Will of Fire, Heart of Rock

Disclaimer: I don't own the Naruto manga or anime.

AN: One of my reviewers has brought it to my attention that this story is similar to Lord Bear's fanfic The Greatest Shinobi War, which I've checked out. And yes, they are very similar. But I hadn't known about his work until 'ken' informed me of such.

But ignoring all of that, there are plenty of things different in this story when compared to his. Besides, that story has been discontinued for quite awhile. I've already PM'd him about the confusion, and he's not bothered.

I'm not a fanfic stealer. I've always thought it'd be cool to write about a story where Naruto goes to Iwa, the details have never been specific. The training arc was a convenient starting point. Sorry to Lord Bear and any of his fans whom this fic offends, as I've acknowledged from the few chapters I've read so far that his is much better than mine.

insomniac1: First of all, thanks for the review. In my and Naruto's defence he wasn't just 'winging' it. He found the closest elemental country and after finding it wasn't secure went to the nearest Hidden Village. He isn't practising the Hiraishin. By the time he is experienced enough in seals to do so, he'll most likely be in Konoha.

Besides that I can't really rebuttal your comments because they're true. Thanks for the constructive criticizm though.

Still Not Dead Yet: The armor Naruto now possesses isn't exactly like Han's, just in appearence. There aren't any real abilities that come with it, it was just Han's idea of a good set of armor/clothing since Naruto is going to be fighting some tough battles in the near future.

And the reason Naruto wasn't forced to use a full cloak of Kyuubi's chakra to regenerate was because it was only his first try (with a bunshin) so it would lack the power of one created by a Naruto who has taken the time to train with it. It still has a lot of power though, as Naruto's hand can attest to.

Anyway, this is the unfortunately un-beta'd chapter six.

XI

When Han returned from his mission and went to check up on his student, he was greeted with a rather nonplussing sight. His pupil lying on the ground holding the bloody stump that used to be his hand wasn't quite what Han had been expecting. Seeing crimson chakra surround his arm and begin healing the wound was. Han glanced at the armor that was supposed to be covering his right arm set off to the side.

So the gaki had expected whatever had happened to happen. Han surpressed his chakra signature, observing the blonde stem the bloodflow coming from his arm. A couple minutes later he was flexing his reattached hand to get the blood flowing in it. Then he created a kage bunshin and created a rasengan in his right hand.

Han watched in interest as the clone held both of its hands of the sphere, and concentrated. A humming disk suddenly spun to life around the rasengan. Han stared in brief awe at the spinning construct of destruction, before the cause of Naruto's previous injury decided to make itself known. It was subtle at first, a slight fluctuation in the disk, causing it to wobble ever so slightly.

The jutsu had been resting in his palm for less than three seconds when the disk briefly skimmed the rasengan. In a mighty explosion that blew Naruto backwards on his ass, the technique imploded. The bunshin had been forcefully dispersed, leaving Naruto once more clutching the bloody stump where his hand had been.

Han then made himself known, walking with deliberately loud steps. Naruto's head snapped up, his good hand reaching for a seal on his forearm. The genin relaxed when he recognized him as his mentor. Relief changed to nervousness when he noticed the glare Han was giving him. Pushing himself up, his hand once more healed, Naruto quickly attached his armor to his blood-stained arm.

"What the hell was that?" Naruto winced at the harsh tone, pawing the ground with his geta. His sensei was currently drawn up to his full height, an impressive sight all things considered. The fact that he couldn't see the bottom half of his face only worsened the intimidating image the jinchurriki presented.

"Well, my arsenal of jutsu isn't exactly extraordinary when you subtract the rasengan and kage bunshin. And Ero-sensei's always been telling me how the rasengan is an incomplete technique. So I've been trying to make my own variation of it." Han regarded his pupil curiously, anger momentarily forgotten.

"Who's 'Ero-sensei'?" Naruto chuckled sheepishly, remembering that not everyone referred to the echhi as such.

"That's what I call Jiraiya-sensei." Han processed this particular piece of information. So the kid was the apprentice of the Gama Sannin, eh? It wasn't all that surprising when he thought about it. Who else could the kid have learned the rasengan from? His eyes narrowed as that particular thought brought him back to his original source of annoyance.

"Now what about this variation you're trying to create?" Naruto nervously rubbed his arm, glancing up at the impassive face of his sensei.

