Chapter 9

The final exams started off with a bang, literally. Some fool had arraigned for a lightning wielder to fight a Water-Nin, the ensuing battle nearly fried them both. Then Maki took on the Genjutsu user. The young puppeteer was quickly disoriented by his opponent's illusions of horrific beasts, until he finally remembered to just close his eyes and feel with his Chakra, something Kidoumaru doubted he'd learned from the same fool who'd bungled his student's wilderness survival skills, and gave his opponent a rather quick and painful, but fortunately non-lethal, puppet show. After his victory he turned and saluted his idol, Kankurou, who nodded his approval. Next came an Oto-Nin who used a combination of wind and water techniques to deluge a clearly outmatched earth user, leaving the battlefield a muddy mess.

Then the real circus began.

Hiro stood impassively in the middle of the field, looking his opponent over. The boy was wiry and deceptively strong, but Hiro, and his friends and family, were much more concerned with his companion. While the Inuzuka clan used dogs and the Aburame clan bugs, this boy's clan thought much bigger, he was standing side by side with a lion.

Kidoumaru frowned, Bread and circuses, it's the bad old days all over again. What's next, a little throat-cutting while we wait between matches?

The boy, Anji, looked ever wilder than the Inuzukas, and he wasted no time. As soon as the match was called he and his companion used the All-Fours-Jutsu, making, in affect, two wild animals, rushing in on all fours toward Hiro, who simply stood his ground. The beasts pounced, and Hiro vanished beneath them. The crowd jumped to it's feet to see, but when the pair pulled back, Hiro was gone, vanished into the earth. The boy clearly had no idea of Hiro's abilities, and stared stupidly at the ground before wildly sniffing the air and looking about. By the time he realized the truth, large, thick vines burst from beneath them, it was only their animal agility that prevented their capture. Hiro appeared from the wall to the left of the pair, and the one to the right, until there were a fair dozen of them. Anji might not have understood Leech-All-Creation, but he understood Kage-Bunshin-No-Jutsu. He immediately honed in on Hiro's scent, leaping toward the real one, only to collide with the wall. Hiro appeared behind them, snaring the boy as the lion lept for his throat, only to find empty air. Hiro learned fast, he'd sent out vines with his scent along with his shadow clone, instantly both were captured by the strong vines. They struggled, snarled and clawed desperately at the vines, to no avail. For a moment Kidoumaru feared that Hiro might kill them, but as soon as he was declared victor the vines dropped away.

Anji look at Hiro in confusion, "Why didn't you kill me? I would have killed you."

Hiro just looked at him, "You're not an enemy, just competition. If I killed you, it would be murder."

Kidoumaru smiled proudly, Didn't shed a drop of blood.


Next match was Kai and the Weapons Specialist, the Konoha Genin sent a quick burst of electricity through his opponent's metal weapons, leaving her unconscious. The crowd's mood turned when Kotaro faced off against one of Honshu's companions. Several fled the stadium in terror as he summoned a monstrous demon to fight his opponent, who also ran terrified from the stadium. The Flutist from Sunagakure rolled his eyes and played a few calming notes after dismissing the Doki, keeping everyone from a stampede. Kidoumaru wasn't surprised when Tayuya started laughing her tail off at the cowards who'd ran away...

Several more went by, including Konohamaru and Sousuke, both of whom rewarded Kidoumaru's faith with victory.

Then, it was Kidoumaru's turn.

He stepped into the arena, trying to ignore the crowd, distraction was the last thing he needed now. Masaki stood at ready, he knew Kidoumaru's history and reputation, and was taking no chances. As soon as the match started, the arena began to fill with fog, and Kidoumaru took the initiative, rushing into the fog and pummeling Masaki with lightning quick blows. Masaki immediately pulled his trump card, electrifying the fog around them.

Sakura screamed when she heard Kidoumaru's scream of pain, and moved to jump into the arena, but was held back. Shikamaru and his parents looked on in horror as the fog began to clear. A sudden breeze washed the fog away, and Sakura couldn't help but cheer. Kidoumaru, burnt but very much alive, was holding the unconscious Masaki up by the throat. He simply dropped him to the wet sand and turned, giving Sakura a 'Good Guy' pose, before falling to his knees. Sakura and the entire Nara clan rushed forward as Kidoumaru struggled to his feet, Shikato picked him up and carried him into the medical building.

Kidoumaru turned a bit to see Masaki being carried in on a stretcher. "I guess I won, then?"

"Yeah, you were the last one standing. Congratulations, you're a Chuunin."

They laid him on a bed and Sakura the process of healing his injuries, Chakra flowing from her hands. "How do you feel?"

"Like I said, babe, I always feel good when you touch me." He grinned, then lost consciousness.


It was a few days before Kidoumaru was able to leave the hospital, his burns healed quickly due to a combination of excellent care and his own massive Chakra. All of his students had survived and passed the exams, and he was beaming with pride.

"Hey, Kidoumaru."

He turned to Sakura.


"Since you're a Nara now, does that make your name 'Nara Naraku Kidoumaru?'"


Kabuto stepped outside of the Akatsuki headquarters to enjoy the sunlight. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining brightly in the sky, the birds were singing and a man on a giant clay bird was dropping something...

Kabuto barely had time to blink before his ticket to Hell was punched 'First Class'.

Pein stepped outside to investigate, "What the Hell... Deidara!"

He looked up to see the artist smirking down at him, "You shouldn't a' made me join, un! Nobody makes a slave of me, un!" A flock of elegant clay birds rushed down around Pein, "Katsu!" The resulting explosion not only killed Pein, but leveled half of Akatsuki headquarters. Deidara circled his work proudly, "Not bad, not my greatest work, but satisfying, un."

As Deidara flew off towards Iwagakure, Zetsu emerged from the rubble and walked over to the remains of the arrogant Akatsuki leader and the vile traitor.

"Hmmm... Crispy."

"I always wondered how Pein would taste!"

The End.