"A Dragon's Will of Fire"

Chapter 2: "The Challenge of Team 7"

Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto. Dragon Ball Z belongs to Akira Toriyama. Both are licensed to VIZ Media, and I make no money from either.

Author's note: At long last, the second chapter of "A Dragon's Will of Fire" has come. Sorry to keep you waiting this long; it took me a long time to get into the right mindset to write this. Well, I can begin making it up to you now with a kick-ass second chapter. For those of you who complained about the pace of the first chapter, I can safely reassure you that I will not rush as much through this second chapter as I did through the first.

Onto the important plot details, I suppose. What will Goku find out about the night he became a giant rampaging monkey? How will it affect him and his future path as a shinobi and hopeful protector of the world? And what's going to happen when he and Team 7 get together for their test under Kakashi Hatake? For the answers to those questions and others, read on!

It was nothing but chaos. Small, scattered fires were everywhere. Screams of desperation and rage rang through the night. His vision was a red haze, and his senses were afire with agony. He tried to scream, but all that came out were inhuman roars and his body lit up with flame.

"AAAAAAAHHHHH!" Goku woke up screaming.

"Goku-niisan, what's wrong?" Konohamaru asked, running into Goku's room.

"Nothing, Konohamaru," Goku replied. "I just . . . had a bad dream. That's all. Nothing for you to worry about."

"You sure, nii-san?" Konohamaru asked.

Goku smiled. "I'm sure. Go to bed now, Konohamaru-chan."

"I'm not little!" Konohamaru exclaimed.

"You are right now," Goku answered. "But you won't be forever. You'll get to be as big as me soon!"

"How's that possible?" Konohamaru asked. "You'll be getting bigger, too, and when I'm as big as you are now, you'll still be bigger than me!"

Goku laughed. "Yeah, but you'll be getting even bigger, too!" He ruffled Konohamaru's hair. "Go on, go to bed now."

"Ok," Konohamaru conceded, leaving Goku's room to return to his own.

As soon as the sun came up, Goku went to find Sarutobi. "Jiji!" he called.

"Yes, Goku?" Sarutobi asked.

"What happened to me the night you cut my tail off and sealed it?" Goku asked.

Sarutobi had a grim expression on his face after hearing that question. "I was hoping you'd never ask that."

"Mizuki said I turned into some kind of giant monkey beast and nearly annihilated the village, Kyubi-style," Goku filled in. "I need to know from you, jiji. What happened?"

"To make a long story short, Mizuki was partly correct," Sarutobi explained. "On the first full moon after your tenth birthday, you transformed into a giant monkey and the transformation turned you into a berserker. We tried everything we could to stop you from destroying the village, but nothing worked; in fact, I think all we did was make you madder. Then I called Enma, my summon, and he deduced that your power might be seated in your tail and if it were to be cut off, you'd return to normal. Fortunately, he was right, and to make sure you didn't transform into that beast again, I placed a seal on the stump."

Goku stared at Sarutobi, almost uncomprehending. "So those dreams I've been having . . . they weren't just dreams. They really happened."

"In a way, yes," Sarutobi answered. "I'm guessing that's why you and Naruto became such good friends. You both understand what it's like to have a monster inside you, and I want you and Naruto both to understand that you are more than just the monsters you contain. You're both good boys who'll grow up to be good men and fine shinobi." He smiled. "Now, I remember you have Kakashi Hatake as your sensei. Am I right?"

"Yeah," Goku confirmed. "He's kind of weird, though."

"All powerful ninja are somewhat strange," Sarutobi replied, chuckling. "It's how we cope with the rigors of the job."

"Is he always late?" Goku asked.

"That is an unfortunate character flaw of his," Sarutobi admitted, "but he's a good man and a good shinobi."

Goku hugged Sarutobi. "I'll be back later, jiji! Right now, I gotta get ready to meet my team!" He dashed off, at which Sarutobi chuckled with amusement for his adoptive grandson's youthful antics.

Dressed in a blue gi and orange pants with his Konoha headband tied around his left arm, Goku went to the meeting spot Kakashi had pointed out to him and his teammates. The first person he met on his way there was Naruto, who wore his usual orange tracksuit. Without saying much beyond "hi," he joined up with Naruto and they went together to the meeting spot.

Eventually, they ran into Sakura and Sasuke, the latter being intensely tailed by the former, much to his annoyance. "Hey!" Goku greeted them.

Sasuke just grunted, while Sakura turned up her nose at Goku and Naruto. "Sakura!" Naruto greeted. "Do you wanna go out after the mission's over?!"

