Sensei Zabuza

A Naruto Fanfiction

Disclaimer: See Chapter 1.

Authors notes: Chapter three. I said, I would focus on my German stories for now, but I got sidetracked. Again. So I decided to type a new chapter for you. Well, the Chunin exams are about to begin.

So, some notes to the reviews. A scythe is in my opinion a good weapon for silent killing. Hiding yourself in the mist and then beheading your enemy from behind. Scythe + Mist = The Silent Reaper from the Mist. A chainwhip sword is also a very nice thing, maybe I use it. And it reminds me of Ivy from Soul Calibur, a definite bonus.

Another question I address, is the question of romance. As it stands now, the story is "New Team 7 centric". Romance will be most likely a Naruto x Sakura. It might become a Naruto x Hana, but it is highly unlikely. Naruto has, as it is now, just a big crush on Hana. Because she is a quite hot female and she was nice to him, a treatment he gets rarely. So you can understand his crush.

Oh and if someone hates this story because of a pairing, I must say this is quite ridiculous in my opinion and I really don't care. And, the Pairings will happen when the characters are older. 12 year olds don't fall in love for the rest of their live. They usually hit puberty around this age or are living through it. And it will not be so that romance is the focus, because I can't write romance, I'm way to cynic and hateful to write believable romance. And I repeat myself. At 12 you don't fall in love for the rest of your life. And you are definitely not mature enough to become a parent anytime soon! Therefore I'm always annoyed when I read something like this in an otherwise good story. People, let the characters at least be 18 before making them parents. And no, pairings with older partners don't count. And I repeat another thing. No twelve-years-old is mature enough to be a parent. No matter how much some authors seem to wish exactly this. They weren't mature enough to be parents at this age, on this I bet my head. If they tell otherwise, they lie.

The way I understand it, I think Narutos crush on Sakura was more a call for attention. A wish to be acknowledged. Something Naruto gets rarely in the village. And not acknowledging or completely ignoring a person is even more cruel than beating a person. Because you leave the ignored person alone, don't acknowledge that the person exists. This is psychic torture. Imagine, wherever you go, no one even cares what you do. And if someone has to deal with you, he looks down on you, as if your existence was worthless. Quite cruel, wouldn't you say?

For the last time. HAKU IS A GUY! I hope everyone got it by now. I'm tired of reading the question if he is a boy again and again.

Next issue, no one seemed to have objections to the matches for the prelims. And I must admit, I was really itching to kill off Rock Lee and Maito Gai because they annoy me. Kakashi takes over as Nejis and TenTens Sensei after he is healed again. But Lee will at least survive the Prelims. But it is really tempting to kill them. Let me hear your opinions. Rock Lee and Gai die or only Lee dies or both live. I will see what is wished the most. But I can't promise to fulfill the wish.

Another thing. This story will contain some Units from the first 4 Command and Conquer games. Nothing too powerful like Kirov-Airships, Battle Cruiser, Juggernaut, Tiberian Sun Artillery, Dreadnought or Floating Disc. But some infantry Units and three tanks. The Units can be destroyed, damaged and can not be replaced. Repairing maybe. Oh, I don't own Command and Conquer. If I did Tiberian Sun wouldn't suck as much as it does and in Red Alert 2 Yuris Revenge you would have a Yuri Single Player campaign. Please vote for the Units. The Poll is in my Profile.

I was thinking about making this story a tie-in to "Gaara and the Horned Reaper" but then I realized that this would determine the fate of the story. Naruto becomes a heroic Dungeon Keeper, builds up an army of Heroes and fights a last battle against the Evil Dungeon Keeper Gaara. And loses. But I decided against it. "Gaara and the Horned Reaper" stands alone. It's better this way.

Omake "Tsunades last mission order"

Tsunade sat in her office. It was her last day as Hokage, tomorrow she would appoint the Rokudaime. But first she would enjoy a last laugh at the expense of her ANBU. They seemed to have gotten sloppy.

She called for her best Black OPS Team.

The three members appeared, each one had another mask, a hooded cloak made them almost unrecognizable.

Tsunade looked at the three. "I have a last mission for you." she said slowly. "It is an S-ranked retrieval mission." she added.

The Anbu in the middle, the smallest one, bounced with joy. "Of course we accept, Baachan!" he yelled.

Tsunade glared angrily at Naruto. Just because she was old, Naruto had no right to call her so.

Haku and Sakura just sighed. Some things about Naruto had never changed. He had stayed the midget of the group. Surprisingly enough it had been Sakura who had become the tallest. Secondly had Naruto never ceased to call Tsunade Baachan. And he was still sometimes quite loud and annoying. What often enough ended with him getting a knuckle sandwich courtesy of Sakura. And some other things hadn't changed either.

Naruto jumped to the table and grabbed the scroll, ducking under a thrown paperweight, courtesy of Tsunade.

He and his comrades left the room and Tsunade grinned. This served the little midget right. Soon enough every inhabitant of the elemental nations would hear Narutos scream. And Tsunade grinned. It were times like these when she really loved her job.

Outside the building Naruto opened the scroll and looked at the writings. Millimeter by Millimeter his eyes wandered to the grinning, one-eyed face of his Nemesis. He looked at the one enemy he had trouble beating. The one enemy who always came back, with new and even more evil tricks. The one almost no person in Konoha could hope to beat.

He looked at the face of Tora. The old tomcat a picture of smugness and lazy evilness.

Sakura and Haku covered their ears. And one second later Tsunades prediction became true.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" was heard throughout the world.

And in many places, many Ninja looked to Konoha and prayed for the poor soul that had let loose such a scream of endless despair. Even Orochimaru felt sorry for the poor tortured soul.

At the marketplace of Konoha a very unhappy Naruto followed his teammates to catch his worst enemy again. And he swore to himself to get back at Tsunade for this.

End

Hope you liked it.

Well, on we go with chapter three.

-

Chapter 3 "The Chunin Exams are there"

-

The morning in Konoha was peaceful. The sun shone through thick artificial mist. Suddenly there was a stream of curses heard. "Why can't I get it right!" a frustrated voice sounded through the mist.

A dark chuckling sounded through the mist. "Your Chakra control is still atrocious." a voice stated.

"I know. But what can I do, Sensei?" the frustrated voice asked.

"Well, you should try water walking. Make an army of clones and let them practice. And don't try to fry your brain. Again. One day you will kill yourself with your stupidity." the newly dubbed Sensei answered.

"I'm not that bad, Zabuza-Sensei!" the voice replied.

"Oh? How about the last 10 courses tree walking with 1000 clones, Naruto?" Zabuza asked. "Every time you almost fry your brain, most of your progress is blown out of the window."

"This was an accident." Naruto gave back and you could hear the pout.

"Whatever. You better stop pouring Chakra into the mist or you will keep the fog over Konoha all day." Zabuza said. "And the Hokage doesn't want to rename Konohagakure into Kirigakure anytime soon." he added.

Naruto grumbled something not understandable. And some minutes later the morning wind blew the mist away. Naruto sat at the usual training ground. He was glaring at his Sensei. And Zabuza only grinned. He had understood Narutos complainings. For Silent Killing you had to have a good hearing after all.

30 minutes later Sakura and Haku arrived. Zabuza grinned at them. "Today we will do a C-Rank. I heard through the grapevine that there were some quick C-Ranks available." Zabuza stated.

Naruto was immediately excited. "YES! No more cat chasing." he hollered with joy.

