The Flower That Blooms Twice: Part 2

And now, the battle between two young warriors commences!


"Yosh!" Lee started, not waiting a second after the fight had official begun to start his assault. Sprinting forward, he drew back his right fist, plowing it into the calm body of one Naruto Uzumaki and sending him flying across the battlefield… or so Lee thought. A minute after the body landed with a soft THUD, it dispersed into a cloud of white ash, leaving much of the crowd confused. Lee's eyes widened in shock, turning around just in time to be on the receiving end of Naruto's fist. Taking the punch in stride, Lee flipped backwards, intent on putting some distance between himself and the Uzumaki.

"Fast," Naruto murmured, a small smile tugging at his lips, "But predictable…."

Lee nodded, standing tall as he got back into position. "Yosh Naruto-kun! It seems you will not have need of a warm-up after all! Come! Let us see whose flame burns brightest!"

Naruto's eyes gleamed in response, and he calmly withdrew Kubikiri from its resting place upon his back. "Very well. Let me show you my flames!" A subtle hand seal was made, but Naruto's intent was clear.

"Katon: Gokakyu no Jutsu!"

A great flame erupted from the blonde's pursed lips, shifting and molding itself into a bulking orb that slowly drifted towards the young Gai clone. Not wanting to take any chances, Lee steeled himself, pushing his arms down by his sides as a youthful wave of energy pulsed out of his being. Watching quietly, the young Jinchuriki blinked.

"…Katsu."

On command the fireball too pulsed outward, engulfing the area in a contained, miniaturized explosion. Smoke drifted about the arena, neither contestant visible from the sidelines. Genma himself coughed, not from some sickness as was the case with Hayate, but rather from the sheer amount of smoke that developed due to the use of the prior jutsu.

'Damn…' he thought, 'what's with kids and explosions these days…? There's no need to be this flashy.'

Narrowing his eyes through the smoke he made out a single silhouette, standing calmly with his arms crossed. 'Uzumaki… so then where'd Gai's kid go?'

Naruto too was wondering what happened to his eccentric opponent. He knew that one blast was far too weak to take someone of Lee's caliber out in a single blow. He racked his brains for an answer, eventually falling back on the basics Kakashi had tried to drill into their team during their first teamwork exercise.

'Alright. He's not in front of me… behind? Left right?' Naruto paused, glancing around and confirming that Lee was nowhere in sight, '…and there's nothing confirming he's below which means the only place he could be is…' the blonde glanced up, his eyes squinting into the bright light that was the sun. 'I see, so that's your plan!' he braced Kubikiri, gripping it tightly in his right hand.

A sudden shout rained down from the heavens, and before long, Lee's spiraling form came into view.

'I'm not even going to bother wondering how the hell he managed to get that high…' Naruto thought in amusement, eyeing Lee's nearing form. If he wasn't mistaken, it looked like the boy's foot was on fire… The green blur drew closer, smoke trailing his body as he aimed towards Naruto, extending his foot. Flames erupted from the boy's toes, spreading until it seemed his entire leg was aflame. And then…

"Dynamic-!"

"Block." Naruto interrupted, raising the flat end of his blade to withstand the attack. The blade creaked under the pressure, but ultimately held firm, granting Naruto time to deliver yet another counterattack unto Lee's person. He didn't waste it. Shifting upon his right heel, Naruto raised his left leg, driving it past Kubikiri's defenses and towards Lee's head, only for the boy to flip away at the last moment, allowing the leg to drift past his torso.

Landing on the charred dirt of the arena, Lee crouched down, rushing back towards Naruto head-on and attempting to land a punch in the blonde's gut. Unfortunately, Naruto had anticipated the movement and was already in the process of swinging Kubikiri downwards in a vertical arc. However, just as the blade made contact with Lee's head, the boy vanished.

Naruto kept his head calm, his eyes already tracing the boy's movements, locking on to a sudden twitch coming from his right. "Tch," he grunted, swinging his blade in a horizontal fashion, only to see Lee pulling something out from his back. A loud clang echoed through the arena, and Naruto narrowed his eyes.

'Nunchucks?' he thought, only to frown as Lee effortlessly redirected Kubikiri's movement, driving it into the ground beside them and whacking the blonde across the face.

