Disclaimer: First Chapter
"That was a good round, and you avoided showing off your skills." Erza spoke to Naruto as he slowly walked up the steps to the competitors box. She wanted him to hang back a little, so that they could have a good conversation while the next match was going on.
"Yeah, don't want to show off too much right now at least... I'll need to keep this a secret." Naruto didn't state his real reason out loud.
"Afraid of becoming more feminine too?"
"I don't like to think about that!" Naruto shouted at Erza, since he purposely avoided saying that for a reason. He would have liked that she not mention it, since he didn't want to think about the changes his body went through and how using her magic seemed to speed up the changes and the rate they were happening.
"The match between Gaara and Uchiha Sasuke will be delayed until later, next up is Kankuro of the Sand vs Aburame Shino."
"Phew." Naruto sighed in relief that Sasuke wasn't in danger at the moment. That meant that he was still running super late for the exams, and he could only grin as a second thought entered his head.
There was no way Sasuke could get promoted for showing up this late, no matter how well he did in the fight.
"Kankuro forfeits the match, Shino Aburame wins by default!"
"Eh?" Naruto hurried up when he was walking, and he finished climbing the stairs. He entered the competitor's box, and saw Kankuro lowering his hand. Shino was staring at the same with a displeased look about him, since his face wasn't really visible at the moment. He just felt like he was greatly annoyed by this.
"You're late getting back up here Naruto."
"You were looking forward to that fight, weren't you?" Naruto asked Shino with a raised eyebrow. Since Kankuro surrendering meant that he wasn't going to be fighting his first opponent.
"The match between Temari of the Sand and Nara Shikamaru will begin now."
"Yeah, I forfeit too!" Shikamaru raised his hand and loudly called out. "I don't believe my chances of victory are high enough to fight!"
(Funny Note: Shikamaru planned to forfeit before the match in canon, but Naruto pushed him into the arena)
"... What the hell Shikamaru-" Naruto was stopped when Erza floated in front of him, and shook her head at him. Naruto frowned a little when he saw that she was sending Shikamaru an analytical look, as if trying to figure out the reason he would just forfeit like that. Naruto wanted to push Shikamaru off the edge of the box, and force him into the arena to prove himself, but Erza's stern look was telling him that he should respect Shikamaru's choice. "-fine. Lazy asshole." Naruto grumbled.
"Since very little time has passed, the next match will be Uzumaki Naruto vs Aburame Shino! Will both Genin come down to the arena? I highly suggest against forfeiting, this crowd does not look pleased."
"That's fine by me." Naruto stated to himself as he jumped out of the box and landed smack dab in the middle of the arena, next to the proctor of the exam.
Shino landed on the ground nearby him.
"I planned on facing Kankuro, and either Shikamaru or Temari as my first or second opponents, with Gaara as my final opponent. This is a change of plans I did not see coming. Lets see how much you've improved since the academy then." Shino extended his hand towards Naruto, as a show of respect towards him.
Naruto reached out.
"Wait, you said this guy has bugs in his body, he must be planning on planting them on you." Erza warned Naruto.
Naruto hesitated for only a second, before he grasped Shino's hand anyway.
"I trust Shino won't start the fight before the match, we're both Leaf Ninja after all." Naruto stated with a giant grin, and Shino seemed taken aback for a second. He removed his hand from Naruto, before he gave him a short bow. "... Wait... you didn't even consider that you would be fighting me... like at all?" Naruto asked Shino, just to be sure.
"I didn't believe it possible you would defeat Neji."
"I'M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS!" Naruto shouted as he pointed at Shino and boldly declared his challenge to the insect using ninja. He hadn't caught that when he first said it, so he had been too nice to Shino. Erza snorted, and laughed a little at how it took that much time for Naruto to catch what Shino had said.
"Unlike Neji, you said this boy fights at a range, so keep in close. Wait, then his bugs will get you... you know what, just wing it." Erza didn't know how she was going to help him plan a strategy for this fight. All she knew was that Shino was good at long range with his bugs from Naruto, but she didn't know much else about his techniques.
Naruto took a deep breath.
"... Yeah... I figured not a lot of people would have believed I could defeat Neji."
"Not true, not even for a second did Hinata believe Neji would defeat you." Shino explained to Naruto, and Naruto grinned.
He knew he liked Hinata for a reason.
"SHADOW CLONE JUTSU!" Naruto shouted as he jumped backwards, Shino raising his arms as hordes of insects came out of his sleeves and out from under any part of his clothes possible. Naruto kicked off on the clone and let the bugs pop the clone by capturing it and feeding on it's chakra.
He couldn't afford to hold back Erza's magic against Shino, since he hadn't made any sort of plan against his insects.
Naruto's hand glowed golden as the Flame Empress Armor appeared on his arm, and the sword that came with it appeared in his hand. He lit the sword on fire with powerful magical flames, and Shino seemed to only be surprised for a brief moment by the reveal of an unknown ability. The crowd and those who knew Naruto were far more surprised by it though.
"Good choice Naruto, fire will beat insects every time!" Erza complimented the idea.
Shino drew a kunai as Naruto slashed a path open between them through the insect army, and they surrounded Naruto. Shino blocked the sword with his kunai, and Naruto let go of the sword and crossed his fingers as he lashed out with his foot. A wall of bugs came out of Shino's clothes and protected him from the attack, as a clone of Naruto appeared and grabbed onto the Flame Empress sword and swung it down at Shino.
