The Abandoned Maelstrom

Chapter 1

Uzumaki Naruto stared at the grey haired genin kneeling on the ground before him, even as the older boy began relating his information about the different candidates taking the exam. He wasn't really paying attention. His mind was focused on passing this exam and taking the next step in his goal of becoming Hokage.

"There's also a special team from the Leaf in this exam as well," the boy, Kabuto said, "A trio from the Fire Lord's personal body guards, the Uzumaki Clan."

Naruto's head whipped around so fast the Rookie Nine thought his head would pop off. "What…clan…did you say?" he asked, growling out his words as his hands clenched tight.

"The Uzumaki clan," he replied, looking into the azure eyes of the short genin, "Yeah, I can see how you'd have an…issue…about that."

"Naruto, I thought you were an orphan!" Sakura hissed, angry that the loudmouthed member of her team would withhold something like this. His gaze snapped to her, and she almost flinched at the anger burning within them.

"I am an orphan," he replied, his voice taking a hard edge that caused nearly everyone to flinch. "I share the same surname with that clan. Nothing else." He noticed Hinata giving him a concerned look. "I'd really rather not talk about it right now." His face broke into his usual cocksure grin. "C'mon, we got a test to pass! Dattebayo!"

Across the room a trio of genin with the same azure eyes glanced over at the rookie group.

"So," the leader of the trio said, running a hand through his short black hair, "That's Kanna-nee-san's brother."

"He looks ridiculous with that orange jumpsuit," a girl with purple hair in a page-boy cut muttered, "No wonder the clan cast him out. I bet he's nothing compared to you, Taro-kun."

"Ninja rule #5; Never underestimate an opponent," the tallest of the trio said, his white hair bound in a simple 'samurai' style que. The effect was enhanced by the daisho he kept tucked into his obi. "The outcast is here for a reason. Do not forget what we were told about, Reika-chan."

"Oh relax, Kenosuke," she replied, "He's no threat. Didn't you hear that stupid proclamation he made earlier? I bet he doesn't even pass this first part."

"Kenosuke is right, Reika-chan," Taro replied. "Don't underestimate him. Remember, he's supposedly been trained by your sister, remember?"

"I have no sister," Reika replied, "Yuugao cut her ties with the Uzuki and broke fellowship with the Uzumaki. She's dead to us."

"But she was and is ANBU level," Kenosuke replied, "If she has been teaching him, he could be a real challenge…and don't forget what Kosuke-sama said. Uzumaki Naruto is a monster. I recommend avoiding him until we learn know more."

"Agreed," Taro replied, "Besides, even if we can't beat him, she can !"

Naruto sat next to Hinata, his mind going back to the day he'd been left behind. Has it really been eight years since that day? he thought as the test papers began being handed out. I had all but forgotten about them. Has it really been that long…since I started hating them?

His hand tightened around his pencil in anger, before he heard the voice of the shy girl next to him.

"Ano, Naruto-kun…" Hinata spoke up, getting his attention, "Lets…do our best!" She smiled at him.

"Yeah!" he replied, smiling back at her. The Uzumaki clan can wait , he thought. He didn't want to make Hinata worried.

Like they thought about me…they're unimportant.

Break

The trio that comprised Team Seven knelt on the forest floor. The brief encounter with the Ame (Rain) nin had been a bit of an eye opener to the group. The bound and gagged ninja that was lying unconscious several meters away gave testament to a fact that both Sasuke and Sakura had never really acknowledged before;

Naruto was stronger than he let on.

They had been travelling through the forest in search of an earth scroll when they were ambushed by the rain shinobi. Sasuke had taken one of them engaging hm battle and Sakura was busy cheering him on. When he finished his battle, they both turned to see the other rain shinobi but had their jaws dropped when they saw that Naruto had already defeated them both and taken the scroll which was thankfully the Earth scroll. They both noticed that something off with Naruto. This Naruto as opposed to the one they knew had a completely different posture, as if a whole new person. They don't know why but they saw that he had been acting strange ever since the beginning of the exams.

"Naruto how did you .." Sakura asked, but was interrupted.

"Shut up, its none of your business." Naruto said.

To say both his teammates were shocked would be an understatement. They never would have thought that Naruto would talk in such manner and to Sakura of all people none the less. They would have said more but they saw that he had already left in the trees, and quickly followed after, though Sakura was quite sad as evident with her face.

