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Disclaimer: OBJECTION! I don't own Naruto! Check any Naruto manga. the listed author is Kishimoto.

Chapter 25: The First Test

(Team Seven)

Sasuke was the first to arrive at the academy. He stood around for a few minutes, and then took a seat on a nearby bench against the wall. Several other genin passed through the entrance. Two teams paused at him, looked his way, and then continued inside after a brief staring contest. There were a number of older ninja, probably chuunin who passed through as well. A couple of them were former teachers, and they gave him a quick smile before going in to grade some papers. After a short time, one of his two teammates showed up. Sasuke looked towards the one who shouted at him, and then blinked.

Naruto raced forward wearing his new outfit. He bent over and panted, "*Huff* *Huff*, Sorry, Sasuke. I overslept a bit after last night's training with Iruka-sensei. Oy, Sasuke, why are you staring at me?"

Sasuke blinked again and returned to looking at the dirt, "Finally got rid of that disgusting jumpsuit, dobe?"

Naruto looked up and gathered his breath, "Teme...! I liked that outfit!"

He looked at his own trenchcoat and smirked, "Bet your jealous though. Iruka-sensei got this for me! Must admit though, it certainly is better than my last outfit. Good thing I found an orange one though. I mean, it's the best color ever!"

"That outfit won't make you any stronger, and orange will only make you a target. Get some darker colors."

Naruto smirked, "I consider it training for stealth. If I can hide while wearing orange, then think what I can do when wearing another color!"

Sasuke gave pause to the thought, and then looked away. The reason he stared at him was because, for a second, he looked a bit like the Yondaime. But Kakashi's chat at Ichiraku's dispelled that thought. They stood outside the academy waiting another couple minutes as Sakura walked up towards the two. Sasuke, feeling a bit antsy, folded his arms and watched the academy entrance. Naruto smiled at her and waved. Then, he noticed there was a kid next to her who was shaking all over. He walked over to him and knelt down, "What's up, Konohamaru-kun? You look like you've seen a ghost."

As he knelt over the boy, Naruto gasped as well. The young Sarutobi was sporting several bruises and nasty looking cuts. He stuttered, "n-nii-ch-chan, are you also...taking the e-exam?"

Naruto nodded, concern written on his face, "What happened to you?"

Konohamaru looked over Naruto's shoulders at the academy entrance. He never looked more scared, "Be careful...aniki. Th-th-there's a t-team in there that...well they're dangerous. The guy...in the cat suit, Kankuro I think, he beat me good yesterday. And then...another one came along and-and-and..."

By now, the boy had turned white as he forced himself to remember what happened. His voice became a sniffling, "The-the third...member showed...up and...and...he did something...it was like...like-"

Sakura, suddenly recognizing the symptoms finished in a calm and thoughtful tone, "It was like dying...wasn't it? It was like you could see and feel yourself dying in that instant."

Konohamaru's face held tears in them by now. He swipped at the tears, "Y-yeah!"

Naruto was outraged. Who would do something like that to his little bro? He growled, "Don't worry, Konohamaru. We'll get them and good for that."

Konohamaru grabbed at Naruto's sleeves, "You don't understand...big bro! He's strong, they all are strong...they might kill you. I don't...don't know if you can beat him."

Sakura knelt next to the boy and said, "Don't you worry, you're big sis here will deal with them. We've gotten much stronger in the last week. We'll make it through...you'll see."

Sasuke gave a small smirk, knowing she's right. Whoever did that...they don't have a chance. Now, they could hold off and escape Jounin level opponents if need be after Namikaze's training. They spent so much time escaping him, even succeeding when he shunpoo'd past us. Naruto gave a thumbs up to the boy. Konohamaru stopped crying and gave a huge smile, wishing the three of them luck as they walked through the door, confident that they would be alright. After all, no one could beat Naruto-nii-chan!

(Academy hallway, team Kohaku)

Kohaku frowned at the crowd in front of the entrance to room 201. What the hell is going on here...why are there so many genin on the second floor. He contemplated the reason silently as he pushed through the crowd to the front. There, a ninja a green body suit was pummeled around. The ones doing the beating were the two chuunin from earlier disguised as genin. His squad could easily see through their henge. One of them was Kotetsu, the chuunin who escorted them to their hotel the other day. Kohau looked up at the sign, which read 301. He smirked and twitched his head up towards one of the walls. It might be interesting to gauge the genin of the various villages by watching how they reacted to the unexpected obstacle. Izumo looked at them and said, "You want to make something of this."

Kohaku raised his hand amicably, "No thank you. We have a couple minutes, so carry on."

The two disguised chuunin gave each other a very small glance. Something passed between the two of them. They waved them off, "Fine, do whatever you like. Just don't think we're letting you in here."

Kohaku and Miyusuki, his yukata wearing second in command, gave each other small smirks and nodded.

(Team Seven)

Sasuke led his team forward just as he watched the boy in the green bodysuit make another attempt to force his way through, "You're taking the chuunin exam and you can't even get past us? Why don't you just give up now before you hurt yourself?"

The girl in a pink sleeveless chinese shirt shouted, "Please let us through. We're supposed to go in there!"

She tried to go through, only to receive a punch to the face, sending her back. Izumo muttered, "We're being nice in comparison. People go into this exam and die. We're only trying to weed out those who wouldn't last."

Kotetsu nodded, "Chuunin carry the responsibility of their comrades lives. Whether your allies live or die are in their hands, and you all think you can bear that? Can you live with yourselves if your incompetence leads to their deaths? You have to be strong for them. Those who can't handle it should retire from being a shinobi."

Sasuke walked forward and said in a low tone, "Nice speech, now both of you, out of our way."

Everyone present turned to team seven. A number began whispering amongst themselves. Many discussed the last Uchiha, while a couple talked about Naruto's outfit. One or two of the Iwa genin teams glared at the boy, remembering their history with the Yondaime, and the outfit only served to remind them. Off to the side, a female genin snorted at Sasuke's arrival, making everyone look. Kohaku's team watched the proceedings with amusement. Naruto pointed at one of them and shouted, "You're the guy I saw two days ago at Ichiraku's!"

Kohaku smirked, "I have a name you know, it's Kohaku Yori. You should remain silent, because it's the loud ones that are targeted first on the battlefield. Worse, you've made yourself into a recognizable symbol. What are you, the next Yellow Flash? As for you," pointing his finger to Sasuke, "You should really listen to this one. You see this?"

He pointed to his bandage-wrapped eye, "I lost this to some missing ninja when they ambushed my team a year back. I was the only survivor of that incident. My old leader was an idiot, and I'll be damned if I end up like him."

Sasuke's eyes narrowed at Kohaku, "We'll be able to handle ourselves. As I said, step aside. While you're at it, reverse your genjutsu. We're heading for the third floor."