Team 7 went to the Hokage tower and Zabuza went to the mission desk. "This is Team 7 requesting a C-Ranked mission." he stated.

The Hokage grinned very wide. 3 rookie Teams in three days that requested a C-Rank. And he did the same he had done to Team 10 and Team 8. He handed them a scroll. "This is a Mid-C-Ranked capturing mission. Do you accept?" the elderly Hokage asked.

Naruto bounced around with joy. "Of course old man!" he yelled.

Zabuza took the scroll and smirked at the Hokage. He knew exactly what it was.

Team 7 left the tower and they looked into the scroll. There was a picture of Tora. And a list of his abilities.

Zabuza grinned and read the list out loud. "Target is a genius at evading. It can evade an army of Shadow Clones, it can detect hostile presences, navigate in areas with drastically reduced sight, is good at hearing enemies closing in, can pull off a Kawarimi no Jutsu, is resistant to Genjutsu and it can beat Inuzuka dogs in one on one spars. Approach with caution, target has no qualms about hurting people. The target is rumored to have outwitted a Nara."

Naruto became pale. Not again. This damned cat. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" he yelled out loud.

-

In their respective teams meeting spots Ino and Kiba felt sudden sympathy for the poor tortured soul letting loose such a scream of despair. Because two and one days ago they had let loose exactly this scream.

-

Naruto looked at his Sensei. "This monster has been upped to a C-Rank. This is so unfair!" he told Zabuza.

The Demon of the Bloody Mist grinned under his bandages. "Call it bad luck in game." he stated.

Naruto pouted.

Team 7 left and went to search for the cat.

Naruto was the first to take action, he created an army of Shadow Clones that he sent searching for the cat. They should dispel once they found it.

20 minutes later the target had been found. It had, almost unsurprisingly, searched out its arch-rival and was busy decimating the dog. Again.

Narutos eyes lit up at the mention of the Inuzuka dog. Pictures of Hana came into his mind. He darted off. "We have to catch a cat!" he yelled.

Zabuza sighed. Naruto had a murderous crush on this Inuzuka girl. He even went out of his way to greet her, should he see her in town. And the bad thing, at least in his eyes, was that Hana seemed to like the little runt. But not the way Naruto liked her. He had even witnessed how Naruto had walked into a lamp post when he had seen Hana in town. Well, he had had a laugh at the boys expense and this was good for something too.

20 minutes later they reached the fight scene. And it was good for a laugh. The poor dog had been chased into a tree again. But it was a pine tree this time. The dog looked extremely uncomfortable up there. But whenever he tried to climb down, what looked ridiculous itself, Tora would scratch the dogs back legs and so it had to stay up there, trying to get comfortable on a scratching tree. And watching a dog trying to balance was a very amusing sight.

Sakura took action first. "Kirigakure no Jutsu." she said and mist began to fill in the area.

The dog was relieved and tried to climb down.

Suddenly a pained yowl sounded through the mist.

Zabuza began laughing. "This cat is a genius. It has begun to use the Kirigakure no Jutsu to its own advantage. I want to train it as Silent Killer!" he told his sweatdropping team. "I really like the little monster." he continued. "Maybe we can train it to become a Shinobi? I really have to ask the Fire Daimyos wife if I can keep it." Zabuza went on.

Team 7 made a collective face-fault. It was by now clear. Zabuza had been dropped on his head once too often as a child.

After picking themselves up from the ground Haku and Sakura vanished into the mist. Naruto followed shortly after them. He was giving Zabuza a last questioning glance. His Sensei was insane. No sane person could like a cat like Tora.

The hunt in the mist was silent. They crept forwards by centimeters. Closing in on Toras position under the pine tree.

It took them 20 minutes and they were behind Tora.

Sakuras hands shot out and she grabbed the cat.

But she only had a twig in her hands. Tora had used Kawarimi to escape.

Haku and Sakura gave chase and Naruto took the old dog from the tree. "Come with me, you thick-head." he ordered. And the old dog complied.

Naruto walked to the Inuzuka compound and he was lucky. Hana came out into the woods. She was out to retrieve the old bulldog again.

Hana looked at the dog. He limped a bit.

Naruto waved and greeted Hana. "Hello, Hana-chan! I have your dog. He lost again!" he told Hana.

Hana knew immediately what had happened. She turned to the dog and sighed. "You will never learn, will you?" she asked.

The dog just yipped in response.

Hana looked at the dog. "He looks worse after every encounter with Tora." she stated.

Naruto nodded. "Zabuza-Sensei says that the tomcat is a genius. His abilities are frightening. He even managed to use Kirigakure no Jutsu to his own advantage. And he had chased that old thick-headed bulldog into a pine before we even managed to get him." he told Hana.

Hana looked at the dog. "Usually I would treat your wounds, but it seems that your stupidity reaches new heights." she told the dog.

The scolded dog whimpered a bit. His mistress was unhappy with him. But she didn't understand. He had to take this cat down a few pegs. It walked around as if it owned the whole world. And it didn't follow orders. This was something that didn't sit well with the dog. He was thinking along the lines that you always had to follow the Alpha. But this cat acted Alpha but it accepted no one. It was a loner. And loners were suspicious to a pack-natured creature like the dog.

Naruto smiled slightly. "I doubt he will learn." he stated. "His thickheaded wish to win against Tora is the same thing I have. I want to win against the old man and make his hat mine. Then everyone will have to stop glaring at me. And I will then be the strongest Ninja of the village and I can protect everyone I care about." he said determined.

Hana smiled. It was the big dream of a boy with a hard life. Maybe he could succeed. She genuinely wished it for him. She had noticed the cold glares and the malevolent whispers that accompanied Naruto everywhere. She had seen him in town some times. It was really angering her. She considered him as an adopted little brother. And if there was one thing Inuzukas held high it was family.

Naruto looked at the dog. "Well, here he is. Back in all his scratched glory." he stated jokingly.

Hana grinned. "Thank you." she said. "You will one day accomplish your dream. Because you have a good heart. You are willing to protect others. Something a good Hokage does. The duty of the Hokage is to protect the village from harm. At any cost. Yondaime sacrificed his life to save the village. Shodaime and Nidaime did the same thing." she told Naruto.

Naruto nodded. "I have to go, my team needs my help, they upped Tora to a C-Ranked mission. The little monster uses Kawarimi, is resistant to Genjutsu, can use the Kirigakure no Jutsu to its advantage and this continues." he told Hana.

Hana smiled a bit. "Well then, good luck." she said and gave Naruto a peck on the cheek.

Naruto became bright red and grinned. Then he darted off.

Tsume Inuzuka, who had seen the encounter, went to her daughter. "It seems like you have an admirer." she told her blushing daughter.

Hana sputtered incoherent replies.

Tsume grinned and decided to go further. "You have my blessings. But I will not be baby-sitting any time soon. But you really should grab the little one for you. He is good for you. And you know what they say about foxes." she teased further.

Hana invented 5 new shades of red. "Mum!" she complained. "I don't like him this way." she stated.

Tsume grinned. "Not? What a shame. You would make such a great couple." she continued teasing.

Hana sighed. "You will not stop until I leave you sitting here with grandchildren." she stated in a flat deadpan voice.

Tsume grinned at her daughter. "They would be your responsibility. And now, go catch yourself a fox!" she told her.

Hana shook her head. "I don't feel like it." she said.

