Chapter 8: Encounters

Hope you enjoy this chapter.

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The red gates of Konoha came into view of the small party coming up down the road. The guards at the gate looked up, and watched as Team 7 walked through the gates.

"I'll go report to the Hokage. All of you go home and get some rest. Meet at the same place, same time tomorrow." With that Kakashi dismissed his students. He laid a hand briefly on Haru's shoulder. He then vanished with a puff of smoke, probably heading to the Hokage's office to report. His students took a few minutes but eventually dispersed. Naruto, strangely quiet, headed off without a word. He was too tired to act like his normal hyper self. Sakura went in the opposite direction after a few minutes of fussing over Sasuke and Haru. The two victims of her affections were glad that she took off so soon to go rest, since they needed to do the same. When the noise of both of their teammates faded, Sasuke took a look at Haru.

Haru's eyes were still blank, no emotion in them what's so ever; he had been like that since they had left. There were moments where he was relatively normal, but then there would be something to trigger his memories. Sasuke knew he just had to heal, and time would do something to help him. He couldn't know what his cousin was thinking, since he didn't know what it felt like. When they had faced the Demon Brothers, he had literally fried one of them but he didn't think of that as a real kill. The man had been pathetic, and had not lived up to his reputation as one half of the infamous Demon Brothers. Sasuke was glad that Zabuza and Haku had decided to stay in Wave. With them along, it would have been harder for Haru. It was obvious that Haru would need someone to talk to, after the whole experience. He had talked to Kakashi, and that had helped. Maybe he just needed more talks with Kakashi and time to heal.

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A few mornings later Haru, who was walking to the market to buy some fruit (and a few other things like Sasuke's favorite brand of tomatoes), ran into Naruto. Around Naruto there were three kids, one of which he recognized as the Hokage's grandson. If he remembered right, his name was Konohamaru and Konohamaru absolutely adored Naruto. The other two kids were Konohamaru's playmates, Moegi and Udon.

"Boss, Boss, you said you would play ninja would us!" Konohamaru was saying to Naruto when Haru walked up. Naruto, who was not in the mood to be playing ninja (isn't that a funny thing, a ninja playing ninja), looked at Haru for support. But he was not to find it in the young Uchiha.

"You did promise, Naruto. Besides, we have no more missions or training to do today. Sensei cancelled today, so you have time to go…play ninja with these…upcoming ninja." Truthfully, he wanted some entertainment. Sasuke had trained himself until he was sick the other day (trained until he was too weak to stand, in the hot sun therefore making himself look like a fried, or very burnt, fish; and so found himself in bed with the flu), and so was under doctor's orders to STAY in bed. Sasuke would have found some excuse to use the little energy he had to train, or something, if Haru hadn't tied him to the bed. In his sick state, he was unable to undo the knots. Not that he wasn't trying, but Haru was confident that he wouldn't be able to do so today. He would be better probably tomorrow, since Sasuke had always gotten over illness quickly. So had Haru and every other Uchiha he had known, so it must be in the genes.

He needed some entertainment. Besides, having to look after Sasuke when he was sick, meaning cooking and anything else was tiring. He was BORED…and watch Naruto play ninja would make sure to keep him entertained. He couldn't totally make it too hard for the little not-quite-Genin. Sasuke would get hungry since it was nearing dinner time, but he won't starve.

Naruto gave a defeated sigh, just a little too low for the kids to hear, and gave in. "Fine. Just let me drop this," indicating the plastic bag he was carrying full of groceries, "off at my apartment. How about you go save our spot for me, and I'll be there soon."

Konohamaru and his gang ran off to save the spot, letting out loud yelps of joy as they went. When they got out of hearing, Naruto gave a weak glare at Haru. "I don't feel like playing ninja today, you know."

Haru hummed in response. "I know." He glanced at the other, noting his appearance. He did look out of it. "You sick today?" Naruto grunted in response. "Funny so is Sasuke. Wonder if Sakura is too." Sasuke, miserable in his bed, sneezed. In her house, a pink haired girl felt her head again. She was burning up. She sneezed all of a sudden and went to lie down.