'My insects can sense chakra, if he uses the same type of plan against me that he used against Neji, then I will have the advantage.' Shino didn't say his thoughts out loud though. Since that would reveal to Naruto that there was a version of his possible plans that could fail him quickly if he used them.
He dodged to the left as the sword swung down where he was, and he slugged Naruto across the face and knocked him into his clone. The clone popped as Naruto landed on his feet, and grabbed his sword.
Naruto rubbed his jaw a little.
"... You're got less strength than Kiba, and you're pretty slow." Naruto muttered under his breath. In Taijutsu, he had a clear advantage against Shino. Shino's punch was worse than even his own punches, and his strengthand speed were lower than his as well. Shino was not a close range fighter, and it showed. He never paid attention much to Shino at school, but in Taijutsu at school Shino was one of the people that he was ranked higher than.
He needed to get in close, and overwhelm Shino.
Naruto stabbed Erza's sword into the ground.
He needed to be faster than Shino's bugs too.
"Fox, time to pay some rent..." Naruto whispered to himself, but in his head he was practically screaming it. In a prolonged fight where Shino was able to keep him at a distance, he might not do too well. At the same time, with his flaming sword he could potentially make Shino forfeit by killing enough of his bugs.
Shino was his ally though, another leaf ninja.
He needed to end this fight without crippling Shino's ability to stay a Genin, and he had the perfect trump card to do it.
"HAAAAAAH!" Naruto felt a flood of powerful chakra enter his system, and massive amounts of red chakra burst out of his body. They formed tails of energy that came from his stomach, and he could hear some screams of shock and surprise coming from the audience.
Shino was trembling a little.
'His chakra is pure evil... my insects are terrified of this foul, poison-like chakra in the air.' Shino was shocked when he saw Naruto unleash a second thing that he had never showed in the academy. Naruto's chakra was so powerful and mighty that it was visible. Shino looked up into the booths and saw Gaara.
His chakra was even more powerful and foul than Gaara's chakra, and Gaara was an completely monster who slaughtered humans just because he could.
The cloak wrapped around Naruto, and he wore the red chakra like a flaming aura as it surrounded his full body lightly.
"You're not confident in close combat, are you Shino?" Naruto asked Shino with a grin on his face.
Faster than even the average Shinobi's eyes could see, Naruto was gone from view and Shino turned around and saw Naruto standing on the wall of the arena. He quickly pulled out several kunai and shuriken and threw them as hard as he could towards Naruto.
They only hit the wall when Naruto vanished from view and appeared in front of him.
'He's gotten faster, he's as fast as Rock Lee was!' Shino thought as he raised his hands up.
Everyone in the audience was now fully paying attention to Naruto.
His insects actually avoided even touching Naruto, and just as he was about to get punched in the face Shino raised both of his hands up into the air as he jumped backwards away from Naruto.
"I see no viable way for victory, I forfeit the match."
Yes, he had no method for victory anymore, at least not one that wouldn't leave him far too weakened against his future opponents. Naruto had that sword for long range attacks, and the chakra he was wrapped with was far too foul and poisonous for his insects to devour. Naruto was faster and stronger than he was, and though they had similar skills in Taijutsu, Naruto was far more of a Taijutsu fighter than he was to the point that in close range he had no chance against Naruto in these current conditions.
He was no fool.
"Come on! Three forfeits in a row, that's cheap as hell!" Naruto shouted as he dropped his control over the chakra and it left his body easily enough.
"You still win, so should you complain?" Shino asked Naruto.
"Of course, I wanted to fight you and beat you fair and square! You're really strong, and beating you would have meant something! Sure, I don't have any grudges against you like I did with Neji, but I needed to punch you in the face considering you punched my face." Naruto would have showed the bruise Shino gave him, but his body had already healed from the bruise after using the kyuubi's chakra.
A forfeit was a cheap victory.
"That's fine, but I would rather not get hurt fighting a losing battle. There is no rational reason to keep fighting you now." Shino could understand why Naruto was emotional.
Naruto made his armored arm go back to normal, and the sword went with it as he pouted at Shino in an angry way. He wanted to finish the fight all the way, not simply show he was better than Shino and have his opponent forfeit.
Erza calmed Naruto down by sending him a shrug.
"... Fine, I guess it doesn't matter... this puts me closer to fighting Gaara or Sasuke I guess." Naruto understood Shino's desire to stay safe, since he himself wished that Sasuke would forfeit against Gaara.
"... According to Hinata, you visit Ichiraku a lot. To make up for forfeiting, I'll buy you a single bowl there later... also... thanks for trusting me not to take advantage of the handshake earlier. In all honesty, I planned on putting my insects on you. This is a sorry for that as well." Shino didn't mention that the way that Naruto put faith in him for being his ally meant a lot to him, and he couldn't take advantage of Naruto's pre-fight kindness to give himself an advantage.
Very few people ever trusted him or gave him a chance.
Naruto's second match ended in victory.
Please Leave Me Lots of Nice Long Reviews, But No Flames Please!
1. Shikamaru actually did plan on forfeiting against Temaru before the match, but Naruto pretty much did force him to compete.
2. People like to call Naruto the worst at Taijutsu, but Naruto was actually ranked higher than a good number of his classmates in Taijutsu. Shino was one of the people who were physically slower and weaker than Naruto, who had about his Taijutsu skills.