Alright people, Orochimaru will be referred to as Yasu from here on out by all of Konoha, and Orochimaru by those who don't know of her new name. This chapter will also explain why Minato is still around.

"Well, not really." Naruto scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "I found her on my way back from the mission." His tone hardened now, losing its usual jovialty. "She's the one Iwa's been trying to recruit."

'Recruit?' Yasu blinked in surprise. Well, if they were trying to recruit her, then they sure had a funny way of doing it. If beating and verbal abuse were part of the package, then no wonder Iwa and Kumo were on the losing side of this war.

"Really?" The stranger's grin folded itself into a grim line for a moment, before spreading out into a charming smile once more. "Well then, good to have you on our side then, Yasu-chan." He now returned his gaze to Naruto. "Alright kiddo, let me have a word with Sarutobi, I think I can have her instated as a genin within a few hours. Sound good?"

"I sent word ahead for everyone to call you by that." Naruto replied when she stiffened at the use of her new title, even going so far as to swipe at him. "Teme." She hissed under her breath, glaring furiously at the blond with those smoldering yellow eyes. "I liked my old name."

"It wasn't a girl's name." He countered with an appraising glance that wasn't appraising at all. "You want everyone to think you're a boy or something?"

Flushing, she staggered suddenly, nearly losing her footing, despite the even ground. But this wasn't from embarassment, she could be sure of that. No, she suddenly felt weak, like she could barely even stand, let alone walk.

"Hey, are you alright?" He reached out to steady her as she fell backwards.

She was too tired to shake off his hand, and the growl of her stomach drew a small whimper from her lips, one she knew all too well. Hunger pangs. She hadn't eaten in three days, and as such, her body was in sore need of nourishment.

"Well, lets go get you cleaned up, then we can get something to eat."

But she had enough sense to headbutt him when he scooped her up. Ignoring the blood dripping down his forehead and into one eye, Naruto walked through the gates, still carrying her despite her protests.

--

(Ichiraku Ramen)

"Two miso ramen please!" Called Naruto upon entering Ichiraku Ramen, pulling aside the curtain to enter, and earning some odd looks from the other patrons, due to the fact that he was still carrying Yasu.

"Let go." She hissed, smacking at his left arm, and was rewarded, now wriggling out of his grip. Few could resist the urge to stare at her. The grease was now gone from her hair, and she'd washed herself clean of all the grime she'd accumulated, leaving herself clean for the first time in a long time.

Now, she was clad in the first decent article of clothing she could find, a simple pair of black cargo pants, a violet colored tee, and opened toed sandals.

Naruto, as usual, preceded to his customary seat, and after a moment, Yasu reluctantly took a seat beside him. "Here's your order!" Called old man Teuchi as he set the bowl of ramen down before the blond and his guest. "Eat up!"

And with that they began to eat.

Naruto ate his ramen at the same rapid pace as before, slurping down the steamy noodles at a rapid pace, done in nearly half the time as before. Yasu, however, savored her ramen. She hadn't spent cash on this food, but she wanted to get her money's worth regardless, by savoring the pasta.

But the moment she placed the noodles in her mouth, she was aware of something.

'Hot!'

She managed to swallow, but now steam was coming out of her ears. Tears welled in her eyes. It was so hot, so spicy! She hadn't even given it a second to cool, and unlike Naruto, who ate it everyday, she did not have any sort of resistance to the heat of the pasta.

In other words...

Wincing, she dropped the chopsticks, and covered her mouth.

"HOT!" She yelped, in a rare lapse of character, causing Naruto to look at her with concern. He soon realized the cause for her distress, as she flailed her arms about her mouth, trying to dissipate the steam that was coming out.

"Oh. I forgot." He remarked with a chuckle, handing her a glass of water that hadn't been there a second ago. "When your order it with pork it's extra hot. You have to blow on it first."

He leaned across her, and demonstrated, lightly pushing air out onto it, rippling the soup like noodles as he did so. "See? Like this." When he glanced at her to make certain she understood, he found her glaring at him over the drink.

"I am not a child." She gasped as she finished the glass, finally able to feel her tongue again.

"I'll have to remember that." He countered, going back to his ramen. "After all, that was pretty childish in my book."

"...Shut up." She murmurred, as her gaze flickered up to him.

"Aw! What a cute couple! Naruto-kun, I didn't know you'd started dating again! Oh, and who's this lovely young lady, if you don't mind me asking?"Ayame's, the owner's daughter, jarred them out of their stupor, as did the fact that she was now speaking to them both.

Yasu was all but seething now.

"We are not a couple!"

--

(Training grounds)

She watched as he barreled through the exercise, his hands a practiced blur of motion, catching the shuriken and then returning them to the launchers from which they'd been fired.

