AN: Finally we've moved on from the second part of the exams. What was that? About 2 chapters? This chapter will move onto the preliminaries… then it'll cover a bit of Naruto's training under… Danzo himself. I'll explain why below after the chapter.


Naruto woke up with a raging storm of a headache in his head.

He groaned and clutched it before looking at his wrist and noticing a IV needle attached to it. He looked at himself, noticing that he was wearing a patient's clothing in stripes of blue and white. He swung his leg over the side of the bed wincing at the pain it sent from the back of his head to the forehead. Naruto rested his head in both of his hands for a second resting in that position. Soon seconds turned into minutes and he debated going back into bed or at least until the circus in his brain quieted down.

"You're up."

Naruto looked up to find a figure clad in shadow seated near the window of his room. He took that moment to absorb every single detail about the room in a single glance. The room wasn't large but spacious enough for him to swing his sword around in. The first thing that'd have to go was the IV that was stuck in him. It might be painful but he would have to swing his arm and throw the IV along with its metal stand towards his opponent. It would rip it from his wrist but would catch him off guard. Not a lot of people expected savage attacks like that. The person would react by getting up and casting the metal contraption aside with one or both hands. Naruto would have to aim for his legs and-

Naruto forced himself to stop.

"What am I thinking," He shook his head clearing the thoughts from his brain. "I don't even know who he is and I'm thinking about killing him. I've been with the shinobi for too long." He cleared his throat.

"Who are you?"

Naruto thought the man's lips curved up into a faint smile at the corners. Then just as quickly it had appeared it disappeared. It was almost as if the man could tell what kind of thoughts the blonde was having. Naruto cleared his throat again and planned to repeat his question.

"I just came here to see how you're doing," The man stood up walking into the shaft of sunlight coming through the window. "Naruto."

He was a tall man with waist length spiky white hair tied into a pony tail. There were two shoulder length bangs that framed both sides of his face. There were red tattoos of sorts that ran down from his eyes. Instead of a forehead protector that marked his allegiance to a specific village he wore a forehead protector with the kanji for 'Oil'. There was a large wart on the right side of his nose. The man wore a shot green shit kimono and pants of the same color. Over it he wore a long red jacket. On his back there was a large scroll.

He knelt in front of the blonde. "Hey kiddo," The man whispered. "So I finally meet you."

"Who are you?" Naruto said through narrowed eyes getting a full measure of the man.

He was powerful much like the older ninja that Naruto had met.

But a bit different.

If he had to compare it to something Naruto would compare it to a tree. The man's power was like a well aged oak tree. Thick trunks, thick roots, overflowing with life and strength. Naruto would compare most genins to seedlings or perhaps small trees. The genins were trees that were well aged that most people saw. But this man was a tree that reached towards the sky, housing other forms of life and wouldn't be uprooted by a simple storm. His beliefs had been set a long time ago in his youth and he had stayed in them.

He was a tree…

He reminded Naruto of Sarutobi, the Third Hokage.

The man got up a confident smirk on his face. "I'm called Jiraiya." He folded his arms. "I guess you could say we were going to meet sooner or later."

Naruto studied the man wondering why he was here. From what he could tell the man wasn't hostile towards him in anyway. Rather than that he seemed glad to meet the blonde. It wasn't something he was used to but he'd take what he could get.

Now if only the circus inside his head would shut up…

Jiraiya slowly formed hand seals. Naruto noticed this but did not interrupt. If the man wanted to hurt him he could have done so while he slept. Instead the man had waited until Naruto had become awake. Whatever jutsu Jiraiya was using wouldn't hurt Naruto, most likely he wanted to show the blonde something important.

After forming the hand seals Jiraiya bit his thumb creating a thin line of blood dripping over his hand. Naruto recognized this as a summoning technique.

Jiraiya touched his hand to the ground and a summoning seal made of chakra infused ink spread all over the floor and a puff of smoke accompanied the arrival of something.

Naruto stared at the giant toad that croaked at him in greeting.

Its skin was the color of orange, riddled with bule markings. There were bandages wrapped around his torso and a beaded necklace around its neck. Its eye was yellow with a horizontal black stripe in the middle as most beasts of its species possessed. It clutched a long scroll in its tongue.

Jiraiya touched Naruto's shoulder.

"Listen boy," His eyes shifted left and right as if looking for something. "I was sent here to explain some things to you."

"Explain what?" Naruto had a ominous feeling in his chest.