Kohaku, once again, snorted. Sasuke didn't give the Iwa ninja any notice, choosing instead to continue, "Sakura, you probably saw it first. You are the sharpest in our group in detecting these things. Surely, you saw through this right away."

Sakura nodded, "Yeah, we've only travelled up to the second floor, and we need to go into room 301."

The illusion over the sign disappeared, making Kotetsu smirk, "Well well, you saw through our illusion. Now, prepare yourself!"

The genin/chuunin launched himself into a summersault kick, bringing his foot down towards Sasuke. The Uchiha, on the other hand, launched a simultaneous counterattack. A green blur moved forward, catching both the attacks. Sasuke gave a small gasp while the girl with a pink chinese sleeveless shirt berated the green clothed boy for blowing their cover. He thought, Impossible! That was nearly as fast as Namikaze!

Kohaku relaxed, sighing and pushing himself off the wall, walking away from the rest of the genin hopefuls. A second after he started, he shouted back, "Oh by the way. You should drop the henge, Izumo. Our team can see through it."

Naruto and the rest of the hopefuls looked at the two genin impersonators. with some confusion. They held up a half-seal and vanished into smoke, leaving the genin to ponder what happened. Neji approached team seven and asked, "So, are you the Uchiha that everyone is going on about?"

Sasuke looked at the boy with disinterest, "It's polite to introduce yourself before asking someone else's name."

Neji's eyes narrowed, but the green suited boy said, "I understand. My name is Rock Lee."

He turned to Sakura and continued, "Please, go out with me!"

Sakura looked at him in utter shock, flatly refusing him. Naruto, of course, was thrown off by so many people asking only who Sasuke was and ignoring him. He joined Lee as he leaned against the wall and cried. The two teams seperated after that.

(Testing room, Team Kohaku)

Kohaku's team walked through the entrance. The genin teams that had already arrived stared at them with intensity. The boy looked at his two teammates and smirked. Miyusuki returned the smirk while Nori nodded. They would fit in just fine here among the rest. He bowed to them all, gave them all a kind smile and said, "My name is Kohaku Yori, and I hope you all made peace with your makers. None of you will leave this exam alive."

Their glares intensified, while a couple looked more nervous than before, especially Hinata and Ino. He scanned the room, wondering if anyone is still around from the first exam he took. One ninja in particular looked familiar. He was a Konoha ninja with glasses, who had been part of his exam his first time through. The boy merely looked at him with an amused expression. He removed a deck of cards, withdraw a single one and gave it a thorough look over. Kohaku's eyes narrowed, but didn't pay any other attention. He walked over to the side, where he took up residence and watched the rest. The surrounding genin kept them at the corner of their vision. Kohaku didn't care. It could be a hundred genin, it wouldn't make a difference on the field of battle. They didn't stand a chance.

(Academy Dojo, Team Seven)

Sasuke and his team walked along towards the test room. A loud voice shouted, "Stop!"

The boy looked to where it came from, it was Lee, the green ninja from before. He came out from behind a pillar. Sasuke muttered, "How did you get here before us? We left first."

Lee spoke simply, "I took another route through the academy. I'm well familiar with the entrances to the dojo, after all I lived in here for awhile. As it is customary for the person requesting information to give his own first, my name is Rock Lee. You appear to be quite skilled, Sasuke Uchiha."

Naruto fumed off to the side, while Sakura patted him on the back, but otherwise ignoring him. She shivered as he noticed his eyes shifting between Sasuke and her. Sasuke muttered, "So you know me."

Lee took up a fighting stance and shouted, "I challenge you, right here and now. Everyone is always talking about the Uchiha clan and their former legacy. I want to see if it is true, that you are as good as they say your clan once was. You will be a good test for me."

Sakura outright cringed as Lee's sight were set on her. He continued, "Also...Sakura...you are truly the finest flower in the village! I love you!"

She screamed as her hands flowed through various hand signs. She suddenly vanished into cherry blossoms, which proceeded to float around the room. Naruto looked around in awe, "Wow! I didn't know you could do that, Sakura-chan!"

Sasuke looked unimpressed as he saw through the genjutsu with his sharingan. She really stood behind him, cringing on the floor and shaking in fear, "Those eyebrows, they're so thick and bushy. It's like a catepillar, I can't stand it. That hair too!"

Naruto looked back to Lee and growled in anger once again, peeved that they always wanted to fight Sasuke. The Uchiha muttered, "You've heard about the Uchiha, yet you're challenging me. How foolish."

His eyes burned with some untold fury, remembering his clan and how they were all brutally cut down in waves of steel and metal, "You want to learn about the Uchiha clan. I'll show you, and beat a little of our history into you while I'm at it."

Lee looked pleased as he once again took up a fighting stance. The air grew tense for a second, until Naruto shouted, "HOLD IT! I get first dibs on this one Sasuke. This fuzzy brows is mine, got it, bastard!"

Sakura rose to her feet, snapping out of her fuzzy brow induced coma. To those still under the genjutsu, her voice spoke from some unknown location, "Naruto, we have to keep going upstairs. Don't do something stupid, like fighting this guy!"

Sasuke, on the other hand, was still pissed off at the boy. He growled, "Go for it, dobe."

Lee muttered, "I don't want to face you, only the Uchiha."

Naruto formed a familiar cross shaped handsign, to which Sasuke said out loud, "Don't show him that, fool. We'll be facing him in the exam."

Naruto dropped the handsign and said, "Good point."

He ran at Lee and swung his foot around at his head. Lee ducked the attack and brought his leg around, sweeping his other foot from below him, sending the blonde to the ground hard. Naruto growled in pain as he sprung backwards, swinging his foot in an upward kick aimed at Lee's chin. Fuzzy brows backed up, allowing the attack to miss, then decided to end it. As soon as Naruto landed on his feet again, Lee snapped a kick at his chest. Naruto smirked as he vanished in a burst of smoke, shunshin no Jutsu, appearing behind Lee and landing a kick. Lee went to the ground.

Sasuke and Sakura both gasped in surprise. Lee rose to his feet and gave a smirk, "I see. You might also be a worthy opponent, but I must face Sasuke. I'll take you seriously for a second."

Lee dashed forward. Naruto disappeared and reappeared in a burst of smoke, appearing behind Lee again. This time, however, Lee was prepared. He ducked the attack and snapped another kick at Naruto's chest, sending him against the wall. The wood splintered at the point of impact as Naruto hit with the force of a cannon. Lee smirked at the blonde, "If your going to attack like that, make sure to put down your foe in one hit. You won't get a second chance."

Sasuke and Sakura blinked. The Uchiha's anger disappeared as he gave a small smirk as he said, "Interesting. Naruto has gotten a bit better, but you are clearly the best. This might be fun. I will accept your challenge, you eyebrowed freak."

