Naruto: The Crimson Blade Chronicles- Part One Halcyon Days

Chapter Four- Empty Salvation

Authors note-

Hello again and here is chapter four. Most of the Chunin exam will proceed as normal so expect to see some skipping.

Also I will get this out of the way now. This chapter can and indeed will step on some peoples toes, more or less because Sakura and Sasuke's personality's have done a 180 since the last time I wrote them. Just try to remember though it's just been one chapter to you guy's it's six months in world, so they have had some time to change. Also nothing gets rid of arrogance like a beat down, one of the reasons I always thought Sasuke had such a big stick up his ass was the way everyone fawned all over him.

Sasuke has been trained by Kakashi over the last six months who systemically broke him of his arrogance, by pointing out Sasuke's flaws and the flaws of his clan. Then rebuilt him piece by piece and the man is a better person for it. As for what Anko did to Sakura, use your imagination I'm sure it would give you more than a rough idea. In closing just remember they have had six months of two people driving home the fact that they are NOT all that is good and holy in this world, just try and keep that in mind.

As for why this chapter is up early, well more than a few voted for the Chunin exams and well who am I to deny the people what they want. The Sasuke and Vizard vs Sage poll's are still open till the end of Wednesday. AustraliaWestern Standard time, so please do vote.

Now on to the review answers, to be honest this is quickly becoming my favorite part of the Authors note. Now in order of review.

First tstoldt & Key to Chaos and anyone else that was wondering. Putting Saskue on probation was not a plot hole.

"The penalty, Hokage-sama, is six months probation from the ninja program followed up by a practical skills check and psychiatric evaluation."

To be honest now that I read it, I could have said that better. The way I meant for it come out was more along the lines of, you have six months to straighten up and fly right or we drop you. They were not actually taking him out of the shinobi program then and there, just telling him that he had six months to get his ass into gear. Sorry if that confused anyone else but I hope that I cleared that up.

ForeverFallen76 and I quote.

"I am curious to whom that woman was. I know its not the Kyubi, so that would leave a Hollow Version of Benihime, or Mirror Flower, Water Moon."

Finally someone asks the million dollar question. Sorry to say that I can't really say too much about her, lets just say she is both a protagonist and an antagonist. She moves for her own goals and manipulates others to get them, but she doesn't hold any ill will towards Naruto.

Another important point you bought up was. "The Hogyoku bridges the gap between Humans and the Kami. What I find odd about the Hogyoku is that it seems to want to help everyone that is closest to it. So, with that being said, I would imagine Yugao gaining Reiryouku to form her own Zanpakto, or be able to use Reiryouku based energy attacks."

Chakra is a balance between physical energy and spiritual energy or Reiryouku. So to be honest any ninja could theoretically use Kido, Hoho and Hakuda as they would just have to use the spiritual half of there chakra. The problem with that is that no human has ever done that before that they know of and as such they don't know how to mold the energy properly, Naruto for one is in no rush to teach them.

Then reason I leave Zanjutsu out of that is that it kind of seems like you would need a Zanpaktou to perform.

Finally you mentioned something about giving mirror flower to someone that has no skill in illusions. I wanted to do that to be honest, the problem is doing it without making the power a game breaker. So no, that's a no go at least as of right now, down the line I may change my mind.

EndGame666 You are right I really do need to go over my chapters after I write them I did that for the last chapter and your right it does make a big difference. Thanks for the appreciation when it comes to peoples motives you are the first to mention it.

Next up thanks for not black marking me for mentioning Fuuinjutsu, honestly putting it in was a toss up but I chose to anyway. Don't be to worried about his skill level at the moment he won't be able to make more than a basic exploding tag and sealing scroll for awhile. Though I always did like the idea of sealing an enemies jutsu and throwing it back at them in the middle of the fight. That won't be happening for awhile though.

As for what to use the physical half of chakra for I hadn't really thought about it. I had a small idea to use it for something resembling an Arrancars, Hierro or iron skin. But I am still toying with it and welcome new idea's.

Maleivius & Renegade: Thanks for catching the wrong spelling for Sasuke and Kisuke, I'll have change it from this chapter on.

Gyo-ryu no Mai ken Hi no Akuma: Thanks for catching the spelling mistake on Hatake, I will change it from now on.

Every one else thanks for the reviews and I do you enjoy this chapter.

"Talking"

'Thinking'

"Boss summons and Bijuu"

'Boss summons and Bijuu'

Story Start-

Naruto sighed as he looked at the form in front of him, a form that would decide his entrance to the Chunin exams. He looked up at the sky, to say it had been an interesting month would be a massive under statement.

Flash Back Reassembling of Team Seven

Naruto tried to keep the bored look off his face as he waited at team sevens designated training ground, his apprenticeship with Yugao had ended yesterday. He wasn't happy about that little fact either, Naruto worked well with the purple haired ANBU captain but a bigger factor was that he actually liked her. More than could be said for Sakura or Saskue, still, he did promise her he would give them a chance before dismissing them out of hand.

He might not like it but he always kept his promises no matter what, Naruto turned his head so he could see the approaching figure and whistled. Sakura had changed, a lot, it looked like she was taking her job as a ninja more seriously, that was a good thing in Naruto's book.

Her pink hair had been cropped short, probably to avoid it getting grabbed by an enemy Naruto guessed. Full length black and gray pants, ninja sandals, to his disappointment, two kunai and shuriken holsters on each leg. Surrounded by several strapped on slightly longer kunai around her thighs, considering that they had sheaths he guessed they were probably covered in poison.

A pair of red leather belts crisscrossed over her hips holding six scrolls each. A wakizashi was strapped horizontally across her hips. A black mesh top with a red jacket over it completed her look, he suspected and rightly, that he would find the clan crest of the Haruno's on the back of the jacket.

Naruto nodded to his soon to be teammate, so far so good she was definitely taking her job more seriously. But he didn't say anything, he was more than content to let Sakura make the first move in this little game. The pinkette looked at him for a moment before looking away guiltily and rubbing her left shoulder with her right hand. A habit, Naruto knew from his years of watching her, that she only had when she was nervous about something.

Sakura looked at him for another minute before seemingly gathering her courage. "Naruto." She said a little timidly, Naruto just nodded to her, Sakura took a deep breath. "I am sorry about what I said when we were first paired with, Sasuke, it was both insensitive and immature. Can you forgive me for what I did back then?" She asked sounding more than a little scared.

Naruto's eyes felt like they were about to fall out of his skull, Sakura apologizing, no more importantly Sakura apologizing to HIM. What the hell was going on, did Yugao hit him to hard or something yesterday when they were sparing? Naruto settled for getting his eyes back to normal before responding. "Thanks for apologizing, Sakura." He admitted, it really did feel nice to hear someone apologizing for something to him. "But please excuse me if I am a little skeptical, but I think I can forgive you."

Sakura looked at him in surprise she wasn't expecting him to accept her apology, six months of Anko's hell had pounded an appropriate sense of right and wrong into her. One untainted by her clans superiority complex, Naruto was just the first person on a very long list of people she needed to apologize to. Anko had forced her to reevaluate just how much being in a clan mattered on the battlefield, namely, that it didn't matter at fucking all.

Sakura was already saving up to move out of her house, it was something Anko had recommended to her. In order for her to gain a unbiased view on people and the world, she would need to view it from a place where her clan couldn't influence her views, too much at least. Naruto held out his hand to her and smiled. "Let's start fresh, Hello, Haruno Sakura, my name is, Uzumaki Naruto. It is a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to working with you."

