The story takes place from after the mission in Wave. This was an idea I had in my head for a while, mostly inspired by other fanfics I read here along with a few (hopefully) original thoughts. Since I temporarily gave up on my other Naruto fic because I feel I messed it up too badly (I'll rewrite the second chapter and start from there). Also, I'm rewriting the timeline a bit. It makes absolutely no sense that after about three months of active service you can become chunnin. I'm moving the time to three months from the end of the wave mission.

"Talking" normal talk

'Thinking' normal people thinking

"Blah!" bijou/summon talk or yelling(or Gai and Lee)

'Blah!' bijou/summon thinking

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Naruto. Or any of the stuff depicted here for that matter... just my own ideas used here, should you want to use them yourselves feel free to contact me :P

And of course if someone notices their idea here placed without their approval immediately contact me. While I don't mind taking inspiration from others, I do not like stealing other people's ideas, even if I'm not aware of it.

Also, some of the work on seals and styles has been inspired by works of other authors, especially from the story 'Naruto of the Array' by Burning Blood

(Land of Waves, Zabuza's and Haku's grave site)

A sad sigh was was heard, originating from the slumped figure of a young boy.. Naruto was usually an energetic, happy-go-lucky, blond idiot, that is at least what most of the people who knew him thought. He sadly watched over the two fresh graves he had dug, and reminded himself of the bodies buried beneath.

"To protect someone precious...' the thought lingered in his mind. As much as Zabuza denied it, Haku had been precious to him, and Haku had gladly given up his life to protect Zabuza. The words, surprisingly, made quite a lot of sense, and he had decided to accept them as his own. But there was one more thing from that battle that hit home. He wasn't strong enough. Plain and simple, if it wasn't for the fact that Haku didn't want to kill him, he would have died.

Conclusion? The way he was doing things so far wasn't good enough, he needed to be better. Mopping around achieved nothing, he knew that much. He pulled a small amulet from his pocket... a gift given to him by Haku a few days ago, when they had met in the forest. Would he be strong enough to do what he did?. His face turned serious, and he took a long, hard look at the graves, considering his options and making a decision.

"No more..." he said in a voice that oozed determination as he drew a kunai and proceeded to cut his right palm, ignoring the sharp pain, his blood dripping on the grave "I will no longer be weak, and I will protect those who are precious to me, I swear to you Haku. Thank you"

"I will honor what you have taught me, Demon of the Mist"

Naruto silently stood for a minute, paying his respect to the pair that taught him perhaps the most important lesson so far. He walked behind the grave and pulled out the Kubikiri Houcho out of the ground. Much to his dismay, he finds the blade quite heavy, but Naruto still manages to hold it. Deciding that it would be impractical to simply haul it around, he pulls out a storage scroll from his backpack. He always carried one around, should it be needed, although so far, there was little use for it. Before sealing it in the scroll, he carefully examined the blade. The blade was actually longer than he was tall, with an elongated handle. The blade had a slight curve at the top along with a circular hole near the top and a semicircular near the guard. But what surprised him most, was the number of different seals he found on the surface of the blade. His cussed at his own lack of knowledge and swore to look up things when he got home. A small amount of blood and a few quick handseals later, and the sword was sealed. He quickly placed the scroll into his orange jacket and went back to the others.

Tomorrow morning, Team 7 left Wave

(A week later, Hokage's office)

After team 7 finished their report, omitting some details Naruto and Kakashi stayed behind to give a full report

"So, now that the others are gone, what happened at the bridge?" Hiruzen Sarutobi asked curiously. Kakashi shrugged, and Naruto seemed nervous. It was, however Naruto, who explained

"I used Kyuubi's chakra." he said shortly, startling Sarutobi. Quick worries about the fox being released if the seal failed flashed through the old man's eyes, but Naruto only chuckled.

"Don't worry Jiji, the seal is still there, and the fox isn't coming out. Of all the weird things in the world, he offered to help me. In fact he gave his word to do so."

