Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Notes: Since some people have kind of been getting on my case for this, I'll probably write out the whole Naruto vs. Madara and Sasuke fight in a flashback later on in the story to clarify how Naruto got owned. Also, if you see any misconstruencies between this plotline and canon... well, it's my mistake and I'll be using the fact that this is AU to cover it up (I'm joking, everything will tie in eventually, don't worry.)
Anyways, ignore my irresponsibility as an author (lol, kidding again), and without further ado:
Chapter 4: All These Things
Naruto was holding Sasuke in a fireman carry as they proceeded to cover the rest of the forest. He concluded that the boy was heavier than he looked, and would have to tell him to lay off the yakitori the next time he had a chance. The forest was just above freezing temperatures at this point of the day, and he once saw Sakura almost slip on some frost on a branch. Speaking of which, he had noticed the wary looks the girl was giving him. Whether it was due to his blood splattered tunic or the fact he had murdered three of Orochimaru's henchmen (and a woman) in cold blood, he would not know.
He had ordered Sakura to communicate only when necessary as they travelled towards the tower, because at this point sounds of battle surrounded them as they bounded through the trees. Use only a whisper, and the basic sign language they taught you in the academy. Sakura looked hesitant to comply, but realized she had no other choice since Naruto was most definitely the only one of the three fit to lead the team with his recent change in personality. Little did she know, however, that Naruto was praised as a tactical genius during his short tenure as Commander during the war. Unfortunately, tactical genius was not enough to defeat the Akatsuki.
He did not notice the pinkette's curious gaze following him as they leapt through the cold.
Sakura had to admit, she found herself growing fond of the new Naruto, but at the same time missing the bright bundle of sunshine that bugged her all the time. While this new Naruto definitely cracked a couple of his usual Naruto-esque jokes, he was a lot more reserved and less talkative than before. While she found it very attractive, (not to mention he was as badass as Sasuke now) she found herself missing the only childish member of the group. Ever since they entered the Forest of Death, he had only speaken when giving orders and explaining instructions, or when absolutely necessary. The way he had spoken to her an hour ago displayed experience well past their age group. Not to mention the fact that he was so comfortable in killing enemy ninja in cold blood. She might be a bit naive, but everything about this new Naruto was completely off.
The Rasengan? She thought, remember how he had used it expertly against the Snake sannin. It had just popped into his hand, and if she remembered stories correctly, it was the Yondaime's signature jutsu. The man was able to create it in a second, and it was crucial to obliterating his enemies. Now that she thought about it, Orochimaru had said something about Naruto bearing an uncanny resemblance to the great shinobi. Could it be? They did look so much alike, but someone should have at least hinted at it by now (discounting Orochimaru). Why didn't he have some retardedly big estate like Sasuke? So many questions surrounded the blonde, many questions no one had ever thought of bringing up when he was still his goofy self.
She was so engrossed in her own thoughts she almost didn't catch Naruto scream out her name, "Sakura, move!" Just in time too, a massive earthen spike jutted out of the ground and piercing through the trees. "This is ridiculous!" Naruto growled in frustration, "We can't get anywhere without being ambushed!" Sakura was in a tree 20 metres opposite of the blond, and she could make him out only by spotting the blue blob on his shoulders. "Kage bunshin no Jutsu!" Two clones poofed by his side, one taking Sasuke and leaping away and the other stood next to the original in a fighting stance.
They braced themselves however, when the spike erupted into a massive explosion. They had it covered in explosive tags? Sakura deduced, clinging onto her tree with chakra. She saw two Iwa nin drop down on branches in front of Naruto. Oh no...
"Son of Konoha's Kiroii no Senko!" Said the red, spikey haired boy, "You will now die at the hands of the children of the people your father had slaughtered!"
The red haired girl beside him laughed, "You won't stand a chance against us, we're the best genin in all of Iwagakure!"
Naruto just stood there, staring at them, "I don't know what you're talking about, cause I've never known my parents." He crouched low, deciding to cut the chit chat. He and his clone blurred completely from their perch on the branch, reappearing underneath the Iwa genin.
W-what... He really is the son of the Yellow Flash! That was Taku's last conscious thought has a bandaged hand was buried into his gut, and he was sent rocketting through the forest.
"T-Taku!" A third voice cried out as he dropped from the trees. Before he even touched the branch, Naruto's clone gave a devastating combo to the strange Iwa girl.
"Konoha Senpuu!" It twirled before delivering a strong downward kick to the girl's back, sending her crashing through several stories of branches and leaves. They turned around and faced the last genin, who looked slightly nervous but nonetheless ready to rip the blond's head off.
"My team!" He cried out, "You really are the spawn of that blond demon aren't you?" Both Narutos clenched their fists tightly as the boy belittled his father, "I'll kill you like he killed my dad!" The boy flashed through handseals surprisingly fast, "Doton: Doryuusou (Earth release: Earth Rising Spear)!"
There was a low rumbling as the boy kept his hands locked in the Snake seal, and as expected a large pillar of rock erupted from the ground underneath Naruto's feet, just barely missing him and taking out his clone. The blond smirked, before jumping blurring ridiculously fast through handseals of his own. "Nice try, but you're a thousand years too early to beat me! Fuuton: Daitoppa (Wind release: Great Breakthrough)!" He held his hands out and unleashed an extremely powerful gust of wind, blasting the genin away and toppling over half an acre of forest in grand fashion.
"Wow..." Sakura commented. His mastery of wind jutsu is phenomenal... And yet another question to be asked. She knew the blond had a ridiculous amount of chakra, but she didn't know when he'd actually start making use of it. The entire time they'd been in forest she'd noticed (it was really hard not to) the boy throw around these insane jutsus. After watching (again, she resorted to watching lest she get caught in the crossfire... then again even if she did jump in she'd probably be of no help anyway) this fight, he displayed amazing speed and taijutsu prowess. Once again, something was definitely not adding up. How did he get so strong in like what, two weeks? It was ridiculous.
