Author Note

Hi there and welcome to another chapter of Nidaime no Sairin.

Not much to say before the chapter, so let's get going.

Please enjoy!

Nidaime no Sairin - Naruto Shippuden

Chapter 36 – Rivalry Part II

Beta: Scheffinator

Sarutobi Hiruzen had quietly followed Danzo in quiet pondering.

The aged Hokage knew for certain that him showing up could only lead to one possible scenario. However, Danzo's chakra appeared to be quite calm.

A chuckle soon escaped from the aged Hokage's throat and the old Warhawk slightly turned to see the reason behind such amusement.

"Care to share, Hiruzen?" Sarutobi, though, merely negated as he looked around the property. Plain looking walls, a couple of fire torches to illuminate their path that would lead to kami knows where else. However, the occasional chakra feeling that he could feel, passing through the walls. It seemed that there were a few of Danzo's subordinates that are still due to fully master concealing their chakra and even their hidden intentions. They were hiding it quite well of course…for a Jonin, that is.

"Oh it's nothing. I had just remembered a prank that my grandson attempted to pull on me the other day."

Danzo could clearly tell that Hiruzen was not thinking of little Konohamaru, but he played along.

"I see…how is he faring these days? Still complaining at the academy, I take it."

Hiruzen nodded with a smile as they had reached a now more open setting…a large spaced room with two tatami and a small table for some sake.

"Iruka does say he's quite the hassle to handle…but I bet that he will miss my grandson once he graduates this year to become a Genin."

The two aged shinobi then took a seat in front of the other, before a long brown-haired woman approached the table to place a warm sake bottle for them to enjoy. Hiruzen's eyes already perceived her to be a highly skilled shinobi, just from the way she posed herself, not to mention the number of hidden weaponry his experienced eyes could perceive, shuriken and high-level wires if he could venture a guess. Danzo did show taste in the most subtle arts of shinobi.

The stage was set indeed for what Hiruzen perceived to happen any time soon.

However, Hiruzen wasn't in any hurry to start anything that he knew wouldn't take long to begin.

"I take It you wished to talk, Hiruzen…by all means, how can I be of your service?"

The Sandaime smirked and grabbed his sake saucer. He didn't bother to waste time checking for poison. For some reason, he ventured that Danzo wouldn't begin with such crude methods. Orochimaru sure would, but not the warhawk. As such, Hiruzen gave it a big gulp and felt the warm liquid run down his throat.

"You sure have good taste, Danzo." Danzo, for his part, merely nodded in acceptance for the compliment. "You know, sometimes it is quite wise to take a step back in order to get more clarity. Once I nominated Tsunade for the Godaime position, I had acquired a magnificent amount of free time to ponder on things." Danzo merely hummed at the notion as Hiruzen progressed. "The Sarutobi Clan Estate's dealings for instance was left abandoned I am afraid to say, but nowadays I can divulge more time for that."

"Indeed, the Sarutobi Clan is composed of the village's strongest fighters…the betterment of your clan will no doubt bring about the betterment of the village."

"Quite right you are, Danzo. I am still debating about the clan's next steps with my son and my grandson, as well as the clan's other fighters. Growing in numbers, however, isn't my target, however."

"Oh…there are clans in Konoha and also some minor clans from outside the village that could certainly benefit in a contract marriage. Perhaps, Asuma can take this step to aid the clan and the village." Hiruzen snorted at that.

"Unfortunately, that venture is not possible…but who knows what passes in that thick skull of his…this old man will be quite happy when he chooses someone to marry."

"I see…what other ventures are you taking a look at, if I may ask, Hiruzen?"

"Oh, nothing much...these old bones just find amusement in spending time with his loved ones…aside from my family, my students as well." Danzo noticed the small, almost untraceable spike in chakra at the mention. "Jiraiya and Tsunade are just like back then…always bickering with each other. It's quite amusing to watch them. It certainly takes me back to the time when I first met them as my Genin Team. Orochimaru, the genius…Jiraiya, the slacker and Tsunade, the memento of our senseis."

"I don't waste time on such nostalgic frivolities, Hiruzen…" The former Hokage chuckled.

"Of course you don't…well, in my times together with Jiraiya and Tsunade, it's been ventured a new outtake regarding what happened at the Chuunin Exams, or rather just how my old student managed to penetrate the village's current defenses without anyone being any wiser." Hiruzen always prided himself on seeing the subtle mannerisms of others. And Danzo was no different…his facial expression moved very little, barely nothing aside from the single and fast opening of his visible eye to indicate that he's annoyed.