Naruto tumbled through the dirt, eventually coming to a stop and reaffirming his grip on Kubikiribocho, but Lee was not one to give him any rest. The blonde's eyes widened as he glanced upwards, and foot finally met face, resulting in the appearance of a small crater beneath them.

'Damn it…' Naruto thought hurriedly, 'That hurt a lot more than I expected it to… What's in those things?'

'Pay attention fool!'

Naruto's eyes shot open just in time to see Lee's nunchaku flying towards his face. Not taking any time to think, the blonde swung his blade to intercept, resulting in a shower of sparks falling around them. The two shinobi traded glances as time seemed to slow around them.

And then it began.

A blow for a blow, an intercepted technique for an intercepted technique. Sword and Nunchaku met again and again in an explosive confrontation. Neither blonde nor brows were giving an inch, and as the blows continued, they only grew faster and faster.

Naruto released a flurry, and Lee deflected with ease. Lee released a flurry, and Naruto…

Fucked up.

Seeing his chance, Lee acted, whacking the blonde across the face once more. He reeled back, but caught himself from falling, swinging Kubikiri once more and continuing the tradeoff. Only this time…

Lee was the one to make a mistake. Naruto capitalized, driving the point of Kubikiri forward and giving Lee a searing pain in his side that nearly made him back off.

Nearly.

He too pounced back into the fray, and the blows became more frequent and violent. IT seemed as though neither had the upper hand, until they both had had enough and moved to end the other.

Lee's nunchaku.

Naruto's Kubikiribocho.

Their tips met in the center of the arena, and only one could prevail.

"Ngrh!" Lee pushed, attempting to drive past the blade's defense.

Naruto pushed harder.

"Ora!" the blonde roared, enhancing the blade with his chakra, giving it just enough of an edge to crack through the center of the nunchaku. Lee's eyes widened in surprise, and he soon found himself flying across the arena, broken nunchaku in hand. His back crashed against the far side of the wall, knocking him into the dirt moments later, leaving Naruto panting in exhaustion as he used what time he had to catch his breath.

It wasn't over, not by a long shot. Had it been a direct hit then maybe but… Naruto had seen it. The way Lee blocked at the last second to stop himself from being skewered. The blonde smiled. Lee truly was a genius in his own right. Naruto tilted his blade, preparing to capitalize on Lee's lack of movement when a sudden shout from the stands forced him to pause.

"Lee! Take em off!"

Naruto had barely registered the words, and by extension, who they belonged to when he spotted movement. Namely, the completely reenergized Lee sprinting up the wall at an unimaginable pace.

'Take em off?' Naruto thought, wondering what the words could mean. He ran through his thoughts, thinking back to the few run-ins he had with the duo and the information he'd scrounged up on the two of them.

'Take em off… Lee can't use Ninjutsu or Genjutsu so I don't have to worry about it being some kind of code… since he's a Taijutsu specialist the best bet would be weights, or maybe some kind of suppression seal. But…' he idly glanced up towards the stands, looking at Gai cheer on his student via the standard "Nice Guy" pose.

'But…' he continued, 'these two aren't quite normal… even by ninja standards. If Gai is telling Lee to take off a few weights, it means he's expecting it'll tip the scales in Lee's favor. But as much as I'd like to see just what it is that they're planning… I better end this before I'm forced to reveal a few special techniques of my own!'

Cutting off his inner monologue, Naruto raced after Lee, switching to a 2-handed grip as he neared his target. Noticing the approaching foe, Lee sped the process up, flipping onto a small ledge near the top of the wall and rolling up the bottom of his pants, revealing a pair of small weights wrapped around his ankles.

'I was right!' Naruto thought, his need to intervene feeling greater than before, 'If it's these two we're talking about, those weights definitely won't be normal!' he leapt upward, raising Kubikiri for a vertical swing…

And Lee pulled off his weights, immediately feeling lighter than before. He glanced up at the approaching blonde… and smiled.

"Yosh!" he roared, spinning in a clockwise motion and tossing the weights at Naruto. The first collided with Kubikiri, and Naruto felt the weight shift, knocking him off target.

