In which Naruto achieves mastery of two, and only two, jutsu. In which Naruto has a great deal of chakra. In which Naruto is unstoppable.
Despite all his effort, Naruto never could learn the Bunshin no Jutsu. Sometimes it fizzled. Sometimes is popped. Sometimes it faded to nothing. Sometimes is seemed to disperse in a gentle rush of air and chakra.
In fact, this was true of nearly all techniques that Naruto attempted to learn. In fact, the entire time he was in the Academy, he only ever managed to learn the Kawarimi. His henge was horrible, as he could never configure it to look like anyone he knew. He had, before, managed to transform into some female version of himself, though he could never get the hang of clothes, much to Iruka's chagrin. So he only ever really learned the Kawarimi at the Academy.
Then came the incident with Mizuki.
For reasons unknown to anyone, Naruto was able, in the space of hours, to master a technique that few ever had the chakra for, let alone learned and mastered. But master it he did, in time for a 1000 v 1 match against Mizuki at the conclusion of the incident. The Kage Bunshin.
And then, to everyone's surprise, he never learned another technique. No matter how much he tried or didn't try, no matter what type or element, strength or weakness, he never again learned a single technique.
He didn't need to. He had mastered the only two techniques he would ever use for the rest of his illustrious career.
When most teams were assigned the mission to 'rescue' Tora the cat, screams ensued. Frustration and anger, the pulling of hair, sitting in ashes while dressed in sackcloth, the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Tora, the abomination of Konoha, the ever-escaping feline whose talent at escaping was exceeded only by its owner's desire for its return. Difficult to find, difficult to capture, difficult to keep a hold of for the walk back to the tower. Every team's nightmare for a D-rank mission.
But Team 7 was not most teams. Team 7 had Naruto, and Naruto had shadow clones, in addition to a lot of chakra. No sooner could the mission be assigned, and Team 7 ushered out of the tower, than blocks of Konoha would be covered in blonde-haried, blue-eyed clones. Clones who immediately set out to find and capture the cat.
It is said, that, in the early days, Tora would try to flee, to find shelter from the orange tide. But soon, it was with quiet resignation that the cat would allow the blonde to scoop it up and return it to the tower. Scratching the blonde meant suddenly dropped from whatever height Naruto was at, and the arrival of a half-dozen more clones, who seemed to know (perhaps they heard the dispelling poof?) exactly where Tora had been found.
Despite their rather inadequate tracking skills, Team 7 was notorious for being the quickest (and least-injured) team at finding Tora.
When the Demon Brothers ambushed Team 7 on the road, apparently destroying Kakashi in one fell swoop, it appeared that the end had come. Sasuke charged valiantly ahead to engage one, while Sakura stood frozen in place between the Tazuna and the second brother.
It was her privilege, then to see the first instance of what eventually became a legend.
Naruto, seeing that Sakura was in danger, called in several clones and jumped between Sakura and the brother. His attacker, seeing his obviously unprepared state, slowed momentarily to gut the rather pathetic blonde. Blood spattered the road from the enormous gash he tore into Naruto's stomach, and a second strike all but decapitated the helpless idiot.
The body seemed to hang motionless for a mere instant, before it vanished in a swirl of smoke and leaves.
The Demon Brother, shocked, hesitated for one key second, and his fate was sealed. Not immediately, of course, but his one moment of uncertainty marked the turning of the tide.
Naruto sprang from behind to attack, foolishly yelling his defiance and rushing into combat while his clones looked on. The older ninja smirked at the obvious opening, and easily pushed a kunai into the moron's head. Now, to deal with the-
Poof. This body, too, disappeared in a cloud of smoke. The Demon Brother quickly glanced around, realizing that there were now more clones than he thought the boy had created seconds ago. Almost twice as many. He lashed out with his chains in one direction, obliterating a section of clones, and quickly whipped himself, and thus the chain, around in a full circle. The delightful sound of dispelling clones accompanied his rather frenzied laughter. To think he had been nervous!
He was even more nervous when he completed the turn, only to see that the area he had thought cleared of clones now held nearly three times as many as before.
Naruto attacked, and was brutally slain, then poofed out of existence. One Naruto charged in headlong from in front, while another slid in from behind, while another dropped down from the sky, while another sprinted in at an angle, while another...
The Demon Brother, long accustomed to viscous fights, whirled and slashed and hacked and cut. He was untouchable. But slowly, as he weaved and dodged and counter-attacked and snapped out with his chain, he began to realize that he was not indefatigable. Weariness, slowly but surely, crept into his bones. Despite his impressively quick and ferocious attacks, he had yet to land a single hit on the boy. No matter where he aimed, there were only clones. Attacking the oldest ones didn't help. Attacking the ones hiding in the back didn't work. He could not sense any in the trees. He could not feel any in the ground.
And still they attacked. Sasuke (who had dispatched his foe some time ago, now), Kakashi (who had stepped out of the trees upon seeing Sasuke victorious), Sakura and Tazuna watched in smug amusement at Naruto wore down his seemingly superior enemy.
Finally, seeing his defeat as inevitable, the only conscious Demon Brother dropped his weapons and hoped for the best.
The attack immediately stopped, and a single Naruto, out of dozens, chuckled good naturedly. "That was an awesome fight! How did-"
The Demon Brother lashed out with his hidden chain, which had kept in reserve, instantly ripping out the kids throat. Perhaps a slow death would teach that little punk some respect!