As they were running through the trees they suddenly had to dodge a hail of kunai, they crouched at the floor and looked around for the enemy. The trio made to stand up, only to find themselves seemingly pinned down under a murderous chakra. "Na-Nani?" Sakura asked, her voice trembling, "What…what is this chakra?"

Naruto was the only one of the three who was able to make it to his feet. "Sasuke," he growled out, even as he strained himself against the killer intent permeating the air, "Can…you see…who's…doing this?" Sasuke managed to nod, motioning with his eyes to the far left. Naruto, with great force of will, managed to pull out a kunai, and glared at the area Sasuke had indicated. "Who…ever…you are…come on…out! I'm…gonna…kick your…ass!"

"Kukukukukuku," a silky sounding voice carried through the clearing they were in. "Impressive, Naruto-kun…not many chuunin or even jounin are capable of shrugging off my Kanashibari no jutsu. You definitely inherited the stubbornness of your mother's clan." The pale Kusa-nin from the start of the exam walked into view, smirking at the obviously enraged blond. Sasuke and Sakura were surprised at the level of anger Naruto emitted at the mention of the word 'mother'. "I'm sure Kagura-dono would be most…pleased…at your obvious improvement."

Naruto smirked. "Oh no, suddenly I'm respectable!" he laughed, surprising his teammates, while making 'subtle' motions to Sasuke to break the jutsu. "I guess I'll just have to put dye in the ladies hotsprings again."

Sakura blanced, then scowled at the blond. "THAT WAS YOU!?" she cried out, suddenly leaping to her feet as if the Kanashibari had never been cast. Sasuke found himself free as the sudden surge in killer intent from Sakura broke the jutsu holding him down. "NARUTO NO BAKA! INO AND I WERE ORANGE FOR A WEEK!"

Naruto's face fell. "But I thought you looked good like that," he complained, cringing at the expected blow.

The strange enemy chuckled again, before calling out. "As amusing as this is," he spoke up, "Perhaps its time to fight." His hands flipped through a few quick seals, ending on Ryu (dragon) "A new jutsu for you to learn, Naruto-kun…and tell your clan 'Orochimaru' said hello."

"FUUTON; DAITOPPA!" (Wind Release; Great-Breakthrough)

Naruto cried out as the gust of wind crashed into him with all the force of a jackhammer, the impact sending him flying through the clumps of leaves behind him. He vaguely heard Sakura and Sasuke crying out for him, but could do nothing as he flew through the forest.

Meanwhile, Sasuke turned a hard glare at the strange ninja before them. "You'll pay for that!" he growled, the tomoe's of his Sharingan spinning rapidly as if in response to his rage.

His hands blurred faster than he had ever managed before, the tora seal coming naturally to him as he breathed in the air needed for his technique. "KATON: HOUSENKA NO JUTSU!" A series of fireballs flew from his mouth, even as he began tossing shuriken from his thigh-holster into the blasts.

The strange ninja, who had called himself Orochimaru, grinned even as he ran through his own seal sequence. "SUITON: TEPPOU DAMA!" he called out, launching a series of water blasts to cancel the fire out. His eyes widened in almost gleefulness as he noticed the hidden 'second attack' of Sasuke's jutsu. "Impressive!" he called out, even as he dodged the rain of metal. "Your jutsu usage is superb…you really are his brother, aren't you?" He felt a small twinge of disappointment at the sudden look of rage that ghosted across the Uchiha heir's face. The boy's anger could be a problem…but also an advantage for my juin.

Sasuke rushed at the nin, his hands and feet flying in the taijutsu style his clan was famous for.

His form was perfect.

His speed was sublime.

His power was incredible given his age.

It was all so utterly useless.

A swift spin kick sent him flying, crashing down on a limb. Orochimaru smirked, then began to rush towards him…

…only to receive a surprisingly strong kick to his side from the kunoichi he had all but forgotten was there.

"You stay away!" Sakura cried out, her hands flashing through a quick seal sequence, ending on Nezumi. Orochimaru smirked as he recognized the signs of the low level genjutsu, Narakumi no jutsu. He didn't even bother forming the tora symbol, he just surged his chakra and broke the technique before it took hold. He spun around and caught the girl by her neck, lifting her from the ground.

"I'm mildly amused, young flower," he chuckled, staring into her frightened eyes, "That was a superb thrust kick you gave me…I was reminded of my old comrade, Tsunade-hime for a moment there." His grin changed then, and Sakura felt a chill reach deep into her bones. "Yes…you could be useful later as well." His head surged forward, and Sakura's world exploded into a haze of bright color, pain, and then darkness.

