Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Gurren Lagann

Chapter 5
That Doesn't Matter. Defeating You Won't Take Long.

It was the day after the last Gunmen attack, and Tsunade was sitting in her offce, looking through a stack of papers on it. As she sat at her desk, reviewing reports on the repairs of the Dai-Gurren, and various missions, she heard a knock on the window behind her. Turning around, she saw none other than her old pervert of a team mate. "About time you got back. So whats the word?" she asked.

"That big fortress of theirs is stopped just on the boarder of the Fire Country, just passed the Valley of the End. Its just been standing their all night." he said. "I left a few toads their to let us know if anything happens.

"Looks like they figured we'd try to follow that thing." Tsunade said with a sigh. "Guess we shouldn't have gotten our hopes up about following that thing back to their base."

"So, wheres Naruto?"

"Hes in one of the training grounds with Viral and Sasuke. Viral is making sure they're familar with how to work Gurren Lagann properly for when the next Gunmen attack happens."

"Training to get them stronger, huh?" Jiraiya ssaid with a laugh. "With that Gurren Lagann of theirs, we shouldn't have anything to worry about."

The Hokage only sighed. "About that..."

Gurren Lagann charged at Viral's Enkidu, and was about to throw a punch when it was met with a kick to Lagann's face. "Damn it Sasuke, I was gonna hit him, but you slowed down my punch! Stop holding me back!" Naruto yelled at his co-pliot through the communications.

"You're the one holding me back, idiot. He would have just blocked your attack, so I was going use that punch as a feint and kick his legs out from under him. But you caused my plan to lag, which is why he hit us." the Uchiha boy replied.

"You don't know that! For all you know, my punch would have sent him flying!"

"I do know that it wouldn't have worked, since only an idiot wouldn't have seen it comming from miles away." Sasuke said. He chuckled a bit, but was cut off as one of Gurren Lagann's fists punched its own chest hard.

"Hey, looks like you didn't see my punch coming! Guess you're the idiot." Naruto said through Lagann with a laugh. His laugh was cut off as Gurren Lagann's other fist struck Lagann, causing it to spin around.

"Maybe you're on to something, idiot." Sasuke growled through Gurren. "Maybe we should test it out a few more times on you?"

It was then that all hell broke loose with Gurren Lagann, as it struck Gurren with one of its own fists, then Lagann, then Gurren again, then Lagann again, and it looked like this could go on endlessly if something didn't stop it.

"Shut up, both of you!" Viral yelled out as Enkidu did a flying kick into Gurren's face, then followed up by slamming Lagann's face into the ground. "Its not the fault of one you, its both of you thats the problem! Do you realize how pathetic this looks, having a Gunmen like Gurren Lagann continue to be punched by itself?"

"...But he started it." Naruto said.

"What? You're the one who punched me first!" Sasuke said.

"But you started it by holding me back!"

"You're the one who was holding me back!"

"I don't care who started it!" Viral yelled as Enkidu grabbed one of Gurren Lagann's arms. "I'M FINISHING IT!" he bellowed out so loud, that the entire village could here him as he lifted Gurren Lagann over Enkidu and slammed it into the ground, leaving a crater shaped exactly like Gurren Lagann where it impacted.

"Sounds like those students of yours still aren't making much progress, Kakashi." Anko said from her Gunmen's cockpit as she finished the last of the dango she had brought for a snack. Kakashi and her had both been stationed on guard duty, with her Ankobra and his Dayakkaiser standing at the village gates.

"I'm not surprised." he commented, not even looking up from the orange book that he always read. "Those two always have had problems working together. They do have good team work at times, but those moments are rare."

"Well then, whos bright idea was it for them to work together?"

"I can't believe those two still haven't been able to work together yet." Kiba said he looked out the window of the resturant that his team, Shikamaru's team, and Neji's team had all gone to for lunch. "And it sounds like they're really pissing off Viral."

"They've been at it all day, but they're still not working together any better." Shikamaru said. "So much for no one standing a chance against them."

"I don't understand why they're having such a hard time." Shino commented.

"Its because they're both so deadset on proving they're better than the other one." Neji stated.

"Normally, I would have said that it was all Naruto's fault and hes just causing problems for Sasuke, but even I can't deny that Sasuke is just as much a part of the problem as Naruto." Ino said.

Tenten sighed. "Those two are being a real pain. What are they going to do when those five Gunmen return and they still can't work together?"

"I hope they can work things out before that happens..." Hinata commented.

"Gurren Lagann." Kabuto repeated the name as he watched the footage of yesterday's battle. "Its quite the interesting machine."

"How was the mini-Gunmen able to combine with the larger Gunmen like that just by drilling into the top of the other?" Karin questioned nearby. "I dismissed the small one at first, but I'm starting to re-evaluate my initial assessment of it." she said, more to herself than Kabuto.