"You're going to be involved in something very dangerous."

The blonde groaned.

"Why does this always happen to me?" He grunted. "I was taking the stupid exam and judging by the sun I've been asleep for a whole day!"

"Two days." Jiraiya quipped.

"Exactly!" Naruto exclaimed. "How could I have gotten involved in something when I wasn't… even conscious?"

"You must have a talent for finding trouble."

"Or it finding me." Naruto muttered.

Jiraiya nodded. "Either way you're involved in something dangerous right now. Soon the preliminaries are going to be held for the third portion of the chuunin exam."

"Preliminaries?" Naruto cocked his head to the side. "I see…" He looked at the stand next to his bed and saw his holster there. He strapped it onto his thigh without thinking.

"Stop thinking about the exam." Jiraiya snapped he held out a hand to the toad. The toad unfurled its tongue and dropped the scroll in Jiraiya's hand. He saw the man bend a little underneath its weight. He dropped to one knee spreading the scroll on the ground.

He looked up at the blonde. "There are more important things."

"After the preliminaries," He continued to talk while opening up the scroll. "You will be taken to a dangerous place. You will be training under one of the most dangerous man in this village, if not the most dangerous. He will most likely place you with a group of other kids your age and allow you to train with them."

"You Uzumaki Naruto," Jiraiya looked at him in the eye. "Will be entering the ANBU ROOT training corps."

"W-what?" Naruto knelt to study the scroll that Jiraiya had opened up. "W-why? I don't remember applying-"

"This is an A-rank mission." Jiraiya whispered his voice deadly low. "You are to enter and form a profile sheet for every member you see there. It might be dangerous but you will be paid handsomely for your information."

Naruto remained silent his head straining to figure out what was happening.

This man was obviously a strong ninja and someone who knew about the inner political matters of Konoha. The fact that he was offering him an A-rank mission meant that he was loyal to the Hokage or lying. But Naruto didn't see an ounce of falsity in the man's eyes. They were clear to the point where Naruto wondered what type of life that this man had lead to have those eyes. He looked like a man who had set rules of honor for himself and followed them to the letter. He knew the difference between Right and Wrong.

He seemed like a good person to Naruto who constantly strove to do what was right and better himself.

This man was a loyal servant to the Hokage himself. Naruto knew that because it was an A-rank mission. Not because the mission was a high rank one, but because of the political matters behind it. D and C rank missions did not have a lot of requirements but as the mission became B and A rank political strings became attached to it. That meant that as the missions got higher in rank the circle of people who knew the matters behind it became smaller and smaller. This man was offering Naruto an A-rank espionage mission that had to do with the village. That matter alone was something for though.

It was an espionage mission within the village.

Coup d'état, rebellious factions, missing ninja and betrayal were the words that came to Naruto's mind.

Jiraiya felt cold steel touch his neck, right on the jugular vein.

Naruto's arms had blurred an crossed each other on either side of Jiraiya's neck holding a shuriken each.


"Who's side are you on?" Naruto growled, something that started from deep within his chest. "How do I know you're with the Hokage?"

"You trusted me until now to be loyal to Sarutobi," Jiraiya whispered a smile stretching over his lips. "Why the sudden change of mind?"

"Because I'm not perfect," Naruto whispered. "Just because your eyes say you're not lying doesn't mean what you're saying is the truth. Because what you believe to be the Right thing might be the Wrong thing in my world."

Jiraiya stared at the progenitor of the Namikaze and the Uzumaki clan who held two shuriken to his neck.

"You can trust me Naruto," Jiraiya answered. "I'm here on the Sandaime's orders."

Naruto hesitated.

Again, the man didn't seem to be lying.

Then he lowered his arms, dropping the shuriken onto the floor.

Jiraiya nodded satisfied. "Looks like letting him have the upper hand for a moment was the right choice." He cleared his throat.

"Once again you will form profile sheets on the people that you meet, personalities, battle capabilities as well as their names. This is usually not a mission given to a genin but a unique opportunity that only you can take care of has presented itself."

"If I'm caught with the profile sheets-"

"Which is why you'll sign this contract here." Jiraiya tapped his finger on an empty space on the scroll bringing Naruto's attention to it.

"What is this?"

