Chapter Three: Working With What We've Got

Okay so I kinda messed up the story in the last chapter, but in all my angst, I went from regular, over used plot, so thumbs up. It's funny because I was thinking that I was going to have a hard time fixing it because, I like keeping things to canon as much as possible.

I also noticed that the emotion in my story is as expressive as Sasuke. So this chapter I'm going to add a little more blood, sweat, and probably tears. Oh and I'm going to up the rating to teen because I'm going to add more vivid fight scenes and… other things. -_^

Lol I feel so stupid! I thought that only a few people were reading my story from the alerts I was getting, and that people generally weren't interested, but I almost banged my head on the wall when I discovered the Story Traffic tab. My mouth fell open and I was like "Damn…" It just goes with my favorite saying… 'Don't assume cause it makes an ass out of u and me'.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, Kishimoto does… But if I did own it, that would be really cool. I own all OC mentioned in the story though! Enjoy ^_^v

Looking at the proctor, they waited for his decision. Genma looked up at the Hokage and Raidou, who were currently whispering to each other. Their heads snapped to the Kazekage as he added in a few words. Shikamaru knew that that was actually Orochimaru, but he didn't know how the snake bastard would react. A few words were exchanged and Raidou appeared next to Genma and whispered in his ear. Nodding his head Genma turned to Shikamaru, Sasuke and Kakashi. Chewing on his senbon, Genma sighed and shifted slightly to face the crowd.

"The fight between Shikamaru Nara and Sasuke will not commence. Instead, we will wait until Gaara of the Sand returns, but he will be disqualified if he doesn't make it back to the ring in ten minutes." The crowd was a little more then agitated. Twice the match was postponed by Sasuke's absence and then once again because of Gaara. The feudal lords wore angry faces, but none compared to that of the Kazekage (Orochimaru) and the Sand/Sound Ninja standing ready for the invasion.

Sasuke smirked at Shikamaru, obviously smug about the turn out.

"Don't worry Shikamaru, once I become a Chunin, you can fight me as much as you want, along with the idiot."

Shikamaru only turned his head away, brought his hands together in a meditation pose and closed his eyes. The clock was ticking and Shikamaru was quickly accessing the next moves to take. If he wasn't a genius, he would be sweating bullets right about now.

"We've got Kabuto, Orochimaru, and the Sound Four to get rid of before the Invasion ends. As for as we're all concerned, they're all just a thorn in our side compared to Madara. Plus it would help if Sasuke wasn't on the opposing side this time." Shikamaru thought, but was brought out of his planning by a shadow looming over him. Looking up, he stared at the curious, but otherwise emotionless face of Kakashi.

"Are you all right, Shikamaru? You aren't acting yourself, and you look a little pale." True to Kakashi's word, Shikamaru hadn't noticed the amount of stress his body was going threw. Naruto and Gaara were/are current demon vessels, so they were used to copious amounts of 'foreign' energy. But Shikamaru's chakra was technically foreign to his old body. He needed to use up a lot of the chakra before his body cells start to break down. Grimacing at the throbbing that his body was starting to experience he weakly nodded to Kakashi before looking up at the sky.

"Please Naruto, hurry up, or I'll have to start fighting by myself."

"…What do you mean you forgot?" Naruto yelled as he ran from treetop to treetop, while trying to heal the cut on his left shoulder.

"Well excuse me Hokage-sama, but may I remind you that I got back only a few hours before you did. And I don't exactly keep track of every enemy's battle plans for eight years!" Gaara shot back, as he rubbed away the blood dripping into his eyes.

Naruto and Gaara had rushed out of the village to find the Sound Four, but instead came across a bunch of Sand Ninja setting up a summoning sight. Still not used to the lack of muscle and agility in their current bodies, it took close to an hour to defeat the seven shinobi. Apparently, both of them had forgotten that the Sound Four were still at the stadium, a mistake that could cost them a lot if they didn't get back to the arena on time. On the up side, Naruto and Gaara were able to stop the summoning from happening, and got rid of seven ninja, but there were still over fifty other enemy ninja populating Konoha. Finally seeing the village's high standing walls, Naruto narrowed his eyes.