He didn't miss, not even once.

She'd followed him here, after he left her at the Hokage's office. She'd wanted to have a word with him about this Minaoto fellow, who HAD to be his father, and had been deadset on intending to speak with Naruto about it, but...

Now she was too busy watching and learning.

Quietly of course.

After a few moments, he threw a series of basic taijutsu sparring, and though it was only a dozen or so strikes, in the end, he left his training post a broken piece of timber.

He must've already practiced Genjutsu and Ninjutsu, because she didn't see him perform any handsigns in the hours that passed. Finally, just when she was about to give up spying on him and return, she heard him speak.

"Alright, now that I'm all warmed up, lets give it a try." Looking back at him from behind the tree, she watched as he raised his right arm, gathering swirls of chakra into the palm of his hand. But this, this was no simple method for climbing trees as she'd expected it to be. No, the chakra took shape in his hand, forming a translucent sphere that seemed to spin and dance in the palm of his hand.

'What on earth is that....A jutsu?'

"Rasengan!" He declared, ramming the sphere into the base of the tree trunk. The oak shattered, falling to the forest floor with a loud crash, where a huge ragged hole could be seen, still smoking from the white hot intensity of its chakra.

"How long have you been watching me?" He didn't even look, but instead threw an explosive tag at her. Gasping in surprise, Yasu leapt into view, but when no explosion was forthcoming, she found her face burning under his gentle laughter.

"It's a dud, don't worry."

"Whoever said I was worried?" she pushed down the fire that rose up from her stomach. She wondered what he would do, how he would react if she threw a hail of shuriken at him, how many times he'd dodge in one instant.

"You're afraid of me, aren't you?"

The fire burst into her throat and choked her.

"You, you think you're really something, don't you?! Always so arrogant, so mysterious, everyone just falls all over you!" In her frustration, she reached for the first thing she could find, a nearby kunai and pair of shuriken discarded on the ground. "And you think that's all well and good, don't you?!"

"I don't think, I know." He replied, tapping the side of his mask with one finger, teasing her with his smile, his eyes his ability, he always goaded her like this, but tonight, she was out of patience, out of tolerance. "I won in our last fight, remember? I always win."

"Shut up damnit!"

He caught the kunai on one finger, the shuriken on another the twin throwing stars still whirling with movement. A grin peered back at her from the evening light. "Care to try again?" She'd thrown them without thinking, and with shriek, she threw dozens more, but he held up a single hand and made a set of seals.

"Water style."

The metal bounced harmessly off liquid.

"Water wall."

Too late, she realized her mistake, as the nearby pond began to roil and froth, taking the shape of a massive creature.

"Water dragon jutsu."

(Konoha Academy)

"Why did you bring me here?" She eyed the empty seats, then wrung the water from her hair, doing her best to ignore the puddle forming at her feet. Indeed, she was still saoking wet from their battle, one she had lost, and quite pathetically at that.

He took one look at her and chuckled.

"Blunt as usual."

"Why you-

"Here."

He then tossed her a small bundle of cloth. She snatched it out of the air unwrapping it in one smooth motion. Its black cloth was tattered and frayed, the metal itself bearing a good number of dents and scratches, but the symbol of Konoha still shone proudly. "Nani?" She blinked at the battered leaf forehead protector staring up at her, reflecting her surprise in its metal facets. "What is this?"

He placed a finger to her forehead before she could ask just what this meant.

"Turn around."

Nervously, she did so.

"Close your eyes." He ordered, and strangely enough, she decided to go along with it, just this once. Once she'd opened her eyes, she found herself staring in the mirror, at herself.

"Look."

She blinked once more, then slowly, reached up to the plate, just to be certain it really was there. When the rough course sensation of the still warm metal greeted her fingertips, the realization dawned upon her.

That fight...

It'd been a test.

"Baka Yarou." Naruto chided, thumbing at his own forehead, which was now conspicuously absent of his own headband, and touching the symbol she now wore. "You passed. Consider yourself an official shinobi."

Patting her on the shoulder, he beckoned for her to follow.

"C'mon, its almost morning."

"Wait, when am I supposed to sleep?" She protested, dragging her feet. "I'm exhausted from all this."

"You're not sleeping yet." The Chunin countered as they walked outside, were the light of the morning sun was already greeting them. "We're still trying to find you an apartment, or better yet, a house."

"And were are you going?" She scowled as he led her to a squad of Anbu, and summarily announced that he had an errand to run. Surprisingly, he actually deigned to answer her. "To get a promotion."

