind that blew away all the kunai, and even the loose pebbles on the ground. Izumo and Kotetsu had to dive away from the onslaught of weapons coming back to them.

When they looked up, they saw two of the Legenadary Sannin looking up at them with disappointment on their faces. Jiraiya and Tsunade were about to berate the two shinobi for disobeying the Yondaime's orders and wanting to kill Naruto, until Naruto spoke to them.

"Izumo, Kotetsu? Ah, are you guys on guard duty today? I haven't seen you guys since before I graduated from the academy and Sasuke and I used to prank you guys because we felt your jobs were too easy."

The two men in question sat up and looked around sheepishly.

"Ah, sorry I had to use that jutsu on you. It's one of my new one's and it looked like a good time to try it out." Naruto said with a small smile.

"You have more?" Everyone there except Jiraiya said simultaneously. Jiraiya merely chuckled and kept walking towards the gates of the village.

'Geez. Such gloomy people. I happen to think that creating jutsu is cool.' Naruto thought as he handed Izumo and Kotetsu his passport. "Uzumaki Naruto and Jiraiya of the Sannin returning from their mission to bring back the new Hokage."

Izumo and Kotetsu who were still dazed by the strength Naruto had displayed, finally looked up in awe at Tsunade.

"Ah, Tsunade-sama. Right this way. The council requested to see you immediately you got back to the village." Izumo said snapping out of his daze. 'She doesn't look like a woman who should be nearing fifties. Her presence is nothing to joke about though. Just being around her and Jiraiya-sama and I want to just fall unto the ground and beg for mercy. They aren't even enemies. If Orochimaru was here as well, I would probably put a knife through my own heart. Is this the power of the Legendary Sannin?'

"I will not be going to see the council immediately. I am indebted to Naruto. I will heal his friends first. Uchiha Sasuke, Hatake Kakashi and Rock Lee. After that, I will talk to the council. Naruto lead the way." Tsunade said with a countenance that said she would not be taking any objections.

Naruto just grinned and started walking away as he waved to the two shinobi at the gate.

"How does he manage to stand alongside those two without being overwhelmed?" Izumo asked Kotetsu. When he received no reply, he looked over to Kotetsu only to see Kotetsu's eyes fixed on Tsunade's breasts as she walked away. Izumo shook his head and walked back to his post. "Baka!!"

"Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked as he opened the door to Sasuke's room. All kinds of medical scrolls with healing texts littered the floor of the room.

"Naruto!" Sakura said excitedly as she rushed forward to hug him. Naruto smiled as he returned the hug. She slowly let go of him as he looked into her eyes.

"How is he?" Naruto said slowly. Sakura's eyes fell to the ground as tears began to form. Naruto's fingers poked her forehead softly and she looked up to see one of Naruto's most sincere smiles. "I brought someone who can heal him. Sakura-chan meet Tsunade-baachan. The new Hokage."

As soon as Naruto said that, he found himself crashing into wall of the hospital room courtesy of Tsunade's finger to the side of his head. "Watch your mouth brat. You don't want me to put you in this hospital as well." Tsunade said from her spot now in front of the stunned Sakura. "You must be Sakura. It's nice to finally meet you. I see you have a calling in medical jutsu. Keep at it."

"Kuso, that stupid finger needs to be cut off." Naruto said silently as he got up from his position on the floor and walked closer to Sasuke's bed.

Tsunade then walked towards Sasuke's bed and stopped next to him. Her hands glowed bright blue and she placed them on Sasuke's forehead. Naruto and Sakura waited with baited breath as Sasuke's eyes opened to see the light once again. Tsunade backed off a bit to give the newly re-united team some space.

Sakura immediately squealed and hugged Sasuke as he came into a sitting position. She was roughly pushed away, and she turned to see Sasuke's eyes colder than ever staring right at her and Naruto. "Like I would let you get close to me again before Itachi kills you off. I will not play your games any longer Itachi."

"Baka." Naruto said as he stared at Sasuke. Confusion was etched into Naruto's features. "She probably has not left your side in one and a half weeks, and you repay her by spouting nonsense about Itachi? What's wrong with you?"

Sasuke seemed a bit taken back from hearing Naruto voice so venomous. It hadn't been like that in any of the other dreams he had. Taking in his surroundings, Sasuke stopped on Tsunade. "Who is she?"