"Sakura." his voice next to her startled her once again, jumping at the sudden presence. She began to notice he'd been repeatedly dropping the 'chan' from her name. Strangely enough, she felt her heart twist at this realization. "Let's keep moving, ne?" Even so he became ridiculously charming and good-looking too. She couldn't help it, but the fact that he had become... all these things in a span of less than 14 days was making her head hurt. Whatever inner turmoil she was having though, she didn't show it as she nodded at the boy.
"What about Sasuke-kun?" She asked worriedly as they hopped through the trees once again.
"He and my clone are up ahead," He said simply, pointing towards two distant figures. They dropped down swiftly in front of the two, Naruto's clone dispelling as they got within sight. "Up and about, Sasuke?"
"Hn," He shook his head as he faced towards the tower, "Those sound ninja need dirty tricks and machines to even get near my level. They're pathetic."
"They're also dead." Naruto stated rather plainly. "They were the henchmen of the snake that tried to kidnap you."
"Serves them right for crossing the path of an Uchiha." Sasuke simply said, shrugging. "The objective is in sight, let's hurry up." Without waiting up for his teammates, he un-characteristically rushed towards the tower. Naruto had an eyebrow raised, before snapping his fingers.
"I knew it!" Naruto shouted, before going after the raven-haired ninja, "You really are a weakling against the cold!"
Sakura watched the two boys bound off before shaking her head and following suit.
(Day 2 - 11:21am - Team 7's Room in the Tower)
"Finally!" the blond shouted in relief, skipping down the hall way to their designated suite. "I can't wait to take a shower and eat ramen and go to sleep and..." It would continue on in this vain until they stood outside their door, which Naruto promptly kicked open with a grin. "This place is huge!" He exclaimed as soon as the door whipped open.
"For once, I can't help but agree with you..." Sakura said, following Naruto into the rather cozy suite. Team Seven wandered around their housing for the next three days, "This place isn't half bad..."
Indeed, it was not. The rooms built into the Tower were specifically designed for shinobi to get some rest and relaxation in if they had been training a tad bit too hard. Whether they trained in teams, or by themselves, the Tower had been outfitted to match the luxuriousness of a 3-star hotel. Team 7's room was a medium-sized hotel-esque suite, with a master bedroom, a smaller 'not-so master' bedroom (as dubbed by Naruto), a living room with two couches and a small TV, a large bathroom and a small kitchen.
"I call the bathroom!" The blonde yelled out, having already stripped himself of his scarf, tunic and hitai-ate. He whipped the closets open, pulling out a nice, soft, lavender scented (and lavender coloured) towel. He stuck his face into it before take a huge sniff, "Ahh... The sweet smell of laundry." He was unable to surpress his giddyness at the chance to rid himself of disgusting dirt and grime. Yes, it was true; Naruto had become something sort of a neat and clean freak when he wasn't on the battlefield. The way he had kept his apartment in sparkling condition was a testament to that.
"What, how come you get the bath-" Sakura stomped down the hallway, only to stop mid sentence as she caught a shirtless Naruto holding onto a manly-coloured towel in front of her. Sweet Kami have mercy on me. The blonde seemed to strut towards her in slow motion, every rippling muscle on his torso, arms and shoulders moving with every small step he took. There was also a manly sheen of accumulated sweat lining his abs and pectorals. The way his hair had cascaded around his face... Sakura could not handle it and blood dribbled from her nostril, and she toppled backwards onto the soft carpet with a dull thud.
Naruto was halfway through the bathroom door when he heard the thud, peeking his head out the door to find a slightly twitching pinkette on the floor. He smirking, closing and locking the door behind him, "Still haven't lost it." he chuckled.
In the meantime, Sasuke had been the first to flop onto the couch, yawning rather loudly as he propped his head on his arms. He allowed himself a small smirk as he observed his teammates' antics. He thought back to the battle with the S-rank criminal in the forest. For once, instead of thinking about Orochimaru's offers of power, he thought about the whole ordeal itself. The Uchiha was actually rather touched that the blond went through such extreme lengths to protect him from being kidnapped. He literally put his neck on the line for his teammate; it was one of the first things Kakashi had taught them. 'Those who don't follow orders are trash, but those who don't care for their comrades is worse than trash!' Maybe the cyclops is doing some good after all. Sasuke was still very, very curious about how Naruto was able to fight toe-toe with one of the Densetsu no Sannin, not to mention survive.
He would be the first to (reluctantly) admit that the blonde knucklehead had seriously become a force to be reckoned with. His combat prowess came almost out of nowhere, and Sasuke was surprised when Naruto showed up that one day and displayed speed he hadn't seen since his sensei's fight with Zabuza. Then again, once a knucklehead always a knucklehead... when he wasn't on the battlefield that is. The Uchiha had to admit, he was grudgingly impressed by this new Naruto's ability as a shinobi. It was like it came from out of nowhere; Either the blond had thought of some mega-extreme training regiment (if he did, Sasuke definitely wanted in on it) or he had always been this powerful and suddenly matured.
Whatever the case was, Sasuke was going to find a way to confront the Uzumaki about this, and he was going to make sure the blond spilled his secrets. Afterall, how would his team be able to help him in his quest for revenge if they had no teamwork? He nodded to himself, before reluctantly pulling himself off the couch and shaking the still dazed Sakura on the ground.
(Half an hour later)
Sasuke, who had decided to take advantage of their new-found downtime, was sprawled out on the couch partaking in a deep nap. Sakura was sitting on the large dining table in the living room, tapping the table impatiently as she flipped through channels on the TV. That's when the bathroom doors swung open in a large cloud of steam.
