(Outside the Forest of Death)
"Ok children!" Anko called out. All the children had the time to go do whatever they wanted, if it was to see their parents or train some more, they were all definitely determined to head in and begin the second part of the exam. "I hope you're all ready! It's a good day to die!" She smiled evilly.
Almost everyone shuddered at her words.
"Now, because we can't have other nations hating us if their little Genin's die, you need to sign these waivers saying that you understand that you can die in this place." Anko lifted up a sheet of paper, "Now, all you line up so you can get one of these!"
The children all obeyed and got in a line to grab their paper.
Kiba who was in front of the other two members of his team exclaimed, "I can wait to do this! We'll kick the others teams asses!"
"Kiba-kun, maybe you shouldn't say that?" Hinata nervously asked, looking around at all the faces glaring at the dog-like child.
Shino nodded, "Kiba, you're probably not stupid enough to realize that all these teams are our competition, and if we provoke them, we may have to fight more than necessary." He pushed up his sunglasses and added, "We'd have too many extra scrolls."
The other teams lessened their glares, fearing what Shino could do, and looked forward to getting their waivers and entering the forest.
"I wonder where Sasuke-kun's team is." Ino muttered, looking around in the same line as Kiba and his team, "I wonder if he'll have any part of the second part of the exam."
Shikamaru shook his head, "Who cares, I'm sure they know what they're doing."
"You know more than you're letting on," Ino accused him, "TELL ME!" She grabbed Shikamaru's collar and began to strangle him.
Choji glanced over at the two and shook his head; he was used to his team's antics by now.
Over by the Outskirts of the Forest was team Gai, who were all looking confident. Well, Lee had a complicated look on his face, probably thinking of Sakura, and Neji and Tenten were both preparing their equipment, making sure that they were completely prepared.
Tenten looked over to her two teammates and asked, "You two ready to do this?"
"Of course," Neji nodded, "Most of these people aren't even worthy of being here."
"That's not what it seemed like when we were in the exam room," Tenten noted, "You said something like, 'we're all good enough for this'."
Neji looked troubled, "So I did."
"I hope the angel Sakura-chan is here to see my awesome skills and see that I am much more worthy than the Uzumaki boy! If I fail in that, I will run around the village five hundred times and afterwards I will send her a thousand cards to show my apology!" Fire burned in Lee's eyes during the whole speech.
Tenten looked annoyed and said, "Lee, you do know that Sakura kind of loves Naruto a lot, and the chances of you actually getting her to go out with you are one in a billion."
As if on cue, three figures dropped from the trees above the team, "Sorry I'm a little late Ten-chan!" Sasuke said as he landed next to her, "Ibiki can be… evil once in a while." Sasuke said, rubbing the back of his head.
Lee took one look at Sakura before trying to hug her once more, "Sakura-chan! Please, be with me!" He nearly reached her until she was pulled out of his path. Naruto held her in his hands, and gave Sakura a large kiss on the lips, she noted what he was doing, and gave in easily without much of a fight at all.
"NO!" Lee fell to the ground, "Why must fate do this to me?"
Naruto grinned as he got back from Sakura, "Don't worry Lee, you're a good person, I'm sure someone will eventually see the good in you."
Neji who had been quiet for the whole time finally decided to speak up, "Sasuke. From your records in the exam room Kabuto gave us, you are not Chunin. What is going on?"
"Oh yeah!" Tenten looked Sasuke into the eyes, "Are you going to explain all that stuff Kabuto said in the exam room?"
Sasuke looked around, "Listen, I can't tell you everything, but let's just say that Naruto, Sakura, and I have been trained for years now by a Kakashi. After observing us in the academy he picked us out to be work under him."
"Why did he choose you three?" She asked.
Why do they always ask this? Sasuke thought, but quickly shook his head back to her, "Well, Ten-chan, I don't know. I guess since I'm an Uchiha and he has Sharingan he figured he could teach me."