"I see…so what's the conclusion of your analysis, then?"

"Orochimaru is one of the Sannin, sure, but he is nowadays an S-ranked criminal. So, while he would be privy to the village's set of securities protocol from the time he was still loyal, it became such a baffling notion to understand just how he acquired the intel about the village's current defensive system. Don't you find it intriguing Danzo…just how he was able to come across such high detail, which in fact is labeled as an S-ranked secret, known only by high Jonin and above?" Danzo snorted at the fishing expedition taking place.

"I would imagine that someone in your security detail is in fact a traitor, Hiruzen…perhaps Tsunade could take a look and provide better answers."

"I won't bother her with such nonsense, Danzo…it's pointless to perform a task that I had already concluded…" Danzo had shown a smile as if daring Hiruzen to go forward with those accusations. "Coming here has provided me with plenty of answers, Danzo and I am not talking about your ROOT ANBU. You must have known that the second I appeared here that I would find out. After all, Orochimaru was always your favorite for the Hokage position, wasn't he? When I appointed Minato as my successor, you were against it. Not only that, but you also kept tabs with him, I am sure. With the security protocol being an S-ranked secret and Orochimaru having access, it's only logical to assume that you were the one who supplied him with the intel."

"I hope you're not suggesting that I would openly antagonize Konoha…"

At this point, it was pointless to keep his chakra stable as Hiruzen could already feel the movement from within the walls.

"You know me better than that to accuse me of making false accusations, Danzo."

The aged warhawk only huffed at Hiruzen's words as he knocked his cane on the floor twice.

Within seconds, Hiruzen Sarutobi looked around as dozens of ROOT ANBU erupted from the shadows, gunning straight for the Hokage.

The former Hokage only snorted, however.

"And this happens to be the final proof that I was right all along…"

Those were his last words as Hiruzen removed the former Hokage outfit, revealing his battle outfit as the ROOT ANBU descended on his position.

===In Konoha===

While all hell was about to come loose in multiple places at once, the Hidden Village in the Leaves brought about a strange sense of tranquility, at least for those completely unaware of what was going on.

Kurenai counted her blessings that neither the Hokage nor her students called upon her. This way, she could allow herself to worry about Naruto's mission to retrieve one Uchiha Sasuke. She knew enough about his odds against most shinobi out there, at least A-ranked. So, she wasn't worried that he would not be coming home to her. No, rather, she was worried about his mindset afterward. Having to hunt down someone you grew up with is not easy. Konoha's shinobi system is mostly reliant on inducing this camaraderie feeling between its shinobi. Unlike other villages, the notion of teamwork is heavily focused on in the village's Academy.

She came to know that Hana and Hyuuga Tokuma went along with Naruto and Yuugao to this mission, but she feared that the position of doing the final deed would be up to her secret lover, unfortunately. And considering the high level asset that one Uchiha Sasuke is, there is only one inevitable decision to make. She was about to turn and walk away from the fruit stall she was in, when she caught blond hair from the corner of her eye. Turning abruptly, she indeed saw him helping an injured Hana walk followed by her canines.

Quickly, Kurenai approached them, wondering what happened.

"Naruto…" The young Jonin looked up to see a clearly worried Kurenai approach. "What happened…is the mission over? Where are the others?"

"Hi there, Kurenai." The Inuzuka veterinarian greeted her friend, while she took advantage of her personal clutch.

"Hi sensei…I am just a clone actually. Hana was injured, so Yuugao-taichou ordered me to take her back to the village to be treated. I was just about to deliver this partial report to Hokage-sama, after taking Hana to the hospital."

"I can take her there if you want." Naruto nodded as Hana began to lean on Kurenai. The ravenette Jonin and secret lover then turned to look at the clone's eyes and she could see it. It was quite clear that she was right in her way of thinking before greeting the two. Naruto's eyes turned introspective and filled with questions in his mind. She understood it, no doubt. It is something that any Konoha shinobi in Naruto's position would ponder…whether or not to believe that the fellow shinobi turned traitor would need to be killed.