Sasuke visualized Lee's original attack. He thought, those moves, that speed. I have to test it to find out for sure.

The Uchiha smirked as he prepared his jutsu, one handsign as he molded his chakra. Lee blinked at this, Sasuke is taking this seriously. He's using a jutsu already. Gai-sensei. I might have to use it, that move.

Suddenly, Sasuke appeared directly in front of Lee, causing the boy to blink in shock, what t-.

Sasuke's fist was already extended, slamming into the boy's gut, sending him against the wall next to Naruto. Lee grunted and spat out a bit of blood. Sasuke, on the other hand, gritted his teeth as the pain washed over his body. It wasn't as bad as before, as the boy had been working out in preperation for using the jutsu again. But it was dangerous to use it more than once. He repressed the pain and smirked, "Had enough yet."

Lee pulled himself out of the wall grunted in pain and smirked, "As expected...of the Uchiha clan prodigy. That is truly a spectacular move. However, you won't be able to do that again. I can see you're body is shaking in pain. It will only work once, I bet. I, on the other hand," He said as he dropped his leg warmers and began unstrapping his weights. Sasuke's eyes narrowed as Lee continued, "am not so limited. Gai-sensei, I know you told me to never release these unless the conditions were right, but...I cannot back down from this challenge."

As lee set down the weights instead of dropping them, he felt as light as a feather. Sasuke immediately activated his sharingan, realizing that this guy was strong in taijutsu. His hands began forming for using a fireball technique...until Lee suddenly appeared in front of him. Sasuke blinked as the boy slammed his fist into his chest. Sasuke flew backwards into the pillars. Sakura shouted, "Sasuke-kun, no!"

Sasuke cursed under his breath as he dug his feet into the wood, stopping short of hitting the pillars, "Damn it."

However, his suspicions were confirmed as result. Lee's moves seemed to mirror Namikaze's. Lee suddenly appeared within Sasuke's vision, swinging his leg around at the boy's head. Sasuke ducked the attack barely, but suddenly another blow landed on his stomach, followed by several punches and kicks, which he continued to try blocking. Sasuke growled as his eyes continued tracking Lee and his attacks. It was exactly as he thought. The attacks mimicked Namikaze's perfectly. After a few minutes of this though, Sasuke finally felt he had the attack pattern down. He dodged Lee's next attack and attacked on his own. As Lee backed off a bit, Sasuke smirked, "So, you think you can beat me with pure taijutsu. You've got another thing coming. I've already faced people who've used your moves before. They won't work on me. I was taught by the one who taught you!"

Lee's eyes narrowed as he spun on the spot, ducking the attack and swinging his legs around in a lightning fast leaf hurricane. Sasuke smirked as he dodged that attack as well and continued, "Namikaze taught me that even though my eyes can track the target, it's useless if I can't keep up with it. He beat that truth into me. I've learned well."

Suddenly, his body screamed in pain, as the pain came back in full from using Namikaze's Kaze Shunpo and dodging such high speed atacks. His guard dropped for that second and Lee suddenly appeared underneath Sasuke, slamming him into the air. Lee muttered, "You've had training against my taijutsu, I see. But not against all my moves. It's over, Sasuke Uchiha. A genius can be overcome with hard work."

Lee's bandages began to unwrap themselves, but suddenly a voice shouted, "Put a stop to this right now, Lee!"

Everyone looked and saw a large red turtle standing off to the side. Lee's bandages were now nailed to the wall by a kunai. The boy abandoned his attack and Sakura barely managed to catch Sasuke as he slammed to the ground. The turtle proceeded to berate Lee, "And another thing! He told you to never release those weights unless you were protecting multiple important people."

"But I-"

The turtle gave off a sudden aura of killer intent, causing Lee to stop talking and bow his head in deference. Naruto, who had just woken up, muttered to his teammates, "Hey, that turtle, you think that's the fuzzy brow's sensei?"

Sasuke looked at Naruto as if he was an idiot, "No dobe! I think that's Namikaze's student. He used the exact same moves as him...except for maybe that last one."

The turtle muttered, "Alright, you can now come out, Gai-sensei!"

A massive amount of smoke burst forward from on top of the turtle as an older ninja who looked exactly like Lee appeared on top of the turtle, "Hey! What's shaking, everybody!"

Sasuke's eyes went wide as he blurted out in a moment of weakness, "You're not Namikaze! Who the hell are you?"

Naruto shouted, "Damn! Those are even bigger eyebrows, and an uglier bowl cut hair!"

Lee screamed back, "Don't insult Gai-sensei! You don't see how great he is!"

Sasuke continued the shouting, "Gai-sensei? He's your teacher, not Namikaze?"

Sakura's genjutsu fell as her chakra was disrupted from the weird scene playing out in front of her. She fell to her knees and gripped both shoulders. Her entire body shook at the sight of the two of them. Gai proceeded to give his manly thumbs up and sparkly teeth, which made her turn away. Sasuke dropped his head in shame and disgust, that is this idiot's teacher...not Namikaze...I thought for sure...it was Namikaze...

"Lee, you fool!"

Gai decked the boy right into the next century, then followed up with another one to the other cheek. This sent new shockwaves through team seven as they were forced to watch even more. Lee rubbed at his bruises as Gai knelt over him. The older green beast sniffed, "Lee...You understand right? I had to...I'm sorry."

Lee looked back up to his teacher and sniffed as well. Tears now flowed freely from both of them, "G-Gai-sensei!"

Thus, team seven was subject to the beach torture genjutsu. Naruto groaned for a second, then realized with a grin, "Hey, that's actually kinda sweet."

Sasuke, meanwhile, shook his head, trying scrub the image from his mind, "Shut up, Dobe! I never saw this...there's no way I lost to that idiot...never happened..."

Sakura, meanwhile, had long since started twitching on the floor, as if having a seizure. It was just too much for the poor girl. Naruto bent over her and asked if she was alright. Sakura was muttering in a daze, "Green body suit...bowl hair...eyebrows...eyebrows..."

She suddenly shot up, smashing into Naruto's head and shouted, "Oh God! The eyebrows...! Make them go away...please...make them go away..."

Gai took one look at them, causing a shiver to go up Sakura's spine. Sasuke watched the man closely, but then Gai was suddenly behind them, asking, "So, how is Kakashi anyway?"

Sasuke spun around, glaring at the older man, That technique...it was like Namikaze's Kaze Shunpo!

The three turned to face the Jounin, who looked on expecting an answer. Naruto asked, "You know Kakashi-sensei?"

Gai chuckled to himself, "Know him? People know us as eternal rivals."

Naruto shouted, "There's no way in hell!"