"Gaara! I want you to break into the nearest weapon's shop and grab two Shadow Katanas for Shikamaru (there actually is such a thing look it up) and whatever else you think we'll need. We'll be fighting two resurrected Hokages and a Sannin after all. Also get your hands on that scroll! I'll catch up to you before you get to the stadium! I need to take care of a few things!" Trying to shake of the shocked expression Gaara displayed before turning around, Naruto sprinted towards the academy training grounds. He zoomed over fences and trees as he quickened his pace, ignoring the burning feeling in his lungs. Seeing the Academy's fence gate Naruto took one more gigantic leap and vaulted over it, landing behind Iruka; who was currently ordering the pre genin to jog laps. Feeling the chakra around him, Iruka pulled out a kunai and swiveled around, but dropped his hand in shock when he saw Naruto.

"Naruto! What happened to you!" Dragging him behind a tree to that the students wouldn't see him he made sure that none of them had seen him, and then turned back to Naruto. He was covered head to toe in blood. It was caked in his hair along with dirt and sweat. It was a sight that Iruka thought he wouldn't see on Naruto for another ten years at least. Getting frazzled, Iruka was about to check for wounds, when Naruto stopped him.

"Look Iruka. I don't have a lot of time and I trust you the most with this. I need you to inform as many Ninja of an invasion that is about to occur, and get as many people evacuated. I trust you above anyone else to do this."

Getting a quick but stunned nod from Iruka, he jumped out of the area and towards the chunin exam stadium. While collecting the running students, who were only on their third lap, Iruka herded them inside so he could inform the teachers, and surrounding ninja (maybe even Ibiki if he could find him) about the upcoming battle. Looking back at the yellow blew racing off, Iruka couldn't help thinking about how mature and different Naruto seemed. He kind of reminded him of the Yondaime.

Back with Naruto, he finally saw a blob of red appear from a cluster of buildings, and whistled loudly so that Gaara could join in beside him. Naruto went threw his clone's memories and smiled.

"Gaara! Shikamaru is already back, and he's waiting at the stadium! In a minute or so, the invasion sirens are going to go off, and a little bit before we enter the stadium I want you to set of a flare to warn Shikamaru. I'm a hundred percent sure he already knows what's going to unfold the next few hours."

As they saw the dome like stadium standing over them, the alarms blared to life, and Gaara set the flare off. It soared into the sky and then made a booming sound as it exploded. Running up the tall stadium walls, they jumped into the arena, and landed only a few yards from Shikamaru. All the ninja in the surrounding radius were already pulling out hidden weapons and blocking attacks from the enemy. It seemed Kabuto hadn't failed in activating the Temple of Nirvana Jutsu so the civilians and some of the weaker ninja were fast asleep. Naruto was pumping with so much adrenaline the he completely missed Sasuke and Kakashi, who were standing a few yards away. They both wore identical shocked expressions at seeing Naruto appear with Gaara, and both completely covered in blood.

"Don't just stand there! Start fighting! There's enemy ninja everywhere! We need as many as possible near the north wall of Konoha!" yelled Genma at Kakashi and Sasuke, which was kind of hard since he was fighting Baki, too.

Not wasting any time, Gaara threw the swords towards Shikamaru, which he caught with great precision, and all three disappeared. Another boom resounded, as Orochimaru ambushed the Hokage. The ANBU sped to the sandaime as fast as possible, but he was already in a force field by the Sound Four and at Kunai point.


Hearing a grown to their left, they snapped their heads in that direction to see… the Hokage?

"Thanks boys… it's been a while since someone has called be that."

The 'Hokage' pinned by Orochimaru was covered in a cloud of smoke and then a yellow blur rushed to the other side of the roof, joined by two other ninja. Orochimaru stared at the three for a moment, sighed in annoyance, and turned to order his ninja to let down the barrier.

"I wouldn't do that if I was you," Shikamaru drawled, "because we have something you want. And we are willing to make a deal with you."

The Sandaime, who was being helped up by the ANBU snapped his head up in horror. "You fools! You don't know what you're getting into!"

Not even glancing over to him, Naruto stepped forward and pulled out a scroll.

"I believe you left the village before finishing the last twenty forbidden jutsus in this scroll. Am I correct? Well, if you can kill all three of us, then the scroll is yours."

