Chapter 6-Pieces being placed
Sephiroth found it was somewhat ironic that it would be his clan home of all places he would seek refuge from the rest of the Leaf, but sensed the location was the only form of housing that would let him rest without any outside interferences, and rightfully so due to his heritage. As for the Namikaze Estates itself, the building wasn't as massive as say the Hyuuga Compound, or the Uchiha District that once housed well over a hundred Uchiha. It was slightly smaller then the Hyuuga Compound, but still had a majestic look about it, and wasn't anything negative the more snobbish people of those other clans could say to change that fact.
Not that the members of the Uchiha Clan could since all, but a handful were alive, and only one of them was in the village.
Even then, the Uchiha within the Leaf was just a runt at best, and a waste of a life at the very worst.
Touching the door with his hand, Sephiroth waited for the security seal to appear on the door, and scan his hand knowing it would check his chakra signature to see if he really was a Namikaze. Sure enough, the seal glowed green to indicate he was a Namikaze, and the seals surrounding the home from alarms to the man explosive tags underneath the foundation of the Namikaze Estates deactivated. Opening the door, the swordsman had motioned with his head for Haku to follow, and found the place to be well preserved in time from the last moments it was used over a decade ago. There was some dust, which was natural, and the smell coming from the kitchen told the two that it would need to be cleaned out of expired foods.
"Do you think it is safe to be here Sephiroth-sama?" said Haku looking around the house that once housed so many of her Master's kin.
"The security seal prevents anyone not of Namikaze descent from entering this home, which by the looks of things hasn't been touched since my...Father sealed it up, and there is no one else that could enter here now except myself. I'll reactivate the seals soon, but for now, we need to clean, and freshen this place up before we can rest," said Sephiroth, as he made several clones, and sent them to work.
"I will help them," said Haku, as she made a Shadow Clone herself thanks to her Master teaching the Jutsu to her, and warned about its high chakra usage.
"While they work, let us spend some time resting in one of our rooms, and regain our lost strength," said Sephiroth, as he walked up the stairs of the home, and found a room his Mother had made him upon learning she was pregnant.
Opening the door slowly, Sephiroth's eyes softened at the sight of the room made for a baby, filled with a Mother's love, and joy in bringing a child into the world. With his mind, Sephiroth pictured what life would have been like with Kushina raising him, and showering his person with love. The smiles, the laughter, the loving words that a Mother gives her child everyday with, and what every child wants to hear.
It was by this point, Sephiroth felt something watery run down his cheeks, and raised his hand to his face to touch the liquid that descended from one of his eyes. He was crying! The great Namikaze Sephiroth, the butcher of Midgar, the One-Winged Angel of Death with the power to bring all life to its knees, and not care about the consequences...was crying!
"Sephiroth-sama?" aid Haku, as she saw him staring at what was in the room, and then at his face before she gasped at the young swordsman's face to see the tears that ran down it.
"It's all right Haku. Just...seeing shadows of what could have been," said Sephiroth, as he shut the door, and walked away from the room.
'Sephiroth-sama,' thought Haku, as she looked at the door of the shut room, and realized what he meant by that statement.
It was then Haku knew what she had to do and damn the punishment that would come of it.
(Shinobi Academy Room #301)
"So he is here. In the village?" said Sasuke with a show of interest.
"Yes. From what he told us, Sephiroth is the Jounin sensei for the Genin team from the minor Shinobi village of Sound, and is using the laws setup by the Daimyos of the Elemental Countries to come here with temporary immunity," said Shino, as he saw Sasuke fuming at the considered "dead last" of their Shinobi Academy being titled the rank of Jounin, and a sensei to boot.
"Troublesome. Our original sensei was suppose to be Sarutobi Asuma. When he learns that his Father's killer is in the village, there is no telling what will happen between those two, and if we'll have to bury another Leaf Shinobi," said Shikamaru, as he ran a hand through his hair, and saw his teammates were slightly scared by this news.
"What skills do you think the Sound team has? I wonder how strong they are if they were trained under Sephiroth," said Kiba, as he glanced slightly at the team on the side keeping to themselves despite the looks people gave them at hearing the Leaf Genin talk about their sensei.
"In any case, we need to keep an eye on them, and be cautious during these exams should we be required to fight," said Shino while eyeing Hinata seeing her trying not to think about fighting Sephiroth's team.
There was no telling what the swordsman really thought of Hinata or why he kept on stating the potential she had was almost monstrous to his point of view.
"They're nothing compared to an Uchiha. Just a bunch of runts taught by a dead last, who is considered strong among weaklings, and are no doubt weak themselves," said Sasuke waiting for the Genin team to attack him in anger, and allow everyone to see them be shown up by his elite superiority.
Had Sephiroth not taught them patience, then that might have happened, and forced the Sound team for everyone to see what they could do from the start. However, they didn't rise to the challenge, and instead looked at the Uchiha with a bored look on their faces before looking away.
When someone tries to provoke you into fighting by forcing your anger to the surface, use it against them by ignoring their words, and make it seem like your provoker is the one being pathetic. They in turn will become angry, wanting to lash out, and make their own moves predictable. One of you may have to reveal a small sample of your skills, but a small price to pay in order to take down someone supposedly stronger, and better in being a Shinobi.
