Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any other series that might be used for inspiration.
The Mystery that is Uzumaki Naruto
'Naruto, what is going on with you, why do I have this ominous feeling everytime your name comes into mind.' Tsunade thought with concern, vigorously bitting on the nail on her right thumb in frustration, a habit she had picked up since even before her genin days.
It was only yesterday in the late afternoon that Jiraiya and Naruto had returned, and everything had looked perfectly normal. Sure, Naruto had grown a lot taller and his physical conditioning had visibly improved to a great extent. Sure, he had changed his outfit, now wearing a black sleeveless top, black shinobi pants, white bandages around his ankles, blue ninja sandals and a red hoari with black flames licking the bottom edges. Yes, Tsunade had realised immediately that Naruto had grown up a bit, both physically and mentally, but still, it had seemed that both Jiraiya and Naruto hadn't changed that much to her, at least, not personality wise. had prepared for this day beforehand, she and everyone else who knew about his return had been excited to see just how much the blonde Uzumaki had grown over the last two and a half years. That was why Tsunade had prepared this particular test, she'd intended for Sakura and Naruto to team up against Kakashi as a test of their skill and development.
It came as a bit of a surprise when Naruto insisted on taking Kakashi on his own, but after regaining her barrings, Tsunade had realized that it wasn't entirely out of character for Naruto to get carried away like that, after all, this was the same person who had challenged a sannin, namely, herself to a death match even though he had been nothing but a rooky genin at the time. Naturally, Sakura had been disappointed that Naruto didn't want her involved, perceiving the situation as if Naruto thought that she was still the weak little girl from three years ago who would only get in his way or get herself killed. This served to infuriate her and lash out violently at the blonde Uzumaki.
That's when things started to get strange, the old Naruto would have taken the beating and grovelled at the pink haired chuunin's feet, pleading for forgiveness and even asking her out on a date right after the assault on his person. But this Naruto only dodged her attack, formed an instant, one handed rasengan, and directed it towards his medic teammate's face, stopping the spiraling sphere an inch away from her nose, all in an instant. He'd followed that up by threatening her with death should she ever attack him again, quoting that attacking a fellow Konoha shinobi without just cause was in violation of shinobi regulations and could be punishable by death. All of this said with a unerving calm and dangerous tone, leaving almost no doubt that the fifteen year old had every intention of following through with his threat should Sakura assault him again.
That's when Tsunade had realised that something was horribly wrong, she'd dismissed everyone, even Shizune and Jiraiya so that she can have a private word with Naruto. It didn't sit well with her that her apprentice had almost died right in front of her eyes, almost killed by her own surrogate brother, who was actually a real blood relative to her, even though he did not know it, or so she thought. Naruto had simply told her that he no longer harboured any romantic feelings for her apprentice and didn't feel like he needed or wanted to tolerate her abuse anymore. Stating that he loved another woman and had every intention of persueing a relationship with her. Naturally, Tsunade wanted to know who this woman was and even found herself angry at Naruto for loving another woman that wasn't her apprentice. Part of the reason she had trained Sakura was because he practically begged her to help Sakura, and because she herself thought that they might have a future together. Also, she now saw Sakura as more than a student, but almost like her own daughter, so for Naruto to blatantly disregard her like that really pissed her off.
However, the blonde Uzumaki would have none of it, making it clear that he would not be forced into a relationship with someone he didn't love nor would he even pretend to love her. The blonde Uzumaki was even bold enough to outright tell the Hokage that who he loved or who he had a relationship with was none of her business, leaving a frustrated and pissed off Tsunade to try and figure out on her own who this mysterious woman was. Of course, her first guess was Hinata, maybe Naruto had finally realised how much the shy Hyuga heiress loved and admired him and subsequently returned her feelings, it was the only person she could think of right now.
In any case, Naruto's romantic affairs were soon proven to be the least of her concerns, a conversation with Jiraiya, where she had consulted him with the hopes of finding out what really happened in that two and a half year training trip would reveal something far more troubling than the blonde Uzumaki's love affairs, something possibly even more troubling than the Akatsuki and it's movements, at least, it seemed like it was to her and even Jiraiya.
Apparently, Jiraiya only met Naruto yesterday afternoon at the main gate for the first time in 26 months. According to Jiraiya, Naruto disappeared without a trace four months into their training trip, leaving no trail to follow and not even leaving a note or a sign of any sort behind as re-assurance. Naturally, Tsunade wanted to know how a relatively inexperienced genin could not only escape a spymaster sannin, but to continously elude him for more than two years. Jiraiya stated that he did not know how Naruto did it exactly, but did mention the possibility that Naruto had somehow found another summoning contract. This Jiraiya said was because Naruto's name had disappeared from not only the toad registration list, but even from the summoning contract itself. He explained that if his name had simply disappeared from the register, than it could have been reasonably assumed that Akatsuki captured him and killed him during or after the bijuu extraction, but because it also disappeared from the contract itself, than it meant that Naruto actually cancelled the toad summoning contract by signing another contract. In which case, it would also explain why he was able to disappear without a trace, he probably escaped through a space-time technique, namely, a reverse summoning technique, making it impossible to track down his whereabouts, especially without knowledge of which summoning creatures he was currently aligned with.
Jiraiya also stated that Naruto probably timed their reunion so that they could meet specifically at the main gate so that he wouldn't have a chance to interogate him about his whereabouts and activities during their seperation. He also mentioned that Naruto had not once refered to him as 'sensei' or 'shishio' since they reunited and rather used honorifics such as 'dono' or 'sama', theorising that Naruto no longer considered him to be his sensei and that the cancellation of the toad contract was symbolic of Naruto breaking away from any connections with him. Jiraiya also noted that it was possible that Naruto no longer held onto any bond that the two of them might have shared before their departure, as Naruto no longer used the affectionate nickname 'ero-sennin' to adress him anymore.