"Gah, finally Naruto! You take fore-" Sakura was once again stopped mid sentence as a damp Naruto strode out of the washroom. His hair was slightly matted, and he had the manly towel wrapped behind his neck and over his shoulders. He was clad in nothing but a black pair of ahtletic shorts, and thus had small beads of water dribbling down his abdominals. Oh man... Wait till I tell Ino that I have two supermodels on my team. And with that, Sakura fell over with the chair, elicitng a loud crash. Naruto dashed into the living room, and Sasuke had made a glorious leap out of the couch with a kunai at the ready.
"Where are they?" He called out, his Sharingan flaring to life. Naruto just sighed as he spotted Sakura twitching on the floor again, an extremely content look on her face as a drop of blood made its way out her nose. "Naruto! Put a shirt on dammit!"
The blond just chuckled sheepishly as he retreated into the master bedroom while drying his hair. Sasuke just sighed, deciding he should take a shower before Sakura filled it with girly scents.
Naruto was sitting at the dining table, quietly eating his cup of ramen. For how well equipped the suite was, it didn't have much in the way of actual food. The blond actually had to procure the cup of ramen from one of the storage scrolls he carried in his hip pouch. "What's this?" Sasuke said from spot on the couch, "The dobe suddenly sprouted manners?"
Sakura laughed heartily, "Since when did you stop being a barbarian?"
"Hey!" Naruto shouted indignantly, holding his cup of ramen affectionately, "I'll have you know that I do have table manners, and I do eat like a regular person."
"Speaking of which," Sakura began, her and Sasuke standing up and looming over Naruto's spot on the table. They had a strange glint in their eyes, which caused the blond to narrow his.
"Why'd you guys get so close all of a sudden?" Naruto asked suspiciously, setting his chopsticks down. The two pulled out chairs, and took seats on the table at either side of the blond.
"We wanna know how you became so strong," Sasuke continued, "And how you've suddenly gone from a dobe to a... not-so-dobe." He avoided praising the blond.
"Y-yeah!" Sakura nodded her head in agreement.
Naruto furrowed his eyebrows in what looked to be deep thought. He crossed his arms, his chair groaning as he leaned back. "So that's what's been on your minds lately." The two nodded, "All right, I guess I should explain. Sasuke, I know you probably wanna figure out my secrets because it'll help you get stronger," before the Uchiha could say anything Naruto continued, "I'm afraid the method I used to train is absolutely no plausible for anyone that isn't me." He saw his teammates' mouths open and he raised a hand to cease them. "Kage Bunshin, as I've explained before have much better uses than simply being fodder for the enemy to destroy. Their main purpose is to scout. How you ask? Well, every Kage Bunshin that is made has the capability to learn things and retain memories. Say, if I sent one into an enemy base and it got a good look at the layout before dispelling itself..."
"Once it dispels, it would relay all the information it had learned back to the user." Sakura concluded.
"Not bad, pinky." Naruto praised with a smirk, "That's exactly it. Therefore, I'm able to use them to train. If I had one Kage Bunshin to train alongside of me in the same exercise, we'd learn the exercise in half the time. If I made 100, then it would be cut down to one one-hundredth of the time."
"Then why don't you teach us the Kage bunshin then?" Sasuke asked rather eagerly.
"I wasn't done yet." He wagged a finger, "A single Kage bunshin uses up an extremely vast amount of chakra. One Kage bunshin probably equals to one of Sakura's whole chakra reserves." His teammates' eyes nearly bugged out of their heads, eliciting a laugh from the blond.
"Something just doesn't add up though," Sakura said once she recovered from her shock. Sasuke nodded at her to continue, "While I understand how it would make you get much more powerful in a short amount of time, I didn't know it could make you nearly jounin level in two weeks. The strain on your body must've been unreal if that was the case." Naruto smirked as she continued, "Furthermore, creating thousands of Kage bunshin don't just create amazing jutsu like the Rasengan out of nowhere, not to mention your knowledge of elemental ninjutsu as well!" Naruto's smirk became a grin.
"I didn't realize they can make you an experienced leader and tactician too." Sasuke added in.
I also didn't realize how they could make you so damn hot! Inner Sakura had roared out.
"Now, that kids," Naruto began before standing up and yawning with a stretch, "Is a story for some other time." He ignored the shocked looks on his teammates' faces, "I'm beat, I think I'm gonna go hit the hay." He yawned once more, and before his teammates could protest, he closed the master bedroom door behind him, locking away any chances of bringing up the topic again.
"What a guy..." His Pink-haired teammate had muttered.
(2 and a half days later...)
The remainder of Team 7's stay inside the tower went by rather uneventfully. Any attempts at resurfacing the subject had been swiftly brought to an end by some masterful 'bullshit no jutsu (as labeled by Sasuke)' with Naruto's silver tongue. So they sat rather idly in the provided suite, all off to their own devices. While Sakura and Sasuke were being bored to death by having two days worth of downtime, Naruto seemed to pass the days easily. It befuddled the two to no end as to how the blond could sit on the railing of the balcony in a strange cross-legged position facing forest for 13 or 14 hours a time.
At around noon, there was a rather loud knock on the door. Naruto was once again on the balcony meditating, but his other two teammates were either napping or occupying the washroom. Unnerved by wearing only a pair of black shorts, the sage hopped off the railing to answer the call at the door, "I'm coming, I'm coming!"
He swung the door open mid-knock, to come face to face with one Mitarashi Anko. There was a strange, awkward silence between the two as Anko ate up the delicious eye candy in front of her. Naruto couldn't help but twitch as she didn't even bother hiding the fact that she shamelessly scanned his body with an added lick of lips at the end. "If only you were older…" The jounin sighed.
Naruto smirked, deciding to play along. "Well, you know what they say, age is only a number."