"What about Naruto and Sakura-chan?" Lee asked, getting interested with the topic as well.
"We're all not sure!" Naruto said, "I mean, who really cares? What has happened has happened. No use trying to make sense of it all." He shook his head at Sasuke, letting the boy know he had his back, to which Sasuke smiled at.
Tenten nodded, "Ok, well. Bye Sasuke, we have to get ready."
Naruto and Sakura both quickly got behind Sasuke and did a small demonstration. Naruto stood in front of her and quickly grabbed her by the waist and pulled her towards him and looked lost in her eyes for a moment before getting into, yet another deep kiss between the two of them.
"I see." Sasuke nodding, take notes of the technique.
Tenten glanced at him, "What?"
Sasuke then walked forward and grabbed her by the waist and pulled her towards him. She looked surprised, but he continued the tactic anyways. Then, once there was no space between them, Sasuke looked deep into her eyes and said, "Please be safe Ten-chan." He then proceeded to kiss her, to which she quickly gave into.
"He's good." Naruto mumbled.
"Exceptionally good!" Lee shouted, writing down his technique in a notepad he suddenly got out of nowhere. "I will use your comrade's move on some woman that will one day become my wife!"
Sakura giggled at his antics, she hadn't seen Lee for so long and it was definitely refreshing to see him act like this once again. Unfortunately for her, Lee took this the wrong way.
"Sakura-chan! Did I make you laugh?" He smiled, "Does that mean you chose me instead of Uzumaki?"
"Sorry Lee," Sakura said, and turned back to Naruto, "I'm still with the 'Uzumaki'." She replied and gave him a small kiss.
Naruto shook his head, "You know, I could definitely get used to having Lee around if it will result in this much kissing."
Before anymore conversation could be had, Anko yelled out, "Ok brats! The test is about to begin shortly, so get over here so I can tell you what to do!"
The teams all walked over, prepared to listen to what she had to say.
"ALRIGHT! Do all of you have a scroll? There is the Heaven and Earth scroll. To pass the second exam, you must get each scroll and make it to the center of the forest within five days. Any later and you lose. Killing IS allowed, and will be enjoyed actually!" She laughed evilly, making the students around her move a few paces away from her, "Also, do not open the scrolls at all, or you'll be in for a nasty surprise!"
Sasuke counted the amount of teams around, "Only thirteen," He muttered, "Only six teams can pass this part. So that means nine fights if no one disqualifies themselves and if all six of the possible teams make it to the building."
Sakura and Naruto both absorbed his information and nodded, "Remember our mission guys," Sakura whispered, to which both Naruto and Sasuke nodded.
Anko gave them a suspicious look before shrugging it off and giving off the rest of the directions. After five more minutes she had Chunin around the place to escort the teams to where they would enter the forest.
"Here we go!" Naruto said, walking towards the rather large gate holding all the beast and things from the forest in front of him.
Before they entered Sasuke began to speak, "If any of you see Orochimaru, flare you chakra, and as much of it as you can possibly get. We'll all need to work together to bring him down, and the huge chakra spike will probably scare off all the Genin in the forest and alert ANBU to our presence."
"Got it." Naruto said.
"Before we go," Sakura said, "Don't do anything stupid if you find him. Go on defensive if you have to engage in combat with him, and do not let him give you the curse seal again." The last part was obviously directed at Sasuke.
He looked down, "Of course, he won't give me that damn thing again. I'll rip his head right off before I have to suffer through that again."
"Good to hear," Naruto said, a smile was evident on his face.
"Okay, we'll head in and be far up in the trees. To be safe and so no Genin will see us, Sakura will use a Genjutsu to make us almost invisible to the naked eye, and afterwards we'll split up once we're a decent way into the forest." Sasuke looked up, "You guy ready?"
The gates rumbled slightly from all the doors opening, and a siren went off, alerting everyone that the second part of the exam had officially begun.