Tsume grinned. "Well. You can also accompany me to a walk through the town this afternoon. I want to see some of the Chunin hopefuls. And I want to check out if the Kazekage really sent his children. More precisely his youngest." she stated, sounding more and more serious after each sentence.

Hana was surprised. "Why this?" she asked.

Tsume looked at her daughter. "Kazekages youngest son is a cruel and heartless slaughterer. Last month he killed a team of Inuzukas. Only a dog returned and his sanity was broken beyond repair. It always whimpered 'Bloody monster of sand.' or 'Take the sand away.' It were only these two sentences and the name 'Gaara.' If this Gaara is really in the exams, you should warn Kiba and your boyfriend. Because they won't survive an encounter with the boy." Tsume stated dead serious. "I didn't give the dog in your care, because there was nothing that could have been done for him. I was forced to put him to sleep. Letting him live would have been cruelty. I'm quite sure that he had to watch his masters death without a chance to help." she added.

Hana gulped. If this Gaara was really in the exams they had to warn the Konoha teams. "I will follow you." she finally said to her mother. Worry for her adopted little and her little brother evident in her voice.

Naruto had meanwhile reached his team. He was almost floating, had a totally happy face and seemed to want to embrace the whole world.

"He got kissed. Again." Zabuza deadpanned as he saw Naruto coming to them.

The next thing surprised anyone. Naruto went to Tora, still smiling and radiating positive feelings that were so strong that they were maybe able to melt even Orochimarus or Madaras black hearts.

Naruto scooped Tora in his arms, bathing the cat in love and good will and general happiness. He even hugged and petted the cat. And Tora melted away. Resistance was futile. This much heartfelt love made him surrender.

Sakura, Haku and Zabuza stared at the odd duo. Naruto hugged the cat and looked at them. You could almost see that he wanted to hug everyone.

Zabuza sighed. "Mission accomplished." he said and his team gathered behind him and they left to the mission office building.

The Hokage looked at Naruto more than a bit surprised. The boy was practically floating with happiness. He gazed at Zabuza curiously.

The masked Jonin looked back at the Hokage and silently said "Hana kissed him."

Sarutobi understood immediately. He knew about Narutos massive crush on Hana.

Naruto handed Tora over the Fire Daimyos wife.

The woman paid and took her tomcat with her.

Team 7 received their payment and they left the building. "Okay. You are dismissed for the day." Zabuza announced.

Haku nodded and bowed to his teammates. "I will take my leave now." he said and vanished in a swirl of fog.

Naruto looked at Sakura. "How about going to eat something? I'm hungry." he stated.

Sakura nodded and they left too.

After some minutes a square rock with holes began to follow them.

Naruto saw the thing almost immediately. "This is the worst disguise ever!" he shouted at the rock. "A square rock with holes doesn't exist. And rocks don't move!" he added.

The rock was lifted and Konohamaru, Moegi and Udon came out of it. "You saw through his immediately, Boss. Just what I like in my eternal rival." Konohamaru stated. "And see, we wear the same goggles you always wore. You are our role-model after all!"

Moegi took over. "Do you play Ninja with us, Naruto-Nii-san?" she asked.

Naruto shook his head while Sakura looked at Naruto like he had grown a second head. "A Ninja playing Ninja?" she asked.

Moegi pouted. "But you promised, Nii-san!" she said and gave Naruto the puppy dog eyes.

"Sorry guys, I'm busy. I'm taking out Sakura for lunch. And after this I have to train." he said.

Konohamaru grinned. "That's great, Boss. Is she your?" he asked and stretched out his pinky.

Naruto nodded a bit.

Sakura was angered. This little boy annoyed her. "Don't make such rude gestures!" she said, hit him over the head and walked off.

Konohamaru whined. "Is this crazy hag really your girlfriend? Search for someone else than this pink-haired monster." he said, cradling the lumps on his head.

Sakura heard this. And as she turned round, the 4 Riders of the Apocalypse were standing behind her. "What did you say?" she asked with a voice that would send Uchiha Madara screaming for his mommy.

Naruto leaned to his little friend. "Run for your life." he said and shot off.

The Konohamaru Corps followed.

And behind them came Sakura, the 5th Rider of the Apocalypse. The air was crackling with evil intent and future violence. Hell was marching to conquer Heaven.

Konohamaru shot around a corner and ran into something soft.

"That hurt, you little runt." an annoyed voice stated.

The others rounded the corner and saw a guy wearing a black suit and a cat-eared hood. He had slightly menacing facepaint. He had a bundle wrapped in bandages on his back.

Behind him stood a Kunoichi with a battle dress that carried an iron battlefan around. Both looked down on Konohamaru with an annoyed glare.

The boy picked up Konohamaru by his scarf and smirked cruelly. "Like I said, this hurt, annoying runt." he said while lifting the little boy to his eye height.

Konohamaru struggled in the boys grasp.

The Kunoichi chose this moment to intervene. "Stop it. We will just get into trouble later." she said, not really caring about the boys welfare.

Sakura looked at the duo. "Sorry. It was my fault." she managed to get out.

Naruto was much more vocal. "Hey, fatso! Hands off him!" he yelled.

The boy looked at Naruto. 'This are the Genin of Konoha? Pathetic.' he thought. "Let's have some fun." he suggested cruelly amused.

Naruto charged.

And suddenly he tripped over something.

The boy had moved his fingers, but no one of the Konoha people could make out the meaning of this.

'What was this?' Naruto thought totally surprised.

The boy in black looked at them spiteful. "Ha! So weak. Really a shame." he said.

Sakura looked at them. 'They are not from here. But what would they want here?' she wondered by herself.

Naruto choose this moment to yell at the boy. "Hey! Fatso! Take your fat hands of him! Or you have to take on me! Idiot!" he yelled.

Sakura took him in a headlock from behind. "Idiot! Don't anger him further!" she hissed in Narutos ear.

The boy in black smirked. "You are annoying. I hate children. Especially short ones. And especially so annoying ones I want to kill." he said happily.

The Kunoichi sighed. "I have nothing to do with this." she said.

Naruto and Sakura were right now questioning the boys sanity.

The boy grinned. "After the impudent runt I will kill the annoying runt." he said while cocking back his fist to hit Konohamaru.

Naruto was already charging when a blunted Kunai hit the boys hand holding Konohamaru. The little boy fell from the boys grasp. And the boy in black held his hand. 'Damn it, that hurt. Who did this?' he thought.

Up in the tree stood Hana Inuzuka. "What are you doing here?" she asked clearly annoyed.

The boy in black glared murder at the young woman. "Another annoying person." he growled.

"Get lost." Hana commanded.

The boy growled and took the bundle from his back. "Come down here. I hate persons like you." he growled.

"You're not gonna use the Cyborg?" the Suna Kunoichi asked a bit fearful.

"Stop it, Kankuro." a cold voice commanded.

Everyone looked at the tree. A boy with red hair, a gourd on his back, a Tattoo on his forehead and black circles around his eyes stood on a tree branch. Upside down.

"You are an embarrassment to our village." he stated.

Kankuro almost wet his pants with fear. "G... G... Gaara!" he stuttered.

The Suna Kunoichi seemed fearful too. And the other Genin and academy students were surprised. Hana asked herself why she hadn't sensed him earlier.

"You know why we are here." Gaara stated coldly.

Kankuro tried to argue. "It is their fault." he said.

Gaara glared at him. "Shut up or I will kill you." he stated with a flat voice.

Both Suna Genin were busy apologizing to Gaara.