Orochimaru looked stunned before emitting a wild cackle. Facing his old sensei he tried to control the glee that was emitting from him, "Sarutobi-sensei! I'm so proud! You have a fine set of a Shinobi! And so young, too. Deal, I accept your proposition. But by all means, all three of you can attack me at once. I need a little warm up for when I kill your Hokage!" Laughing wildly, Orochimaru was confident that this was going to be a short match. And so did the three ANBU and Sandaime.

"Have those kids gone crazy! I don't even think the three of us could take him down without dieing with him! Or maybe not at all!" One of the ANBU commented.

The Sandaime stared wide-eyed and astonished at the three genin on the other side of the barrier got into fighting stances. Looking at Naruto's face, it was tense and concentrated but not in the way it used to be. It was not care free and rash, or full of courage and dedication. Cold, hard, and ready for the kill. And his eyes… oh kami his eyes. Icy cold with something lurking underneath. This wasn't Naruto. It was impossible. Naruto knew he was a fool if he thought they could beat Orochimaru as they are now and not get really battered up. It was true that they had a huge amount of chakra at their disposal because of the chakra bubbles in their body, but all of their bodies were extremely weak. Naruto had to coat a layer of chakra on areas of his body, because when he was punching the crap out of the Sand ninja earlier, he heard a knuckle crack. And he couldn't afford to heal broken bones in the middle of a major battle. It was right about now Naruto wished the Gods had given him a kickass, strong body. He personally missed the lithe muscles that he slaved over. Shaking his head of all of these distractions, he got into a fighting pose, along with Shikamaru and Gaara. They were just going to have to work with what they had.

Shikamaru tightened his sweating hands over the hilt of his twin swords. The leather rubbed harshly on the not yet completely calloused skin on his hands. It may not have been a concern to Gaara or Naruto, or maybe they hadn't realized it yet, but exhibiting their powers like this definitely wasn't a good idea. The last thing they needed was for Madara to catch wind of three incredibly strong genins and come sniffing around. Seeing Naruto shift into his fighting position, he pushed that problem to the back of his mind, and leaned into his own. He could worry about Madara after they took care of Orochimaru.

Taking his swords, he started to spin and rotate them faster and faster until the blades became silver blurs. In one swift motion Naruto flew towards Orochimaru, a Rasengan already swirling alive.

Orochimaru dodged to the side, and he swiveled threw a wave of sand, long, pale fingers swiftly moving.

"Senei Ta Jashu!" (Multiple Hidden Shadow Snake Hands)

Snakes shot out of his sleeves, and were heading towards Gaara, when several slashes of light later, all the snakes lay in a bloody pile, Shikamaru kneeling in the middle of it. His eyes practically glowed with hate and malice. Spinning on the balls of his feet, Shikamaru spun his swords around as Gaara simultaneously took a gigantic breath.

"Burēdo no jutsu! Shadou-ha!" (Blade Technique! Shadow Wave!)

"Kaze no uzu!" (Wind Maelstrom!)

Hitting Orochimaru dead on, Shikamaru and Gaara flipped backwards (still in a defensive pose) and landed next to Naruto. Feeling tremors under their feet, they each scattered from the area. Only milliseconds after they jumped into the air, a giant fire ball erupted from the ground, causing them to go careening back.

"Naruto! Shikamaru! Just get out of there!" yelled Sarutobi.

Shikamaru was beyond his limits now. "God dammit! I hate this fucking body it's so slow!" Turning to the yelling ANBU and hokage outside the barrier, his eyes shown wild. "And just shut up already! You're distracting me!" In a fit of rage, he sent a ball of black energy towards the barrier wall. As it collided with the topside, the barrier vibrated with buzzing chakra. The black chakra bounced off the walls like electricity several times before it sunk into the barrier and stained it black. This completely cut them off from the outside and the present ANBU and Third Hokage could only watch in distress as the four ninja disappeared behind the black cloud. The area inside was now almost completely dark. Smirking at this new turn of events Shikamaru cracked his shoulders. "Now this is how I like it. You know Orochimaru, I really hate power players, and that is exactly what you are. I've got a lot of pent up anger in me; you're just the person to help me out. And the best part about it is it's not troublesome at all."

Suddenly, Shikamaru felt something well inside of him. Gaara and Naruto could slightly see a green glow coming from Shikamaru's back. Not wanting to waste anymore time, they all stored this information for later. Reaching his hands out, he sent a ripple of shadow energy through the ground, which made Orochimaru blast from the cover of the roof tiles. Orochimaru was on their terrain now.