"She is the medic of the legendary Sannin, Tsunade." Naruto said, making sure to forgo the usual endearment. His head was still aching. "She healed you, and is to become the next Hokage."

Sasuke seemed to re-evaluate his opinion. Looking towards Sakura, he put on a smile. It looked odd on him because of the amount of time he had spent unconscious. "Gomen Sakura-chan. That explains some things."

Sakura was overjoyed to hear him speak to her again and made it known by hugging him again. Naruto merely nodded to his best friend, and received a nod in return. Naruto then started walking out the door to go to Kakashi's room.

"It's good to have you back, Sasuke." Naruto said over his shoulder.

"It's good to be back, Naruto." Sasuke replied.

"I'll come by to see you soon. I need to take Tsunade....-sama to Kakashi-sensei's room." Naruto said, and without turning around, he knew that Sasuke had acknowledged his promise to return.

Kakashi and Lee where in the same room so it saved Naruto and Tsunade some time. Once they found it, they were greeted to Gai's boisterously loud voice and Naruto couldn't help but cringe.

"You should probably heal him quickly. Kakashi-sensei is probably having worse nightmares than Sasuke. The problem with these, is that they are actually real. Gai-sensei must have requested that Lee and Kakashi-sensei be put in the same room, so he could keep an eye on both of them." Naruto said as he pushed open the door.

Immediately Naruto opened the door, Gai was upon him. "Naruto-kun, you are back! Did you succeed in your mission?"

"Hai." Naruto said with a small smile. He smiled at Lee and waved in his direction. Lee returned the gesture.

"Ah, Tsunade-sama it is good to see you again." Gai said as Tsunade walked into the room. Tsunade smiled at Gai and walked towards Kakashi. "This is my most youthful student Rock Lee. Now that your here to heal him, his youthfulness can explode once again.

"What are you doing here Gai? Shouldn't you be on a mission or something?" Tsunade said as she looked at Kakashi, then started healing him.

"I completed all missions they assigned to me in half the time so I could come here and stay with my youthful student Lee. Forget about that un-youthful man, Tsunade-sama. Heal my excellent student Lee." Gai said while jumping up and down beside Tsunade.

Tsunade for her part didn't seem too bothered about Gai's attitude and continued healing Kakashi. Kakashi looked too grateful to be mobile again as his eye opened fully. Naruto silently laughed to himself as Kakashi started picking up his things and preparing to leave the room. "And you call yourself a genius, yet you let two people beat you up so badly." Tsunade said whilst shaking her head.

Naruto was shocked that Kakashi actually looked somewhat downcast at her reprimand. Kakashi was like an immovable wall that could never be taken on a guilt trip in Naruto's eyes, and here he was, sufficiently scolded about his performance against two powerful missing-nin.

Naruto decided it was about time to leave them be when Tsunade stated she wanted to examine Lee without Naruto and Kakashi in the room.

"Arigatou Naruto." Kakashi said as he walked down the hallway with Naruto.

"No problem Kakashi-sensei." Naruto said with a smile. "Those that disobey the rules are trash, but those who abandon their friends are lower than trash. I would never abandon you guys."

"Hai. I need to go and do some missions though. We are rebuilding and they probably need every jounin working at utmost capacity. I'll see you soon." Kakashi said as he left in a flurry of leaves.

"Ah, I guess I will go and see my family. Maybe get Shikamaru to train or play Shougi." Naruto said as he found he had nothing to do. The space in the hallway was empty a second later as Naruto used Shunshin to get to the Nara compound.

Tsunade had not been this busy since she was last an active shinobi in Konoha and she couldn't help but want to dump some of the responsibility on someone else and go get drunk at one of the local bars. She had informed Lee and Gai about the fifty percent chance Lee had with the operation. It had been hard to tell them, but it was something that they needed to hear. They had a student teacher bond like so many others in Konoha and it would be difficult for Gai to recover should Lee die.

Aside from that, Tsunade had met with the council and been officially declared the new leader of Konohagakure. She was now sitting in her chair after reading all the official reports since the Sadaime's death. She was currently waiting for two boys to arrive. A smile graced her features as she thought about how things had changed over the years.

