Chapter 14: Hama no Kusa (Grass on the Beach)

Dodging back and away from yet another attacker, Tenten almost screamed in anger! Not only were these enemies endless, even the few that managed to slip away from the ANBU squad that was fighting ahead of her, but they had the sheer audacity to ruin her weapons! Her twin wakizashi had been chipped, her Mangetsu Shiken had a snapped blade, even her spear had suffered damage! The only way to anger Tenten more would be to actually bleed on her new dress!

Which they did! A lot! And they cut it! They tore her new dress! The dress Whiskers had said made her look very pretty!

And now... Now that damn brute, with his oversized, crude, unbalanced axe... He... He... He snapped Mangetsu Shiken's chain!

"N... no... No... Mangetsu..." Tenten almost wept as she fell to her knees, holding the remnants of the broken chain that once made up one of her favourite weapons. "Mangetsu... My Mangetsu..." Tears welled up in her perfect, chocolate-brown eyes, filled with sorrow...

But Tenten wasn't a normal girl. She was a Kunoichi. She was a trained killer.

And she was pissed.

Gritting her teeth, Tenten turned her sadness to rage and bottled it up, directed it into her chakra. Twin 'poof's of unsealing covered her form as she leapt off before landing gracefully on a pole, the smoke clearing to reveal her new weapon. Her left arm was covered by a metal gauntlet, with thick plates like a dragon's scales, all the way up to her elbow where it ended in a long, thick spike. Her left hand was also covered, the red-decorated black metal wrapping around and over her fingers in five long, sharp claws, and even her palm was covered in protective chainmail and leather, keeping most of the manual dexterity but also allowing her to stop a blade mid-strike. Flame decorations on her left contrasted strongly with the more wind-themed ones on her right hand. Instead of a gauntlet however, there she held a sword, single edged but thicker and longer than a katana, fire engravings on the blade and the cross guard and hilt covered by the large, fluffy orange-red tassel.

The decision to pull out her secret, final weapon, a combination of the Enko (Blaze Tiger) and Enga (Fire Fang) weapons, was not made lightly. Despite it being her most natural form, she had had the least training with it, not out of choice but necessity, as there was none before to give her a basis to start her forms from. Even Mangetsu could be tracked down to a combination of Meteor Hammer and Kusari-Gama practices. But Enko and Enga were brand new. So, while she had the advantage of surprise, she also had the disadvantage of her own body not being used to these weapons.

But, the very insult that such a low-quality weapon, barely better than what woodman could use, would break one of her well-maintained, high-quality, shiny weapons... Tenten was not going to forgive that stain on her honor.

So she leapt with a battlecry of 'For Mangetsu!' and dashed, head first at the target of her ire. Of course, as normal, the man trusted his own toughness and ovewhelming offence of his weapon and made a vertical chop, right on her head.

It never landed as Tenten caught the weapon's head with Enko and shoved it to the side, feeling it crash to the ground before Enga jabbed forward, making the wind screech lowly as it was cut.

Blood sprouted but it only made Tenten angrier as she withdrew her sword and spun on her left leg in a reverse pivot, back first, until her back was to the enemy and her blade was striking, like a snake, from where was once her left. Again, without losing any momentum, she immidiately reversed, again jabbing with Enga, only this time twisting the surprisingly flexible blade so it would rake across the skin in a dreadful cut. And again, she was spinning, slashing, before returning.

The man tried to put up some defence, but apparently had yet to come against an enemy who would not allow him respite nor fall from a single blow of his heavy axe. Lacerations, jagged and curved, lined his torso, his clothes in shreds barely hanging on, blood dripping to the ground, eyesight going dim from the loss of so much vital fluid.

Tenten decided to end this. This time, after striking she didn't spin, she jumped a few steps back and reared her left arm. Truth is, Kakashi's creation of the Chidori wasn't based on a personnal notice of the speed of a thrust, but rather a well-known fact; relative speed of a jab plus the relative speed of a full-out run equals a very high final speed for the hand in question.

So Tenten dashed straight into her enemy, clawed gauntlet level with her head, and, at the last moment before reaching him, she leapt forward like a pouncing tigress, her claw suddenly snapping forward with massive force. "Tsuiga (Crushing Fang)!" There was a dull, squelching sound as the metal tips were burried deep into the under belly, below the ribcage, of the man, then twisting and rising before the weapon mistress pulled back, dragging half of his internal organs in her grasp.

"That was quite impressive, gennin." One of the ANBU stated. "You will go far." Despite the androgynous sound and unflattering armor, it was clear to Tenten that it was a woman who was speaking behind the Cat mask. So the little gennin grinned at her, abashed and somewhat embarassed, both of the praise and about how she must look, with entrails running down her left arm and blood sprayed liberally over her new dress.

Further talk was interrupted at the feeling of the earth itself shaking, but not from the direction of the gates, where Jiraiya of the Sannin had entered the fray atop a giant toad summon, but outwards to the Forest, where a gigantic Tanuki could be seen looming over the green sea.

...

Sasuke glared hard at the giant Tanuki, his entire body telling him to just lay down and die, the Killer Intent almost breaking his resolve right there and then, but he knew he could not do it. He had something important... something very, very important that he had to protect.

Sasuke's mind raced, as his eyes, red and black with his bloodline, gazed upon a sand-formed harbinger of destruction.

A Bijuu.

It had been rather easy to follow Gaara, the current, or former maybe, host of the Tailed Beast, chasing after him and his two siblings, a puppeteer named Kankuro and a wind-user named Temari. Each had broken off, trying to stall for time to protect their little brother, but before his skill, they were not enough.

Well, that and having Shino help by taking the puppeteer off his hands also helped. Then again, even Temari, who was the daughter of the Kazekage and a skilled kunoichi on her own, didn't manage to stall for time, defeated easily and handily. In fact, she only managed to delay the Uchiha just enough for Sakura to catch up, saying that Shikamaru had remained behind because someone had been tailing them.

Sasuke was rather confident at first. They were in a forest, a Konoha ninja's home field. There were dozens of places he could hide or move through undetected. He could immidiately tell which branch was the more flexible or which would easily break. It was easy to calculate projectile vectors so as to completely avoid obstacles and hide from unexpected angles.

It became quite obvious that it wasn't enough.

Much to Sasuke's consternation, it became a match of skill versus power. The only problem being in the sheer difference in stopping power.

Sasuke could throw a dozen shuriken, curving through the air, and striking from behind bushes. Gaara, apparently, could send a hundred sand needles aimed in his general area and rip through the bushes.

In short... Sasuke was outmatched.

Dodge, dodge, Kawarimi, dodge, leap over and throw a bunch of explosive kunai. Nothing; the sand just tossed them away, now it looked like it was growing like some sort of grotesque appendage, covering the wound on Gaara's shoulder and stopping the bleeding.

Leap over, dodge, opening-quick-fireballjutsu... Sasuke 'tsk'ed annoyed. Gaara had apparently lost a bit of his defencive power, it no longer looked like an everpresent shroud of sand, but...

"BLOOD! GIVE ME YOUR BLOOD, UCHIHAAAA!" The crazed redhead yelled, eyes wide and bloodshot as he looked around, drool falling from his chin. "MOTHER DEMANDS YOUR BLOOD!" Gaara swung around the tree on his tail. A sand tail. A sand tail that can extend and throw sand shuriken or just plain punch through a tree.

