A/N: I eternally beg you all to forgive me for not submitting a chapter in so long. I'm so, so sorry, and I really don't have an excuse. But if you forgive me, I'll give you a cyber cookie. :)

Anyways, there's been a lot of changes in my life since I last updated. Some good, some bad, but I'm not here to write my autobiography. I've become a bit of a better writer thanks to school (never thought I'd say that), mostly because of what feels to me like thousands of research reports I've been having to do, so HOPEFULLY, and with any luck, this chapter might seem different (in a good way) to the other ones, writing style-wise. But anyhow, without further ado, I present to you chapter 9!

"Damn it to hell…" Naruto muttered. There was no chance at this rate. And if that wasn't bad enough, he didn't see the possibility of bleeding to death too far away.

"Too late for remorse now. If I'm going out, I'm going out in a bang." Naruto thought, then inwardly chuckled at the situation-referencing pun.

Naruto silently analyzed his situation. Not far from death, one arm virtually useless, standing over underground explosives that would make even his ancestors feel the pain, a low chakra level, and dangerously low on his stock of weapons. And perhaps the most important to him, he was hungry as hell. If he died, the first thing he'd be asking God in heaven would be a really nice bowl of ramen.

Yeah, it definitely wasn't one of his best days.

Naruto took out another kunai, this one with an explosive tag on it and set his eyes on Deidara's silhouette.

"Now or never." He thought before throwing it.

It flew ever so elegantly before bursting out of the smoke barrier, blade-first towards Deidara. Using this distraction time, Naruto jumped on top of the tallest roof he could see, which wasn't the easiest act considering all he really saw was smoke and figures. The first thing was to get away from those mines. Even if Deidara was bluffing, he wasn't taking his chances.

Then an idea struck him.

"No, I can't. I haven't even mastered it, and who knows if I even have the necessary chakra for it." Naruto thought. But this wasn't a time to take precautions. If he didn't even try, what would be the chances that he'd survive this anyways?

Weighing his options, Naruto finally came to a decision. He did the cross-like hand sign for the Shadow Clone technique. Immediately three clones appeared in front of him. Two of them went on ahead, jumping on and off roof-tops on their way to where Deidara was, while one stayed behind with Naruto.

"Let's do this." He muttered, putting his hand out to one side. The clone immediately starting doing erratic and circular hand motions around Naruto's hand. A small chakra ball appeared inside of Naruto's hand, and he couldn't help but smile.

"This guy's going down, and he's going down hard." Naruto thought.

XxXxXxXxXxX

Gaara gained footing over another roof as he skipped through the town. He was getting far closer, so close to the point where he could see a silhouette of a figure up in the sky, although he couldn't tell what or who it was. He picked up his pace, already ready for whatever lied up ahead.

XxXxXxXxXxX

The two other clones that departed from the original Naruto rushed towards Deidara. After realizing they were directly below him, they both added chakra to the soles of their feet, jumping higher than any other regular human could. They popped out of the smoke, kunai in their hands and aiming for Deidara's bird. The clones sunk their kunai into the bird, using the kunai as a way to climb up unto where Deidara was. They stepped on the uneven footing of the bird, slightly stumbling, before looking straight at Deidara, who was only looking back at them.

"Haven't you ever heard of quality over quantity?" Deidara chuckled, raising his fists and adopting a fighting stance.

"I have actually. Luckily, I have both." One of the clones replied before sending a long jab towards Deidara, who with expertise timing blocked it before sending a counter punch.

The other clone intervened and parried this one, before sending his own punch at Deidara's side. Deidara huffed slightly as he felt the full impact of the punch, but quickly recovered. He retaliated by sending a high kick towards a clone's head. The clone blocked it but stumbled a bit. Deidara saw his chance in swiftly swooped in, grabbing the clone by the collar and throwing him into air. He quickly turned around and sent a punch towards the remaining clone. Deidara and the clone sent kicks and punches at each other none of them really getting a solid hit.

However, the clone in mid-air wasn't quite done. He took out an explosive tag out and strapped it to a kunai, throwing it with expert aim at in Deidara's direction. Deidara sensed it and made a quick turn, grabbing the clone putting him in a position that used the clone as a human shield. The kunai hit him square in the stomach. The clone grimaced, but then smiled.

"Another failed attempt." Deidara muttered, grinning.

"Who said he was aiming for you?" The clone whispered back, then took out the kunai and plunged it down on the clay bird.

Deidara jumped off the bird just in time. A millisecond after he jumped off, the bird exploded so close to Deidara he could feel the heat protruding from it. He made a few position adjustments in mid-air before landing safely on the ground.