'What the-? How much do these things weigh?!'

His thoughts were cut off as the second set slammed behind the first, the added weight just enough to force Naruto back to the ground. The blonde landed in the dirt relatively unharmed, but as he rested on one knee, he could tell something was wrong. After all, Lee was gone.

'Calm down.' He ordered himself, raising Kubikiri in a defensive position, 'If I'm going to catch Bushy Brows I'm gonna have to be on full alert!' He remained where he was for several minutes, still looking for any sign of Lee. Suddenly the sound of a footstep caught his attention. He widened his eyes in shock as he turned around, swinging Kubikiri with him only for Lee to disappear from the spot.

"Well done Naruto-kun," Lee praised as he ran around the arena, "Despite my speed being far superior to your vision, you still managed to track me through use of your other senses! Truly you are a Genius of Hard Work! However…" the boy flashed into view above Naruto, swinging his leg down and sending Naruto spiraling into the dirt. Giving chase, Lee reached the blonde before he could completely fall; unleashing a flurry of punches and kicks that the blonde couldn't keep up with in his current state.

Staggering backwards, Naruto attempted to regain some composure, his eyes still widened after seeing just how fast Lee really was. It was that moment of confusion and shock that allowed Lee to hit Naruto twice more, before finishing his assault with a chin heel strike that lifted the blonde off the ground.

"Gah!" Naruto coughed, flipping backwards to land on his feet some distance away from his Bushy Browed foe. "You're tough Lee, really tough. SO much so that if it were anyone else they'd probably be beat! But," he glanced up to the Kage Box, "Let's just say I have something weighing me down as well!"

To the crowd it sounded like idle chatter, but Sarutobi understood. Sometime during the last two weeks of the boy's training he'd called him in, stating quite clearly that Naruto wasn't to use the Sharingan or Mokuton unless it was a dire emergency. He had enough civilians hounding him as it was, and they didn't need anyone thinking he went around stealing eyes as well; the fact the invasion was closing in was just another reason to keep as many trump cards secret as possible. With that in mind, it was obvious what Naruto's words were seeking. The boy wanted permission to go all out.

Sarutobi sighed inwardly, letting a lone eye fall upon the "Kazekage". Orochimaru was known for his greed and impatience, if Naruto's "skillset" could do anything, it was guarantee that Orochimaru would launch the attack right then and there, if only to try and harvest the boy for himself. While he hated using Naruto as bait, Sarutobi had already promised to stop treating him different from the usual shinobi forces, and as it stood.

It was the best way to get things rolling.

Turning back to the boy who was still watching them, Sarutobi lightly inclined his head, granting the permission that Naruto was seeking.

The blonde grinned, whispering a single word as the eyes beneath his ready-made contacts became a dark crimson red.

"Sharingan."

The world exploded into a new degree of light and colors and Naruto could see. The miniscule movements of the leaves blowing beside him… the sweat pooling around both he and his opponent's faces... It was amazing.

Slamming Kubikiri into the ground beside him, Naruto folded his arms, waiting for Lee to make his next move.

'He released his weapon? Naruto-kun, what are you planning?' Lee thought, taking no time to disappear from view again as he ran circles around the blonde. Reappearing behind him, Lee expected another easy blow. Instead, Naruto turned towards him… and smiled.

"I can see you." He thought aloud, moving his body to the side as Lee's attack moved past him.

Lee twisted his body at the last possible moment, flinging his left leg towards Naruto who blocked with his right arm. Naruto winced. In his confidence, he'd forgotten that with weights came power, and Lee's leg were very strong. Taking two steps back as he shook the numbness out of his arm, the blonde lunged to the right as Lee slammed into the ground with an axe kick.

"You won't get away!" Lee shouted, pulling two shuriken out of his holsters and tossing them at the boy.

Naruto's eyes narrowed, saying nothing in response as he pulled two kunai and tossed them at the shuriken. They hit their mark, and before long the kunai were stuck in the wall, Lee's shuriken both having been caught in their center.

-HY-

"That's some aim." Tenten whistled from the stands, impressed with the blonde she jumped just a few months ago.

Kin snorted, "Of course it is! Uzumaki won't stand for failure. He's set a target to surpass after all."

