The morning after he accepted the match with Hayate, Naruto went and commissioned Tachi to make two bokken for him. After a short explanation, and Tachi shaking his head and laughing at it all, he was informed they'd be done by the next day. The following day, Naruto sent a Kage Bunshin to the Academy in his place while he went to his training grounds, not worried about anyone noticing because it had been a long time since anyone in his class could landed a blow on him, and most didn't even want to try. He did this to both get accustomed to his new bokken and using them at the same time, which he found difficult to do as when he tried to move they'd collide with each other. The week continued on like this till the day finally came, Naruto wore his normal attire save for the shirt that usually went over his weights and a dark gray obi having been added to hold his bokken. When he opened his door, two things immediately grabbed his attention, the first was that Robin, Tenten and her family stood outside his door, and the second was that the sky was covered in darkened clouds with flashes of lightning and light booms of thunder. "I take it you're all coming to watch."
"It's open to anyone who wants to watch, but not many people should show since they didn't go out of their way to inform anyone." It didn't take them long to reach the arena, and when they did, Naruto entered through the tunnel to the arena floor while the others made their way to the stands. Naruto found Hayate and Neko standing in the middle of the arena and made his way over there, discreetly checking out his surroundings. The area was pretty open, except for a small section of trees along the wall on one side.
Walking up to the pair, Neko held out her hands to both of them. "This is more a formality than anything else, because I know neither of you would do anything to cheat, but hand me you bokken for inspection." Hayate pulled his off his back and Naruto took them from the obi. Neko's hand glowed blue as she ran it down the length of each wooden blade. Satisfied, she handed them back and they replaced them, both of Naruto's going on his left side. "Alright, here's the rules, the only strikes allowed to hit are slices, and even then none to the neck, those and stabs are to be stopped before contact. Jutsu are allowed, but only those that are support techniques like Bunshin, I don't want to see any fireballs." Naruto couldn't be sure because of the mask, but he felt that her eyes were on him when she said that last part. "The winner is determined when one of you are in a situation you can't get out of, a strike to an instantly lethal spot, surrender, or unconsciousness. Are you both clear on the rules?" Both nodded and moved away from each other. "Then begin."
Neko disappeared from the battle area with a puff of smoke as both drew their bokken, though Naruto only brought one out in his right hand. He stood there feet about a foot apart, hands at his sides with the bokken's point nearly touching the ground. Hayate on the other hand held his out in front of him with both hands his feet also about a foot apart, but his left leg was behind him a little bit with his right slightly out in front of him. A thunderous boom went off above them and both shot forward, Hayate brought his sword down at an angle towards the crook of the neck on the left side, but Naruto brought his hand up to his left shoulder, the back of his blade being at a forty-five degree angle with his forearm. He then used his left hand to pull his other bokken out enough to hit Hayate in the gut with the pommel, allowing him to push Hayate's blade away with his right. The jonin jumped backwards, putting space between them as Naruto put his second bokken back under the obi. 'Why carry a second sword if you don't intend to use it, the added weight would only slow you down.' Naruto saw Hayate make a hand sign he was familiar with and brought up his guard. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu." Smoke shrouded Hayate and from it four of the jonin came, they surrounded the blonde and moved in to strike, but said blonde jumped into the air, glancing down only to see each of them get struck by another's sword and disappear in a puff of smoke. "Mikadzuki no Mai." Naruto looked up to find the jonin in front of him swinging in the same manner as he had in the beginning of the match.
Unable to block in the same manner as before, he pulled the other bokken in a reverse grip and brought it to bear. He saw Hayate smirk and sensed the movement of air behind him. In seconds, he had his hand behind his back and his bokken between it and another Hayate's blade. He shoved both Hayate's blades aside and used the momentum to spin, his out stretched blades striking both in the ribs and turning them to smoke. As Naruto landed, his sheathed his left bokken under his obi. Careful not to move his head, he started to scan the area for his opponent, but hearing the air being cut at high speed, he waited till the last possible second before acting, he turned his head to the side, allowing the blade to pass over it, through he saw it push aside some hair, and as it passed he spun on his heel swing his own sword towards the jonin's thigh. Though he missed, it put some distance between them and Naruto was able to turn and face his opponent. It was then that the rain started to fall. It started off as a light drizzle, but quickly became a downpour. Neither combatant seemed fazed by this development in the slightest. they both charged forward again, their blades locked together with so much force Naruto had to hold on with both hands. Hayate however didn't sit idle as he pushed Naruto's blade aside and sent a round kick to the blonde's head, knocking him to the ground several feet away.