The snake mistress barked out a laugh that echoed throughout the hallway, "I'll might have to take you up on that offer then, gaki," She said with a wink, "Anyways, make sure you and your team are downstairs in the dojo by 1pm! Don't be late." She looked him over one more time before winking and walking to the next occupied room on the floor.
The blond closed the door before glancing at the clock. Fifteen minutes huh? He rapped on the bathroom door, "Yo Teme, hurry up and wipe your ass, we gotta be at the dojo in fifteen minutes!" There was a cry of an echoed 'fuck you!' from inside the bathroom. He chuckled before stepping into the bedroom where Sakura was promptly passed out. "Sakura," He said, shaking her. Naruto smirked as she merely turned over and mumbled something that sounded oddly like his name. He bent over and shook her one more time.
"N-Naruto…?" She said groggily, her eyes fluttering open. "That's weird, I was just dreaming about you…" The pinkette probably had no idea what she just said due to her sleep induced state.
"Well, that's nice, but we gotta be in the dojo in fifteen minutes." He laughed before exiting the room, "Get all your gear on!"
As the remaining 7 genin teams filed into the rather large and empty room, they were surprised to find their senseis already standing there. They regrouped with their sensei before standing in front of Anko, a sickly looking Hayate and the Sandaime. Naruto scanned the teams in the room.
"I want to congratulate you twenty-one genin on making it through the second portion of the Chuunin exam!" She said exuberantly, flashing a smile at them, and flashing a wink a particular blond genin near the back. She scanned the group of genin and jounin. Four Konoha teams, one Suna team, and one Iwa team huh?
"Unfortunately," Hayate said, walking up beside her, "You guys aren't out of the clear just yet." He coughed, noticing the bewildered faces of the genin, "That's right. There are twice as many genin here than required for the finals." He coughed again, "So we're holding a preliminary round."
"That's right," Anko said, "We need to cut you guys in half, not literally you punks, by staging single match-ups in a random order." She pointed at a large electronic screen on the wall, "That will select two names at random, at which they'll have to come down here and fight. Everyone else will wait and watch on the stands up there."
The Sandaime stepped up, "As Hokage of this village, I would like to wish all of you genin good luck. You may now proceed to the stands."
The crowd of genin began filtering to their respective stands. As he stood in front of Kakashi in the middle of his stand, he observed the genin leaning on the rails directly across from him. So those Iwa nin made through after all. He saw the team of Iwa nin that he had soundly disabled a few days ago. They looked, more or less, worse for wear.
"The first two names will be drawn!" The large board made a ticking sound as it flashed through all the potential names.
Juuichi Ryu vs. Hyuuga Neji.
The blond watched as the talented Iwa genin he had toppled over with a daitoppa in the forest made his way down to the floor. Neji calmly walked down as well. Ryu, the Iwa nin, had short brown hair that was stopped by his red hitai-ate. Akin to most Iwa nin, he wore a red long sleeved shirt with sleeves that went past his hands, black shinobi pants and blue sandals.
"All right, before we begin the first match," Hayate coughed once more, "I'd like to lay down the rules." He projected his voice slightly louder for everyone to hear, "If I feel the match has a clear winner, I will stop it. If one genin is no longer able to fight, I will stop it. I am your referee, Hayate Gekkou, and you will begin on my mark." He coughed a couple times before putting his hand up. The two talented genin shifted in a battle stance, Neji in his Jyuuken style and Ryu in a unique looking taijutsu style as well. The jounin dropped his hand. "Hajime!"
"Fate has decided you will see defeat at the hands of a Hyuuga." Neji said stoically, awaiting the other genin to attack at him first. The Iwa nin simply smirked. They rushed at each other with impressive speed.
A Hyuuga huh? Ryu thought as he got closer to Neji. His Byakugan is activated already, so that means I'll have to avoid those palm strikes of his at all times. He could seriously injure something if I mess up. His speculation hit the nail on the head, as he just barely dodged the Hyuuga's Jyuuken strike. He's fucking fast! The Iwa nin was having a very hard time trying to stay ahead of the Hyuuga, his palms barely missing him. Ryu slapped one of Neji's strikes away before retreating in a series of flips.
He flashed through a few seals before stopping in the snake seal, "Iwa Bunshin no Jutsu (Rock Clone)!" two pillars shot up from the ground beside him before morphing into two exact copies of himself. They all charged at the same time, jumping at the Hyuuga. He quickly swatted away both clones, and delivered a chakra enhanced palm to Ryu's stomach, launching him backwards. He slammed into the wall, panting heavily as he knelt on the ground. "Blood...?" he whispered it dribbled out of his mouth.
He rushed at the Hyuuga again, engaging in an intense taijutsu bout. He slapped the boy's palm to the side before punching him in the chest, causing Neji to stagger. He used this opening to grapple onto Neji and toss him across the arena in a judo-style hip toss. Neji managed to recover mid air and land swiftly, but Ryu was on him once again. Neji smacked the boy in the abdomen, smirking in victory. He was surprised as the boy took the blow before kicking Neji square in the chest.
The Hyuuga staggered once again, and Ryu capitalized on it. He rushed forward; jumping, he delivered a ferocious tornado kick to Neji's face. The genin in the stands gasped as the prodigy was sent skipping across the floor. The boy skidded to a stop, stoically staring at the brown-haired Iwa nin. He merely dusted himself off before rocketting off again. The speed was very impressive, Ryu had to admit. It was no where near the blond demon-spawn's speed but it was impressive nonetheless. He struggled to put up a guard against the Jyuuken, but obviously he wasn't too keen on getting a spleen ruptured.
He flashed through hand seals as he weaved around another palm strike, holding his hands in the serpent seal, "Doton: Doryuuso (Earth Rising Pillar)!" He ducked under a strike before stomping on the ground, causing a thick, blunt pillar of stone to burst out of the ground and deliver a jaw shattering uppercut to the Hyuuga... Only for him to pop into a log. Ryu had no time to react as Neji appeared behind him, delivering three quick strikes to his back, launching him forward.