At these words, both of the men looked confused. Sighing, he started to explain.

(Flashback, Naruto's Mindscape, during the battle at the bridge)

Naruto found himself in a very familiar sewer. He was in the middle of a battle for Kami's sake! He didn't have time to lounge about speaking to giant demon foxes. Still, he knew that until he finished here, he couldn't go back

"What do you want no fox?" he asked in a tired voice. The great demon fox looked at him through the bars of his cage. Much to his surprise, there was not the usual malevolence or rage, just an equally tired

look aimed in his direction

"Relax child, I am too tired to fight you now" he started in a serious voice

"I'm in a bit of a hurry Kyuubi. I really don't have the time to sit around"

The great fox laughed for a moment at the fact that the child in front of him wasn't in the least intimidated by the greatest and most powerful demon in existence. The thought was entertaining

"I know. And I like ya kid. I'm willing to offer you a part of my power, if you're willing"

Naruto stood silent for a moment. He might not have been a genius, but he knew foxes were known to be...cunning, for the lack of a better term

"What do you want in return?"

"Clever boy." the fox near purred "I ask that you let me access your senses and that you talk to me. I might even help you with your training"

"Deal" Naruto said shortly

"You trust a demon too much boy, but you're a good judge of character. I give you my word that I will do all in my power to help you."

(Flashback end)

"After that, Kyuubi leaked a decent amount of chakra through the seal and helped me out. I managed to defeat Haku, but he gave up his life to intercept Kakashi-sensei's Chidori."

Sarutobi rubbed his temples at Naruto's story. It made sense, and all demons were bound by their word., so he'd let the mater rest for the time being.

"Okay, dismissed. If anything else happens, inform me at once, alright?"

Both nodded, and Kakashi went to leave, but Naruto stayed.

"What else can I do for you Naruto?" he asked in a somewhat tired voice. After all, he had spent most of the day fighting the greatest enemy of any kage : paperwork..

"Ahh..." Naruto started, mildly uncertain"I was wondering if you could help me with something old man"

Sarutobi raised a curious eyebrow at his question, silently motioning the boy to continue. He was one of the few people in front of whom the boy didn't act like an idiot, and he knew full well that he felt uncomfortable about asking for help.

"I'm looking for someone to teach me how to use a sword" he stated

"That shouldn't be much of a problem, so why are you asking me?" the older man asked, with a small smile. Grinning, the boy pulled out his scroll and unsealed the blade.

"Cause I doubt most people would know how to wield this one"

For a moment, the third Hokage's eyes widened as he recognized the blade in front of him. He quickly calmed down, and after a short thought on the subject, sadly shook his head.

"I am sorry Naruto-kun, but there are no sword-masters in Konoha who use zanbatou, although I might have a scroll or two on a style using them." he quickly explained to a widely grinning Naruto.

"Also, you wouldn't have something on seals? I finished that basic book you gave me before we left"

"You finished the basics on seals in a week?" Hiruzen asked curiously. The boy was always full of surprises.

"Yeah, it was easy, besides, the sword has some strange seals on it, and I can't recognize even one of them"

Here, the old man mentally chuckled at his plan. He had been hoping that the boy would grow interested in seals, as they were something that ran in his family. He had prepared a special book for him on sealing for as soon as he completed the basics. Slowly getting up from his chair, he walked over to a nearby bookshelf and took out a small black book, gently flipping a few pages before handing it over to Naruto

"I think you will find this book to be.. inspirational to say the least" he said with a wide smile.