The only thing that Jiraiya was able to ascertain without a doubt was that, if Naruto indeed spent all his time in the summoning realm, than he would have had special training from his new summoners and was bound to be much stronger than he was before they split apart. Also, Jiraiya theorised that Naruto was smarter and alot more manipulative than he seemed, stating that Naruto probably knew that his pride as a sannin and an elite shinobi wouldn't allow him to immediately report his failure, also, Naruto probably thought that Jiraiya would rely on his spy network and his own espionage skills to track him down instead of reporting back to Konoha, giving him ample time to do whatever it is that he wanted to do in the two and a half year timeframe. Jiraiya also pointed out that another reason for meeting up with him just before he reached Konoha, was possibly because Naruto was hoping that he would be too scared to tell her what happened and rather keep it a secret for his own sake, basically, to avoid a beating from her, and to protect his own reputation.
Needless to say, both Jiraiya and Tsunade found themselves having to re-think and re-evaluate every interaction they had with Naruto prior to his departure to try and figure out which parts were lies and which parts were Naruto's real character, as they realised that they might actually know nothing at all about who he really is and what he what he is capable of. In any case, Tsunade decided to invite the whole Konoha 10 to watch Naruto's battle with Kakashi. She wanted to see how he interacted with his old friends and she also wanted to question each and everyone of them after the battle. Maybe they, as his friends would be able to read his character, or to ascertain if there really was something wrong with him, their testimonies would come in handy.
As expected, all of them were more than eager to see how much the blonde Uzumaki had improved over the last two and a half years, some were just generally excited to see him again. That was perhaps why there was a full house attendance at team 7's training grounds.
"You've caused quite a bit of a stir since your return Naruto, everyone of your friends has come here just to see how much you have developed over the passed two and a half years. However, you're in way over your head if you think you can beat me on your own, Naruto...you're seriously underestimating me!" Kakashi said with a deadly glare, his single visible eye, his right eye, narrowing at the blonde with intensity.
"Kakashi, I would suggest that you you use your sharingan from the beginning, otherwise, this battle will not be worth my time...that is to say, if you wish to survive this battle, you will take this seriously. I'm only going to give you this curtousy once, in the end, whether to heed my warning or not is entirely up to you." Naruto said stoicly.
'He's completely different from the Naruto from before, perhaps yesterday's incident with Sakura was not an isolated incident after all.' Kakashi thought wearily.
'Also, he's had special one on one training from one of the sannin for two and half years, I suppose he's right in one thing, I shouldn't underestimate him.' Kakashi thought.
In all honesty though, Kakashi didn't underestimate any opponent anymore, not since he was easily captured in Zabuza's water prison three years ago, he'd learned his lesson back than, nothing teaches you a good lesson than someone humiliating you in front of your own students. Just because he hadn't revealed his sharingan yet did not mean that he was underestimating his opponent, what he was actually trying to do was to gather intel about his opponent. The old Naruto would have, just like this one, taken the lack of sharingan use as if he was being looked down upon, except, whereas the old Naruto would have had a fit about it and insisted that Kakashi use his sharingan while being distracted and consequently making silly mistakes as a result, this one was rather apethetic about it and didn't really seem to care weather the sharingan was used against him or not. He also seemed much more focussed and didn't seem to be the type to become easily distracted from his goal, not to mention how much less vocal he appeared to be compared to his old self.
'However, nothing has been proven yet, lets see how long he can keep this up.' Kakashi thought with a mixture of mischief and analytic prowess.
"Well, I'm not really sure anymore if you're just underestimating me, or overesting yourself, but I guess we'll find out soon enough. In any case, the same rules as the last time are still in effect. You have to get the two bells on my waist before the dawn. Remember...if you don't attack with the intent to kill, than you'll never be able to defeat me!" Kakashi said with the utmost seriousness as his chakra and killing intent flared up in anticipation of the battle to come, Naruto mimicking him as well in preparation for battle, his chakra flaring up and his intent to murder spiking up rapidly. The energy released by the two shinobi was so intense that a ominous breeze picked up all of a sudden around the training ground, causing dust and leaves to levitate and move around the battleground.
'Chakra and killing intent can be a good way to judge a shinobi's skill and focus, if this is anything to go by,than...nani...!' Kakashi trailed off in surprise as a gigantic and round shadow came over and around him, getting larger and larger in every split second that went by. The copy nin's head snapped up immediately, so fast that it almost looked like his neck had dislocated from its position temporarily. There was no way to describe the copy nin's emotional state as a reaction to what his lone eye perceived, if he wasn't mistaken, than what he saw could only be described as a rasengan fifty times the size of a normal rasengan, if not even bigger than that. It was so large that he couldn't even see anything else but a gigantic spiraling sphere, the jutsu filling up his entire line of sight in a sea of spiralling blue.
"Cho Oodama Rasengan!" Kakashi heard in a voice that he recognised as belonging to Naruto, of course, he couldn't actually see the caster of the jutsu behind that monstrously huge sphere, but it was a safe bet to say that Naruto was at the other end of the sphere's circumference, a sphere that was on a crash collision course with him at devastating speed.
"Shit!" Kakashi exclaimed, using the shunshin technique to propel himself forward in a desperate ploy to evade the attack. Jumping sideways or backwards would not have worked as the ball was too large and coming too fast for him to get away in time, a shunshin technique was the only way out, but shunshining backwards or sideways was not possible, at least not at the speed required to evade the oncoming technique, leaving Kakashi with only the option of travelling in a straight forward line as a means of escape.
'So predictable.' Naruto thought neutrally, although, a little surprised at how Kakashi easily fell for his trap, because, in that instant that Kakashi took his eyes away from him to look at his clone's aerial assault, Naruto had instantly created a shadow clone, grabbed it by its left arm while the clone formed an instant rasengan on its right arm, and thrown it violently in the direction that he accurately predicted that Kakashi would use to escape his technique.