"Your 'mother' sounds like a psychotic pedophile, should I introduce her to a few shrinks I know? Bet you they'd help!" He couldn't help but snark as he drew Gaara into his prepared trap. "Trapping seal, activate!" Sasuke cried out, hands in a Tiger seal, finishing it and activating.

Unfortunately for the raven-haired boy, it meant very little to the berserker known as Gaara, who charged right through the four exploding tags, heedless of their detonation.

And once again, Sasuke found himself thanking the Kamis for his Sharingan, letting him see the charging monster and retaliating with a few more kunai.

Landing safely away from Gaara, Sasuke took one more look at the even more mutated boy. Now he was almost all covered in sand, just the left half of the face and a leg were free, the rest was swallowed up by the demon-sand. Or sand-demon. Whatever, it was still dangerous as hell.

Speaking of dangerous... Good going dodging there, Sasuke thought, evading the wide-area assault of a 'Mugen Sajin Daitoppa', or 'Infinite Desert God Breakthrough', which amounted to a localized sandstorm strong enough to turn trees to sawdust.

"Shit, how do I get close to that kind of monster..." He wondered aloud, dodging yet another sand claw, and drawing Gaara away from Sakura, who was watching anxiously but also unable to interfere.

In fact, Sakura was willing to enter the fray, but she was also quite well aware that she would be nothing but a hindrance. As good as she had become this past month, it was plainly obvious that she stood nowhere near Sasuke, Naruto or Gaara. Truthfully, to the terrified pinkette, these three were a league all on their own, almost 'monsters' of ninja. She might have hated herself for her weakness, but she knew she would never be at Sasuke's or even Naruto's level. And that hurt.

So she settled for muffled gasps of terror and agony, small sighs of narrow safety and cringing at the sound of a combat far outside her potential.

To Sasuke, it wasn't just his sharingan, nor his chakra, nor any of his skill. At some, unidentified, moment in time, he had gone past these limits. And truly, they must have been limits, if one watched the 'Last Uchiha' in combat now. Between an action and a reaction, there is a lag time. But that was nowhere to be seen on the warrior; observation, analysis, counter-strategy and reaction were done in an instant, so fast that even Sasuke himself wasn't following on his own movements, finding himself moving without even thinking about it, as if in a dream.

Gaara, however, would not be defeated so easily. Having experienced tremendous solitude, he had turned into himself, and he had found himself broken. But although his mind had broken, he had retained an animalistic sort of cunning. One that understood the 'value of camaraderie', or at least what others felt about bonds. So, his entire body covered by Shukkaku's sand, leaving only the left part of his face human, he lashed at a direction other than Sasuke.

It was like the bridge.

It was just like the bridge in Wave.

And, just like the bridge in Wave, Sasuke's body was moving before he had even realized it, sprinting as fast as he could, all to make it.

To Sakura, the world turned into a blur, a sharp pain on her left ribs, as her crush pushed her out of the way of a crushing sand claw.

To Sasuke, he only had time to wonder why he did it, when the world spun around him once more, and he found himself cold.

"My, my, Sasuke-kun..." A familiar voice, slightly distorted behind the clay mask but still clearly feminine, noted. "It is usually the man who carries his woman, not the other way round, you know..."

Looking up from the arms that held him, bridal style -oh the shame, Sasuke looked up to see the one person he hadn't expected to take part in this fight. "Haku?" He sputtered and he could see, even through the almost non-existent eye openings on her mask, that she was grinning smugly at him. "What the hell are you doing here?"

The Hyoton-user let her male friend (not boyfriend -yet) land on the tree branch and appraised him. He had grown quite a bit in that short time, wearing black overalls and a pair of white arm warmers, in which she could detect a few weapons expertly hidden. But she had changed as well. Her battle kimono was changed to more icy hues, white and blue all over, but now she also wore a bit of light armor over her chest, made so as to not distinguish male from female the better to enhance her 'androgynous' appearence and unsettling effect. She did however carry more accessories this time around, including a kodachi strapped horizontally on her back, for quick drawing and striking, along with a few large flasks of water. Even her hair had taken a more refined haircut, made even more apparent when she removed her mask to show the few hints of makeup around her eyes and cheeks.

Still, she couldn't help but pout, something that, thanks to her new makeup, she was exceedingly good at. "Oh me, and here I thought you'd have liked seeing me again, had we not shared a few special nights together in Wave?" Sasuke's indignant spluttering was definitely worth Sakura's glaring.

Gaara, of course, chose just that moment to interfere, shouting wildly about interferences and 'destroying their existence' before launching himself, yet again, towards Sasuke and, the new target, Haku. Both the ninja managed to dodge away from the berserking attack; for all his power, Gaara was awefully predictable.

"So" Sasuke asked, nonchalantly even as he was dodging sand bullets. "why are you here?"

"Oh, you know, Zabuza-sama, he still works as a nuke-nin for hire, settling debts." Haku ducked under a claw and slid along the ground to launch a few senbon that were quickly deflected, though the explosive tags attached to them did their job of halting Gaara's assault for a few seconds. "When Orochimaru approached us for a job, we dug and found out about the upcoming invasion plan. Unfortunately, Zabuza-sama is still a nuke-nin and can't show up for the fight, he was greatly annoyed because of that, I expect whatever reinforcements Oto has won't be showing up in full, if at all." She smiled at Sasuke. "But, missing-nin or not, I wanted to come, and so I did. Just in time as well, Sasuke-kun, you really need to be more careful!"

Sasuke grumbled under the good-natured teasing, but he couldn't refute the fact that Haku was right. Nor that he was glad she was there, even beyond the fact that she would be able to greatly assist him in the fight.

Sakura on the other hand, was not that happy. In fact, she was positively feeling murderous towards the Ice-Kunoichi, but also aware that Haku was out of her league. No matter how much she tried to reassure herself that exotic looks, pink hair and bright green eyes, would give her the advantage, the truth was that Haku was a yamadeshiko, the very personification of what a japanese woman should look. And as if that wasn't enough, Haku could be just as forceful as Sasuke, smart as Sakura and extremely talented.

"Sakura-san," Haku pulled the pinkette from her depressing thoughts. "please get away from the battlefield, Gaara-san is dangerous enough, we can't afford to split our attention to you as well. Besides," She smiled that infuriatingly beatific, innocent smile. It made Sakura almost want to throttle the girl. "How can you play 'naughty nurse' with Sasuke-kun if you're injured?" That of course caused Sakura to turn beet-red, splutter and blab that she 'would never do something so indecent'. At least it stalled her enough for both Haku and Sasuke to put some distance between Gaara and any bystanders.

"That is a... most aggravating enemy..." Haku began, rather conversationally all things considered. Her enemy wasn't a strong enemy, just a very annoying one. "Do you have any ideas? I would rather not use a risky maneuvre like my Makyo Hyosho..."

"Hn." Sasuke's grunt brought a grin to her lips, he was much more expressive with those sounds than someone might think. "A Suiton jutsu to wear down his defence and a Fuuton into my Katon to break down what's left." He dodged another wild attack with ease; while powerful, they were linear, easily predicted attacks. "I've got a seal here that will stop him."