"Well, since wind is my affinity, and one of the most destructive elements, I figured it would go well with the rasengan, which is purely chakra based. That's why I was doing all of those wind excersises when you found me. To get a better control over it before I tried to mix them" Han mulled over this, mentally organizing all the pros and cons of such a technique.

On the one hand, the jutsu seemed to require a large amount of control. And if that control wasn't present, it viciously backfired on the user. It also seemed to take a lot of chakra, but that wasn't really a concern for his fellow jinchurriki.

And then on the other hand, the technique promised unheard of destruction, just from the glimpse he'd seen of it. In theory the technique was ingenius, but in practise... Well, Naruto had experienced the difficulties such a jutsu presented firsthand. But Han had felt the power that jutsu had been radiating in waves. It was the perfect technique to combat the heavy-hitters of Akatsuki. Han motioned Naruto into his cave.

"Alright, sit down kid," Naruto obliged, "What you're trying to create is quite possibly an S-class jutsu, and it'll hurt you just as much as your opponent if you don't control it. The basic properties of the resengan that make it so destructive are the constan currents of chakra always spinning in different directions." Naruto nodded, adjusting himself on his cot.

"When you try to add wind into the mix, you're creating something far exceeding the rasengan in terms of pure destruction. But if the wind touches the rasengan, which is moving in all kinds of different direction, they'll grind against construct is going to be touchy, and will detenate at the slightest of contacts. When its two halves rub together, well, you know." Naruto could have sworn the jinchurriki was grinning down at him under his mask. Naruto grumbled, crossing his arms.

"Well how do I keep the wind and the rasengan from touching?" Naruto asked smartly. His sensei's eyes narrowed warningly.

"Don't get testy with me boy, I don't need to be doing this," Naruto recognized the underlying threat as what it was, the fact that Han could turn him into the Tsuchikage anytime he wanted to. "Since you don't have the time to adequately master the wind element, it would make things a bit easier to have an extra bunshin as to split up the tasks. You would create the original rasengan, one of your bunshin would supply the wind chakra, and the other would control it."

Naruto nodded, having thought of the idea a couple days ago. He'd dismissed it as being too impractical, but he hadn't been making much progress, so he didn't seem to have much of a choice. Naruto stood up, prepared for another bout of training. Han shook his head watching the blonde dive through the waterfall. The kid was certainly something, and Han didn't doubt that someday he might surpass him.

Ko studied the blade spectutively, observing the detail and workmanship his pupil had spent several painstaking days forging. They'd both decided on a katana, to help counter Naruto's short reach. It was a simple looking blade, the handle a deep crimson. The sheath the kid had decided on was a similarly bloody color.

Ko had intervened every now and again, making sure that Naruto didn't waste the expensive materials. Ko allowed a small amount of pride to make itself known, as this was the first large weapon his pupil had forged almost completely by himself.

The katana would be capable of chanelling wind chakra, something Naruto had been adamant about. All in all a beautiful weapon, not a masterpiece by any means, but that was to be expected. Ko handed him a significantly smaller amount of bills than usual and bid him goodbye, which he accepted gratefully.

A few minutes later Naruto was in training ground seven, having personally gone to the armory today to retrieve his blade. He experimentally channeled some chakra into the katana. Instantly a faint glow shown on the conductive metal. Concentrating it into wind, Naruto observed the near transparent edge the blade now held.

Giving it an experimental swing, Naruto watched in shock as the wind dislodged itself from the blade and sped into the training dummy. Naruto stared at the cut that had appeared in the wood. Gathering more of the volatile elemant, he gave another swipe, and another cut dug its way into the wood. A sadistic grin adorned his face. He was going to like this blade, he could already tell.

A few hours later he was in his dwelling, busily carving several seal into his armor. One of the first seals he'd found in the book was the Fuka Hoin seal, a fire absorber. And if what the description said was true it was an extremely powerful one at that. So he was currently carving said seal into each piece of armor and his sheath. He thoughtfully considered asking Ko-sensei to inscribe his katana as well. It wouldn't do to completely screw up his completely awesome chakra-conductive blade.

He then drew the seal on a slip of paper. Channeling chakra into it, he let it drop into the fire. He felt satisfaction course through him when the fire was slowly sucked into the un-singed seal. This would definitely come in handy later on.