"So, three rookies made chuunin in their very first chuunin exam. Impressive. The Nara clan must be very proud that two of their youngsters made chuunin." Jiraiya said as he sat on the window of the Hokage's office. "The village will definitely prosper with people like them. I need to do some information gathering, so tell Naruto not to slack off on his training. I may not be in the village for a few days. Tell him to continue practicing the new jutsu he learned on the journey, and also try and protect more than one person with his kage engo."

Tsunade nodded as she looked in Jiraiya's direction. "I will pass along your message."

She didn't need to say anything, as Jiraiya had already left and was probably halfway to the nearest village. He obviously didn't feel like incurring Tsunade's wrath by peeking in the hot springs in Konoha and he really didn't have anything else to do, because Naruto would obviously want to catch up with his friends in the next few days.

'Thank you Jiraya, for never giving up on me all those years. Even when I was really far gone and Shizune was the only visible person I could hold onto, you hid in the shadows and helped me. Like a true shinobi. For raising people who have defended this village with everything they have, thank you. It's my turn to protect the village you loved so much. I will not let you down.'

Naruto was walking down the street with Shikamaru and they were thinking along the same lines. 'Why does the new Hokage want to see the both of us? Troublesome.' and 'What is Baa-chan up to now?'

As they walked past the village, they both noticed the changed looks Naruto was receiving. It seemed that his exploits in the chuunin exams had reached the ears of the public and most of them were silently trying to re-evaluate their opinions of him.

Naruto kept his eyes fixed on the ground, not meeting any of their eyes and a mask of indifference on his face while Shikamaru smiled at Naruto. 'Can you see it, Naruto? All your hard work and perseverance is finally paying off. These troublesome people might actually be starting to respect you and ridding themselves of their unjust hatred for you.'

"Let's pick up the pace Shikamaru. I really want to get to the Hokage tower quickly." Naruto said as he performed a chakra enhanced jump unto a building and starting running towards the tower.

"He's such a troublesome person! I would have liked to take it easy and watch the clouds as we walked." Shikamaru mumbled under his breath as he followed Naruto. 'But i guess this kind of positive attention is foreign to him. Tch, whatever. He is still a troublesome blonde.'

At the tower, Tsunade was working and cursing tirelessly along with a few shadow clones she had created. Naruto was definitely going to be helping her out with the paper work once he arrived. It would be Hokage training after all. The boy had roped her into taking the job, then just went away to enjoy himself. Impossible. Not while she was Hokage. At least Sarutobi had left behind some tips for his second successor whoever it might be.

A soft knock sounded on her door, and Tsunade took the time to disperse the two kage bunshin helping her out. A calm voice came from the other side of the room and it made Tsunade smirk at the pain she was going to inflict on the boy for the rest of the day.

"Are you sure she isn't asleep Shizune-neechan." Naruto said and Shizune giggled slightly at Naruto's antics.

"Come in." Tsunade said.

Shizune walked into the room with Ton-ton in her hands and Naruto and Shikamaru following her. Naruto raised his hand in greeting and smiled cheerfully.

"Ohayo, Tsunade-baach...." Naruto started but was halted when a book hit him square between the eyes. He tumbled back from the force of the blow and hit his head on the open door. It slowly moved backwards until it closed and Naruto looked up in indignation, while rubbing his sore forehead. "What was that for?"

"You forgot to shut the door Gaki, and did I not tell you not to call me that?"

"Tch, Whatever." Naruto said as he picked the book up and stood up before returning the book to the table and taking a seat. Shikamaru remained standing and watching the proceedings while shaking his head slightly.

'We couldn't get a normal and calm Hokage. We had to get a blonde woman with a temper. Naruto will never survive this. Blondes and women are so troublesome.' Shikamaru thought.

"So what did you call us here for Hokage-sama?" Naruto said respectfully and with complete seriousness.

"I was getting to that." Tsunade said irritably, before calming down a bit. "From the information I received from the last chuunin exams, the both of you showed great intellect, planning and fighting ability. I am presenting you with these flak jackets as a symbol of recognition into the chuunin ranks of Konohagakure no Sato. Do you accept this position and the responsibility it entails?"

Tsunade smiled as she saw Naruto already holding his flak jacket with a huge grin on his face. Shikamaru took his time in grabbing the other jacket, but he also had a small smile on his face.