And true to Sephiroth's words of wisdom he empowered their minds with, the Uchiha got angry at not being acknowledged for his words, and tried to charge forward had his own teammates stopped it. Not that it mattered, as it had the direct results of making Sasuke look weak, and hot headed in front of everyone not from the Leaf to use in the future should they encounter him. It made the Sound team look professional, as well as a force to be reckoned with, and the further made Namikaze Sephiroth a more notorious figure in people's minds.
"All right listen up! The first part of the Chuunin Exams start now so everyone take a seat to sit down in and shut up unless I tell you to speak!" said the scarred face proctor of the room that was Morino Ibiki.
'It's a good thing Sephiroth-sensei taught us to be patient. That outcome could have made us look like fools,' thought Dosu, as he went to his assigned seat, and waited for the paper test before him to be handed out.
(Hokage Tower-30 Minutes Later)
"We can't let him leave here! He needs to be punished!" said a Civilian Councilman with light red hair that in a certain light could be mistake for a light shade of pink.
"And how exactly do you intend for that to happen councilman Haruno? The boy is now an official member of the newly formed Sound village in Rice Country and the laws of the treaty during the founding of the Shinobi villages was quite clear. His Genin team is taking the first part of the exam right now and has temporary immunity until his team fails or makes it to the end of the exams," said Tsunade, as she knew the people before her would want a meeting to discuss this, and hated the fact it happened so soon after she spoke to her Godson.
"The moment the Chuunin Exams ends, we order every ANBU, and Jounin to place him under arrest before throwing him in a cell with Ibiki. Afterwards, Inoichi can go into his mind, and then destroy Sephiroth from the inside," said the Haruno Councilman knowing if anyone could destroy their enemy it was those two.
"It's not possible. The laws on the matter are clear, straightforward, and any attempt to work around them is impossible. After the Chuunin Exams are over, all contestants that are from foreign Shinobi villages have 24 hours to leave, and not a minute sooner. If you provoke such things, it will bring down the wrath of other countries, and their Shinobi too. Fire Country cannot withstand the might of so many possible enemies that would leap at the chance to destroy us over something like this," said Aburame Shibi, who under Tsunade's orders was to research the laws thoroughly before the meeting started, and help her prevent a major incident.
"So we just let him go? After all he's done? He killed the Sandaime! Not to mention the Kyuubi inside of him makes his life all the more forfeit!" said the Haruno Councilman, as he wanted the former blonde killed twice over, and remove the village's stain from it.
"And what have you all done to him? How much abuse did he have to take before you were satisfied? How much?" said Tsunade, as she couldn't take this meeting anymore, and hated the fact these arrogant fools wanted to provoke Sephiroth like a kid with a stick would jab a sleeping dragon right in the eye.
"The Sandaime had...," said the Haruno Councilman, but was silenced by Tsunade's fist hitting the desk, and the killer intent that covered the room.
"The Sandaime was an old fool! He should have left the boy in my care rather then trying to prevent a prophecy he helped bring about by letting you bakas here hurt the boy. I know my old sensei had the support of the Fire Daimyo for this, but I don't care if he did because the Sandaime was wrong, and so was the Fire Daimyo for giving his blessing on the matter," said Tsunade, as she heard the gasps of the people in the room, and saw them looking at her like she just denounced Kami.
"Hokage-sama, if the Fire Daimyo hears you say that he'll strip of your title, and imprison you for such blasphemy," said Koharu, as she eyed Danzo give a brief smirk, and knew the man would let such information slip.
"Let him find out! I don't care since it's the truth and he's just being an arrogant prick in not seeing it. This village along with Fire Country need me more then I need either them right now. Without my help, the Leaf wouldn't even be considered the strongest Shinobi village anymore, and would start to decline in power. This meeting is over! Get the Hell out of here before I make you!" said Tsunade, as she pointed to the door, and glared at the people in the room that wanted to do what she felt was the stupidest thing in the world in wanting to take down Namikaze Sephiroth.
It couldn't be done.
(Namikaze Estates-Sometime Later)
Sephiroth had awakened from his slumber in the King Size bed of the Master Bedroom of his once great family, finding it to be just as comfortable as the last bed he had rested in back centuries ago when things were much different compared to now, and looked at the figure sleeping next to him with a frown. The figure that was Haku had approached him, as he was about to enter his bed, wearing crimson robes that did little to hide the growing figure the female ice user possessed, and walked up to his person before hugging him with all her strength.
It was only when Sephiroth felt her fingers hit a specific pressure point just below his neck near his right shoulder did the silver haired swordsman realize what had happened before sleep claimed him and the ice user apologizing for such actions. Right before his mind fully entered the land of dreams after being placed on the bed, Sephiroth had heard Haku's robes leaving her body, and then felt that same feminine form move on top over his before telling him that she would accept any punishment after this. That this physical contact was more for him then for her and that didn't want him to suffer from things from his past that kept plaguing his mind.
For his part, Sephiroth was confused on how he could punish Haku for this, and found that he couldn't find it in his mind to do such a thing. What Haku had said about the body contact when they slept was indeed more for himself then for her in easing his mind when asleep. Though Sephiroth was sure it was an added bonus for the female ice user to help forestall his initial punishment after what happened with Konoha's Genin team 8 with her killer intent aimed at Hinata.