Hana looked at the boy and suddenly she got a scent from him. An overwhelming scent. The scent of death and blood. 'Clearly the leader. But one that will execute them without batting an eyelash.' she thought. 'He is definitely dangerous!' she added mentally.

"I beg your apologies for my useless teammates." Gaara said. Everyone knew that he didn't mean the apology part. Gaara vanished in a swirl of sand and reappeared between his siblings. "It seems that we are early." he said coldly. "But we are not here for fun." he added. "We leave." he ordered his siblings and turned to leave.

Sakura gathered all her courage. "Why are you here?" she asked. "If your intentions are directed against Konoha we will have to take you to the Anbu." she said, sounding much more brave than she felt.

Temari and Kankuro grinned at Sakura disdainfully. "How do they say, the darkest spot is under the lighthouse." Temari said. "We are here for the Chunin exams. Here are our passports." she stated, showing a passport to Sakura.

Gaara glared at his siblings. "We leave!" he ordered impatiently.

Hana intervened. "Who are you?" she asked.

"Me?" Kankuro asked.

"No, the redhead." Hana answered.

Gaara looked at her without a care in the world. "This doesn't matter to you weakling." he stated and vanished in a swirl of Sand.

Kankuro and Temari followed suit.

Hana looked at Sakura, Naruto and the Konohamaru Corps. "Be careful with the redhead. If he is, who I think he is, he is the most dangerous person in the exams. Don't pick a fight with him, he can kill Jonin. And I don't want you to die." she said to them.

Naruto was slack-jawed. This boy was this strong? Come to think of it, he had startled Hana. This meant he was dangerous.

Sakura bowed to Hana. "Thank you for helping us out, Hana-san." she said politely.

Konohamaru looked at Hana and then at Naruto. Seeing Narutos face he came to the conclusion. "Is she also your?" he asked and extended his pinky. "Are you building a Harem for your pleasures?" he wanted to know.

Hana was behind Konohamaru in an instant. "You better watch your tongue, boy. Even fools license has its borders." she said and grinned a very Anko-like grin. The 'I found a little plaything and that plaything is you' grin.

Konohamaru nodded hastily. "Understood." he said.

Hana grinned. "Good, little runt. Now play with Naruto-kun here and don't bump into people again." she said.

Konohamaru nodded again. "Will do. And I won't upset Sakura again. She could scare a demon in her wrath." he said and shuddered at the thought of the 5th Apocalyptic Rider Sakura. This was something he never wanted to experience again.

Hana nodded. "Well then, I'm off." she said and vanished in a swirl of leaves.

Sakura looked at Naruto. "I'm still hungry." she said.

Naruto came out of his stupor and nodded. "Alright, let's grab something to eat." he said enthusiastically.

The Konohamaru corps left together and Sakura followed Naruto to the BBQ stand.

In a tree near the encounter three Sound Nins had watched the entire scene. "The redhead from Suna is the only real threat. To be exact, he is more threatening than any other person in the exam. Be careful around him." the Ninja in the middle stated. His entire face was bandaged and only his left eye was free. The two others nodded and all three left to report to Orochimaru.

Meanwhile at the Inuzuka compound. Hana stood before her mother. "I'm quite sure that I encountered Gaara earlier. He is a boy around Narutos age. And he is here for the Chunin Exams. I already warned Naruto and Sakura, they will warn Haku and hopefully the others. If Kiba is nominated we must warn him about Gaara." she said.

Tsume nodded. "If he is nominated we will warn him. The best would be to set the bush telegraphy in motion. So the Konoha teams will be warned." she said thoughtfully.

Hana was relieved. If something happened to her little brother because she didn't tell him about an avoidable danger, she could never forgive herself this.

At the Hokage Tower a meeting was taking place. Assembled were a bunch of Jonin and Tokubetsu Jonin.

Sarutobi smiled. "I have summoned you here to tell you that Konoha will host the half-yearly Chunin Exams. At the 1st of July they will start." the aged Hokage told the assembled persons.

"This is not much time." Hayate Gekko stated.

The Hokage nodded. "However. I want to know, which teams who still operate with a Jonin Sensei are nominated. Rookies first." he stated.

Sarutobi Asuma raised his hand. "I, Sarutobi Asuma, nominate Team 10." he stated.

Yuuhi Kurenai raised her hand and said "I, Yuuhi Kurenai, nominate Team 8."

Momochi Zabuza grinned, raised his hand and stated "I nominate Team 7 as well."

Iruka looked at the three Jonin Senseis, Zabuza especially. "Is this really wise? They are fresh out of the academy." he said worried.

Zabuza grinned. "Oh, at least my team is ready. I have beaten fighting skills into Haku since he was 5. And Naruto managed to outsmart me and forced me to release Kakashi in my first fight against them. And I taught them some useful tricks. And Kenjutsu. They are ready. And if they encounter a too powerful enemy, well Hakus Kekkei Genkai has been beaten only once. By Naruto. And they have had their first kills." he stated.

Iruka sighed and knew arguing was useless. When the Jonin Sensei felt that his team was ready, then they usually were ready.

The Hokage nodded. "Now to the teams who have graduated the years before." he said and the next teams were nominated.

The next morning Team 7 was standing in their usual meeting spot. Zabuza arrived with a Kiri Shunshin. "Good morning. I have good news for you. I have nominated you for the Chunin Exams. And to celebrate this we will go shopping. Some clothes that won't stay out as much as your present clothes. Really, Naruto and Sakura, you are walking targets." he stated.

Both Genin were silent. Simply because Zabuza was right. Neon Orange and glaring red weren't really colors befitting a Ninja.

Zabuza handed the Genin the applications.

Naruto, Haku and Sakura took the three sheets of paper. "If you want to participate in the exams be at the Academy tomorrow morning. Turn them in at room 301." Zabuza explained the rules.

The Genin nodded. "Well then, we have some shopping to do." Zabuza stated and left. His Team followed him.

A while later they were in a clothing store. The owner looked at them. And at the sight of Naruto he hissed. "Get out here! I don't sell clothes to demons." he stated.

Naruto looked at his Sensei and grinned. "Ne, Zabuza-Sensei, seems like you are not welcome here, Demon of the Bloody Mist." he said cheekily.

Zabuza grinned at Naruto and nodded. Then he turned to the man and glared at him with an evil glare. "This is breaking of Sandaimes law. Your sentence is death." he stated, tossed the man out on the street and grinned at his team. "Today Team 7 gets 100 percent discount. Take everything you want." he said and left with the whimpering man in tow.

Naruto, Sakura and Haku searched through the entire store to find things they liked.

In the end Sakura chose some blue and snow camouflage clothes. And with a bit reluctance she also took a set of standard wood camouflage.

Naruto whooped with joy when he found camouflage clothes where the spots were brown, yellow, red and orange.

Haku and Sakura sweatdropped at seeing this piece of clothing. Even more when Naruto began to pack the clothing into a bag.

Sakura went to the boy. "Take some snow, blue, night and wood camouflage." she ordered.

Naruto nodded hastily. He didn't want to give up his orange camouflage. (I actually have seen orange and pink camouflage. Who the hell wears such clothing? – A.N.)

Suddenly Zabuza appeared in the store. "Slight change in plans. Pack everything, sort it out later, you can then sell the useless things." he told his staring Genin.

Almost an hour later an army of camouflaged Naruto clones marched out of the store. Each carrying a big rucksack. Somehow Naruto had gotten his hands at a radio and he and his army were now marching to the tune "Links, 2,3,4" by Rammstein.