"Very well, just give me a few seconds." She didn't after all have Zabuza-sama's chakra reserves, her jutsu came more from her vastly superior control of chakra that eliminated wasting of excess power. Still, even she couldn't cut the chakra cost of some jutsu to that extent. Which is why she carried those water flasks on her; apart from making it easier to drink during missions, it was also there to help her with her more water-costly ninjutsu.

Sakura watched in awe as the ice-user seemed to still for but a few seconds before her chakra presence was put on display like a bubbling jet of water, one of those 'geysers' Iwa was famous for. Water streaked out of the flasks, ignoring pesky laws such as 'gravity', like snakes under a charmer's song, before uniting in one and, instead of a serpentine form, they took a draconian one instead.

"Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu (Water Style: Water Dragon Bullet Technique)!" The great, yellow-eyed dragon of water coiled protectively around Haku before, with a point, it roared like a thousand crashing waves and launched itself at Gaara.

Said redhead was all but able to react to this threat. Apart from his obsession with the Last Uchiha, he also had problems in the form of a constant hail of weapons, mostly of the 'explosive kunai' variety, that didn't allow him even a moment to attack, much less react to a threat aside from the one right in his face. Still, he was not considered Suna's secret weapon if he could be defeated that easily, nor would he allow it to happen, so he still, somehow, did manage to leap away, perhaps some left-over instinct of his tanuki tenant.

Once again, however, Haku proved her skill and control of her techniques. Her dragon wasn't as strong, or large, as Zabuza-sama's, but her control was such that it allowed her to manipulate its motions; instead of attacking once, if but in an all-destroying way, she could turn around her water-formed beast and attack again. Surely it was trying on her reserves, but not nearly as much as creating it in the first place.

Up in the air, Gaara, not having trained with Fuuton techniques in favour of crushing all opposition with his Mother's sand, was defenceless. Against an element that he had never even seen in such abundance, he had no idea how to respond in order to avoid getting a direct hit.

The dragon tore into, and through, Gaara's absolute sand-based defence, like a knife through rice-paper, pausing only enough to crush into him and then smash him into the ground, thankfully he still had the sand on his back to avoid getting his spine broken from the several tree branches he went through.

"Now!" Sasuke was already in place, having thrown one of his last remaining kunai, linked with ninja wire, right on Gaara, the sluggish sand unable to rise to the challenge. "Katon: Ryuuka no Jutsu (Fire Style: Fire Dragon Technique)!" Flames burst from around him like a corona, swaying once, twice and then seemingly receiving their command before leaping onto the wire and rushing down its length to their target, like a pack of hungry wolves, only their shape being long and serpentine.

They weren't even half-way there, a testament to Haku's speed, that the ice-ninja had finished her technique and cast it, imbuing the fire with her chakra-rich wind after a call of "Fuuton: Daitoppa (Wind Style: Great Breakthrough)!"

Flames fed on oxygen and gorged themselves until they could take no longer, growing and growing, their color not red any more, instead having taken the yellow-white sheen of the sun, the dragon roared one more time, drowning out the world.

Gaara could only look, frozen by terror as the burning beast descended upon him like the vengeful god of all the people he had killed.

...

Few had thought to look at it, but those who did, were surprised as well as terrified. A large rectangular of violet fire, situated atop a building. A powerful barrier, but what was more important than that, was that inside it were two of the most opposed people alive in the shinobi world.

An old man, named Sarutobi Hiruzen, who even at the twilight of his years could be considered one those old men, a Hokage with something to protect and the so-called 'God of Shinobi' and 'Professor', named not only after his prowess and tactical and combat genius, but also because of his mastery of ninjutsu; he had not only learned, but mastered all non-bloodline-specific ninjutsu in Konoha, and many that were from other countries as well.

On the other corner of the proverbial 'ring' was a rogue named Orochimaru, a genius of his time and greatest monster of his age, a man with a goal and the obsession to go with it, Konoha's 'White Snake', shedding his humanity like a snake sheds it own skin to grow bigger and stronger.

"So, it has come to this, then..." The older man muttered, disappointed just as much as angered. Not only at his enemy, his former best student, but also at himself. "You finally return to Konoha to destroy it..." His anger seemed to shimmer beneath a veneer of sorrow and grandfatherly disappointment before, suddenly, it made itself all too clear. "Did you honestly think we would keel over and die, my stupid apprentice? Are you as conceited to think that the student can so easily surpass the master? I never taught you all my tricks, foolish brat!"

"It is because I never needed them in the first place, 'sensei'." Orochimaru's sibilant tone masked the annoyance he felt at the old geezer who simply wouldn't die like the worthless old relic that he was. "It is after all, as you said, the older generation must make way for the younger one."

"Ah, but the older generation must also spank the younger one when they act like upstart children." Sarutobi was never one to so easily fall in combat, physical or conversational. "And I think it's time for a long overdue spanking session." Because, even if he was old enough to see his best friends die, even if he was old enough to see his son and daughter die, even if he was old enough to be able to play hard of hearing and of painful back, he was still Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Sandaime Hokage, and he would be damned before he let an upstart like that attack his beloved village. For everyone he had lost, there were two more that he had met from them. How had Haku, and Naruto after her, said it? 'Precious people', yes, Konoha's people, all of them, were his precious people.

"I'm not a child any more, 'sensei'!" Orochimaru snarled, could the man at least pay attention to him! Always with that irritating act, as if he was inconsequential before his skill. "I have long since surpassed your power, I have long since become the strongest shinobi to have come from Konoha! As I am now, not even that pathetic fool Namikaze could hope to rival me!"

"Ah, still sore about that little thing, eh? Why was it, I wonder, that you wanted to become a Hokage so much, Orochimaru? Had you ever had something to protect, or was it just the arrogance and greed of a little boy crying out to the world 'I want'? Do you even know yourself? No, you don't; you never had anything worth protecting, nothing to place above your own, fleeting life. No matter how hard I tried, what I did, you never made bonds with the others, never mingled, even when you were the 'Sannin' you kept yourself at arm's reach. For that, I am sorry. But for what I'm about to do... I most definitely am not." With that statement and a flutter of clothes, Sarutobi revealed his old armor, always worn beneath his Hokage robes.

"So, you would strike me down again, 'sensei'?" Orochimaru asked, infuriated with that old man's ramblings. "You, who called me his 'favourite student', the 'future of Konoha', would strike me down, for wanting what was always meant to be mine?"

"What are you talking about, baka-deshi? Don't tell me you believe I have ever really fought you? Boy, I never, not even once, took you seriously. Maybe that's why you got such a big head, allow me to deflate your delusions of grandeur, brat."

Orochimaru knew what the old man was playing at, he was trying to anger him to carelessness. He knew it, but he couldn't change the fact that the dismissive attitude of his old teacher was working wonders on his pride. So, even as he told himself to be careful as he charged, ready to pummel the old man with fist and foot, he was still quite surprised when his blow seemed to go right through the old man.

"First lesson: Don't trust your senses, baka-deshi!" And then Orochimaru was feeling untold amounts of pain as a singled knuckle seemed to bury itself, twisting along the way, almost an entire foot in length into his gut, sending him careening, head over heels, to the other side of the arena.