The body vanished before it hit the ground, and the Demon Brother knew he had only himself to blame as the horde of angry blonde ninja cracked their knuckles and practically snarled.
When Zabuza ambushed the team on the road, they were in trouble. When the A-rank missing-nin took their jounin-sensei hostage, they were toast. Time to abandon the mission and get the hell outta there.
Except that Sakura was frozen in fear, Sasuke had something to prove, and Naruto didn't even understand the concept of giving up. So they fought. Sasuke with his impressive techniques and speed, Naruto with his... well... with his shadow clones.
It was at this point that Sasuke acknowledged the unintentional (because surely the dobe wasn't so clever) genius of Naruto's plan: The Kawarimi switches you with an inanimate object. Clones are inanimate, though lifelike, objects. Smirking, Sasuke henged himself to look like Naruto and dove with with the other clones.
Zabuza, at first, thought he was in fine shape. I mean, sure there were two kids (the third was still stiff as a board) attacking him while he was unable to move, but he had a free hand, enormous muscles and a big sword, so they could even get close.
After a few seconds of futile attack, the swarm, and simultaneously, Zabuza, realized the possibility of ranged attack.
A veritable hail of kunai rained down upon Zabuza, who quickly created several water clones and then spun his oversized blade in wild circles to deflect the metal hail. What few that he could not block, he could dodge. And his clones now waded into battle with the sea of orange, slaying scores at a swing.
It was the crackle and heat that drew Zabuza's attention to the area behind him, where a particularly malevolent-looking blonde had just spewed out an enormous fireball. Under normal circumstances, Zabuza would have liked to have dodged, but he had a prisoner to hold. Then again, with only one hand available, he couldn't use a large enough water technique to counter it. Blocking it with his sword was ridiculous.
Quickly prioritizing survival over the need to entrap Kakashi, Zabuza dodged away, leaving the jounin-sensei to fall into the water just ahead of the giant fireball.
And with Sharingan Kakashi back in the game, Zabuza was quickly introduced to a whole new world of hurt and humiliation.
On the bridge, Haku thought he had them. Really. They were trapped in his ice mirror technique and he was far faster than they could hope to be at their skill level.
Haku though that for about three seconds, until the orange one created a huge crowd of clones. To be sure, Haku could zap from mirror to mirror fast enough to obliterate everything within the mirrors, but what could he do about the clones who appeared outside?
The odd crunch-shatter of his mirrors struck fear into Haku, who immediately dodged with way and that to avoid the large, though poorly aimed, hail of kunai. He dove around, gracefully killing dozens of clones, but never enough.
Finally, he was forced to step in front of an assassination technique to save his master and mentor, and Haku knew no more.
When Naruto fought Orochimaru in the forest, the sannin was bored. Bored to tears, really. After the first minute or so, he lazily swung Kusanagi around to deflect kunai and slash foolish clones. He took ages to get close to the Uchiha, since the spoiled brat had henged just like the rest of the clones, and even when Orochimaru could tell him apart a quick Kawarimi or six just mixed him into the crowd of ever-replenishing clones. Finally, the snake-nin was forced to do a rather quick set of high-level jutsu to clear out an area of clones, quickly bite the kid, and move on before the clones became even more of a pain.
He thought about sealing the demon host, but decided that wasting all the chakra he would undoubtedly go through accidentally sealing clones would be a waste. He slipped back into the forest with a sigh.
When Naruto fought Sasuke at the Valley of the End, the conclusion was foregone. Inevitable. It would be a draw.
Sasuke was untouchable. He could see the hits coming, and was so fast that no one could make him take a hit he didn't let them get through. And he never let any through.
Naruto was untouchable. No matter how fast you moved, or how good you guessed, he wasn't there. Either you had been wrong in the first place, or you had been right but he had Kawarimi'd out of the way. Because Naruto only knew two jutsu, but the two he knew, he knew to the point of mastery, using them without even a twitch of his hands.
Sasuke's Sharingan was helpful in avoiding attacks, but and extremely helpful in finding the real Naruto (since the others all appeared as chakra constructs, while Naruto still looked human), he couldn't ever land a hit. Just before he struck the real Naruto, the blonde would flicker and turn the pale blue of chakra just as the blow hit.
It was only by angering Naruto to the point of unleashing some sort of hidden power that Sasuke was able to step it up. Apparently whatever gave Naruto that power also made him overconfident, eschewing clones for sheer force and power. Granted, Sasuke took several heavy hits (just what were those orange claw-hands made of?) but in the end he was able to knock out the stupid blonde and flee into Sound territory.
Naruto learned from this. He learned hard. He got faster, stronger, more clever, sneakier. And eventually, he became unstoppable. Hordes of angry clones who switched with themselves and random bits of scenery and the real Naruto and hails of shadow kunai (which appeared with the shadow clones, of course) and tricky Kawarimi's that left him standing right behind his enemies.
All because of two little techniques, and a bit of chakra.
The end. Quick note: To those of you who say, "But Naruto can't just create clones outside Haku's technique!" I invite you to look at the very first instance of Naruto using the Kage Bunshin. Where he creates like a thousand clones, who not only appear near him, but also standing on trees on the other side of the clearing, at least 50 feet away, and probably more. I rest my case.
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