"It's a summoning contract." Jiraiya explained. "Sign your name here in blood. Then afterwards form these hand seals, boar, dog, monkey, rooster and ram. After channel chakra into your hand, make sure it has your blood on it, and touch a surface. Depending on the amount of chakra you put in you'll be able to summon a toad. After you summon the toad give it the profile sheets that you have created and give it to him. He'll relay it back to me."

Naruto picked up the fallen shuriken and made a small cut on his thumb, signing his name on the scroll. Once it was done the man rolled it back up giving it back to the toad behind him.

"We'll meet again Naruto." Jiraiya smiled at him. "I'm sure of it." He leaped out the window, the toad going after him and disappeared from view.

Naruto swallowed, confusion reigning in his head.

He sat down on his bed and opened the dresser. In it his clothes lay. His long sleeved v-neck shirt with a light mesh undershirt. Like his shirt his shirt was black as well. There was a roll of bandages for him to wrap the pants around his shin. Naruto put the clothes on his bed dressing himself forcing himself to think.

"Calm down," the blonde told himself. "First… let's go on the clues that he gave you. ROOT, Hokage and Espionage. This is an A-rank mission… right after the second part of the exams. That means that after this second part of the exams there will be a small time period before the third part of the exams are held."

"I was asleep and I don't remember myself volunteering for ROOT, Sai's division. I don't think Sai has enough political oomph to get me in there… this is politics. This means that I was the price of something. But the price of what?" The blonde put on the mesh shirt and stood up to take off his pants. "No. The important thing is that it was the Third Hokage that was responsible for this. I'm sure of it. ROOT, whether it belongs to the old man or not, is a faction of ANBU. That falls under the power of the Hokage. He must have made a deal with someone and I was the price. I don't need to know about the deal, I just need to know how I'm to act. I know I'm a spy but I need to know what's happening to me. He said I'll be entered in the training corps."

Naruto's eyes widened.

"Why does the Hokage need a spy in a division he already controls… unless he doesn't control it." Naruto stopped wrapping the bandages around his leg. "The old man means to take control of the ANBU faction… so this is the opportunity that he's been waiting for. Since the other genin aren't as capable yet… no wonder I'm the one who's been taken."

Naruto finished dressing and looked at his reflection in the window mirror.

"Naruto," said a voice behind him. "Good. You're awake. Come on, we're late."

Naruto turned to find Sai. "Late for what?"

"The preliminaries." Sai answered. "Come on I'll explain on the way."

Naruto followed Sai out of the room to find that they were not in a hospital, but a giant building composed of man different levels. Sai motioned for him to go down the stairs with him. Naruot obeyed listening to every word Sai was saying to get a better grasp of the situation.

"Too many teams passed," Sai summed up. "So they're holding a preliminary to see who gets to enter the final part of the exams."

"I see." Naruto thought back to his battle against the six genin. "Um… just out of curiosity,"

"The Iwa team just made it in." Sai already knew what Naruto wanted to ask him. "But they don't look good. Doesn't look like they could make it even if they decide to continue. The Taki team looks a little better but I doubt it."

Sai lead them out into a clearing with rows upon rows of other genin standing. They were in what seemed to be a little tiny arena, filled with dirt and rock. Naruto looked around to see every single jounin sensei on the second tier of the arena, leaning on the railings and looking at them with interest. He saw a man with black spiky hair and a cigar in his mouth look at him intently as if mulling over something. There was a woman with black curly hair next to him. Instead of wearing the chuunin flak jacket she wore a red dress with bandages wrapped around it. He thought that her eyes resembled Kawasu's in some way but dismissed the thought. He saw Yamato wave at him with a single hand. He looked around to find Gari the iwa team's instructor looking at him as well.

"Come on Naruto." Sai gently pushed Naruto so that he stood next to Shiho.

"It's a good thing we came early." Shiho commented. "We're all fully rested."

Naruto nodded and smiled at his teammate before turning his attention to the center of the room.

The Sandaime sat on a chair made out of stone, smoking on a pipe and regarding all of them with a strange gleam in his eye. Next to him stood several ANBU members, wearing the beige cloaks and animal masks. Naruto ripped his stare off of the Hokage.

"That's not what's important right now." He surveyed the people who had passed.

There was a lot.