Straightening himself up from the crouch he had ended up as he allowed his Bunshin to fade away, Sarutobi smirked. This was what it meant to master a technique; not just using it with no leakage or handseals, but taking it to the highest level possible, in this case overlaying the illusionary clone over himself to conceal his counter attack, almost like an after-image. His student might be great and know many jutsu, but he never quite appreciated mastering them to the extent they became second nature.

Picking himself up from the ground, Orochimaru ground his teeth; Taijutsu was not his forte, but his master beat him like he was a gennin! "You will pay for that old man, before this day is over, Konoha will be nothing more than salted ashes!"

Sarutobi laughed at his student's declaration. "Is that so, my stupid apprentice? Then maybe I should take you seriously and end this little spat of yours so I can remove the trash from my backyard." He teased, oh how fun it was! Naruto-kun must be rubbing off on him, it seems. Well, be that as it may, it was time to get serious, his student wasn't so stupid as to allow anger to cloud his anger for long. Old hands flew into handseals and lips barely whispered words that made roof tiles lift up into the air and launch into Orochimaru.

But the snake-user was not so easily defeated, instead choosing to leap into the air for better accuracy and launch a barrage of poisonous snakes from his sleeve.

Still, Sarutobi wasn't known as the 'Shinobi no Kami' for nothing, nor was he unfamiliar with his student's techniques, so he was moving before his greatest failure had even leapt up to avoid the first attack. Hands slammed down and turned the roof to a river of mud, from which a dragon reared up, spitting cannonballs of hard mud at bone-shattering speeds. Hands flew to another set of seals and aged lungs breathed in and then exhaled a gout of flame, igniting the mud balls in powerful flames.

The fight was on.

Bodies twisted, fist and legs lashed out, fire was breathed and earth churned, snakes leapt and metal flashed, a dance so complicated, so simply harmonious that it seemed the partners had been practicing for a lifetime and a half.

ANBU watching outside the isolated area were gaping at the sheer skill displayed, so much greater than their own that they would have been naught but hindrances even if they had found a way to pierce the barrier.

"It's over sensei!" Orochimaru snarled, even as his voice remained sibilant. "Our combined forces will wipe Konoha off the face of the world! Even if you defeat me, which you are utterly incapable of, an old relic as you are, how are you going to defeat two combined armies?"

Sarutobi only pointed outside, where leaves had flooded the village, bringing with them the so-called 'Mori no Kage-Oni', the 'Shadow Demon of the Forest'. One Uzumaki Naruto that seemed to flutter amongst the deluge of leaves. "Does that seem like you're winning? Naruto-kun seems to be pushing back your 'combined forces' on his own!" The old man barely resisted poking out his tongue in an absolutely childish way.

"REGARDLESS!" Orochimaru roared, infuriated beyond words as he saw the same damn brat that had wounded Him in the Forest of Death also tear into his forces. Granted, he was only doing well against the lower-ranked ninja, but considering the age of Oto, that's was just about all his forces -and most of Suna's too! Just a single brat, a single, pathetic little brat, had almost dismantled his war effort! "I still have aces in my sleeve, aces that your pathetic mind, so stuck on morality and views of 'good', woud never begin to comprehend! I have sacrificed so much, worked so hard! This is my reward!"

Sarutobi couldn't help but feel bile rise up his throat as he saw the monster his once-favourite student had become, seeing him slouching off skin like a snake to reveal another face behind his original one, a younger, feminine one, a face that was not Orochimaru's! "You... You monster. You have perfected that abominable kinjutsu?" The old man snarled, filled with fury. "How can you fall so low, how can you be so arrogant? Have I never taught you anything?"

"Oh, you did 'sensei', you taught me a lot, how to fight, kill, how to analyze a situation and turn it to my advantage, all so useful lessons... But you are wrong; I didn't 'fall', I rose! I ascended to a greater existence, one so much more superior to the fleeting instants in time you pathetic mortals are limited in! I... am eternal! I... AM A GOD!" He roared, snake-like characteristics becoming even more so, skin splitting to reveal scales.

'No, you're just a transexual brat with a superiority complex and delusions of grandeur, not to mention your snake fetish.' Sarutobi internally sneered back, but didn't say it. Instead, he chose to glare at the one who once was his most favourite student, the one for whom's sake he had often left the others without teaching for days or weeks. "Such hubris, boy. Don't you know that pride comes before the fall?"

The blase, almost dismissive, answer of his old teacher infuriated the rogue Sannin, and he once again engaged his master in combat, leaping around like fleeting flashes of shadow, silvery glares of their hidden weapons litering the battlefield, a mesmerizing dance of death.

And yet, Orochimaru still couldn't finish it. His master couldn't decisively strike him, not with his ability to flow like a snake, but also neither could he land a blow on his monkey-like acrobatic enemy.

He had to end it, and end it soon before his old master became familiar with his combat style and started landing more serious blows.

Orochimaru leapt away and sneered imperiously at the Sandaime. "I told you I am a God before, did you think I would claim such a thing only by virtue of immortality? No, sensei, I have a far greater claim to my name than merely that... After all, is the White Snake not the herald of rebirth?" He grinned viciously, victoriously, at his teacher's rapidly paling face. "Behold! This is my domain, old teacher of mine! Life and death are merely words to be toyed with before me!"

Sarutobi felt horror and fear in equal measure well from his gut.

Three coffins began to rise from the ground.

...

"That... is so not fair." Sasuke stated rather conversationally, standing next to Haku... in front of a giant Tanuki made of sand, and when one states 'giant', it would also be prudent to state that 'giant' meant being twice as big as the trees around them!

Gaara, terrified at the prospect of his death, only shouted something along the lines of "No! MY EXISTENCE WILL NOT DISAPPEAR!" and, lo and behold, he became a huge sand monster, straight out of a nightmare.

"So... ideas?"

"Umm... Dodge the freakin' giant hand that's coming towards us?"

"Good plan."

Both ninja leapt away as the claw came swiping down, the sound of crashing trees actually overshadowed by Gaara's insane laughter and shouts of 'erasing their existence'.

Just as it had become lately a habit to Sasuke, a part of his mind simply detached itself from the curent proceedings and, in absolute calm, simply made wisecracking jokes. At least, it also kept him calm before the overwhelming power of a jinchuuriki, no, a bijuu.

"His size might be the answer." Sasuke stated, hiding behind a tree next to Haku, away from the seeking sight of the sand monster. "His attack before was rather slow, we can use it."

"But how?" The girl next to him asked, rather worried. Oh, she would protect Sasuke, but she definitely hadn't expected going against a Bijuu to be part of her daily program. She would have at least cleared up any other appointments! "We can't kill him, or the monster will simply break free."

"Here." Sasuke handed her a weird tag, sealing language written all over it. "a suppression seal made by Jiraiya of the Sannin. Just attach it to him, anywhere, and activate it, it should suppress the Ichibi." Seeing her worried look, he grinned with confidence he didn't feel, and he knew she knew. "You're still faster than me, so you have more chances to do it. I'll make a diversion for you, just get it done and we'll both be fine."