"Naruto…" The clone looked up with a collected smile, but Kurenai could see the small hints of worry in his visage. "Come to see me once you get back, okay?" The clone nodded, before vanishing in a shunshin towards the Hokage's Office. The Inuzuka Chuunin merely observed the look of worry in her friend's, with a smile of her own. Ever since Naruto has become a Chuunin, the Inuzuka has tagged along with some of the assignments that Kurenai and Naruto were on. As such, she became privy to how at ease both interacted with one another. And the look of concern in Kurenai's eyes right now was completely different from the look displayed by Yuugao's early on.

The former ANBU cared about Naruto more like a student, but a girl understands the difference in looks alone.

"He will be fine, Kure-chan…" The illusion expert turned abruptly to Hana's knowing smile. "Now, my leg is killing me, so could you please help me get fixed up? We can talk more in length about him afterward."

"Ah sure, I am sorry. Let's go." They soon started walking once more, followed by the canines. Kurenai, however, turned to see that the knowing smile was still there plastered on Hana's face. "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Oh no reason…" Kurenai merely lifted her eyebrow in wonder, while Hana's sense of smell had told her plenty.

===With Naruto===

The Valley of the End, located on the border between Fire and Rice Country, has its significance in the Land of Fire's history. Long ago, two major powerhouses had fought for supremacy, or rather who would be the one to rule the Hidden Village in the Leaves. Senju Hashirama, the leader of the Senju Clan against Uchiha Madara, the leader of the Uchiha Clan. Their battle was so destructive that it left a scar on this very land, later becoming known as the Valley of the End. As such, it seemed fitting that one Uzumaki Naruto stood on top of Hashirama's statue, while Sasuke stood on top of Madara's.

To Sasuke, this may have no significance whatsoever other than to test himself against a worthy opponent, but to Naruto it meant the culmination of a very important meeting he had a long time ago.


The Uzumaki was struggling with an important decision right now. Uchiha Sasuke has thus far shown every intention of becoming a criminal…an enemy of Konoha. As such, if he were to ask the Nidaime Hokage advice on what to do, the man wouldn't hesitate in doing what needed to be done, for the sake of the village. However, despite Sasuke being a pain in the ass growing up, always demanding fights out of him, he was still a Konoha shinobi, a comrade in arms.

Sasuke, for his part, hummed upon seeing Naruto's eyes close.

"What's the matter, Naruto? I thought you would pound me into the ground, was that not your words right now?" To that, Naruto slowly opened his eyes and Sasuke could see a resolve, but still mixed with self-doubt.

"I was just pondering on something, that's all. Looking at you right now, inches away from turning and running away to Rice Country, thus becoming a full fledged criminal of the village." Sasuke merely smiled at that, just like Naruto thought he would. "Sure, you may laugh at that, thinking it's inconsequential. You crave for strength in order to be able to face your brother, up to the point of siding with one of Konoha's worst criminals in existence. All in all, you are showing me all possible signs that you had made up your mind." To the Uchiha, everything that came out of Naruto's mouth was no different than horseshit in his mind.

"And you also said you wouldn't waste time talking…" Naruto snorted. True, he did say that…but Sasuke wasn't aware of the inner turmoil in his head.

He was trained first and foremost to perform his assignments to the letter and keep emotions away from the shinobi duties as best as possible.

That being said and being a Jonin of Konoha, his mind was made up.

Sasuke's eyes widened and it was only because of the fully evolved normal Sharingan that he managed to parry the incoming shuriken followed by Naruto's vicious ninjato swing. The Uchiha may be able to follow his speed, but he wasn't strong enough to keep himself balanced. Backing up a step, he had left an opening and Naruto was fast enough to land a powerful kick to Sasuke's chest that sent him flying towards the river on top of the statues.

It didn't take a second for Sasuke to erupt from below water and stand at the ready for the battle.

Quickly and expertly, Sasuke released a number of shuriken that passed around Naruto and trapped him.

Sasuke then went through hand seals, as he focused on the cable that entrapped his opponent.

Katon: Ryuuka no Jutsu (Fire Style: Dragon Flame)

Naruto felt the strings tighten on his forearm as the fire engulfed the cables, before traveling straight at him at high velocity.

No sooner had the fire ignited the cables, Naruto slammed his feet on the water he was standing on, sending a geyser upward to stop the flame technique from harming him. His sword had also cut the cables attached to the shuriken as he took advantage of the fog generated by his water technique killing Sasuke's. However, Sasuke was waiting for him in the direction he was in, forcing a close-ranged Kenjutsu battle, mixed with Sharingan based Genjutsu to disorient his position. However, no sooner had the illusion taken effect, Naruto would dismantle it, as the Kenjutsu battle progressed.