"So Karin, what were the readings on it?" Kabuto questioned the girl. She was quite useful when it came to Gunmen, having become quite knowledgable on them, having quickly discovered that she seemed to possess a talent for working with them, only seeming to get better with time.

"The readings showed that upon their combining, its specs equaled those of the Gunmen used by the Sound Five."

Kabuto raised an eyebrow at this. "Hm? But if thats the case, then how was it able overpower Kimimaro, Sakon, and Kidoumaru so easily despite being on equal terms?"

"Well, I can't say what exactly, but..."

"But what?"

"Well, during the fight, I could sense a powerful spike of chakra, and it was almost as if it was coming from the Gunmen itself."

"The Gunmen was emitting chakra?" Kabuto questioned. The girl was also gifted when it came to being a sensor, having already possessed great talent at it before even recieving training. It was that talent that had interested Orochimaru when he had found her, and why she was a part of Oto today. He knew she was good, but he was still was a bit skeptical.

"Well, I'm actually not sure. I thought it was chakra, but it felt different than any I've ever felt before. And it was only on three brief occasions that I felt it."

"And those occasions were?"

"The first was right after the Gunmen combined. The second was when the drills came out of it. And the third was when it blocked Kidoumaru's attack."

"Hmm..." Kabuto let out as he pondered this. "I want to gather more data on this. We'll have to engage it some more to lean all that we can."

"I agree." Karin agreed. "I have an idea of what Gunmen we should send to engage Gurren Lagann, but its back at the base. We'll need to have it come from there when we get reinforcements."

Elsewhere on the Dai-Gunzandu, the Sound Five were in a large room that had been designated as a training room. Kimimaro sat meditating near a corner, while Sakon sparred with Kidoumaru. Tayuya leaned on the wall as she watched them while Jiroubo stood near another corner.

"This whole thing blows." Tayuya commented.

"You know thats not how a young lady should talk." Jiroubo said.

"Do you ever get tired of telling me that? I don't give a shit about how you think I should talk, fatass." she retorted.

"So, what 'blows?'" Sakon questioned, his three-legged kick having been blocked by Kidoumaru's hands catching each of the feet.

"The whole thing. That Gurren-whatever thing kicking your your asses, and I don't even get a chance to try my own luck cause Kabuto doesn't think we're up to it." she said. "I don't care if hes the guy right under Lord Orocimaru; I don't like it when someone thinks I'm weak."

"You are weak." Kimimaro said, not opening his eyes. "All four of you."

The other four in the room all glared at their appointed leader, none of them too fond of him. "What was that, bone boy?" Tayuya questioned.

"You all heard me." he replied.

"You've sure got a big head, don't you?" Sakon asked. "Just cause you're not gonna die now, you've got it in your head that you're better than us like before. Well I've got news for you, while you were stuck in bed dying, we got stronger. And besides, you were just as ineffective as me yesterday."

"I sincerely doubt any of you have gotten that strong." Kimimaro said, sfinally opening his eyes as he stood up. "I'll even give you all the chance to prove me wrong."

"Well aren't you cocky. Don't forget, you can't fight for too long before you start getting weak again. We all saw how pathetic you looked when you got out of your Gunmen yesterday." Kidoumaru commented.

"That doesn't matter. Defeating you four won't take long." Kimimaro said.

"Why you-!" Sakon let out as he rushed at Kimimaro, and attempted to strike him, but he stepped gracefully to the side to avoid the attack. It was then that Jiroubo joined in, and attempted to punch the Kaguya boy while his back was turned to him, but the other boy avoided his attack by doing a backflip over the larger boy, and kicking him in the back, causing him to stagger forward. Kidoumaru was the next to join in, and spit out a web from his mouth at the pale boy. From Kimimaro's palms, bones began to produde as it quickly grew out through his skin. He then used this none to quickly stab into it pin the web into the ground, being extremely careful to not let it touch anything but the bone. He then leaped back, avoiding Tayuya as she came at him from the side.

"Don't tell me thats all the four of you can do." Kimimaro said.

"We're just getting started." Sakon's second head said, his brother Ukon. Ukon began to separate from his brother. With his brother, the two twins rushed at the opposing boy from both sides in perfect unison. They both punched at Kimimaro from both both sides, who caught both of their punches. As he grappled with those two, Tayuya came at him from behind. Wasting no time, he twised his body, causing one of the twins to knock into Tayuya as they were unable to resist. Kidoumaru and Jiroubo tried their luck next, with Kidounaru armed with clubs made from his hardened web in each of his six hands. As the two rushed him, bones prodruded from his shoulders, and he removed them. They were short in length, but both had sharpened tips, resembling daggeres. Using them, he easily and gracefully parried each of Kidoumaru's attacks, then leaped away just as Jiroubo was about to strike him from behind, causing his punch to send Kidoumaru flying in his place. Kidoumaru struck the wall, and fell to the ground uncounscious.