"S-shit!" Kakashi cursed with wide eyes as another Naruto came flying at him at blinding speeds with a rasengan pointed towards his abdomen. Kakashi's own shunshin speed, combined with the clones own flying speed was so much that he had absolutely no time to react at all as the clone crashed into him with devastating effect.
"Rasengan!" shadow clone Naruto exclaimed as he rammed the spiraling sphere into the copy ninja's abdomen with all his power before poofing out of existence.
"G-gwaaaaah!" Kakashi cried out in agony as the force of the jutsu blasted him back at incredible speed, all of it happening so fast that he crashed into the side of the giant spiraling sphere that he was originally running away from as it connected with the earth, causing a massive explosion that sent chunks of debris flying all over the battlefield, a giant crater forming where the attack crash landed as the rest of the landscape became concaved and reshaped by the effects of the explosion, destroying the landscape in a manner not too different from the effects of one of Tsunade's super powered punches.
'A Cho Oodama Rasengan with his own chakra? T-that's impossible! How can he pull of something like that without using sage-mode? I would understand if he was using the Kyubi's chakra, but he wasn't even using that!" Jiraiya thought, eyes wide in shock and disbelief.
"Jiraiya, is something like that supposed to be possible?" Tsunade demanded, giving the toad sage a look that said 'speak up of else'.
"N-no! It's not supposed to be, I can do it myself too, but only when I enter sage mode. It should be impossible for a human to produce that kind of chakra." Jiraiya answered, now adopting a serious and contemplative expression.
"But Jiraiya-sama, what about that other chakra, couldn't he do it with that?" Shizune asked tentatively.
"He wasn't using any external chakra source, and he certainly wasn't using that other chakra as well, otherwise I would have perceived it with my Byakugan." Neji cut in before Jiraiya could respond, shocking the three elder shinobi considerably, all three looking amongst each other with nervous and questioning expressions.
"I saw it when we fought in the chuunin exams, I obviously went and did my research afterwards. Don't worry, I haven't spoken to anyone except Hiashi-sama about it." Neji said as if talking merely about the day's weather conditions, causing the three elder shinobi to breathe out in relief.
"In any case, Naruto always had a ridiculous amount of chakra density and capacity, also, with my byakugan, I have seen just how abnormal the size of his chakra coils is. Given those three conditions, Naruto should theoretically have the ability to pull something like that off with the correct level of chakra control. Probably, he didn't have the control to do it three years ago, but he certainly does now." Neji explained with the regular Hyuga stoic expression, giving away none of his feelings or emotions regarding the matter.
"But that wasn't even the real Naruto, how can a mere clone pull something like that off?" Shizune wondered out loud.
"I don't think any of you truly understand just how vast Naruto's reserves are, let me put it like this, just pretend that Naruto has unlimited reserves, maybe if you think like that, you might be able to understand a little better." Neji said evenly.
"I see, I guess it does make sense, but how could Naruto have gained such a level of control in such a short space of time? Given how horrible his chakra control was just two years ago, it's quite hard to believe that he could have subdued his chakra to that extent in such a short time span." Tsunade said, bitting, once again on her thumb in concentration and a little frustration.
"I would have thought Jiraiya-sama would have the answer to that, after all, wasn't he the one that was training him for the last two and a half years?" Neji asked retorically.
"I see..." was all the Hyuga genius said as he directed his eyes back to the battlefield, leaving the rest of the Konoha 10, who were listening to the conversation more than a little confused by the words spoken in the relatively short four way conversation.
'It would seem that my comrades are keeping dangerous secrets to themselves. Shino and even human logic tells me that this is normal behaviour, yet, why am I still surprised? This is completely ilogical, I shouldn't be feeling like this, rather, I should focus on uncovering Naruto's secrets. It will however prove to be a rather difficult task with my destruction bugs' weariness of getting close to Naruto.' thought an uncharacteristically emotional Shino, feeling slightly hurt that he was seemingly being left out of the loop once again.
'So I'm not the only one who figured out Naruto's secret about the Kyubi. I suppose this shouldn't be entirely unexpected, Neji is a once in a genration Hyuga genius after all. Also, he's actually had a direct confrontation with the Kyubi's power and chakra before, it was only a matter of time before he figured it out.' Shikamaru thought.
'I don't know what's going exactly, but I'm smelling foul play everywhere around me. Something big is about to happen, I can feel it, my instincts are going haywire!' Kiba thought wearily.
'What the hell are they talking about? And how the hell does Neji know what's going on? And more importantly, Naruto...' Sakura trailed off with a worried expression as she trained her eyes back on the battlefield, an ominous feeling settling at the pit of her stomach not unlike the one she had on the days preceding Sasuke's departure, a feeling that had her on the verge of tears instantly.
'No! I can't think like that! Naruto would never do that...would he?' thought Sakura, the memory of Naruto almost blasting her head off with a rasengan flashing in front of her eyes suddenly.
'No! He promised he'd return Sasuke-kun to me! Naruto never goes back on his word! Naruto would never leave his friends behind, he wouldn't!' Sakura screamed mentally, trying valiantly to crush the doubts and insecurities that were threatening to consume her.
'Sakura, you've been acting strange since Naruto returned, what happened yesterday?' Ino thought with a concerned frown as she watched the different expressions and emotions morphing into her friends face.
'H-he reshaped the whole landscape with that jutsu alone and completely destroyed my shadow clone! If I don't use my sharingan, I'll really die here without a doubt! Kakashi thought with half of his body sticking out of the earth where he had originally been hiding under the surface of the earth but was now exposed due to the damage done to the landscape.
"You have nowhere to hide now, Kakashi." Naruto said matter of factly, staring down at the copy ninja with complete apathy.
"You're right, Naruto. I won't hold back anymore, or rather, I can't afford to hold back anymore. I'm going to be serious from now on." Kakashi said, pushing up the part of his forehead protector that was shielding his left eye, revealing a red eye with three tamoe circling around it as he jumped out and onto the surface of the battleground.