Sakura just looked at his hand for a second before smiling herself and placing her hand in his, before giving him a firm handshake. "It's nice to meet you, Uzumaki-san, I look forward to working with you." She finished a full blown grin on her face, Naruto just chuckled he had agreed to give them a second chance, so far and so good. He would forgive Sakura but not forget what she did, this was her second chance, a chance she was given by Yugao's request. If she ever needed a third she would have to earn it, considering the way she was acting at the moment though, Naruto didn't feel like they would have any problems.

Both their heads turned, Naruto whistled again, it seemed like his new and improved teammates were out to impress him. Sasuke was actually walking around without an air of arrogance, that was the first thing Naruto noticed and he was immediately thankful for. Gray pants, shinobi sandals, again was there no one competent enough to realize that wearing them would get you stabbed in the foot? Gray shirt with ANBU issue chest plate and arm guards, that surprised him. A ninjato over Sasuke's right shoulder with a kunai and shuriken holster on each leg and steel greaves over his shins.

Naruto stayed quiet again he said he would give them a chance, so far Sakura had asked for forgiveness from him and that was a big step forward in their relationship both working and social. But Sasuke, Naruto didn't think the Uchiha knew the meaning of the word humble let alone how to be so and as such he was content to watch, and once again let his prospective teammate make the first move.

Sasuke looked at Naruto for a second before getting on his knees and putting his forehead to the floor. "Uzumaki Naruto." Sasuke started his voice not faltering in the slightest, Naruto could tell that Sasuke meant what he was saying. "Back in the Hokages office I attempted to take something that was not mine but yours and for that I am deeply sorry. Is there any chance you could forgive me and work with me on missions as team seven from here on out." Sasuke asked formally.

Naruto felt his heart stop, what the hell was going on, he really didn't know, was he still asleep was this a dream, was he hit by something a little too hard and it gave him a concussion? All these possibility's and more ran through his head and as such he did what any normal person would have done in that situation. He drew Benihime and placed her to the Uchiha's neck. "Who are you and what have you done with, Uchiha Sasuke." Naruto asked his tone cold, no way in hell was this Sasuke he was just too, well nice.

The Uchiha stared up at him if disbelief. "I am, Uchiha Sasuke." The man on the ground said sounding perplexed, Sakura's wakizashi joined Benihime on the Uchiha's neck.

"No your not." Sakura said with venom in her voice. "Sasuke, would never apologize to people he feels are below him like he thinks me and Naruto are. So let me ask you instead who are you and what have you done with, Uchiha Sasuke, and if I so much as think you are lying to me I will cut off your balls." Naruto shivered at that, no man, he thought back to Wave and the under ground slave pens, almost no man, he amended, deserved that.

That was the scene Kakashi walked onto and though it took almost three hours and many, many different questions before both, Naruto and Sakura were satisfied that Sasuke was in fact Sasuke. Naruto rubbed the back of his head in a sheepish manner. "Well sorry about that." He said sounding nervous. "It was more than a little strange you know you, you of all people apologizing to some one especially me." Sakura nodded in agreement even she thought that was something that would never happen.

Naruto held out his hand to Saskue. "Lets try this one more time, hello my name is, Uzumaki Naruto, it is pleasure I look forward to working with you, Uchiha-san." Naruto finished smiling, Saskue couldn't help snorting in amusement as he took the offered hand.

"First you hold a katana to my neck and then next you tell me you look forward to working with me." Saskue said sounding more than slightly amused by the entire situation. "It is nice to meet you, Uzumaki-san, I hope we work well together." All three of them looked at each other before bursting out laughing, Kakashi felt a small warm feeling in his chest as he watched them, he recognized it as pride.

End Flash Back

After that they spent the month doing team based exercises to get them up to scratch as a unit and D rank missions to put that training into real situations. Even if they were only chores, there was no way in hell those things counted as missions. Naruto found he actually liked the new Saskue and Sakura, though when he asked Kakashi-sensei what he did to beat the arrogance out of Saskue all he got was an eye smile, asking Saskue got similar results except instead of smiling he shivered and walked away without saying anything.

As for Sakura she was more than happy to talk about her training, just not the first two months, if you asked about those she just shuddered and changed the subject. Not that Naruto minded to much, he was just glad they could have a conversation without her trying to cave his head in with her fist. It's a real wonder what a little thing like that can do for a relationship, at any rate he learned that Sakura was trained by someone call Anko.

One of the things he had been trying to figure out was what had happened to him on the bridge. He guessed it had something to do with the Kyuubi but Benihime couldn't tell him as she knew about as much as he did. Though she did mention that the power felt both dark and malevolent, that alone made him think it was the Kyuubi, Benihime couldn't find where the fox was in his mind scape though. That led them to the conclusion that the Kyuubi's seal was most likely in a part of the mind scape neither of them had access to, at least not yet.

The payment Naruto had received from the S rank mission he and Yugao had completed was more than nice, he had wanted to put it in the bank, but as no bank would allow him to open him an account he couldn't. Naruto smiled at the memory of how he had gotten around that little problem, he would be making more use of that particular disguise it just felt natural somehow.

Flash Back First National Bank of Konoha, one week ago.

The sound of traditional Geta sandals alerted the bank to a new customer, the man in question was fairly tall with dirty blond hair and gray eyes. His outfit was of a green pair of pants and obi with a darker green jacket over top with a diamond design on it's hem. The look was completed with a green striped bucket hat and a wooden walking stick, that was actually a henged Benihime.

"Ohayo." The man said smiling shyly to the bank teller in front of him. "I am looking to start a savings account along with an investment portfolio who would I need to see about that." The young brown haired woman smiled at him.

"Ah, you would have to see the manager, Tsuba-san for that Mr..." The blond looked at her sheepishly and smiled.

"Ah, that's right I haven't introduced myself yet have I." He said in a happy tone. "My names, Kisuke, Urahara Kisuke."

Flash Back End

Naruto smiled at the memory of the interaction by the end of that day he had his five hundred thousand Ryo nicely divided up. Half the money was spreed between three different savings and check accounts and the other half was placed in various shares and bonds along with trust agreements. With the money that came in from said shares and bonds twenty percent of it went into his accounts the other eighty went back into buying more shares. He also set up a transaction that sent his rent money directly to his land lord so he didn't need to worry about that for a long time.

Naruto smiled he was glad Yugao had made him read that book on finances it really was handy, after all who didn't want to know how to best use their money. His smile widened when he thought of Yugao and his Jiji some how Yugao had managed to convince him that teaching Naruto the Kage Bunshin was a good idea. After making him swear never to use it for pranks, Yugao had also told him the secret of the Kage Bunshin and then warned him not to become over dependent on it.

Yes he could use the Kage Bunshin to learn an obscene amount of techniques and quickly too, but that was not necessarily good thing. If he over relied on the Kage Bunshin to learn he would have memories of doing things, but he would have never actually done them, Yugao had told him that it was an easy trap to fall into, the over reliance on Kage Bunshin instead of on yourself.

Her solution for him was that he could have his Kage Bunshin learn something to an average level and then perfect it himself and he could see the wisdom there. With the amount of chakra Naruto had he could easily create a few hundred Kage Bunshin, but Yugao had warned that he might start to just rush his enemies with numbers and neglect his basic skill set, that was not a good thing. (Yes that was a jab at cannon.)