Could he even punish her for that now? Could he punish her for that when it was clear this action Haku caused had helped give him the most peaceful slumber he's ever had in possibly...forever! Her loyalty to him was beyond anything he had ever seen in this life or his past back in SOLDIER when most would have despised him for what he was despite the cruelty behind his actions.
No. He couldn't punish Haku now. Loyalty counted for something and this girl had given it to him without hesitation in her actions. Watching his back when walking, even though it wasn't even warranted, and eyeing for all potential threats when he knew who was a threat to his person before she did.
Trying to rise from his bed, Haku's right hand on his chest held onto him further, and Sephiroth heard the girl mumble his name while trying to keep him in the bed. Deciding to humor the girl, Sephiroth laid back on the bed, but raised his right hand to create an orb of energy, and said "Scan: Leaf Academy Room #301" in a whispered voice. The end result of his spell showed him seeing the students finishing the written part of the exam and a strange if not wild purple haired woman quite literally crashing right through the window of the room to reveal herself to be the next proctor.
"Haku its time to get up," said Sephiroth, as he needed to have a moment with his team before the next part of the exam started, and knew his window was only open for a short time.
Besides, he wanted to make his presence known to the other Genin, and put another part of his plan into action.
"I don't want to Sephiroth-sama and you need your rest," said Haku in a sleepy voice, as she looked up at him, and had to hold back this urge to kiss him like they were lovers.
"I've rested enough thanks to your efforts Haku. Consider my standing punishment now lifted," said Sephiroth, as he saw the girl become more awake, and then look at him with disbelief on her face before glomping onto him with incredible force.
"Thank you Sephiroth-sama. I'm not worthy of your mercy," said Haku, as she had tears of joy flowing down her face, and felt Master's hand touch her back.
Directly in the middle of the back too so he couldn't and wouldn't appear to be invading Haku's personal physical space that made him out to be a pervert.
Not that Haku would mind if he did invade such space.
'No Haku. I am the one not worthy,' thought Sephiroth feeling something deep within him that was the part of Uzumaki Naruto stirring slightly.
The part that still cared about others. The part of him that still existed and had on a deep subconscious level within his mind kept the reincarnated agent of death from acting like his past self centuries ago. It helped keep arrogance from consuming him like it had all those years ago with Cloud Strife and had helped bring about his own death at the spiky blonde's hands. In a way, the fragment of Uzumaki Naruto was like Cloud Strife, but in a good way to help Sephiroth learn from past mistakes, and to remind himself that it was okay to open up one's heart.
If only just slowly and one inch at a time.
(Outside the Forest of Death)
"Okay maggots, this sensation behind me is the one, and the only Forest of Death that you will be entering in the next 15 minutes. Now to keep the Leaf from being harassed by your village if you're not from here, forms of consent will be handed out, and basically they will read that the Leaf along with the proctor for this part of the Chuunin Exams are exempt from persecution for any loss of life. So anyone want to back out now, this is the time, and to talk it over before we start. You have five days to get to the central tower in the middle of the Forest of Death with two scrolls with one we give you and the other is the opposite of what you have that another team possesses. In short, take down another Genin team with a different scroll then yours, and due it before the end of the fifth day to avoid any...unpleasant acts," said Anko, as she had one of the other proctors with her hand out the forms, and saw some of the Genin were looking scared.
But not entirely from the Forest of Death or herself.
"Its him!" said one Genin from Mist in awe.
"It's the One-Winged Angel himself!" said another from Ame seeing Sephiroth make his appearance known to the large group of Genin while heading towards his own.
Anko looked at the boy, who was said to have killed the Sandaime, and felt conflicted on the matter due to the old man helping her out when she came back to the Leaf. After the bastard traitor Orochimaru had given Anko the prototype Curse Seal years ago, it was the Sandaime himself, who defended her from the Councils, and being given a chance to prove she wasn't like him. Still, Anko was also a witness to the abuse the kid before her that became Sephiroth had suffered, and heard from Iruka himself that the Sandaime had a hand in it. It seemed hypocritical in Anko's mind that the Sandaime would let a child suffer and yet the old man saved her from such pain while growing up. It didn't make any sense and yet here the quite handsome looking kid was walking towards his students with the masked Shinobi beside him.
"Sephiroth-sensei!" said the Sound Genin at the same time before kneeling out of respect for him.
"Rise and report," said Sephiroth simply with the team obeying.
"We are about to enter the next stage of the exams Sephiroth-sensei," said Dosu for his group seeing them nod in agreement having signed the form the second it was in their hands.
"Good. Don't play around. Just do what needs to be done for this part of the exam. Am I clear on that fact?" said Sephiroth looking at each of them with his piercing gaze.
"Crystal clear Sephiroth-sensei," said the trio at the same time.
"Good. I expect all three of you after this part is over. If you don't...," said Sephiroth with his eyes glowing slightly and they knew what that meant.
"We understand Sephiroth-sensei," said Dosu bowing his head with the other two on the team following his action.
"All right! Enough talk. Is everyone ready? Then move your assess!" said Anko drawing everyone away from the group from Sound before the gate doors opened.
"Go and don't forget the side mission. Get the scroll you need first, plus another one to be your backup, and then take out your target. Since you are associated with me, expect quite a few people to come after you, and the scroll in your possession," said Sephiroth to his team before they nodded and left through their gate.
"So you're the infamous gaki everyone is talking about like you are some kind of big bad boogieman," said Anko walking up to Sephiroth while the masked Shinobi looked at her with killing intent.