"I accept." Naruto and Shikamaru said at the same time. Tsunade let them enjoy the moment. It wasn't easy to pass the chuunin exams, but these boys did it in their first try.

"One step closer to Hokage, right Naruto?" Shikamaru said as he looked at the more serene smile on Naruto's face.

"Yeah, one step closer." Naruto said.

"Then I might as well start pilling the missions on you from now. You have two missions to complete today Naruto. Shikamaru, you are dismissed once this meeting is over." Tsunade said, and watched their reactions. Naruto got a very determined look on his face, and Shikamaru practically oozed relief that he would not be working immediately. Tossing a scroll to Naruto, Tsunade continued "Your first mission is a D-rank and should be finished easily and quickly. The second is a solo A-rank, and I want you back in my office for a mission debriefing before you start on your second mission."

Now Naruto was excited, and you could literally see the excitement on his face. An A-rank solo mission as a rookie chuunin. This was sure to be fun. He quickly unrolled the scroll, and read the mission details of the D-rank. He looked at the Hokage with a small smirk and saluted her. "I will be back immediately Hokage-sama."

"Good. Both of you are dismissed." Tsunade replied.

Naruto disappeared in a puff of smoke and Shikamaru turned around and walked out the door. It was definitely left to him to tell his Dad about the promotions Naruto and him had gotten. 'Hopefully, they won't be too mad at the Hokage for giving him an A-class so early. Mom is always a pain when she is mad. Troublesome.'

Naruto arrived in the hospital, already wearing his new flak jacket and raising a few eyebrows as he walked past the hospital staff and patients. Whispers followed him as he walked but he paid them no mind. He had to give his team the good news about the promotion and complete his D-rank mission before he got prepared for his A-rank.

'Wow, Tsunade-sama really believes in my skills. I'll have to make sure I do my best to complete the A-rank mission.' Naruto thought with glee as he opened the door to Sasuke's room. He frowned at the sight he found.

Sakura was offering Sasuke an apple, and Sasuke was just ignoring her. Sasuke also had the same look in his eye that he had before Naruto left on his trip. It worried Naruto even more though, because he was sure, that this was worse somehow. It wasn't just jealousy at work this time, but there was also a great deal of anger and hatred about his countenance. Sasuke was also clutching at the seal on the side of his neck, and the dark rings around his eyes seemed to have become more prevalent in the few hours he had been awake. 'What's going on? Why do I get a bad feeling about the look in his eyes? Is the seal active again?' Were some of the questions flying through Naruto's head.

Naruto cleared his throat to gain the acknowledgment of his fellow team members. He was met with two surprised stares as their eyes focused on the flak jacket. A smile found its way to Naruto's face.

"One step closer to Hokage, right?" Naruto recited from his earlier talk with Shikamaru hoping to quell the tension that was quickly building. It didn't seem to help much, as Sasuke's scowl just deepened further.

"Hai Naruto. Congratulations!" Sakura said with a small smile.

"Baka!! Did you come to rub the fact that you made chuunin in my face?" Sasuke said with anger. "You know I would have definitely become a chuunin as well if my match against Gaara hadn't been interrupted."

Naruto could tell that Sasuke wasn't entirely sure of that fact. Gaara was a monster of epic proportions that you needed a concrete game plan against him from the beginning of the fight, and a lot of chakra to pull off the techniques needed to take him down. Naruto smiled slightly at the bravado Sasuke was showing, but it only enraged Sasuke further.

"Naruto, maybe you shouldn't be here right now." Sakura said, as she tried to calm down the growing frustrations on both sides. Naruto frowned at her comment and shook his head slowly in the negative.

"I can't." Naruto said professionally. Sakura raised an eyebrow, and Sasuke glared even further. "I am on a solo mission which involves me being in this room for a little bit."

"Then why don't you fight me while you are here, Naruto." Sasuke stated while standing up from his bed.

"Not now Sasuke. You are not thinking straight." Naruto replied as calmly as he could.

"You must think you and I are equal because you have that flak jacket now, but it couldn't be further from the truth. I am still leagues ahead of you. Just like it was when we first met and started training." Sasuke said as his Sharingan activated. "I'll show you that you are still a nobody and that you can't lay a single finger on me."