The three looked at each other and nodded; Sakura quickly did some hand seals and concealed them all before they jumped off into the forest, prepared to fight Orochimaru.
(Forest of Death)
Once the three ANBU were a Kilometer into the forest, they split their group. Sakura dropped the Genjutsu, for she couldn't use it from very long distances, and it would be much easier to conceal themselves without two others with them.
Before they left, Naruto shouted out, "Good luck you guys!"
Sakura and Sasuke didn't yell back, and gave Naruto an annoyed look, who only returned it with a wide smile of his own.
Down on the ground Kiba looked and sniffed, "Did you guys hear something?"
"No." Shino said bluntly, "You're just hearing things. Don't make too much noise, there may be other teams within this area, and we could be killed."
"I've spotted someone!" Hinata cried out, completely ignoring Shino's warning. "He has a really powerful chakra though," She said, examining the body some more, "It almost looks… bronze?"
Kiba looked thoughtful, "Bronze chakra? Well, that's different than usual.
"Shall we investigate it then?" Shino asked.
"Why not? We can possibly steal his scroll and-" Kiba was interrupted.
"He's engaging another person in combat. W-we could possibly get two scrolls?" She looked at them questioningly.
Kiba shrugged, "Why not? Let's go guys!" He allowed Hinata to run forth, leading them through as he and Shino followed her to the fight that was about to unfold.
(Deeper in the Forest of Death)
Sasuke landed on another tree branch and looked around. It was almost pitch black where he was, the trees above his head hid most of the sunlight from reaching the forest floor. He could hear many large creatures below him; it was nothing he couldn't handle however.
"Sasuke-kun, So nice of you to join me." Orochimaru's voice seemed to flow with the wind that was beginning to pick up.
Sasuke grabbed a Kunai from his pouch, and activated his Sharingan. "Come out you coward, and fight like a real man!" He put his hands together in a basic seal and flared his chakra like the plan said. Once the signal was out he looked around the see where Orochimaru was.
It will take the other two about seven, maybe eight minutes to reach me. If he doesn't attack this will be very simple. Unfortunately, nothing simple ever occurs with Sasuke, as the tree branch he was standing on suddenly exploded into hundred of small splinters.
He looked down at the darkness below him with his Sharingan activated; he could see the man he had wanted to kill for so long. "Orochimaru! I'm going to kill you!"
"So I've heard," He chuckled slightly, "I see that you have been training quite a bit since you have come back, you shouldn't have stabbed me and used that jutsu boy," Orochimaru glared at him, his yellow eyes the only thing that glowed within the darkness, "It seems that I will have to teach you a lesson in respect once more."
Sasuke looked utterly surprised, his mouth fell open, and he looked on in open shock, "You're back?!" He shouted, "I stabbed you with Kusanagi! How did you come back in time, or even get enough chakra to do it?"
"The men who willingly served my village sufficed, even then they did not have nearly enough chakra as Kyuubi did to send me back as far as you went." He said, "Sasuke, I really didn't like the wound you gave me as a… farewell gift, it was quite painful, one useful thing did come of it." He grabbed the blade from his belt, "The blade you had is now mine once again. I think I'll stab you once, maybe twice, but oh, I can't do that can't I, you might die. But if it lures the Kyuubi here, I might as well do it."
"What do you want with Naruto?"
"He'll become my new container of course!" Orochimaru laughed, "I have been toying with the idea for a long time in the other timeline, but now that I am here, and you have proven yourself far too dangerous to me, I decided I am going to kill you instead, and take the Kyuubi for myself."
"You'll die." Sasuke said, "If you even attempt to take him, the demon would rip you apart."
He shrugged, "Maybe, but the demon is far more powerful than even your eyes. I will do anything to gain ultimate power."
"You're not getting him as your container Orochimaru! Your life ends today!" Sasuke made several hand seals before blowing a large fireball out of his mouth at the person in front of him. Orochimaru simply melted away, it was only a clone made of mud.