Naruto took the book. It was a simple black leather tome, with the words "Advanced Seal Theory" imprinted. He flipped the first few pages, and was promptly surprised. It was quite an ordinary book on sealing, until you looked at the various notes scribbled along the sides. Every single page had multiple notes, chart and graphs on existing seals had explanations on their functionality as well as ideas to their use. What had him puzzled were the initials written on the first page,'MN'. Whoever it was, sure knew a lot about seals. He would have to read it later. Right now, he wanted to give his adoptive grandfather a thank-you gift. It was the least he could do

"Oh, and Jiji, I have a gift for ya" he said, the fox-like grin prominent as ever"I know how to solve your paperwork problem"

At those words, Sarutobi dropped his pipe and went wide-eyed

"Two words: Shadow clones" he said and left the office with his scrolls and book, hearing a loud thump as Hiruzen Sarutobi slammed his head into his desk, cursing his own stupidity. Naruto laughed and went home. It was time to train.

(Three weeks later , 7:00 outskirts of Konoha,)

After the last mission, Team 7 was given a week off to recover and relax. Naruto decided to use his time to train outside the village. After informing Sarutobi, and placing a tracking seal on himself that only the old man could follow, he packed the necessities and went to train. But, training wasn't the only reason Naruto wanted to be out of the village. Today was October 9th and tomorrow was the Kyuubi festival, a celebration of Minato Namikaze's victory and subsequent martyr to defeat said fox. That day meant something far different for Naruto. For the past five years, whenever this date came by, Naruto would leave the village to avoid the mob that would gather and try and kill him... again. He smirked as he passed the gates, he was free for now, and even better, thanks to the book the old man gave him, he managed to place multiple protective seals that only reacted to his chakra, so no one else could enter the apartment. That would hopefully keep the interior safe from those that would brake in.

He left the gates peacefully after he showed his documents to Kotetsu and Izumo, the ever-present chunin pair, usually stuck doing guard duty. Decent people they are, they never gave him trouble, and he appreciated it.

As he walked towards his preferred training ground, a small clearing at two hours running from Konoha, he thought of the past three weeks. They pulled another C-rank mission and a few D-ranks as well, providing him with enough money to buy a good supply of materials for seal-making and sword maintenance. He hid his new found training very carefully, although he told his sensei everything about it and asked him to keep silent. Kakashi had thankfully agreed once he heard that the Hokage was in on it and merely added one of his usual eye smiles. Sakura was clueless about his new skills, but Sasuke, he was certain that he managed to notice that he was acting a bit differently. Still, he needed more training, I he was to master this rather interesting style he planned out with Kyuubi's help

After an hours walk, he left from the road, and walked towards the small clearing where he camped every year. He found that he very much enjoyed the tranquility of the forest, for one there were no screaming people. He wondered what was it that he saw in Sakura, the woman was a pink banshee. He also considered that that might be the actual reason that Sasuke act like the way he does to keep his fangirls (shudder) at bay. He'd have to talk with him about it... not that he'd likely say anything, but still.

The familiar clearing came into sight., and Naruto cleared his mind of all thought. It was time to begin his training once more. He put down his backpack, and started unpacking. Carefully the few pieces of equipment he would need he prepared to start his week-long training regiment. A week's supply of food pills, along with a small box containing ten chakra soldier pills. These, while expensive, were a failsafe for the unpleasant possibility of attack, or healing. He made mistakes with his jutsu at times, so he learned to be careful..

"Okay, time to start" he got up "Let's see if I got it done by now, Shadow clone jutsu!" he cried, for the first time managing a sealless jutsu. Each and ever one of his hundred clones grinned.

"Listen up, I want fifty of you doing tree climbing while spinning leaves on all of their fingers, thirty doing water walking while practicing the same, as for the rest, grab one of the books or scrolls and start reading"