(Don't really want to explain the whole fight, so time skip and just assume that they prevented Orochimaru from summoning the Hokages after all. And also they are all pretty beat up)

Gaara's right arm was bleeding heavily where Orochimaru had cut him with the grass sword. He was hiding behind a rock wall that was placed there by Naruto. Peering from behind the wall, he caught sight of Naruto who was meditating in a little alcove created by two toppled over slabs of stone.

"This is impossible! How are a couple of genin able to fight me! Who are you! You are not the Uchiha's foolish comrades!" Orochimaru screamed in rage, as he took a wild swipe at Shikamaru, successfully being able to cut him, and draw blood from his stomach. Shikamaru grabbed his stomach and screamed in pain as blood gushed out of the open wound. Seeing his chance Orochimaru kicked Shikamaru, sending flying towards where Gaara was. Thinking fast, Gaara grabbed Shikamaru in the air with his sand, and quickly pulled him behind the wall. Setting him down gently, Gaara ripped open the shirt. Shikamaru began to cough up blood, as Gaara put his hands to the wound and tried to heal him. While sending the healing energy through his one of his closest friend's body, (the other being Naruto) he tried to ignore the sound of Orochimaru's voice drifting through the suddenly too still air.

" I know your little friend is hurt. I can help. You three, along with the Uchiha, will make a fine set of Shinobi to join my ranks. Who knows… maybe you'll come to your senses and bring down the hidden leaf."

Finally able to heal Shikamaru, and making sure that the wound was partly healed, (Shikamura added in his own chakra to speed up the healing process) they waited with baited breath. The soft clicking of Orochimaru's sandals on the roof top, drew closer and closer.

"Over my dead body."

All of them turning their gaze towards the direction the voice was coming from. Naruto stood tall and dangerous in full Sage Mode, but this accomplishment came at a price, because Naruto was covered in gashes all over from where his body couldn't handle the stress. (think Yusuke when he got the spirit energy from Genkai if anyone knows what I'm talking about).

Stepping back in fear Orochimaru gaped. "This isn't possible! It takes years to achieve that and not even Jiraiya was able to fully master it!" Taking another look at Naruto, he tried to gather up whatever was left of his wits. "But even at your current state you couldn't kill me without killing yourself."

Pulling out a scroll, Orochimaru tried to Summon Manda the Snake. Looking at Gaara and Shikamaru right in the eye, Naruto gave them a wide shining smile, and then faced Orochimaru again. "You're right, I can't. But it's a good thing I'm ready to die." Without missing a step , he pushed himself off the ground and down towards where Orochimaru was standing.


"Supiritto wa hō o shīringu!" (Spirit Sealing Method!)

It was a version not unlike the original, except it was for a living soul. A huge deathly Shinigami appeared behind Naruto, and with a swipe of his rotting, clawed hands, he took hold of a shrieking Orochimaru. Before he could even utter a word, Orochimaru's soul was ripped from his body, and his soul was taken. The incomplete Curse Seal on the Sound Four's necks sent a poisonous chakra threw their bodies instantly killing them, causing the barrier to collapse, and a huge cloud of dust and rubble to go air born. As the Shinigami's form disappeared, Orochimaru's body hit the floor, followed by the limp and small form of Naruto. The sun filtered in, but all was deathly silent.

Staring at the still, bloodied body, Shikamaru crawled to his lover's side, and pushed him onto his back.

"Naruto… Naruto… Naruto wake up this isn't funny. I told you if you died, and I'd kill myself too. Please don't leave me! Naruto!" Shaking the blonde back and forth he stopped when the body flopped back onto the floor. He stared and stared at the body, without uttering a word. Gaara watched from behind Shikamaru, but he had to turn away as tears cascade down is already stained face. Hearing footsteps approach, someone yelled 'there's someone up ahead' and Kakashi, Kurenai, Gai, Genma, Ibiki, Jiraiya, Sarutobi, and a few other jounin and ANBU ran to where Gaara was standing. As they came closer, they wearily looked towards Gaara.