Sasuke heard movement behind him, so he quickly jumped away, knowing that no Kunai would be able to hold off the sword Orochimaru was using. The ground Sasuke was standing on mere seconds ago suddenly exploded, making dirt and dust flow everywhere.
"My, Sasuke, you've certainly improved since the last time we met in this forest. I can recall that you were terrified to fight me, now it seems you're eager. How times have changed." Orochimaru laughed as he charged at Sasuke once more.
Sasuke barely dodged the side, he could tell that he wasn't even a match for Orochimaru, and could only hold him off for at most, maybe twenty minutes at most if he didn't get help soon – luckily he knew his friends would be there to help him.
"Pay attention boy!" Orochimaru screamed as he swept the ground Sasuke stood on.
Sasuke flipped over it, and ran back a bit so he could see Orochimaru in front him. He put his hand down and had his other hold onto it, and an electric charge began to form. I can use this technique about ten times before I can't use it anymore. I can't be reckless, two misses are ok, but anymore will be a waste of my stamina.
The electricity began to make a chirping sound, and a large blue hue emitted the area. "You're going to die Orochimaru!" Sasuke shouted as he raised his hand and began to run forward at the man who seemed to just stand there and smirk at his charge.
"Chido-!" Sasuke suddenly was slashed across the back, as the Orochimaru in front of him suddenly melted into mud, and the one behind him had a huge grin on his face. Sasuke suddenly disappeared and a log split in two was in front of Orochimaru.
"I figured I couldn't take you out so easily." Orochimaru sighed; he looked up to where Sasuke was on the side of a tree. He threw several Shuriken and ran at the snake bastard.
He got right up to the man and continued to dodge the sword while he began to do a series of hand seals, when he was completed, he dodged the sword once more and brought his hand to his mouth and shouted, "Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu!" The huge fireball that blew Orochimaru back made him explode into a huge amount of smoke.
"You're going to have to do better than that!" Orochimaru exclaimed as he came down from the trees. He slashed again, which Sasuke yet again dodged, but suddenly he shot snakes from his sleeves and managed to grip Sasuke, and began to drag him forth.
Sasuke struggled with the grip the snakes had on both of his arms. It made it impossible for him to get his hands together to do seals, and he couldn't move his feet at all. Shit! What am I going to do? He thought in panic.
"You know, I was debating whether or not to give this to you, but now that you're in my grasp, without much of a struggle at all, I think I'll give you my Curse Mark and make you suffer before you die." He chuckled as Sasuke looked at him with panic.
Orochimaru extended his head like a real snake once more towards Sasuke, who was reliving the moment from before over again. What to do? AH! He figured something out and smirked. Orochimaru saw it too late, and right when he was about to bite the child, electricity came from all over the body, destroyed the snakes holding the boy, and burning his face, making him retract back to his own body.
"Gah! What the hell is that?" He shouted in anger, holding his face in his hands.
"You don't remember?" Sasuke asked, getting off the ground, "Something I learned while I was with you, a Chidori that can cover my entire body."
Orochimaru glanced up, and simply tore off the skin of his face, replacing it with a new coating. "Of course, how could I forget that?" He looked Sasuke in the eye and said, "Well, child, I can't imagine what I'll do to you now once I exhaust your chakra."
Sasuke glared at Orochimaru and said, "Doubt you have long enough." He then went onto the offensive as Orochimaru jumped back onto a branch of a tree. "Katon: Housenka no Jutsu!" Sasuke shouted, making sure to keep Orochimaru on the run. The multiple fireballs all landed mere centimeters behind Orochimaru as he ran forth, avoiding all of the flames. When he dodged them all, he landed on the ground and looked quite annoyed.
Orochimaru got up and sighed, "Ok brat, now you die!" He jumped at Sasuke and slashed his blade at him several times, but suddenly stopped when he heard a familiar voice coming from above.