Sasuke smirked as he saw Naruto bristle at the comments given. Sasuke knew he had gotten a rise out of Naruto and it would be only a matter of time before Naruto gave in and fought. Unfortunately for Sasuke, that never happened. Naruto merely took a few non-threatening steps closer to Sasuke, and then placed his hand on Sasuke's shoulder while looking him directly in the eye.

Sakura looked on as two special sets of eyes stared into each other. The Sharingan in all it's red spinning fury, and the serenity of the two blue stars that adorned each of Naruto's eyes.

"No." Naruto said. "Your judgment is clouded. The seal must have different effects on Shinobi than regular people. A stressful event could easily break the effects of the counter seal. Itachi's genjutsu must have really had you messed up."

"Shut up." Sasuke said in anger. It was hard to admit such an easy defeat at Itachi's hands yet again, especially after finally mastering the Sharingan. "My judgment isn't clouded by anybody. Are you saying you don't want to fight me as well?"

"I do. I want to fight you more than ever. To prove how much we both have grown, but a chuunin must always know when to pick his fights or to retreat and regroup. Some may see it as cowardly, but there isn't anything cowardly in it if you save a friends life and complete the mission."

"Tch, whatever! What is your mission anyway, coward?" Sasuke said and Naruto flinched slightly at the words Sasuke spoke. Removing his hand from Sasuke's shoulder, Naruto grit his teeth and reached into his new flak jacket while removing the scroll Tsunade had given him earlier. Unrolling it and going through some handseals, Naruto slammed the scroll into the ground. The smoke obscured the object from view, but Naruto spoke before it dissipated.

"You really are a teme, aren't you?" Naruto said between grit teeth. "With friends like you, why the hell would I need enemies? Here, congratulations!"

Before either of his teammates could stop him, Naruto was gone in a puff of smoke. Sasuke looked from the spot where his best friend had exited to the objects that had been shoved into his arms just moments before. He looked towards Sakura to see the tears in her eyes as she looked at him.

"Congratulations!" Sakura said through her tears, before she turned and exited the room as well. Naruto would want some comfort from his friends, and Sasuke's pride wouldn't let him go and apologize.

'Kuso, why did I have to be such a jerk to my own best friend?' Sasuke thought as he jumped out his window and went to his district to think about a few things, holding his new flak jacket.

"I can't believe you are giving me A-rank pay to do paperwork." Naruto said with a small smile. He looked at Tsunade as she pushed all her money into the pot. Showing his cards as Tsunade did hers, everyone came to the sad conclusion of the night. "I guess I win again."

"Brat, no one should be as lucky as you." Tsunade said angrily. Shizune and Ton-ton laughed at Tsunade's expense and Naruto turned serious. "Did one of the Kage bunshin dispel again?"

Naruto nodded and Tsunade sighed knowing he had something he needed to ask her. "Actually, this one wasn't in the office doing the paper work. I sent this one back home to check some of the seal files I got from Orochimaru's labs a few months back."

Tsunade glared at the Naruto clones behind the real Naruto who were trying to join the conversation and skip out on the paperwork. They all immediately went back to work. "What about it?" Tsunade said.

"Well, I think that Orochimaru may be able to influence a curse seal holder should they have strong emotions. Distance is not a factor. He could be on the other side of the continent and still affect the person. Some of the seals I have can seal it off, but stressful situations and jutsu can break the seal. I also really don't know what the effects of putting another seal over it will be."

"You are worried about your friend aren't you?" Tsunade asked.

"Hai, what gave me away?" Naruto asked as well.

"You've spoken about how strange he was acting every single minute that you weren't destroying me at poker." Tsunade said nonchalantly. Naruto had the decency to look embarrassed. "Don't worry, I will give him a check up tomorrow. Go to bed. Jiraiya said you shouldn't slack off on your training just because he is not around, so I expect you to be at the training grounds early tomorrow morning."

"Your just letting me go because most of the kage bunshin just finished with their assigned paperwork." Naruto said with a smile. The remaining Kage bunshin dispersed and Naruto grimaced before Tsunade put a glowing hand on his forehead. "Arigatou, Tsunade-baachan."

"You're welcome, Naruto-chan." Tsunade said, and she saw Naruto eyes widen in indignation. "I'll let the baachan comment slide in ideal circumstances, but ideal means in places where I can call you Naruto-chan. Respect me in front of everyone, and I will pay you the same respect."