--

(Two hours later)

A sleepy Yasu approached her seat with a sense of dread. She'd never worked well with others, she'd been told that since she was five, and accidentally hurt father during a sparring drill. Said exercise had been emphasized on the basis of teamwork, and thusly, ended in failure.

To make matters worse, she didn't have any social experience to lean back on, considering the fact that she'd lived the past five years on her own, in the wild, struggling just to make it to the next sunrise.

There were two of them each on one side of her seat, a boy and a girl.

The boy, a spry youth with white spiky hair, grinned when he saw her approaching.

"Hey, you the new kid?"

"Y-Yes." She muttered, remembering to control her temper at his informality.

"Oh leave her alone you." The other, a blond girl with hazel eyes, didn't seem quite so intimidating, but more outgoing, as she was the one to extend a hand first. "Name's Tsunade. Nice to meet you."

"Yeah yeah, enough with the formalities!" The as of yet unamed youth declared suddenly, startling both girls, and handing Yasu what looked like a pamphlet. "Here, new girl, have a look at this, will ya?"

"Um...what is it?" She could read, but the title Icha Icha already had her worried.

"Just a book I'm working on." He assured her eagerly. "C'mon! Just read it and tell me what you think!"

Resigning herself to read. Yasu started at the first paragraph...

"Ah, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" He didn't look up from the book, but a warm smile traced his face when the flipped the page.

"Liar." She hissed, scowling at him, choking down the warm fuzziness that rose within her, replacing it with cold, heartless wrath. "You didn't tell me you were the son of Minato, the next hokage." He didn't answer for a moment, but instead marked the page, closed the book, and looked up at her from his work-desk.

"Musta slippped my mind."

"Like hell it did!" She spit back.

"Orochi," He sighed, running one hand through his spiky hair, the nickname, his pet name for her, sliding so easily off his lips, "What should I have done?" He stood up now, the chair sliding out beneath him. "Just blab out, 'Hey, by the way, I'm the son of the fourth hokage'? Do you have any idea just how many shinobi want me dead?"

"Don't. Move."She took a step back, refusing to allow her mind to be befuddled by his presence. She needed to think clearly, and his embrace was absolutely the worst thing for her right now, no matter how much she wanted to be wrapped up in his arms. She needed to get away from him, this person who was created to rattle her. "You...you stay away from me! I hate you!"

"Aw, don't say that." His smile didn't fade, but it was a thin line now, and his eyes were pleading. "I haven't done anything to upset you."

"Then explain my sudden promotion to Genin!" The words escaped her before she could stop them, and too late, pale hands flew to cover her mouth.

"So that's what this is about." His smile collapsed into a frown now, then deepened into a fierce scowl. "You think you didn't pass the exam on your own talent."

"You were one of the shinobi assigned to review me." She snapped back at him, refusing to abandon her position now, even if it was a futile effort. "And as the son of a Kage, you must've wielded enormous political clout. It would've been so easy for you to-

"Orochi," He sighed in exasperation. "I wasn't the one who made sure you passed. In fact, I was deadset against it."

...What?" The words caught in her throat."What? What did...you say?"

"Simply put, I didn't, and still don't think you're ready to be on a team." He moved to sit on the corner of his desk, folding both arms across his chest. "You've assimilated any jutsu given to you, you've excelled at every mission, obeyed every order, but...

"But what?" She whispered, a sense of dread coiling in the pit of her stomach, strangling her. "Just...just spit already you imbecile!" This was unexpected, but still, to not be trusted, it stung a little.

"Ambition." The word rang like a bell, cold and clear, much like his matchless eyes. "You have high hopes, and even greater goals, but forbidden jutsu?"

The breath hitched in her throat. " You think I didn't know?" He replied, shaking his head with a sigh. "Well guess what? I do. You're dabbling in pretty dark stuff here. I've seen it in your eyes, whenever you get an idea, you just can't control yourself. Which brings to my next point."

Her lower lip began to tremble.

"Shinobi do not kill needlessly, even when the mission dictates it." From within the drawer, he produced a scroll, one she recognized all too well. Her track record, a documentation of her stats, jutsu, and mission reports.

"You, however, have caused casualties, needless deaths' of innocent women and children, on almost all of your assignments. In all honesty, I couldn't allow you access to A rank missions. But I was outvoted, and...well," He shrugged helplessly, taking her into his arms, drawing her into a heated kiss that took her breath away. "You know the rest."

"The fuck is this?!" Yasu spat after reading the rest, summarily tossing the Icha Icha prototype manuscript back at her teammate, who had been snickering to himself quietly. Now, the latter hastily caught the pages, and at the same time, a hard right hook from the raven haired girl, who instead kicked him down low, hitting his knee instead of her intended targer."You told me you were writing a book, not some friggin porno and why the hell is this about me?!"