"Oh?" Tenten asked, unsure of what the girl meant.

The former Sound Nin nodded, "During his weapon training, he kept going on about some girl he met that could hit any target. Said that if there was anyone to look up to in weapon proficiency it'd be her."

Tenten resisted the urge to laugh upon seeing the expression on Kin's face. Still, it was interesting to note how highly Naruto thought of her, even if it was only for her skill with weapons. Putting away that information for later use, she prepared to speak again when the sound of wheezy coughing alerted the pair to another kunoichi in their midst. Turning their heads, they were surprised to see the pink-haired Haruno approaching them slowly, supported by the timid Hyuga neither of the two had much interaction with.

"Sakura?" Tenten asked, "Shouldn't you be in the med bay?"

"S-She wanted to s-see her t-teammate fight… a-and the med b-bay is busy tending to N-Neji-nii-san…" Hinata interrupted shyly.

"Don't remind me." Sakura grumbled, rubbing her stomach that had been emptied of earlier meals. "More importantly, how's the fight going?"

-HY-

'Che… even with the Sharingan, Bushy Brows is putting up a good fight.' Naruto thought, ducking beneath another of Lee's powerful punches.

'Perhaps that is due to the fact you have yet to use your own strengths.' A voice rumbled from within.

Naruto nodded mentally in agreement, 'Maybe Madara-jiji, but can you really blame me? This fight finally got my blood boiling… and while I know I should "wrap" this up quickly, I can't help but want to see just how far Lee will go.'

'Hn… as long as you win, do what you want.'

Naruto grinned; cutting off the connection as Lee drove his knee into the blonde's face, only for Naruto to poof away, revealing a small log underneath.

'Kawarimi?!' Lee thought, his eyes bulging as he felt something lift him up from behind, "Wha-?!"

"Yosh!" Naruto shouted in Lee-like fashion, lifting the boy up and leaning backwards, effectively suplexing the Genin into the ground. Letting go, Naruto quickly got back to his feet, looking down at the unmoving Lee. Was he finished…?

There was a small twitch of his fingers, and Naruto grinned. So there was still plenty of fight left in him. Good.

"Truly…" Lee spoke slowly, attempting to stand once more, "Truly…! You are worthy of being my eternal rival!" he shouted, flames of youth enveloping him as he stood up once more.

"Hehehe," Naruto laughed sheepishly, scratching the back of his head, "The same can be said for you, I guess." His eyes took on a serious gleam, "But, rivals never hold back on one another… and so," he formed a single hand seal, "I'll stop right now! Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"

The arena floor exploded into a field of blondes in red, and a single green dot could be seen amongst them.

"He never ceases to amaze me with how much chakra he has." Kakashi sighed.

"But what does it matter?" the ever ignorant Kurenai asked, "They're just clones."

"Ah…" Kakashi eye-smiled at the woman kindly, "Not quite. These are Kage Bunshin, as in, physical clones."

Kurenai folded her arms, thinking over the "new" information. "And here I thought it was just a rumor. So the kid really did learn something from the Scroll of Seals."

"Hm, it makes sense. Honestly," Kakashi sighed, "I doubt someone with his level of chakra could ever make a proper Bunshin, not with the level of control it takes to maintain the technique. For someone with chakra levels his size, he'd probably have to have control equal to that of a medic-nin just to keep a clone stable. So the Kage Bunshin, a technique that requires much more chakra than that of the typical Bunshin technique, would be more suited for someone of his particular… talents."

Gai nodded thoughtfully, "Indeed Kakashi! It seems Naruto does embody the flames of youth!"

"Hm?" Kakashi asked, turning his head around to Gai, "Did you say something?"

-HY-

"Urk! Guh! Gwah!" Lee cried as he was sent hurling to the ground. He'd been able to keep up before with ease. Hell, he'd been much faster than the blonde! But now there were far too many opponents, even with his superior speed. And it certainly didn't help that each and every clone was every bit as skilled as the original. But despite the odds, Lee grinned. It was just the challenge he was looking for!

Avoiding the swing of a blunted Kubikiri, Lee ducked down, sending both feet outward and knocking his assailant away. Moving into a spin, he knocked another group of Naruto clones into the dirt, dispelling them.