While the clones distanced themselves from the clearing to practice, Naruto sat down in his meditative position. It was time to once more start sharpening his senses. Tying his hitai-ate over his eyes he started focusing. First on the strongest sensation, the sound of the nearby river as it coursed it's way through the rocks and ground. He counted all the rocks he could hear, slowly but surely separating each sound from the other. Next, came the sound of the leaves, he tried to separate the number of different species of trees nearby. Kyuubi's training was strange to say the least, but he had already seen the effects. Zabuza's silent killing technique was brutally efficient, but the style he was building would be even better. Focusing a small amount of his chakra to his ears, he felt his sense of hearing expand even further. Sharpened by training, and enhanced by chakra, he carefully let his mind process more information. The first time he tried this he nearly lost consciousness from the input. It was a strange feeling, to say the least. He could actually separate sounds of individual leaves rustling in the wind. He could actually hear the wind howling around the trees, the sound was weak, but it was there. Leaving his sense of hearing in the background, he focused on each and every one of his senses except for sight. Unlike the other senses, sight took up much more of his concentration, and he wouldn't be ready for it in a long time. After this exercise was completed, he got up and summoned another clone, ordering him to grab a bunch of leaves, while he unsealed his sword from a seal on his arm. It's careful placement made sure he could retrieve the sword directly into his waiting hand with very little movement and a small amount of chakra and blood.

Now came the hard part. Only two of his normal senses were needed, sight and scent. He let all other sensation leave his mind, as he slowly began reaching the outside world with his chakra. Within a limited (for now) range of five feet, he formed an invisible sphere that supplemented his normal chakra sensing abilities. That combined with battle instincts improved by training with clones that were out for your blood made sure that within those five feet around him he knew everything exactly for what it was. No genjutsu or deception worked. He even managed to see through chakra-filled constructs such as the hidden mist jutsu. Radiance was a style of combat he found to enjoy very much. It wasn't just kenjutsu, it was also brutally efficient as a supplement for taijutsu and infiltration. Over his several weeks of training, he had trained this sixth sense to the point that he had to consciously suppress it to stop using it, which he found out he'd have to since the 'sense', when properly applied could easily see through clothes..

"Start with one leaf" he whispered to the clone who stood outside his range, while keeping on hand on the sword now sheathed diagonally across his back. After a lot of training and a bit of chakra he was finally able to draw the sword singlehandedly, but it was still quite impossible to wield it so in combat. Focused perfectly he heard the leaf begin to fall and discerned it's location before it entered his range. As soon as the leaf touched the sphere, he drew the sword, while adding a second hand to the hilt and cutting the leaf in half.

"Two leaves" he said in an emotionless voice that betrayed his concentration.

(Several kilometers east, sundown)

'This was not a good day', though one Anko Mitarashi as she limped through the forest. Incorrect information is deadly in her line of work, and her entire mission was almost a failure because of it. She gripped her jounin vest as she tried to retain a grip on her rapidly failing mind. Anko paid little attention to her near-shredded clothes or wounds, she was still a long way from Konoha, and unless she reached there she was dead. She was sent alone on an assassination mission, but that had been a trap, and she could bet her ass that someone from the damnable civilian council once more tried to get rid of her. Silently cursing her fate she continued limping.

'Is this how it's gonna end? Fuck! I don't want to die yet' she cursed, doing anything she could to keep herself awake, but it wasn't helping. The last thing she saw as she fell was a barely visible figure rushing towards her as her world went black


For a while all she knew was darkness

'Is this death?' she idly wondered a some semblance of consciousness returned to her. She didn't feel any pain or tiredness, only a soft warmth. But the feeling was soon lost to a wave of pain. She was certainly alive. She groaned as she opened her eyes. She tried getting up, but failed miserably as she was too weak. Nearby, she spotted a boy, about five years younger than her. She noted the spiky blond hair, kept up by his hitai-ate with a leaf symbol and pronounced whisker marks on his cheeks. 'Where did I see those before?' His clothes were simple, black cargo pants with a lot of pockets over equally black steel-toed boot, and a red shirt. She quickly realized that she was covered with a long white black trenchcoat, which most likely belonged to him. The boy was fast asleep. What drew her attention however were a number of tattoos on his arms, most likely covered by the trenchcoat's sleeves normally. After looking at him, she took a look at her surroundings. She was in a tent, her belongings carefully sorted and placed within reach, at least what could be salvaged.