"You will address Sephiroth-sama by his name or else I will cut out the majority of your tongue," said Haku with venom in her voice at the disrespect Sephiroth was getting.
"That's enough Haku. She means well," said Sephiroth, as he knew the girl wasn't acting protective of him out of jealousy like before with Hyuuga Hinata, and let the killer intent slide knowing Kimimaro was the same way with them when the swordsman didn't add the -sama suffix to Orochimaru's name.
"I'm sure she does. Still, I find it hard to believe the Hokage was taken down by you since your Academy records were not well... not what one would call at prodigy level," said Anko though she did sense this kid had killed and was no stranger to the sight of blood like so many kids were his age.
"That was a shell of a boy suffocating constantly under wave after wave of lies. I'm not him anymore," said Sephiroth though that wasn't a complete lie, as there was some form of Uzumaki Naruto living inside of him, but the last piece of his life was a means to prevent himself from being a totally heartless monster like he had been centuries ago.
"Yeah I can tell. Well, I'm going to sit here, and listen to the Genin in there cry out for their mommies. Want to stay and listen?" said Anko seeing how Sephiroth surprisingly shaken his head no.
"There's no need. I've heard such screams before. They're all the same," said Sephiroth in a whispery voice before walking away from the Special Jounin, but stopped when a battle cry came from above, and Sarutobi Asuma was coming down upon him with a furious rage of a 500 pound Gorilla.
Sephiroth moved out of the way, as did Haku, and Anko though she quickly motioned for one of the proctors to inform the Hokage of what was happening while she would try to get the situation under control.
"You! You damn monster!" said Sarutobi Asuma, as he rose from the crater his body, and fist made while looking at the swordsman with angry bloodshot eyes.
"Judging by your appearance, I'd say you are related to the Sandaime Hokage, and wish to end my life like his Grandson tried to not that long ago," said Sephiroth, as his sword materialized, and Masamune was now ready to be used against this anger driven fool.
"You're damn right I do! My Father helped others around him and you go snuffing him out like a candle without any remorse!" said Asuma getting out his trench knives and wasn't about to be intimidated by this so called One-Winged Angel of Death that had everyone spooked.
"Your Father was an old fool that betrayed the convictions he lived by. So did my Father for that matter so I think the two are in good company right now...in Hell!" said Sephiroth knowing it would provoke the Jounin into a fight.
And he was right.
"Bastard!" said Asuma charging at Sephiroth, but Anko used her Hidden Shadow Snake Jutsu, and bound the Leaf Shinobi to prevent him from throwing his life away.
"You can't attack him Asuma. If you fight him in an unsanctioned battle, then Konoha itself will take a hit by breaking international laws, and that will bring down your family's reputation," said Anko, as she saw Asuma struggling against her snakes, and glaring at her with anger.
"Like you of all people truly care about the Leaf. You're just like that traitorous bastard Orochimaru!" said Asuma making Anko tense and become angry herself at hearing that from the son of the man she still respected despite certain acts that had come to light.
Any further discussion into the matter was ended when Asuma cried out in pain when a Nodachi class blade pierced his stomach and was cruelly twisted by Sephiroth. The boy had seen Anko's eyes become filled with pain at Asuma's comment and had heard the whispers about the Special Jounin when he was young when the people weren't talking about him. Granted, at the time the whispers about Anko reached his ears, he didn't know it was her, and only by seeing things for himself did the One-Winged Angel see just how much damage the Leaf had cause to someone aside from himself.
"And who are you to judge her Asuma-san? She restrained you in order to prevent you from being destroyed at my hands with Masamune. I'm still debating internally on the decision of whether I should give you the same death as your Father when I had him in a similar position. Then again...I think it would be best for the Hokage to deal with you," said Sephiroth before pulling out his sword and watched the Sarutobi before him fall to his knees.
"Monster!" said Asuma trying to break free from the snakes, but couldn't due to stab wound Sephiroth hit him with, and the Anko's mastery over snakes.
"Is that all you can say to me? The same thing over and over again? I hate parrots," said Sephiroth, as he walked away from the two just as a squad of ANBU, and the Hokage looking quite peeved about the situation.
"What the Hell is going on Anko?" said Tsunade seeing Asuma in his condition and hoped the Special Jounin had a good explanation right now.
Anko looked from the Hokage to where Sephiroth was, only to find him not there, and the one named Haku wasn't either. Cursing mentally at being left to hold the bag on this situation by Sephiroth, Anko told the Hokage what she wanted to know, and that Asuma tried to attack the silver haired boy in anger over the loss of the Sandaime. Fortunately, Sephiroth had basically left things in the Hokage's hands to handle it from the words he spoke, and was apparently not going to get too mixed up in this minor event.
What Anko or Tsunade knew however, was that Sephiroth had a reason for not killing Asuma, and anyone else in the village regardless of politics since being a Sound Shinobi was only a temporary thing for him. Like Orochimaru, the swordsman was using this time to put pieces into place, and right now his own weren't in position yet nor did he have enough of them. To make everything possible, it would require converting both sides to his own, and making those he recruited see the truth behind the lies.