Ino, Shikamaru and Chouji stood a bit in front of him. Though they didn't seem to have a lot of wounds there were minor scratches here and there. How a weak team like them could defeat another team surprised the blonde but he tucked it into the back of his mind not to underestimate them. That's how defeat was born and arrogance lead to downfall. He surveyed the other examinees. Team 8 composed of Inuzaka Kiba, Hyuuga Hinata and Aburame Shino was there too. He spied Kawasu, Sasuke and Sakura. Sakura had lost a lot of her hair because she sported a shot haircut that framed her face now. Sasuke looked like he was barely on his two feet. Kawasu looked the worst out of them all. Kawasu had a bandage over one ear and other numerous wounds all over his body. From the story that Kawasu had told him, Kawasu had most likely taken on a team by himself to get his team both the Heaven and Earth scrolls.

The one called Rock Lee was there as well. He didn't look too wounded and neither did his teammates. Naruto recognized them from the information that Shiho had given him. Hyuuga Neji the counterpart of Sasuke from the year prior. Then there was Tenten the one who was proclaimed to be the best weapon wielder among the genin.

He turned his gaze on the foreign shinobi.

The Iwa team looked like they just came in. They were still breathing heavily, their shoulders shaking. Mumaru's wounds had worsened over the last few days, blood seeping through the bandages that he wore around his body. Akatsuchi's hands were bandaged. There was dried blood crusted all over his arms no doubt from the wounds that Naruto had left for him on his hand. Kurotsuchi looked like she was the best off from her team, bandages wrapped horizontally around her face to cover her nose. Naruto had most likely broken it in their last encounter.

The Taki genin looked a bit better… though not by much.

Fu sported bandages wrapped over her eyes. Naruto thought that she was overreacting but he saw the hateful glare that her other teammates sent his way. Fu also seemed to be holding herself a bit unsteadily on her feet. Naruto looked at her feet to see if it was true. If she was truly blind and unable to see there would be a lot of bruises and cut near her ankles due to her tripping over things. Unlike what he had believed Fu did sport a lot of cuts and wounds on her wounds and on her knees from tripping over countless times in the forest. Naruto gulped feeling a guilty stab in his conscience. He looked at the other two. Shibuki looked like he was the best out of his teammates, standing on his own power. Iko held a bit bent over, clutching his stomach. Naruto had most likely given him internal bleeding.

Naruto turned his gaze to the other teams. There was Suna and Oto as well.

"I will explain the rules for the second part of the exam." The woman from before appeared with a mike headset attached to the side of her face. Naruto spotted something like pain in her eyes but it disappeared as soon as it was there. He wondered why it was there.

"You will face off against someone that's displayed on that board." She pointed towards the big screen at the top. "As for the battle rules… anything goes."

She gestured at all of them. "Before that… do any of you guys want to drop from this exam?"

Naruto looked around at the genin.

Akatsuchi immediately walked out. Naruto nodded in understanding. The boy's hands were damaged and would need medical attention if he was to continue fighting. He saw Mumaru and Kurotsuchi nod towards their teammate. It seemed as if it had already been decided.

"Mumaru," Kurotsuchi whispered. "Think over this one more time-"

"Shut up Kurotsuchi." Mumaru snapped. "I'm fine."

Kurotsuchi sneered and turned back watching what other genin were going to give up.

Surprisingly a lot.

The girl called Fu from Takigakure walked out as well lead by the shoulder by her other teammate, named Iko, if she was not mistaken. She could tell right away that Fu wasn't someone who wouldn't be able to fight while blind. If she had a bit more talent perhaps she could have put up a fight but she was no doubt suffering from the shocks of that battle with the Uzumaki. Iko walked with a limp in his gait that could only come from internal bleeding as well. So both of them were out.

She looked at Shibuki. He most likely had a concussion but he seemed to be pretending to me fine.

Sai started.

"What the-" Naruto muttered, grabbing the back of Sai's shirt and yanking him back. "What the hell are you doing?"

Sai smiled at him. "Forfeiting."

Naruto frowned. "What do you mean forfeiting? You're fine."

Sai shrugged. "This wasn't in the mission parameters."

"Screw the mission-" While Naruto was talking Sai twisted his torso, taking off his jacket and walked away, leaving the blonde with a simple black jacket in his hand.

"Shiho-" Naruot turned around.

She was walking right behind Sai.

"Hey WHAT THE HELL!" Naruto cursed throwing the jacket onto the floor gathering everybody's attention.

Sai and Shiho froze for a moment. Shiho turned around and gave Naruto an apologetic glance.

"I just wanted to know what it was like to be a regular ninja Naruto," Her eyes were hidden behind her glasses. "Now I know." Giving no chance for the blonde to retort the two walked away.