Naruto came down doing a series of hand seals making a gust of wind formed around Orochimaru and began to slice him all over. Orochimaru surged his chakra to destroy the technique Naruto had used on him.
"So it seems your friends have come to assist you now boy. But where is the other one?" Orochimaru looked all around.
Suddenly a rumble was felt under him, and as he jumped away the ground he was standing on suddenly was lifted, "Familiar with Doton Jutsus?" Sakura asked as she threw the huge amount of dirt she was holding together with her chakra.
It exploded and created a huge cloud of dust and dirt around the area, concealing everyone.
"Well, now we can't see him, this can't be good." Naruto muttered as he and Sasuke stood next to each other, he held Sasuke's sleeve to make sure they wouldn't get separated.
"Don't worry." Sakura said appearing next to them, "I have my chakra in each bit of dirt in the air; right now we have the advantage." She whispered to them, "Orochimaru is coming at us from the left!"
Orochimaru was expecting to slash right through Sakura, but was surprised when she grabbed the blade of his, the chakra on her hand separating it from cutting her, and punched him as hard as she could in the gut, knocking him in the trees again. "You're just as annoying as Tsunade." He muttered as he got up once more.
Note to self: Ask Sakura how she does the chakra technique with dirt. Naruto thought to himself until Orochimaru's laugh cut his chain of thoughts off.
"HA! You three children think you can actually kill me?" He flew through a set of hand seals and began to shout, "I hope you all are prepared to fight my legion of snakes!" Right when he was about to finish the summoning jutsu, a large wall of sand appeared behind him and engulfed him, causing him to stop the technique he was about to finish.
"No one," Gaara muttered, "No one will kill the ones I am going to kill." He stood on the forest floor, all his sand covering Orochimaru, Temari and Kankuro both looked afraid as they saw the three people, and the one who thought they could take the trio.
Temari looked on, and said, "Gaara, we really shouldn't interfere with their fight."
"Don't tell me what to do, or I'll kill you." He said without even looking at her, he continued to look up at the mass of sand and shouted, "Sabaku Sousou!" The sand around Orochimaru exploded and smoke covered the area where blood should have rained down. Gaara looked more amused than anything else.
Sakura looked afraid, not for herself, but amazingly for Gaara, "Kazekage-." She shook her head, "Gaara! He's way above your league right now! Run away!"
"Did she just say Kazekage?" Kankuro said, disregarding her warning.
"I- I think so," Both of them looked at Gaara, they couldn't even imagine the murderer of a brother they had could ever attain such a position.
Gaara ignored his relatives and said, "You think I am incapable of protecting myself?" He looked around for the man he thought he had crushed, "Now where is he," His sand came back down to him, and slowly circled around him, protecting him from anything that could harm him.
Orochimaru suddenly appeared behind him and stabbed right through the barrier of sand that came up and through the armor of sand Gaara wore.
"Gaara!" Temari shouted, surprised that anything like that could even happen to him.
Gaara's eyes were wide as Orochimaru pulled the blade out of him. He slowly raised his arm up to the wound in his chest and rubbed the blood pouring out of it. "Wha- What is this?" He suddenly felt the pain kick in, and fell on his knees, his scream echoed throughout the forest.
"GAARA!" Naruto tried to run down to him, but Orochimaru got into his way.
"I don't think so boy! You're going to either fight me, or let the kid die!" Orochimaru grinned as Naruto's eyes flared a deep red hue, his professional stance was now gone.
"I'm going to KILL YOU!" Naruto slashed his now formed claws at the man and missed. "Stop running you coward!" He chased Orochimaru through the forest.
Sasuke knew exactly what Orochimaru was planning and shouted, "NARUTO! He's leading you away! He can take us one on one, but if we work together we can beat him!" Naruto didn't even heed his warning. "Shit! Sakura! Heal Gaara, I'm going to help Naruto!"
Sakura looked angered, "What! Why do I have to stay back and do this! I want to help too!"