Already, Sephiroth had Zabuza, the Demon Brothers, and of course Haku to count on should he need them even if the former three named were not currently around at the moment. Even without them here, he still had the chance to recruit Anko if cards were played just right, and then there was Kimimaro working for Orochimaru. The man was fanatically loyal to the snake Sannin and would need to be contacted with the promise of being cured if he came to the Leaf for the treatment in secret to be a "secret surprise" for Orochimaru later.
Of course, the conversion of Kimimaro could have a negative aspect to it for Sephiroth, as the albino Kaguya may not wish to side with the One-Winged Angel, and may side with the Fifth Hokage out of appreciation for the cure. Still, it wouldn't be a total loss for him, as Sephiroth knew that one less piece on the board that was on Orochimaru's side was a small victory in his book, and at least his Godmother would have a powerful ally from it.
There were still others for Sephiroth to collect to his side.
(Forest of Death-Central Tower-Several Days Later)
"You didn't complete your mission to kill Sasuke," said Sephiroth simply from the look of disappointment on their faces.
As their sensei predicted, the team had been attacked soon after take off from the gate leading into the Forest of Death by a team from Iwa, and another from Kumo soon after that. They were easily taken down and good fortune was with them in having what they needed to make it to the Central Tower. Unfortunately, they needed to hunt down Team 7 upon orders from Orochimaru to kill Sasuke, and that was when things went bad for them in regards to how that happened.
"We nearly succeed Sephiroth-sensei, but Orochimaru gave the boy a Curse Seal, and it activated briefly during his state of unconsciousness while we had to fight off several other Leaf Shinobi that came to his rescue. The Uchiha broke Zaku's arms during our confrontation with him due to the Curse Seal," said Dosu knowing that they had no real excuse for failure, but felt this was information he needed to know, and use for later.
"So that was his plan. I see it fully now. Depending on what happens next, its safe to say that none of you are safe from Orochimaru, and are considered expendable in his eyes," said Sephiroth, as he saw the three look at him in disbelief, but the look faded quickly with realization, and they saw the truth behind Orochimaru's purpose for them.
"What do we do?" said Kin, as she was technically the weakest of the group, and could be taken down easily after using her skills with senbon needles that had bells attached to them.
"For the moment, you play the game your in, and wait for the right moment to change things in your favor to survive. What is the next step in the exams from this point in the tower?" said Sephiroth seeing his team think for a second.
"We honestly don't know sensei. We have to wait another few days before the proctors come with the other teams that may have survived the Forest of Death," said Zaku, as he winced slightly at the feel of his broken arms, and wondered if he could even compete at all.
"Haku, take a look at Zaku's arms, and find out if he can compete in the next part of the exam. As for the you two, get some more rest, as this is a small grace period that allows it, and shouldn't be squandered," said Sephiroth leaving the room.
"Where are you going Sephiroth-sensei?" said Kin curiously.
"To check out the other teams that are here of course," said Sephiroth with a smirk on his face.
"I'll never understand what's going on inside his head," said Dosu shaking his head at his sensei.
"Me neither. Ow!" said Zaku, as he felt pain from Haku's grip, and tug of his arms.
(Few More Days Later)
"Welcome all of you to the next stage of the Chuunin Exams. Normally, after this portion of the exams is done, we would give everyone that made it this far a one Month reprieve to prepare for the Chuunin Exam Finals, and one on one competition. However, since there are still so many of you here despite what the second part of the Chuunin Exam was designed for, we will have a Preliminary Exam to test your skills here, and thin out the group further with one on one competition," said Tsunade, as she saw the shocked looks on their faces, and the look of displeasure from Team 10 at having just arrived barely on the final day.
"Troublesome. We just get here and now this," said Shikamaru to himself.
"If anyone wants to quit now, raise your hand, and announce your intentions before we begin the Preliminaries," said Ibiki seeing Kabuto raise his hand and signifying that he was quitting.
"Can you still compete Zaku?" said Dosu seeing his teammates both arms still in a sling.
"Yeah. That Haku girl fixed them up so I can use them, but I don't need them knowing that until its too late, and their guard is lowered," said Zaku, as he had to admit the female ice user knew her stuff, and had them working better then he thought possible.
Though Haku did mention not to push himself beyond his current limits or else his limbs will beyond her skills to heal.
"Proctor I would like to forfeit," said Kabuto with a sheepish look on his face while the scarred man's own scrunched into a frown for a few seconds of silence.
"Very well. Strike him from the list," said Ibiki to Anko and watched the young man walk out of the room before glancing at the Hokage currently deep in thought on the matter.
After Team 7 came in, looking like they got the crap kicked out of them, Sai had told Kakashi, who reported to the Hokage about the incident involving Orochimaru, and the Sannin giving Sasuke the Curse Seal. He also reported that the Sound team had apparent orders from the Sannin himself to kill the Uchiha specifically during the second portion of the exam though it was unknown if Sephiroth was in on this too. Chances were, the One-Winged Angel of Death did know about this, but only about the order to kill Sasuke, and not about the Curse Seal to keep the swordsman somewhat in the dark should Ibiki ever get a hold of him for information.
Not that Ibiki expected Sephiroth to crack under pressure.
"Sasuke, you should drop out of this now because of the Curse Seal that Orochimaru guy gave you," said Sakura worriedly while Sasuke scoffed and had a hand on the seal the Sannin had placed on him.
"As if I would let my chance to become a Chuunin go at the drop of the hat. Itachi would continue on and so will I!" said Sasuke while glaring at Sakura.