Orochimaru chuckled, then cried out as he felt a foot lodge itself in his stomach. He glanced down, noting the fact that Sasuke had once again managed to stand, and his Sharingan was blazing in fury. Excellent…his Uchiha blood has begun to boil…the potential of this boy is staggering.

The force of the kick hurled him across a gap between trees, and he grunted as his back was introduced to a particularly hard oak. He felt himself sliding briefly, before a sudden tightness across his chest forced him to come aware. He grimaced as he saw the wires trapping his arms against his sides, even as he noticed Sasuke plant a triple set of kunai into the limb he was standing on. The wires ran to the circlets on the blades, and Orochimaru couldn't help but be awed by what was happening.

Even Itachi didn't master this until after he was two years older than Sasuke! he thought, The Sharingan Windmill Triple Attack!

Sasuke paid the sudden grin on the enemy ninja's face no mind as he ran through the seal sequence for his most powerful Katon jutsu. His hands paused on the final two seals, ryu and tora, gathering and focusing the chakra even as he inhaled a deep breath.

"KATON: RYUHA NO JUTSU!" he cried out, exhaling and blowing the giant surge of flame at the bound enemy. What he didn't expect was another voice to call out a jutsu as well.

"FUUTON: ATSUGAI!" A surge of wind raced through the dragon's flames, fanning them and causing them to surge. The flames raced along the wires, rushing over and around the bound Orochimaru who screamed in pain as the nearly white-hot fire surged around him.

Sasuke turned to where the winds had come from…and he breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Naruto standing there next to Sakura, his hands still clasped together in the ryu seal, signifying his completion of a futon technique. Once again, Sasuke had to wonder just how strong his teammate really was.

He noticed something then – which strangely enough – chilled him even more deeply than Orochimaru had.

Naruto's strange 'whisker' marks were darker now, and wider than before. His mouth horribly calm. It was his eyes, however, that were the most disturbing; gone was the crystalline blue the blond was famous for…instead, those blue eyes that usually held some illusion of idiotic happiness and cluelessness, his eyes were cold…and filled with fury. It was as if a whole new person was standing in front him.

"You will pay! " the blond growled at spot where Orochimaru had been. Sasuke turned, and almost gasped at the sight.

The man was practically unscathed, but his face…it was almost melting off!

"Indeed," the man replied, his right hand sliding over his hitai-ate, revealing an 'Oto' symbol instead of the 'Kusa' one as before. "A test really…and I must admit, all three of you are impressive. I think the Uzumaki clan will be most intrigued to learn of your strength, Naruto-kun." His eyes, now revealed to be golden and slitted like a snakes, were practically dancing with sadistic mirth. "I see you really are good with your clan's skills, you will indeed make a formidable opponent one day." But what is this murderous chakra? I know the ninetails power…this is like it, but its still human-like…what is this rage?

Sasuke gasped as the strange ninja suddenly appeared before Naruto, his tongue wrapped around the boy and holding him aloft. His left hand lifted Naruto's orange jacket up, revealing the boy's stomach, and a strange black image that was upon it.

"Yes, I see…" Orochimaru mused as he studied the seal, "So this is the sealing array Arashi-kun used. I've never seen one so complex before…really, such things are more Jiraiya's specialty than my own. In time, once you truly learn to control the power of the Kyuubi, you'll be stronger than me…but for now, you're merely in my way."

His right hand began to glow, as purple flames danced along his fingertips. "FUIN JUTSU: GOGYO FUIN!" He cried, thrusting his hand into Naruto's stomach, causing the boy to scream in pain. Sasuke watched in horrified fascination as Naruto's face reverted to the state it was normally, before the blond slipped into unconsciousness.

"WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM!?" the dark haired boy cried out.

"A simple seal, my boy," the sadistic ninja chuckled, before he vanished and then re-appeared behind the stunned Uchiha scion. Sasuke cried out as he felt a painful stab in his neck, before a burning and gut-wrenching sensation began washing over him. "Now your seal, on the other hand…well, when you want to know more about it, come see me." He vanished, leaving Sasuke to his cries of pain.

He screamed for a long time.

Break

Sometimes, she missed her country. Oto was a good place to become strong, but it lacked the wild mountains of Tsuchi no Kuni.

Instead, she chose to defect, and so got saddled with two…idiots.

She glanced at her teammates, fighting the urge to snort at Zaku's bluster and Dosu's sadism. Being one of the few kunoichi in Oto, she often found herself garnering the unwanted attentions of the men in from the village, though the pair before her could hardly be called men.