Naruto stood there speechless.

"Now if that's settled-" Anko began.

Another ninja appeared.

"Hokage-sama," he muttered, coughing a few times. "If you'd allow me, the proctor of the third exam to explain the rules…"

The Sandaime glanced at the man already knowing who it was.

He had short brown hair and dark eyes with painful looking bags underneath. Though he appeared young he seemed to have a chronic cough from some unknown disease. He wore the standard Konoha Ninja uniform, his Konoha Hiate acting as a bandanna. On his back was a katana with a rectangular hand guard.

"Hayate," The Hokage traded a look with Anko who nodded back. "Go ahead then."

"Thank you Hokage-sama." Hayate turned towards the genin and coughed a few times. "First of all, I congratulate all of you on passing the second part of the exam."

Hayate began to describe the rules while Naruto glared at his teammates whom were standing next to Yamato. He missed most of the directions but got the gist of it. It was to be a series of one on one battles. Hekko Hayate told them that he would step in once the victor was clear.

"Now the first match will be between," The board flashed.

Uchiha Sasuke vs. Inuzaka Kiba.

"Can the rest of the participants," Hayate coughed. "go upstairs?"

Naruto went upstairs next to Yamato, Sai and Shiho. Near them stood Kiba's team composed of the sensei named Kurenai, Hinata and Shino that seemed to be watching the battle with interest. Naruto glared at his teammates.

"Sorry Naruto," Shiho shrugged. "But I want to try again next year." She smiled at him. "Don't worry we'll be watching."

Naruto grunted and looked at Sai waiting for his reply.

Sai smiled. "I told you, it wasn't in my mission parameters."

Naruto ignored them and looked at Yamato.

"I heard about what you did." Yamato was looking down at the battle below watching Sasuke and Kiba exchange a few blows. He reached down with a hand and ruffled Naruto's hair.

"I'm counting on you Naruto to show them that Team 13 is not made of a bunch of pushovers."

Naruto smirked.

"Victor! Uchiha Sasuke!"

The battle had not taken long. With ruthless efficiency Sasuke disabled the dog with a couple of shuriken. The enraged Kiba hadn't been able to keep his cool which resulted in some stupid moves on his part. Instead of using Gatsuga to end it Kiba rushed towards the Uchiha using simple taijutsu. In his haze of rage Kiba had overlooked the fact that the Uchiha had been unable to use his famous sharingan or his fancy ninjutsu. Naruto sighed as Kiba was taken out on a stretcher. He looked behind him to find Kurenai looking on with her lips pursed.

"Guess he needs more training." Naruto jabbed but his heart wasn't really in it. Everyone was straining to look at the board which would flash the next names.

Naruto hissed in victory.

Uzumaki Naruto vs. Rock Lee.

Sasuke passed out all the fatigue of the last few days coming back to him at once.

Kakashi leaned on the pillar next to him breathing heavily. He lowered his headband to cover the sharingan once more. He shook his head vigorously, trying to get the sweat out of his eyes and from his hair. He looked down at the fallen Uchiha and the seal that he just placed on Sasuke's neck. He grimaced knowing that the Seal do nothing if Sasuke didn't truly will it for himself to keep the cursed seal in check. It was an inevitable development though. Orochimaru was a lot older and a lot more experienced and versed in the arts of Fuinjutsu. He couldn't expect to outdo Orochimaru in this area.

Not yet anyways.

Kakashi debated whether he should carry Sasuke to the hospital or lay down and rest up a bit. He decided to do the latter and leaned more of his weight on the pillar behind him, slowly descending towards the ground.

"Impressive," A melodic voice muttered into the small room. "Having knowledge of Fuinjutsu at your age. What are you now? Early to mid twenties?"

Kakashi's body literally blurred and the hiate seemed to rise of its own accord. The copy cat ninja placed himself between the intruder and his student, his hand already gripping a kunai in reverse grip.

Orochimaru was leaning on a pillar with his shoulder, his arms crossed. He had a sardonic smirk on his face. His long black hair had been tied up into a pony tail though he couldn't hide the gaunt angular features of his face. It wasn't about being good looking or handsome anymore for Orochimaru. Orochimaru was at the level where even if he looked similar to himself, just by acting differently, being someone else and copying their mannerisms and characteristics worked more than any outer appearance did for the sannin.