Naruto turned his attention back to the form in front of him, he placed it back into his pocket and kept walking. "Hey let me go!" Came the yell from nearby, Naruto started running he couldn't shake the feeling he had heard that voice somewhere before. He rounded the last corner and saw something both incredible and immensely disturbing, a man in what could only be call a black cat suit and make up, holding a squirming eight year old off the ground by his shirt. 'Konohamaru' he thought sighing before walking forward, the kid could be a pain, but he wasn't a bad kid something had to be up.

"Yo." He said giving a lazy wave. "Would you mind dropping the kid for me please." He drawled in a lethargic tone.

XXX

In a bookshop in the middle of Konoha Kakashi paused from his browsing of the Icha Icha series and pumped his fist into the air. "Yes I knew I'd get one of them someday." He shouted sounding proud.

XXX

Naruto cocked his head to the side. 'Why so I feel like I just made someone's day.' He asked himself, then receiving the mental equivalent of a shrug from Benihime in return. Naruto turned his attention back to the cat man in front of him. Said man looked annoyed, Naruto sighed why couldn't anything in his life be easy even once, just freaking once.

"No way in hell am I letting this little snot go." The man said indignantly. "He bumped into me and he's gotta pay the price for disrespecting me." Naruto turned his attention to Konohamaru.

"This true, Kon." He asked sounding tired.

Konohamaru nodded as well as he could. "Yes, Naruto-nii-san." He admitted. "But it was an accident and I said sorry, but this big jerk wont let me go."

Naruto turned his attention back to the cat suit man. "Look the kid said sorry can't you just let it go he's only what eight years old."

"He's right, Kankuro, he's just a kid let him go already the last thing we need is an incident now." Said the blond woman from behind him sounding exasperated.

"Shut up, Temari, the kid disrespected me I can't just let something like that slide." Kankuro shouted back. Naruto sighed he hated people like this, too much time on their hands with to much that they thought they had to prove.

Naruto looked them over again and took notice of the sand hitai-ate on the two. "Look." he said in a conversational tone. "Since you guys are from sand I take it your here for the Chunin exams." Naruto continued on not bothering to wait for the answer. "A word of advice, don't rock the boat right now, if you keep doing what your doing your going to cause an international incident." Naruto finished calmly.

The woman Temari looked a little worried at his statement but the black clad man Kankuro just either didn't listen or didn't care. "Yeah right, were gonna cause an international incident, you shit head." he said sarcastically. "No way in hell is that gonna happen all that's going to happen is me kicking your ass." He finished in a superior tone.

Naruto looked at him with boredom etched on his features. "Huh, did you say something." That odd shiver that felt like he had made someones day happened again, and he could swear he could hear Kakashi laughing like a madman in the distance. Kankuro's face contorted in rage.

"What the hell did you sat you little shit!" Kankuro yelled at him, Naruto smirked negotiations had broken down, well he had liked plan B more anyway.

"Kankuro!" Came the voice strangled voice of Temari from behind him. The young puppeteer ignored her in favor of giving a death glare to the blond in front of him. "Kankuro!" came the strangled voice again. The puppeteer ignored his sister again taking the package off his back and smirking at the kid in front of him, it was a smirk that promised pain. "KANKURO!" Temari screamed sounding desperate.

"What" he yelled back turning his head so he could see her and his breath caught in his throat. Temari was still there but, two copies of the blond around her, one holding her right arm the other her left and both had a kunai at Temari's throat. Kankuro turned back to the original blond only to see a blur moving forward.

Naruto reached the arm he was using to hold Konohamaru and threw a palm strike to the older teens elbow, hyper extending the ligament and rendering the arm useless for at least an hour. Naruto spun grabbing Konohamaru and jumping back to his original position. He put the slightly trembling Konohamaru on the ground and ruffled his hair. "You did good, Kon." Naruto said smiling at the small boy.

He turned his attention back to the sand duo. "Now then let's try this again." Naruto said in a low dangerous voice. "A word of advice, don't rock the boat or I will end you." Naruto accented his point by drawing Benihime and pointing her at Kankuro. "And tell your little buddy up in the tree to come down, no need to hide amongst friends after all." His last words were laced with sarcasm, Kanuko and Temari paled.

"Kankuro, your a disgrace to our village." Came the cold monotone voice from the tree, before a small sandstorm churned between Naruto and the sand duo. It subsided quickly to reveal a young man with short cut red hair and the kanji for love on his forehead. Naruto swallowed, every last part of his survival instincts were screaming at him to be careful, after all the kid was pumping out more bloodlust then Zabuza that alone unnerved him.

"But, Gaara, I was just." Kankuro tried to explain, Gaara just looked at him with bone chilling indifference.

"Kankuro, Shut up or I'll kill you." Gaara turned his attention over to Naruto. "I apologize for my teammates behavior, I hope it will not be a problem." He stated neutrally, Naruto could feel himself slowly adjusting to the killing intent the kid was pouring out. Normally he would be inclined to talk some more find out more about them, but right now he needed to get Kon out of here and fast.

"It wont be a problem, just please make sure he doesn't do it again please." Naruto answered politely he really needed to leave, now. He couldn't risk a fight with the red head, he would have a chance of winning if it was all three on him but he would be fighting to protect Kon at the same time, since that was the case he wouldn't last very long.

Gaara nodded to the blond. "Kankuro, Temari, we are leaving, Baki-sensei, wants to speak to us." He motioned them to leave as Naruto dispelled his clones. The red head stopped at the corner of the ally. "What is your name." He asked in the same monotone.

"Uzumaki Naruto." Naruto replied evenly. Gaara nodded before looking back at him.

"I hope to fight you in the Chunin exams, Uzumaki, mother wants your blood." Gaara disappeared in another sand storm. Naruto let out a shuddering breath he got the feeling that the entire encounter had gone dangerously close to becoming a blood bath, and that the odds of him coming out alive had been slim.

"You okay then, Kon?" He asked looking down to the child clutching his pants leg.

Konohamaru nodded. "Yes, nii-san, I'll be fine." He said drawing a shuddering breath, Naruto ruffled his hair and smiled.

"Now then, Kon, I would start running if I were you." Naruto said in a conversational tone. "Your skipping out on the academy and I am not being anywhere near you when, Iruka-sensei, catches you." The young boy looked up at him with big eyes. "You might want to try finding somewhere to hide." Naruto added.

In a blink Konohamaru was gone only a cloud of dust with a soft cry of. "Right, Naruto-nii-san." Hanging in the wind behind him. Naruto chuckled Kon really wasn't a bad kid by any stretch of the imagination, Kon reminded him of him before he had awakened Benihime.

Flash Back Meeting Konohamaru

Naruto just looked at the Hokage blankly when he was told how much money he would be getting. He looked back at the payslip for five hundred thousand Ryo. "H-H-Half of this is mine?" He said sounding lightheaded the Hokage looked at him strangely for a second.

"Naruto-kun." He said slowly. "Whats on that payslip IS your half." Naruto just looked at him dumbly for a second, before a massive smile etched itself on his face.

"Woo HOO, oh Kami dammit yes. Look at all those wonderful, wonderful zero's come to papa baby." He yelled running around the office wooting like a frat boy. The old Hokage chuckled, it had been a long time since he had seen Naruto so enthusiastic about something that wasn't ramen or Benihime.