"No, thank you, Naruto," Sakura replied, turning to Sasuke with lovesick eyes. "Sasuke-kun, do you want to . . ."

"No," Sasuke answered bluntly.

Goku just shook his head with sadness at how Naruto and Sakura tried so hard to get the attention of someone who could barely be bothered to notice them. The irony was that Naruto was trying so hard for Sakura, who was trying so hard for Sasuke, and Sakura couldn't be bothered with Naruto in much the same way Sasuke couldn't be bothered with her. Then again, Sasuke probably couldn't be bothered with anybody but himself.

"Anybody eat?" Goku asked. "I ate a big one this morning!"

"Goku, you idiot!" Sakura yelled. "Kakashi-sensei said not to eat breakfast this morning!"

"Don't worry," Goku replied cheerfully. "I've got a pretty strong stomach."

"I didn't eat anything . . ." Naruto admitted.

"It'll be ok, Naruto," Goku said. "If you can hang on for a while, I'll get you something good to eat!"

"I ate," Sasuke said. "Besides, Kakashi probably doesn't think we'd be so stupid as to listen to him on something like that."

"Don't worry, Sakura; I'll get you something to eat, too!" Goku offered.

"No thanks," Sakura replied. "I'll eat with Sasuke-kun."

"I don't think he wants to eat with you," Goku mused. "I don't think he wants to eat with anybody."

"You don't know what you're talking about!" Sakura protested.

"Maybe I don't," Goku remarked with a shrug. "But considering all those times he's said 'no' before . . ."

Sakura pouted briefly. "You still don't know what you're talking about!"

Some hours later, Kakashi Hatake finally deigned to show up. "I always thought teachers were supposed to come to class on time," Goku remarked.

"Well, I'm not your conventional teacher," Kakashi answered. "Follow me."

Team 7 followed Kakashi into the forest clearing, where Kakashi turned to face them and held up a pair of small silver bells. "See these? These are what you'll need to take from me to truly achieve genin rank."

"I thought we already passed the genin test!" Naruto protested.

"No, you passed the Academy test," Kakashi corrected. "The Academy test simply determines who has the potential to actually make it to genin. Most don't pass the actual genin test, because they don't have what it takes. They know how to practice a few basic jutsu, but when it comes to real intestinal and testicular fortitude, they don't actually have it where it counts. I sincerely hope you do." He looked at Goku. "Oh, and just because you're the Hokage's grandson doesn't mean I'm under obligation to pass you."

Goku snickered. "Sure, and just because you're a jonin doesn't mean I have to hold back on you."

Kakashi smirked underneath his mask. "Brave kid, aren't you? Oh, I should mention one last thing – only the ones who actually manage to take a bell from me pass. Everyone else goes back to the Academy."

"Sensei, you're a jonin," Sakura pointed out plainly. "We're just genin. How are we supposed to beat you?"

"That, you'll have to figure out yourselves," Kakashi replied. "Of course, if you want to face me down in a fight . . . you'll have to treat it like a fight to the death, mine or yours."

Goku drew his staff from behind his back and it extended with a simple pulse of chakra channeled into it. "Then let's do this! Come on, everybody!" He charged at Kakashi, only to find that Kakashi had busied himself reading an orange-covered book. "Hey, what do you think you're doing? This is a fight!"

"I wanna see how it ends," Kakashi replied. "Besides, I didn't say start yet."

"Hey, wait a minute . . . it's those pervy books Grandpa's always reading when he thinks I won't catch him!" Goku shouted.

"They're literary masterpieces," Kakashi answered.

"Our sensei's a pervert!" Sakura screeched.

Sasuke looked like he could care less.

"The old man reads those books?!" Naruto exclaimed in startled horror.

"Yeah," Goku replied.

"Do you read them?" Naruto asked.

"No!" Goku exclaimed. "I don't even see what's so special about them anyway!"

"You . . . insult the great Icha Icha Paradise?" Kakashi asked. "All right, kid, now I really don't like you."

Prepare to like me less, Goku thought, and flickered into Kakashi's blind spot before swinging his staff and knocking the book out of his hand.

A Body Flicker without smoke or leaves . . . just sheer speed keeping him from being detected? Kakashi wondered, startled at how swiftly Goku had gotten past his guard. Just what is this boy?

"Hell, yeah!" Naruto shouted. "Nice job, Goku! It's my turn now!" He quickly formed a particular hand seal. "Shadow Clone Technique!"

Immediately, a large platoon of Narutos emerged around the original. "Let's get this pervert!"