The jonin considered going after him for a moment, but decided against it as the blonde rose to his feet within seconds of seconds of falling. The blonde was breathing heavily when he rose to his feet, and though Hayate didn't find it strange, several people in the stands did, as the blonde was well known for his stamina, though a few knew the cause for his exhaustion. One such person was a man with long black hair and pale, pupil less eyes, wear a long sleeved black training kimono over a white kosode with a black obi holding it closed, the veins around his eyes were bulged out. 'They were both using chakra to increase that last blow, though the boy seemed to be using much more than necessary.' Through his eyes, Hayate's arms and blade had been coated in a blue light, while Naruto's seemed to be surrounded by blue fire. (Not Kitsune-bi)
Down in the arena, neither combatant had moved, even as flashes of lightning became more frequent and grew steadily closer. Hayate looked at Naruto standing there and smiled inwardly. 'He's done well to last this long, especially against my Mikadzuki no Mai, but it looks like he's on his last leg.' He raised his sword and positioned it so its pommel was by his ear, the blade was facing the sky, and the sword was perpendicular to the ground. As he was about to charge though, something extraordinary happened, three bolts of lightning struck the stationary blonde simultaneously. The light made everyone shield their eyes, and when the light died down, instead of seeing a fried blonde, Naruto stood there as though it never happened, as electricity jumped between any two places of his body that were close together. His breathing had also returned to normal, and the pale-eyed man was surprised to find that the boy's chakra had completely returned to him, maybe even more so. Hayate, who was also shockedat what he had seen, only recovered when he realized that Naruto was charging him, bokken held high and slightly behind him in his right hand. Changing his own grip so the blade was held firmly in his right hand, the blade pointed down, he gripped Naruto's wrist in his open hand and drove his bokken towards the blonde's heart, stopping it before it touched. Taking in the situation, the jonin smiled. "A draw." Naruto's second bokken was held in a reverse grip, its point resting against his chest over his own heart. "Had I gone through with the blow, (Cough) I would have died as well." He let go of Naruto's wrist and took a step back, lowering his bokken while Naruto did the same. "Your innate skills in Kenjutsu (Cough) are quite impressive, with training you could (Cough) become an extraordinary swordsman."
"Perhaps, but in order to be your apprentice, I would first need to become a shinobi of the village, something I don't intend to do, or the council will never approve of it. And while I must decline your offer, I recommend that you reevaluate the five you had considered before meeting me, as I'm positive that at least a few of them will have worked hard to improve their skills after their defeat."
"I'll consider it." The two bowed to each other, before both left the battle area, Naruto left the arena entirely, while Hayate went up into the stands using Shunshin.
He appeared before the Hokage, Inu, Neko, and the Clan Heads of seven of the eight remaining great ninja clans, the Hokage being the eighth, and bowed. A dark haired man with a few small scars on his face sat slumped in his seat between a large red headed man and a tall, skinny, longhaired blonde man. The blonde was smiling as he spoke. "Gaki's got talent, able to fight our top swordsman to a draw."
The same pale-eyed man grunted. "There's no doubt about that Inoichi, but he was right about the apprenticeship, we cannot allow a shinobi to teach advanced fighting skills to a civilian. Training on his own is one thing, but this can only be considered if he were to become a ninja."
The slumped man rolled his eyes. "Why are you being so troublesome? The boy already turned down the offer, there's nothing to talk about."
The large man spoke up afterwards. "Shikaku's right Hiashi, there's no point in arguing about something that's already been decided."
A man with the lower half of his face hidden behind the brim of his coat and wearing dark sunglasses stood against the wall behind the others, his face darkened by the shadow of the awning. 'What we witnessed today was not just his ability with a sword, a fact Hiashi knows as well as I. What do you gain from keeping quiet about this Hiashi?'
As though the man could sense his thoughts, Hiashi turned to meet the gaze of the shadowed man. "Is there something you would like to add Shibi?"
"I'm merely contemplating the young man's ability Hiashi."
He saw the man's pale eyes narrow slightly before a feral looking woman with a mane of shaggy brown hair and two upside-down triangles on her cheeks commented. "He skill is almost unheard of for one so young without prior teaching, but from what I understand, Zabuza Momochi and Raiga Kurosuki were the same way when they became ninja, and they both became one of the Kiri no Shinobigatana Nananin Shu."