'He killed my clone so easily with a well thought out battle plan involving only two of his shadow clones. In the past, his plans required a minimum of ten clones in order to effectively distract his opponent enough to gain an opening, but now, he only needs one or two to do the job. He's not just a powerhouse with unlimited chakra and a flashy jutsu anymore, he actually fights with the efficiency of someone who needs to preserve his energy, someone like me. Considering that he doesn't actually need to conserve that energy, that makes him an even more dangerous opponent.' Kakashi thought wearily.
'No, that's not all, he also didn't seem surprised that the one he killed was just a shadow clone, nor was he surprised to see me hiding underneath the earth. Meaning, he probably already knew that he was fighting a clone to begin with. This might actually be a lot harder than I initially thought it would be.' Kakashi thought analytically.
"Using your sharingan now huh, that's good, this should half the time it would have taken for me to take the bells from you." Naruto said casually, as if his words alone were enough to morph and shape reality to his bidding.
'Half the time it would have taken? What does that mean...I see!' thought Kakashi with wide eyes, the memory of the time he fainted right in front of his students after over-using the sharingan in his fight with Zabuza flashing momentarily in front of his eyes.
'So that's what he was really after? He wasn't really concerned with me underestimating him or not, he just wanted me to use the sharingan so that I can burn myself out before dawn, this is because he knows he can easily outlast me, or anyone for that matter. Knowing this, I can't simply defend the bell's anymore, that will just play me into his hands, I'll have to attack and defeat him cleanly in order to win this game. Kakashi thought, eyes narrowing slightly with determination.
"I see. Naruto, you have indeed grown into a fine shinobi, but as your sensei, I still have a lot to teach you. Lesson number 1, taijutsu!" Kakashi exclaimed as he propelled himself at the blonde Uzumaki with impressive speed, launching a right hook at his student's chin.
Naruto ducked under the punch, spun around to his right hand side and sent a back spinning kick aimed for the back of Kakashi's head on the right side.
'He's fast!' Kakashi thought in surprise, unable spin around to block the attack because of the momentum from his missed attack but luckily, thanks to that same momentum, was able to duck under the assault, following that by twisting rapidly with a sweeping kick aimed at Naruto's grounded left leg. However, at the very last second Naruto was able to generate all the power from that single grounded leg to propel himself upwards, vertically twisting himself in mid-air, and executing an ax kick that was aimed for his jonin sensei's head.
Kakashi, realising the danger made a cross arm guard over his head and successfully stopped the blonde Uzumaki's attack, only for Naruto to create an instant and seal-less shadow clone on the copy nin's blind spot, the clone appearing already in a sweeping movement that was aimed at taking out the copy nin's legs from right under his body.
Kakashi, reacting instantly to the danger, gathered chakra to his arms and pushed the original off of his body and followed that up by quickly jumpin over the clones sweeping right leg, twisting and re-adjusting himself horizontally and swinging his right elbow downwards towards the clone's head.
However, that was his biggest mistake as another shadow clone manifested in the space above the sweeping clone, using it's counterpart's shoulder as footstool to propel itself above Kakashi as it quickly delivered the exact same attack that the copy nin intended to use on the other doppelganger, delivering a crushing elbow blow on the copy nin's spine that sent him crashing into the ground face first. Another clone manifested next to the doppelganger that delivered the blow, grabbed its arm and swung it towards the fallen copy nin with massive force and speed before poofing away, leaving a cloud of smoke where it used to be.
The remaining dopelganger formed a normal sized rasengan and rammed it into the copy ninja's back, or at least tried to only for Kakashi to escape with a substitution technique, leaving a log in his place that was smashed into a pile of splinters a split second later.
'Substitution technique?' the dopelganger thought before disappearing with a puff of smoke, sending the information and every other experience it had in its short existence back to the original Naruto.
'First the substitution technique and now he's using stealth to keep himself hidden? Hn, guess I'll have to...'
"Earth Release: Double Suicide Decapitation Technique!" Kakashi whispered, his hand instantly shooting out of the ground with the intent to grab onto the blonde Uzumaki's right ankle.
"Wind Style: Wind Circulation!" Naruto whispered, releasing a whirling mini cyclone from his left leg that completely shredded the copy nin's hand just as it wrapped around his ankle, the puff of smoke as a result however alerting the blonde immediately that the copy nin had only been another shadow clone.
"It seems that supplementary ninjutsu and taijutsu alone isn't going to be enough to take you down after all, Naruto." Kakashi said, using the hiding like a mole technique to protrude his body from the ground and subsequently jumping out a short but not too close distance away from the blonde Uzumaki.
"How's your back doing?" Naruto asked simply, throwing the fact that he was able to draw first blood at the copy ninja.
"Maa maa, I've survived worse than this." Kakashi replied with feigned nonchalance, scratching the back of his head sheepishly with a trademark eye smile displayed on his facial features.
"I suppose." Naruto replied uncaringly.
'His taijutsu is outstanding. The sharingan is better at predicting linear movements than circular and indirect movements, Naruto seems to have knowledge of this and makes sure to never use linear attacks. Also, his ability to not only create instant and seal-less shadow clones, but to also manifest them in stances and positions of his own imagination means that he can corner his opponents and attack them directly on their blind spots, after all, the sharingan can't predict an attack it cannot see coming. He must have learned this from his passsed battles with Sasuke.' Kakashi contemplated analytically.
'Also, molding chakra outside any part of your body except your hands takes an incredible amount of skill and chakra control, yet he was able to not only execute it, but to do it almost instantaneously on his right leg. Naruto, what kind of monster are you turning into?' Kakashi thought worriedly.
'In any case, there's no use in trying to fight him at close range, his shadow clone mastery and syncronisation is a perfect counter to my sharingan, I'll have to attack him from mid and long range.' Kakashi decided with conviction.