She idly recalled the few days she had actually been an Iwa Kunoichi – in her home country kunoichi were rarely ever allowed out in the field unless it was on an espionage or a 'seduce and destroy' mission. She would likely have been trained as a courtesan for the Earth Daimyo's court or for some high end brothel for the visiting dignitaries.

The thought made her want to puke.

She knew her younger sister Himitsu was likely now serving as a whore in her place, but the brat had never been someone she cared about anyway. As far as Tsuchi Kin was concerned, watching out for herself was all that mattered. That was why she escaped with Tayuya and Karin when they had fled; she would not sully herself just because the Tsuchikage was a misogynistic pig.

When Orochimaru had found them, and took them in, it was almost like a dream. Finally, they were being taught how to be true ninja, and not porcelain dolls. Karin had demonstrated great skill at medicine, and was rushed into the new medic-nin program. Tayuya, as the strongest, had earned a place with the Sound Four's genjutsu specialist.

Kin had shown a real talent at hand to hand combat and marksmanship, making her the perfect front line fighter.

Still , why did I have to get bandage-boy and Mr. Blowhard as teammates? she bemoaned to herself. Zaku's air cannon arms certainly made up for the lack of skill he had in all other areas (like brains for instance), and Dosu's Melody arm was useful for many different things, but his sadistic yet overly cautious nature held them all back. He took his time gauge any advantage an opponent might have, but would torment them for too long once he was sure he had their number. That guy is going to get himself killed soon. I just hope I'm there to see it.

"We have a visitor," Dosu spoke up suddenly. Zaku immediately was on guard, his chakra surging through his arms even as Kin pulled a group of senbon from her thigh pouch.

"Kukukuku…I see your sense of hearing continues to grow stronger, Dosu-kun," a silky voice came from the darkness. Kin had to forcibly repress the shudder that wanted to crawl up her spine. Somehow, Orochimaru's voice always made her shiver…and it was never in a good way.

"Orochimaru-sama!" Zaku exclaimed, dropping on one knee. Kin barely resisted snorting again.

Brown noser, she thought.

"At ease, Zaku-kun," the snake sannin chuckled, "I have a job for the three of you…a mission different than what I told you that you'd be doing before."

Kin frowned at that. "You said we were to kill that Uchiha kid, Orochimaru-sama," she spoke up, "What's changed? I thought you wanted him gone."

Orochimaru smirked at the dark haired girl. It should be interesting to see her reaction to this information, he thought. "The presence of the Uzumaki clan in these exams has altered my plans somewhat," he replied, "I need you three to gauge the abilities of the three Uzumaki from the Fire capital. I have already dealt with Sasuke and his team…they are worthy of living. The other three however…well, Kin-chan I should think you'd enjoy tormenting them more than anyone here."

"Why would Kin want to hurt them, Orochimaru-sama?" Dosu asked, glancing at his female teammate.

"Kin-chan is originally from Tsuchi no Kuni," the sannin elaborated, "I understand your father died in battle against the Yondaime Hokage, correct?"

"Yes," Kin acknowledged warily, "What does that have to do with these Uzumaki brats?"

"The Yondaime was a member of the Uzumaki clan through marriage," he answered, drawing a sharp gasp from the girl. Hook, he thought. "The Uzumaki are always proud to proclaim how he thrashed that legion of Iwa-nin in the last great battle."

The girl's hands clenched tightly, and a drop of blood made its way down her palm from thanks to her nails piercing the skin. Line.

"I know for a fact that the clan heir, Uzumaki Taro, is the nephew of the Yondaime's widow Kagura," he continued, "He's well trained, but lacks actual battle experience…"

"Then I'll be happy to give him some," Kin finished, her heart warming at the thought of causing the family of her father's murderer pain.

Sinker. "Don't eliminate them," he instructed, "I want to see them in the finals…I have my own grudge against the Uzumaki clan, and a plan is already set to truly make them hurt. You'll see what I mean in the next stage." His hands came together in the hitsuji symbol, before he vanished in a plume of purple flame. "Remember…they can be hurt, but not eliminated…I want them to suffer…"

Kin glanced at her teammates. "Let's find those punks," she all but growled out, "For once, I'll be the sadistic one…I want their blood."

Zaku and Dosu nodded, the former smirking while the latter merely patted his gauntlet. The three exchanged a brief nod, before leaping into the trees.

They had a mission to complete.

Cut