A woman with long straight brown hair, and light brown eyes wearing a violet dress kimono and obi over a lime green kosode was the next to speak. "Wouldn't it be possible to force him into being loyal to the village and into becoming a shinobi using genjutsu?"
Killing intent came smashing down on them from not only the Hokage, but Inu, Neko, and Hayate as well. "Absolutely not! If he does not choose to become a shinobi, that will be the end of it, we're not going to force anyone into such a dangerous lifestyle."
"I sorry, forgive me Hokage-sama." The killing intent lightened and then disappeared.
The blonde man looked directly at the Hokage like he hadn't been affected by the killing intent. "Forgive me for my asking, but if you know he will not become a shinobi, why enroll him in the academy Hokage-sama?"
Hizuren sighed. "I admit that I myself would have liked the boy to become a shinobi, and I enrolled him in hope that he would find a reason to want to protect this village."
Shikaku muttered a troublesome under his breath. "You mean someone he'd go any lengths to protect, even fighting for a village that hates and mistreats him."
"If I may, Hokage-sama." Sarutobi looked towards Hiashi and motioned for him to continue. "I believe I have thought of a way to provide him with such a person, an arranged marriage."
The feral looking woman looked at Hiashi with disgust. "I can't believe you would even consider forcing him and some girl into a loveless marriage for something like that!"
"If we have them start interacting now Tsume, in the time between now and when they could legally be married, they may grow to love one another. I believe my eldest daughter would be an excellent choice for his betrothed. She would be able to keep him well grounded, she's close to his age, and she has a gentler personality than others of the Hyuga clan."
"Despite my own views on arranged marriages, I will allow you to make such a contract…"
Tsume and several others were shocked while Hiashi smirked, but she was the only one to speak out. "Hokage-sama, you can't be serious!"
Hizuren held in hand up to silence her. "However, you must have his legal guardian's signature as well."
Hiashi nodded. "Very well Hokage-sama, who is the boy's legal guardian?"
Sarutobi smirked. "He is. After the actions of his two former caretakers, we agreed it was in his best interest for him to care for himself, so he is his own legal guardian. So good luck getting him to sign, and believe me Hiashi, I will know if his signature is forged." Those that had been shocked by the Hokage's agreement were now smirking while Hiashi was seething on the inside while trying to retain his composure. "Now, I believe there is nothing left for us to do except return to our homes, I thank you all for coming out here." Hizuren, the two Anbu, and Hayate vanished in puffs of smoke, leaving the clan heads alone, through they followed suit almost immediately after.
Naruto stood beneath the giant tree that stood in his training area as the rain continued to come down hard. 'I don't understand why it happened again, I never lost control in the spars I've had with Robin during training, so why did I today, or the first time for that matter? And worst of all, it happened in front of them, what if they realize what they saw, I don't think even Ojii-san could protect me then.' He was broken from his thoughts by a build up of chakra within his body and placed his hand against the tree trunk for support as he felt his legs growing weak. A blue ripple emanated from his feet and all the plant life around him became brighter and looked more alive than it had when he arrived. 'How many years as it been now since I first started coming here? Five, six? And in that short time, I've seen you grow from a small sapling barely getting enough sunlight to survive, to the massive size you are now, towering over those that had once nearly killed you.'
He heard someone land somewhere behind him and start walking towards him. "You not thinking about training in this are you?"
Naruto smiled slightly at the worried tone in Robin's voice. "No, I just came here to think." He turned around so he was facing her with a smile. "So what can I do for you Robin?"
"I wanted to thank you for what you said to Gekko-san, about reconsidering the five of us, and I know I'm not in any position to ask you, but I was hoping you'd do me a favor."
"I suppose it would depend on what it is, but I'll tell you right now, if some guy's not taking the hint, just say the word."
His smile widened as she giggled. "That's nice to know, but not what I wanted to ask, I was hoping you'd help me learn to use my kekkei genkai better." His smile fell, which she noticed immediately. "You know what, never mind, I shouldn't have asked, I'm sorry." She turned around and started to leave, but Naruto grabbed her arm preventing her from doing so.
"Robin, I don't know how much help I'll be considering I've never even heard of it, but if you'd like I could observe and comment on what I see, alright." She nodded and his smile returned, but not to the same extent. "Seeing as it probably won't work too well in the rain, we won't be able to do anything till it lets up, probably sometime tomorrow."
Robin smiled. "That's fine, my sensei was needed on a mission so my teams off duty until she gets back."