Han had been pleased with Naruto's new weapon of choice. Naruto had felt proud that his sensei had acknowledged a weapon of his own making. Han offered to help him with his Kenjutsu so he could better wield his katana. Naruto agreed, the possibilities presenting themselves that would come with a competent amount of skill in the art too tempting to pass up. Now he was cursing the damn weapon and its existance for all he was worth.

Ducking under the flurry of kunai, Naruto was faced with another varitable wall of steely death. As he'd been forced to several times throughout the 'spar' Naruto made a hurried swipe with his sword. The wind blade erupting from the tip of the katana knocked several of the kunai and shuriken away, leaving a small gap.

Making several acrobatic twist and turns Naruto managed to make it through relatively unscathed. A sudden heat alerted Naruto to a recently created pheonix flower jutsu bearing down on him. Naruto sharp eyes didn't miss the cleverly hidden weapons just behind the fire's surface.

The jutsu was mere inches from his face leaving him no time to counter. Squinting his eyes shut and praying that it would work, Naruto channeled chakra into small black seal on his chest plate. Throwing his arms up as to shield his face, Naruto hoped for the best. A large amount of vapor erupted from his chest. The initial impact of the katon jolted him a bit, and there were several sharp impacts that were more or less blocked by the metal plates of his armor. But when he finally lowered his arms he saw that the only things remaining of the jutsu were faint traces of smoke around his armor and several scattered kunai.

Naruto wasted no time making the seals for the shunshin and concealing himself behind a large boulder. Thanking Kami for giving him the insight to add those seals to his armor, Naruto quickly went over his inventory.

Hm, almost out of kunai. Forget shuriken, he went through those things like ramen. He had a few mikabishi left, which would be useful when Han-sensei decided to work on his taijutsu again. Taking a few moments to partially release the tatto on his chest and give him a small boost in chakra, he shunshined behind a tree just as an explosive-tag wrapped kunai obliterated his recent hiding spot.

Rushing from behind the tree with what Naruto hoped was the element of surprise, he sent several mobile wind blades into the tree his sensei was currently situated in. It toppled over, leaving nothing but piles of wood. Naruto's shoulders tensed, feeling light gust of wind blowing behind him.

He spun around and brought up his katana, already reinforced with chakra. It met the clenched fist of the Gobi jinchurriki, and Naruto released a grunt, his muscles bulging as he strained to hold back the powerful punch. Not a moment later a condensed beam of stem erupted from his sensei's armor, spraying him right in the face. A small cry erupted from the back of Naruto's throat and he stumbled backwards, clutching his burnt face in agony.

Collapsing to his knees, he ripped his hands from his face, revealing angry red flesh. His burnt hands twitched uncomfortably as they ran through the seals for the Usui Kareda. Water from a nearby stream rose to incase him in a thin shield. Naruto allowed a small sigh to escape him as the pain was momentarily allevated. Forcing himself to his feet, he felt the healing properties of the Kyuubi slowly begin to heal his damaged face and hands.

The large jinchurriki walked towards him at a casual gait. It seemed their training session was over, Naruto thought with a relieved sigh. Han appraised Naruto for a moment.

"That was an interesting thing you did back there boy, what exactly was that technique you used to negate the effects of my Katon?" Han's eyes reflected his curiousity, something he'd been feeling a lot since he'd met the kid. Naruto glanced down at the small black designs.

"They're some seals from the book on sealing I've been studying, they obsorb fire. I figured it'd be useful to have them carved into my armor so they'd always be accessible. The details of the seal imply it doesn't make the fire disappear, so I'm unsure if I'll have to release the fire before I can re-use the seal." Naruto allowed his ego to swell the slightest bit when he saw the impressed glint in his sensei's eyes.

"Our training is over. Tomorrow we'll start on the basics of a simple kenjutsu style." Naruto nodded, sheathing his katana which had been stuck into the ground next to him. The Iwa-nin shunshined away, leaving Naruto to collect the fallen weapons. There was no use in wasting them, and Naruto could always sharpen the blunted ones.

An exhausted Naruto slowly walked through the streets of Iwa. Coming across a small ramen shop, Naruto mentally calculated how much money he had to spend and when he'd be getting his next paycheck. Deciding that he had enough for a small splurge, Naruto pushed aside the flaps of the cozey looking shack.