Lee came to the defense of his mentor, "If Gai-sensei says it's true, then-"

Gai held up his hand, "Forget it Lee. The standing record is 50 wins for me and 49 for Kakashi."

Sasuke's eyes went wide, "You're kidding! There's no way."

Gai gave a wink and his shining smile, "I'm both stronger and faster than Kakashi."

Sasuke's suddenly remembered Gai's speed, which matched Namikaze's. That thought reformed the avenger's worldview in under a second. Gai continued, "I'm sorry for the trouble Lee caused you, especially you Sasuke Uchiha. I hope he didn't injure you too badly. It would be a shame if the student of my eternal rival was too injured to participate in the exam. Please look into my eyes and accept my apology. Also, notice my handsome features."

Another shiver went up Sakura's spine as she stepped behind Sasuke. Gai, on the other hand, threw a kunai at Lee's bandage, which severed it just where it was held to the wall. Lee slowly wound up his hands with the remains and began walking towards the stairway to the third floor. The Jounin looked at Naruto and gave a manly grin, "That outfit of yours certainly brings back memories of...him."

Naruto blinked and cocked his head to the side, "Him? Who are you talking about?"

Gai blinked and replied, "Well, you don't need to worry about that. I only got lost in some good old memories. It's unyouthful, I know. Anyway, I wish you all the best in the exams. Maybe your team and ours will meet in the finals. That would be really hip."

Gai turned to and saluted Lee and shouted, "Remember, do your best my student, farewell."

Sasuke shouted, "Wait!"

Everyone turned to the boy as he spoke to Gai, "Your moves, your taijutsu, I have seen them before. Do you know a Jounin by the name of Naruto Namikaze?"

Gai's cheerful expression became stone faced as he looked at the furthest wall. Lee didn't seem to recognize the name. A minute later, the Jounin spoke up, "Naruto Namikaze, yes. Why do you want to know about him? He's weak in the ways of youth. You said his moves were like mine, hmm?"

Sasuke nodded at the man. He contemplated the fallen ANBU captain again, and then spoke, "He's a Tokubetsu Jounin, one of the better ones I hear. No surprise, because he was once an ANBU captain, or so the rumors go."

Sakura snapped out of her stupor at the declaration, while Naruto looked shocked. Sasuke, meanwhile, looked calculating as he asked, "Why is an ANBU captain now at a rank well below a Jounin. Tokubetsu Jounin are certainly more skilled than chuunin, but-"

Naruto shouted, "Wait! What exactly is a Tokubetsu Jounin!"

Sakura answered, "Naruto! You really should have paid more attention in class! A tokubetsu Jounin, or high special Jounin, is a ninja who, instead of having a well rounded Jounin skills, is highly speciallized in a particular skill. They are the rank under Jounin and higher than chuunin, the first step on the path to becoming a Jounin."

Naruto looked confused, but Sasuke answered, "So, Namikaze's a specialist. What does he specialize in then?"

Gai blinked, and replied, "It's not that he is a specialist, but rather that he was demoted for failing a vital mission, I heard he lost a valuable ninja scroll, that was eventually ransomed back to the village. He is skilled enough to be a Jounin, but is relegated to that role because of whatever happened. I'm sorry, but that's all I know. Now, I take my leave. Do your best, Lee!"

With that, Gai exploded into smoke. Meanwhile, Lee began explaining to Sasuke that it wasn't really him that he was after anyway, but Neji Hyuuga, the other boy on his own team.

(Testing Room)

Kakashi stood just outside room 301, where the exams would soon take place. As expected, his team didn't disappoint, though Sakura looked quite shaken as they walked up to the Jounin. The one who shocked him the most was Naruto. For the briefest second, the Copy-ninja thought he saw something standing behind his team, someone wearing a white trenchcoat. However, the Jounin blinked, and whatever it was disappeared a moment later. He muttered, "Glad you could all make it. Now, you can register for the exams, together."

He explained that they could only enter the exam as a team of three, and he wouldn't have let them in otherwise. But then he gave his eye smile and said, "But that doesn't matter. You are all here for the right reasons. Sakura, Naruto and Sasuke, I'm proud of you all. I couldn't have asked for a better team, so go in and destroy the competition. If you work together, there's nothing you three can't do."

Beyond those doors, another sight awaited them, several genin all looking at the three of them. Many of them wore glares. Naruto thought he saw, off to the two sides, Kohaku's team who looked at him expectantly, and Lee's team who didn't pay them any attention. Sakura looked out at the glaring genin, but didn't seem too fazed by it. It didn't scare her, because she had seen something far more terrifying in the Forest of Death. Namikaze's form shrouded in red chakra which sent waves of killer intent everywhere still weighed on her mind every now and then. Suddenly, Ino jumped on Sasuke and wrapped her arms around him, cooing at him. Sasuke, meanwhile, looked at Naruto with an expression which said, 'kill me now!'

The rest of the rookie nine slowly made their way to team seven, chatting at the new arrivals. Shikamaru muttered, "So, I guess you were also tested by that bastard Jounin, Namikaze, right?"

Team seven and eight nodded. Chouji looked peeved, and Ino just shivered at the man's name, "Sasuke-kun! Please, be wary of that Jounin."

Sakura gave a smirk, "By the way, Ino, thanks for that bit of info you gave me. It came in handy in dealing with that Psycho Jounin."

Sasuke, after substituting his way out of Ino's grip, asked, "What new information have you gained on him, Shikamaru?"

Shikamaru looked away and grumbled, "Troublesome man. Information on him seems to be top secret. I guess if you are related to a former Kage, your information would be highly classified as well. I've been stonewalled. What about you?"

Naruto sneezed as he listened in on the conversation. Sasuke told him the information Gai gave. Shikamaru shook his head, "Ridiculous. Naruto Namikaze didn't exist prior to three months ago. Him being an ANBU captain does account for that, as his previous history would be destroyed upon entry...however there's been no gossip about a failed mission. If it was a vital mission, everyone in Konoha would know about it. There are a lot of lies going around with Namikaze, it seems."

Sasuke nodded. To the side, another genin walked forward and spoke up, grabbing their attention, "So, you three must be the rookies straight out of the academy everyone is talking about. You might want to keep it down, as you are making a poor impression to the others."

It was a genin with white hair bundled into a ponytail and glasses. He wore a leaf headband over his forehead. A second later, he smiled at them, "My name is Kabuto Yakushi. This exam is intense. You don't want to go rubbing people the wrong way."

He paused for a second, and then gave a small, clever grin, "But you can't help it. You just recently graduated, and remind me of myself awhile back."

Sakura caught on quicker than anyone else, "Kabuto, this isn't the first exam you've taken, has it?"

Kabuto looked up, "Seventh, actually. Well, since this is your first exam, maybe I'll give you some help."