"Itachi was stronger then you and also has a penis," said Sai making the Sound team near them snicker along with some of the others around Team 7.
"You're student Sai has...issues," said Kurenai to Kakashi while the Cyclops sighed in defeat at this embarrassment.
"You have no idea," said Kakashi while looking at Sasuke wanting to kill Sai right now.
"Open it up," said Anko into the receiver of the communication device and a portion of the wall behind her had opened up to reveal a screen with random names being generated.
"Two names will be selected at random to compete first while the rest of you watch until the next pair of names is randomly selected," said Ibiki, as everyone looked at the screen, and saw the first two names appear.
Uchiha Sasuke VS Akado Yoroi
"I'm first up huh? Not surprising," said Sasuke with a smirk.
"Hopefully your opponent will be able to help you find your own penis," said Sai earning him a seething look from Sasuke and laughter from the other Genin in the room that could no longer hold it back anymore.
'I'm going to kill you for that after I win,' thought Sasuke while everyone else went to the balcony area to watch the match.
"Who do you think will win Sephiroth-sama?" said Haku while her Master watched the match with mild boredom.
"Doesn't matter. I could care less about either of them," said Sephiroth seeing Sasuke glare at him for his words knowing they would be heard.
"Hey! Sasuke-kun is an Uchiha you freak! Show him some respect," said Sakura making everyone tense and look between the two for the pink haired girl's inevitable death.
"Being an Uchiha doesn't mean he gains respect from others. To gain respect from others, one must earn it, and earn it through harsh trials. Something your team knows nothing about," said Sephiroth seeing Sakura become angry with rage.
"Are you blind you silver haired baka! Sasuke-kun's clan was wiped out and was the only survivor. How is that not harsh?" said Sakura walking up to him and nearly in his face.
"All he saw were the bodies of the dead after allthe killing ended. Not once has Sasuke stood over the bodies of those he's killed. Not once has destroyed lives with a swing of his sword. Not once has he heard the screams of his victims as they drew their final breath before crossing over to the other side. His brother spared him because Sasuke was not and is not worth killing. Not because your so called Last Uchiha has potential, but because he is a runt, and Uchiha Itachi pitied his little brother for what he was if not still is!" said Sephiroth looking the now terrified girl right in the eyes with killer intent aimed at the pink haired Genin.
"Enough! Sakura move away from Sephiroth where its safe," said Kakashi moving his now terrified student away from the boy, but giving him a glare, and got a smirk for his troubles.
"Don't bother trying to intimidate me Hatake-san. You have enough troubles with your own team as it is," said Sephiroth looking down at the floor to see Sasuke getting his chakra drained by his opponent.
And was losing badly.
"Enough! Uchiha Sasuke cannot continue. The winner is Akado Yoroi!" said Anko being the referee for this event since Hayate was a Jounin sensei and couldn't for the chance of their being a conflict of interest.
That and she wanted Sasuke's Curse Seal being sealed up right away was also an added incentive.
Reluctantly, Yoroi let Sasuke go from his draining hold, and walked away from the down Uchiha while the wounded pride of the so called "elite" of Konoha seethed in anger. He would have said something to Anko, which would probably got him in big trouble, and a trip to the hospital had it not been for Kakashi coming down quickly to take him to the sealing room to take care of the Curse Seal on his neck.
"One less nuisance to deal with today," said Sephiroth, as he looked at the board above going through a random selection of names.
Inuzuka Kiba VS Sabaku no Kankuro
"Show time buddy!" said Kiba, as his dog barked in agreement, and the two leaped down to fight the Genin from Suna.
"Don't screw this up...or I'll kill you," said Gaara seeing his brother freeze for a second before descending the steps.
'Come on Kankuro old buddy. You can do this. Nothing to worry about...except for the clear threat of Gaara crushing your body should you fail,' thought Kankuro, as he sensed Gaara's gaze, and Temari's smirk at possibly having one less sibling in the family.
She was still peeved at him for using her makeup kit to cover his face when he was eight years old and called it "war paint" of all things.
"Ready? Fight!" said Anko, as she saw Kiba charge forward, and punched Kankuro right in the face that sent him into the wall.
"That was quick," said Kiba scratching his head before the smoke cleared to reveal that the person he hit wasn't a person at all, but rather a puppet that looked like its handler, and before the Inuzuka could react the puppet leaped out at him before putting the boy in a terrible vice grip.
"You were saying?" said Kankuro getting up from the ground and out of the wrappings that concealed him and saw Akamaru growling.
"You should tell your student to forfeit before he dies," said Sephiroth appearing next to Kurenai making the female Jounin jump in fright.
"And why do you care?" said Kurenai narrowing her eyes at him.
"I don't. That's your job...and right now you're not doing it," said Sephiroth simply while seeing the woman become angry at his words.
"He's right Kurenai-sensei. The limbs of the puppet that have Kiba trapped are blades and can cut into him easily. Even if Akamaru attacks the Puppet user, he takes the risk of the puppet digging its blades into Kiba, and killing him in the process," said Shino seeing the woman not liking the idea of listening to Sephiroth, but knew she would see the long silver haired swordsman's point, and concede to that fact.
"Kiba! Forfeit the match before you get killed," said Kurenai while looking at Sephiroth for a moment with a glare.