"You have yourself a deal." Naruto said quickly. 'What would people think of me if they knew that someone called me Naruto-chan?'

Shizune, Ton-ton and Tsunade laughed as Naruto walked out of the Hokage's office. It was always entertaining spending time with the blond enigma, but there were events going on elsewhere in the village that should have had their attention.

Sasuke stood on the pond at the back of his house. So many memories had taken place around this area. He had watched people practice and practiced here himself. Sasuke stood in his full gear, and with his new flak jacket on top. It was a look he had seen many Uchiha in the past wear with pride. Konoha's military and Police force, the pride of Konoha, the Uchiha.

Sasuke's reminiscing was interrupted when he felt the four presences reach him. His eyes were closed and he didn't open them to acknowledge their presence. "What do you want?" He spoke in the coldest monotone he could muster.

"Why is Orochimaru-sama so interested in such a useless brat? I am sure there is someone closer to Kimimaro-sama's level that could be a better vessel. This brat looks like he would die on his first mission. What a shit head!" One of them said.

"A girl shouldn't swear so much Tayuya-chan." Another said.

"Shut up Fatty. I can say whatever I want." Tayuya said.

"You still haven't answered my question yet." Sasuke said getting obviously irritated, but maintaining a placid countenance.

"I am Kidoumaru of the North gate. We are Orochimaru-sama's elite squad of body guards. We would like you Uchiha Sasuke to come with us."

"Why would I do that?" Sasuke asked as he opened one Sharingan eye to the man who had spoken. "I am quite happy here."

"You will do it because Orochimaru-sama has the power in which you seek. The power you need to defeat Uchiha Itachi." Kidoumaru said.

"You make it sound like I have very little choice in the matter. How do I know you are not lying about the power this Orochimaru can offer me?" Sasuke replied with a smirk as he settled into a defensive stance, eyes fully open. "Itachi and Orochimaru both gained their power from this village, did they not? Surely I can do the same."

"Then allow us to show you the power that Orochimaru-sama has given us, as proof to an unbeliever such as yourself. Orochimaru-sama has methods of training that will guarantee your unparalleled rise in power." Kidoumaru said.

"Do what you want, but try not disappoint me too much." Sasuke said as the sound four settled into their respective stances. Taking out four kunai and whipping them in the direction of his opponents, Sasuke watched as they all dodged it. Running through seals as fast as he could, Sasuke slammed his hands onto the waters surface.

"Suiton: Mizu buraindo."

A circular wall of water surrounded the shinobi present. "What? Are you stupid kid? We have the numerical advantage here, and keeping people from seeing what is going on inside here only helps us out more."

"Hn. Very observant." Sasuke said sarcastically as he spared her a disappointed shake of his head. The water reached the peak of it's accent, but Sasuke had already started forming another set of seals. The biggest member of the group started running towards Sasuke with hopes of stopping his jutsu, but Sasuke was already done.

"Chidori hara."

Sasuke's hand was positioned above his head with a chidori activated. The little droplets of water still in the air from the water jutsu were connecting Sasuke's chidori to the bodies of the sound four. The one who was moving towards Sasuke stopped in his tracks and they all looked to be in a considerable amount of pain.

"More disappointing than I anticipated." Sasuke said forlornly with a frown. The water finally crashed down fully on the people present except Sasuke and the sound four let out cries of pain from the extra shock they got now that they were actually wet. "I guess I should end it now and inform the people on duty to your presence."

An extra surge from Sasuke and the distinct smell of burnt flesh caught Sasuke's nostrils. Watching as they all sank to the bottom of the lake, Sasuke shook his head in silent wonder. 'I expected them to be stronger. I guess it can't be helped though since it was a strategy Naruto and I created for fighting multiple opponents. Not many people will survive something like that.'

Turning around and walking away from the lake Sasuke found himself wanting to search out and apologize to his teammate before calling the attention of the authorities to these intruders.

'Maybe even ask him if he wants to train later. After all, we are now both Chuunin and can get more scrolls from Kakashi-sensei and the library.' Sasuke thought before his eyes widened and he dove out of the way as huge fist dented the ground he once stood on. "How?"

"You really shouldn't underestimate us brat." The big guy said. "Orochimaru's elite should not be taken lightly."