"I told you..." Neji stated, "Fate has already decided you will lose this match." The boy's eyes snapped up the pale eyes of the branch family member. Anger and pain flashed through his vision, as images of the smiling face of his father framed around the house replaced the visage of the Hyuuga.
Father... I won't lose here. I'll exact my revenge once and for all. "Enough playing around!" He growled out before weaving through another set of hand seals. The Hyuuga is very fast taijutsu wise, but he has almost no way to counter ninjutsu. He felt extremely fatigued; the Hyuuga was not aiming to seriously injure anything important, so he felt lucky. This would be Neji's downfall for underestimating him though. Two Doton bunshin appeared by his side, attempting to distract Neji to blind side him with this next attack.
Naruto and Kakashi smirked as they watched the Iwa nin weaving through this particular set of handseals. The blond knew it very well; it was one of his favourite attacks.
One bunshin was swatted away handily and it exploded into rock. The other one managed to punch Neji in the stomach, distracting him long enough for the real Ryu to finish his set, "Doton: Doryuudan no jutsu (Earth Dragon Bullet)!" A smaller version of Naruto's amped up dragon burst up from the floor, doing a set of spins before slamming extremely hard into the Hyuuga prodigy. It all happened within a split second of the punch connected by the clone. Neji had saw it coming with his Byakugan, but had no means to counter it in such a small timeframe. He had lost his footing and was unable to gather enough chakra for a Kaiten. It rammed Neji into the wall with a massive amount of physical force, soundly knocking the living daylights out of him.
The Iwa nin scoffed, "Fate my ass." He was panting heavily and sweating profusely; the technique was ridiculously chakra-intensive, and he was going to have to have a long rest.
"Winner: Juuichi Ryu." Hayate announced. Ryu acknowledged this before returning back to his cheering team of lone Iwa nin. He had an intense, one-sided staredown with Naruto as he walked across the platform to his team. He saw red as the blond merely smirked.
Naruto leaned against the railing, just watching the fights rather idly. The fights after the first one became more and more boring, and at one point the blond even yawned. Tenten had gone up against Temari next. The quadruple pony-tailed girl had been the bunhaired girls exact opposite, and she soundly swatted away all of the girl's projectiles with strong gusts of wind. Hehe... I love wind. Sakura had gone against Ino after that. As much as he liked his teammate and her blond haired counterpart, their fight had lasted for almost an hour (which was surprising because they both had horrendous stamina). He almost fell asleep on the railing; an act that actually got a chuckle out of Kakashi and a smirk from Sasuke.
They would then punch each other's lights out, eliciting a yawn from the Uzumaki. The next match was a slight more interesting, but the lazy Nara had no intention of putting the effort into making it interesting. Shikamaru had gone against the fiery red-headed Iwa kunoichi, Maki. Within ten seconds of the match, Shikamaru had already laid out a plan and trapped her in it. The girl was about to rush at him, but was flabbergasted that she was unable to move. All the Nara had to do was walk backwards a couple steps and swing her head against the wall, knocking her out. She had to be carried out on a stretcher, with the lazy Nara simply muttering a "troublesome..."
Hinata was up against Chouji next. While both seemed reluctant to fight, they were ushered on by their jounin senseis. Surprisingly, Hinata had taken dominance very early in the match, using her Jyuuken to fend off Chouji's unique taijutsu style. She managed a few devastating hits, but at this point the round boy became frustrated. He used a baika no jutsu enhanced punch to try to knock the frail girl unconscious, but she dodged it rather nimbly. Naruto had to admit, this fight had been a lot more interesting than he'd anticipated. Hinata was a lot more skilled than anyone had given her credit for. Her efforts came to an abrupt end though, as Chouji blew himself up into a rolling ball and slammed into the poor girl, effectively knocking her out. The chubby boy threw his arms up in the air, proclaiming that Asuma had to pay for the next trip to the All-You-Can-Eat Barbeque restaurant.
The electronic board started to shuffle names again. Naruto blinked when he looked up at the board. Uzumaki Naruto vs. Gaara. "Well, that's a twist." He muttered. He felt a hand drop on his shoulder, and looked up into Kakashi's lone crinkled eye.
"Good luck, Naruto." He said. Naruto acknowledged it before heading down to the floor. He stood across the Jinchuuriki, his scarf shielding the bottom half of his face from view. The red-haired boy game him a sinister grin.
"I will enjoy killing you, Uzumaki." Gaara stated, itching to crush the blond kid like a bug.
"Good luck to you too, Gaara." Naruto muttered as he glanced at Hayate.
"Ready?" Both combatants nodded, shifting into battle positions; Gaara had sand constantly swirling around him and Naruto slipped into his kata. "Hajime!"
As soon as the proctor dropped his hand, Naruto shimmered from his position. He reappeared in front of Gaara a split second after, delivering a roundhouse kick right into his jaw. The red-head was launched across the floor, slamming harshly into the wall, cracks spider-webbing behind him. A maniacal laugh was heard as Gaara's head snapped up to meet Naruto's eyes. His face was cracking, and there was a trail of blood running from the corner of his mouth. Naruto kept wary, but was surprised when he found sand pooling around his feet.
"I forgot how amazing his control over this sand was..." He said under his breath as he fought to break his ankles free from the sand.
"You will die here Uzumaki!" Gaara cried out as sand shot out from his gourd. Naruto cursed as he quickly replaced himself with a helpless kage bunshin, which was completely decimated in a tidal wave of sand. The blond jumped over a thick tendril of sand, only to just barely dodge another that was already in mid-air. He landed 30 metres away from the boy, who had a mass of sand waving around dangerously around him.
