Shi no Tenshi


During and after the Battle on the bridge in Nami no Kuni, Naruto learns more than just how to cope with death. With Kubikiri Houcho and a dead man's blessing watch as he rises to the top as a shield to his allies and a sword to his enemies.

Remember, I don't own Naruto

Thanks to everyone who reviewed, especially Semika. Also, I don't think I mentioned it before; this fic will not be following the anime rigidly. There may be some constants but there will be major differences like some may have noticed.

Compliments of the Season to all.

"Normal Speech"


Jutsus being used

Calm before the Storm

Naruto woke up and went about his usual routine. By 6 o clock, he was done and stepped outside to begin his day. After a few light exercises, he headed to his 'private' training ground to train before meeting his team.

It had been a month and a half since their mission to the Nami no Kuni. Their team was getting nowhere with their teamwork, as a matter of fact, it was getting worse. The only conversation that was kept was by Sakura when she tried speaking to Sasuke, and when Kakashi would give them their tasks for the day. Now, instead of their daily meetings, they meet twice a week; once for missions and the other training where Kakashi actually showed them a few things which it seemed Sasuke had already learnt.

All of this had not deterred Naruto; it only caused him to try harder. Over the last month and a half, he had been working tirelessly on his Taijutsu. He had now memorized all of the katas of the Tiger style and was practicing them. It was extremely difficult to learn from a scroll but he managed and the weekly visit he would get from the Hokage or one of his subordinates aided him. His weight training was coming along nicely. He now wore a total of 155 pounds; 60 on his chest, 30 per leg, 15 on each arm and his finger weights of 5 pounds. He had also continued working on his Ninjutsu and was able to perfect the Kirigakure no Jutsu and learned to navigate through it. One of the things he had sought to do was change the color of the mist but that was proving a bit too difficult at the moment. He was working on one other jutsu, the Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu which was a B rank technique Zabuza had used during their encounter. He was able to perform it, but had yet to master it. He had mastered one other jutsu; Doton: Doro Gaeshi which is a C rank defensive technique.

Arriving at training ground 43, he decided to work on his chakra control and so started off by making a few Kage Bunshin and sparing with them on a nearby river. This not only improved his control, but also his concentration and Taijutsu. After sparing until they were dispelled, he walked to the center of the field and tried out his modified Kirigakure no jutsu but got no success. He continued for some time but could not progress any further. He would have to check out the Hokage on that considering his sensei was no help. Taking stock of the time, he noticed it was 8 am; 2 hours after their scheduled team meeting, so he headed towards training ground 7.

He arrived 30 minutes later and saw Sasuke and Sakura present. He nodded to them but only Sakura acknowledged him. Sasuke just turned around and continued gazing at the nothing.

A while later, Kakashi poofed into the clearing reading his Icha Icha.

"Morning guys," he said in his usual lazy tone, "Sorry I'm late, I was coming over, but I had to save a cat from a tree."

He got no response from his team. Not even Sakura said anything, a trend he was beginning to notice.

"We won't be doing any training or missions today. As a matter of fact, you won't be doing any for the next three weeks because I will be on a mission outside of the village. It is too dangerous for any of you to accompany me so you have the next three weeks off."

The three of them just stared at him. To Sakura and Sasuke it didn't have much of a difference since they hardly got any training from him. Sasuke however was livid and made him know so.

"Why can't I go along? I understand the dobe and fangirl being left behind but with all the extra training you've given me I should be able to handle it," he said arrogantly.

Kakashi's visible eyebrow rose. The person he hadn't expected to raise any argument was Sasuke yet he was the one who did. It seemed that he would have to change his training method when he returned. His lone eye trailed over his remaining students. He didn't know what to feel when he saw them. Neither of them seemed to care if he was present or not. What had he done for them to behave in such a manner? Or what hadn't he done? He closed his eye and addressed Sasuke

"Just because you have trained doesn't mean you are ready. This is out of your league and you cannot come along. One more complaint out of you and you'll be reported for insubordination" said Kakashi with a stern voice.