Kudo Daisuke had never been a rich man. In fact, one might go so far as to say his family had been drop dead poor for decades. A line of civillians, none too many of them with special talents. There was no family business for the children of the Kudo line to integrate themselves. As it were, most had been forced to open their own businesses, as job-openings were sparce in the village of Iwa.

They'd had their fair shair of relatives that had left for greener pastures, some merely traveling to other parts of the country, and a few daring to venture into other nations. They were a largely unassuming clan, and old man Daisuke was no exception. The owner of a small ramen stand in the slums of Iwa, he couldn't always afford the many bills that he was forced to pay. Let alone have the amount left over to hire employees.

That wasn't to say he was miserable though. He and his brothers and sisters had always been optimistic, a trait fairly common among their family. The glass was always half full, every storm cloud had a silver lining, etc. It was rather hard on the old man though. He didn't get much business, as a large percentage of Iwa's population consisted of ninja, and ramen wasn't the healthiest of substances.

Counting up the bills in the register, he decided he'd have to close up shop for the day. He hadn't had a customer in over an hour, and it didn't make much sense to keep all of his appliances on for nonexistent visitors. His hand had moved towards one of the stove's nobs when he heard a small rustling of fabric.

Daisuke looked up, surprised to see a tired-looking young man standing inside of the flaps that seperated his shop from the outside world. The blonde trudged over to one of the stools, sitting down with obvious relief. Daisuke smiled, quickly setting a pot of water on the stove to boil.

He hurried up to the counter, where his customer was surveying the menu hanging from the ceiling behind the counter. Daisuke amusedly noticed the small spark of longing hidden behind thoughful blue eyes.

"May I take your order, young sir?" Said person turned his attention to Daisuke, intense eyes studying him for a few moments. He then turned his gaze towards his armored limbs that had been previously resting on the counter. A few moments later several pieces of armor were resting on the smooth stone and the blonde was stretching his freed arms.

"Hm," the blonde hummed, seemingly having trouble deciding. "I'll take three large miso, please." He requested politely. Daisuke's eyes lit up at the hefty order, and he wasted no time totalling up the amount.

Naruto dug out the small pouch that held his money and counted out the appropriate sum. The chef nodded in thanks and hurried to the back. It was a few minutes later that a steaming bowl of miso ramen was set in front of Naruto, the second and third coming another couple of minutes later.

While the blonde was busy slurping up noodles, Daisuke took the chance to study him. His attire in particular struck a cord in the old chef's mind, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it... Oh! His mind suddenly recalled the small festivale that had been held after the Third Great Shinobi War. There hadn't been much to celebrate, but there had been two influencial figures that had recieved large amounts of praise for their amazing capabilities in the field.

The vilage's residint jinchurriki. The Gobi jinchurriki in particular. His unique choice of clothing was hard to miss, after all. He went back to studying his small customer, who had by now finished his first bowl and was halfway through his second. The similarities between the two were astonishing, the only differences being a few missing accessories and the pair of red wooden geta the boy was sporting.

Very strange, he thought to himself. The boy wasn't sporting a headband, which led Daisuke to believe he wasn't a shinobi. But why would a civillian wear a full set of battle armor? There was always the possibility of him being a samurai, but that seemed rather unlikely considering his young age.

His musings were interrupted by a small thanks from his customer, and he stared at the stack of empty bowls. Then up to the contented young man strapping his armor back on. That was certainly fast, he thought numbly, glancing up at the clock to see that the bowls had been set on the counter not ten minutes ago.

A small clatter brought him back to the present, and he once again stared at the counter. This time his attention captured by the small pile of coins that had been left there. He didn't recieve many tips. Looking up to thank his mysterious customer, he was greeted with an armored back.

The last thing he saw before the armored blonde disappeared through the flaps was a large sheath strapped to his back, the crimson color of it shining melevolantly. A stray thought reafirmed itself in his mind.

Very strange.

XI

The morning after his visit to Daisuke-san's ramen shack had Naruto carefully instructing a clone wielding a brush that had been dipped into the routine ink-blood-chakra mix. Next to him the book on sealing lay open to a page. The visible seal was unnamed.

After finishing up that process Naruto ate a hurried breakfast of dried fruit and juice. Leaving his cave, he proceeded to the beat up training ground he'd been doing most of his physical training. After several minutes of stretches, Naruto created a couple dozen shadow clones. The sun had risen a few hours ago and it was a cheerful day. The resounding peace was interrupted by a mental signal between the numerous figures.