They all shot out at the same time, rushing at him with surprising speed. Naruto smirked, Gotcha. He clasped his hands into the tiger seal, gathering up a massive amount of chakra into his lungs, "Katon: Gouenkyuu no jutsu (Fire Release: Roaring Flame Sphere)!" He shot out a massive pink-tinged fire ball at the tendrils of sand.
It roared as it shot down the length of the building, leaving a charred trail in it's wake. It emitted an intense pink-tinged light as well, the heat from the fire ball melting the tendrils of sand into beautiful glass (well, kind of beautiful) sculptures. The entire room was engulfed with a blinding white light as the fireball exploded at the opposite end of the blond.
That attack was insane... Sasuke thought, The amount of chakra needed to power that jutsu is monstrous.
When everyone's retinas stopped burning from the light, they noticed a large glass-coated sphere of sand at the other end of the blond. Naruto barely had time to think as a massive arm of sand broke out of the sphere and collided with the ram-seal statue behind him. A half-transformed Gaara broke out of the sand sphere, eyeing the long glass formations around the room. Naruto was no where to be seen among them.
"Where are you, Uzumaki?" The red-head said in a gravelly, transformed voice. One of his sand arms shot out, toppling a few of the sculptures in his wake. "You can't hide for very long!"
Naruto was sat behind a thicker glass sculpture; the size of the formation refracted the image of the blond ninja just enough that Gaara couldn't spot him out right away. I have one chance at this. He quickly vacated the position as a thick arm drove itself through the glass pillar he was hiding behind. The blond started to charge straight at the other jinchuuriki, his scarf billowing behind him as started blurring through handseals.
"You're dead!" Naruto swiftly dodged the other arm by ducking as he ran. He finished his handseals, his hand glowing with chakra shaped as five kanji on his fingertips.
W-what... When did he learn that seal? Kakashi thought surprised, his hands gripping the railing.
The blond slammed his hand into Gaara's stomach, "Gogyou Fuuin (Five Element Seal)!" A burst of chakra surged through Gaara's body, and he was literally thrown backwards and sent skipping across the floor. Naruto stood in the middle of the floor panting as he eyed the now-unconscious body of the red headed jinchuuriki. The blond hated to say it, but his prowess in fuuinjutsu had diminished greatly over the time-warp. Simple seals like the ones plastered around his home and mid-level seals like the hastily created Gogyou Fuuin either took a lot of time or a lot of chakra.
Gaara's body slowly reverted to his natural form, looking no worse for wear than his opponent. The gourd on his back however, was cracked wide open and spilt sand all over the floor. "Winner: Uzumaki Naruto." The Genin, quite dumbfounded at what had not reacted to the victory. Gaara's team was for the most part, in pure shock as shown by the look on their faces.
Naruto less-than-energetically climbed up to the rafters, joining his remaining raven-haired teammate and cyplops sensei. "Good job, Naruto." Kakashi stated proudly, resting a hand on the blond's shoulder, "That jutsu... What exactly did you do?"
The blond gave a weary sigh, "Gaara was undergoing a transformation under the influence if the Ichibi Shukakku." Kakashi was a bit surprised at his bold statement on revealing the identity of Gaara's bijuu, "The gogyou fuuin is a seal that stops the flow of the bijuu's chakra mixing with the host's, so I stopped the transformation until I can figure out a way to make the seal more stable." Or at least until I can consult something with that perverted sage-sensei of mine... "In the meantime, he'll be unconscious for 24 hours."
"Wow, that's... Very impressive." Kakashi said simply, "There are many things we'll need to be discussing; the fact that you've suddenly become the second coming of the Yondaime Hokage will be one of them."
Naruto sighed as he reclined onto the wall, "I'm well aware of that, Kakashi-sensei."
Lee had gone up against Kankuro after Naruto's match, and there was almost no contest. Lee has confounded the pyjama wearing puppet-user with amazing speed, and in 5 minutes had knocked the older boy out with an impressive combination of kicks. Kankuro would proceed up to the rafters rather shamefully. Temari had gotten it off easy, she had fought someone who was the polar opposite of her style and demolished her. She would be the only one of the Sand siblings to advance to the finals.
Afterwards, Shino was pit against the remaining Iwa genin: A generic, brown-haired boy named Nandaba Taku. Shino's ranged, kikkaichu-based attacks served as a perfect foil to the boy's strange taijutsu style. Apparently, the boy was adept at suiton jutsu; unfortunately for him the arena was very water-deprived. Well out of his element, Shino overwhelmed him with the chakra devouring insects and rendered him unconscious within 8 minutes of the match start.
All that was left was the dog user Kiba and Team 7's very own Sasuke. People had expected the Uchiha to dominate the Inuzuka, but to his credit, Kiba put up a very good fight. His usage of the Gatsuuga (Fang over Fang) in combination with Juujin bunshin (Beast Clone) managed to be a formidable combination against the much higher-rated foe. When Sasuke had activated his Sharingan however, he turned the tables quickly. Predicting the movements of Kiba's Gatsuuga, he managed to elminate Akamaru from the picture and defeat the Inuzuka with a swift combo he had dubbed the Shishi Rendan (Lion combo).
After nearly 5 hours of the genin brutalizing each other, it finally came to a conclusion. The remaining, battered genin stood in a line in front Hayate, Anko and the Sandaime.
"Congratulations on making it past the second part of the exam... You're now to proceed to the finals." Anko stated with a wide grin. Hayate coughed before he started to speak.
"The Final of the Chuunin exam consists of a tournament styled system. You will each be pit against each other in single match ups. Luckily for you, you get a four week hiatus to rest and hone your skills until the final obstacle to chuunin promotion." Anko pulled out a box, seemingly out of nowhere.