'Have I really gone that far off track in my teachings?' thought Kakashi

"Hmph, I'm an Uchiha, we're the best of the best. You can't report me for insubordination, you'll just be overruled by the council," sneered Sasuke

Kakashi was shocked that his 'model' student would behave in such a manner. Perhaps the Council elders had been wrong and the Sandaime right. He sighed tiredly; he really didn't want to deal with this right now.

"You know teme," said Naruto, "You should just give it up. Just cause you're his favorite student doesn't mean he will take you along."

Sasuke bristled at the comment while Kakashi flinched involuntarily. What Naruto said reminded him again of the talk he had with the Sandaime over a month ago. He warned had him about creating another Orochimaru but he just shrugged it off saying he had the situation handled. He quickly brought his students under control.

"Cool off guys. Now I won't be around for two weeks, when I return, the Chuunin exams will only be a week away and I have decided to nominate you for the exams."

"When we have been promoted to Chuunin, do we still remain on the same squad?" asked Naruto a little anxiously.

"No Naruto," replied Kakashi, "You may move on or stay with your current squad. It all depends on you really."

Hearing this, Naruto broke off into a set of whoops and goofy dances while his teammates just stared at him. None of them were sure what it was all about but passed it off as typical Naruto behavior.

"Well if that's all, I just want to tell you guys that you should train hard in the two weeks that I will be gone. You won't be able to take missions without me you will have more time to train. Ja ne."

With that, he left in a puff of smoke.

Sakura, who had been silent throughout the entire conversation, was a bit worried about the words of their sensei. She was worried that she would hold back her team during the upcoming exams. She may have been the top Kunoichi in their graduating class but even Naruto was above her now. The only thing she had going for her was book smarts, and though she was happy for it, she didn't want that to be her only forte. Resolving to try to aid her team she turned to the object of her affections; Sasuke Uchiha.

"Sasuke-kun, would you-" began Sakura but was cutoff by him grunting and walking away.

"I wouldn't go out with you even if you were the last female on earth. Besides, you're just a pathetic fangirl who's not cut out to be a kunoichi. The Dobe is even more useful than you. You should just quit before you get yourself killed," he said coldly while walking away.

Sakura simply hung her head in shame as the tears threatened to fall from her eyes. He hadn't even let her finish and had insulted her to boot. Truth be told, she was tired of the way her sensei treated them. He would always go off to train Sasuke while she and Naruto were left out. At first she just shrugged it off thinking that Sasuke needed more training if he was going to save her, but when Naruto begun to speak out, she started doubting her belief ever so slightly. A while ago was proof enough of that; all she wanted was to ask him a question and he just blew her off. She was frustrated.

"Ne Sakura, don't worry with the teme, he's a jerk," said Naruto as he stood next to her.

Sakura was a bit startled that Naruto was still around. When she turned to face him, she saw him smiling at her. It wasn't the usual goofy grin that he always wore but a small smile that seemed even more infectious. She tried to smile at him but couldn't.

Naruto considered leaving her alone and going to train, but decided against it. Even if they were never much of a team, she was affected just as much as he was by the lack of teaching on their sensei's part. Until recently, they hadn't been taught anything other than tree climbing. Unlike him, she had no one else to go to for help.

"What were you going to ask him anyway?" asked Naruto

"Er, well, I was going to ask him to help me with my training" she said as quietly as possible.

"Come on Sakura I can't hear ya"

"I said I was going to ask him to help me train," she said again, this time more audibly.

Upon hearing that, Naruto was a bit stunned. In all the time he had known Sakura she had never asked for any additional training.

"What made you ask him to help you," he asked wondering what prompted the sudden change.

"Well the truth is, when Kakashi told us about the Chuunin exams, I was a bit worried that I would hold the team back, so I decided to ask for some help. Turns out no one wants to help me. I really wish I could be more useful to the team," she finished sadly.

Naruto thought about this for a while. Here was his teammate who had verbally abused him so many times that he lost count. Until recently, she had continued the assault until she eventually stopped altogether.

"You know, if you want, I could help you out," he said

She slowly lifted her head to look at him and saw that he wasn't kidding.

"Are you sure?" she asked, "It's not that I don't want to, it's just that-" before she could finish the statement, he cut her off.