"Thats one of you down." Kimimaru taunted. "Which one of you shall be next?"

"Thats it." Tayuya said angrily as she performed a series of seals with her hands, then slammed them into the ground. There was a thick cloud of smoke, and three ogres now stood around her. She then drew her favored weapon, her flute. Sakon and Ukon stood nearby, both ready to attack as well. Jiroubo was also starting to be covered in a triangle pattern over his body, his curse seal activating. Tayuya began to play her flute, and her ogres responded to it as they moved to attack Kimimaro. Sakon and Ukon charge in behind them, and Jiroubo with them.

Kabuto turns off a communication line to the base, his request for reinforcements sent and them on their way. He then reviewed a bit of data when one of the people stationed on the bridge called him over the radio.

"Kabuto, we've got a situation going on in the training room! Kimimaro and the Sound Four are fighting! And I don't mean sparring! They're trying to kill each other!" An image came onto his computer, a video feed from the camera in the training room. On the screen, he watched as Jiroubo received a sound beating from Kimimaro, who gracefully dodged the incoming attacks of Sakon and Ukon.

Kabuto sighed. "Those kids are going to be the death of each other." he said as he got up and made his way to the training room. "They're all talented, but Kimimaro just can't get along the other four, and the other four can't stand him."

Sakon and Ukon lay on the ground unconscious, while Jiroubo was on the floor with his back leaning against the wall. The only two who were still up was Tayuya, who was now in her curse seal's level two form, and Kimimaro who was unharmed. Tayuya was breathing heavily, the only reaon that she was still up was because she had stayed in the back and had her ogres fight for her.

"You're the only one left Tayuya." Kimimaro said, holding her up by the throat. "You didn't last long without the others. You're the weakest of the bunch."

"You bastard..." she let out as her curse seal began to recede and she revertted back to normal. She was exhausted, and she just couldn't stand the pale boy as he looked down on her. Kimimaro released his grip on her, and Tayuya fell to the ground unceremoniously. She pulled herself into a sitting position, glaring at the Kaguya with such fury that it would make almost anyone else relevied that such a look couldn't kill them on its own.

As Kimimaro made his way to the exit of the training room, he began to slow down as he started to cough a bit. As the coughing grew in intensity, he covered his mouth with his hand. He began to feel light-headed, and he felt something on his hand after a particullarly strong cough. Looking at his palm, he saw that it was covered in blood. "Damn... I dragged the fight out too long." he said weakly as he fell to his knees.

Tayuya stared at the sight for a moment before she stood up. She knew that this would be her chance to be rid of Kimimaro for good. She pulled out a kunai and ran towards the weakened leader of the Sound Five, intent on reducing the numbers of that group for good this time. However, before she was able to, the hand of another grabbed the arm that held the kunai.

"I'm sorry, Tayuya, but I'm afraid that I can't let you do that." Kabuto said as he held her back. "We just can't have you five killing each other."

"Let. Me. Go." she said venomously, her anger so intense that it alomst seemed tangible.

Ignoring the girl, he turned to the weakened form of Kaguya boy. "Take him to the infirmiry to rest." he ordered the man who had come with him. "I'll speak with all of you about this later."

"Are you sure this will work?" Viral asked Kakashi.

"Not really." he replied. "But it better than just letting them fight it out like before."

"True. I guess its worth a try at least."

"Hey! Don't we get a say in this?" Naruto demanded. Currently around his wrists and ankles were bands that had cords coming out and attached to similar bands on Sasuke's wrists and ankles.

"Not after earlier." Viral said, his anger about what had happened at the training ground was evident in his tone..

"The object of this little exercise is to help you learn better teamwork while pilotting Gurren Lagann." Kakashi stated. "In order to simulate the approriate circumstances, your limbs have been linked togeter by the cords. In order to fight to your full potential like this, you two will have to work together and compromise during attacks. If you both try to attack at the same time without any thought into how your linked together, you'll only hinder yourselves."

"Well, I sure hope this works." Viral said.

"Whats the worst that could happen?" Kakashi asked.

Sakura was currently on the bridge of the Dai-Gurren with Tsunade and Shizune. Several others were repairing the various consoles and controls as per Leeron's instructions. Sakura looked outside at her Gunmen stationed outside and let out a sigh.

"Something wrong little missy?" the holographic Leeron said as he appeared next to her. She flinched at his sudden appearance, though quickly recovered. She didn't kow if she would ever get used to this man, though she couldn't help but use the term man lightly.