The sea of orange charged Kakashi, intending to crush him with sheer numbers alone. By then, Kakashi had picked up his book and was reading it with one hand while fending off the Shadow Clones with the other. It was surprisingly easy, considering the numbers the Shadow Clones had on their side. Then again, Kakashi was one of Konoha's shinobi elite, and Naruto had just barely passed the Academy exam.

"A jonin-level ninjutsu, and you're able to use it so easily," Kakashi murmured, looking down at the once more singular Naruto Uzumaki. "Unfortunately, possession does not equal mastery."

This time, Goku attempted to repeat the trick he'd pulled in his first assault on Kakashi, but Kakashi had guarded his blind spot this time and grabbed Goku's staff. Undeterred by this turn of events, Goku let go of the staff and pulled another Body Flicker, reemerging to trip Kakashi with a leg sweep. Kakashi landed on his outstretched hand and pushed off it to contort in midair and land on his feet. By then, Goku had recovered his staff and was preparing seals for a familiar technique.

"Water Style: Raging Waves!"

Gathering as much chakra as he could, Goku exhaled a torrent of water that would have bowled over Kakashi if Kakashi hadn't used a replacement. "Very good," the jonin remarked from behind Goku, "but you should be more careful about throwing such a technique around. Your teammates could have been caught in the line of fire."

Just what is this kid, anyway? Kakashi wondered. That was a C-rank ninjutsu, and even stranger . . . he pulled all that water out of nowhere, like the Nidaime!

Goku immediately swung his staff at Kakashi, only for Kakashi to stop it by grabbing the end immediately aimed for him. Undeterred, Goku sent another pulse of chakra into the staff and it extended again, this time striking Kakashi in his masked face. The blow momentarily stunned Kakashi, but it was enough for Goku to make a dash for Kakashi's bells. He'd managed to touch them, but Kakashi recovered quite quickly, enough to draw a kunai, catch Goku, and pin him with the kunai at his neck.

"Goku!" Naruto shouted, going after Kakashi with a flying kick.

"Too slow," Kakashi replied, nonchalantly dodging Naruto's kick. Not one to give up, Naruto landed and spun for a tornado kick that Kakashi blocked with the spine of his book.

"Ow!" Naruto cried out. "What's that book made out of?!"

"Something tougher than you," Kakashi answered, just to get Naruto riled up. It worked, as Naruto just dashed headlong at Kakashi to save Goku, which didn't work at all since Kakashi just lifted his leg to kick Naruto in the chest, knocking him back. "Now, I see he's very important to you, and I can respect that, which is why I'm giving you one chance to save him. Kill Sakura Haruno right now, or Goku dies!"

"Hey, you can't do that!" Naruto yelled.

Sakura nearly passed out from sheer terror. He wouldn't . . . would he?

"Your best friend, or the girl you adore so much," Kakashi rephrased. "Tough choice, isn't it? That's what you get when you're a shinobi. You can't always save everyone, and some have to go down to save the rest. What's it going to be?"

Naruto drew a kunai. "Screw that! I'm not throwing away Goku's life for Sakura, and I'm not throwing away Sakura's life for Goku! I'm gonna protect them both!" He charged at Kakashi, kunai extended.

"Naruto, don't!" Goku shouted.

Just as Kakashi was about to smack Naruto aside again, instead Naruto jumped over Goku's head and swung his leg out for another tornado kick. While Kakashi had to tilt his head to evade Naruto's kick, it was enough distraction for Goku to elbow the jonin hard in the stomach, loosening his grip enough for Goku to slip free. Picking up his staff again, Goku used it to knock Kakashi's legs out from under him . . . only for Kakashi to somersault back onto his feet.

These two . . . are really something, Kakashi thought. Now to see if the other two are any good.

"Goku, why don't you and the loser step aside?" Sasuke suggested. "I'll finish Kakashi for you."

"Come on, Sasuke, you can do it!" Sakura shouted.

Naruto bristled, but Goku put a hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry. Besides, this guy talks tough. I wanna see if he can back it up."

Thus, Sasuke stood before Kakashi, with Naruto, Goku, and Sakura out of the direct line of fire. "You're not like the others, are you?" Kakashi mused aloud.

Sasuke just smirked and formed several hand seals, the last two recognizable as the horse and tiger seals. "Fire Style: Great Fireball Technique!" He inhaled deeply, and then exhaled a giant fireball that would have hit Kakashi had Kakashi not replaced himself with a log at the last second.

Genin aren't supposed to have the chakra reserves for that! Kakashi thought. Just as he was recovering, Sasuke had come after him with a roundhouse kick. Kakashi caught Sasuke's ankle, but Sasuke twisted to punch Kakashi in the face, only for Kakashi to catch his fist with his free hand. Twisting around, Sasuke attempted to grab the bells with his free hand, but Kakashi wised up to what his student was trying to do and elbowed him hard to knock him away from the bells.