"Now then, Naruto-kun, there are a few other things that we need to talk about." He said sternly, Naruto turned his attention back to the Hokage.

"Sure, Jiji, what did you want to talk about?" Naruto asked.

"Naruto, in Wave you were forced to kill innocent people, I know that the academy gets you ready for killing but it is still never easy. Especially when you have to kill people that have nothing to do with your mission, but are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time." The Hokage finished sounding both so very, very tired and sad. "Would you like to talk about it, Naruto-kun."

Naruto looked at his Jiji with gratitude in his eyes. He didn't really need to talk about it, Benihime had helped to build his resolve, but the fact that the old man had asked warmed his heart. He smiled he would talk, mostly for the old mans peace of mind and for a little of his own. "Sure, Jiji, I would like that." He said in a warm voice, the aging Sarutobi was a little taken back, in that instant his voice had sounded exactly like Minato's.

They spent the next hour going over what Naruto had done in Wave and how he had gotten over it. The old Hokage had joked that it was like Naruto had his own internal psychiatrist, Naruto had laughed at that and then laughed louder, when he heard Benihime grumbling about the comparison. They were distracted from their conversation when the door flew open. "Today's the I defeat you, old man." Came the overly young and childish voice.

Naruto stifled his laughter as he saw the small figure of an eight year old run into the room with a training kunai in hand. The scene itself was comedy GOLD he couldn't hold in his laughter anymore and started cackling hysterically on the couch. The child turned his attention to him and pouted, right before falling over and face planting onto the office floor. Naruto just laughed harder, the old Hokage sighed. "I see you have just met my grandson, Konohamaru, Naruto." He said sounding a little exasperated by the whole ordeal, Naruto just laughed louder.

The small boy looked up at Naruto sitting on the couch and laughing like a maniac and pouted while pointing at him. "You!" He yelled, pointing an accusing finger at Naruto. "You tripped me didn't you." Naruto managed to get his laughter back under control before smiling at the kid.

"Sorry, that's one thing I can't take credit for, you just tripped over your own feet or maybe that scarf behind you. Word of advice kid don't go blaming other for your mistakes unless you can prove it was them." He said still chuckling.

"No it was definitely you!" Konohamaru yelled and ran at the still seated Naruto pulling back his kunai. Naruto leaned back into the couch and grabbed Benihime from beside him, he needed to teach the kid a lesson now before he did something he would regret. Konohamaru's kunai went forward as Benihime was drawn and cut up, going straight through the training kunai and stopping just a few centimeters short of Konohamaru's eye.

"You know kid, you might want to work on that temper of yours as well." Naruto sheathed Benihime and stood up. "See you later old man we'll have to talk again some time soon." He waved to the Hokage and looked back down at Konohamaru who was still looking at him with fear. "See you later, Konohamaru." He said giving the younger boy a quick and gentle bonk on the head as he walked out of the office.

End Flash Back.

Since then Konohamaru would turn up every now and then to talk, Naruto would occasionally help him with this Taijustsu or Ninjutsu. Naruto thought back to the Chunin exam form and jumped onto a nearby low roof, this was going to be fun.

XXX

Naruto yawned as he walked through the hallways of the academy, he really had hoped he wouldn't need to come back here. He sighed as he ascended the stairs to come out on the third floor at least he thought it was the third floor. Naruto looked around the hallway was packed with Genin but the doors entrance was being guarded, Naruto kept looking around then smiled, Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu, a Genjutsu used to fool an opponent into thinking the area was different to what it really was.

Naruto chuckled and slipped back into the stairwell and going up another floor, if you couldn't see through that Genjutsu then you shouldn't be at the exams. Naruto walked to the next landing to find a lounging Sasuke and Sakura waiting for him. "Yo, Naruto." Sasuke greeted, Naruto waved back.

"Ready?" Sakura asked sounding exited. Naruto and Sasuke both nodded to the pinkette smiling like madmen. The door to the third floor open and they were greeted by a smiling Kakashi.

"Yo, good to see your all here, just some last minute advice from your sensei." He said smiling. "Watch each others backs, a lot of the test will be about teamwork just remember that. Now then go forth and kickass." Kakashi finished dramatically eye smiling at his three students.

"Thanks, sensei." Came the reply from all of team seven as the door opened. They walked inside there were less people inside then they thought around sixty people or twenty teams worth. Naruto skipped over most of them his gaze coming to rest on the red headed form of Gaara. He was going to need to watch himself in the exam, he had been hoping that Gaara's team wouldn't make it past the Genjutsu down stairs. Looked like his luck wasn't that good, too bad.

What Naruto didn't notice was that he in turn was being observed by someone else, a Kumo ninja with blond hair going down to mid back was watching him. "Yugito, Yugito, you in there." Came the voice of her teammate and sister in all but blood Samui. The jinchūriki of the Nibi shook herself out of her stupor and refocused.

"I'm fine, Samui." She said reassuring the other blond. 'That kid there's something off about him.' She turned her thoughts back to the matter at hand the Chunin exams.

'Whats wrong kitten, he's not bad looking why not stake your claim right now? Then ride him till he makes you howl at the moon.'

'SHUT UP NIBI.' Was the internal response to her inner demons questioning, why did she have the misfortune to be the jinchūriki of the most perverted biju. Why couldn't she get the eight tails like Killer B had apparently the eight tails was pretty easy going, at lest she wouldn't have had to deal with the constant sexual suggestions.

A shrill shriek of "Sasuke-kun" was heard right before, Sasuke was grabbed from behind by Ino. Naruto facepalmed why, why him, why did he always get stuck having to listen to fan girls, it was times like this he could swear that Kami hated him for some reason or another.

"So were all here, huh, well you guys all made it too huh, damned troublesome." Naruto leaned against a nearby wall to take stock of who'd made it. Kiba, Shino, Hinata, Choji, Ino, Shikamaru, some wired guy in green spandex, a kid with eyes like Hinata's that looked like he had the worlds biggest stick up his ass and, Naruto's breath caught in his throat, Tenten.

He felt like laughing, Tenten, was an orphan just like him in fact they grew up in the same orphanage, right before the matron had kicked him out when he was four. When he had been kicked out she had tried to follow him, but he had made her walk in circles until the matron had found her and took her back. Still it did do him some good to see her doing well, he doubted she would remember him, but it might be some good physiological warfare ammo for later. He would need to fight her sometime while the exams were on, when they were kids he had protected her from bully's, he wondered how much she had improved.

Naruto stayed out of the conversations that were springing up from his old class mates, he got the feeling that he was going to have precious little time to relax once the exam started. "You know you guys are being way too loud right, it's not a good idea to draw attention to yourself like that." A bespectacled and silver haired Konoha Genin said in a kind voice, Naruto didn't like him something felt wrong about him, very, very wrong.

"And you are?" Sasuke inquired sounding a little interested in the new arrival.

"Ah, how rude of me my names, Kabuto, and as you can see I'm a leaf Genin just like you guys. As for why I said that well just take a look." Kabuto pointed around the room, most of it's occupants were glaring at the rookie nine, Naruto wouldn't have cared about that what he did care about was that some were releasing killing intent at them. Not much, he admitted, nowhere near Zabuza's or Gaara's standards but it was enough to piss him off.

Naruto smiled to himself. 'Ready to rock the boat a little, Hime?' He asked sounding more than a little amused.