"You can't!" Sasuke grabbed her shoulders, near shaking her, "Gaara is too important for this timeline, if Orochimaru manages to screw this up you know what can happen!"
Sakura looked down, "You're right." She looked worried, "Make sure Naruto doesn't do anything stupid, ok?"
Sasuke smiled and said, "It's a promise!" He jumped off following Naruto's trail.
"You better keep that one." She muttered. She looked down at the three below her. Gaara had fallen into unconsciousness, and surprisingly the demon wasn't taking over, probably because of the poison in his blade. Temari and near tears as she tried to wrap the wound in bandages, but the wounded area was looking worse after each second. Kankuro was simply shocked that Gaara was taken down so easily.
Sakura jumped down to the ground where the three were and said, "Ok, I'm a medical ninja, let me heal him!" She tried to push pass Temari, but she stood her ground.
"You're just going to hurt him! He's in the worst state ever, I would imagine father told you to kill him right now and-" Temari was going to continue, but Sakura burst out in anger saying:
"Let me see him! He's too damn important to die now! Besides, your father is dead now anyway!" She shoved Temari away with her strength and got on her knees on Gaara's side, who was lying down now with his hands on his side, his sand was scattered all around the place, probably unable to work without the conscious of whoever controlled the body.
Sakura quickly got a string from her Kunai pouch and tied her hair back. Afterwards she breathed in and out really quickly before putting both her hands over the wound. "It appears that the poison has spread to his lungs, stopping his breathing, this is a very powerful poison, you're lucky I'm here."
"Th-thank you," Temari muttered, unsure of what to do in front of the girl. She says father is dead?
Kankuro finally got out of his shock and asked, "Is he going to be fine? We're in the middle of the exam here," He muttered, trying to act like he didn't care much for his brother's injury.
"I need to get this poison out of him, and I don't have the proper equipment to do it with. I can't take him out because apparently you guys can't manage to live without entering the next stage of these damn exams. Stop asking me questions and I'll see what I can do, so shut up!" Sakura exclaimed, glaring at him, he backed off, knowing the anger of a woman too well.
Sakura got her canteen and poured water over her hand, formed a bubble with it with her chakra and poured her chakra into it to make it into a green colored one. She put it on the wound to clean up the dirt and poison remaining on the outside of it, and proceeded to go on to where his lungs were located and began to clean them out of poison. Gaara had no reaction; to any normal human this would be incredibly painful.
Naruto, Sasuke, please be all right. She thought as she continued to work on the fallen boy.
(Near the edge of the Forest of Death)
Naruto slashed at Orochimaru once more, and yet again missed, only destroying the branch the snake bastard stood on only minutes before. "Why do you keep running?" He wasn't near angry enough to lose control and have chakra tails form behind him, but he was definitely considering it. "Sasuke! Sakura!" He turned to look behind him and noticed that they were long gone from where they originally were.
"You fell for my trap rather easily Naruto." Orochimaru said with a large grin on his face, "You're so easy to mess around with, and now with your friends gone I am going to beat you down until I can make you my vessel."
Naruto glared, his red eyes almost seem to go a deeper shade of red, "No way in hell am I going to become your vessel!"
"Of course not, Naruto-kun," He said, "I think we're far enough, your two friends are probably busy working on that Gaara child right now. What a pain that child was in the previous timeline, maybe I should have killed him." He looked thoughtful, only managing to piss Naruto off even more.
NO! He shook his head, don't give into Kyuubi's chakra…Naruto took a deep breath and calmed down to the point where the demonic aura surrounding him went away. A smile appeared on his face completely confusing Orochimaru. "Sakura-chan is a very powerful medical ninja, I don't need to worry about Gaara, and I believe Sasuke should be coming soon."
"Now you need to worry about yourself boy." Orochimaru said as he advanced towards him, "Even with Kyuubi at your disposal, I will defeat you."