He pulled out a deck or orange cards and revealed a map of the elemental nations. He pointed out the major villages, along with Sound who had just formed last year. With that he gave his small grin and asked, "So, do you want information on the rest of the genin here?"

A new voice appeared behind Kabuto, "So, what's the scam, boy?"

They all looked up and saw the Iwa team from the hallway, Kohaku's team, had joined the rookies. They had wondered over to listen in. Kabuto's grin turned into a smirk, "No scam. I think it's good to help out other members of my own village. I might be on one of their chuunin squads in the future, so building a good relationship is vital."

Kohaku tilted his head to the side, "I hate it when people use dishonorable means to win fights. I think you're just trying to weasel your way into their group, and stab them in the back at the opportune moment."

Many of the rookies looked at Kabuto with newfound suspicion. Sasuke, on the other hand, spoke up, "No matter what you say, I'll use any advantage I'm given here in the exams. The competition is going to be tough, after all," his mind briefly turning to Lee and Gaara. He asked, "I need information on two students and a Jounin here in Konoha."

Kabuto whistled, "A Jounin, huh? Well, what are these three individuals' names?"

Sasuke muttered, "I heard there was a powerful genin from the sand, one with a team member named Kankuro. Also, Rock Lee from Konoha, and Namikaze Naruto, a tokubetsu Jounin in Konoha."

Kabuto paused for a second as he searched through his deck, "A challenge then. Here are the first two. I'll see what I can do about the Suna genin."

His hand extracted two cards immediately. Then, he removed the Suna genin from his deck and gave them a lookover. After a minute, he settled on one and added it to the other two. He set Lee's card down and explained the info on the cards. Hinata blinked at the mention of Neji along with Lee's info, but gave no other outward expression. Gaara's card was much more interesting, as the information was unknown. Then came Namikaze's. Kohaku gave a visible twitch at the information on the card.

"Naruto Namikaze, rank Tokubetsu Jounin of Konohagakure, Age unknown. He appeared in Konoha three to four months ago from nowhere. Apparently, he was tried by the Konoha council twice, once for unknown reasons and the other for bringing a missing ninja into Konoha without approval. His known mission count is two, a B-rank assassination and an unknown A-rank mission. He is still currently away on that A-rank mission, and has yet to return. His squad members are Anko Mitarashi and the previously mentioned missing ninja, Jiro Kazahana from the village hidden in the snow. The tokubetsu jounin is believed to have once been an ANBU captain under the name, Fox. He is apparently very skilled in Kenjutsu (sword techniques), ninjutsu and taijutsu. His genjutsu is substandard, thought it does exist. Finally, he has very little skill in sealing ninjutsu. And that's all I know for sure."

Sasuke looked over the card, and asked, "Do you know why he was removed from the ANBU?"

Kabuto shook his head and returned the three cards to the deck. Kohaku smirked, "Don't care much about Lee, do you Kabuto? You did allow an enemy, me, to see his data after all."

Kabuto smirked and pulled out another card, "This one I'll give you all without asking."

Kohaku froze as he watched the card reveal itself. Naruto looked closely at the card as Kabuto began speaking, "Kohaku Yori, rank Genin of Iwagakure, Age 21. He's highly skilled in kenjutsu, ninjutsu and taijutsu. His skill in genjutsu is moderate, while his sealing skills are on the same level as Namikaze. He lost his eye when his team was captured by missing ninja, along with the rest of his team. He himself managed to slay at least one Jounin level ninja and two chuunin at the same time. Hidden under that headband of his is-"

Suddenly, Kabuto found a katana to his throat, "Finish that, and I'll cut out your throat. How the hell did you know?"

Kabuto smirked, "A ninja doesn't ever reveal his sources. You think you can kill me with that blade before I kill you?"

Kohaku gave his own smirk, "Want to find out, you bastard?"

The air seemed to crackle at the tension in the room, making the rookies collectively swallow. It was at that moment that Naruto shouted to the rest of the genin, "My name is Naruto Uzumaki, and I'm going beat all of you!"

That sent the entirety of the rookie nine into an uproar except Sasuke who just smirked at the boy. Kohaku and Kabuto looked between each other and Naruto. The killer mood had dissipated. Kohaku gave a small grin as he removed the blade, "I have bigger fish to fry besides you. Stay out of my way and I may let you live."

Kabuto rose from his crouch, only to noticed a number of genin moving quickly through the crowd. The Iwa nin noticed too and sheathed his blade in preparation to defend. A second later, they struck together, the three genin from the sound village. Kohaku stepped in front of the three and snatched Zaku's two kunai out of the air. Dosu came forward and muttered, "Out of our way!"

The Iwa nin spoke back, "Don't launch surprise attacks! Attack from the front honorably!"

He lashed his foot out, sending Dosu backwards into Zaku. Kin, on the other hand, appeared behind Kabuto, who spun on his feet to defend against the surprise attack. But suddenly, Kabuto was teleported across the room and another Kohaku appeared where Kabuto once was. With his back to the rest of the audience, he could use the sharingan without being detected. His hand raised his headband and it instantly made eye contact with her. She didn't see it coming as she became blind in an instant, sending her into shock on the floor. The real Kohaku looked at the rest of the genin, "I'll say now what I said to you all before. Our team is going to kill you all. So make peace with whatever God you believe in, because you'll be in his hands soon."

Sasuke narrowed his eyes at the boy, wondering what he did to the sound girl. Furthermore, what was Kabuto about to say about his left eye? Was there a dojutsu of some kind? Or was there something else? Then, his eyes landed on the blade Kohaku wore on his side. He had seen it before, a black blade with silver edge. The grip had two white circles with red flames at the bottom. Without a doubt, it was Namikaze's blade!

Many of the genin stepped back. The rookie nine looked surprised, but not scared. Naruto shouted, "Your name is Kohaku, right? I don't know anything about you, but I will be the one to beat you."

The Iwa nin looked at him with a toothy grin as he whispered only loud enough for Naruto to hear, "I look forward to it, Yondaime brat."

Sasuke suddenly spoke up, "Tell me, where did you get that sword."

Kohaku sheethed the blade before the other genin could get a good look at it. He said, "You might say...I killed the previous owner in an honorable duel."

The Uchiha narrowed his eyes and shouted, "Don't joke around! That man was a Jounin. There's no way you, a genin, could have killed him."

The Iwa nin looked at him and muttered, "And yet, you claim I have a sword that belongs to another. Either you saw wrong, or I did kill him and took his sword. So, which is it?"

It was mere moments later that Ibiki appeared in the room at the front of the class, "You, from Iwa, what the hell are you doing? You want to be failed before the exam begins?"

The head of Torture and Interrogations looked to the twitching girl on the floor. Kohaku shrugged, "Sorry. I don't like sneak attacks or having one person battle three on one. I was just protecting my friend from Konoha there. I'll let up on my genjutsu."