"Lesson number 2, Genjutsu!" Kakashi said, making direct eye contact with the blonde Uzumaki as the tamoe in his left eye spun around his pupil menacingly.
As soon as the genjutsu activated, Naruto's eye turned blood red with a black slit manifested in the pupil, his finger and toe nails grew longer and sharper and his canines became elongated. A menacing apparition of the nine tailed demon fox appeared behind the blonde Uzumaki with it's right claw wrapped around the blonde Uzumaki's body.
"W-what the...what's going on all of sudden?" Kakashi wondered out loud.
The fox apparition's left ear twitched slightly at the copy nin's words, releasing the blonde Uzumaki and charging at the copy nin with blinding speed. The fox opened its maw wide in order to swallow the copy ninja, only to disappear shortly before delivering the killing blow.
The atmosphere became lighter all of a sudden, the fox disappeared and Naruto's body seemed to have returned to normal all of a sudden, eyes no longer red, canines no longer elongated and nails no longer sharpened, at least, not as much as they were a few moments ago.
'A genjutsu? But how...wait, that was a counter genjutsu? Stopping or dispelling a genjutsu is one thing, but it takes great skill to reverse a genjutsu on the user. But how is this even possible, Naruto was a complete dud when it comes to genjutsu, is this really him, or is it the fox's doing?' Kakashi thought frantically.
"You were able to see through my genjutsu counter, you have yourself a good eye indeed, but for how long can you keep this up?" Naruto asked condensingly.
"You're not the only one that has been training over the passed couple of years, everyone has been improving themselves, myself included." Kakashi said simply.
"I see...well, in that case...!" Naruto trailed off menacingly as two shadow clones poofed into existence right next to him, one on his left and one on the right hand side. The original Naruto formed a rasengan on his right hand while the clone on his right hand side immediately started weaving wind chakra into the sphere, using both its hands for control and balance of the technique. The clone on his left hand side kept its eyes trained on the copy ninja to prevent him from interference, and to take note of any tricks that he might have up his sleeves.
"Fuuton: Rasenshuriken!" Naruto announced with his hand held high above his head, a rasengan surrounded by spiraling wind blades levitated above his palm.
'He combined his rasengan with wind chakra...he completed the rasengan, impossible! Jiraiya-sama, what kind of training did you put Naruto through?' Kakashi pondered nervously.
'Kuso! I'll have to leave the questions for another time, it will be over if that thing even touches me. I'll have to fight at long range to keep him away from me.' Kakashi thought.
'He probably expects me to try and get close to him in order to admininster the technique, naturally, this is because that is how the normal rasengan works and because people don't expect someone to be able to control such a massive chakra from a distance. That will be his downfall.' Naruto thought confidently.
"Fire Style: Grand Fireball Technique!" Kakashi exclaimed after blazing through the hand seals at breakneck speeds, launching a giant fireball from his lips that flew at great speeds towards the blonde Uzumaki.
'He's using fire style to exploit the weakness of wind jutsu and exploit the complementary properties of the two affinities, namely, he's trying to use my rasenshuriken against me. A good idea, however...!' Naruto trailed off as he threw the rasenshuriken with all his might.
The spiraling shuriken sliced right through the grand fireball, not only that, but the blades on the shuriken also caught fire from the copy nin's jutsu, turning the jutsu into a spiraling inferno.
'A jutsu is only as strong as it's user, and a fire jutsu can only trully overpower a wind jutsu of the same rank. Using a B-rank jutsu against an S-rank jutsu is not going to do you any good. Also, the rasenshuriken dismantles humans and objects alike at a molecular level, even a fire jutsu can be dismantled with the correct application of the jutsu. Rest in peace, Hatake Kakashi!' Naruto thought triumphantly.
'It dismantled my jutsu and the wind blades were ignited by the grand fireball, not only that, but how is he controlling such a massive chakra from a distance! Kuso, this must surely be an S-rank ninjutsu!' Kakashi thought in horror, jumping to the side at the last possible moment to avoid contact with the spiralling shuriken.
'Heh, you're not getting away that easily.' Naruto thought, giving the mental command for the shuriken to expand and explode immediately.
'It's over, the copy ninja is no more!' Naruto thought victoriously.
Two Weeks Later...
It's been two weeks now since my battle with Kakashi, a battle of mysteries and discoveries. Kakashi told me to attack with the intent to kill, and everybody, the Hokage included heard him say that. And so, I did exactly that, knowing well that I couldn't possibly be arrested for doing what my direct senior officer instructed me to do, after all, this is the exact same reasoning that was used to excuse me of stealing the forbidden scroll of seals when I was still a genin, oh wait a minute, I am still a genin aren't I, hehe, how ironic.
In any case, my attempt at assassinating Kakashi was a failure. It seems that the copy ninja had a few secrets of his own, he apparently has what Kurama has explained to me as the mangyeko sharingan, and that mangyeko sharingan seems to grant him the ability to manipulate space and time. Kakashi was able to open a space-time vortex that transported my rasenshuriken to another dimension. Apparently, the name of the technique is 'Kamui'.
The jutsu, as expected, took a lot out of him, he almost looked like he was about to pass out any moment as soon as he used it. I decided that I had to see the technique at least one more time so that I can know exactly what I'm up against, also, so that he can possibly die of chakra exhaustion. This time, I unsealed a windmill shuriken from a seal on my wrist, used the vacuum style to infuse it with wind chakra, and threw it at him with all my power. Naturally, Kakashi prepared himself to leap away from the attack, but that didn't really matter, I was able to make hundreds of shuriken copies, 300 exactly using the shuriken shadow clone technique, which essentially left Kakashi with the impossible task of dodging that many wind infused windmill shurikens.