"Konoha Senpuu!" "Konoha Dai Senpuu!"

Unleashing the many taijutsu techniques he knew off, Lee was able to put up a fight. However…

"Argh!"

With every Naruto he dispelled, five more would appear. For every attack he landed, he'd receive three more in return.

Landing on the edge of the arena, Lee surveyed his position. He was low on energy, his nunchucks were broken… he had one chance, but with so many Naruto clones, how did he know which one to use it on? He needed to make a decision, and he needed to do it fast. Gulping, he slowly began preparing for his next attack.

Naruto watched him carefully, 'That's…'

'Hn. It seems the boy wishes to use his trump card. Interesting.'

Naruto's eyes widened as Lee suddenly appeared beneath him, landing a kick that sent him spiraling into the air. Naruto had just enough time to block it, but the force still sent him flying, but if the look in Lee's eyes was anything to go by, it wasn't quite high enough.

'What? How did he know-?!' Naruto's eyes widened, 'Don't tell me…' he glanced around and cursed. He'd been so used to adding Kubikiri to his clone's basic format, he failed to realize he didn't even have his own on him. He'd slammed the weapon into the ground when he first activated his Sharingan!

Lee jumped after him, intent on sending the boy spiraling even higher than before. He landed another kick, intent on breaking through Naruto's guard but only succeeded in sending the boy even higher.

'Think Naruto think! There has to be a way out of this!' the blonde thought, gritting his teeth as Lee landed yet another blow.

"Hm, this doesn't look good for Naruto." Kakashi voiced his thoughts aloud, "But then, the technique you're student plans on using won't be all that great for him either, will it Gai?"

"Hmhm…" Gai mused, "You may be correct Kakashi, but you have forgotten. The Lotus of Konoha will always bloom twice!"

Kakashi sputtered, and if he was reading his porn, most certainly would have dropped it. "Gai, you didn't. To teach that to a Genin, of all things…."

"I seem to remember you having a certain interest in teaching that Uchiha of yours a certain A-ranked technique…?" Gai asked, effectively shutting down any argument Kakashi was about to make.

Kurenai looked between the two in confusion. She understood the statement about the A-ranked technique, just about every Jonin in Konoha knew about Kakashi's plan to teach Sasuke the Chidori, but the Lotus statement… following the conversation she could only assume it was some sort of technique that was far too advanced to teach a Genin.

"What do you mean by the Lotus blooming twice Gai?" she asked. She had spent far too long avoiding her other Jonin. Perhaps Anko was right. It was time to be a bit more social.

Gai looked back towards the battle with a forlorn expression that didn't really suit his face. "You know of the taijutsu technique known as the Omote Renge, correct?"

Kurenai nodded, "Yes. It's the technique your Genin is currently using on Uzumaki right? It places a severe strain on the body…"

"That is true, but what many don't know…" Gai's expression grew darker, "is that it is the first step to opening the Eight Gates."

Kurenai's eyes widened, "The Eight Gates? Wait… you mean those Eight Gates?!"

"Hm!" Gai nodded, "And with the Gates, comes an even deadlier form of the Lotus…" he glanced towards Lee determinedly, "the Ura Renge!"

The three Jonin returned their attention to the battle upon hearing Lee make a strained shout. Apparently the strained kicks were starting to take their toll on the boy. As he winced in pain, Naruto's eyes widened.

In the stands, Kakashi narrowed his visible eye. He didn't need to use his Sharingan to see what the boy had done.

Lee grunted, looking back as he prepared to unleash his technique. The wraps on his arms drifted apart, covering the blonde shinobi and holding him firm as Lee appeared behind him, grabbing him and beginning to spin.

"Here we go!" Lee shouted, the strain taking further toll on his body. The spinning increased, eventually becoming similar in appearance to Gatsuuga as they drove towards the ground.

"Omote Renge!" Lee roared, pile driving the blonde into the ground as a shower of dirt and debris flew up upon impact.

Weakly, the taijutsu user rolled away, his body worn and bruised as he glanced upon Naruto's seemingly unconscious form. 'Naruto-kun,' he thought, 'you were truly a worthy opponent!'