Suddenly three kunai with explosive notes stabbed the ground at Orochimaru's feet, and exploded before he could even react to them. Naruto looked surprised, and looked over to where the kunai had come from.
"Kakashi!" Naruto shouted in shock, "Took you long enough!"
"I am sorry Naruto." Kakashi said, "We had to assemble the ANBU, and the Hokage will be coming shortly. We plan to exterminate him right now."
Orochimaru looked annoyed, "Damn it! Sharingan Kakashi, just the person I wanted to see." He said with Sarcasm dripping from his voice.
"I'm touched, really."
"Naruto, Kakashi!" Sasuke jumped on Naruto's left side, and smirked, "You're an idiot sometimes Naruto, running off like that!"
Naruto feigned sadness, "Aw, Sasuke, you're going to make me cry now!"
Orochimaru only smiled at their actions, "I will defeat you all before the ANBU arrive, then I will take Naruto for myself!" He began to fly through hand seals once more, when he managed to complete them he bit his thumb and shouted, "Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" Naruto and Sasuke both tensed up when smoke filled the area.
The hissing of snakes is what answered the three standing there, and as soon as the smoke cleared, Orochimaru was standing amongst at least ten gigantic snakes. Orochimaru laughed at the expression on their faces, "Now you will all die!" He pointed at them, "Kill them my minions, but spare the one with the blonde hair!"
The snakes didn't wait another second and charged forward. However, they all disappeared before the snakes made contact. Orochimaru looked around, annoyed that he lost them so quickly.
"Rasengan!" Naruto fell from above as he attempted to hit Orochimaru off the snakes head he was standing on in an attempt to kill him, but unfortunately, Orochimaru grabbed his wrist, canceling the Jutsu out.
"Naruto-kun, you're going to have to move faster than that." He smiled, "You want that seal back that I gave you here in the past? I wouldn't mind." His finger tips began to glow with chakra, "Come now, don't be afraid!" He thrust his fingers into the chest of Naruto, who suddenly blew up into smoke.
Orochimaru was slightly annoyed, but shook it off. He then heard a shout of, "Chidori!" Sasuke charged at him from behind with another electrical ball of power in his hand. He threw his hand forth to hit Orochimaru, who managed to dodge most of the attack, growled.
"MINIONS! Kill them!" He shouted, and watched the snakes go forward, attempting to crush the two boys and Kakashi.
As the snakes moved they destroyed a lot of smaller trees in the forest as they attempted to zigzag around the forest after the ninja. Kakashi and Sasuke got together, and both made a chidori of their own. A snake attempted to take them out, but when it charged at them, they were able to evade its bite and sent their attack into its eyes, sending it back to where it came from.
Naruto meanwhile was being chased by the largest of the snakes, and it actually managed to capture him in his mouth, but Naruto held it open, but was quickly being overpowered by the snake.
Right when it was about to swallow Naruto Orochimaru screamed, "NO! Don't kill that one! I need him as my vessel!"
The snake gave Orochimaru a very angry look, but otherwise ignored Naruto. It turned its attention away from Naruto – A big mistake. Naruto grinned and jumped on the snakes head; he still had his Kunai in hand and slowly climbed up the snake which began to thrash violently around to get Naruto off of him.
Unfortunately for the snake Naruto managed to take it out, sending it back in a large explosion of smoke.
"Are you all right Naruto?" Kakashi asked.
"Yeah, fine." He coughed, "I wish summons didn't turn to smoke when they go away though."
Orochimaru was annoyed and about to go attack Kakashi, but at that moment Sasuke appeared right in front of him, "I believe we have a fight to settle?" He said getting into his fighting stance.
"Hm, you're using the stance I taught you against me." He grinned, "I'm glad something I taught you was of some use!"
"I use whatever will help me achieve my goals best." Sasuke said, "Now fight me."
Orochimaru laughed a little and said, "Sorry, but I would much rather go after your dear little friend." He suddenly melted away into a mud puddle.