Benihime laughed at her partners turn of phrase. 'You bet, Naruto-kun, give them hell for me.' She said in a cheerful tone. Naruto took a step forward and released his Reiatsu and let it flood the room, the result was instantaneous. Pressure pushed down on everyone inside making it difficult to breathe and sending some of the weaker Genin to their knees. Sasuke and Sakura turned around to face him. Everyone in the room could feel the strength that was pushing down on them, Naruto leaned back onto the wall and stopped his Reiatsu from crushing the people around him.

He looked back at the rookie nine, who were looking at him with something akin to awe in their eyes. "What?" He asked shrugging as if doing something like that was an everyday occurrence.

"Don't WHAT me." Kiba yelled. "What the hell was that and where the hell did you learn it?" Naruto looked at him strangely for a second.

Before grinning like a fox. "Well Kiba as for what that was..." He trailed off dramatically. "It's a secret." Naruto finished grinning happily, causing the rest including Kabuto to face fault. "And as for where I learned it, Benihime, taught me." He said quite simply still grinning like a madman.

Sakura cocked her head to the side. "Benihime?" She asked. "Isn't that the same person who taught you that Taijustu style?" Naruto nodded, his smile going down to a small far more genuine one.

"Yes she was the one who taught me the Hakuda, and if your very lucky or very unlucky I may even introduce you too her." Naruto finished cryptically before going back to tuning their questioning out.

XXX

The first test went by quickly after that although Naruto did like the mind game that Ibiki tried to play on the Genin class. He was cracking up on the inside after Ibiki was done the original around eighty teams were down to twenty four. Naruto stood up and applauded the man after they passed the tenth question, what he had done was physiological warfare at it's finest.

Then came Anko who told them that the next portion of the exam would be in the forest of death, Naruto had started laughing like a madman when he heard that. He couldn't have asked for a better battlefield for himself he knew the in's and out's better then any Genin in history when it came to training ground forty four. When he explained why he was laughing to Sasuke and Sakura they joined in, all three of them had turned up to the training ground looking like Christmas had come early.

The remainder of that day had passed quickly, a quick signature on the waver so he could enter into the forest, the Jonin that let them in telling him he hoped that Naruto died inside when his teammates were out of ear shot. Then things started to go wrong, a freak gust of wind pushed him away from both Sasuke and Sakura and right next to a giant snake. The snake really wasn't too much of a problem though, one well placed Ryodan killed it.

Once he had gotten back to his team his problems started, Sasuke was fighting some kind of ninja from Kusa. At least that's what he thought until the Kusa nin literally ripped off his own face to reveal Orochimaru of the sannin. Which is what left him in his current predicament standing over a heavily injured Sasuke who Orochimaru had bitten and infected with something.

XXX

Naruto was breathing heavily he was injured but nowhere near as badly as Sasuke was. "Sakura, take care of him." He yelled sprinting forward at Orochimaru, the pinkette was less hurt than he was but against a foe like Orochimaru she would have just been in his way. Naruto charged forward unleashing a barrage of shuriken, the snake sannin weaved through them like they weren't even there before nailing Naruto with a hard shot to the gut.

Naruto felt the breath leave his lungs as he flew backwards, this was insane the bastard wasn't even trying and he was still wiping the floor with them. He pointed his finger at the approaching sannin. "Hado#4: Baykurai" he yelled hoping the snake sannin would be taken off guard by the unknown attack. The Hado spell ripped straight through the snakes head, and Naruto sighed in relief before he noticed Orochimaru crumbling to mud. 'Dammit, clone!' He yelled in his head jumping away from the dead clone, this fight was ridiculous he hadn't even had time to draw Benihime let alone use her.

A pale hand coiled around his throat depriving him of oxygen. "What a strange little man you are, Naruto-kun." Came the perverse voice of the snake, Naruto looked into Orochimaru's golden eyes and shivered whatever used to be human there died a very long time ago. "Such interesting Jutsu I must have them, oh well with the sharingan they will be mine soon enough." The snake sannin smiled as he drew back his right hand and licked Naruto's face, Naruto looked at the glowing chakra on Orochimaru's hand and decided that he really didn't want to get hit by that. So he did the dumbest most stupid thing he could think of, he drew a kunai from the sheath in his coat pocket and cut off the front half of Orochimaru's tongue.

The snake sannin reeled back as his blood splattered onto Naruto's face, Orochimaru leaned forward and bit the Kyuubi jinchūriki on the neck injecting him with his curse before smiling perversely and melting back into the wood of the tree under him. Two excellent finds in one day now he was just way too lucky. The Uchiha would make for an excellent container and the jinchūriki would become one of his most valuable pawns, a very good day indeed. The last thing Naruto heard before he passed out was Sakura screaming his name and asking him to wake up.

The bite mark on is neck solidified until it was a roman numeral for 12 (ie. XII) a new cursed seal had been born.

XXX

Up in the trees above a woman with pale skin and black hair looked down on the aftermath of the battle a smirk on her face. "Come on now, Naruto-kun, don't disappoint me now." She gave an elegant laugh, then disappeared like she had never existed to begin with.

XXX

Naruto woke up feeling like he had just been hit by a Biju. "What happened to me." He asked, not really expecting to hear and answer. Instead cruel laughter reached his ears.

"What happened?" Came the mocking voice. "You got your sorry ass kicked, King, that's what fucking happened you retard." Naruto's head whipped up and his breath caught in his throat and exact copy of him was looking down on him. But everything about him was reversed, where as he had blond hair his counter part had black, his clothing was exactly the same as Naruto's just reversed in colour and his eyes as opposed to Naruto's soothing blue his were a deep pulsating red.

Naruto jumped to his feetlooking at his double. "Who the hell are you?" He asked sounding more than a little off balance. The other him smiled and drew Benihime off his back.

"Who am I" He mocked. "Isn't that obvious, King, I. AM. YOU." His doppelganger yelled charging Benihime leading the way, Naruto drew his own Benihime and met the charge head on swords clashing together. Both forced against the other in locked combat. Naruto pointed his finger at the other him. "Hado#4: Baykurai." The pale white him leaned backwards and smiled holding it's left palm up at him.

"Hadō #31: Shakkahō" Naruto cursed the red orb flying over his head and closed on his double again. "Where the hell did you learn that." He yelled, his doppelganger smiled at him.

"You really are thick ain't you, King, I learned it the same time you did." The double bought his blade back down breaking down Naruto's guard and cutting him from right shoulder to right hip.

Naruto cursed jumping backwards. "Okiro, Benihime." He yelled forming his Shikai. The doppelganger laughed.

"I can do that to you know." He laughed his voice sending shivers up Naruto's spine. "Okiro, Benihime." His doubles sword changed a reverse Benihime just the same as he was a reversed Naruto. The other him, the dark him, charged bringing the Shikai state sword down on Naruto's head, Naruto brought Benihime over his head in a desperate block, the power behind the slash was insane almost breaking his guard for the second time that fight.

"What's wrong, King? We are supposed to be equals you know." The other him, taunted before smiling again. "But were not equal not anymore, I gotta thank that, Orochimaru, guy he gave me the power to over come you, the power to become the king. Black markings that looked like flames began to move over his skin, Naruto could feel the difference in power it was overwhelming.

'So your just going to give up then, I thought your resolve was stronger than that.' Came the melodious voice from all around him. Naruto took another couple of deep breaths before putting Benihime over his head in the stance for the Ryodan he took as deep breath and put his Reiryouku into his blade.