"I..." She wanted to deny that claim, she wanted to tell him that she would be the bait, she wanted to, gods she wanted to take the fear and terror and danger away, but she knew she couldn't do it. Sasuke was much better at avoiding harm than her, his Sharingan easily warning him of impending danger, while she could move much faster than him even now. "...very well..." Her emotions fell dead and she, once again, became 'Hunter Nin'. He was right after all, if she could do it, he would be safe from danger in but a few moments.

Sasuke leapt from his hiding place spitting fireballs, drawing Gaara's eyes to his first 'prey'. The last Uchiha could only hope that would be enough of a distraction to give the opening they needed to Haku.

It was only when she was moving, commited to her attack, that Sasuke's sharingan made his blood run cold.

There was chakra all around Gaara.

The redhead berserker... had outwitted them. He knew he had two 'preys' to hunt, and he held back.

"HAKU! NO!"

Their enemy wasn't a physical being; it was a monster of sand made in the likeness of a bijuu; its form was malleable.

Red and black eyes saw it perfectly, the moments as another tendril of sand, sharp and fast, erupted from around the redhead, they swallowed up every single painful detail, from the fluttering of the sealing paper to the way Haku's eyes had widened at the surprise, the fear, the resignation that she had failed.

That it was all over.

Gaara's laughter was the stuff of nightmare, taunting and insane. "HAHAHAHA! MY EXISTENCE IS STRONGER THAN BOTH YOURS! YOU CANNOT DESTROY IT! DESPAIR! DESPAIR AND DIE! DO YOU WISH TO FIGHT ME UCHIHA SASUKE?" Then he was quiet again, with a hint of vicious venom in his voice. "Then you had better hurry up." He waved Haku's trapped and struggling body around before slamming her mercilessly on a tree, his sand wrapping around it quickly. "Because if you don't, I WILL KILL HER! So come, hurry! HURRY! HURRY! HURRY AND ATTACK ME, UCHIHA SASUKE!"

Rage swelled within the Last Uchiha's chest. It was a burning, and yet freezing, sensation. It was not fear, the likes that makes your knees weak and your skin shudder. It was rage, plain and simple, one of Sasuke's last, and most precious, links to his waning sanity was being threatened, obviously right in front of him.

It was an insult to Sasuke, it was a threat to his pride and it was an attack to one of the, maybe three, people that he actually cared about.

It was inexcusable! It was unforgivable!

Sasuke stared up at the demon, now all but freefree. "Damn you... Let her free, you bastard!" He cried out, chakra swirling like flames around him, glaring impotently at the red-headed psychopath. A mark in the shape of three tomoes pulsed and the raven-haired boy ground his teeth as he tried to suppress his rage.

"THEN ATTACK ME! PUT YOUR EXISTENCE AGAINST MINE AND SEE WHICH ONE SURVIVES! THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE LIVING FOR, AREN'T YOU? PUTTING YOUR LIFE, YOUR EXISTENCE ON THE LINE, FIGHTING ENEMIES WHO CAN KILL YOU, SO UNLIKE THE TRASH YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH EVERY DAY! THE THRILL OF ALMOST DIEING! YOU'RE JUST LIKE ME!"

'Dammit... what can I do? It's hopeless, I can't get close to him and my Ryuuka is too small to destroy such a large enemy, the chidori would only kill him and release the demon... I can't... I just can't do it... I guess... I guess I'm going to die now... I only wish it wasn't Haku-chan who also suffers that fate... if anything, if she could live...'

But there was no way; he could already hear her struggling, calling her water to weaken the sand's hold over her, but it would not be enough; she wouldn't have enough chakra to see it through, at best she's delayingt he inevitable...

Standing, alone, abandoned, weak, on the branch, Sasuke's world was falling apart. It was only when he shifted his weight, hoping to just get a single hit in, even if it would be pointless at least he would go down fighting, that he noticed a different weight on his ninja pouch.

Like all proper shinobi, gennin and jounin alike, he had memorized with his own body the weight of his ninja pouch and the way everything was placed inside. That way he would be able to tell if someone took it from him, placed something in it or even how many weapons he had left. But there was something in there, that he wasn't used to, a new weight.

Looking for a weapon to arm himself with, his hand brushed around a spherical, squishy thing. He grabbed it lightly and pulled it out. Ah, he remembered it now. Naruto's last gift before he got himself tangled in this mess.

Sasuke might have been ready to give up, but he hadn't been the friend and team mate of Uzumaki 'I'll-never-give-up-believe-it' Naruto for nothing. Besides, he lived through his brother's homnicidal insanity, Zabuza's attack, Haku's mirrors...

Only... this time, he was alone. There was no strage 'mercy' to spare him. There was no Kakashi-sensei to pull ninjutsu out of nowhere. There was no Naruto to take all the blows and turn the tables.

No, this time, he was all that was left. He peered into the grape, grateful for the few moments of respite the redhead psycho was giving him, looking deep into the light that seemed to pulse, like a heartbeat, in it.

Sasuke was alone. He was the only one left. The only one of a clan, the only one of a team, the only one left. It now felt to his shoulders to get it done.

"'Let's just fucking do it', huh?" He whispered, quoting an old manga he had read once. Well, not that there were many options, just one; lay down and die or go down fighting, and if anything, no one could accuse Sasuke of taking the easy way out.

The grape-like fruit went 'squelch' inside his mouth, much more solid than what he had expected it to be, a warm, sweet flavour, almost enough to make him sick.

Then came the chakra.

It was endless. It was an ocean he could feel himself drown within! He could feel his veins pop out, his blood flow faster, he could taste his blood in the air, the blood vessels unable to hold so much pressure and creating minute ruptures that healed just as soon as they were made, flooding his body with blood, his skin almost bleeding! He could feel, taste,see,smell... everything.

It felt like a God had wrenched apart the curtains that shielded the World's true form! It felt like he could truly see for the first time! It felt...

Like a God.

Mere seconds after it, while Sasuke was still enraptured within the awakeningly-narcotic effect of the fruit, he was then flooded by the opposite feeling to the sheer pleasure; that of agonizing pain.

Just as the ingredients had released the dormant power of Sasuke's body, they also released the dormant power of the parasite that was on him.

Tomoe-like designs flamed with power and crawled out like fire, bringing their own heady, addictive power to the mix!

Sasuke felt like he was being torn apart, and he knew, he knew that he wouldn't be able to hold all that power inside for long. The chakra was resting like an almost palpable weight on his shoulders even now!

So, while Sasuke was not like his brother, learning a new technique in moments, he had a different gift that his father had not seen; his eyes had the ability to break down and analyze whatever came into them. Like an entire team of scientists, each taking up a part of the problem to break it down to its simplest parts, Sasuke's Sharingan tore down techniques and simply made them anew.

And right now, at this moment, lost in a haze of power, pleasure and pain, he recalled three things perfectly.

Training with fire on the small lake near his house.

Calling up lightning into his fist atop the lonely mountains.

Naruto's handseals as he demonstrated a single jutsu to his team, right before the exams.

The adrenaline that now had flooded Sasuke's body made the world stand still, held for the longest time, just for him.

His mind, so able to detach itself from the rigors of reality to think clearly, was sent into overdrive.

Position of hands. Importance of handseals. Channeling of chakra. Control and shape. Why those handseals? Why those elements? Why in that order, time? Why this alteration? Why? Why? WHY?