"Let me tell you a bit about Fuinjutsu," Orochimaru continued as if nothing had happened. "It's the fourth kind of ninja arts. Ninjutsu, Taijutsu and Genjutsu. Respectively they are ninja techniques which utilize the natural elements, the physical arts which manipulates one's own body then Genjutsu the art of the illusion used to manipulate a person's thoughts and perhaps even reality itself."

"Most ninjas have basic skills in all three of these aspects," Orochimaru pushed himself off of the pillar walking towards Kakashi. "But Fuinjutsu, the art of the seal," He stopped cocking his head to the side as if contemplating something. "Sometimes ninja go through their whole lives without ever touching upon this unique and useful art."

Orochimaru took another step.

"That's enough," Kakashi growled. Lightning began to flicker around his right hand. He held the forearm of his right arm with his left. It did no such thing as explode into electricity. But the room began to be filled with spontaneous popping sounds of crackling electricity. Kakashi hadn't activated his chidori yet but he had made it clear to Orochimaru that he could use it whenever he wanted to.

Orochimaru ignored him and took another step.

"Fuinjutsu allows ninja to manipulate something that cannot be done no matter how much mastery of ninjutsu they have," Orochimaru smirked. "Reality itself."

"More specifically it can control the very fabric of space time continuum." He tilted his head and smirked taking another step. "There has been no instance of ninjutsu being able to manipulate space-time as well as ninjutsu. Even the Fourth Hokage's famous teleportation technique, the Hiraishin no Jutsu that earned him the name 'Yellow Flash of Konoha' was based on the foundation of Fuinjutsu."

Orochimaru was eye to with Kakashi now, barely a breath away.

"But you know something that can manipulate reality and the space-time continuum better than fuinjutsu?" Orochimaru whispered.

Kakashi's eyes were bulging so big that they almost seemed to be escaping from their sockets. Electricity began to crackle in an increasing rate and more and more strands of lightning began to form around his right hand.

"The Sharingan." Orochimaru finished looking right into Kakashi's red orb.

Kakashi swung his arm sideways, the Chidori filling the small room with the sound of a thousand birds. Orochimaru laughed as he dodged it ducking underneath it. He opened his mouth and a snake shot out heading straight for Sasuke.

"Shit." Kakashi turned around and stabbed his Chidori into the ground, beheading the snake before it could touch the genin.

He felt the cold touch of steel on his neck.

Kakashi froze.

"Now now Kakashi-kun," Orochimaru's breath was warm on the back of Kakashi's neck. Even his breath seemed to contain moisture and slither around Sasuke's body. "We don't want to hurt the precious merchandise do we?"

Kakashi didn't answer choosing silence instead. The lightning around his hand flickered a for a few more seconds before dying out. The only sound that Kakashi could hear was his own breathing and the beating of his own heart.

"Don't worry Kakashi," Orochimaru continued backing up. Kakashi suppressed a shudder as Orochimaru's breath seemed to slither down his neck and to his lower back. "I'm not here to collect on him yet… he'll come to me when he's good and ready."

Orochimaru turned on his heel and began to leave, his footsteps loud and exact in the small room.

Kakashi didn't turn around, instead he kept on staring at his student.

"Obito… Rin… Sensei…" Kakashi looked at Sasuke. "No… no more…"

"NO MORE!" Kakashi yelled spinning around his eyes bloodshot with rage.

Orochimaru's face was right in front of him his face almost split in half with a wicked smile. But his eyes were anything but smiling.

They were the eyes of a predator.

Of a snake that just found a good prey to devour.

"Or perhaps I'll just take you instead." Orochimaru whispered his eyes wide, his tongue flickering in and out.

Killing Intent filled the area.

"Uh… Ah… N-N… Uuuu…" Kakashi stuttered and groaned .

Orochimaru smiled crookedly and turned around leaving the frozen Kakashi there. "You're a good ninja Kakashi. But you're still years away from reaching my level. As for the Uchiha…" He paused walking then resumed again throwing his words of farewell. "Raise him well for me."

Kakashi fell to the ground on his knees his arms limp on either side. He was staring at the ceiling though there was nothing there. He looked as if his soul had escaped him. He began to shake from the aftereffects of their little clash.