He formed a handsign, and tapped her on the neck. She blinked as her eyesight returned. Meanwhile, Ibiki looked annoyed, "Well then, listen up you little bastards. There will be no combat from any of you during this part of the exam unless authorized by us. Even then, killing blows are strictly forbidden. Anyone who thinks of messing with me will be disqualified immediately."

Sakura and Naruto strolled up to Sasuke, who was shaking. The pink-haired kunoichi asked, "What was that all about, Sasuke?"

The Sharingan wielder muttered, "Watch out for that Iwa genin. He's dangerous. I don't know for sure, but I think he just claimed that he killed Naruto Namikaze."

His teammates' eyes went wide at the declaration. Sasuke briefly continued, "I don't know if he actually did, but one thing I know for sure, that sword he just used was Namikaze's blade. He hit me with it enough times that I won't forget it any time soon."

(Location Unknown, Time Unknown)

Where...where the hell am I?

His eyes opened slowly, and the surrounding area came into focus. His left eye burned like molten lava had been poured on it. When he tried opening the eye, it burned even worse, so he assumed it was lost to him. His hands were asleep, no doubt from the fact that he was hanging from the ceiling by thin-black wire which was looped around his wrists. He thought about using the escape jutsu his best friend and surrogate brother taught him years ago...but then rejected the idea. He remembered his mission in Waterfall Village, where the Jounin warned him not to try it...or risk losing his hands.

He would save that option for later, when there was no other one remaining. To his current predicament, he turned his head so his right eye could take in everything possible. Nothing...the surrounding room, or wherever he was, was pitch black. There wasn't even the slightest shred of light. His mouth opened to speak. But he found it difficult. He must have been out for at least a day, because his throat was dry and lips were cracked. He heaved, and forced out weakly, "H-hello..."

Someone responded, with a pained moan. He forced more words out, "Who's there...can...you hear...me."

The voice spoke back, "Is...is that you...Namikaze."

The voice was female, so it must have been only one person. Namikaze moaned, "Yeah...Anko...are you...alright?"

Anko made a noise of affirming. Namikaze muttered, "Worry about...yourself. I only received minor wounds...from the battle."

Another moan made itself heard, Jiro. Namikaze said, "What now?"

That was the question. Why did team Kohaku allow them to live? More importantly, where were they and how long have they been unconscious?

(Chuunin Exam Test Room)

Within minutes, all the teams were seated and given writting utensils for taking the written part of the chuunin exam. Naruto looked around with a concerned expression, certain that this written exam will be the death of him. His fear grew worse as Ibiki layed out the rules of the test, warning them that if one student fails, the whole team failed.

Naruto slammed his head against his desk and moaned, Great! I'm screwed. How could this possibly get any worse?

(Ruins of Fukuoka)

ANBU scoured the surrounding area for any signs of the ones who killed team Namikaze. The route from Konoha took about a day, so they had not received information that the team might still be alive. Two Inuzuka trackers were searching for the scents of the dead team. At the surrounding underground safehouses, there wasn't a single survivor to be found. The Iwa team had too much time to hunt them down. A mile outside the town, two ninja wearing black cloaks with red clouds stood on the highest trees. There, they saw the taskforce Sarutobi had put on the rescue scurry around for survivors.

Neither ninja wore headbands. Their ninja weapons were sealed away in scrolls hidden in the caravan they now escorted. It was how they planned to enter Konoha. Both wore katanas like samurai, on their hips. Kinzoku grumbled to himself, "Why was I assigned this duty with you? I rather enjoyed my time with Kakuzo-sempai. He allowed me to kill whoever I wanted at least."

Hosenka replied in his usual calm manner, "You really should be grateful for it. You're new, so I'll explain. None of Kakuzo's partners have survived up to this date. They've all been killed by him in his fits of rage. He has no respect for his comrades. Besides, I'm not thrilled about this pairing either. Sasori no dana was much more reasonable a partner. We understood one another, after all. I even assisted him when he returned briefly to Suna to deal with the Yondaime Kazekage."

Kinzoku gave a wicked grin through the loose bandages, "Must have been one hell of a fight. I heard from Kakuzo that the Yondaime learned something about Akatsuki and sent you both to deal with him. After Orochimaru's betrayal, keeping our actions hidden have been more difficult."

Hosenka didn't reply, so the bandaged Akatsuki continued, "I also heard that the Yondaime Kazekage managed to inform one other person during his interrogation before his own poison kicked in and put an end to your torture."

This, however, the brownish-red haired ninja spoke up, "Zetsu-san is currently hunting down leads on that target as we speak. Anyway, let us focus on the task ahead. To the rest of the Shinobi world, we are mercenaries, hired to guard our clients as they travel to Konoha. The caravan is about to move again, so let return to the group and continue onward. Once there, we can begin hunting for the Jinchuuriki."

(Chuunin Exam Test Room)

Kohaku scanned over the exam and blinked. He relaxed and looked up to the ceiling, thinking, As expected of the written portion. Last time I took it, it was in Kumo and I had to take 30 minutes of notes on the properties of fungus. Then, I had to escape the exam building without being caught by wondering chuunin. At the end, we had to give our notes to the proctor and hoped he passed us. He smirked as he remembered how he passed, Well, we could give another team's notes instead. After all, I'm not the best at taking written exams.

His eyes shifted to the chuunin examiners. He quickly IDed his proctor and dropped his hands under the desk. His eyes then located Kabuto, who had already completed this exam. Several senbon needles were taped to the underside of his table. Earlier when going to the desk, he had hidden Namikaze's senbon needles under his desk. He had tested the weapons on a couple rude villagers. He checked up on them earlier, and found out they were still unconscious, but alive and would recover without any long term injury. His hand swiftly withdrew one needle and sent it flying, striking the chuunin's leg. The chuunin winced in pain, and then fell to the ground, out cold.

Everyone looked to the chuunin who slumped in his seat. Kohaku used that moment of distraction to replace his test with Kabuto's and then cast a genjutsu on his test. Ibiki's eyes travelled to him and his team. Kahaku didn't flinch away. He simply went to erasing Kabuto's name and writing in his own.

Ibiki frowned at the unconscious chuunin. He had been careless, allowing the someone to put him out of commission so easily. His mouth curled into a sick grin, realizing these were some of the best examinees he's had the opportunity to observe. His eyes came to rest on Kohaku, the bold Iwa trump card for this exam. The previously mentioned chuunin was taken out of the room, making even Ibiki turn to the medical team for the briefest instants before turning back to the Iwa genin. The boy had immediately filled in all the answers. His eyes noticed he used an eraser, then wrote something in on the top of the exam.