Flames, hot and strong were given birth in his lungs and then breathed to his left hand. Electricity seemed to slowly gather at his fingertips, stronger and stronger, until his right arm was covered with a glove of lightning.

The wind blew to the left with a speed of 0.2341MPH. Distortions around branches, calculated. Distortions due to initial facing of the paper, calculated. Distortions due to ink weight, calculated.

He had never gone through those handseals, he had never even known they were possible until Naruto showed him the large scroll where all his observations on the effects of particular hand and finger locations.

He attempted them nonetheless.

Five handseals. Each alien and unseen before in the Elemental Nations. Not even static, as most where, but motions even so as to better channel the sympathy between his two elements and the way he wanted them to work together.

"Enton (Blaze Style)..." His voice sounded alien, heavy, loaded with power to the point that it seemed to echo in the ears of the observers. "Maou no (Devil King's)... Manto (Cloak)."

It seemed like lightning and fire had taken on a life of their own. A layer of chakra barely preceeded the flames, keeping them from scorching his body and removing ground for the electricity. Another layer came above the lighning, forcing it to eternally bounce between the layers of chakra he had formed, like an armor or more like raiments of war, around him.

"W-WHAT IS THIS? WHAT TREACHERY IS THIS?" Gaara shouted, but Sasuke did not hear. Even if he did, he would not have cared.

He could feel his chakra running out fast, he could feel it tearing itself from his chakra system painfully, violently, viciously, to feed this... monster of a technique.

It had to end. Now.

He leapt!

Trailing flames and a flash of lightning behind him, he flew! Bounce under the branch ahead, head down, turn over and pick the sealing paper!

Sand claw!

Dodge to the side, leap up! Again! Again! Climb, CLIMB!

Another hand! Leap over and land, now! Gather it all, your chakra! Shape it, form it! A single, cohesive unit! Solid! More solid, more physical!

There! Now! JUMP!

Gaara screamed in absent terror at the being that was flying towards him, and his hands flailed wildly, causing arms to sprout from the Ichibi's body, all launching themselves to stop that monster!

But the lightning chakra around Sasuke tore the Earth element of his Sand apart and the fire scorched the Wind to feed upon it.

It seemed like a spear, thrown by an old, forgotten war-god, piercing through his greatest defence as if they were nothing, drilling through as if they were nothing and-!

It was a near-forgotten feeling that gave Sasuke pause right before thrusting his fist through Gaara, the bastard who hurt Haku, and disperse the chakra there to slam the bijuu-suppressant on his face.

As he felt the Maou no Manto stole his consciousness away, Sasuke had one though dominate his mind, just before his seal-covered fist landed on the jinchuuriki. "This look of despair... would look perfect on Itachi's face!"

...

An old man was facing the one who once was his most beloved student, heart now filled with seething rage as he gazed on two very important people, now used as little more than marrionettes to destroy that which once they held dear. "Are you so corrupted, my former disciple, that you would go against the very nature of this world? Are you so conceited as to think yourself a god? DO YOU WISH ME TO KILL YOU THAT MUCH?" He shouted, for the first time in ages, fury and hate filling his heart, suppressing the compassion and kindness he had been known for.

It was, once again, like when they were master and part of a team. The teacher's raw desire to kill so strong that it felt like frozen hands shackling him to the ground, unable to act or even plead for mercy.

"Gee, old man, take a fucking chill pill, you'll pop a goddamn vessel." A redhead in one of the Shinjienjin's corners spoke. The glare she received from that same old man actually managed to do the one thing no one in Sound had managed; silence her.

Meanwhile however, the God of Shinobi was not just standing there, his mind going through thousands of thousands of miles a second. He was a tactical genius and a knowledge database, he had learned and mastered thousands of techniques of varying skill, use or style.

And now he needed all his skill more than any other time. Right now, he needed to put it all to use against his new enemies. So, as much as he loathed Orochimaru, as much as he wanted to tear the upstart boy apart and rend him down to anatomical lesson implements so fine one would be able to discern individual muscle fibers, he was forced to keep it inside and turn his fury to ice.

But even so, the Sandaime Hokage was well aware of the fact that it would be a loosing battle. Even if the two men before him, the Shodai Hokage and Nidaime Hokage, were at a mere tenth of their skill, they would still be more than enough to overcome him with Orochimaru along them. In fact, it was even worse in that he couldn't even kill them; the accursed jutsu would simply regenerate them over and over again! It would be a battle of attrition, a battle he would lose. And as much as he didn't care about his own life, so insignificant before the lives of his entire village, he was also quite well aware that should he fall, Konoha would follow.

But the jutsu had one major downside, beyond the fact it had to be premeditated and prepared long before its use; each soul could only be summoned once. Only once and that was it. So, Orochimaru, bless his blind arrogance, in all probability wouldn't be able to make another Edo Tensei summon. The hard part was taking the two already summoned men out of the fight...

'How do you kill something that cannot be killed? Damn it, that's like the Kyuubi... wait, Kyuubi? Of course, you have to seal it away, but how could I seal those two, I'm not as good as Jiraiya-kun on living-matter seals unless... It would take a lot of chakra however, chakra I don't have, the Shiki Fuuin would be a better- wait, Shiki Fuuin, Naruto! Of course, the 'Power Grape' or whatever the hell he called it! Even if ninety percent of Naruto's chakra is wasted in the transfer, that would still be enough to put me more than three times above my prime years! So, to make things easier and get my chakra levels down, first to remove Shodai-sama from the equasion.'

A small offering of blood, a bit of chakra and a puff of smoke later, Enma the Monkey King stood next to his summoner and old friend.

"Quick! Don't let him transform!" Orochimaru's cry came a little late as the summon was covered in smoke, revealing the Diamond Staff, a size-altering staff that Sarutobi could use with more than a little bit of skill.

Spinning the weapon around him, and no longer concerned about chakra levels since he would be recovering them soon enough Kamis willing, Sarutobi Hiruzen flew into the offence.

Well, more like 'leaped around like crazy', but it was the same thing; the staff in his hands seemed like a living thing, changing shape in an instant, smaller or larger, swiping it around and smashing it, reversing and tripping, a black blur that broke Suiton and Mokuton jutsu as if they were nothing.

For all his drivel about his immortality and the wasting curse of old age, Orochimaru found himself almost mesmerized at that old man. For all his hate and arrogance, he could not deny the simple fact that the old geezer in front of him could kick ass like it was going out of fashion! Even the two Hokage he had summoned back from the dead, despite the psychological effect of fighting your greatest teachers, it still was not enough to even slow down the great God of Shinobi.

For all his faults, Orochimaru couldn't help but feel more than a little bit of awe at the living legend in front of him, and more than a bit of pride at having been taught by a man who could take on two legendary Kage on their prime while he was in his twilight years - and killing them several times over if it hadn't been for the regenerating effect of the Edo Tensei!

Eventually, however, Sarutobi made a mistake, overextending a thrust with his staff, the Shodai immidiately took advantage of it and went on an offencive, as was his directive.

Two hands, sprouting from the staff, stopped that, holding him still.

The dreaded Sannin Orochimaru's eyes widened as he realized what the old man had done; the oldest bluff in the book! Then he paled in horror at what Sarutobi was doing right now!