"You guys will now each draw a slip of paper from this box. Each slip of paper has a number, and you guys will be matched up accordingly depending on the number you have." She held the box out in front of the genin one-by-one, each of them pulling a number out. By the time they were done, the large electric board had displayed the brackets. Anko coughed into her fist as she cleared her throat. "The match-ups are as followed:
Juuichi Ryu vs. Uzumaki Naruto
Nara Shikamaru vs. Temari
Uchiha Sasuke vs. Rock Lee
Aburame Shino vs. Akimichi Chouji
The tournament will be held in exactly one month from today at the large stadium near the Hokage Tower. I wish you all luck!"
(Early December - Four Weeks until Chuunin Exam Finals)
Naruto woke up the next morning to Kakashi sitting on his balcony reading Icha Icha. His silver-haired sensei invited himself in as Naruto went about the kitchen preparing his breakfast. As usual, the jounin opened up the fridge to start helping himself to whatever food Naruto had in fridge that didn't require to be cooked.
"Kakashi-sensei, I'm sure you didn't break into my house to just eat my food and take up space." Naruto stated plainly as he guzzled down a glass of milk.
"No, Naruto," Kakashi said, snapping his book shut as he eyed his blond protege. "I'm not sure if I should be worried or proud about your recent development, because frankly I'm both." Naruto nodded, digging into his scrambled eggs. Kakashi looked serious for once.
"Why would you need to be worried?" Naruto asked, "I'm still Naruto afterall, it's not like I'm gonna go terrorize the village as an overpowered genin."
Kakashi sighed, "Do I really need to take you to the Hokage to have you interrogated? I'd much rather not as it saves me time and energy."
The blond shrugged, "Even if I did tell you, you probably wouldn't even believe me." He set his plates in the sink, washing his hands before he rubbed his temples. It almost went unnoticed by Kakashi, but the blond had activated the privacy seals hidden around the house.
"For the twenty-third time Naruto, I'm your sensei." Kakashi said somewhat exasperatedly, "I'll hear you out. Considering the fact that you had taken the effort to activate the privacy seals around the house I'm guessing it's rather important yet at the same time ridiculously absurd."
Naruto gazed out the window. He deactivated the seals, seemingly changing his mind. "I'll tell you eventually. There's someone I need to find first, though."
"Who might that be...?" Kakashi asked.
"Oh, Reiko-chan, that pink swimsuit you're wearing looks so good on you! Hehehehe!" Jiraiya perversely giggled to himself as he peered through a small hole in the hotspring's wooden fence. He whipped out a small note pad and began writing things down, all the while giggling everytime he peeked into the hole. "This is amazing... I swear to kami this village produces nothing less than 8s. It's like every street on Konoha is filled with beautiful women!"
"Ero-Sennin." A voice came from behind him. A tick mark appeared on the toad sage's forehead as his head snapped around to meet the interloper.
Blond hair... Blue eyes... I see. "Perverted Sage? It seems my reputation proceeds me then!" Jiraiya walked into the middle of the street before performing an outlandish dance, "A man of unsurpassed bravery, a shinobi of unprecented skill and a gentleman the ladies cannot resist... I am the great Toad Sage of Myobokuzan; The Amazing and Gallant Jiraiya-sama!"
Naruto simply grinned. It's been a while, shishou. "Great, I know who you are and you know who I am! To put it simply, I need your help."
"Eh?" Jiraiya hopped off the large frog he was standing on, "Why would I help a runt like you?"
The blond lifted up his shirt and started drawing on chakra, the seal showing visibly. "Come on, ero-sennin! The amazing and gallant Jiraiya-sama is a master of fuuinjutsu, is he not?"
Jiraiya chuckled, "Well I suppose so. Fine, let's head out to the forest and you can ask me what you want then."
(10 minutes later)
They sat in the middle of a rather secluded clearing at the outskirts of Konoha. Naruto looked around before blurring through handseals and slamming his hand on the ground, a seal array rippling through the forest for a split second. Jiraiya looked on intrigued.
"Privacy seals?" The white haired sage gazed at the blond, "Pretty impressive, especially for a genin."
"That's because I'm not a genin." Naruto stated, At least not in my head anyways. "I'm about to share some information with you," He said, going deathly serious, "It's up to you whether you want to believe me or not."
"Is that so?" Jiraiya brought a hand to his chin, "All right kid you've piqued my interest. Go on."
The blond sighed before rubbing a hand behind his head. "I'm not who you think I am." He paused, "Well, I am, but not really. I come from ten years in the future, where the entire elemental nations are torn by war. You were my master, and you died." Jiraiya looked passive, "The Five elemental nations had joined forces in a war against a terrorist gang called Akatsuki. I fought against their leader, and I almost died. That is, until I met my father in limbo and he sent me back in time."
Jiraiya just nodded, "Okay, and how do you expect me to believe that? More importantly, how do you expect me to believe you're from the future?" But if what he says is true, then the runt could provide me with valuable information regarding the Akatsuki...
Naruto grinned before he stood up, sticking a hand out, "Because of this. Rasengan!" The ball popped into his palm, spinning wildly. The sage's eyes widened.
"Y-you've mastered the Rasengan?"
The blond held up a hand to silence his former master. Let's see if my wind training's paid off. He lowered another hand on top of the orb, "You'll wanna stand back for this!" A screeching noise filled the clearing, "Fuuton: Rasenshuriken!" A fully matured rasenshuriken was in Naruto's hand as he struggled to keep it stable. After a few seconds, it dissipated and he was sent to his knees panting.
"You've completed the Rasengan..." Jiraiya was in sincere awe, and to his credit, he wasn't easily impressed. "I see, well if you're really from the future, why would you need the help of an old coot like myself?"
A sad smile graced the blond's features, "Shishou, you're a seal master are you not?"
Shishou...? Jiraiya's smirk betrayed his inner turmoil, "So my reputation does proceed me! Of course I am!" Naruto nodded.
