Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto; I am merely a fan who enjoyed the series enough to recreate the Chūnin Exam arc with different matchups. If you have not read or watched Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto, you are missing out and should immediately stop reading this disclaimer and check out the real thing. If you have gotten past the Chūnin Exam, you will hopefully find this an interesting fanfiction. Enjoy!
Chapter 1: The Preliminaries Begin
Rock Lee vs. Misumi
All of the gathered ninja stared at Kabuto, largely in dismay, as he raised his gloved hand in surrender of a competition he apparently had no energy left to be a part of. He had made it to the competitive stage of the Chūnin Exam, and after everything he had been through with Team 7 in the Forest of Death, his sudden withdraw shook up his comrades.
"Kabuto…" Sakura muttered under her breath, trying to fathom his logic. The exam proctor, Hayate Gekkō, glanced through his dossier of the genin participating in the Chūnin Exam.
"You're…Kabuto, right?" Hayate coughed. "You may leave now…" Naruto's face visibly dropped as Hayate eyed the rest of the genin. "Umm…does anyone else want to retire? Oh…umm…I forgot to tell you that from here on it will be individual battling. You may raise your hand based on your own judgment." Before anyone had a chance to answer, Naruto had already rounded on Kabuto.
"Kabuto! Why are you quitting?! Why?!" Kabuto frowned and tipped back his glasses.
"Sorry, Naruto…but those Rain ninja really kicked my ass, and I haven't been able to hear from my left ear since we got attacked by those Sound ninja before the first exam. And now, we'll have to risk our lives? I just…" Kabuto trailed off apologetically, smiling weakly as Naruto lowered his head, utter disappointment on his face. Kabuto waved his hand, bidding his fellow ninja adieu as he walked away. Sasuke felt a shiver of pain course throughout his body, the power of the curse mark taking its toll on him. Sakura observed him with concern.
Hayate coughed, drawing everyone's attention back on him. "Umm…now…there's no one else retiring, right?" Sakura started to raise her hand, but Sasuke gripped it menacingly.
"Don't you dare say a word," he muttered, his eyes boring into hers with an intensity she had never seen. Defeated, she lowered her hand, and Hayate surveyed the group nonchalantly.
"Umm…now…let's begin the preliminary. The preliminary will consist of one-on-one fighting. You are to fight as if it is a real life confrontation. Since we now have exactly twenty entrants, we will conduct ten matches and…umm…the winners will advance to the third test." Hayate paused for a momentary coughing spasm, and the group watched with apprehension as he continued as though nothing had happened. "There are basically no rules. The fight continues until one of you dies or is knocked out or admits defeat. Umm…if you don't want to die, then quickly acknowledge your defeat. But (cough) when I decide that the winner has been clearly established…umm…since we don't want to pointlessly increase the amount of corpses, I'll jump in and stop things. And the object that controls your destiny is…"
The genin snapped to attention as a low humming filled the room. The back wall began to shift as a large screen was unveiled. "Is this," Hayate finished. "This electronic scoreboard will…show the match-ups for each fight. Now this is sudden, but let's announce the two names of the first fight."
Everyone faced the screen nervously in anticipation. The first name appeared. Misumi Tsurugi. "That is one of Kabuto's teammates," Sakura whispered to Naruto. The two turned and faced Misumi. He was slightly taller than Kabuto, wearing thin rimmed glasses and a black mask that concealed his face from the nose down. Although he was a Leaf ninja, there was something off about him.
"OOH!" Naruto spun around to see Rock Lee jumping up and down in excitement. "If you aren't first, you're last! Isn't that right, Guy-sensei?"
"I couldn't agree more, Lee," Guy appeared beside his prodigy, a gleam in his eyes. "Some higher power must have recognized your worth. Congratulations!"
"Sensei!" Lee burst into tears, passionately wrapping his arms around his sensei's midsection.
"It's okay, Lee!" Guy sobbed. "You've earned this!" Hayate coughed.
"Umm…could you speed this along? Everyone is waiting on you…"
"Just give us a moment," Guy wiped his eyes. "Now Lee, remember, never underestimate your opponent!"
"This boy is much more experienced than you, so be wary of any tricks he might try to pull."
"And if you lose, you've got to do ten laps up and down the Hokage Monument on your hands!"
"NOW GO GET 'EM, LEE!" Lee flashed his fellow genin a wink, accompanied by a thumbs up and a blindingly toothy grin, before stepping up. Hayate scratched his head for a moment.
"Now…we will be starting the first match. Umm…will everyone except the participants move to the upper level?" The ninja quickly shuffled their feet to get a good position above the lower level, the entirety of which was the battlefield for this preliminary round. Naruto found Kakashi and eagerly followed him, Sasuke and Sakura trailing behind him. Sasuke raised his collar as he walked past Kakashi, hoping that the jōnin had not noticed his curse mark. Kakashi did not say anything, but pulled out his favorite book as Guy approached him with his students.
"That's my Lee out there," Guy said proudly. "Wait 'till you see him, Kakashi. He is the picture of perfection, a boy in the prime of his life, burning with the flames of youth! How could your students hope to stand a chance against mine?" As he turned to fully face Kakashi, he saw that his rival was engrossed in his reading. Looking up, Kakashi's visible eye went blank for a moment as he appeared to be dazed.