He had no choice but to use that Kamui ability again. Surprisingly, the copy cat was still able to keep his ground after using that jutsu, he has a lot more will power than I gave him credit for. But I knew he would once again fall for my trap, and naturally, he did. Its really not his fault, it isn't that he's stupid or anything, in fact, all he did was what any smart shinobi would do in that situation, retreat, ragain your strength and bearings, and than come up with a plan of action.
Problem with that is, I like to put myself in the shoes of a smart person. When I heard that Kakashi would be my opponent, I automatcically knew that our battle would take place in training ground seven, in fact, he even confirmed this suspision by telling me to meet him there at five a.m. the following morning.
That night, I went and set all all sorts of traps in the forest surrounding the training ground. Some were explosive tag related traps, some even involved exploding shadow clones. There were enough traps around that training ground to destroy a whole battalion of shinobi. In the end, Kakashi triggered most of the traps as I just stood at the centre of training ground seven and listened. By the time the noise stopped, Kakashi was in a commatose state and required immediate medical attention or he would have died in less than ten minutes.
Tsunade was able to save him, frankly, I was disappointed that he survived, I was really hoping that he would die. After all, it won't be too often that I get a chance to kill a Konoha shinobi without it actually constituting a crime. As expected, I was reprimanded despite the technical legality of my actions, apparently, the old Naruto would not have done something like that no matter what the circumstances. I received many different looks, Sakura, Hinata, Chouji, Shizune, Lee, and Ino looked at me with disbelief. Kurenai, Asuma, Jiraiya, Gai, Tenten,Shino, Kiba, and Shikamaru with suspision, Tsunade with anger and disapointment, and Neji with simple curiosity.
My friends are now weary of me and try to avoid me at all costs. Maybe they believe that I will feel bad and apologise for what I did. But I won't, I actually like that they are avoiding me, this only makes it easier for me to conduct my business without interference. Neji is the only one I have spoken to from the Konoha 10 since that day. That is because he was one of two people that I actually returned to Konoha for. No matter how strong a man becomes, he can't be an island all on his own. My ultimate goal is to rebuild Whirlpool, but there are too many threats that need to be eliminated before I can commence with that mission. Right now, what I need is a four man team, I can't destroy Akatsuki and Konoha on my own, I will need allies, actually, rather, I have found allies.
Neji has agreed to leave Konoha with me. He was not very hard to convince, after all, I did remove his caged bird seal for him, it was surprisingly easy, sure, learning Uzumaki clan fuinjutsu in the old whirlpool ruins was behind my ability to help Neji, but really, any decent seal master could have figured this out. Although, I guess it would have taken them years rather than the two days it took me, really, most seal masters are novices compared to the Uzumaki clan.
Neji will help me destroy Konoha and the main branch of the Hyuga clan, in return, I will remove the caged bird seal from his kinsman and they will be allowed to join Whirlpool with Neji as the clan head. This in turn means that I will have fulfilled my promise to abolish the caged bird system and change the fate of the Hyuga clan.
Of course, all of this will only happen after he has helped me destroy the Akatsuki. There is no fixed date for our departure, I'm thinking that maybe I can exploit both Konoha and Akatsuki for as long as possible before permanently severing my ties. Akatsuki want Kurama, and Konoha want to hold on to Kurama, I plan to use these two facts to get Akatsuki and Konoha to weaken each other, after all, with those directly conflicting motives, they are bound to clash with each other sooner rather than later. Also, this will give me a chance to gauge my true strength against the Akatsuki while I still have the backing of Konoha so that I can determine whether I am ready to break free or if I still need to rely on Konoha.
That leaves just one recruite, Kurama Yakumo. Konoha have been keeping a tight leesh on me since I returned, Tsunade has doubled the security and seveilance on me for two reasons, one, the impending threat of the Akatsuki, but more importantly, because I seem to have become a flight risk that must be carefully watched. She may drink a lot, but she's quite good at her job, I'll give her that at least.
In any case, I haven't been able to see Kurama Yakumo in person, I don't want to push it too far, Yakumo is considered as an S-class flight risk and danger to Konoha, us befriending each other would not have been of too much concern to Tsunade and Jiraiya in the past, Danzo and the elders would have been concerned regardless, but not those two. Now however, things are different, no one trusts me anymore, everyone is on edge as if waiting for me to self-destruct or something, can't blame them for that I guess.
In any case, just because we haven't met up in person, doesn't mean that we haven't actually met up. I've sent shadow clones to her place on more than one occassion. I was surprised at her coldness towards me, apparently, she didn't even know about my training trip and assumed that I had abandoned her like everyone else in her life. I don't think I've ever felt so sad and angry at myself, because now that I think about it, I actually did abandon her and only started thinking about her when I started thinking about companions to help me survive and thrive in my quest. The pain was so unbearable, I couldn't stop crying, I felt like a hypocrite, I behaved just like the Konoha scums that I seek to destroy. That will never happen again though, I won't make the same mistake. I don't know if the tears helped or not, but I'm glad that I was able to reach Yakumo-chan's heart again.
We have talked alot about the future and how we plan to get there. She knows about Neji and our fourth member as well. We all have something that connects us together, we have all felt the pain of hate, loneliness, and opression. That is the bond that will make us surpass all other teams and organisations before us.
Yakumo-chan has revealed alot of interesting facts about herself and her time spent in the last three years. I found out that the Ido demon was not completely destroyed, and infact cannot be completely destroyed. This is because darkness itself cannot be completely vanquished in a person's heart. Should that person feel the pain of loss, loneliness and betrayal again, darkness will always be reborn in said person's heart. Kurenai and I hurt, abandoned and betrayed Yakumo all over again, and that gave birth to a renewed hatred in her heart.
The good thing now is that she has now conquered and subdued that darkness, she now has full control of her own powers. In other words, she is not controlled by hatred, but uses it to her own advantage, she is at another level altogether now.