Sealing! He was going to seal the Shodai Hokage away! But, he wondered confused, that would require extreme amounts of chakra, as the Hokage would actively resist. The Sandaime clearly didn't have an abundance of chakra, not anymore so why was he doing it? Clearly, he knew it so why? Why?

The scientist inside Orochimaru, so obsessed with 'why' hesitated enough for Sarutobi to finish his handseals and seal the resurrected Kage into his hand, black tattoos appearing on his palm.

'One down... Damn, that took a lot out of me, but at least I'm at ten percent of what I once was, though barely above twenty of what I am now...' Sarutobi thought, the weight of how much he had degenerated in his old age hitting him yet again, as if joint aches weren't enough. But he had to move, quickly, and get his student to stop attacking for a few seconds. Then again... "So, you're one puppet down, boy, are you still feeling smug?" Orochimaru could never resist boasting.

"That is merely one puppet, 'sensei'. But don't worry! Once I kill you, you won't stay dead for long... You will be back in your prime, only fighting to kill the foolish insects of this village!"

"That, of course, assumes that I will die here. And I think one of the first things I taught you was to not assume." Sarutobi taunted, enjoying the moment of one-upping his once brightest student, as well as getting his breath back.

"Assume? I don't 'assume', 'sensei'." Orochimaru grinned maliciously. "I know. You are old, tired, a relic from times long since gone. A fool. But me? I am a God, lord of death and rebirth. Where you have no more chakra left, I am almost fresh and, you are very well aware, ninja are users of ninjutsu, an art that takes chakra to use! You, all but exhausted, could not even hope to come to the same level as I!"

"And that, my foolish apprentice," Sarutobi made his voice as mocking as possible. "is why I never chose you as my successor; you simply cannot broaden your mind beyond the destruction chakra can bring forth. And that is why in Konoha, there are already people who far outstrip you in terms of scientific success... People who can do what you would consider weak or pointless or impossible. People, who can create things like this." And he had taken the fruit out of a sleeve, letting it catch the light magnificently.

If Orochimaru hadn't been deathly pale already, he would have gone in an instant. He recognized that fruit; the fruit that made the Demon Brat strong enough to hurt him! In the hands of a Ninja Master like Sarutobi!

Words failed to describe the depths of worry Orochimaru was tossed into.

He could only watch in morbid terror as his old master ate the fruit, not even Nidaime being quick enough to stop him.

Sarutobi seemed to shiver and then shudder violently, going through various interesting skin colors, then he began to hop rapidly in place, far faster than it should have been physically possible!

It looked like he was copying the rabid-rabbits-on-speed experiments Orochimaru had done a few years back!

Then he was off! To the left! To the right! Above! Below! All-around zooming!

Finally a stop, at the exact same spot he was when it started.

"Wheeeew!" Sarutobi Hiruzen exclaimed in a voice several decades younger, and many octaves higher, than it should be. "Power Grapes! Crimson Fox is for wusses! WAHOOO!"

And the Nidaime found a fist buried in his gut, another in his left knee and a third in his nose.

"WHEEEEEE!" Sarutobi seemed to whistle loudly, moving faster than Orochimaru could think of moving. It was so addicting, so freeing! So alive! HE HAD FORGOTTEN HOW ALIVE IT FELT!

After landing for a few seconds, Sarutobi managed to get his rampaging thoughts under a semblance of control, though it was tentative at best. Damn, he had never anticipated that a human could possibly contain this much power in them, no wonder Naruto was hyperactive; his body must be possibly begging to be tired out.

So, first to deal with Nidaime and then he'd get down on Oro-teme's ass. Besides, he had held back significantly; his strength might have been perceived instead of real. But now he knew. Now... Now he could really get into it!

"Nidaime-samaaaa~" Sarutobi sing-songed, sounding extremely wrong unsurprisingly. "Remember when you grounded for not having spotless ninja sandals? I sure do!"

"You know, I had never thought this grip could be real... It sounded like fiction..." One of the ANBU stationed outside the barrier commented, getting nods. "Oh, now he's going for- ouch, that must hurt... Damn, I'm afraid Anko-san has a far greater effect on Hokage-sama if he's willing to do that to someone..." Only nods, voices muted by awe, answered him.

Sarutobi on the other hand... was moonwalking.

After sealing the second Hokage, he had taken to moonwalking along with gestures and body movements that should never be done by a man above fifty of age (and CHA 16). "Another one bites the dust! Yeah, yeah, yeah , yeah another one bites the dust!"

Seeing red, and finally realizing that things had gone astray enough from his original plan, to justify drawing his greatest weapon, the longsword Kusanagi, Orochimaru finally got serious.

Unfortunately for him, it was kind of too late to do that. For his arrogance in wanting to play with his prey, Orochimaru would pay greatly.

Starting with having another up-close-and-personal meeting with Enma's staff form, who had been forgotten but not released from his summon.

If the snake user had found the older man a tough combatant before, it was only now that he realized just how weakened the man had become due to old age, and how much power he could now bring to bear.

Truth be told, it was a mesmerizing sight, especially for the sole female of the Sound Four (or Five). There was something oddly satisfying in seeing your boss, a guy with a penchant for little boys, hickeys and large purple browns, who could also incidentally take on a small army on his own and win, get his ass handed to him.

That, and the look on Orochimaru's face as he tried to slither away from 'the old man', with said old man grabbing his former student by the tail and making the eyes almost pop out their sockets, would make many of Tayuya's days.

"H-Help! GAH!" Orochimaru screamed, but didn't manage to say it all before Sarutobi played baseball with his head and Enma's largest staff form. "T-Take the barrier down! No-GUAH!" Another fine show of how a staff could be used as a lethal weapon. "R-RETREAT KAMIDAMN YOU!" Oh, look he managed to get awa- nope, old man caught up, never mind.

"Drop the barrier, now!" The Sound Four's unofficial leader commanded and his team obeyed quickly, even though Tayuya mumbled something about missing out on teachable moments.

And just in time too as their master came careening on the purple wall of their barrier at break-neck speed, launched like a bullet from yet another giant-staff swing.

Really, Sarutobi might have mastered more than a thousand ninjutsu... but he was a bojutsu specialist deep down.

A fact that no one would ever dispute from that day on, even if he looked rather insane, hunting Orochimaru and his lackeys, screaming for Enma to shrink down to 'cucumber size' and to 'be ready to expand when in the proper place'.

Despite the apparent life he seemed to be infused however, it was more bark than bite for Sarutobi; his student had been a wily enough and switched out of his bodies several times, healing the damage to the point that the old Kage had had to beat him over and over again to make it stick. So it was to no surprised to him when he finally fell on a knee, exhausted beyond words or compare, the fruit's mystic powers fading from his body.

Sarutobi's vision swam and his ears could only pick up a few words, but he still could smile as he lost his combat for consciousness.

"Victory! We have Victory!"

"Heart-rate dropping, readings unstable, his chakra's all over the place!"

"Shit, his endocrinal system's all out of whack! There's not the slightest hint of nutrients or fat in his body, he's ... to ...eed a ...ull transfusion at the very ...east!"

"... keep ... alive, ... you gennin, what ... you-"

"... Help... chakra... lots... you..."

"Fi... do..."

Sarutobi heard no more, but the smile on his face couldn't be wiped out.