From where Konohamaru and the others had run to, there was a sudden cry. They recognized it as Konohamaru. Naruto and Haru exchanged a quick glance, and walked rather quickly around the corner to where Konohamaru had run off to. As they rounded the corner, they saw that a foreign Shinobi was holding Konohamaru up by his shirt. The ninja was dressed…differently, with war paint (Naruto snickered 'make-up'), black clothes, and a weird strange hate with cat-ish 'ears' on the top. His companion was a tough looking blond girl with four ponytails. Both had the symbol of the Sand Village on their headbands.

The foreigner was saying, "You'll pay for that twerp!" to the terrified Konohamaru. His playmates Moegi and Udon were shouting at the Shinobi to let him go, who was ignoring them.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." The weird kid with the paint started. Looking over at them, he scowled at Haru.

"I don't see why not. This brat ran into me and needs a lesson."

Haru's eyebrow went up. "Hm. Well okay, since you do want to cause a diplomatic incident by beating up the Hokage's grandson go ahead." The paint-kid immediately dropped Konohamaru, who scampered behind Naruto with a look of terror. His playmates grabbed on to him, and hid more behind their 'boss'.

The other boy grew angry, "I knew that! I was…just playing with him. You calling me a liar?" Haru just 'hm' in response, and adopted a look of slight contempt on his face. Only those well versed in "Uchiha-speak", though, could decipher the message being conveyed completely ('You need to get a mental check-up, since you're acting like an idiot. Don't waste my time.') Teammates and the kids looked at him in surprise. At the moment, Haru was acting differently. He was doing a really good impression of Sasuke, a much emotionless, almost arrogant Sasuke. They didn't know it, but he was doing a good impression of the deceased Fugaku Uchiha. He had seen his uncle do this sort of thing often, so he could copy it. Of course, even he knew how to do "Uchiha-speak" when the situation called for it, or when he couldn't be bothered to do more; Which was actually much of the time regarding those outside of his circle of friends (the idiotic villagers who couldn't mind their own business or to stop their hero-worshipping of both last Uchihas).

The sand Genin growled at his response, and started to take off the wrapped up…thing…on his back. His teammate, the blond with the four ponytails, made a noise in alarm. "Kankuro! You're not going to use…it!"

"This punk needs to learn a lesson, Temari! Stay out of it." Kankuro snapped back, narrowed eyes still on the stoic Uchiha. He really wanted to wipe that smug look on the arrogant ass's face!

"No, Kankuro! What if…HE…sees?" The blond, now named Temari, hissed back. She was looking around, almost terrified of the prospect of being seen by…this He she talked about.

"He's not here. It won't take long…"

Haru and Naruto too, sensed someone. Naruto, with his better senses then most, smelled the faint hint of blood. To both of them, whoever it was….felt off.

"Kankuro. Put that away." An emotionless voice sounded out, coming from the tree. All heads turned quickly or well slowly in Haru's case, and saw a red-haired boy there.

"But..., Gaara…." Kankuro stammered out, stopping all movements. He was obviously terrified of the red-haired boy. Temari too, by her pale face.

"You're an embarrassment to our village." Gaara stated. Gaara had red hair that was the color of blood, and had a large tan gourd on his back. His metal hand plate with his village symbol was on the gourd's slash. His black rimmed eyes turned to Haru. "I apologize on his behave. He will be punished." Haru nodded back at him, accepting. He was also curious about this newcomer. He watched intently, eyes narrowing.

Naruto was looking intently at Gaara. There was something about him…he got the strangest feeling… There was the faintest hint of a whisper coming from the back of his mind, but that disappeared quickly.

"What is your name?" Gaara asked, looking at Haru intently.

"Haru Uchiha. This is Naruto Uzumaki." Haru answered, not liking the look that Gaara was giving him. It seemed…bloodthirsty…

"Haru Uchiha, we will meet again." With that, he moved off leaving his teammates to hurry after him. Temari, after giving Haru a brief smile, moved off. Haru Uchiha, hm. He was pretty cute. Even the people of Suna had heard of the might of the Uchiha Clan, and the tragedy of one night. She glanced at Gaara, and then shared a worried look with Kankuro. Gaara was interested in the Uchiha, they both could see it. And being interested for Gaara only meant one thing. She just hoped that Uchiha survived.