Naruto's eyes flickered from left to right, his muscles a tight coil ready to spring. The most gutsy of the two dozen came at him like a raging bull. The subsequent duck and uppercut brought the number of opponents down to twenty-three. Twisting suddenly he exchanged a few blows with two bunshin, finishing both at the same time with a viscious roundhouse.

That was three.

A vibration under his feet brought his attention to the ground. Jumping up high, he just avoided the two arms that had emerged grasping from the earth. Landing with an almighty stomp he crushed the clone's hands and dispersed it. Another clone charge in with two kunai gripped in its hands. The clone coming up from behind didn't go unnoticed.

Just when the two had almost reached him, Naruto quickly backflipped. The metal plating of his geta clashed with his surprised clone's two kunai and sent them up in the air. Coming down, his sandals smashed against the clone that had been advancing from behind. Landing in a crouch, he sprung upwards. Grabbing the two airborne kunai, he sent one into the owner's skull and the other into another unlucky clone that had happened to be in his range.

Seven.

Flashing through seals, he faced an oncoming horde. All of their collective eyes widened, and dirt was kicked up in their attempts to stop and change direction. Naruto allowed himself a small smirk; too late. A raging wind erupted from his mouth, picking up dust and clones on its painful trip into several of the surrounding boulders and stumps.

Twelve.

Feeling a swell of chakra, Naruto turned towards the large disturbance. He cursed under his breath when he saw the three clones side-by-side just finishing up a string of seals. He tried to shunshin away, but couldn't gather the appropriate amounts of chakra before getting slammed with a jutsu he'd performed himself mere seconds ago. Only three times as strong.

Unfortunately, the clones had been situated behind him, and he shared a fate similar to his clones. The only difference being he didn't burst into smoke after the strong flash of pain that coursed through his back. Landing in the stream he'd summoned his shield from the previous day, he took a moment to regain the breath that had been knocked out of him. A mistake.

The instinctual jerking of his head prevented it from being forcefully torn off by the strong stream of water that had been sent towards him. Drawing the liquids around him into a shield, he allowed himself a smug grin when the next stream splashed harmlessly against him.

He heard the tell-tale taps of a clone travelling across the water towards him. Playing dumb, he stood and pretended to examine one of the seals on his skin. Turning on a dime, he grabbed the back of the surprised clones head and slammed it into the hard ground of the shore.

Thirteen.

Drawing several shuriken he sent them at the group of clones that had sent him into the wall with their combined daitoppa. Clenching his eyes shut in concentration, he shoved both hands forward. A small gust of wind shot outward, speeding the shuriken along faster than the trio of clones could react.

Turning towards the remaining eight clones, Naruto settled into a ready stance. Easily catching the thrown punch from one of his clones, he yanked it forward and sent a crushing elbow into its head. He rolled his eyes when he saw the two clones coming at him from either side. Taking a step back, he grabbed both by the backs of their heads and slammed them into eachother.

Nineteen.

Summoning a wind blade, he quickly dispatched three more incoming clones. The fourth whom had been observing him summoned its own and they engaged in a brief clash. The force Naruto put into his slash couldn't be matched by the measly clone though, and it was soon gone.

Twenty-three.

The remaining clone and the original stared at eachother for several moments. Wordlessly, the clone retrieved three kunai, which were clenched between its left hand. The other gripped a deadly wind blade. A quick burst of chakra later, it was speeding towards its creator.

Right into a rasengan. Currently the noblest of deaths any clone had recieved today. Naruto tiredly wiped the sweat from his brow, chest heaving ever so slightly.

Twenty-four.

Calming himself, glanced up at the sun's position. Cursing filled the field moments later. Han would be at the field in a few minutes for their kenjutsu lesson and he'd left his armor and katana back at the camp. He disappeared a moment later in a swirl of leaves.

In his frantic state he didn't notice the awed children hiding behind a large rock. There had been no school at the academy today, and a group of friends had decided to get some training in at the nearest training grounds. The inspiring performance would be remembered by the small group of students for years to come and would always serve as a source of motivation.

XI

AN: Hey there people, hope you enjoyed the chapter. Not much to say besides that, except that I'm still lookinig for a bet. Word count was somewhere around mid 4k. Review.