'Push more in, I need more and more and more. Focus everything you have and create an attack that can crush any enemy that will stand in your way.' Red light began to gather around his blade, "Ready or not here I come." His dark half yelled charging forward, Naruto took a deep breath and swung down.

He yelled the attacks name seemingly coming from within him. "Nake, Benihime." His blade came down cutting through his dark half, sword and all. He felt his dark half's power retreating the other him looked up. Smiling even as blood poured out of his wounds.

"Well would you look at that, it seems like you ain't complete waste after all, King." His doppelganger reached up and grabbed his collar. "Just remember one thing, I may have been brought out by that cursed seal, Orochimaru, gave you but I am still part of you. If you really want to know what power is, Then don't die before I show up again, see you soon, King." The dark him's laughter faded and Naruto fell back into darkness.

XXX

In the outside world Naruto's curse mark pulsated once before twisting and then fading away, just as if he had never received it.

XXX

Naruto woke to the sound of dripping and looked up, he was laying in a sewer, what the hell was he doing in a sewer. "So your finally awake are you? You pathetic Ningen." He sat up, that voice like liquid malice, he had heard it before, and came face to face with a massive gate the kanji for seal in the middle of it. Two glowing red eyes and a mouth of razor sharp teeth locked in some sick parody of a grin, looking down on him. "So your my jail and my jailor, I expected more."

"Shut up fur ball." Naruto shot back sounding indigent, okay insulting the most powerful Biju in existence was most probably NOT a good idea but Naruto had a long day. Fought down his dark side and fought against Orochimaru, he was not in a good mood.

To his surprise the giant fox laughed. "So my jail has more guts than most pitiful Ningen's, so tell me why exactly did I have to use five tails of my power to keep you alive?" The fox sounded both amused by the situation and very annoyed by it.

"Some guy called, Orochimaru, gave me something called a cursed seal I don't know what it did to me but I had to fight my dark half in combat." Naruto answered cautiously, he didn't want to antagonize the Biju, well not anymore than he already had, so he was polite with his answer.

The cocked it's head to the side as if debating something. Before smiling even wider, that alone unnerved Naruto. "Well then Ningen thank you for the information in exchange I'll tell you something good, I have healed your body but no pitiful Ningen like you could with stand five tails of my power and stay the same. You would have had to have been trained in my powers use, for my power not to affect you in some way."

Naruto's mouth hung open. "What did you do to me, am I a demon now or something what the hell did you do to me!" He yelled up at the smiling fox.

"Your no demon, though that would be an improvement." The fox admitted. "No your body can just handle more of my chakra now and you will have increased reserves for your own. What ever that, Orochimaru, did to you affected your cells so your healing factor should have increased as well." The fox's grin widened if that was even possible. "That is a good thing after all I cant have a weak container now can I. Now get out little Ningen we will talk again when I can stomach the site of you." Naruto was pushed out of his mind scape.

XXX

Naruto woke to the sounds of battle, he looked to his left Sasuke was still lying next to him sweating in his sleep. Naruto stood and drew Benihime, walking outside of the hollow in the tree. "Now then let's go and greet out guests shall we." He muttered to himself, he saw Sakura dodging attacks from a sound Genin. Naruto was in no mood to play around, the Genin was firing attacks through his arms, air blasts, he noted from the look of them.

Naruto ran forward, Benihime stabbing out, he could see the teens allies eyes widening in horror, right before Benihime passed through the teens spine and out the front of his throat. "You okay, Sakura" he called out casually flicking the blood off Benihime's blade, the pinkette jumped and landed next to him.

"About damn time your lazy ass woke up." She said with a smile, Naruto shrugged back at her.

"I was sleepy, so sue me." He said, before looking back to the two remaining sound Genin. "Anyone you want in particular." Naruto asked sounding bored, Sakura didn't bother answering and settled for just charging Kin, Naruto sighed. "Guess that leaves you and me, eh mummy man." He said to the bandage wrapped Sound Genin.

Naruto wasn't really in the mood to play around, too much had happened in too little time for him to bother playing around with the sound Genin. Benihime came back over his head, Dosu charged, Naruto smirked. "Ryodan" He yelled bringing Benihime down and bisecting the charging Genin, blood and guts flew and coated the ground, Naruto just walked forward until he reached the corpse he had just made, searching the pockets.

"Jackpot." He yelled smiling, the sound team had the earth scroll, tower here they come. He heard Sakura land behind him.

"I didn't know you could do that" The pinkette said sounding surprised, Naruto shrugged pocketing the scroll.

"The Ryodan is one of my own personal techniques, so no one else can use it at least not unless I teach them how." Naruto admitted, before yawning and turning to the north. "I'll have some shadow clones carry, Sasuke, so lets get going." Sakura nodded to him and they both started to move. A pair of shadow clones carrying Sasuke for them

XXX

The journey to the tower was a nonevent as far as Naruto was concerned nothing happened on the way there. No traps, no ambushes, not even one giant spider. 'Benihime, Hime-chan, are you there.' He asked through their mental link.

'I am, Naruto-kun, what would you like to talk about.' Naruto pushed off another branch, before answering.

'That attack I used against the other me what was it?' Benihime laughed, her laughter sounded relieved.

'I'm glad that you finally unlocked one of my ability's, Naruto-kun, I was starting to wonder if you ever would.' The crimson princess teased.

'Wait, unlocked ability's, ability's as in plural!' Naruto shouted back.

He could hear Benihime laughing at him again. 'Yes, ability's as in plural, meaning more than one, Naruto-kun, in total I have seven different ability's. You have actually used that one more than a few times, it's kind of like a quicker and more powerful version of the Ryodan. But unlike the Ryodan it can only be used in my Shikai state.' The crimson princess giggled.

Naruto almost missed jumping off the next branch, Benihime had seven different ability's SEVEN that was mind blowing. 'Can you teach me them.' Naruto asked still slightly dazed from the revelation.

'Nope.' Benihime said not sounding even the slightest bit sorry. This time Naruto really did miss landing on a branch, it was pure dumb luck that he hit another branch beneath the one he was aiming for and pushed back off.

'But why not.' Naruto whined, sounding more than a little pitiful.

'Naruto-kun.' Benihime said sounding sad. 'I want you to grow stronger and stronger, but I can't afford to be your crutch, you will use my ability's unconsciously at one point or another. When you do, start trying to figure out how to do them consciously so you can use them at any time. When you figure that out I will tell you there names, just like with Zanpaktou between knowing the name and not knowing it the attack power it generates differs. Finally when you know those two thing's I will help you refine the attack until you can use it almost with out thought, I want to help you, Naruto-kun, but in order for you to be truly strong I can't hand you everything on a silver platter.' The crimson princess finished sounding a little sad.

Naruto sighed, he agreed with what Benihime was saying didn't make it any easier to swallow though. 'That's fine then, Hime, thanks for helping me.' The crimson princess laughed.

'No problem, Naruto-kun, that's what I'm here for after all. Oh by the way the name of that attack is, Nake, Benihime.' The crimson princess said, Naruto could tell she was smiling.

'Nake, sing huh.' Naruto looked around it was dull and boring. 'Speaking of singing, Benihime, would you mind singing something for me.'

'Sure, Naruto-kun.' Benihime sounded content when she said that, as she started to hum a tune. 'Every breath you take,And every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you.' Naruto just let his body sway to the music as he jumped forward towards the tower.