He scanned the room briefly, and came across another student who was smirking at his paper as he started writing in answers. It was Kabuto Yakushi. Ibiki knew his father, good man and the head medic of the hospital. The man rarely mentioned Kabuto, as he was something of a disappointment. Ibiki paused to recall the boy's history, then frowned. Kabuto failing the exam six times was the standing record, so there was no surprise. Rumors were circulating that the boy would be removed from the ninja corps if he failed this one. This year, it's do or die, and Ibiki expected a strong turnabout from him. Right at that moment, however, Kabuto looked disappointing, allowing his test to be stolen in such a manner.

The rest of the students continued writing in their answers. After fifteen minutes, the first student was caught. Apparently, his eyes had glanced to the side and noticed the ninja's test was unguarded. The boy only managed to answer two questions before leaving the room. Two teams had to be forcibly removed once their members were detected. Additionally, two more chuunin were put out of action as result of Kohaku's actions.

One of the more bold genin from Konoha was caught trying to replace a chuunin examiner in the bathroom. With fifteen minutes left, he was thrown headfirst into the room, bearing deep purple bruises, both eyes swollen shut, and one arm cleanly broken.

Ibiki looked over at his two comrades who rushed to the boy's side. The chuunin assigned to him dragged him out and threw him into the hallway. Seconds later, the free examiners took over for the examiners Kohaku had taken out. A moment later, however, Ibiki felt a clammy feeling go up and down his spine. A small trickle of sweat poured down his forehead. He watched as a Suna genin stood up and be escorted out by his puppet, trying to ignore it, but the feeling persisted.

Miyusuki smirked to herself internally. Who'd have thought she, of all people, would be taking this particular exam all over again. She had taken this exam once, passing the written portion immediately. The examiner she had was a bastard, a sadist unlike any other. Sure, it wasn't the same one, but this one would do.

Her eyes homed in on Ibiki, and they spelled trouble. Her hands became a flurry of movement as she lay down a genjutsu on her exam, and slipped a piece of paper under it.

Naruto tapped his pencil at the paper. Sweat poured down his face like a waterfall, knowing he was unable to answer the questions placed before him. He had already refused Hinata's request to allow him to cheat off her, but now what could he do? Suddenly, his body went limp like a puppet had cut its strings. It started to move on his own accord and refused orders from his brain to move in the way he demanded. His own voice said, "Shintanshin no jutsu (Mind Transfer jutsu), success."

Trapped inside his own mind, he began asking, What the-? What's going on. Why can't I control my own body.

His body relaxed, and the test continued with Naruto confused.

(Jounin Lounge)

Kakashi took a seat across from Asuma. There were a number of Jounin waiting inside, including Kohaku's jounin-sensei. The woman glared at the three Konoha Jounin, but specifically Kakashi. The copy ninja ignored her, instead looking beyond Asuma, who sat opposite him next the the ash tray, at the tree outside which was ravaged by the wind. The room was quiet, and an atmosphere of nervousness prevailed. Kakashi muttered to Asuma, "It's quiet without the kids around. Heh, I almost miss them."

Asuma flicked his spent cigarette into the ash tray and pulled out another. He lit it quickly with his metal lighter and said, "Don't worry. They're probably going to be back sooner rather than later."

Kakashi blinked and asked, "Why do you say that?"

The former fire guardian tapped his cigarettee butt on the ash tray and put it back in his mouth, "I heard the first examiner was Ibiki."

Kakashi's face darkened slightly as he thought, So, their chances have already gotten smaller. The Iwa Jounin blinked at the name. Kurenai looked between the two of them as Kakashi muttered in an annoyed tone, "Great, sticking them with that sadist."

Kurenai blinked, "Is this man like Namikaze?"

Asuma narrowed his eyes, "No, though they are probably on the same level. Ibiki is a specialist."

"A specialist in what?"

The man looked up with a mischeavous glint in his eye, "Torture."

(Testing room)

Ibiki looked to the clock and decided enough time had passed. His eyes scanned over the chuunin, who looked at him expectantly. A moment later, the suna genin, Kankuro, walked through the doorway with the puppet proctor in hand. Ibiki grinned, "Well, glad you made it back, and just in time. Certainly hope your puppet show was...entertaining."

The boy's eyes widened considerably. It was moments like that which made the job all the more worthwhile. He waved Kankuro to his seat and began, "Alright people, listen up. We've given you adequate time to complete the questions. Now it's time for the tenth question."

The genin tensed, well most of them did. One genin in the back with blonde hair was out cold. Ibiki signalled for the rest to ignore the boy. He continued, "But before we do, we have a couple more rules we'll be going over. Listen carefully to them, and try not to let them frighten you."

Even more students tensed as result. Ibiki surpressed the urge to laugh, "The first is that you can opt out of answering the tenth question at any time. No one will think less of you if you do. If you do this, though, you and your team will be disqualified immediately."

A number of the genin snickered at this and a few others were outraged. Ibiki finally laid on his trump card, "As for those who answer the question and get it wrong, you will not only fail, BUT BARRED FROM TAKING THE EXAM EVER AGAIN!"

Kiba rose and shouted, "Bullshit! There's many people here who've taken this exam multiple times!"

Ibiki chuckled darkly to himself. The room grew darker as the sun went behind the clouds outside. Malevolence radiated off the surrounding chuunin, as they all grinned maniacally, "Well...you all are unlucky then. I wasn't making the decisions before. But if you're not feeling confident, by all means opt out. You will fail, but there's next time, right?"

With more chuckling, a number of the chuunin started shaking. The atmosphere was perfect. One of the hidden chuunin teams rose from his seat and stuttered out his resignation. With that one, a number of the genin flooded out.

Ibiki looked over genin, coming to rest on the pink-haired genin in Kakashi's squad, Sakura. She had a worried expression, which meant that she would soon be opting out. Sure enough, her hand started to raise, but then another boy rose with his hand raised.

What the hell am I doing! I don't want to go out. I won't let it happen!

Naruto pushed at his body, trying to force it to stay down. Immediately, Naruto had started rising when the question was asked. Naruto had to use all his power to keep him in the chair. It made him look like he was shaking, with his body fighting his mind over standing up. But the boy was losing, Naruto rose from his seat with his hand raised. Only his will prevented the words from coming out.

I will not allow you to get in my way!

There was a flash of steel that flew through the room, but no one saw where it came from of where it went. Suddenly, Naruto was in control once again, his body moving at his command. He blinked, and wondered what happened. A second later, however, the boy shouted as he slammed his fist against the table, "Screw you! I'm not going to run away. I'm taking the problem. It doesn't matter if I stay a genin forever. I'm going to become Hokage, even if I have to become the strongest genin ever to do it."

He sat down in his seat with a huff, "You don't scare me!"

The boy thought for a second, Whatever the hell that was, I don't know. And it doesn't matter.