"Sorry…did you say something?" A vein in Guy's temple throbbed, and he clenched his fist but would not get angry. It was what Kakashi wanted.
"Well-played, my rival," he turned his back and muttered. Kakashi merely scratched his hair looking slightly confused before turning back to his book. Down below them, Lee squared off against Misumi. The older genin flexed his fingers.
"I'll warn you now. If you face me now, you won't come out of this alive. Withdraw."
"Not a chance!" Lee exclaimed, his jaw set firmly in place.
Hayate looked at both of the combatants before stepping aside. "You may begin."
"Hah!" Misumi yelled, running at Lee in a dead sprint. Naruto, who had seen Lee's incredible speed firsthand, knew that Misumi's speed was nothing special; something Lee immediately exploited as he jabbed at his incoming target. Lee's fist was aimed straight for Misumi's chest, but the latter jumped over Lee early, causing Lee to change his target to Misumi's arm.
"That was a mistake!" Misumi yelled as Lee's arm connected.
"I don't think so…what the…?" Lee's eyes widened as Misumi's arm contorted around Lee's fist, flexibly wrapping around Lee's arm.
"I told you, you aren't coming out of this alive," Misumi hissed in Lee's ear as he quickly trapped Lee's second arm with his own.
"This jutsu…you're extremely flexible!" Lee exclaimed in admiration. Misumi's muscles almost slackened in shock at the stupidity of Lee's realization, but he held firm and head-butt Lee before wrapping his legs around Lee's waist.
"Ouch…that was uncalled for!" Lee sounded angry as his legs grew shakey and he fell to the ground.
"Last chance, kid. Give up. I'm not gonna let go of you."
"You aren't letting go of me?" A smile came over Lee's face. "That makes this easier on me then."
"What the hell do you mean, brat? You can't do anything to me right now!"
"It's true, you've constricted my movements," Lee acknowledged, "but not all taijutsu is dependent on punches and kicks. Eat this!" Lee found strength in his legs as he pushed himself off of the ground with his enemy still bound around his upper torso. The bigger genin held tight as they soared high into the air, even above the upper level, but when Lee turned upside down, Misumi realized what Lee was attempting and instantly loosened his hold as he attempted to escape. He gasped as Lee, unravelling the bandages wrapped around his arms, successfully caught and restricted Misumi.
"What is this?" Misumi asked angrily.
"This is…Guy-sensei's fountain of youth!" Lee exclaimed triumphantly. "You seem oddly-jointed, so I will just have to break them all!" Misumi screamed in terror as Lee began rotating clockwise. In less than a second, he was spinning as fast as a tornado, kicking up wind with his body as he headed toward the ground with his enemy.
"Primary Lotus!" Lee screamed as they smashed the ground. The spectators all gasped in shock as the dust cleared, Misumi's crumbled form contrasting with Lee's perfectly straight figure. Hayate looked down at Lee's opponent carefully.
"Winner of the first match: Rock Lee!"
"All right, Bushy Brows!" Naruto jumped down in excitement, running to Lee. Sakura followed, as did Lee's team. "You were awesome!" Naruto exclaimed.
"Thanks, Naruto," Lee blushed in a vain attempt to be modest.
"That WAS pretty impressive," Sakura grinned.
"You made it past the preliminary round!" Tenten cheered.
"You're still a loser though," Neji commented. Lee wiped his eyes, sentiment evident on his face.
"Thanks a lot you guys," he sniffed. The group went silent as Guy approached Lee.
"I won, Guy-sensei!" Lee exclaimed overjoyed.
"Lee, you…" Lee felt a solid kick in the face as Guy sent him flying across the floor. Everyone looked away awkwardly as Lee tumbled and crashed on the floor until he finally broke through a wall, halting his painful progress.
"Sensei?" Lee asked weakly, blood dripping down his lip.
"You are only supposed to use the Lotus to protect someone important to you! What if you tear up your muscles from using the Lotus so much? What if you are unable to use taijutsu?" Guy berated Lee, the latter who teared up.
"I'm so sorry!" Lee cried, falling to his hands and knees, bowing repeatedly in an attempt to please his sensei.
"Ah! To be young!" Guy embraced Lee as the duo reconciled.
"Umm…" Hayate coughed. "Excuse me, but it's time for the next round…"
"Oh, yes! Sorry!" Guy and Lee quickly jumped to the upper level, leaving Hayate alone in the fighting area.
"Alright. Umm…the second round's combatants are…"
Winner: Rock Lee
Author's Note: As per a reader's request, Naruto was the next fanfiction series I decided to start. My series begins after Chapter 65 of the manga, and will continue until the entire tournament is over. No fight pairings will be repeated from the Chūnin Exam arc in the manga, and I will slightly alter the storyline so that the entire exam is finished before the fight between the Sand and Leaf begins; I was always very irritated that the attack couldn't have waited until after a finalist had been declared. Plus, there are a few fights I know I have always wanted to see (as well as numerous other Naruto fans) so I will enjoy seeing how they play out.