XXX

The remainder of the trip was uneventful, hell even their arrival was uneventful. Iruka just told them some riddle and then they were told to rest for a day before they would have to meet in the auditorium further inside the building. On the bright side though they did take Sasuke away to seal off his cursed seal, when Sakura asked him if he had one to, Naruto had just showed her his unblemished flesh and shrugged it off. Thankfully she had bought it and left the subject alone after that he really didn't feel comfortable talking about the dark him to anyone, but Benihime.

Naruto yawned as he stood in line and looked around. 'Okay who's left, Ten-chans team, some Kumo shinobi, Kiba's team, Sikamaru's team, Kabuto and, fuck, Gaara.' Naruto sighed though he did suppose it had been a little too much to hope that Gaara would fail the second half. He looked back quickly to Sasuke, he looked fine but he was still worried.

"First off on passing the second exam congratulations." Anko said walking in front of the assembled Genin. She saw Sakura and felt pride well up in her, it was her proteges first time in the forest and Sakura had come out of it no worse for wear by the looks of it. 'Hmmm, so there's twenty one people left, when I said I would cut them down I was thinking single digits.' she mused.

The front of the small auditorium they were in was quickly covered in smoke before it cleared to reveal every teams Jonin sensei along with some extra's. With the Hokage no less, not that Naruto didn't love his Jiji but it felt even better seeing Yugao amongst the assembled Jonin. Gai turned to Kakashi. "So your team made it through eh, Kakashi." He said his teeth shining bright. "But this is as far as they go my team has more than enough, youthful flames to defeat them." Gai finished giving his signature nice guy pose.

Kakashi for his part just looked at Gai uninterestedly for a second. "Huh, you say something, Gai?" he asked sounding genuinely confused.

"DAMN YOU KAKASHI AND YOUR HIP ATTITUDE MY RIVAL." Gai screamed to the heavens, the assembled Jonin and Genin just tried to tune him out.

"Hokage-sama, will now explain the rules for the third test please listen closely." Anko yelled out over the assembly of people. The old Hokage stepped forward smiling at the crowed of Genin before him.

"Thank you, Anko." The old Hokage said in a tired voice. "Before I explain the rules for the third test I would like to tell you all something, the real reason behind the Chunin exams. Why do we have the exam with members from rival villages, to promote friendship and raise the level of ninja are both good reasons, they are also a lie." The Hokage said looking at each and every Genin, most of who looked taken aback by his remark.

"The real reason for this is exam is as a replacement for war amongst the allied country's." Naruto nodded he hadn't thought of it like that, but it did make sense. "Rather than wasteful fighting the country's agreed that a competition would suffice that is the origin of the Chunin exams. You will fight while risking your lives for your country's prestige, many, many influential people will be coming to watch you compete. Your fights will be like markers to the masses saying this is our strength, this is the strength of our village."

The old Hokage sighed. "If you fight well then your villages missions will increase because of your performance, if you fight poorly they will decrease. Always remember in this exam you are not just fighting for your honor but the honor of your village and sensei's." The old Hokage's speech elicited a Yes Sir from every Genin bar Gaara. "You will all be risking your lives because a shinobi's true strength can only be born in a life threatening battle."

"Enough." Came the monotone voice of Gaara. "Just hurry up and tell us what such a life and death battle will entail." Naruto could swear that Gaara sounded enthusiastic, how he picked that up out of Gaara's monotone he didn't know, but he could tell.

"Fair enough." The Hokage acknowledged. "Then let me explain the rules of the third exam."

"Actually, Hokage-sama, would you mind if I did that as the referee for the third stage." Came the voice of a Jonin from the side of the field. The Hokage looked at him for a second before nodding and walking back to his place. "Now then." The man said turning around to face the group, the first thing Naruto noticed was that the man looked incredibly sickly.

"My name is, Gekkō Hayate, and I will be your referee for the third round. We do however have to go through a series of preliminary rounds first, to be honest there are too many of you we need to cut the group down. Is there anybody who wishes to forfeit and withdraw from this exam." A hand went up at the back of the room.

"ah,ah, proctor-san, I'll be quitting now." Said a silver haired Genin, Naruto shot him a quick look and his mouth tightened in a frown something wasn't right here.

"I see your, Kabuto-kun, right well then your free to go." The smiling silver haired Genin departed. "Is there anyone else, no well then let the preliminary matches begin."

XXX

The matches were decided by a large electronic board hidden behind a rock wall at the back of the auditorium turned arena. Most of the matches weren't that interesting from Naruto's point of view anyway.

Round one had been Sasuke vs Akado Yoroi, the match had honestly been a disappointment it had taken all of three minutes. Yoroi would run in and try to use his chakra stealing hand to drain Sasuke dry, Sasuke countered by using his sharingan to predict Yoroi's movements and then hitting him in the throat. Match over, Naruto called it a disappointment Sasuke and Sakura agreed.

Next up was Sakura vs Ino, this one was even worse, it lasted exactly one minute five seconds. Ino was put down when she tried to trash talk in the middle of the fight, while still in Sakura's range. Sakura hit her with a clean right straight to the jaw and knocked her out cold. Sakura just looked at Anko. "It was a love tap, how was I supposed to know she had the chin of a five year old narcolepsy patient."

Followed by Shino vs Samui, it was short to say the least the blond caught Shino in a lightning prison jutsu and forced him to give up, Naruto felt a little sorry for the bug user.

Naruto was starting to get bored by this point. "Next match Sabaku no Gaara vs Inuzuka Kiba" This one match surprised Naruto as Kiba gave up without even fighting, Naruto was right there was something up with Gaara.

Tenmai vs Kankuro was quick the moment they stepped out onto the floor, Temari used a wind scythe attack to cut Kankuro up and make him surrender.

Hinata vs Misumi was the biggest mismatch of the century, the guys only mode of attack was his ability to use his chakra to dislocate and relocate his joints. Against a Hyuga like Hinata and the gentle fist style Misumi got dropped like a bad habit.

Lee vs Choji was over so fast Naruto was wondering what the hell had happened, the moment that Hayate said go Lee was already in front of Choji. A quick kick to the chin followed by half a dozen body shot, the match was over before Choji knew what had hit him.

Yugito vs Shikamaru was only slightly longer, the Kumo Kunoichi had Shikamaru on the run with Katon jutsu for half the match, then forced the Nara to give up when she backed him into a corner.

Neji vs Karui, the match as a whole sickened Naruto, Neji went off on a rant about how it was Kumo's fate to be killed by him for their crimes starting with the girl in front of him. It reminded Naruto, to much of himself and the way Konoha treated him. Neji was treating Karui like she had done what ever he was so pissed off about, rather than her superiors who were likely the ones that ordered the whole thing.

When, Neji went for a killing strike on Karui both Gai and Naruto saw fit to intervene. Gai by stopping the attack and Naruto by placing a sealed Benihime to Neji's throat and threatening to cut his head off if he made another move. Neji just told him his action's were typical of someone who was used to looking down on others, Naruto had damn near cut his head off for that remark. It was only an unusually stern Gai telling Neji to be quite and think before he spoke that saved the white eyed boys life.

Naruto smiled when he saw his name and Tenten's come up, well at least he wouldn't have to wait to test out her skills.

XXX

Time itself seemed to stop as a woman with black hair, nails and eyes and pale white skin looked down at the room. "Good luck, Naruto-kun, this is just a little reward for passing my test earlier, enjoy it won't you, Naru-chan." Time seemed to start again no one noticing that the woman was gone or that she was even there to start with.