"Do not worry. Gaara was helping the Leaf during the invasion." Sarutobi stated while he tried to take a look behind the sand boy. Gaara, suddenly feeling bursts of anger and sadness well up inside of him, tried to block the Leaf Ninja from coming any closer by sending up a wall of sand. But he was too exhausted to even lift it more then three inches off the ground. Falling onto his knees, Gaara had to cast his head downward, as salty, bitter tears rolled down his cheeks, his shoulders slightly shaking.

Jiraiya finally looking beyond the red haired youth, and saw a mop of yellow hair peeking out from beside the sitting Nara boy. Dread overwhelmed all his senses as he looked a the pale face of his dead student's son. Orochimaru's body yards away was completely forgotten.

"Is he.. is he… dea…"

He was unable to finish the word because Shikamaru punched the ground next to Naruto's head. Looking up at the sky, Shikamaru couldn't stand it anymore. He bursts into cries and screams, and all the ninja (minus Gaara) had to step back from shock. They had all heard that cry before, but why it would come from such a young boy eluded them all.


Choking on his words, Shikamaru softly sobbed. "You can't be dead. I love you Naruto."

Not caring that seventeen other ninja (some he didn't even know) were watching him, Shikamaru leaned down and kissed Naruto on the lips. Tears from his eyes dropped onto Naruto's scarred cheeks, and as he pulled away, he hoped with all his heart that Naruto would wake up. Kurenai and Gai, along with some of the other Jounins were crying at he sheer pain that was coming off of the kneeling boy. Kakashi's sharingan eye was too, but he would be lying if he didn't admit that his own he felt a little moist, too.

Taking a shaky breath, Shikamaru's glazed and dull eyes wandered to the Shuriken poking out of Naruto's weapon holster. Looking at Naruto's face, and back at the twinkling weapon, his hand slowly started to reach for it. Then he felt it. The soft touch on his knee. Snapping his head back to Naruto's face, he watched as Naruto's warm, sky blue eyes lazily started to open.

"I'm not dead yet. I'm not going anywhere. I still have to be Hokage again." Shikamaru cried out with joy, as he pulled Naruto into a bruising kiss. Holding Shikamaru tightly, Naruto closed his eyes, and placed his head in the crook of his lover's neck. Plus I'd never leave any of you behind. Not like this at least."

Looking up from the hug, Naruto beckoned Gaara over, who took no time in joining them in the embrace. Squeezing each other tightly, they had to let go because of the painful injuries that littered their bodies. Touching his cheek, Naruto away the stream of tears. "When was the last time I cried." Naruto laughed dryly, but clutched his stomach from the pain. (no doubt sporting a few broken bones)They all had cut it close, and it just showed how much work had to be done before they could face the currently present Akatsuki and Madara.

There were many questions that were left unanswered. The surrounding ninja carried the three 'genin' to the hospital, silently agreeing that no one else was to know about this. The whole scene was very confusing and they knew there were a few things that they were missing. It just wasn't adding up. They all knew now was not the time for interrogation. They needed rest and time to recover from the blow, Orochimaru's invasion had on Konoha and its heroes. No doubt Gaara, Shikamaru, and Naruto would be out for a week once they got to the hospital, but after that they were getting answers. Kakashi watched as a medical ninja placed Naruto's body on a stretcher and took him to the emergency room. What had happened during the time he was training Sasuke? Looking at the bewildered and worried appearance displayed on Jiraiya's face, it seemed that this was a really recent development. Sighing in exhaustion, Kakashi excused himself, and left to go find the remaining two members of Team Seven. Leaving the hospital, he traveled through Konoha and ended up passing Asuma, who was patting Chouji and Ino on the back for working so hard. They left to go find Shikamaru, but Kakashi decided not to tell them that he knew the shadow boy was in the hospital. It would be the smartest choice to keep what happened earlier as confidential as possible. Even if that meant only for a little while.

Yay! I think this has been my longest chapter! The next chapter I'll explain how Naruto came back alive, and no it wasn't true love. Oh and about earlier in the story when all the characters showed up on the roof. Readers, don't think wow that was cliché because all those characters did appear when the Sandaime died in canon… I checked episode 80. Also for all those who were disappointed with not seeing Sasuke get thrown around like a rag doll NO WORRIES! I'm definitely going to add that in later in the story, and this will probably end up being a very long one. It's just the beginning and already 10,000 words. Well I hope you enjoyed and please its okay to review. No one is stopping you.

Chapter Four: Interrogation: Little White Lies