"You're pretty good," Kakashi remarked. "But you're not as good as you think you are."

Just before Sasuke could ask what he meant, a hand grabbed Sasuke by the ankle and yanked him into the ground until only his head was above the surface. Kakashi smirked at him beneath his mask. "That was my Headhunter Technique. I'd like you to sit there and think for a while."

Kakashi looked around, only to find that the other three genin in his team were long gone, probably to assess their options while watching Sasuke fight. It didn't matter. He'd catch up to them soon enough. Right now, he had to finish his Icha Icha.

"Sakura, where are you going?" Goku asked.

"To save Sasuke!" Sakura replied, hurriedly storming away from Goku and Naruto . . . and the hiding place they'd found.

"But we need a plan!" Goku protested. "We can't take him solo!"

"You and Naruto were doing just fine!" Sakura shot back before leaving. That turned out to be a bad idea, though, as Kakashi was just close enough to put her in a special genjutsu. Leaves swirled around her, placing her in a trance where she was aware of nothing.

Then the illusion truly kicked in, and Sakura saw a bleeding and battered Sasuke crawling toward her, much to her horror. "Sakura . . . I need you . . ." he groaned.

And that was when Sakura was taken out of the game by a judicious chop to the neck from Kakashi. It was also at that moment that Goku, coming out of a flicker, punched Kakashi in the face, sending Kakashi flying much to the jonin's surprise. Goku flickered again, this time jaunting behind Kakashi to strike him in the back of the neck with a double-handed fist. As Kakashi fell, he was surprised by Naruto jumping up to accelerate his descent with a drop kick.

Kakashi landed on his hands and knees, and rolled up just in time to see Goku coming at him for another attack. "We'll see how he likes this," he muttered, flickering behind Goku. "Secret Technique: A Thousand Years of Death!" Then he sent Goku flying . . . by poking Goku's ass with his index fingers.

"What kind of sick trick was that?!" Naruto asked, appalled.

"Misdirection is a valued tool of the shinobi," Kakashi replied coolly.

"Why, you . . . !" Naruto charged Kakashi, intent on avenging Goku, only for Kakashi to use a replacement at the moment Naruto would have hit him. Reemerging behind Naruto, Kakashi inflicted the same Thousand Years of Death upon him that he'd done to Goku, sending Naruto flying into the sky. "Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh!"

When Naruto, Goku, Sakura, and Sasuke came to, they all found themselves tied to logs via monofilament wires. "What's going on here?!" Naruto asked. "Why are we tied up?!"

"Simply put, you suck," Kakashi replied bluntly. "None of you have what it takes to be ninja."

"What's that supposed to mean?!" Naruto yelled.

"You want an explanation?" Kakashi asked. "Fine. Naruto, you're impulsive and pathologically incapable of planning ahead, which makes you pathetically easy to beat. Goku, you rely too much on your skills as a brawler and throwing high-level techniques around, which will not serve you well in a real fight and will endanger bystanders around you. Sakura, you'd rather fawn over Sasuke like a lovesick schoolgirl and for all your academic capabilities, you have nearly no skills that would be useful in the field. Sasuke, you're the worst; if you had joined Naruto and Goku in fighting me, you would have stood a much better chance than you did by yourself. Instead, you treated your teammates as a hindrance when you should have made them your strength . . . you arrogant child."

He glared at all four with his visible eye. "Frankly, I don't think any of you are cut out to be ninja, so I'll be cutting you from the program." He paused, taking in their horrified and emotionally crushed faces before speaking again. "At least, that's what I should be doing, but I'm feeling particularly generous today, so I'm going to give you one last chance."

Kakashi untied Goku, Sakura, and Sasuke from the logs, pointing out some bento boxes resting on a tree stump. "I got some food for you three. I'm going to be gone for a while, and I want you to be at full strength when I give you your makeup test."

"Why are there only three boxes?" Goku asked. "There's four of us."

"Simple," Kakashi replied. "I'm punishing Naruto for his foolishness in this test. You're not to feed him under any circumstances . . . or else."

Then he was gone, and Sakura and Sasuke began to eat. Goku opened his bento box, and passed it to Naruto. "Hey, you want some?"

"Sure, but . . . won't you get in trouble?" Naruto asked.

"You're my best friend, Naruto," Goku answered. "If I get in trouble for helping my best friend, it's trouble I'm fine being in."

"Just one problem . . . my hands are stuck," Naruto remarked. "You'll have to feed me."