Sakura and Haku looked after their teammate. It was a slightly intimidating sight. 500 Naruto clones, each uniformed in snow camouflage, with a steel helmet and combat boots with steel toes. But to both it was also a hilarious sight. Naruto was trying to show a grim face, like he thought a soldier was supposed to do. But his face was not meant for looking grim. So he was looking slightly hilarious. Multiply this with 500 and you get ridiculous.

After some minutes of wordless staring they went after him. Carrying the last things, things Naruto hadn't carried away. Haku had taken all the money from the shop. Nothing would remain there.

A while later Zabuza returned to his Team. The three had each chosen the wear for the Chunin exams. And Zabuza had a last hint. "Sakura, maybe you should cut your hair. Ninja fight dirty. If you come into a fight with an enemy, they will maybe grab your hair to hold you down. And then you are screwed." he told the girl. "Haku doesn't have this problem, he is fast enough to evade anyone trying to grab his hair." he added.

Sakura nodded. "Hai, Sensei." she confirmed and left, clad in snow camouflage.

The next morning Team 7 met. Naruto stared at Sakura. "Sakura-chan! What happened to your hair?" Naruto yelled at the sight of a short-haired Sakura.

Sakura waved in greeting. "Well, I decided to get my hair cut. I took Senseis words to heart. With long hair, I really am in danger of getting grabbed by the hair." she explained to Naruto.

"But you look like a boy!" Naruto objected.

Suddenly the air crackled with evil intent. This was not only the 5th Apocalyptic Rider Sakura, this was "Hell's Pissed Off Empress Sakura" evil.

Naruto looked at Sakura and he only saw his own gruesome death. And then a resurrection to be killed again. And again. And again.

-

Inside of Naruto, the Kyuubi felt the evil given off by Sakura. And the immortal being felt fear for its own immortality. It frantically searched for a way to save its own fur. Because it would rather go to heaven and kneel to Kami-sama than die because this little idiot managed to piss off the one girl that could generate such an evil aura and maybe even act on it. "I will not die because you are stupid, idiotic fleshbag!" it roared.

-

Naruto did the only thing he could do. He fell to his knees and prayed for forgiveness and mercy. He really hoped to survive. Sakura looked ready to skin him alive and then wear a costume made of his hide.

Sakura, upon seeing the kneeling Naruto, decided to be merciful. She simply bobbed him over the head with a mallet.

Naruto covered his head but remained silent. This one he had deserved after all. You simply don't call a girl looking boyish, when she in fact didn't.

After this episode, they headed into the academy.

When they came to Room 301, they were amazed to see a big group of Ninja, trying to get access to room 301. And they were pushed back by two Leaf Genin.

"You should really stay out of here. We took this exam several times. And we can tell you, that it is not an easy one. So you better go home. We don't want you to get hurt." one of the two said.

The other nodded. "Yes, quit already and leave this exam. It is healthier for you." he added.

Sakura looked around, something here was off.

Suddenly a girl in a pink Chinese dress tried to forcefully enter the room. But she was shoved back rather rough and fell to the floor. She stopped at Sakuras feet.

Sakura offered her a hand while murmuring to herself. "Something's off."

The girl took the hand. "Thank you." she said gratefully.

Suddenly a green-clad blur appeared and tried to enter. But he too was shoved back. Haku, Sakura and Naruto shivered when they saw the boy. He looked exactly like the Freak Maito Gai who had decided to become Zabuzas new eternal rival. Wearing spandex should really become forbidden. It was a sight that burned itself in the onlookers brain. And it caused immense pain.

Suddenly Sakura had the last piece of the puzzle. "It's a Genjutsu. We are only at the second floor." she exclaimed, happy that she had finally seen through it.

The two Genin watching the door were a bit amazed. This girl had apparently seen through their Genjutsu. They knew that the purpose of this Genjutsu was lost, when she lifted up her Hitai-ate to reveal a Sharingan eye. And so they dropped the Genjutsu. And everyone saw that they had tried to get access to room 201.

The Genin eyed her. Maybe they should attack her? But she seemed rather well-trained and it was likely that she didn't carry this sword for show. She was after all Momochi Zabuzas pupil.

Rock Lee looked at Sakura in awe. "You are beautiful. Please become my girlfriend. I will protect you with my life." Lee exclaimed at her.

Sakura looked horrified. "Not now or ever!" she exclaimed. "I'd rather kill myself." she added.

Lee looked down at the floor. The rejection stung. And he was sure that she would never change her opinion. "I understand." he said slowly. Then he turned around and left.

The girl Sakura had helped earlier looked at Sakura. She was a slightly menacing sight. Dressed fully in camouflage and with steel-toed boots, carrying a sword, she looked like an enemy. Not someone you should make your enemy early on. Still, she had to stand up to Lee. "This was harsh. It is not a wise choice to be harsh to others before the exam begins. They might be vengeful." she told Sakura.

Sakura nodded.

Just then the last member of Team 9 arrived. Hyuga Neji. He looked at the assembled persons, Team 7 were under his closest scrutiny. They seemed trained, but he had a whole year of experience on them. Fate was not with them. But the boy who came with Zabuza. Maybe he was a challenge. He would see if it was his fate to beat him or not. "We leave." he ordered TenTen and left.

TenTen gave Team 7 a last look before departing together with Neji.

Team 7 also made their way up the stairs. Before the room stood Zabuza. "Well, good that you showed up as a team. Only a team is allowed to partake. Now, good luck." he said.

Team 7 nodded and went into the room. And Zabuza left in a swirl of fog.

Inside the examining room, Team 7 saw many teams from different villages. Suna, Iwa, Kumo, Kiri, Konoha, Ame, Kusa, Taki and Oto. And all examinees glared at the newcomers.

Suddenly the door opened and Team 10 entered. "You are here too, forehead? And what happened to your looks? You look like a boy!" Ino exclaimed.

Sakura turned around and glared at Ino. "I thought this exam was only for strong people, how did you end up here, Ino-pig?" Sakura retorted. "And to your information. I won't be grabbed by the hair, but you will." she added, grinning evilly.

All males looked at each other. A catfight was in the air. And the really didn't want to become involved there. It would be too troublesome.

Just then Team 8 walked in. "You are here, too?" Kiba asked the rookie nine in general. Then he turned to Naruto. "Hands off my sister!" he commanded.

Naruto smirked. "And what will you do, if I don't obey you?" he asked.

"Why you!" Kiba roared.

Just then Sakura and Ino had went to a full-fledged catfight. "Take that back or else!" Ino shouted at Sakura.

"Keep it down, will you?" a new voice asked. The voice belonged to a silver-haired Genin with glasses.

All of the rookie nine stared at him. "Who are you?" Naruto finally asked.

The Genin smiled. "Well, I have to introduce myself. I'm Yakushi Kabuto. You could say, I'm a veteran in the exams." he introduced himself. "And you are making yourself enemies, if you don't keep it down. For example the guys from Ame. They have a short temper and tend to attack and they don't bother asking questions later."

The others looked at him incredulously. "How many times have you taken the exams to know this much about the exams?" Sakura asked.

Kabuto smiled sheepishly. "Well, this is my seventh time." he admitted.

Kiba grinned. "Wow, this means, you must suck." he said.

Kabuto smiled again. "These exams are harder than you might think. But my many tries at becoming Chunin have brought me something valuable. Ninja-Info-Cards." he told the Genin and showed them a deck of cards.