"Is that so? Well then, answer a few of my questions." Sasuke replied as he rubbed his tender shoulder where the punch had clipped him. "What are your names?"

"Jiroubu of the East gate."

"Sakon of the South gate."

"Tayuya of the West gate."

"Kidoumaru of the North gate. As I told you before, we are the sound four. Any more questions?" Kidoumaru asked with anger apparent in his voice.

"Just one. Why do you look so different? Sasuke asked.

"This is the second stage of the cursed seal. A level where you can control all of the seals power and the nasty nightmares all stop." Sakon said with a mischievous smile. "You cannot defeat us while we are like this."

'I doubt that. Extra chakra can only take you so far. It would be a more difficult fight, but I think I can come out on top still. However, I can feel the definite change in their chakra, and they will not be taking me lightly next time. Kuso! This development just made this decision so much harder. I need to be able to control the cursed seal because Naruto's cover seal isn't working as well anymore. It seems like this is the only way.' Sasuke sighed before closing and opening his eyes which were now without the sharingan. "Meet me outside the southern wall in an hour. I will be ready then. I have some things to do first."

They all watched Sasuke go before Tayuya interrupted the silence.

"Stupid fucking shrimp. He almost electrocutes us to death and expects us to be cordial with him?" Tayuya said, but the others just winced in slight pain as they let their transformations drop.

"We were careless, and he is more impressive than he lets on. It's really a pity that he decided to come without fighting anymore. I would have liked to see how long he would endure before I maimed him and dragged him back against his will." Kidoumaru added.

"Sadistic as always, Kidoumaru." Sakon said before he started walking towards the allocated wall. "We had better start making preparations for the journey. Kabuto said Orochimaru-sama needs him back before the end of the day tomorrow."

The four disappeared without another word.

"Baka. I spend almost the entire hour looking for him, and I find him passed out in this training field. I thought he would be out celebrating or something." Sasuke said as he threw the comatose Naruto onto his bed. "Training himself into exhaustion just because he recently became chuunin. I can't really complain though, I was planning on doing the same thing tonight if they hadn't come."

Sasuke looked around Naruto's barren but tidy apartment, and couldn't help but be impressed by the simplicity of it. Simplicity if you were an outsider and didn't understand the function of the tiny seals scribbled on the edges of the wall. Only a sharingan or byakugan user would be able to safely albeit barely leave the house unharmed no matter how good they were. There were enough traps and seal clones in hibernation to take out a seasoned jounin. Naruto had ensured that he would never be kidnapped in his sleep. He had also put a complex seal for one person in particular.

Anytime a sharingan was activated within the walls of Naruto's house, all hell would break loose. A fact that Naruto had taken care to warn Kakashi and Sasuke about repeatedly after he had mastered the art of trap sealing. Naruto's house had become a place for Naruto and Sasuke to relax, and in the event that Itachi ever came back to kill Sasuke or Naruto, they wanted him to have one less advantage.

Sasuke looked around the house for a few more seconds, wishing he could activate his sharingan and copy the seals. 'That will only get me injured and defeat the purpose of me searching for Naruto. The baka just had to be unconscious. I guess I should just leave the scrolls I wanted to give him here.'

Laying a few scrolls on the table and opening one final scroll, Sasuke scribbled some words quickly on the scroll before exiting Naruto's house with a few final words. "Be well, Naruto."

Sakura had come over to keep Naruto company after searching for him for basically the whole night. She had finally decided to just check his apartment, and had found Sasuke and a passed out Naruto in there. Sakura had decided to hide because she didn't want to interrupt Sasuke when he was apologizing to Naruto, but Sasuke had just left after dropping Naruto off.

Quickly scanning over a few instructions on the begining of the scroll, Sakura finally came to the most important part. There written in bold letters was a line that made Sakura's blood freeze.


I am leaving. Do not come after me. Tell Sakura and Kakashi that I am sorry, and one day, I hope they will forgive me. Here are the rest of the Uchiha family scrolls. I am entrusting them to you, brother.


With all the power left in her feet, Sakura ran out the door leaving the scroll on the table. 'I am going to stop him.... I have to stop him, because I love him and can't live without him. He will surely understand and stay. There is no other way, I will show him my love.'