XXX

Tenten smirked at her opponent she didn't know him but judging by the katana on his back he was a weapon user, that suited her just fine in a battle of weapon user's she would always win. Tenten smiled viciously rubbing some blood on a storage scroll and taking out her own katana it's blade glistening a silvery blue in the light.

"You might just want to give up." Tenten advised Naruto. "I'm guessing that katana on your back is your main weapon right, if so then give up no one has a chance against me when it comes to weapons." The bun haired girl finished smugly.

Hayate interrupted and the bout of pre-fight trash talk that was about to happen was killed prematurely. "Are you both ready." He asked he wanted to finish this up already and go and spend some quality time with Yugao. But he also wanted to see this match and badly two aspiring sword users one of which was trained by Yugao. Naruto and Tenten nodded. "Hajime." Hayate yelled jumping backwards.

Tenten charged forward while Naruto just waited, her blade came down, Benihime came up and deflected her Naruto leaned in close to Tenten's side and pivoted slamming his palm against her ribs. "Tesshō" Naruto yelled, Tenten was thrown across the arena like a rag doll, limbs splayed out in mid air though Naruto did note she managed to keep a hold of her sword.

Most of the audience were speechless, Naruto was supposed to be the dead last of his academy year and he manages to land what could well be a decisive hit on what was supposedly the best Genin Kunoichi in the leaf village. Naruto just sighed, she didn't remember him, he would be lying if he said he wasn't a little hurt, but at least she had gotten stronger.

He saw Tenten pick herself up from the ground. "Well, well, well." Naruto said sounding a little surprised. "You really have gotten a little better eh, Ten-chan, so tell me, how you've been these last eight years?" Tenten looked at him in disbelief.

"What the hell are you talking about I don't know you." She yelled back, charging in, Naruto brought them into a sword lock both edges smashing hard enough against the other to draw sparks. Tenten smiled and Naruto cursed as he jumped backwards avoiding the brunt of the force of the kunai she had hidden in her left hand as it cut across his belly.

XXX

Gai smirked at Kakashi. "Your student is good my eternal rival and his flames of youth burn brightly. But, Tenten, is a weapon mistress who can not be beaten her flames of youth when it comes to weapons burn brighter than anyone else." Gai finished smugly.

"I wouldn't be so sure, Gai." Kakashi said in a conversational tone. "Naruto, hasn't pulled out all the stops yet, so I don't think it's over just yet." They turned their attention back to the fight.

XXX

"Nice job, Ten-chan, you really have gotten better your making me feel so proud." Naruto said wiping a fake tear from his eye.

"I've already told you I don't know you." Tenten yelled back sounding annoyed.

"No you do." Naruto said softly. "You just don't remember me, no need to worry though I'll be drawing those memory's back to the surface soon enough." Naruto charged forward Benihime leading the way Tenten caught the blade with her own and took most of the force out of his attack. What she missed was Naruto's foot coming up at the same time as the attack hit, she found out less than half a second later when it impacted with her sternum forcing her back and driving the air out of her.

"Need a hand up, Ten-chan?" Naruto asked in a sing song voice. A memory overlapped with Tenten's vision. A young boy maybe four putting his hand out to her blond hair waving in the sun, blue eyes so full of life, after he drove off some of the bully's bothering her. "Need a hand up, Ten-chan" The boy said in a sing song voice.

Tenten just looked at the teen in front of her like he was an illusion about to vanish. "Naru-chan?" She asked voice trembling, Naruto smiled at her, he hated that nickname but he could put up with it from two people her and Yugao.

"In the flesh, Ten-chan, we'll talk later now's not really the time." Naruto put Benihime into an attacking position. "Careful, Ten-chan." He warned. "Don't lose your focus now." Naruto charged, Benihime swung down, left and right, in short order Tenten's body quickly gaining a multitude of small cuts. Naruto jumped backwards and smiled at her.

"Come on now, Ten-chan, don't disappoint me now." Tenten grimaced he was more capable than she had originally given him credit for. Tenten pulled out a pair of scrolls and unsealed the contents, a pair of Fu Tao. (For a visual representation go to google and type in Chinese hook sword.) She took a new stance.

Naruto charged again, Tenten's Fu Tao hooked over Benihime's blade and yanked him to the side almost making him drop his partner. Naruto let himself go with the movement and almost ended up being skewered by the other sword. Naruto threw himself to the ground and rolled out of the weapon mistresses way. That had been way too close. "I'm guessing they are your best weapon right, Ten-chan." Trying to sound as casual as possible.

Tenten nodded. "Yep these are my Fu Tao my best weapons and my favorite sorry, Naru-chan, but you wont be going on to the next round. We will however be talking about why you never came back and why you never visited me." Tenten finished with venom.

Naruto, paled a little before smiling at the girl in front of him, she really had come a long way from the little girl he used to protect from bully's. Naruto held Benihime away from him. "Well if your going to give your best I guess I should give mine." Naruto gave a bloodthirsty smile. "Try not to die now, Ten-chan." Naruto charged again bring Benihime down, Tenten's Fu Tao came up hooking over Benihime's blade. Naruto smiled he had been waiting for his. "Bakudō#4: Hainawa"The yellow energy rope coiled around Tentens arms restricting her movement.

"Wha-" Was as far as she got, Naruto threw Benihime into the air. "Sorry, Ten-chan, but it's over." He said smiling and pulling back both fists. His Reiryouku surged, they had clashed with weapons, but Naruto chose to end it with Hakuda. After all no point in giving the competition more than necessary. "Sandobaggu Bīto" The attack unleashed a flurry of punches each one containing the force of a Tesshō strike, Tenten couldn't even get her hands up to guard. Though Naruto did avoid hitting anywhere that could cause permanent damage.

The bun haired weapons mistress went down hard, Naruto looked down at the woman. "You did good, Ten-chan, you did good." Though no one could see it the unconscious girl had a small smile on her face at that comment.

"Winner, Uzumaki Naruto." Hayate said raising his hand, Naruto smiled all in all this was turning into quite the good day. He got to fight Ten-chan, the person who one could argue was his only childhood friend, even if they hadn't seen each other in eight years. Though he was trying to ignore the constant screaming about youth coming from behind him.

XXX

The world seemed to slow down, time stopping completely. The black haired woman walked forward and smiled one pale hand reaching out to cup Naruto's cheek. I hope you enjoyed my present, Naruto-kun." She said smiling before leaning in and kissing him, the woman leaned back and looked at Naruto's neck a strange seal formed briefly in the shape of a spiral before disappearing. "I hope you enjoy your new gift, Naruto-kun, don't disappoint me now."

The woman walked away, hips swaying though no one could see her, before shining and disappearing like she had never existed to begin with.

XXX

The final matches were scheduled for a month, Naruto sighed and looked at the board again.

Round One: Samui vs Rock Lee

Round Two: Uchiha Sasuke vs Hyuga Neji

Round Three: Haruno Sakura vs Hyuga Hinata

Round Four: Nii Yugito vs Uzumaki Naruto

Round Five was supposed to be Gaara vs Temari but the wind user forfeited as soon as Gaara's name was called. Naruto was more than a little suspicious of why she dropped out but didn't bother to confront Temari, he had his own problems.

Naruto looked at the board one more time, oh yes this month was going to be fun.

Chapter Four End.