"What is on these cards?" Naruto asked.

Kabuto looked at him. "Information about any Ninja partaking in the exams for example." he told the rookies. "And as a sign of good will, I'm willing to share these information with you." he added.

Naruto immediately had the name. "Sabaku no Gaara from Suna." he wanted to know.

Kabuto looked at his deck. "It's good that you know the name, it makes searching easier." he commented.

Then he took out a card. "Sabaku no Gaara. Youngest son of the Kazekage. His team consists of his siblings and an Elite Jonin from Suna. Taijutsu is average, Genjutsu above average, Ninjutsu is his strongest field. He has completed. Whoa!!" Kabuto exclaimed and showed the card to the other Genin. "No D – Ranks, 20 C – Ranks, 10 B – Ranks, 6 A – Ranks and 4 S – Ranked missions. Rumors say he returned from every mission without a scratch on him." he finished slowly.

All Genin shivered. S – Ranked missions done without a scratch. This was truly terrifying. Ino was the first to speak. "We must not encounter him under any circumstances." she said slowly.

Shikamaru nodded. "If we encounter him..." he began, but Kiba interrupted him.

"...then we are dead. Mercy is not in his dictionary. If you see him, hope that he hasn't spotted you. Or you are dead. Mom told me some rumors. He is a slaughterer. His body count probably exceeds that of the average Jonin, maybe there are even Anbu who killed fewer persons. His body count is most likely over 2000. Anyway. Hope you are not near him." Kiba told his friends.

All of the rookies nodded. Even Kabuto nodded. All were intimidated. A Genin who was this strong participating in the exams meant that either Sand was very strong or that this particular Genin was near unbeatable. Both options made the teams feel uneasy. Because both options meant danger for them.

Naruto gulped. "Yes, we really should avoid seeking out a fight with the Sand Genin." he said. At first he had wanted to tell everyone in the room that he could take them on, but when there were persons this strong in the exam, this meant suicide.

Zabuza had beaten this lesson into him. A Ninja fights dirty. A Ninja uses every advantage he can get. And a Ninja has to know when to shut up. Because there might be persons who are stronger than you and who don't think much about it when they kill you for opening your mouth at an inappropriate time. His exact words were: "You have to know when to shut up. Because if you don't you might attract persons who like nothing more than breaking persons with great dreams. They hear you and then they fight you. And they leave you crippled for life. Often missing hands or legs. Conviction and persistence are nothing bad, but only at the appropriate time. At an inappropriate time they get you killed. You have to know when to retreat." he had said.

And Naruto had to accept it. There were persons out there, who could wipe the floor with him and who would laugh at him while destroying his dreams forever. He couldn't always win. It was harsh but so was reality. The will to prevail doesn't really help you. Sometimes it even makes things worse. For example if you fight on, while you have clearly lost. It only gets you killed. You can do so when you have no hope of coming out alive. But at any other time you had to retreat. Pride be damned.

Naruto looked at the room. Around 300 candidates. And many strong ones, this was sure. He would have to keep a low profile.

Suddenly there was a loud explosion and the examiners of the first part had appeared. It was a bunch of nondescript Chunin in grey clothes and a man in a black trenchcoat with a Bandana on his head and scars in his face. He wore black gloves too. And he glared at the Genin. "Alright you maggots! I'm the proctor for the first part of the Chunin exam. Everybody shut up or you are disqualified. Now go to your seats!" he bellowed.

Everyone obeyed without a word. The man intimidated the most and the rest just didn't care.

Naruto was seated next to Hinata in the middle of the room. Sakura was three rows before Naruto and Haku sat some rows behind Naruto.

Finally all Genin were seated and the man glared at them. "I'm Ibiki Morino. I will proctor the first part of the Chunin exam. You have to do a written test." he began.

Various shouts of "What?" were heard.

"Silence!" Ibiki roared. "Now as I was saying. It is a written tests. However, there are rules to this test." he stated. "First rule. When I'm done explaining, you can ask questions. After I'm done with the questions, you are not allowed to ask questions or say anything or you will be disqualified." he began.

After some groans from the auditory he continued. "Second. For this test, you will start with 10 points. If you are caught cheating, you will lose two points each time you are caught. Getting caught 5 times means that you and your team are expelled." Ibiki told them.

"Third. This test has ten questions. Each worth a point. 9 questions will be given on the test paper. The tenth will be given 15 minutes before the end of the test. For the whole test you have 1 hour." Ibiki continued.

"Fourth rule. You can pass this test only as a team. If one of your teammates gets 0 points you fail. Regardless of how many points the teammates have. And you need 30 points as a team to continue. Having less points means that you fail too." he explained.

Naruto turned pale while hearing the rules. A written test was the most horrible thing that could happen to him. Book smarts were his weakest field, he could accept this. But the whole test was about book smarts. He was one step from freaking out.

Ibiki gave some signs to the proctoring Chunin. They closed the windows and one turned up the heating. Ibiki smirked at this idea. Every three minutes the heating would be increased. Now it was on 3. Gradually it would turn up to 5. This would make them uncomfortable and easier to manipulate.

When he looked around he saw dozens of nervous stares. And one cold and uncaring glare. He looked at the Genin who looked at him unblinkingly.

Ibiki decided to test him and sent a bit of killing intent to the boy.

A wave of malevolent intent came back, much stronger than the one he had sent. And it was singularly focused on him. It was some kind of challenge. A challenge of wills. And Ibiki somehow knew that he would lose if push came to shove. The boy wasn't called "The Bloody Desert" for nothing. And Ibiki was impressed. This boy didn't even bat an eyelash at the psychological pressure they were inflicting. Chunin material from his point of view. A bit on the insane side, but who wasn't. Every Ninja had his or her little quirks. For example Kakashi. The man was clinically addicted to porn. Or Anko. She was just a bit on the nutty side. And she had some screws missing. The 7 Swordsmen of Kiri carried large cleavers, weighing over 100 pound each, around and wielded them like a Katana. The Sannin had no more needles one the fir. (It is a German saying. Having no more needles on the fir means that you are quite a bit insane and stupid.)

Naruto was meanwhile sweating bullets. He had taken a look at the questions. And had almost let loose a horrified scream. There was no way in hell for him to answer these questions. He couldn't even understand the meaning of some questions.

Sakura had taken one look at the paper and began thinking. 'This is an advanced trajectory equation. Quite difficult to solve.' she thought. Then she began writing.

Ibiki looked at the pink-haired girl. He was a bit impressed. Even most Chunin had problems with solving these equations. And yet this girl did them. She would be worth watching. She was possibly a great asset for either the medics or for the T&I squad. Because it were mostly very intelligent persons who were good at using Genjutsu or medical Jutsu.

Her blonde teammate however. He was backed into a corner. But Ibikis experience told him something. A person driven into a corner could be very dangerous or very dead. And you couldn't know until you made a move. It was a Schrödinger's Cat situation. But with a little coaxing into the right direction he could get results. If Ibiki was one thing, it was merciless. Because mercy for an enemy often ended with your back stabbed.

Others were also cheating their way through. The two Hyuugas used their Byakugan to spy on one of the planted Chunin. The Aburame used a wasp. The Inuzuka used his puppy. One team made him raise an eyebrow. The next Generation Ino – Shika – Cho Trio did exactly nothing. Choji was eating chips, Shikamaru napped and Ino polished her nails.

The Kazekages oldest daughter didn't do anything either. Nor were her brothers doing anything. Interesting. Whatever they were planning, it had to be big.