Sasuke's worried expression faded into a calm one, and he gave a small grin as he thought, Didn't even give us a second thought. What a guy. An idiot to be sure, but an impressive idiot, our idiot. Not bad, dobe.

Sakura also looked pleased, Way to go, you stupid fool.

Kohaku looked to the boy, closed his eye and gave a smirk of his own, Good words. I'll give you praise for this one. I agree, and it'll be my honor to face you in a fight.

He briefly looked around the room at the expressions on the other students' faces. They all looked more at peace than before, which caused Kohaku to frown, Incredible. The boy managed to convince so many to stay behind.

Ibiki looked across the room, noticing the same thing that Kohaku just did. He muttered, "I'll ask one last time. This is a choice which will impact the rest of your life. If you want to quit, this is your last chance.

The boy replied back cheekily, "Upon these words I stand, and I won't take them back. It is my nindo, my way of the ninja."

Ibiki looked straight at Naruto, sizing him up. The corner of his mouth curled upward, Interesting kid. He rallied the other students, and now they have decided to stay, wiping away their uncertainty. 81 students, far more than expected. However, there is no hesitation. I think we're done here.

His eyes went to the other examiners, who gave a small nod back to him. They didn't see anyone else either. Ibiki returned to the students and shouted, "I admire your determination. Then, all thats left to do...is to announce that the rest of you have passed the first exam."

For a minute, there was nothing but silence. Then, the pink haired genin, Sakura, rose from her seat, "Wait...what! What are you talking about! The tenth question-"

The T&T head couldn't take it anymore, so he started laughing, "There was never a tenth question to begin with! Or better yet, you could say the question I just gave you was the tenth question."

Temari shouted back, "But wait, what about the previous ten questions? There was no point to answering them?"

The tokubetsu jounin went into detail as he explained the purpose was to weed out those unfit to be chuunin. They would have to deal with intelligence gathering, starting from the two chuunin teams planted in the room.

Naruto overheard a couple of people muttering how it was so difficult to find the chuunin. He said confidently, "Of course, it was so easy to find them that it was obvious anyone would be able to tell where they were, right Hinata!"

Sasuke muttered to himself, "You have got to be kidding, he had no clue the whole time."

The boy then sighed and continued listening to Ibiki.

The tokubetsu jounin unwrapped his headband and showed them, the horrid burns he received during a rescue and intelligence gathering mission. His memories of the incidents returned, the fire, the torture, but not once did he break through the whole thing. He shouted, "As you can see, information is often worth more than the life of one person. It can get you captured, tortured and killed! On the battlefield, it can make or break an entire war."

The room cringed from seeing the man's scars and injuries. There was no doubt, Ibiki had been tortured at one time. The T&T head thought of them as badges of honor. He re-wrapped his head as he muttered, "As for the tenth question, let us think about a scenario for a minute. You are all now chuunin, and you've been given a mission to capture a secret document."

The man began pacing, "The number of enemies are unknown, nor do you know their abilities and armaments. Finally, the enemy may know you are coming, and that you might very well be walking blindly into a trap. Now, do you have the choice to say no to this mission, valuing the lives of you and your comrades over the safety of the village."

Ibiki starred straight into Naruto's eyes as he shouted, "No!"

His hand flourished forward, beckoning the students into his scenario, almost seeing Ibiki storming an enemy fortress with his chuunin intelligence squad. The tokubetsu Jounin continued, "There will be many missions that will seem almost suicidal if you give it even a second's thought. But you do not think about it. You think only of the goal, and of achieving it through courage and discipline. These are the qualities required of a chuunin squad leader."

The Jounin returned his hand to his pocket, "Those who choose the safer of two paths, those who falter in the face of adversity, those who value their own lives above those of the village will never be chuunin in my test."

His eyes travelled over the genin once again, giving them a calming grin, "As for the rest of you, you have earned the right to continue on. Congratulations, as the first part of the exam is over, good luck!"

Kohaku managed to get himself swept up in the moment as he let out a massive shout of success. Lucky for him, another genin rose from his seat and made an even bigger deal about succeeding. The moment passed as all moments do. The genin stared at Naruto, and gave a smirk to himself. Then, his eyes went to the blond genin who now had a senbon needle stuck in his leg. He silently vowed to kill him if they met again in the exam. Whoever the konoha genin was, he would pay dearly for nearly ruining their whole mission.

Miyusuki rose from her seat for a second, paused, and then sat back down.

To those closest to the door, a small knocking sound could be heard. One of the examiners rose from his seat and opened the door a crack. The two talked for a couple seconds, and then the door opened wide. A blond-haired Jounin with a red vest walked through the entrance. Kohaku saw this and his eyes went wide for an instant.

Ibiki nodded, "Looks like your next examiner is here."

The Jounin walked to the front of the room and faced the students. He had a calm, almost regal appearance about him, and a long ponytail. He spoke with a normal voice, so different from Ibiki's, "Good afternoon everyone. My name is Inoichi Yamanaka, and I will be your proctor for the next exam."

(Please Review)

Finally, done with the first exam. My beta reader disappeared. As such, this chapter is unbeta'd. If Stalker of Stories is out of action, I need another beta reader. I'm so sorry it took a couple months to bring out this one chapter. Hopefully, the next will come sooner, like in a month or two.

As Anko is currently out of action, I had Inoichi take over for her. Furthermore, Sasuke's and Shikamaru's investigation of Namikaze goes deeper. Namikaze and Co. are shown to be captives in some unknown cave in an unknown location at an unknown time.

One thing that always ticked me off about the chuunin exam fanfiction was the author's portrayal of Kabuto. In the anime, Kabuto successfully tricked dozens of trained interrogators in the written exam without drawing an ounce of suspicion, and in fanfiction Kabuto always smelled like a snake, setting everyone off that he was a dirty traitor. We all know that everyone who smells like a snake is obviously a traitor, you know: Orochimaru, Kabuto, Sasuke,...ANKO! There's no evidence to show Kabuto smelled like a snake anyway (at least not until after the time skip). Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't, but Kiba never took note of this in the series, he doesn't now. Besides, he'd make a crappy spy if he smelled like Orochimaru in the presence of highly trained chuunin who detect those small details.

The authors do get one thing right. The genin weren't even slightly suspicious of Kabuto's giving them free information, and, to a pro, that might actually be suspicious. Last time I checked, though, none of the rookie nine are capable of ferretting out traitors at this stage. Finally even with Kabuto's odd behavior, why wouldn't the other genin take advantage of free information? They should be careful of it, because Kabuto could be lying to them, but additional information is always useful.

Also, a new Yamanaka enters the exam with another team, but is this guy an enemy of Kohaku's? Or is there more to this than meets the eye? Well, obviously there is, or else Namikaze's team wouldn't be handing from the roof of an unknown cave now would they?