"Curse that brat." Deidara said through gritted teeth.

XxXxXxXxXxX

Hinata gingerly skipped over buildings, her Byakugan activated. She couldn't even see past the towering fumes of smoke. She'd just have to get even closer.

XxXxXxXxXxX

Deidara stayed on guard, even though he could hardly see 5 feet in front of him.

"Have to be on alert. That kid could be anywhere." Deidara thought.

But he didn't have to wait long. Naruto rushed towards him, kunai in hand. He lunged at Deidara, but he grabbed his arm and twisted it backwards until he heard a familiar crack.

"Ah, the sound of broken bones." He smiled.

But he disappeared in a puff of white smoke. And he wasn't the only one. More clones rushed at Deidara, and he had no hesitation in taking them down one by one. There were far less than the last army of clones Naruto had made, but they still heavily outnumbered Deidara. He dodged and blocked, relying mostly on counter-attacks to take out the clones. But then he heard a slight whirring sound coming from behind the clones. Suddenly they all attempted to grab Deidara. He dodged and weeded through them, until he got through all the clones and saw Naruto coming towards him with a ball of chakra in his hand that spun furiously. The clones didn't give up though, and they grabbed his arms and held him in place while Naruto ran towards Deidara, a victorious smirk on his face.

"If I promise you one thing, it's that this is gonna hurt! Rasengan!"

A/N: Evil cliffhanger! Hope you guys weren't too disappointed in how long it took for this chapter to come out. And no, it wasn't writer's block.

Anyways, let's get on with the reviews. Oh, and by the way, I want to thank all of you for helping me get this story to 100+ REVIEWS! Thank you guys so much, I can't express how happy that made me. You guys are seriously the best fans ever. :')

Alright, before I start crying and have an emotional melt-down let's see the reviews!

himekassy-chan says:

"This is my second time reading this story! its really AWESOME!

PLEASE UPDATE SOON! CAN'T WAIT TO READ MORE!"

Second time? Wow, that makes me feel very honored, to say the least! I'm glad you like it, please keep reading! :)

CrackedUpAngel reviewed every chapter, so I'm not going to pick just one review, but I would like to give him a little shout out for getting me to 100 reviews, so I'll give him a FREE cyber cookie (Just this once)! Please keep reading!

RisingMist also reviewed every chapter. As for your suggestions, what I'm afraid of in having a beta reader is that I don't want a beta reader to ask me to change the plot and plans I have for this story. Do you see what I'm trying to say? As for Review Responses, it's the way that I connect with my readers. I'll probably take each Author's Note in this story off once it's completed, but for now I like having communication with my readers. Anyways, thanks for reviewing, your reviews really made my brain cells move, and please keep reading! :)

From Rosie Thornet:

"Can't wait for the rest! What can I say I'm hooked ha, hope this review made you smile ")"

All of my reader's reviews make me smile. They mean a lot to me and help me improve as a writer. Thanks so much for reading!

A good friendo of mine, Oceanmoon says:

"Wow, interesting relationships between your characters. I look forward to this fight between Naruto and Deidara. This is all seeming pretty complex which can make a story difficult to control, but you are doing a fantastic job with it."

All of you guys' nice comments are gonna make me burst into manly tears T.T Thanks for reviewing/reading!

From Chewie Cookies:

"Yes, you may call me that. As for how to improve, maybe making the chapters a tad bit longer? Either way, I WANT MOOOOOAAAARR!

Keep up the good work!"

And you shall get MOOOOAAAARRR! Thanks for reading! :)

Solvdrage says:

"Awesome chapter as always.

Responding to Rosie Thornet's suggestion... For the love of god, don't include any Sasuhina. I despise that pairing with an almost unnatural hatred. I wouldn't go into a frothy mouthed rage at onesided-Sasuhina (from Sasuke towards Hinata), but requited Sasuhina would be an unspeakably huge negative in my opinion.

Cutting off my rant before it gets started... As I said, awesome chapter. I can't wait for more.

But remember, friends don't let friends write Sasuhina"

Uhh… Yeah, I hate Sasuhina too *Quickly burns all Sasuhina plans for this story to avoid being a Solvdrage homicide victim*. Haha, no, I'm just kidding, what I meant was that I appreciate when people suggest things. Of course, it doesn't mean I'll use all suggestions, but it makes my brain gears move and it gives me ideas.

Alright guys, thanks so much for everything and please review. See you sooner than you think!

-Sky