Meanwhile Naruto was reaching new heights in mental suffering. It was hot, the air was filled with sweat and then there were the random shouts. "187 out! Take your team with you!"

"22, 85, 4 out, take your teams with you!" A boy from Kusa who had been sitting next to Naruto got up and left.

Some caused a scene. An Iwa Genin protested about unfair treatment of Iwa in the Konoha exams. A proctor threw him out.

Sakura had finished all her questions and turned the paper around.

This was Hakus signal to start. He created a small ice mirror under the sheet and spied on all the answers. Then he transcribed them onto his paper.

The last part would be the most difficult. He had to give these answers to Naruto. Without Naruto screaming for joy. And getting them disqualified.

Finally he had an idea. He created another Ice Mirror, this one directly on Narutos paper.

Naruto was surprised when he saw the Mirror. But he knew that Haku used them, so he kept his mouth shut.

"I will give you the answers for the test!" Haku wrote on a piece of paper and held it before his counterpart of the mirror. "Write them down!" he commanded.

Naruto nodded and began writing the answers.

Hinata, who sat next to Naruto was relieved. Someone was helping Naruto. She wasn't done with writing down the answers she had gathered, yet, so she hadn't had the chance to let Naruto copy her answers.

Suddenly a Kunai whizzed between Naruto and Hinata. "123, out!" an angry Chunin commanded.

Gaara gathered now some sand in his hand to create an eye of Sand.

Ibiki saw this and decided to watch.

The sand dispersed and blinded one of the planted Chunin. Then Gaara copied all the answers while the man tried to blink the sand away.

Ino used her Shintenshin no Jutsu to take the answers from Sakura.

Shikamaru connected his shadow with those of Ino and Choji. Then he let Ino have control of her body and the Jutsu. It was a pretty delicate thing, but it worked in the end. absolutely useless in a battle, but helpful in situations like this one.

Quite a while later, the time was almost at 15 minutes before finish. Ibiki grinned. Time to make them even more uncomfortable. After a slight nod, the Chunin changed the heating onto full heating. And a deity seemed to like Ibiki. The day itself was warm, so the sun added further to the discomfort of the Genin present. '120 left. Let's see how they handle pressure.' he thought sadistically. 'Give them some minutes.' he added.

Suddenly Kankuro raised his hand. "I need to go to the restroom." he stated.

Ibiki glared at the boy.

A Chunin came and took out some handcuffs. He then chained Kankuros hands together. "I have to accompany you." the Chunin said.

Kankuro nodded and left.

Ibiki was slightly impressed. The Chunin hadn't bothered to count their numbers. So this boy had been able to smuggle a puppet in their rows. But something was off about this puppet. He couldn't place his finger on it right now.

Meanwhile in the Jonin lounge.

Zabuza, Asuma and Kurenai sat there. Zabuza grinned under his mask. "Do you think your teams will prevail?" Zabuza asked.

Asuma took a puff from his cigarette. "I don't know. Ibiki is in charge of the first part of the exam." he said.

Kurenai and Zabuza looked at Asuma questioningly.

Asuma sighed. "Ibiki is the head of the Torture and Interrogation. He is a master of the mind. He can drive someone into a corner mentally with few actions. He will weed out the weak ones. And those who can't handle pressure." he said.

Zabuza was not overly impressed. "I put them under pressure and I know their weak points. Points that motivate them to advance further. I think they will manage." he said.

Kurenai wasn't as optimistic as the masked Ex-Kiri-Nin. "I don't know. I have heard that "The Bloody Desert" takes the exam too. And Kiba told me that his family warned him about the boy. They all know about him and maybe they quit just so they don't have to take the exam together with this monster." she told the other two Jonin.

Asuma considered this. "This might be a reason for them to retreat. And I wouldn't hold it against them. Most Ninja who have heard of him, hope to not have to fight against him. I think you heard it too, Zabuza. The boy is marked "flee on sight" in Iwas Bingo Book." he said to his colleagues.

Zabuza nodded. "Correct. Their earth Ninjutsu are more or less useless against him. He commands the Desert. A water or a lightning user has the best chances against him. Fire, wind and earth are more or less useless. And trying to get him to surrender is useless too. I heard rumors he had a team before the one he has now. They were taken hostage by an enemy who demanded that Gaara surrendered. But Gaara advanced and slaughtered everyone. He didn't care about the deaths of his teammates." Zabuza told the other two.

Asuma and Kurenai became frightened at hearing this. "This would mean, that if his siblings die in the forest, he continues to slaughter the teams there." Kurenai finally said.

Asuma nodded. "Yes. I really ask myself why Suna sent its most dangerous and unstable Ninja here. Maybe they want to put up a display of frightening power. So they get more missions." he said. "Or they wanted to keep Sunas losses of Genin as low as possible. I am quite sure that Gaara has no qualms about killing anyone crossing his path." he replied.

Zabuza nodded. "Let's see where this heads. I bet that the Suna team makes it to the third round without greater problems." he said. "My team will most likely make it too." he stated proudly.

Kurenai and Asuma were a bit riled up by this. Kurenai was the first to speak. "What makes you so sure?" she asked.

Zabuza grinned. "They know when to retreat and they know some water Jutsu. They should make it." he said.

Kurenai glared at the masked Jonin. "I bet that my team makes it, too!" she said a bit riled up.

Asuma nodded. "I think my team will make it too." he added.

Zabuza smirked. "Let's make a bet. Whose team has the most Chunin after the exam is invited by the one having the fewest Chunin. One meal in the "La Maison Française". The Deluxe Menu." he said and grinned.

Kurenai and Asuma pondered this. A Deluxe Menu was expensive. An A-Ranked missions pay could be spent there in one evening. But then it was the best restaurant in Konoha and getting a free meal there was more than tempting. Finally they gave in to temptation. "I accept." they both said at the same time. And with a shake of hands the bet was accepted.

Back in the testing room Ibiki glared at the rest of the Genin. He let loose some more killing intent to make them uncomfortable.

After two or three minutes he decided that he had seen enough. Most of them were right now frightened or nervous, some this far away from a nervous breakdown, others more than confident in themselves.

Ibiki looked around the Room. The Suna girl seemed angry. The Bloody Desert didn't care, he met his look with a cold and void stare. Zabuzas pupils seemed confident enough, same could be said for Asumas and Kurenais pupils. The Oto team looked at him expectantly. Team Gai was nervous. Ibiki decided that it was time for his own amusement. 120 were left. He would cut this number in half.

"Alright." he said. "It is time for the tenth question." he announced and wandered before the chalk-board.

He was interrupted when the door slid open and Kankuro returned. "Was your little play enlightening?" he asked sarcastically and amused. The Chunin proctors would do nothing but D-Ranks for the next two weeks. Being fooled by a Genin. They needed some motivation to sharpen their senses. "Sit down, I'm about to give the final question." he commanded.

Kankuro went to his place and stealthily gave Temari the answers. Temari immediately began copying them.

Ibiki glared at the assembled group. Radiating some more killing intent.

"It is time for the tenth question." he said, sounding sinister and foreboding. "However, I have to give you a choice whether you take it or not. If you decide to not take the question, the door is over there. And take your team with you." he said and glared at the assembled bunch.

"That's bullshit!" Kiba roared. "We take the question." he added. "We have come this far and we will go farther!" he furthermore added.