"Just thinking about yesterday's battle. I can't help but feel that I was completely useless. My aim sucked, and then I had to get saved by Tenten because I couldn't handle myself." she explained.

"I see."

"I thought things would change since I started pilotting that Gunmen, and I became Lady Tsunade's apprentice, but things haven't changed in the slightest. I'm still the same pathetic girl who couldn't help her team mates during the chunin exams..." she lamenting, remembering what had happened in the Forest of Death, and

"Let me tell you, hunny, no one is perfect. Not even everyone in Team Dai-Gurren didn't have their moments of weakness." Leeron explained. "Its what you do after you moments of weakness that really matters. If you let it get to you, it'll just consume you from the inside. If you accept that these things can happen, and continue on, you'll rise higher than you were before. Thats something our old leader taught us through his actions."

Every word he said seemed to make a beeline for her heart. Despite his funny looks, Leeron was right. She had been ineffectual, but she couldn't let that get to her. She had barely been Tsunade's apprentice for a week, so of course these things would take time. She couldn't expect instant improvement, she had to work towards it. "Thank you, Mr. Leeron."

"Please, no 'Mr.' And you can call me Ron, if you want."

"Ok, Ron."

And with that, she told Tsunade that she was leaving for now, and that she would be back in time for her lessons later, and ran out of the bridge.

Reaching her destination, Sakura arrived at the training field that had been set up to practice with their newly aquired guns. There were stationary tagets, targets that moved, and targets that were a great distance away. Looking around, Sakura saw who she was looking for. "Hey! Tenten!" she called out, and the older girl looked over to her.

Despite her talent for accuracy, Tenten never stopped practicing. She wasn't from some famous clan, so she didn't have any bloodline or family jutsus to use, so she would do as her sensei had proudly instructed them; "Train endlessly to the limit of your your abilities, and grow stronger through hardwork! Such is the power of youth!" She didn't buy into the youth crap like Lee did, but that didn't stop her from trying to improve herself. Her aim was good enough to have been the only genin that had been given one of the guns during their first battle using them, so she had to do her best and improve beyond even that.

"Sakura? What are you doing here?" Tenten asked.

"I was wondering if you could help teach me how to aim better." the pink haired girl explained.

"Why me?" the brown haired girl asked, a little caught off guard by the request.

"You've got the best accuracy of anyone I know, maybe even in the whole village."

"I-I wouldn't say that." Tenten replied as she scratched the back of her head in embarrassment.

"Could you please? My Gunmen's main weapon is its cannon, but its useless if I'm not good enough to hit anything with it."

Thinking over the sudden request, Tenten handed her rifle to Sakura. "Alright then. Set this up, and lets see what you've got. I don't know if I'll be of any help, but I can at least give you some pointers."

"Thank you so much!" Sakura said, and did as she was told.

Both Kakashi and Viral were currently burrying their faces in their palms. Things had started of simple, but quickly turned sour. Currently, Naruto was trying to strangle Sasuke with the cords while the other boy repeatedly elbowed the blonde in the chest with great force.

Kabuto sighed at the sight before him. He had tried to lecture the Sound Five on the importance of their teamwork. Said lecture quickly devolved as they seemed to resume their fight from earlier. Sakon, Ukon, Jiroubo, and Kidoumaru were all laying on the ground, While he held back a furious Tayuya from attacking Kimimaro as he coughed up blood while being escorted to the medical wing. He had only let it reach this point to use as an example what happened went the team doesn't work as a team.

And there is the fifth chapter. Three important things were established this chapter: Naruto and Sasuke's terrible team work, the Sound Five's inability to get along with Kimimaro due to his sense of superiortity to them, and Sakura's development. The first, Naruto and Sasuke, I felt was a logical step. Remember, this is after Naruto's fight with Gaara and Sasuke's "fight" with Itachi. In the manga, Sasuke's feelings of inferiority led him to challenge Naruto to prove to himself that he was still better than him, so I don't think them just saying "Alright, lets pilot this together!" will make them be able to work together in such an action.

The second point with the Sound Five, is me taking liberties. It was shown in canon that the restof the Sound Five did not seem to like Kimimaro, and that Kimimaro held a certain ammount of disdain for the rest, and even going as far as to plotting to kill Tayuya for failing to stop Naruto's pursuit. One thing I would like to do with this story since I plan to have the Sound Five live on long past they did in the series and have them develop a cetain amount of camaraderie, though since I also plan to keep them in character, I can't just have them at each other's throats one chapter and then "BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!" in the next chapter. Thats just terrible storytelling and character development.

And Finally, Sakua. Since I've established before the previous chapter, shes now Tsunade's apprentice, I want to show I don't plan to have her instantly become stong. It takes time, so I want to show I'm not rushing through things. Anyway, please review.