"Scary, scary." Jiraiya winced as he rubbed his sore calf, extremely grateful for Tsunade restraining the kunoichi at the very last second. "I thought your were gonna bite my head off for a second there."

"Sure, no...problem."

Jiraiya paled as she got a good look at a piece of the manuscript, which had regrettably fallen to the ground...

Immediately, she released Yasu.

"Ecchi!" The blond snarled, cracking her knuckles menacingly. "I have half a mind to tear your's off myself!"

"Eh...hehehe...c-c'mon now, there's no need for th-that T-Tsunade...

"Okay you three, what on earth is going on here?" Naruto's voice greeted them seconds before he stepped through the door, and for a moment, the two kunoichi forgot just what they was so angry about.

Gone was his stealth attire, replaced by a flak vest, and ptich black camo pants, complete with open toed sandals, black, fingerless gloves, and all the other basic attire of a jonin. Now, replacing his old black headband, the cloth was a deep, crimson red, and worn tightly around his forehead, but with a shorter knot.

He looked quite handsome.

And now, he had the two by the scruff of the neck, easily hoisting them both into the air.

"Did you see what he wrote?!" The poor thing was livid, and gave him a pleading look, a clear sign that she was just itching to seperate Jiraiya's head from his now quivering shoulders. "Please, let me kill him!" Naruto arched an eyebrow, and releasing the kunoichi motioned for the genin to hand it over.

"Now what could possibly be so-oh."

His eyes narrowed as they poured over the text. "Ah. Now I understand." Jiraiya yelped in surprise when the blond was now the one to deliver a brutal kick, one that dropped the boy like a sack of potatoes.

"You should be lucky I don't burn you at the stake for writing this." The Jonin replied when his student protested the rough treatment of his twin seed generators and one eyed weasel. "This material is utterly shameless,"-ignoring the cries of his student, he mercilessly ripped the text to pieces and incinerated it with a fire jutsu- and as your sensei, I won't have it."

"Sensei?"

"Yeah, I'm here for," He pulled a clipboard off the desk and thumbed through it. "Lemme see here, Team 2." Tossing it aside, he grinned at the groans given by the rest of the class. "Well then, I guess that'd be Yasu, Jiraiya and Tsunade?"

--

Yasu eyed him keenly as he led them to the roof.

"You're strange."

He turned one eye on her.

"How so?"

"You're the son of Minato Namikaze, that's how." She replied, increasing her stride to match his own so they could talk freely. "You're a Jonin at age fifteen, everything is given to you on a silver platter, and yet...

She frowned, searched her mind for words, then found one that suited him to a T.

"You're an anomaly. You tell me you're a Jonin in name only, but you still have to take an exam to become a full fledged shinobi? And now you think I'll actually accept you as a teacher, when we're both of the same intellectual level and when I despise you?"

Jiraiya and Tsunade frowned, unable to understand any of what these two were talking about.

"Quite a vocabularly you have there." Naruto finally replied, reaching out to catch a nearby dragonfly in the palm of his hand. "But to answer your question, yeah, I am a bit of a weirdo." The insect flew right into his grasp, as if it'd been called to him, then flitted out to Yasu's shoulder. Surprised, she could only blink at his next words.

"But I like being weird. Even if it doesn't make sense."

--

Next time: A legacy left behind.

(Preview of next chapter)

"Urusai...he hissed, clutching at his face as the changes began. "My mother died to seal you, and I won't...let...you...

You don't have a choice...

Naruto slowly gnashed his teeth together, in mild pain, as his canines elongated, slowly changing into wicked fangs. His hands, he could feel his fingernails sharpening, until they could no longer be called such, now more deadly claws, than mere skin upon his hands.

Clenching them into fists, he pierced the skin of palms.

The puncture points closed instantaneously.

The whisker marks upon his face deepened, changing from mere slits, to large deep furrows upon his face, his eyes narrowing dangerously his heart rate quickening with a sickening rush of adrenaline.

His short blond hair...roughened, for that is the best way to describe it, as it warped from spiky tame hair, to wild and unruly, sticking out in every direction, swaying in the chakra induced breeze.

The blood-lust stirred deep within him, so great, that he was barely able to stave it off, shove it back under.

Two ears, red of fox chakra, finished the cloak, fully enveloped now, as the changes neared the final stages.

His voice was not his own, no longer calm and cool, but filled with wrathful, barely contained fury, as the Kyuubi, looking through the eyes of his host, surveyed the changes which he had wrought.

Much better-Urk!

Get out!

Choking the massive chakra source was no small task, but he somehow did it, and when he could at last see straight, all traces of the jinchuuriki cloak were long gone.

"Damnit. Still can't control it....

Yet.