The two were battling it on top of the water for a great while, before Naruto took some distance and went through hand seals.

Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu (Water Style: Water Dragon Technique)

Sasuke saw the giant dragon erupt from behind Naruto.

This was perhaps the first time he had ever seen the Uzumaki use Ninjutsu against him.

The Uchiha went through hand seals of his own and released a giant fireball technique to try and stop Naruto's attack or rather keep it from hitting him. Sasuke then kept the momentum of his attack by using projectiles in multiple directions, using one kunai to change the other's direction towards Naruto's head. The Uzumaki focused wind chakra through his ninjato and took a swing to keep a wind vortex that kept Sasuke's projectiles from hitting him. The wind vortex kept up, allowing Naruto to use wind blades straight at Sasuke. Naruto's wind blades slashed the water in its trajectory, but Sasuke's Sharingan kept him away from harm.

Sasuke then stared at his opponent, waiting for the next attack. The Uchiha had made a mental check on his chakra capacity and his stamina.

Upon looking at Naruto, however, it didn't appear that he was even winded and he was the one facing Orochimaru's goons just moments prior.

"You don't appear to have enough to last long, Sasuke…" The Uchiha saw the look of condescension in Naruto's eyes as he continued. "It's not too late to change your mind and come back with me."

"Save it, Naruto…let's continue!" Sasuke took a step further and froze instantly, just as vines began to erupt from his feet, entrapping him. Naruto wasn't in front of him anymore and the vines went for his neck, choking him. His Sharingan looked around the venomous cloud that engulfed the area. As soon as he released the hold of Naruto's Genjutsu and went back to the waterfall, he was facing Naruto once more. It took him no more than two seconds to release, but Naruto hadn't bothered to move. Sasuke snarled, wondering why Naruto had not attacked him, in the meantime. "Huh, using Genjutsu against the Sharingan is pointless! I thought you'd know better."

Sasuke was about to move once more to attack, when he froze once more as familiar marks crawled up his leg and stopped on his chest, hindering his every move.

It took plenty of effort to even lift a finger as he looked at Naruto simply walking closer to him.

"Indeed, I had learned from your brother about the Sharingan's prowess in releasing Genjutsu…" Sasuke snarled once more at Itachi's mention. "That little Fuuinjutsu has increased your body weight by five times, Sasuke." Naruto said as he wielded his ninjato. "Seeing as you're dead set on becoming a traitor, you are forcing my hand." Sasuke got hit full with Naruto's full killing intent and he swallowed nervously. "It's a part of our profession to deal with criminals in one way only…and seeing that you won't concede, there is only one possible venue, unfortunately." The Uchiha felt it…his life on the balance…just like that day…that fateful day when his life changed for the worst.

It didn't take long for Sasuke to taste the steel of Naruto's sword inching close to his neck.

"Get away from me!" Sasuke screamed in anger, before Naruto saw the cursed seal markings spread all over Sasuke's body, before a blast engulfed them.

===With Hiruzen===

The ROOT ANBU all jumped at Hiruzen at the same time, but the aged Hokage had already wielded his black staff and was proving just how masterful he could become with the weapon, even in closed spaces such as the one he was in right now. Plus, the staff could shrink and stretch via his chakra's command, easing the maneuverability. The ROOT ANBU had numbers in their advantage, but their skills were also limited to the confined space, meaning that they were limited to close to mid-range weaponry and a few more subtle chakra related techniques.

Danzo merely observed, as in less than a minute, pretty much all of his elite personnel were on the ground, all of them with broken bones and gasping for air.

"I wondered when you would join in the fray, Danzo, but then I thought better…however, tiring me ahead of time won't do you any good. Orochimaru had certainly tried the same strategy, but lost." Sarutobi was busy pointing his staff ready for a battle, but the old Warhawk didn't move an inch from his position, nor did it appear that he would do anything.

"Have you thought this through, Hiruzen?" Sarutobi looked at him in wonder. "I didn't take you for a fool…once you were Hokage, you had never moved on me, even though you knew that something was going on, here." Hiruzen snorted, but Danzo continued unimpeded. "I was thinking that perhaps, you were wise enough to understand that the job we do…or rather the job I do…is to protect the village first and foremost from the other villages." The former Hokage understood that given the circumstances in the past, he was obliged so to speak to overlook Danzo's dealings and he certainly would keep it that way and let Tsunade deal with him from now on.