"All right! I forfeit! Now let me go," said Kiba, as he felt the blades becoming to close for comfort, and knew this could end up bad for him if he resisted further.
"Winner by forfeit is Sabaku no Kankuro!" said Anko seeing the boy from Suna use his manipulations of the puppet to let the Inuzuka go and went back up the steps with a smile on his makeup covered face.
He got to live for another day.
Haruno Sakura VS Yamanaka Ino
"Time to settle this forehead girl," said Ino, as she saw her friend smile, and the two now headed down to the arena floor to do battle.
Taking this time to get away from the boring fight between fan girls, Sephiroth walked over to Sabaku no Gaara, and ignored the red headed boy's killer intent. As for the boy's own siblings, they were on guard should the infamous boy try something, and even their Jounin sensei Baki was silently preparing a Wind Jutsu that would killer a lesser person.
"What do you want?" said Gaara feeling his sand stir on its own and "Mother" doing the same.
"To talk while we have a chance. Not here of course with so many ears around us attuned to the sound of my voice, but soon after these Preliminaries are over, we need to talk, and about what makes people believe we are truly monsters in their eyes," said Sephiroth his eyes flashing crimson for a second and seeing Gaara's eyes widen slightly before nodding slightly.
Without another word, Sephiroth left the youngest of the Suna siblings to his thoughts, and saw both competitors on the arena floor knocking each other out in a double KO.
A boring fight just as Sephiroth knew it would be.
Abumi Zaku VS Aburame Shino
"Time to advance," said Zaku, as he headed to the steps, but was blocked by his Jounin sensei, and saw the serious look behind it.
"Remember, double the pride is twice the fall," said Sephiroth seeing Zaku nod before letting his student nod his head.
"Ready? Fight!" said Anko, as she wasn't sure why the Sound Shinobi was fighting due to his injuries, but chalked it up to Sephiroth wanting his student to fight regardless of the physical condition he was in, and to show what they learned.
"You should give up. Your arms are damaged and to use them now would only cause greater pain," said Shino in the hopes to end this quickly.
"Would you give up knowing your sensei is Namikaze Sephiroth?" said Zaku seeing the Aburame look up at Sephiroth and then back at him.
"Good point," said Shino, as he began to unleash a swarm of insects around his person, and move them around the two combatants.
"Damn this is really going to hurt. 'Decapitating Airwaves!'" said Zaku, as he focused on using his one arm to make the sound based attack, and blasted the wall of bugs swarming behind him.
"I really wish you hadn't done that to my colony," said Shino hearing the cries of the bugs from within his body and the loss behind it.
"And you shouldn't underestimate someone just because they're injured for its people like that who are the most dangerous," said Zaku, as he revealed his other arm was functional too, and was ready to fire a blasé of sound waves at Shino with little to no room to dodge.
"How very true. I did underestimate you Zaku-san. I honestly was hoping to provoke you into close combat by attacking your pride, but it didn't work, and now I see I have paid a heavy price in losing a good portion of my colony to you. For that reason, I forfeit my match, and wish to walk away from here to lick my wounds," said Shino knowing that the power behind that attack could destroy him at that current range and he couldn't let that happen.
"Winner by forfeit: Abumi Zaku!" said Anko, as she hoped the Sound Shinobi would put away his arms, and not make a scene.
'I won. Had I been my usual hotheaded self, things could have gone differently, and my arms could be in a more dire situation. Patience is indeed a useful weapon for one to have,' thought Zaku, as he returned to the balcony, and gave a deep bow of respect to his sensei for what the swordsman taught.
The matchups after that were pretty straight forward from their on, as Dosu fought Team 10's Akimichi Choji with Sound being victorious after knocking the larger Genin out with his sound creating bracer after the boulder of a boy crashed into a wall. The only one of the Sound Genin that didn't advance was Kin, but she was fighting Nara Shikamaru, and the boy was a tactical genius despite being so lazy having used his time in the Forest of Death to figure out a way to defeat her. Sabaku no Gaara fought Rock Lee with the two fighting an incredible battle that made Sephiroth actually clap in recognition to their hard fought battle. Sai defeated Kabuto's partner no problem by summoning multiple tigers out of ink and had them devour the flexible Genin to pieces. Sabaku no Temari defeated Isis Tenten in battle easily due to the fact Tenten was no match for the blonde woman's long range Wind Jutsu used by her iron fan.
All that was left was one final match of the Preliminaries.
Hyuuga Hinata VS Hyuuga Neji
'So we are to do battle after all,' thought Neji, as he turned to look at his cousin, and saw the hesitance in her eyes in wanting to hurt him.
'Damn it! Why now of all times?' thought Kurenai, as she saw her student shake a little, but the presence of one person changed all of it, and Hinata found her chin being lifted by Namikaze Sephiroth himself currently staring into her soul with his eyes that seemed to overflow with power.
"You are afraid to hurt your cousin," said Sephiroth knowing his eyes must be showing a form of caring that went against his nature in being a monster.
But just like the world changed so did he and Sephiroth knew he needed to help Hinata in this moment indecision.
"Y-Yes," said Hinata while her sensei near them was again gearing up to fight him.
"Understandable. You cherish your family. So few do these days. However, there are some times when we must put our personal feelings aside, and do what is required of us even if we disagree with it. This is one of those moments where you must to prove your strength, even if its against family, and someone you care about. It will be hard, but I know you can do it, and that you can win," said Sephiroth with his voice becoming a near whisper and his face now almost touching hers.