"Sasuke-kun Stop!" Sakura exclaimed through ragged breaths.

"Sakura?" Sasuke inquired as he turned around. Taking in her features and the fear in her eyes, Saskue added all the clues together and came to the right conclusion. "You saw my note and came to stop me, didn't you?"

"Hai. I can't let you leave Sasuke-kun. I can't let you leave because I love you. We can live here in Konoha and we can grow strong enough together to kill Itachi. Please just don't leave me alone." Sakura said.

Sasuke sighed to himself as guilt wrapped around his entire being. 'This has to be done. You wouldn't understand why I have to do this Sakura. The pain and anger that festers in my heart after seeing that man's face again is just too great.' Sasuke thought as he took meaningful strides towards Sakura, who stood transfixed to the spot staring into his eyes. Her will to stop him by any means necessary shattered by the look in his eye. "Thank you Sakura-chan."

As Sasuke reached Sakura he pulled her closer to him, leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. A calming wind seemed to surround them as they both shared their first kiss. Time seemed to slow down for Sakura, and she closed her eyes and leaned into the kiss some more. This was all she had ever wished for. But just as quick as the wind came, it was gone, almost like a fleeting dream.

"But, I can't remain here any longer." Sasuke said as he knocked Sakura out by chopping the back of her neck. "I would be more of a hindrance and disturbance than the good teammate you deserve. Forgive me."

Laying the now blissfully unconscious Sakura down on the closest bench. Sasuke proceeded to kiss her forehead, and jump over the southern wall. 'These feelings I have for her, for Naruto and Kakashi, for all my friends; I have to squash them immediately. They will not help me in fulfilling my goal.' Sasuke thought as he joined up with the sound four with a faint blush on his cheeks. Thankfully, they didn't notice.

"Before we start going, we have to upgrade your seal to level two." Kidoumaru supplied.

"Then let's get on with it." Sasuke said.

"There is a requirement." Sakon added. Sasuke motioned for him to continue. "You will have to die."

Jutsu list.

Kage hijutsu: Kage engo- Special shadow technique: Shadow protection (LW Original Jutsu)

A lost technique of the Nara. They still have it in their jutsu scrolls but no one has been able to perform it since the creator (The great ancestor of the Nara). Naruto couldn't get it at first as well, but the need to protect himself and see his friends again allowed him to perform it. Requires no hand seals as well. A box made of pure shadow chakra protects the user from all outside attacks. It can also grow according to the users will and protect other people. Naruto is not that proficient with it yet. Orochimaru knows about it, because he tortured many Nara's as well in his quest to learn all the worlds jutsu.

Rank: A-rank defensive.

Fuuton: Shishi houkou no jutsu- Wind release: Lions Roar technique (LW Original Jutsu)

Very Versatile jutsu that can be used for offense or defense. Naruto original. User manipulates the air in the voice box and produces a loud lions roar. The lion behind is an extra effect Naruto thought up to be more intimidating. The lion actually has it's own function in a more serious fight. It can move if more chakra is added to it and act as an offensive type wind jutsu.

Rank: High C-Rank defensive, low B-Rank Offensive

Fuuton: Kaze no Yaiba- Wind release: Blade of Wind

Will be explained further when he actually uses it. Basically a blade of wind that can cut through anything. Naruto is not very proficient at it yet and it takes a while to form the chakra.

Suiton: Mizu buraindo- Water Release: Water Blinds (LW Original Jutsu)

A circular wall of high pressured water meant mainly for defence. Takes a lot of concentration to keep it up, and can be very chakra consuming if held for too long against an onslaught of attacks.

Rank: Low B-Rank defensive.

Chidori Hara- Lightening Edge Field (LW Original Jutsu)

Sasuke's less developed form of the chidori (He can do the normal chidori as well). Not as compact, and requires less control, but can be used to take out wet enemies very easily. More of an electricution jutsu, than an assassination jutsu.

Rank: C-Rank Offensive.

Well, there you go. I wrote this chapter twice because my pc lost the first one. Then it took me a while to get used to the new format of fan fiction . net.

Sorry for being so late still though. I hope you guys haven't given up on me. Though I have to say, if I don't update before the 5th of January, wait until spring break. I am too freaking busy.

Review please.

Merry Christmas (or the equivalent) to all,

the 6th fire shadow.