Naruto went to call after them, but Haru moved to stop him.

"They're here for the Chunnin Exams. This year it is being held in Konoha. We're going to see much more of them as it gets closer."

"Chunnin Exams, huh? How do we enter?"

"That's for Kakashi to decide. But I wouldn't count on it. We're only rookies, relatively fresh out of the academy." He glanced at the kids behind Naruto. "Weren't you going to play ninja with the mini-ninjas?" That set off the three, who seemed to shrug off their terror. They clamored around Naruto, begging him to play ninja with them. They dragged him off, not giving him a chance to say good bye.

Haru glanced in the direction that Gaara had gone, frowning. Humming in thought, he started in the direction of home. He needed to train, just in case.

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One a hill that was some ways from Konoha, a single figure stood watching. The figure was a young woman, a Genin from Grass from her head band. But in reality, it was a certain snake Sannin disguised.

Orichamaru looked at the place that had been his home years ago. It hadn't changed that much. Some of the walls and buildings were new, from when Kyuubi attacked, but otherwise it was the same. It would give him deep satisfaction to burn the whole place down, but right now he had other things to deal with. Someday, maybe he would. His eyes moved, to look in the direction of the empty buildings of the Uchiha district. His target was there.

After his humiliating defeat at Itachi Uchiha's hands, he almost immediately started to plan. Of course, he started to plan after he shook off Akatsuki. Besides Itachi, there were two other Uchiha alive. Itachi had left his little brother and cousin alive when he had killed off the rest of the Uchiha. Both had the Sharingan. Sasuke Uchiha had activated his during his last mission, if his spy could be believed, and Haru Uchiha should activate his soon too. If there was one thing his spy had reported to him, when one did something the other were not far behind.

The choice he had been left with was which he should go after, or both of them. He only needed one body that had the Sharingan, not two, but both boys were powerful. It would be foolish to even leave the other to become a powerful enemy. He would have to choose soon. He had an idea, but there was room in his plan. He would wait to choose in the Forest of Death. He knew it was going to be held there, so all he had to do was wait. His eyes narrowed in anticipation.

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That very same day that Naruto and Haru encountered the Sand team, a meeting was taking place in the Hokage's office. Most of the Jounin was there, especially the Jounin instructors. There were also a handful of Chunnin throughout the crowd. Everyone mingled, but it was obvious by the curious glances being thrown at three of them that they were wondering if the rookies were going to be entered. Kakashi was standing near the back, reading his 'precious'. He wouldn't be late for an important meeting like this. The Hokage would kill him. Speaking of the Hokage, he soon entered the room and the room went quiet. All of the Jounin looked at their leader, and Kakashi put away his book.

The Hokage looked at everyone in the room. "As all of you know, that time of year is here again. Many of you will undoubtedly be entering your students, but first let us give the rookie sensei's a chance to nominate first, if they so choose."

Everyone looked at the three. All three then spoke a series of words that shook and amazed many in the room.

"I, Kurenai Yuuhi, nominate Kiba Inuzuka, Shino Aburame, and Hinata Hyuuga, for the Chunnin Exams."

"I, Asuma Sarutobi, nominate Ino Yamanaka, Chouji Akimichi, and Shikamaru Nara, for the Chunnin Exams."

"I, Kakashi Hakate, nominate Sakura Haruno, Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Haru Uchiha, for the Chunnin Exams."

It looked like all ten rookies would be entering this Chunnin Exams, and everyone wondered how they would stand up to the opposition.

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The next morning, all sick members of Team 7 had recovered. Sasuke still wouldn't talk to Haru. Haru had returned to the house after meeting the Sand team, but had forgotten the tomatoes that Sasuke wanted. He did talk about the encounter, and talked about what they knew about the other Shinobi; which of course wasn't that much. One thing they knew was that Gaara was dangerous, since even his teammates were terrified of him. Why they didn't know, but it had to be something big. They resolved to talk to Kakashi about being entered into the Exam, but it turns out they didn't need to.