Perhaps, she could do what he could not.

"It was a different time back then, Danzo. The villages were at each other's throats the entire time. I also had a village to look after, hence why overlooking your actions became a necessity." Danzo hummed at the notion.

"However, you didn't stick only to actions away from the village, rather you operated within the confines of Konohagakure. Orochimaru's invasion wasn't the first time, however. What happened with the Uchiha Clan was a direct result of your meddling. It pains me to realize that I should have done something before to stop you. It is one of my regrets just like my soft hand in not acting against Orochimaru once I realized that I was losing him. But no more, this time. Fate has given me a couple of years more for me to fix my mistakes…" Naruto's memory came to mind, when he managed to free Tobirama-sensei from Orochimaru's control in the invasion.

Danzo, for his part, began to form calculations in his mind.

"I see…so you're prepared to face consequences, then? Openly defying me must mean that this is a sanctioned mission from the Hokage." Hiruzen said nothing to that…he could neither confirm nor deny it, anyway and Danzo wasn't expecting an actual reply. "Whether or not you validate it or not, it's irrelevant, Hiruzen. Unfortunately, you had brought light into the darkness, a necessary darkness I might add. That being said, the consequences to Konoha and the other Elemental Nations are yours to bear now."

"Just by letting you and Orochimaru roam free, the consequences are already my responsibility, Danzo." The opponent merely smirked at the naivety of that statement.

"I know you're smarter than this. Without my ROOT ANBU running interference in other nations, Konoha shall be less and less protected. It was our assignment, Hiruzen, to quell the opposition before they could ever come close to thinking of harming our home. You don't know even a third of the possible invasions my ROOT ANBU had averted over the years. You are clueless and your students are also clueless. Tobirama-sensei would be quite ashamed of your actions, Hiruzen." Hiruzen couldn't help but snort at the mention of their late sensei.

Since Danzo wasn't present for some reason during the invasion, he didn't know that the man himself had ceased being a product of Orochimaru's Edo Tensei.

"Indeed, Tobirama-sensei has taken some controversial decisions in his reign as Hokage, but I beg to differ that he would concur with your way of doing things. However, I quite digress as this ends now."

"I won't bother fighting against you, Hiruzen. It's rather pointless anyway to rid the village of such a fine shinobi. At this point, my ROOT ANBU had already executed the needed protocol for evacuation." Hiruzen narrowed his eyes at that. "Despite your naïve actions, I believe it's more prudent for ROOT ANBU to settle its base elsewhere and begin anew. Without needing to respond to a Hokage, we can run our missions unimpeded. Worry not Hiruzen, since my mission shall not change. As far as I live, Konoha shall be protected. Of that, I can assure you. Now, I shall take my leave."

Before Hiruzen could so much as move to attack him, the entire room became littered with purple smoke bombs, forcing the Hokage to shield his eyes away.

As soon as the purple smoke vanished, Hiruzen opened his eyes once more to look around and see that indeed Danzo had vanished.

"I see that he did exactly as I told you he would." Hiruzen snorted as Shikaku quietly emerged from within Sarutobi's own shadow, before checking on the downed ROOT ANBU. The noise of bugs gathering in one place echoed in the hallway as Shibi Aburame also manifested in the room. The aged Hokage smiled at Shikaku's sigh of dismay, while Shibi was busy sealing the ROOT ANBU's bodies for interrogation.

"You were right indeed, old friend. I trust you were able to salvage some of his documented work?"

Shikaku only ascertained yes with his throat after he confirmed it with Shibi.

"Some of it, yes…I will take it to cryptanalysis and catalog everything. It will take some time, though. Most of it is coded, though. I will bring in Shikamaru for this task, he will complain no doubt." Hiruzen chuckled, while already back in his Hokage robes as he placed both hands behind his back.

"I will ask Tsunade for the ANBU to search this base and then destroy it…as well as the hidden tunnels. He and his ROOT ANBU could come back at any time, without us knowing." Hiruzen then walked away followed by Shikaku and Shibi.

===With Naruto===

Naruto had quickly stepped backwards to avoid catching himself in the explosion, as he looked at his let's say evolved opponent.