"You're awake" she heard the boy say without opening his eyes, she opened her mouth to say something but was instantly interrupted "Don't try to speak yet and don't move. Your body is too tired to work normally. Go back to sleep, you're safe here, we'll talk tomorrow"

While mildly annoyed by the boy's comment, she knew he was right, and went back to sleep

'What do you make of that seal on her shoulder Kyu?' Naruto asked curiously as he looked at his copy of said seal, referencing the array to everything he could think of.

"Cursed seal, Life category" Kyuubi answered quickly

'Damn, I'm not good with those yet, but I've identified a few of the components. A part of it is similar to mine. One is a chakra conversion seal, but it has some rather... unique components. Another seems similar to those Torture seals I read about in the book. Do you think I should ask her about it? I doubt it's a pleasant subject for her though'

"Try, but don't pressure her too much."

Naruto stopped this conversation when he felt the woman before him moved. Although he didn't know her by name, she was a Konoha jounin, that much was certain from her uniform and symbol. From her equipment he could assume that she wasn't ANBU, and that she was very likely on an assassination mission. Having several vials of various poisons, along with precision weapons such as senbon left little room for speculation. Unlike many of his generation, after the events on that bridge, Naruto wasn't in the least naive when it came to concepts such as 'good' and 'evil'. He knew all to well that in the shinobi world everything was just a shade of gray. Therefore it would be foolish to judge another because of it. He was grateful that Kyuubi had pressured him into analyzing things whenever he had the chance. He now understood that it could grant him an edge over his enemies even outside of combat. He picked up a bowl of stew he was preparing and walked over to her, as she was just waking up

"Food?" he asked politely offering her the metal bowl and spoon.

"Thanks" she took the food and ate gladly, while Naruto joined her. They ate in silence, both parties pending their time studying the other. Naruto, of course had to control himself and not devour food. Instead he ate rather normally, his normal manners (or lack thereof) currently absent. For some reason, Naruto felt a need to behave.

"So..." Naruto tried to start as they both finished their meal. She seemed nervous.

"I, uh.. thanks for saving my hide" she said, with her head down. Anko Mitarashi hated to be weak and to need rescue, but she was saved regardless, The least she could do was to try and be nice

"No need to thank me" he said with a small smile "after all, we're both Leaf ninja, right?" he added, sheepishly grinning while he put both his hands behind his head. At that time he didn't know why, but she looked at him strangely.

"I'm Naruto Uzumaki" he said as he offered her a hand

"Anko Mitarashi" she answered, accepting his handshake. This small gesture seemed to brake the tension between them. It seemed that at this moment, rank and position didn't mean anything as the pair sat with food and tea and chatted for several hours. A casual observer would notice a large number of clones training in the background Naruto found that he enjoyed talking to Anko. She was somewhat... rough around the edges, and could be downright scary if she wanted to, but he was sure that she was a good person. Now, there was just one thing more he wanted to ask her about. He knew it wasn't right, but his damnable curiosity for seals was getting to him

"Ne Anko-san, I was wondering about something" he said, his face turning serious. What the hell, he'd ask, and if it was as bad as he thought, he'd tell her about his own seal.

"Oh?" she said in a teasing tone, but noticing his face, realized something "So you've seen it"

"Hai.. I don't want to pressure you, but I was wondering if you could answer a few questions about that cursed seal."

She looked at him, a hard expression on her face as she studied his intentions. She wasn't certain what to expect but what she found surprised her. It was innocent curiosity, the kind little children have when they start asking parents questions about something new they saw and didn't understand. She sighed and shook her head, wondering why she was even considering doing this.

"Shoot" she said shortly. But much to her surprise, Naruto took out a scroll and a pen, preparing to write down what she said.

"First, who made the seal?" he asked, immediately cursing himself when he saw her wince

"Orochimaru" she answered venomously.

"What does it do exactly? I felt corrupted chakra, and several other arrays but I can't identify most of them."

"It.. allows a person to forcibly draw chakra, and then corrupts it, making it stronger but damaging the body and mind in the process. It also allows Orochimaru to burn that chakra and directly damage the bearer." she explained, and Naruto scribbled furiously. He decided that he certainly didn't like Orochimaru.