Naturally, I had to ask why she hadn't used that power to escape Konoha and live the life she wanted to live. The answer was unexpected and heart wrenching to say the least. I felt so bad for even asking such a question, I should have known better, after all, this was exactly how I felt before I found out about my origins. The truth of the matter is that Yakumo had absolutely nowhere to go even if she escaped. She didn't have any friends to go to and she didn't know anyone outside these walls. If she went to another village, there was no guarantee that they wouldn't treat her just as bad as Konoha, or even worse. Also, her physical condition was another detriment, she didn't know how far her body would be able to carry her. Still, it seemed that she was still interested in leaving Konoha, because she was studying the medical arts in her spare time in order to find a cure for herself.
Fortunately, I had already made provision for something like this. This is because of my bloodline limit, yes, that is why I was able to cure Yakumo-chan's condition.
The sage of the six paths had an affinity for all five nature transformations, but what many don't know, is that there is an actual sixth element, the yin/yang release, otherwise known as creation of all things. Even those who know about this element have no idea how to actually harness it. The sage had an affinity for this element and was the only one who has ever completely mastered it. There are so many applications and different ways to use this affinity that it would take entire lifetimes to completely master it without rinnegan. And even than, it would require an exceptionally talented individual to completely master.
Many bloodline clans, in fact, most bloodline clans have the ability to use a limited version of this ability. My first real opponent, Momochi Yuki Haku was able to combine water and wind nature to create the ice release because of his clans ability to subconsciously use yin/yang release in that manner. One of my other opponents, Kimimaro was able to subconsciously use yin/yang release to create and replace lost bones from his chakra using a different application of the creation of all things.
With the Uzumaki clan, things are slightly different, our bloodline limit doesn't limit us to a specific application of the creation of all things technique, we have an affinity for yin/yang release in its purest form and can therefore use it in a manner of each individual's choosing. My mother was able to use it in the form of indestructable chakra supression chains that also served as a medium for her sealing and barrier jutsu. In the past, many Uzumaki clan members have used this ability in many different ways, some for genjutsu, some for medical ninjutsu, some, like my mother, to complement their sealing and barrier jutsu, and some like me, to complement their ninjutsu.
I have a lightning affinity from my father, and a wind affinity from my mother, and I have used my yin/yang affinity to combine those two affinities and created a new release, the swift release. But that is not all. I met my mother inside my seal when I wanted to take control of Kurama's chakra, and she taught me her chakra chain technique. She was so happy to hear about my goal to rebuild Whirlpool and said it was the least she could do to help me on my quest. We parted on happy terms and I have never felt so loved as I did when I was with her. If there is a way to properly ressurect the dead, I will find it eventually and I will ressurect her, I simply can't let go.
My father on the other hand was a completely different story. Apparently, he set the seal up so that he can see my whole life through the seal. As a result, he, unlike my mother, knows about my plan to destroy Konoha for its betrayal to Whirlpool Country and as part of the deal I made with Kurama. He refused to help me destroy Konoha, that really pissed me off. I was really looking forward to learning the Hiraishin no jutsu. I had so many plans for that technique, but I guess it wasn't to be. Part of the reason I created the swift release however was because I couldn't learn that technique, but I do realise the importance of speed and reaction time, and I have worked hard to enhance those abilities. Still, teleportation is a lot more convenient than speed and there are so many ways to use it, meh, I had a back-up plan should the situation call for it, not the most noble of methods, but who cares, it's convenient enough.
Shadow clone training has been of great use to me, I have not only managed to learn medical ninjutsu from Shiromari's chameleon clan, but I have managed to intergrate my yin/yang release into my jutsu. This has granted me the ability to regenerate wounds at high speeds, not only that, but it has given me the ability to cure Yakumo-chan's disease. My jutsu is even superior to Tsunade and Kabuto's self healing techniques. Yin/Yang is the power of creation, through the right medical application, even body parts can be destroyed and recreated, that is how Yakumo-chan was cured.
In any case, Kazekage Gaara Of The Sand was captured by the Akatsuki recently. I was surprised that Konoha would even allow me to leave the village after all that suspision, but I guess they had no choice. I defeated Kakashi after all, and I am a jinchuuriki. Also, I know Tsunade and Jiraiya as well as I think I do, than they probably instructed Kakashi and Sakura to keep an eye on me and take note of every movement I make. They know that I can't hold back against opponents of Akatsuki's calibre and probably want to gather intel on any abilities I might still be hiding.
I have to give them credit, they are very shrewed individuals, I gave away so much about myself in my fight with Kakashi, I even used rasen-shuriken. If they really do suspect that I am still holding back after all that, than...they are absolutely spot on.
Haha! However, I am even smarter than that, I bet Kakashi and Sakura, no actually, I know Kakashi and Sakura were surprised when I didn't follow Deidara when he flew away with Gaara's corpse. In fact, Kakashi tried to get me to go with him and leave Sakura behind with Chiyo baa-sama. However, I had a good excuse already, Gaara was closest to me, in fact, I was the only one in the team who was close to Gaara. Deidara knew this and was planning to use that to his advantage, going with Kakashi would make us fools who were playing into the enemy's hands without thinking. Also, both Kakashi and I are ninjutsu types, and both Chiyo and Sakura are medical kunoichi. Pairing them together and us together would have been unwise and went against everything that Tsunade invisioned for Konoha. Tsunade wanted diversity in each team and most importantly, believed that every team should have a medical shinobi. It was probably best that each team have a ninjutsu type and a medical type to increase our chances of success. Also, it was best that I remain with Chiyo, my multi-shadow clone technique would be a good counter for Sasori's puppet technique and would help me avoid getting poisoned. Also, Chiyo was also a puppeteer and infact Sasori's teacher. Her intel would be important. In the end, Kakashi had no choice but to take Sakura with and go after Deidara.