"Alright then, meet me at training ground seven tomorrow at eight."
"Why not here?"
"Well, it's because that area is fairly open and has a close source of water, but mostly because I don't want you burning this place down accidentally, I nearly did that once myself." His smile brightened when she laughed. "Come on, let's go to my apartment, I'll make something for us to eat." The redheaded girl grabbed his hand and started dragging him towards his apartment as fast as possible. Within minutes, they stood outside his door and he blinked several times as if he couldn't believe he was seeing it. 'I think that's a new record.' He opened the door and kicked off his shoes before heading further into his apartment, leaving Robin standing there, as she didn't want to get his couch wet. A few minutes later, he came back out with some clothes in his hands. "You need to get out of those wet clothes, or you'll get sick." He handed her the ones he had brought out. "They may be a little big, but it's the best I could do. When you're done changing, give me the wet ones and I'll get them in the drier."
She smiled. "It's fine. Thanks for everything Naruto." She kissed him on the cheek and left the room, a small blush on her cheeks.
Naruto chuckled to himself, a light blush on his own face. 'I wonder what she'd do if she found out I'm a clone. Probably set our ass on fire, and I definitely don't want her to do that, I like our ass.' The clone paused in his mental rant. 'That didn't come out the way it should have.' He shook his head and in a puff of smoke he was gone. When she came back out, Naruto and a few of his clones were working in the kitchen in a white t-shirt and baggy blue pants. Three clones had one of their hands covered in kitsune-bi, while in the same hand one held a pan, one had a pot, and the last had a wok.
He was just pushing the last of some cut up chicken into the frying pan when she walked in wearing a overly large black t-shirt that was tucked into a pair of gray sweat pants that's legs were rolled up a few times. "Using jutsu to cook, so maybe you're not a great cook, maybe it's your chakra that makes it taste so good."
Naruto shook his head with a smile. "Nah, it tastes just as good on the stove, it just takes too long." He walked over and took the wet clothes from Robin and disappeared down the hallway from a few minutes before coming back.
When he came back out, he couldn't help but laugh, Robin was chasing after one of his clones, who was trying to stay ahead of her and keep the pan in his hand steady. "Come on, just a small bite?"
"Robin leave him alone, or he'll spill it all over the floor. It will be done in a little bit."
Pouting slightly, she plopped down on the couch. "So what's the plan for tomorrow?"
"Well first I think we should test the range you have with it, after that I'd say accuracy would be your biggest concern, and we'll go from there."
Robin's gaze went to her lap. "Hey Naruto, what's the ability that you wouldn't even tell Hokage-sama about? You said that people would experiment on you if they knew, but surely it can't as serious as all that."
Naruto sighed as he sat beside her. "Robin, there is one weakness that every ninja from Genin to Kage has, that I don't. If anyone where to find out what it is, I would be dissected so they could find a way to remove that weakness from their own ninja, giving them an advantage over everyone, a Genin could go toe to toe with a Kage if not for the elder ninja's experience."
Robin's eyes were wide. "You're serious aren't you? What's the weakness?"
"I'm afraid you'll have to figure that out for yourself, but when you do, I ask that you not speak of it to anyone, not even me. In a village like this, there's always some one listening, isn't that right Neko-chan?"
They heard some feminine chuckling and looked towards the source, Robin was surprised to find the proctor of the Kenjutsu match standing in the corner of the room, leaning up against the wall. "I see Inu-senpai wasn't joking when he said you knew when you were being watched. I came to congratulate you on your match today, the clan heads were quite impressed by your performance. I would have congratulated you earlier, but I had my duties to attend to."
"I understand, and I'm happy to hear they enjoyed it, I just wish I had been informed I would have an audience." While on the outside he was his usual self, inside he was fuming. 'Shit, shit, shit, clan heads mean the Hyuga and Aburame were there and both clan's deal almost solely with chakra, so they must have noticed it, but they haven't dragged me away, so either they don't know what happened, or their trying to gain something personally from the knowledge.' "Would you like to stay for dinner Neko-chan?"
"I'd love to but can't, I have plans for tonight."
Naruto smiled brightly. "I understand, can't have Gekko-san moping at home for being forced to a tie by a civilian amateur swordsman."
Neko chuckled lightly. "If he's moping over anything, it's that he can't train you. Sure he'll be happy to just pass on his knowledge, but you really are something special."
Naruto sighed. "I think I'd prefer to be ordinary, get into less trouble that way."