"You really believe in me?" said Hinata, as she still had doubts about herself hurting someone, and from her own family no less with the skills she had been learning from the Hokage.
She had only just started mastering the super strength Tsunade always uses when fighting Shinobi or punching perverts like Jiraiya out of windows.
"Of course I do. Every time we have met, I keep telling you Hyuuga Hinata that your potential is there, but the only way it will come out, is if you let it out, and that will not happen unless you possess the courage to take that first step forward," said Sephiroth, as he saw Hinata nod her head slowly, and then walk down to face Neji.
"If she dies because of this, then I will use all my power to make you suffer, and beg me to kill you," said Kurenai, as she knew Neji was a Prodigy of his clan, and feared that even with Tsunade helping Hinata that the match was not in her favor.
"The fact you do not believe in your student makes me question your right to be a Jounin sensei," said Sephiroth sensing the killer intent from the woman just a few feet from him.
"What did you just say?" said Kurenai, as she wanted to lash out at him, but knew that Haku would intervene, and get the Leaf in trouble for it.
"You act more like an overprotective Mother to her then a sensei. You act like Hinata is a fragile child, who will break under the slightest bit of pressure, and needs to be constantly smothered by your version of love. I do not see that," said Sephiroth, as he sensed more then saw Hinata's body become firm with resolve, and prepared to do battle with Neji.
"Then enlighten all of us and tell everyone what you see when it comes to Hinata," said Kurenai, as she wasn't going to admit certain...paternal instincts had come up, and ruin her chances to be Team 8's sensei after the Chuunin Exams were over.
"I see a warrior. A new ready to be molded warrior, who will become more powerful then anything you could dare dream, and...and...," said Sephiroth smiling down at the girl now battling it out in a thick and fierce Gentle Fist fight against Neji while she used her own flexibility into her Gentle Fist style to throw the older of the two Hyuuga off his game.
A style that would be banished by the orders of the Hyuuga Clan Elders.
"And what?" said Kurenai while looking at the match with her eyes, but listening to the boy with her ears, and so did everyone else.
Sephiroth paused wondering if he should even speak what he wanted to say next. Could he say it? There would be complications if he did? He didn't want to burden Hinata with so much and suffocate her with the attention he would no doubt give upon his coming statement for all to hear.
"And possibly have the power...to kill me," said Sephiroth with his words whispered from his lips, but echoing throughout the room nonetheless, and everyone heard them.
Even Hinata and Neji fighting below with both Hyuuga stopping their battle to look up at him in shock at that statement.
'What did he just say?' thought everyone looking at him in shock while Haku looked at Sephiroth with sadness on her masked face along with Hinata since she didn't want to be the one to possibly kill him if it came down to it.
But Sephiroth spoke no more of the subject and just looked at Hinata with kind gentle eyes that told the Hyuuga Heiress he would explain it to her later. Nodding her head in understanding, Hinata moved quickly before Neji himself could refocus himself on the battle before him, and struck her cousin hard in the gut with what skill she had in using Tsunade's super strength to send the Hyuuga Branch member into the wall causing it to cave in.
"Winner by knockout: Hyuuga Hinata!" said Anko, as she saw Hinata bow to her cousin buried under the rubble, and then walked up to the balcony before stopping in front of the boy she had a crush on for so long.
That she still had a crush on.
"Is that why you are encouraging me to get stronger? So that one day I will kill you?" said Hinata looking Sephiroth in the eyes while steeling her resolve on the matter.
"Should I need to be killed one day, there must be someone with the power to do it, but not just anyone can have it due to almost everyone wanting me dead, and such a power must be entrusted to someone that does not wish to have that responsibility. And that person Hyuuga Hinata...is you!" said Sephiroth seeing Hinata shake her head at him while tears started to swell up in her eyes.
"I don't want to kill you Sephiroth-kun. I won't! You hear me? No matter what, I won't kill you!" said Hinata almost yelling her words for everyone to hear.
"Even still, I do want you to grow stronger Hyuuga Hinata, if only to defend yourself, and protect those you love with all your heart," said Sephiroth smiling at the girl seeing her looking at him still with those defiant eyes that practically yelled out what she had already told everyone in the room.
Hyuuga Hinata would not become the enemy of Namikaze Sephiroth and would never be the one to kill him. Period!
Seeing his work done, Sephiroth walked away from the Hyuuga girl, and towards Haku now holding onto him while looking at his face behind her mask. Sephiroth himself didn't need to look at the mask knowing that behind its enigmatic design, Haku was looking at him for the truth behind his statement, and praying to Kami that it wasn't true.
The mere fact she quickly embraced him in a hug told him that Haku knew it was indeed the truth.
"We need to talk," said Tsunade seriously, as she wanted to know just what the Hell was going on inside her Godson's head by saying what he just said, and wondering if he had suicidal thoughts running around in there.
"Later. I have business elsewhere that needs my attention," said Sephiroth, as he vanished from her sight with Haku, and to set things in motion.
There were still one more piece not in Konoha that needed to be summoned.
(A/N: YAY! I updated. Hope you all loved this one. I honestly don't know where my mind is going with this fic. I have no control over my mind at times. I haven't felt like this since I started C&D. Until next time...PEACE!)