"As am I," He began, "But for the death of my cannot figure out what is wrong with the Hakke Fuuin (Eight trigrams seal) holding the Kyuubi in." He looked thoughtful for a moment, before he lifted up his shirt and channeled chakra some chakra. "Don't worry, the Kyuubi's not gonna get out... As a matter of fact, I can't even find the Kyuubi in it's seal to begin with."
"Hold on a sec..." Jiraiya studied the array on the boy's abdomen carefully, before bringing a hand up to his chin. He ran his hand over the array before putting on a look of bewilderment. "Turn around, kid." Naruto did as instructed. Plastered on the boy's back was a much larger, tribal-looking seal array that glowed a faint red. There was a spiral on his mid back, but a circular maze-styled pattern surrounded it. "You've got another seal on your back... It seems to be syphoning most of the Kyuubi's chakra."
"What?" Naruto was legitimately confused now. "I don't remember getting another..." His eyes widened.
"Good luck my son! I have nothing but utter fate in you!" Minato blurred through an extremely long set of handseals. "Brace yourself, Naruto! This is going to be extremely painful!" The Yondaime slammed his hands into his son's back, a white light emanating from them, "Jikuukan Fuuin: Gyakuji Idou no Jutsu (Space-Time seal: Reverse Time Migration)!"
"I see..." Naruto shifted into his lotus position, "Okay Ero-sennin, give me a minute."
"Would you stop calling me that?" Jiraiya was about to rant at the blond but his eyes were already closed.
Naruto woke up to the same blinding white he had seen the last time he was here. He furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. He sat cross legged on the floor with a hand to his chin, "Hmm... So if the seal is on my back..." The proverbial lightbulb popped above his head. He stood up, in a split second a door just appeared in front of him. It was rather dingy, and had the words 'back door' scrawled on it hastily. Naruto snickered in victory as he whipped the door open.
His jaw nearly dropped when he got to the other side. The blond entered the small circular clearing, the door disappearing behind him. He did a full 360; the room he was in was covered with an endless stone labryinth, lining the walls and floor. The ceiling however was a rather ornate view of the universe, nebula clouds and stars twinkling softly.
What was in the middle of the room, however, surprised him the most. The Kyuubi was was sitting on a stone clock-themed platform; a large metal hub with large, coloured tubes jutting from his back. The tubes led into several pathways of the labryinth, seemingly going on endlessly.
"K-kyuubi..." Naruto started, slowly approaching the fox. It was no larger than 7 feet tall now, and surprisingly, it wearily raised it's head to look at the boy.
"Ah, hello Naruto." It said. It sounded more like a young man than anything. The fox's red tails swished around behind him, "It seems you've finally found your way to me." It crossed it's front paws, resting it's head on them.
"Tell me about it... What happened to you? Why are you here?" Naruto asked, gesturing at the strange scenery.
"Allow me to elaborate..." The Kyuubi began, "You know about the seal on your back, correct?" Naruto nodded, "Well, that seal is actually the space-time seal your father used to send us back in time. There's a catch however." The blond was sitting down at the point, listening intently. "The seal requires a massive amount of chakra to send someone back in time with this kind of magnitude.
The Jikuukan Fuuin: Gyakuji Idou is one of the most complex and powerful seals ever created. Only Kami herself knows how to create it, and she passed the knowledge on to your father. The seal itself consists of two layers: One layer that rips the fabric of space time, and the other to send you back in time. The first layer uses up a shitload of chakra to forcibly rip the space-time continuum like that. The second layer, however, is what makes it impossible for regular people to time-travel."
"Right, people who aren't the Kyuubi-jinchuuriki is what I meant to say. The second layer of the seal not only requires a massive amount of chakra to begin with, but also a sustained flow of chakra. You cannot stay in the past unless the seal is powered by a constant flow of chakra, meaning that if chakra stopped going into the seal, we'd be sucked into a black hole and never be heard of (in this dimension, anyway) again."
"So you're saying the seal is using your chakra as a power source?" Naruto said, slamming a fist into his palm.
"Exactly. If I wasn't stuck in the god-awful labryinth, then the both of us can call our asses dead cause we'll be ripped apart by a black hole." Kyuubi sighed, "That also means I can't really lend you any aid during battle."
"Well, shit." Naruto's palm went up to his face, "So I'll be unable to use your chakra?"
"It seems all my chakra is currently being used to power this seal, so I'm afraid not."
Naruto shrugged, "Won't you run out of chakra?"
The fox shook its head, "The amount of chakra the seal sucks out gets replaced as soon as it leaves, so it's impossible."
The blond nodded. "Well, I can't really do anything now except appreciate the fact that you're keeping us alive. I'll try and study this seal a bit more; tweak it so you don't have to be stuck in this place by yourself."
"Well, I rather like the view but whatever floats your boat I guess." The Kyuubi chuckled.
"The great Kyuubi no Yoko making jokes? We might as well get sucked up a black hole right now!" The Kyuubi swiped a paw at him, who deftly avoided it.
"Yeah, yeah, get outta here you stupid gaki." Naruto laughed as a door shimmered behind him.
"Don't worry Kyuubi, I'll figure something out!"
End Chapter 4
I hope I didn't keep you guys waiting too long!
Hopefully you guys enjoyed this chapter. A lot of things happened, a lot of relationship building yadda yadda. I thought it would be cool to pit Naruto against one of those Iwa kids in the finals (someone suggested it, I thought it was a cool idea) so I did. I hope this chapter explained some stuff for you guys!
And yes, Naruto is also a bonafide ladies man. He can get the mack-daddy on like no tomorrow.
Anyways. What'd you guys think? Leave me suggestions and stuff by reviewing and favoriting and whatnot!
Next chapter: Four weeks of what..?