This was a victory for me, I can now get to fight an Akatsuki member without the need to hold back, I just hope that Chiyo dies somehow, I don't think she would want to share any intel with Konoha, but at the same time there is no guarantee that she wouldn't. In any case, she seems intent on stopping her grandson from his criminal path and in fact seems resolved to killing him. If I kill him, maybe she can owe me one for that and not rat out about my abilities. It remains to be seen, if I can't strike a deal with her, I'll have to kill her and defect immediately, Yakumo and Neji know the procedure to follow should I be forced to defect unexpectedly, we have already prepaired for such a scenario.
"An little brat with less than four years of experience and an old hag that's one foot away from her grave is all that the combined efforts of Suna and Konoha can spare to save the Kazekage and to take down an Akastuki member? How the mighty have fallen." Sasori said in a deep and grouchy voice. A relatively short and hunchbacked man with three braided hairs and a black desert scarf covering the bottom of his face, a black cloak with red clouds covering the rest of his body.
"In the ninja world, appearances are almost always deceiving, after all, you yourself don't look like nothing more than a hunchbacked and disfigured old man that still likes to play with dolls." Naruto retorted with a neutral tone, completely shutting off his emotions and focussing on nothing else but the battle.
"Confidence is admirable, but no one respects a cocky little brat that acts like he knows everything. You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into, Kyubi!" Sasori retorted irritably.
"No matter, it seems as though I'm about to find out anyway, that's fine by me. Besides, I may not be completely aware of what I have gotten myself into, but, you are also in the same boat, you have no idea what I am capable of." Naruto said with a sinister undertone.
"I can't tell if you're trying to convince me or if you're trying to convince yourself with that garbage. You heard what Deidara said right, the nanabi jinchuuriki willingly surrendered to us because she wanted to be freed from the cursed existence of being a jinchuuriki and live happily ever after in the afterlife. You do not have to struggle so hard, you can stop pretending, we know about your suffering. Surrender yourself and we will relieve you of your pain and grant you a peaceful journey to the afterlife. We will carry the burden of the Kyubi for you, can't you see that Akatsuki is only trying to help you? Hehehehehehe!" Sasori said sinically, causing Naruto to grit his teeth in anger and a little frustration.
"I'm glad I met you, Sasori. Perhaps if I had never met you, I might have eventually turned out just like you. But now that I have seen how pathetic you are, I can change my destiny into something better. It seems to me that you have gained an incredible level of skill and power, but have forsaken yourself in your quest for power, you no longer see anyone else around you, just yourself and your own ego." Naruto said, taking a deep breathe before continuing where he left off.
"Let me tell you something about the nanabi jinchuuriki that you and Deidara claim to know so much about. The nanabi jinchuuriki Fu and I are lovers, the last time we spoke was this morning through messages sent via my chameleon summons, and I am the only person in the entire world who knows where she is hiding right now. Think carefully and know your opponent a little better before you start sprouting nonsense. Confidence is admirable, but no one likes a cocky brat who thinks he knows everything." Naruto said condensingly, effectively turning Sasori's own words against the hunchbacked puppeteer, causing him to growl in anger and embarrassment.
'N-Nani! He was able to befriend Gaara the Ichibi Jinchuuriki, and now he is also lovers with the nanabi jinchuuriki? This child, what is he...!' Chiyo trailed of in surprise, only to be cut off mid thought by Sasori's angry voice.
"You...I was going to grant you a peacefu death, but I have changed my mind! I will capture you, torture the nanabi's whereabouts out of you, capture her, and have you watch us extract her bijuu as she dies in front of you. Then, only then will we extract the kyubi from you. No, infact, I will turn her into a puppet first, and then only extract the kyubi!" a pissed off Sasori growled out.
"We'll see about that." Naruto said with a venomous glare, adopting a battle ready stance as he prepared himself mentally and emotionally for his first real clash with an Akatsuki member.
'Earlier, Chiyo baa-sama controlled six kunai with her chakra strings and attacked Sasori with them. The idea behind this was obvious, this jutsu inables the user to change the trajectory of the kunai at the last possible moment and attack an unguarded body area. But Sasori saw through it and rotated his metalic tail around his body to deflect all the weapons at the same time. However...' Naruto trailed off in thought.
'Chiyo baa-sama, in an instant, disconnected the chakra strings, compressed the chakra until it was invisble to the naked eye, and attached the invisible strings to Sasori's tail. Not only that, but she has also attached another set of chakra strings to my body and gained almost complete control over my movements. Probably, she doesn't believe I can avoid Sasori's attacks and puppet traps on my own, also, if her fighting style is anything to go by, she also doesn't have enough raw power to destroy that puppet body. She saw me use rasengan against Itachi earlier, she probably intends to get me close to Sasori to destroy that puppet with that jutsu.' Naruto thought analytically.
'If I let her control me, I might not have to use swift release after all, and I definitely won't have to use that other jutsu as well. In any case, it's too early to tell, I'll just let her control me for now. In the meantime, I'll observe Sasori's movements and attack patterns.' thought the blonde Uzumaki.
"Chiyo baa-sama, I will follow your plan of defense and attack for now, you have my blessing." Naruto said without even turning to look at his partner, causing Chiyo's eyes to widen in sudden realisation.
'Follow my plan of defense and attack? Than, does that mean that he is not only aware of my chakra strings connected to him and Sasori, but is also aware of my intentions with regards to how to use his raw power for offense? Than, he must be a very good sensor type if he was able to notice my invisible chakra strings, a very intelligent one at that. Uzumaki Naruto, just who are you exactly?' Chiyo thought in wonder.
'Looks like they're about to make thier move, in that case...' Sasori thought, throwing his Akatsuki cloak away and adopting a four legged stance. Clearly revealing his puppet shape which was not too different from that of a tortoise, with his legs and arms being his only real body parts protruding outside of the puppet and a big shell like shield protecting his back.
"Get ready Naruto-kun, this is his offensive mode, he's about to attack." Chiyo warned.
"Hai, Chiyo baa-sama." Naruto acknowledged.
End of Chapter
Next Chapter Title: Naruto and Sasori, A bond between Enemies.