Tenten sighed. "Looks like that's it then. I was thinking it'd end this way, but Naruto did do much better than I thought he would."

Kin laughed at the bun-haired girl, "Oh really? I don't think this fight's over just yet. And when it does end, it certainly won't be that teammate of yours that's left standing."

"Wha?" Tenten frowned, "Are you serious? You can see that Naruto-kun's already been beaten right? Even Neji would have been…" she trailed off, remembering what had happened to Neji. "Well, the Uchiha wouldn't have been able handle it… I'll say that much."

"Oh I agree." Kin smiled, "But Uzumaki is much stronger than them."

Sakura frowned. She didn't like being left out of the conversation. "Why don't you stop bickering and just tell us what you mean. You said Naruto-kun isn't out of the match yet?"

Kin smirked, "Of course pinkie. It's rather obvious, if you really paid attention."

Hinata blushed, poking her fingers together, "I-I agree with Tsuchi-s-san…" she had seen what had happened, having used her Byakugan to watch the battle. Once she saw the brief flush of chakra, it was all too simple to put together what had happened.

Lee panted, climbing back to his feet and looking down at the blonde. "Proctor! Could you please begin the count? I would like to see that he receives medical attention as soon as possible!" 'Not to mention… my legs feel like they're about to go out!' he added mentally.

Genma closed his eyes and smiled. 'Hm… this kid.' "I'd like too but… I'm afraid the match is not over yet."

"What do you mean? Clearly Naruto-kun is-!" A fist suddenly struck Lee in the side of the face, sending the boy crashing to the dirt. "Wha-?!"

Naruto stood firm, showing he had received no damage from the Omote Renge.

"I don't get it!" Tenten cried, "The Renge did hit right?!"

"Of course it didn't." Kin murmured softly, "He used a substitution with one of his shadow clones… baka." She mumbled, turning her attention back to the match.

By the looks of it, Lee had just been given the explanation as well, as at that very moment the clone that HAD been struck by the Lotus disappeared in a plume of smoke.

"Agh…" Naruto winced as the memories of the clone came back. Whether it was from actual pain or trauma no one would know. "I'm glad that didn't hit. You would have definitely won the match." He admitted, scratching the back of his head once more.

"N-Naruto-kun… you have avoided my technique…"

"Well yeah… I wasn't gonna just sit there and let you end me." The blonde retorted with a sigh, "So, are you good enough to continue?"

"W-Wha?"

"I mean… you look pretty beat up. And if you ask me that last attack looked like it took a lot more out of you than it did me. It doesn't really look like you can continue. At least, I wouldn't recommend it."

A tremor shot through Lee at those words. As much as he hated to admit it Naruto was right. All of the fighting, all of his prior techniques were so that he could defeat Naruto with that one technique.

And he had failed.

"Guh…" Lee looked down, suddenly feeling all the exhaustion he had held back until now hit him in full force, "I really have…" he fell to one knee.

"Do you surrender?" Naruto asked calmly.

If anyone looked closely they would see several tears fall from Lee's face.

'Everything I've done until now was to prove I could become a great ninja with neither Ninjutsu or Taijutsu! I've come so far, surpassed so many obstacles… and yet, right now, when it matters most!'

The tears continued to fall. 'Neji was beaten by Sasuke… is it only right that I too fall to one of Team 7?'

"Lee!" Gai shouted, catching the boy's attention.

The Jonin couldn't help it. He had seen his young protégé go through so much to reach where he was. To see him groveling on the ground in tears… it hit a nerve.

"Do not forget! The Lotus of Konoha blooms twice!"

The Jonin in the room all glanced at the man in shock. Lee too carried a similar expression. But as the boy's face fell back into its previous gaze, everyone could tell something was different.

'Shit.' Madara murmured.

'Huh? What is it?'

'Kid, you need to end this now. If this goes on much longer, Mokuton may not be of much help… at least, not with your level of skill.'

'What are you talking about Madara-ji-' he was cut off as Lee stood once more.

"Yes… you are right Gai-sensei!" Lee shouted out, struggling to remain standing as he wiped his tears. "I, the Handsome Devil of the Leaf Village, cannot fall just yet! Not until I have shown everyone just how far I have come!"