Kakashi was on time that day, and gave them the entry forms to be turned in for the first Exam tomorrow. He advised them to get some sleep and rest, and to go prepared for anything.

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They all came prepared. Each member of team 7 had packed all their gear, which together wasn't that much for each of them. As a present after their first completed mission, Kakashi had given all of them several storage scrolls. They didn't have to use them, but they were there if they wanted to. Each one, made by a friend of Kakashi, was programmed to open to only each person's blood, and only their blood. Naruto's would only open his and etcetera. Kakashi had given them a quick lesson on how to use them. The scrolls were made to be virtually indestructible, immune to all but him hottest of fires, and other damage. Due to being programmed by blood to their carrier, no one could take them off their owner without permission. (Btw, Sakura's was a red, Naruto light orange mixed with mostly black, Haru green and black, and Sasuke blue).

So in each scroll, each member of team 7 packed a week or more worth of supplies. The small hint that Kakashi had given them on their mind. They had tents, food, water (made possible by the lovely water canteens that could carry enough for a month for each person and still weigh very little), extra weapons, and a few more gadgets. Sakura had packed the most medical supplies, since she had been going to the lessons Kakashi had made her go to. The other three had a few med kits too, but not that much. They were prepared for anything. So, with their papers in hand, they entered the academy and headed for the third floor.

They were allowed in to the building easily. The Chunnin at the front desk just took a look at their papers, and waved them through. When they got to the third floor, they looked around in confusion. The room they were told to get in to was blocked by two older 'Genin'. A large group of Genin from all villages stood in front of the door, trying to get in to no avail. Naruto went to demand his way though, but Sasuke stopped him. Haru drew him to a side, and whispered in his ear, gesturing to Sakura. Nodding, Team 7 stood in the back of the group. Naruto noticed another Team nearer the door, and went to say hello but was stopped by Haru. Quickly, and silently, Team 7 drew their hands up in a hand seal and whispered, "Kai."

The Genjutsu shattered, and Team 7 saw that they were only on the second floor. They saw a different staircase in the corner, very far from the group still in the Genjutsu. Silently, they snuck that way. They went mostly undetected but for the disquised Chunnin at the door. The two Chunnin saw them break the Genjutsu, and smiled. There was one more team that seemed to be able to pass the Exams. Since they decided not to engage the two at the door, they were helping to weed out many of their would-be-opponents. Soon after, Lee's team stopped their act and did the same. By deciding to do this, Lee didn't have time to challenge Sasuke or his rival Naruto.

Kakashi was waiting for them by the door, leaning against the wall with his little book. Looking up, his oozed relief. "Good, good. You all decided to show up."

"But, sensei, you said that we could of individually come." Sakura protested.

Kakashi eye-smiled. "Ah, but if one of you had not shown none of you would have been able to enter. But you all did, so you don't have to worry about that. This is a team test, not an individual one. I see you're all prepared, so go right in."

Before they could, they heard "MY ETERNAL RIVAL! YOU HAVE WON ONCE AGAIN!"

Kakashi sighed and turned his head to look at the approaching Gai. "Oh?"

"YOUR COOL HIP ATTITUDE OUTDOES ME AGAIN! YOUR YOUTHFUL TEAM HAVE ARRIVED EARLIER THAN MY OWN YOUTHFUL TEAM." Behind the Green Beast of Konoha stood his students, well his two normalier ones. Neji and Tenten looked pained, and moved to protect their hearing. Lee, though, was going right with it. He, though, had other things to focus on. He had seen Sakura, who had tried to hide behind her male teammates. It didn't work. Fortunately Kakashi put a stop to it.

"You better get in. Good luck." The rescued Genin gratefully opened the door, and slipped in. Neji and Tenten followed quickly, with Lee eventually coming in too. As soon as they entered, Team 7 was hit with huge amounts of killer intent. The room they had just entered was full of over a hundred Genin from numerous villages, and they looked over as they came in. This was not good.

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Sorry this is short and not much action. This is kind of filler in. Will get the next chappy out soon