"Don't worry about it Sakura. We may not be the best team around, but the least I can do is help you out if you need it. Besides, if we have to go through the Chuunin exams, regardless of how badly we get along sometimes, I wouldn't want one of you guys dying."

"Arigatou Naruto," said Sakura a small smile on her lips.

"Well let's get going,"

With that, He led her to the training ground he always used across the village; Training ground 43.

When they arrived, he motioned for her to take a sit and began.

"So what do you want to work on?" he asked

"Umm, I'm not entirely sure. I know that I have good chakra control but apart from that nothing else. I'm physically weak, slow and have hardly any chakra. Sasuke was right when he said I'm pathetic," whined Sakura.

"And you know what, he was right," said Naruto. Sakura however looked even more downcast than before. "So we're going to fix that with the time we have. Now that we know your weaknesses, we're going to fix them. What do you want to accomplish in life Sakura. And I swear if I hear any reference to the teme, I'll leave."

She thought for a while then answered him "I was reading this book during the academy once. It spoke of this woman who had great chakra control and was a medic of unrivalled talent. I think I would like to be a medic someday

With that the two proceeded to lay out a schedule for her. For the first week, she would focus mainly on physical conditioning. The exercises included doing laps, sit ups, pull-ups, squats, punches and kicks until she could do no more. The following week, she would be working on increasing her chakra capacity but doing the water walking exercise that Naruto taught her. With a goal in mind, the two set about training.

Sakura strolled into their team training ground as she awaited Naruto's arrival. The day before, he had informed her that they would be meeting at their team training ground. She wondered what it was about but he refused to tell her. The two had been training diligently for the part days and she could see that her training bore fruit. Over the two week period, Naruto had informed her that he was now willing to let her watch his back, like comrades would. She felt extremely glad that he trusted her to that extent as she understood just how deep his dislike for their team was. She was broken from her thoughts as Naruto entered the training area.

"Ohayou Naruto," said Sakura.

"Ohayou to you too Sakura," replied Naruto.

"So, what will we be working on today?" she asked eagerly

"Today," he began, "We'll be seeing one of the other instructors that Ji-san recommended for me. Her name is Yuuhi Kurenai, Sensei to team 8."

"Umm, why will we be seeing her? The instructions you've been giving me have been coming along great!" she said.

Naruto rubbed the back of his head while he spoke

"You see, the thing is, I am a more battle oriented ninja than you and so all of my training is for combat. You however, are more support oriented so we'll be calling in a favor that she owes me to get you some tutoring in Genjutsu since it's my worse area."

Sakura thought of what Naruto had said and though a bit reluctant to learn with a new sensei had to agree with him. Genjutsu was his absolute worst ability. Before she could continue her thoughts he spoke up.

"I will also come along with you because I have a few things that I would like her to help me with."

Sakura visibly brightened at the prospect of having a familiar face with her.

"OK," she said, "Let's get going then," while heading away.

Naruto snickered as he watched her leave the training ground before calling out to her.

"Oi, Sakura, team 8's training ground is the other way," he said.

She stopped suddenly mid step.

"I- I' knew that!" she said blushing in embarrassment and began walking the other way round.

When they arrived at the training ground, team eight had just finished their warm-ups for the morning and were about to take a quick breather.

"Ohayou Team Eight," shouted Naruto to mark their entrance. Sakura was about to bop him on the head for being so loud but stopped mid air and thought better of it. It wouldn't do for her to treat him badly. Especially right now when he was helping her with her training. She had even offered to take him for lunch once, but he had declined which had surprised her. It seemed that he had changed from the bumbling idiot who adored orange.

All the members of Team eight returned the greeting, just with a lot less energy.

"So Naruto-kun, what can I do for you today?" asked Kurenai.

"Well you see, umm, uh,…. would mind if we spoke over there?" he said pointing a couple meters away from their current position.

Kurenai, noticing that Naruto wanted to speak in private followed him to the area.

"So what would you like Naruto-kun?" she asked

Naruto's eyebrows rose is response.

"How do I know?" she asked, to which he nodded. "Apart from the fact that you were struggling for words? Well you were constantly shifting from one leg to the other and looked very nervous while playing with your fingers," she replied.