His sensor ability went haywire, the second Orochimaru's cursed seal mixed in with Sasuke's chakra. Now, he understood exactly why Kimimaro became ill like that. It may have been due to his own bloodline, but no doubt the cursed seal amplified it. He could feel Sasuke's power growing tremendously, though, as a result. Augmenting his stamina, physical power and of course chakra capacity. The look on Sasuke's eyes, which intrigued the Uzumaki, but then again, the obvious smug smile made Sasuke lost in the feeling of what he perceived as his own efforts.

"Congratulations Sasuke…" The Uchiha wondered about what, when Naruto continued. "You wished to be stronger by any means necessary. Unfortunately, it can't be said that it is due to your efforts alone, isn't it?"

"I don't care…I can feel myself getting closer and closer to finally being able to kill him." Sasuke then looked at his hand with glee. "I have been waiting to feel this, for too long."

"Itachi never bothered with any of this, though. He got the level he's in through his skill and his skill alone. He may be a criminal, but he never sank this low for power. What does that say about you?"

Sasuke snarled at the comparison.

"He destroyed my life and you are defending him!? He murdered everyone in my clan and did so with the sole purpose of testing himself, testing his skills. He needs to be killed and I shall be the one to deliver his sentence." Sasuke once more looked at his hands. "With this power in my possession, he shall meet his end." Naruto could feel the madness in Sasuke's tone, alright and his sigh in dismay was loud enough to echo around the waterfall. Perhaps, Tobirama-sensei could have used Sasuke as target practice for his water whip.

"I am at least glad that Sakura and Kakashi-sensei aren't here to see you like this. Perhaps, it's a good thing that you have shown your true colors, Sasuke. It certainly makes my life much easier."

Sasuke responded to that with a vicious smirk and vanished, forcing Naruto to take a step back as the Uchiha had decided to take this up a notch with Taijutsu.

Naruto blocked an incoming attack with his arms as Sharingan eyes met blue ones. At least, this time, Sasuke had not bothered with capturing Naruto in a Genjutsu. It was pointless in the end. He thus attempted to pound Naruto using physical skills augmented by the cursed seal. Naruto could certainly feel the increase in power from the cursed seal as the two engaged in a physical entanglement. Sasuke's Sharingan had certainly given him the edge in anticipating Naruto's movements, but the Uzumaki's sensor capabilities allowed him to know what the Uchiha would do next.

As long as the bastard used chakra to attack, Naruto would never be caught unaware. Against someone like Rock Lee or Gai-sensei, Naruto would be toast, but against Sasuke, he could certainly manage.

As such, it became a regular dance of physical movements on top of the water with blocks, faints, the occasional kunai here and there. When Sasuke got fed up, though, Naruto could feel lightning chakra course through his veins, making the beginning of the Chidori variant that he had seen Sasuke do once. When his body exploded into electrical currents, it was the cue that Naruto needed to make some distance and go through hand seals, in between back flips, before extending his reach towards the water.

Suiton: Hahonryuu no Jutsu (Water Style: Destructive Torrents)

Sasuke saw the rapid torrents travel towards him and quickly went through hand seals of his own.

Doton: Doryuuheki (Earth Style: Earth Style Wall)

He spilled mud on the lake and it soon grew up enough to stop Naruto's attack from reaching him.

Naruto, though, wasn't deterred and charged straight at the earth wall defense with his fist overcharged with wind chakra.

Fuuton: Senpuken (Wind Style: Whirlwind Fist)

The damage done to Sasuke's earth wall was immense that sent the Uchiha flying with the debris cutting scrapes around his limbs. The Uchiha snarled at the level of this fight, quite different from the ones he had usually with Naruto. This time, it was more aggressive, more in terms of Naruto wanting to kill him. The Uzumaki, for his turn, saw the injuries in Sasuke's arms slowly healing itself, probably due to the effects of the cursed seal. Cellular acceleration, spike in chakra capacity, increase in strength and stamina…Orochimaru's creation had truly superseded Naruto's estimations.

"It appears that this level alone won't be enough against you, Naruto."

The Uzumaki had seen Kimimaro going through two levels of cursed seal, but he was too sick to keep it from being too threatening.