Ibiki grinned evilly. "Is that so?" he asked. "I have to give you a choice of taking or skipping the question, because your future is on the line here. Because, if you take the question and fail it, you will never again be able to take a Chunin Exam." he added slowly.

Most of the Genin became pale until Kiba spoke up again. "There are people here who have taken the exam several times!" he shouted. "So don't give us crap about not taking it again!" he said defiantly.

Ibiki smirked. "This time you have to play by my rules. And if I say, you will be banned from any other Chunin Exam it is like this. You will be stuck as Genin forever. No matter your level of skill. You will not be able to take better paid jobs. You will not be able to enter ANBU or become a village leader. Are you really willing to bet away your future on this one question?" he said slowly, letting the gravity of the situation sink in.

"Your future is on the line here. You can always quit and try again in six months when you have to abide other rules. When you will not have to bet everything away." Ibiki said after some silence.

A first, quivering hand rose. "I quit." a Genin from Konoha said.

Others soon followed.

And Ibiki smirked. He could see the insecurity in the eyes of most of the others. Well, the team from Sand showed no sign of fear or insecurity. But they were special. Being teamed up with The Bloody Desert must have strengthened their nerves.

Zabuzas team seemed confident too. The Sound team would also not quit. The other teams were more or less insecure. The least insecure was the team of Maito Gai, the most insecure a team from Ame.

Ibiki emitted further killing intent, enjoying how the Genin squirmed uncomfortably. 72 were left.

"I give." a girl from Iwagakure said.

"Me too!" a man from Konoha exclaimed.

"Me too!" another Konoha team eliminated.

Ibiki smirked. "Are your ambitions really that desperate? Do you really want to risk everything? You will not find any mercy here. Fail the question and you fail totally! Or give up and have another chance." he said.

Three more teams gave up after this.

Ibiki was quite satisfied. Everything went well. The Genin were so frightened, he was sure to get their numbers under twenty.

Suddenly Naruto raised his hand. "I…" he began.

Ibiki looked at him amused. This was the same boy who had been backed into a corned at the beginning of the test. He had seemed pretty confident after half an hour. And now he was about to give up? Ibiki was sure that there was something in the bushes.

"…will never give up to the likes of you!" Naruto yelled, slamming his hand on the desk. "Give me your question, if you have the balls to do so!" he added.

Ibiki grinned. The kid had spunk, he had to give it to him. And it was quite some time that someone had talked to him this way. "Are you sure? It's not only your future. Your teams future is on the line here, too." he replied.

Naruto stared back. "I will become Hokage. Even if I have to become the first Genin Hokage ever! I will not surrender here just because it becomes dangerous. Come on, show me what you have got!" he demanded.

Ibiki looked through the room. The tension was lost, the remaining teams seemed to have gotten over it and seemed now confident enough. He decided to do a last test. "Does anyone want to give up?" he asked. He received no answer.

Ibikis expression darkened. "Well then. All of you that remain … … PASS!" the last word he said happily grinning.

Many shouts of "What?" were heard throughout the room.

"What about the tenth question?" Temari shouted

Ibiki looked at the teams. "There is no such thing." he said. "It was just a test of your wills." he added. "The first nine questions were to measure your skills at either information gathering or to measure your intelligence." While saying the last half, he had looked at Sakura appraisingly. "We weeded out those, that made too many mistakes while gathering Intel. They are not fit to become Chunin. Because a Chunin must be able to gather information." he explained. "Therefore we planted a team of Chunin who knew the correct answers so you could spy on them." he added. The three Chunin waved.

Then Ibiki sat down and removed his Bandana. "Information is the thing you need most in your further career. Sometimes false information leads to your death or worse you are captured and then tortured for information gathering. And you have to be able to gather reliable information. Or you can bury your dreams." Ibiki explained further.

"The question if you would take a tenth question, even if it meant total and utter failure was an analogy for a Chunin situation. The question was, if you would put your life and ambitions before the well-being of your village or not. There might be times, when you are sent on a near-suicidal mission with minimal chances of success and almost guaranteed death. A Chunin can't say "No, thank you, don't you have anything else?". A Chunin is sent out and expected to do the mission to the best of his abilities." Ibiki told the Genin. "You have passed the first part of the exam. The instructor for the second exam should be here soon. Don't leave the room until the next proctor arrives, or you will be disqualified. When the next proctor arrives you will be told the details for the second part. And, some of you I will watch closely. You show great potential." he added and vanished in a puff of smoke.

The Chunin guards vanished too.

Kankuro recalled his puppet and smirked. These Chunin had not paid attention to the fact that there was one Chunin too much. Well, their fault.

The other Chunin hopefuls sat there and waited. It couldn't be too long before the next proctor arrived, they reckoned.

20 minutes later the first Genin were getting frustrated. Was someone pulling their legs? The proctor was 20 minutes late.

Suddenly a multiple shout was heard from outside. "NO! Everything but this, Ibiki!" the Genin heard. "It was just a little slip-up on our side!" was added.

"Silence!" the voice of Ibiki was heard. "For not noticing the planted puppet you all will do D-Ranks for the next 4 weeks. Maybe this sharpens your senses." the Genin heard.

Kankuros grin threatened to split his face. Ah, the joy of being the cause of another persons misery. And well, condemning a bunch of Chunin to D-Ranks was very satisfying.

After the interlude it was waiting again.

The Genin watched seconds passing by.

Seconds became minutes.

And minutes became hours.

Naruto became incredibly frustrated. The proctor was already 4 hours late. He was really tempted to murder him or her here and now.

Others were thinking along the same lines. Really, who was over 4 hours late?

Another hour passed and they heard footsteps outside the door.

The door slid open to reveal a face familiar to Naruto, Sakura and Haku. "Hello guys." Kakashi greeted.

Naruto and Sakura proved that old habits die hard. "YOU ARE LATE!" they both roared.

"Sorry about this. You see, when I was on my way here, an old lady asked me to escort her home. Unfortunately does she live on the other side of the town and she was really slow, so it took much time to get to her home. And on the way back here I got lost on the road of life." Kakashi said grinning.

"LIAR! YOU WERE READING YOUR PORN!" was the predictable response.

Kakashi faked looking guilty. "Well, I took over the job of informing you for the second proctor. She has drunken herself into a coma. Anyway. You have to be here again tomorrow at High Noon! Better be there early, the proctor hates people who are late. You can leave now. Good bye." he said and vanished in a puff of smoke.

The Chunin hopefuls left the room, intending to get a round of sleep before they would have the second part of the test tomorrow. They were totally at a loss about what would await them.

-

End chapter 3

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Author's notes: Here you have it. Chapter 3. The next chapter will most likely be relatively short, as I am not sure right now if I should incorporate the prelims or not. If I include the prelims, it will take quite a while until the chapter comes out. I happen to be a case of "easily distracted and writing many stories at once". Thus I update slowly. And I try to write long chapters. (And right now I'm playing Fallout 3 excessively. Long live President Eden!)

I hope you like Kakashis little appearance at the end of the chapter. At first I wanted to let him proctor the prelims, but I decided against this. It was much more fun to let the Genin wait and the receive effectively no information at all.

Well, until the next time.

And I repeat something from the beginning notes. Please vote for the units poll on my profile. The story has several hundred readers and only 9 persons voted. And I need more votes. Thank you in advance.

Last, but not least. I thank Eisregen, Cyborg Attack, Megadeth, Helloween, Rammstein, ASP, Emily Autumn, Iced Earth, Motörhead and Iron Maiden for inspiring music.