Naruto mock pouted childishly while the 23 year old Jounin just giggled at his antics.

"What's so important about the dead last that Sensei would even listen to him," said Kiba, "I mean, it not like he's me."

"I- I- d- don't think that y-you should be s- s- so harsh K-Kiba-kun," stuttered Hinata.

"Come on Hinata, it not like he's any good. I bet even the fan girl over there would mop the floor with him, much more me," said Kiba arrogantly.

He continued speaking while Sakura was becoming more incensed by the second. She didn't care that much that he insulted her, but he just went on and on about Naruto when he had worked so hard to be where he was. Not to mention the fact that he was now training her.

"Kiba, I would advise you to stop speaking," said Shino in his usual tone.

"Why, It's not like the Dobe can hear me nor do anything about it," he replied.

"Your funeral," said Shino

As soon as those words left his mouth, a loud crack was heard as Sakura's fist connected with Kiba's head. She looked positively murderous at Kiba before speaking and unintentionally letting out a bit of KI.

"Call me what you want, but don't disrespect my teammate again,"

At that moment, Kurenai and Naruto walked towards the remaining students that being the sight that greeted them. Kurenai simply shook her head and asked Hinata to help Kiba up. She then addressed her team.

"Listen up team eight. For the next week, Naruto and Sakura will be accompanying us during our training sessions in the afternoon. Their sensei left them to fend for their selves the two of them will be training with me in Genjutsu. Understood?"

"Hai sensei!" the three replied.

"Okay, if there are no questions, Naruto, Sakura you two meet us here at 1400 hours everyday. For now you two are dismissed."

With that, the two left the training area and went their separate ways after saying goodbye.

The following week was quite hectic for Naruto; in the morning he would train in Taijutsu and Ninjutsu while he would practice Genjutsu and Strategy in the afternoons with team eight. He had also been working on a new jutsu for a few weeks and had almost completed it. Though it wasn't very flashy like Sasuke's Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu or Kakashi's Chidori, but for Naruto, it definitely got the job done. After completing if, he had asked Kurenai to be his test subject and she was quite surprised by the effect. She had then congratulated him and told him that he could use it as one of his trump cards during the Chuunin exams.

He was also now able to recognize a few Genjutsu techniques but couldn't perform one even if his life depended on it. When Kurenai noticed this, she simply helped him to be more aware of his surroundings so that he would be able to dispel them. Sakura had also improved during the week and now had a few Genjutsu in her arsenal. She had continued the schedule that she used to follow so that her physical strength was higher.

Today was the day that their sensei would be resuming tutoring them. Naruto was a bit skeptical about showing up but decided to. When he entered their team training ground, he saw his other teammates waiting and nodded to them. The three continued to wait for another hour and a half before their sensei showed up.

"Alright guy's" he said with his usual eye smile, "We have one week before the start of the Chuunin Exams. During that time, we will be going through team training. If you don't like it, then it's best you drop out now. Any questions?"

None of them responded, so they went about their different training activities for the day.

The cycle continued through out the week and on the day before the exams, Kakashi met with them to distribute their applications. He then told them that it was up to them to take the exams or not. Finishing his short speech, he left them with the day off.

The following day, the three members of team seven gathered at the entrance of the academy where the exams would be taking place. Pausing briefly, they stood in silence before making their way into the building.

Look out Konoha, Team Seven has arrived!

That's it. Sorry about the long wait. Had a lot of stuff to do and had to rewrite a number of times. Hope you enjoyed reading. If you did, leave a review. If you didn't, say why in a review or PM. Also, before anyone flames me for Kurenai being shown as age 23 whereas the anime shows her at age 28. This was deliberate and will have a significant effect on the flow of the story, so please wait before flaming.

Now for the Translations

Doton: Doro Gaeshi – Earth Style: Mud Overturn

Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu – Water Style: Water Dragon Projectile Technique

Kirigakure no Jutsu – Hidden Mist Technique

Kage Bunshin no Jutsu – Shadow Clone Technique

Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu – Fire Style: Great Fireball Technique

Chidori – Thousand Birds

Nami no Kuni – Wave Country

Thanks for reading and please review!