"Well, I can tell you two things. Orochimaru is a genius and I hate his guts." he deadpanned, while Anko watched him, somewhat amused but mostly curious about him. She really didn't want to talk about it, but the way he followed her voice and wrote, she knew he was really interested in it. She didn't know why, but she couldn't see him place such a mark on someone.

"So? What did you figure out about the seal gaki?" she asked him, her curiosity still evident

"Okaaay, here goes, you're in for a small lecture. The seal is in reality a massive array consisting of several smaller arrays which each accomplish a function. First, there is a chakra converter coupled with an amplifier and a soul container. If I had to guess, it contains a small piece of snake-shit's soul which is used to corrupt the chakra and keep the bearer in check. Second, there is that thing with the punishment, it's a somewhat complex torture seal, I haven't yet mastered those."

"We use those in interrogations" Anko added, trying to get into the lecture. She felt like the roles were reversed, that she was the little kid and not him, even though he was only about five years younger.

"Most likely one like that. The third array affects your mind, it's probably the part that corrupts the mind. Now, there was a fourth array, but it is completely dormant. I have no idea as to what exactly it does, but I can tell it's powerful, there are a few transformation seals in the array, but I can't figure it out. And last, but not least, you have a demon mate mark on top of it all, which is probably what scares people"

She stared at the boy in front of her, wondering how the hell he knew that much 'Not even the Hokage figured out that much, and he simply listened to what I told him and with a short look figured most of it out!'

"Why are you looking at me like I grew a second head? Even a half decent seal user should be able to identify all of these seals, you made the job easier by telling me what they do. Removing it however, is a different mater entirely."

Anko shrugged sadly "I know. No one knows how to remove it, they say it's impossible."

Naruto snorts at the comment "To remove? True. But it can be altered. ANY seal can be altered." he tried to explain. Anko looked at him somewhat suspiciously.

"Look, the chakra amplifier is stuck there, but the part that contains his soul is removable, as is the torture seal, along with that fourth seal, as long as you don't activate it. As for the mating mark, that's a bit harder"

For a moment, Naruto noticed that the woman before him had dropped her guard. For a moment he looked into her brown eyes and what he saw shocked him. Betrayal, pain, loneliness, sadness. It was like looking at a mirror. But the moment passed, and those eyes were gone. He smiled sadly

"Want to know a secret?" he asked, still smiling sadly. Anko, who had been silent for a while now, nodded. Naruto gave a real smile this time as he raised his red shirt "Watch"

He started focusing his chakra slightly on his torso, and to Anko's surprise, a large seal appeared over his belly. Anko watched in fascination, quickly remembering what it all meant

"You're the container for Kyuubi" she said quietly. Naruto nodded.

"So, do you hate me now?" he asked dejectedly. He was almost sure of what was to come, but what happened surprised him. She slapped his face.

"Idiot" she said softly "You saved my life. How the fuck can I hate you?"

For a second time stood still. Then he laughed, and she joined in. It was funny, but neither of them laughed because of it. There was something liberating about the fact that you weren't alone in the world. After Haku had died, Naruto didn't expect to meet someone like that again. It was not that he wished such a fate upon anyone, but it felt nice to share it with someone. After a few minutes of laughing, they both sat in a relaxed silence, each eying and studying the other. There was no more tension between them. It was nearly noon by the time they finished their conversation.

"Hey, I need to do some physical training. I'll take you back to the village later today, okay?" Naruto kindly asked. He wasn't assuming anything, but apparently, Anko had other ideas

"I'm not a damsel in distress Naruto, I can take care of myself" she answered him while pouting. While she was a bit angry, Naruto couldn't help but laugh, which annoyed her even more. She didn't like being 'handled with care'. His smile faded. It was somewhat worrying how similar they were. He tried his hardest to look stern and serious

"Not until you are in a condition to safely get home. I'll send a message to the old man that you are safely recovering here with me and get you home by tonight. Fair?" of course, the 'stern' look didn't really work, but the message was clear, and, while still pouting, she agreed.