Naruto's eyes widened as the cursed seal became corrosive in Sasuke's body, followed by the huge spike in chakra. His body turned dark and his hair elongated. When Sasuke vanished, Naruto only had enough time to use his arm to block the incoming punch from hitting him, which sent the Uzumaki flying straight towards the nearby wall. The Uzumaki was slightly disoriented and even blood left his mouth at the level of strength he wasn't prepared for. Sasuke, however, kept on with the assault, this time fully drunk with the feeling of Orochimaru's power flowing through his veins.

"What…not going to say anything anymore, Naruto…where was that high and mighty Jonin who would pound me into the ground!"

Naruto at this point was abusing his sensor capabilities, but he was barely keeping it together against Sasuke's increased prowess. He could feel the strain on Sasuke's chakra coils with each movement the Uchiha made, but surprisingly enough, it didn't seem to keep the bastard from stopping or feeling the after-effects. Either that or he was pushing his body way past his limitations, not even bothered to think about the aftermath of their entanglement. As such, Naruto opted to play the long game and went through hand seals, just as Sasuke appeared inches from his position.

Fuuton: Shippu Shouheki (Wind Style: Hurricane Barrier)

The Uchiha snarled at the sudden wind force surrounding his opponent.

He already knew this technique, being used on him before, but the speed in which Naruto was able to cast the technique just proved how skilled he was in the art of Ninjutsu.

Still, with the amount of strength Sasuke had right now, Naruto was surprised to see that the bastard was using blunt force to penetrate his wind barrier. His eyes perceived with even more absurdity when strange shaped wings of sorts appeared from Sasuke's back, which was used to keep the wind from holding his position. Naruto had to make more hand seals and strain his chakra coils even more to increase the wind's strength, until it was able to make Sasuke travel like a bullet all the way towards the sole of Madara statue's feet.

The Uchiha wiped the blood from his mouth and smirked at the Uzumaki.

"Yes, Uzumaki…I can hold my own against you now. With this power in my possession, you can no longer defeat me!"

The Uchiha then went through hand seals, before focusing a major onslaught of lightning chakra. Naruto recognized the technique all too well, with the clear indication that Sasuke was gunning for his life. The Uchiha then vanished from his position, shortly after gathering the Chidori in his right hand. Naruto only had a second to go through hand seals, already thinking of the next steps.

Suiton: Suijinheki (Water Style: Water Encampment Wall)

"That won't be enough to save you this time, Naruto!" Indeed, Sasuke had managed to advance passed Naruto's water barrier using his wings and momentum. However, when he was about to pierce Naruto's heart with the Chidori, the Uchiha felt his chakra being invaded. As such, his electrified hand passed through Naruto's afterimage and slammed the wall behind Naruto's former position. The real Naruto observed the giant hole caused by Sasuke's technique and whistled.

"Wow, if that had hit me, I would be in deep trouble." The Uchiha appeared from within the hole caused by his technique and Naruto smirked at the Uchiha's misfortune.

At this point, Naruto felt the insides of Sasuke contract…the chakra pathways began to show signs of fatigue. Plus, the pain the Uchiha was feeling was quite evident.

"You can't keep this up, Sasuke. This cursed seal you're using is hurting you in the long run." Sasuke snarled at both Naruto and at the pain he was feeling right now. The bastard was right…he couldn't keep this up. He could feel his insides burning up, no doubt not used to the feeling of the corrosive chakra. However, his hatred was the only thing keeping up the fuel for this battle. If he couldn't defeat Naruto, then how could he defeat his brother? How will Sasuke avenge his family otherwise? The negative thoughts began crawling in his mind one by one, until it became unbearable.

He wasn't thinking rationally anymore. Right now, nothing matters to him, but to defeat Naruto right here and now.

Naruto could feel the chakra build up as soon as Sasuke let out a scream of pain and anger.

"I won't be defeated here, damn it. I won't!"

Sasuke went through hand seals, gathering as much fire chakra inside his lungs as possible.

Naruto did the same, pumping as much chakra for an A-ranked technique of his own.

Katon: Dai Goukakyuu (Fire Style: Giant Fireball)

Suiton Suiryuudan no Jutsu (Water Style: Water Dragon)

As soon as Sasuke released his technique, the Valley of the End became engulfed by a considerable fire meteor that traveled straight at Naruto's position.

The Water Dragon soon morphed behind the Uzumaki, performing a zig-zag dance upwards in Naruto's protection, before charging to meet the fireball head on.

===With Yuugao===

Uzuki Yuugao and Hyuuga Tokuma had arrived at the precise moment when the two opposite elements collided in the middle.