"To think I was thinking of taking that on…" Kakashi swallowed. "I was a fool…"


Naruto leaped down into the small arena landing on the balls of his feet. He channeled chakra into the circular seal in his left palm slowly drawing out a long katana. Its guard was a three bladed shuriken and the blade was a bit shy of three and a half feet. Some of the genin noted the obvious reduction in length but did not comment. They assumed that it was a doing on the blonde's part. Naruto twirled the sword with one hand by the middle of the scabbard watching as the ninja clad in green jumped down from his stand.

Hayate cleared his throat. "Are you both ready?"

Naruto smirked holding his sword by the middle of the scabbard, the handle pointed forward. Lee got into his own stance as well, bending his leg and putting one palm out towards the front.

Hayate looked back and forth between them. "Nice eyes."

Asuma leaned on the railing where Yamato and the Genjutsu Mistress were standing.

"What do you think about this match up?" Asuma asked them smirking and lightning a cigarette. He ignored the disproving glare from Kurenai.

Yamato looked down from the second floor, his arms crossed. "Naruto will win. He's different from the normal genin here."

"So is Lee." Gai appeared next to them. He was in the same posture as Yamato. "You should not underestimate the Flames of his Youth. Though from what I hear," He peered at Yamato. "Naruto's burns just as brightly."

"What's with this kid?" Kurenai asked glaring daggers at the blonde down below.

"You don't know because you're new Kurenai." Asuma said with a smile. "But… that kid down there. Rumor has it that he's something mighty special." He traded a look with Yamato. "I wonder if he's worthy of being a king we place out hopes on."

"We'll see about that." Gai muttered.

Kakashi walked in looking tired and drained. "Who're the lucky ones this time?"

"Naruto," Kurenai muttered. "And Gai's student, Lee."

Kakashi suddenly perked up at that. "That should be interesting."

"Start!" Hayate yelled.

Lee rushed forward immediately spinning in the air.

"Sorry Naruto-kun," Lee said while spinning. "But I can't let you win this one!" Lee spun in the air launching a single kick against the blonde.

Naruto thrust while holding his sword by the scabbard, hitting Lee's kick squarely with the handle.

Lee's eyes widened.

So did Gai's and Kakashi's.

"W-what?" Kurenai asked. "What's the big deal?"

"The Leaf Whirlwind," Asuma explained seeing as none of the other jounin were too occupied with the battle. "Is a series of low and high kicks done at the fastest possible speed one can do it in. The trick is that the opponent doesn't know that it's a low or a high kick until the last moment. It's a Taijutsu move that one has to master completely if they want it to be useful in combat."

"Lee's mastered it." Gai told them, his rich baritone carrying over even to the nearby Genin. "His technique is if anything on par with mine. The fact that Naruto blocked it means…"

"His reaction speed is just that fast." Asuma narrowed his eyes. "That's no small feat. He has to react instantly to a kick that's delivered faster than the regular eye can follow. Not to mention he blocked it with perfect timing… with the handle of his sword nonetheless."

Kurenai nodded as understanding dawned on her. "He could have just as easily countered it."

"But that wasn't Lee's fastest." Gai finished with a smirk.


"Not bad Naruto-kun," Lee leaped away, somersaulting away and showing casual acrobatics. "Let's knock it up a notch."

"I couldn't agree more." Naruto replied a crazed smile beginning to appear on his face.

Lee rushed towards Naruto even faster than last time.

Lee jumped into the air and launched a sideways kick towards the blonde. Naruto ducked underneath it and reacted instantaneously, thrusting with the handle of his sword. Lee crossed his arms in midair blocking the thrust.

Naruto screamed.

The ground beneath Naruto exploded outwards sending gravel and rocks flying everywhere. The blonde literally created a crater where he stood. Initially Naruto had been low on the ground one palm on the floor and his legs bent. But as soon as his handle had been blocked by Lee's guard, Naruto's whole body exploded into movement, every single muscle moving as one in one burst of energy, thrusting so hard that his sword crushed Lee's guard and went through it, hitting Lee's chest.

Gai's eyes widened and he looked at Yamato.

"That kid…"

Gai looked down again. "All his muscles were used at the same exact moment in conjunction with one another. From the soles of his foot to his arms… it doubled… no, almost tripled the power of his thrust. That kid… is like Lee. He's a Taijutsu specialist… That level of skill…"

Lee flew across the air and slammed into the wall.

Naruto began to walk towards the Genin, twirling his sword by the scabbard like a baton at his side.

"I know that didn't finish you," Naruto said loudly enough for everyone, though it was aimed at Lee, to hear. "Now come out."