While Naruto returned to physical exercises, he left a clone to see to her needs. Anko decided to spend the time relaxing. A soldier pill and a blood pill, along with food and rest were all she really needed to recover. She was glad, nonetheless that her wounds were cleaned and bandaged. Not a bad job, she thought. She had taken a look at the clones that were training nearby. Chakra control, jutsu, reading, all that while Naruto was training his body.

"Why does he push himself so hard?" she muttered under her breath. The clone reading next to her didn't hear her thankfully. She was painfully aware that her own training regiment had nothing on this boy's. After a few seconds, the clone next to her closed his book and turned to her.

"You'll have to ask the boss that yourself." he said softly before poofing out of existence. 'Well, I did answer his questions' she thought gingerly as she began cleaning her fingernails... with a kunai. She spent the rest of the day watching the boy train, eating and resting. She didn't know why, but just watching him was relaxing. He had a drive she saw in very few people. She was a good judge of character, she had to be ever since her sensei betrayed her just to survive. It was weird, the boy was much like her, but he didn't give in to hate and anger. Her? She became a sadistic bitch to keep people away. She had only a few friends, and she doubted he was in a much better situation, but there was one thing she was sure of. The boy in front of her was much stronger than her. Sighing in resignation, she made her decision. She drew out a small scroll to write down her report. Quickly finishing her action, she bit her thumb to draw blood for her next move, a summoning jutsu. A few quick handseals later, a three feet long snake appeared from the cloud of smoke. It's grayish-brown scales blended well with the earth and it's slitted golden eyes stared into Anko's own

"Yessss mistresss?" the small snake asked, it's forked tongue flicking. Anko rolled up the scroll and offered it to the snake, who coiled around it

"Sharas, I need you to deliver this scroll to the Hokage. Hand it to no one but him, understood? If he has a reply, bring it over."

"Yesss" and the snake vanished as it unsummoned itself. Well, that takes care of that. She could now calmly spend the rest of her day recovering and studying this blond enigma that was before her.

Naruto was currently busy trying to develop a new move with his oversized sword. He was painfully aware that simple swinging couldn't get the job done, but the collection of seals on the sword were amazing. It was truly a fascinating weapon, and if what he analyzed was correct, Zabuza had only scratched the surface of the weapon's power. The chakra reinforcement and sharpening seals kept the weapon in perfect shape without any need for maintenance, while allowing it to near-effortlessly slice through armor and flesh. Most of the seals dealt with the use of chakra on one level or the other, but the most interesting ones were one that allowed a chakra shell to be formed around the weapon, and another, but this one was strange to say the least. Naruto knew how to identify most basic seals and even quite a few complex ones, but he was nowhere near seal master material. Identification was all nice, but if you couldn't break apart a seal or build it from scratch, it was near-useless. The last array was a simple chakra channeling seal coupled with something he most certainly didn't know how to identify. He needed an expert on this.. The move he was planning to pull of focused on gathering a high amount of chakra to form a solid shell around the sword, and unleash it on impact, causing a localized explosion. He had thankfully figured out how to control the seal to release the chakra, so all that was left was to figure out how to do it without killing himself in the process.

Anko curiously watched as Naruto took of his shirt and proceeded to draw his sword from it's seal, much to her amazement. Everyone above genin level read bingo books, and it was easy to recognize one of the swords of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. And what's worse, before her was a kid of thirteen carrying it

"Hey gaki, where did you get that sword?" she asked curiously.

"From it's previous owner" Naruto deadpanned, which in turn cause Anko to sweatdrop . "Actually Anko, could you help me out a little bit?"

She raised an eyebrow, waiting for him to continue

"I need you to throw kunai and shuriken at me" he explained in a serious voice as he dragged his headband over his eyes. For a moment, Anko questioned his sanity, but she didn't have any fun for quite a while

"Sure" she said in a sickeningly sweet voice "Any rules?"