The two techniques collided in the middle, causing a major steam cloud as a result, covering the entire area for a while, as the two combatants eyed the result of their efforts.

At this point, however, Sasuke was already feeling too much strain on his chakra coils. Naruto, however, was too far to realize that and had decided to make the final move…one that he has been practicing for a long time.

Quickly gathering a single kunai from his holster, the Uzumaki threw the kunai straight at Sasuke. Despite feeling the strain of the battle, Sasuke's Sharingan was still active, hence how he was able to dodge the incoming projectile from killing him. However, his eyes widened into impossible proportions, as soon as Naruto appeared in front of him with his ninjato already wielded. Yuugao and Tokuma both bore witness to the technique being performed, before Naruto's ninjato pierced Sasuke's stomach.

Hiraishin Giri

The amount of blood that erupted from the wound was far too extensive and Yuugao knew that it was a fatal wound carved by her prodigy.

Sasuke had placed his hand to cover the wound in a vague attempt to stop the blood as he spilled blood as well.

His eyes saw Naruto's back as his opponent's sword was dripping with Sasuke's blood. The Uzumaki's expression was stone cold as he came to grips with his actions, needed as they were. He turned to eye the downed opponent, knowing that Sasuke didn't have much time in this life. However, Naruto wasn't done with his assignment and approached to deliver the final blow that would finish the job. His sensor capabilities, added by Tokuma's warning, impeded the blond from being skewered as a never-ending number of white snakes erupted from the water, surrounding Sasuke's downed body.

Naruto watched as Orochimaru appeared in front of him. Yuugao and Tokuma soon joined with Naruto, while Yakushi Kabuto kneeled behind Orochimaru to use Medical Ninjutsu on Sasuke. The Uzumaki could see plain as day the level of Medical Ninjutsu being used to save Sasuke from certain death.

"Well…well…well, Uzumaki Naruto…" The snake Sannin licked his lips in anticipation for the future as he saw the exquisite display of abilities, not to mention the drive to do what needed to be done. "Quite vicious indeed. I was wondering why everyone was taking this long, but it was because of you. And to deliver the killing blow like you did. I just couldn't hope for a better outcome. Sasuke now will be more driven, no doubt about it. I am quite eager to see what you two shall accomplish!" Orochimaru was smirking the entire time, while he awaited Kabuto's diagnosis.

"We managed to reach him in time, Orochimaru-sama. He had suffered extensive wounds from the attack, but he will live."

The snake Sannin chuckled as his eyes had never left the Uzumaki's.

"Let's go then…Kabuto."

Naruto, Yuugao and Tokuma then only observed as the snakes vanished from their position. Naruto had released a sigh in dismay at his mission being a failure in the end. He returned the sword back to the scabbard and turned to Tokuma and Yuugao. The former ANBU captain looked at his eyes and gave her prodigy a subtle nod. Tokuma, for his part, looked at the Uzumaki with a new light. The Hyuuga had understood that Sasuke, being in the same class as Naruto, that the recently promoted Jonin would be hesitant to commit the final deed.

Of course, the Hyuuga had no way of knowing just whom had tutored the young Jonin.

Author Note

Ok, that's it for now.

For those wondering, indeed, I had used the battle between Tobirama and Uchiha Izuna that finished the same way. It was always my intention to create this next generation battle. I was struggling at first to know how Naruto would deal with Sasuke. In this story, Naruto has no real qualms with the Uchiha, other than the fact that he keeps demanding spars. However, he also had Tobirama as a sensei, a man who believed first and foremost that a mission takes priority.

In the end, Naruto killing Sasuke (even if Orochimaru had appeared to save him) who had become a traitor was the only possible path, at least in my opinion. I had other ideas, but went for this one in the end. Placing Sasuke's teammates into the mix was an idea, but I opted to place them in the next chapter, once they find out what happened and demand answers from Naruto.

As to Danzo and Hiruzen's fight, I had decided on a different path, which shall be revealed later on.

So, next chapter, I shall deal with the Arc's aftermath, with a special conversation I have in mind with two relatives. Props for the readers who figure it out.

Lastly, I have recently created a P-atreon account for those who wish to follow my stories more personally, sending suggestions and occasional polls to help me.

Also for those who wish to make a pledge there, it will be highly appreciated.

P-atreon Account: Anime-Enthusiast

Next update: Avalon Bond