Because, after all, he had protected his precious village, one last time.

A/N: Second chapter of Konoha's Invasion, with more Tenten action and Sasuke's and Sarutobi's fights. Hope you all enjoyed them. Also, seems to occasionally hiccup on air, messing itself up and forbidding new chapters from updating or reviews from appearing, sometimes even rolling back and deleting or ignoring them. It's annoying, very much so, so if you have a review you wanted to post but couldn't, please try again! Reviews feed me!

It took me a bit to publish because... well... I started playing Kingdoms of Amalur! And now I want to write a crossover with Naruto and Kingdoms of Amalur! But, like always, it'll turn to a full story, and I'm finall getting a job (in a week or so)! Needless to say, considering that I will be employed at the time when I'd normally be playing Guild Wars 2 and writing stories, I'm not exactly pleased...

NUUU! Don't wanna work! Don't make me!

Can't I just write/read fics and play games all day long? Life's SO unfair!

Also, I want to say that I've made more than half-a-dozen weapons, just for Tenten alone... Damn, I don't know if I'll ever even put them down! If anyone's looking for weapons for their Tenten, ask away, I might be able to provide assistance. On that note, know any good Naru/Ten fics? I really love that character, but there's so few people who prefer 'weapon mistress Tenten' over 'I-smash-mountains-with-fists Sakura'...

Jutsu Description:

Enton: Maou no Manto (Blaze Style: Devil King's Mantle)

Cost: A, Control: S, Rank: S, Classification: Ninjutsu (Nin-tai jutsu), Alignment: Fire/Lightning (advanced/advanced)

One of the first Enton Sasuke made, and ironically the hardest of them to use. The user covers themselves with two shells of chakra. Then, he proceeds to fill them with fire-chakra and lightning-chakra. The lightning-chakra on the, relative, outer of the technique increases its piercing capabilities and allows it to ignore defences as if they weren't even there, while the fire chakra increases the sheer destructive capability. A highly advanced jutsu, that, if not mastered, could very easily tear the user apart, frying the body's nerves to their death and burning the entirety of the body's epidermis, which can actually result in asphynxiation and death. Only a present and skilled medic could hope to sustain someone who hasn't mastered it yet, long enough to be transported to a hospital.

Item Description:

Enko-Enga: Tenten's most favourite weapons but also the ones she uses the least. Enko is a large clawed gauntlet with a vicious blade hidden on the elbow pad for quick recoveries, and a nasty surprise. It is actually quite durable and even the chainmail and leather that cover the palm can stop a katana. It functions mostly in very close range, but can be vicisously effective in even longer ranges, though it cannot out-reach a sword. Enga is the opposite; a dao made mostly for longer ranges, though its heavy, curved blade can also allow it to work very well in closer ranges and even grapples. Enga has a large tassel that conceals the guard and hilt, preventing the enemy from reading the grip and any follow-up strikes. Tsuiga is a pretty straightforward technique with its origins based on good ol' charge-attacks; Tenten bodily rushes the enemy and strikes with Enko at the final moment, adding her own speed to her jab's and making the attack far more dangerous.

Power Grape: A misnomer as it is in no way related to a grape, this clear-purple, transparent fruit looks much like one, though it is considerably larger. It is actually solid, despite the squishiness of it making it seem more like viscous liquid. When it is freshly picked, and for about a week later, it seems to have a soft glow around it, which is actually the result of such hyper-concentrated chakra. The fruit, when eaten, acts extremely fast, within seconds. It floods the body with chakra and releases chemicals to improve its performance; adrenaline and endorphins being the simplest one. It also has the side effect of forcefully opening the first two gates of the user, if but to enable him to survive such a surge of raw energy. Unfortunately, users also tend to loose part of their ability to reason, though that does not make them stupid, simply... temperamental or emotional. Finally, if the user has any form of parasite bonded to them, it is considered to be a part of the 'body' as well and many of its limiters are removed.

OMAKE CORNER

Hyuuga Inbreeding

On the stands, the leader of the Hyuuga clan, one Hyuuga Hiashi, looked down at his youngest daughter, and the one he actually considered a good one at that, Hyuuga Hanabi. "Watch closely, Hanabi. Your cousin is the greatest Hyuuga of all times, no one has inherited the Hyuuga blood more thickly than him, not even your sister. He is the future of the Hyuuga clan." He told at the eight-year old girl.

Hanabi looked horrified at her father. "What? You mean he's the most inbred one of all of us?"

"WHAT?" Hiashi managed to cough out amongst his spluttering and bursting pressure.

"You said he has the thickest blood! That makes him inbred! OH GOD! NEJI IS MY COUSIN, UNCLE AND BROTHER! IS HE GOING TO BE MY HUSBAND TOO?" Hanabi screamed in absent terror, and more than a bit disgust.

Sometimes, Hiashi decided as he saw everyone in the stadium looking at them in disgust, sometimes it was just one of those days...

A/N: Seriously, how can that guy simply state 'he has the purest blood of all' like that? The moment he said that in the anime, I was screaming 'INCEEEST'!

Visiting Naruto's Greenhouse Scene Nine:

The fight for Konoha was hard for the shinobi, harder for the surviving civilians and even harder for the large, green-skinned humanoid-like warriors that suddenly appeared and tackled the intruding Oto and Suna shinobi with terrifying ferocity.

The sight of something tearing someone else's arm off and using it to beat them to death never quite leaves you alone. Nor the sight of something literally biting the head off of someone.

But these... men, things, whatever they were, seemed particularly vulnerable to fire. Wind didn't seem to even faze them, they only bled for a little bit, something that looked like runny tree sap, but even the bleeding didn't go for long, nor did they suffer from shock. Precision blows were also pointedly ignored, literally when someone took their sharp gardening tools into account. Pain didn't even seem to register beyond making the raging humanoids even angrier. No, to be killed, they had to be cut to small pieces, so small that they wouldn't be able to even bite them to death.

Yet, the berserkers were few in number and they fought recklessly, with no regards to safety, neither were they especially trained in combat and war, not to mention they knew no jutsu and their weapons were gardening tools at heart.

So, in the end, the two-dozen or so warriors were killed to the last.

To the last?

No, not exacly. Two of them escaped.

As mostly heads with a nearly ripped apart body that pathetically drew themselves away into a sewer, but they survived.

And in the darkness they raged, recovered and multiplied.

The humans were at fault. All those humans, except The Maker of course, they were all to blame for Rainbow's death.

They would pay! First, they would make an army and then, they would strike!

So, the last of the green berserker humanoids bid their time, recovered and built an army. They would destroy the humans even if it was the last thing they did!

They took names to distinguish themselves from the others that would come, to show them why they would lead and not they. The words they had half-heard once when The Maker had been happily embraced by one of their brothers and sisters.

It had been a gurgle really, but the survivors liked it. "Gork." Had one named itself and the other "Mork."

Seeing the only common thing in their names, the others that followed were only known as 'Orks'.

Several tens of thousand years later, the humans would still wonder why the Orks didn't take kindly to forest fires...


Today, on this 9/6/2012, I, Soulblazer87, do hereby leave this site, possibly forever.

I shall not update this, or any other story.

I shall leave them on, however. Should you desire to follow my stories, do so in my new site of residence: www dot yourfanfiction dot com.