Naruto swallowed hard, wondering whether this was such a good idea after all.

"One at a time with three second intervals, from when I say now till I say stop" he quickly explained, turning towards her chakra signature with a ready blade. "Use my supplies if you're low on them."

Anko chuckled. Naruto on the other hand was now positively worried, and hoped that she wouldn't kill him. Still, he expected her to at least try or this entire training had no purpose.

"Now!" he yelled, and for a second nothing happened. But then, he quickly felt a kunai enter the field of Radiance around him,aimed at his head, a rapid move from his sword deflected it. Two seconds later, a shuriken followed behind it, this one aimed at his throat. This kept going for a few more minutes until Anko had exhausted his supplies.

Anko was curious as to how the boy managed to block every projectile she threw at him, since he was blindfolded. He didn't look like a Hyuuga, so Byakugan was out of the question. So far she had squat on his skill. They gathered the shuriken and kunai

"Two at the same time now, with a second break, okay?" he asked her. Anko winced at his determined voice. He could easily get killed like this, and he was tired from the last run. Even thought his eyes were still covered, he seemed to see perfectly. "Don't worry, I'm playing it seriously this time. And I'll be moving this time. Can you do it?"

"Sure, but it's your funeral gaki" she answered in a mildly worried tone. The kid was fun, it would be a shame if he died, but still he did ask for it. Oh well..

Naruto took a long breath to calm himself. Now was the time to test his growth so far.


Instantly, two kunai flew at him. With minimal movement, he positioned the sword to block the two projectiles, which were quickly followed by two speeding kunai. Anko wasn't playing around. He smirked, and moved slightly to his left, raising his sword to block the shuriken. He barely had enough time to do so when another pair of kunai followed them, one aiming for his head and another at his leg. He silently cursed, knowing that he wouldn't be able to block both, so he sidestepped the ne aimed at his leg and blocked the one going for his head. This went on for no more than a few minutes, but Naruto was exhausted by it. It was harder than he expected it to be, but he was also much better than he hoped. He raised his hitai-ate back to his forehead and gave Anko a genuine smile. Anko, on the other hand was watching him with a mixture of awe, wonder and surprise.

"Damn gaki, you're good" he almost reverently whispered.

"Thanks for helping me Anko-san. If there's anything you need..." he trailed off there.

"Tell me how you did that thing with the blocking"

Naruto smirked.

"If you promise not to tell anyone except for the old man." he replied quickly. Anko grinned and nodded

"Alright. Now listen carefully" he quietly said, and Anko nodded conspiratorially "I use my chakra to project a thin field around me. It works as a sixth sense when combined with my well-trained chakra tracing skills and enhanced hearing"

Anko's eyes widened from hearing it. It was remarkably simple, but freaking brilliant.

"Now, don't go around spreading that. It's only a part of the skill itself and I need an edge over my enemies, that thing won't go down in my record. And it's incomplete anyway" he added the last part sadly.

"Incomplete?" she asked him, once more surprised

"Yeah, I can't use my eyes." he explained sadly "my mind is trained enough yet."

'That makes sense' she thought 'use six chakra enhanced senses and you have almost no blindspots'

Her train of thought on Naruto's techniques was rudely interrupted.

"We should get going." he said quietly, drawing her attention

"Yeah" she answered, a slightly forlorn look in her eyes

Naruto quickly packed up his belongings and began escorting Anko back to Konoha. He hadn't planned to return yet, but still, he needed to ask Kakashi and Sarutobi something anyway

AN: Hope you enjoyed the first chapter of the story. I'll be focusing on this story for the next couple of days, so there will likely be another, possibly shorter chapter comming out. Also, I'll be posting updates for my other story soon enough. Read and review folks, I can't make the story better if you don't tell me anything about it :P

PS. apart from the Radiance style of combat, muc of the other stuff is mostly inspired by other authors, so once more thanks for the inspirations :D