A green blur exploded out of the crater in the wall.

Lee threw two quick fists in succession. Naruto blocked both of them holding his sword sideways across his body. The Taijutsu Specialist flipped forward both feet leaving the ground in an overhead kick. Naruto lowered his stance once more, holding his sword sideways above his head. He grunted as the kick hit his scabbard forcing him to bend his legs to absorb the weight of the kick.

Then the second heel landed.

The second heel slipped past Naruto's sword headed towards his forehead.

Naruto lurched backwards allowing the heel to pass by his face feeling the wind scatter his hair.

When Lee's heel hit the ground it broke the surface, sending small pieces of rock flying everywhere. Naruto felt a very small one fly right by his face, leaving a shallow cut on his cheek. The blonde felt Lee's weight leave the sword that he had used to block.

Lee disappeared from view.

Naruto's eyes widened. "What the hell…"

The blonde immediately lowered his scabbard holding it below his face sideways. Lee's kick from below hit the scabbard with enough force to move Naruto's arm, slamming the scabbard against Naruto's forehead protector which was wrapped around his neck and then his neck.

Naruto gave a chocking cough as he felt his feet leave the ground.

"What the hell…" Naruto thought as time seemed to slow down. "Even though I blocked it, it still carried enough weight to lift me into the air…"

"Dammit he blocked it…" Lee leaped away wincing at the strain in his legs. "That was my fastest when I kicked him from below. I barely lifted him off from his feet."

Naruto skidded along the ground backwards and Lee did the same.

The blonde flicked his wrist, spinning his sword in a vertical arc. He caught it neatly by the handle.

Then he thrust three neat times into the air.

Gai's instincts screamed at him.


Lee didn't think twice. As soon as he heard Gai's voice he leaped upwards using even his arms to speed up the process. As he rose into the air he heard some kind of whistling or humming sound go past his face. He felt some sharp pain on his cheek, the side of his ribs and his leg as if something fast had just grazed by him.

The audience gasped.

The wall behind Lee was riddled with three perfectly round holes.

Naruto felt a sharp pain on his forehead. The blonde touched it with the back of his hand and it came away wet with red blood. He stabbed his sword into the floor, despite the scabbard being so dull, and untied his forehead protector from around his neck. He used it as a makeshift bandage tying it around his wound.

"That overhead kick from before," Naruto thought to the time when Lee's second heel had slipped past his guard. "It barely touched my forehead… if I got hit by that…"

Lee held the side of his body with a hand noting the long gash on it as well as another one on his leg. "If I got hit by those thrusts…"

"I'd be finished." Both of them thought at the same time.


Gai looked down at where his pupil was battling perhaps someone who surpassed even Hyuuga Neji.

He looked at the blonde. Naruto's movements weren't just for show. Every movement had a purpose with nothing wasted. The blonde's aptitude for his sword technique was clearly far superior to any other shinobi the blonde's age. From what Gai had seen the fact that Naruto had a sword was the defense against Lee's speed. The blonde did not possess the same type of speed that Lee had but he had a lightning fast reaction speed to match it. All Naruto needed was a split second to think up of a counter. Naruto, in every sense of the word, was an equal for Lee. Both had mastered their techniques and honed their senses to the point where this level of battle was possible. He already knew even without looking at the other genin's faces that they were shocked. The two were displaying a level of battle far above that of genin, perhaps high chuunin or even low jounin.

But Gai knew that Naruto would win.

There was something that Lee did not possess.

Naruto had ranged attacks.

Gai cleared his throat.

"Lee!" He called out getting the attention of everyone else there.

"S-sensei?" Lee snapped his attention towards Gai. Gai noticed that Lee seemed to be in almost a trance.

"He was too absorbed in the battle… this Uzumaki boy… he's strong." Gai felt a confident smirk enter his face. "But Lee's stronger."

"Take them off Lee."


I know. I'm going to update this story more before stance of shadow. I promise it's just…

I don't know. I'm not really feeling this battle. It's lacking something… substance? Soul? FIRE? FLAMES OF YOUTH? I really need like… SOMETHING. This battle between Lee and Naruto should be epic and I shouldn't just write it and not be satisfied with it. I wrote a lot more than this, about 5000 words more but I read it over and it didn't satisfy me.

It didn't shake my heart.

So I erased it.


Sheesh, the little clash between Kakashi and ORochimaru was a hell of a lot more interesting.

Till next time –WritingAgain.