"Lee, what're you-?!" once again Naruto was cut off.

"Yosh! Naruto-kun! Please, allow me to show me my greatest flames!" he bowed, before flipping back several paces.

'Stop him now Naruto. If you do not…'

'Madara-jiji… I'm afraid I can't.' Naruto sighed.

'And why is this?'

'The expression on his face… it was one I recognize.'

Indeed, the expression on Lee's face when he made his request was the same face Naruto made when he was younger. The same face the blonde had made when he sought any sort of acknowledgement. It was a time well before he resorted to his pranks, but it was a time the blonde remembered all too well.

"Gai." Kakashi stated calmly, "How many gates can he open?"

The Jonin looked at Kakashi in curiosity for several moments before closing his eyes and responding. "Five."

Lee's arms crossed in front of his face as a searing degree of concentration overcame him. Before long, a pillar of pressure erupted around him, shaking the very floor of the arena as chakra began to make itself visible, if only for a brief moment.

'This… what is this?!' Naruto thought, taking a single step back as he watched everything happen with the Sharingan.

'This is what I warned you about…' Madara murmured, 'It would seem this boy is capable of unlocking the Eight Gates.'

Before Naruto had time to ask for further information, Lee's skin became a burning red, and his body trembled with energy, rolling chakra off of itself in varying waves. The boy stood tall, the visible chakra whipping around him as the pressure increased yet again.

"Third Gate… Life Gate, Open!"

A crater appeared beneath the boy, and nearly everyone in the stands was shocked. Lee's skin had turned red, and even his pupils were gone from view. Those with heightened vision could see the strain it put on the boy's body. And even those who didn't could see the lingering green chakra that lingered on his person.

"W-What is this?!" Sakura asked, looking down at the boy in shock.

"Even I don't know…" Tenten admitted, glancing at her teammate in awe, "Lee…"

Kin frowned. What was the blonde thinking, letting Lee stand around and do this? 'It changes nothing…' she thought firmly, 'If he's just standing around, he must be confident in his ability to win… but still…' as she glanced upon Lee, she couldn't help but a feel a trickle of doubt.

The Sand Siblings similarly watched the battle in shock, with the lone expression of Gaara, who was watching closely with a sinister look on his face.

"Their blood…" he whispered aloud, catching his siblings' attention, "Mother wants it…!"

Kakashi narrowed his eyes, having pulled up his headband to watch the show in special Sharingan edition. "Is he going to make his move now?" he thought aloud, earning a chuckle from Gai.

"No… not just yet."

"What?"

Lee knelt down again, as if searching for some deeper power as the chakra and pressure increased once more. "Now for the fourth Gate! The Wounded Gate… open!"

Lee cried out in strain as he continued pushing, and even Kakashi had to admit that the boy held promise. To be able to go so far wasn't something he believed could be achieved by hard work alone. No, despite what others may say, Lee was definitely a Genius in his own right.

Naruto reeled back, narrowing his eyes as he kept his full attention on the boy. There was no telling what would happen next, and he needed to keep as much of an advantage as he had. Quickly forming the cross seal, he summoned a hundred more clones, not knowing if what he had was enough.

The sudden destruction of the bottom of the arena assured him it wasn't. In a mere instant, the clones he had formed were all dispelled, and Lee, still red and with eyes of white, descended upon him.

"Yosh! Now the real battle begins!"


The battle has taken an unexpected turn as Lee unleashes his most forbidden technique upon Naruto! Will Madara's chosen be able to withstand the Handsome Devil's brutal assault, or will this mark the end of Naruto's endless victories?! Find out, next time, on Naruto: Madara's Blessing!

A slightly longer chapter this time. About Kurenai not knowing about the Kage Bunshin. In this fic she was extremely new, and while she'd heard rumors about Naruto using a physical clone technique, seeing as the blonde never really had much interaction with her team she never felt the need to investigate. Not much Sasuke in this chapter, didn't really see anywhere to put him at the time without making it seem out of place. Hell, even some of the commentaries feel a bit strange to me, but I kind of like how it turned out. As always, any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

Till next time!