Just then, Sakura offered Naruto her bento box. "Eat up. You'll need your strength."

"Thanks, Sakura!" Naruto answered brightly.

"Yeah, whatever," Sasuke grumbled. "I'm gonna give you some of mine, too, just so you don't pass out from hunger and slow us down."

Thus, Naruto got a bite from Goku's, Sakura's, and Sasuke's bento boxes. "Yum, thanks!"

"You're welcome," Goku replied.

That was when Kakashi came back, though. "Why, you little . . . Do you know what this means?!" Amplifying his rage were the storm clouds that had suddenly gathered in the sky, making him seem all the more terrifying to the four genin.

"Naruto's our teammate!" Sakura yelled back. "What did you expect us to do, let him starve?!"

"Yeah, that's no way to treat a friend!" Goku agreed.

Sasuke just stared at Kakashi defiantly.

"You . . . pass!" Kakashi answered, smiling brightly beneath his mask as the storm clouds faded away as suddenly as they'd gathered.

"We pass?" Sakura asked, confused.

"A ninja must look underneath the underneath," Kakashi explained. "Yes, the rules are important for a ninja to follow, but even more important for a ninja is his or her comrades. Those who break the rules are scum, but those who abandon their comrades are even lower than scum. That was the point of my test all along, to see if you were willing to work as a team despite the odds against you – and you ultimately were. Congratulations, you're officially genin."

"Hell, yeah!" Naruto shouted. "Hey, wait, can you untie me?"

"Sure," Kakashi replied, untying Naruto. That was when Naruto noticed a carved stone sculpture with what looked like names inscribed in it.

"What's that?" Naruto asked.

"It's a memorial to this village's greatest heroes," Kakashi answered somberly.

"Cool," Naruto remarked. "Hey, what does it take to get your name on that memorial?"

"Sacrifice," Kakashi replied sadly. "The names of everyone I've ever loved are on that memorial."

"You mean they're dead?" Goku asked.

"Yes," Kakashi admitted.

"That's what it takes to get your name on that?" Naruto asked in disbelief. "You have to die?"

"It is the truest mark of a hero to give his life for his comrades," Kakashi replied simply. "Unless you are prepared to make that sacrifice, you cannot expect to endure as a ninja."

"Wow . . ." Naruto mumbled, unusually subdued.

"Come on," Goku said. "I'll treat us all to lunch."

"No thanks," Sakura replied. "I think I'll just . . ." Her gaze turned to Sasuke, who pointedly avoided looking at her or anyone else.

"Fine, more for me and Naruto," Goku quipped.

As Team 7 went their separate ways for the time being, Sasuke followed Goku. "What is it, Sasuke?" Goku asked.

"I want you to fight me," Sasuke answered.

"You wanna spar?" Goku replied. "Ok, but maybe later. Right now, I gotta see how the other teams did."

"Fine," Sasuke conceded, letting a slight smirk form on his face. "But you owe me a spar."

"Sure thing," Goku replied.

"Hey, Sasuke, how about you spar with me?" Naruto suggested.

"No," Sasuke replied bluntly. "You wouldn't be a challenge."

"Why, you –!" Naruto yelled, only to be cut off by Goku's hand on his shoulder.

"Come on, it's not worth it," Goku said. "Besides, I'll spar with you, and I'll make it so he'll have to notice you."

"Thanks, Goku," Naruto answered. "Hey, who do you want to see first?"

"I think I'll go with Hinata's team," Goku replied. "I kinda feel bad about her not getting to be on our team."

"Why?" Naruto asked.

"Because you'd be great friends," Goku responded simply. "And she's pretty nice. At least she's not always angry."

"Hey, are you saying . . . ?"

Goku just sighed. "Come on."

End Notes: Well, I might as well end it here. There were supposed to be scenes with Goku interacting with the other teams, but I felt that they were superfluous, i.e. they didn't really matter to the plot that much, so I decided not to put them in. I do hope you liked this chapter, though.

For the anonymous reviewer who said that I was using Goku to fix Naruto's problems in canon, I should mention that having a friend does wonders for a lonely kid. Secondly, Goku has his own problems, as you see at the beginning of this chapter, but they aren't going to stop him from being the best damn ninja he can be. Also, if you're wondering about Goku getting his ass kicked just like Naruto did, I should also mention that skill does not necessarily equal experience, which is why Kakashi still pulled out a win.

If you haven't been completely turned off by the amount of time you had to wait for this chapter, I promise that I will endeavor to bring you the third chapter much sooner than I brought you this chapter. Anyway, be sure to review and stick around for chapter 3!