"NARUTO!" Sasuke turned around and saw Naruto fighting the snakes along with Kakashi, both of them holding their ground. Unfortunately, due to all that, Naruto was unable to hear Sasuke's warnings.
"Damn it!" Sasuke cursed, and made his way over to him.
(Back to Gaara)
Temari and Kankuro were still standing back, not wanting to get in Sakura's way at all. Finally after what seemed like so long, Sakura let out a long sigh and leaned back on her hands. "Ok, he's stable. He'll be alright. Give him a few days to rest and he'll be ready for the rest of the exams."
"Are you sure?" Temari asked, worry seeping into her voice.
"Of course I am." Sakura gave them a reassuring smile. Her face then got serious as she looked off to where Naruto and Sasuke went off to, "I need to go help the rest of my team, you three go on, okay?"
Right before she left, she heard coughing from behind her and heard, "Haruno, I am going to kill you." Gaara barely had his eyes open as he looked at the girl about to run off.
"You're welcome." She said through gritted teeth, she had forgotten how completely rude and unkind Gaara was when he was a twelve year old kid. "You're lucky you have Shukaku within you, otherwise you'd have to drop out of the exam."
Gaara had an evil grin on his face, "Heh, I think I may rest now, Mother is busy fixing me up," He let his head hit the ground; "I'll owe you one favor before you die Haruno."
"Fair enough," She sighed, "Well, Gaara, I have to go now, please don't get into too much trouble." With that she turned away and jumped off after her teammates.
"Why do you think she treats Gaara so nicely? Doesn't he want to kill her?" Kankuro asked questioningly towards his sister, a confused look was on his face.
Temari shook her head and shrugged her shoulders, "No clue."
(Back to Sasuke, Naruto, and Kakashi)
Sasuke was knocked back by a snake, while Kakashi was busy handling several of them on his own. Naruto was doing no better, for Orochimaru had his tongue around his neck and rose him in the air before slamming him against several trees and throwing him down on the ground.
"That hurt," Naruto muttered, getting up, he had many cuts on bruises all over him, and his vest was now in ruins, underneath it he wore his black ninja outfit. He simply grabbed the vest and tossed it away, "Sasuke, I think I may have to use Kyuubi."
"If he didn't come back, we wouldn't be having this much trouble," Sasuke glared at Orochimaru who only returned it with much more force.
He slowly got up to stand next to Naruto, suddenly the ground under both of them shifted and multiple snakes flew out and gripped their hands and feet, Sasuke was about to use his full body Chidori, but Orochimaru quickly jumped down and stabbed him in the right shoulder, making sure to not hit anything vital.
"Now, I have you right where I need both of you…" He smiled.
"No!" Kakashi charged at the man, dodging the snakes attempting to stop him, and tried to stab him with his kunai, but Orochimaru easily deflected it, and kicked the man down.
"Now now, don't interfere Kakashi." He said as snakes began to slither around Kakashi's arms and legs, tightening him onto the tree. He struggled, but couldn't escape from the hold. Orochimaru grinned at the two children he had, both were badly beaten up, and he had to admit, he wasn't in very good shape either, he was very lucky he managed to summoned the snakes to assist him in taking them out. "Now, since I have both of you, I assume you will want the Curse Mark from me, yes?"
"Screw you!" Naruto spat in his face, "Now let me go and I'll kick you ass!"
Orochimaru ignored Naruto's protest and formed another clone of himself, "I'll give you both it at the same time. It'll be fun to see you two suffer."
"Damn you Orochimaru!" Kakashi struggled to get out of his entrapment, "The Hokage will be here any minute!"
"Oh?" Orochimaru said, "Where is he then? It has been quite some time since you last said that; don't you think he would be here by now if a large threat like I was around?" At Kakashi's glare he ordered the snake to knock the man out, fully intending on returning to him later. He then turned back to the kids, "Now stand still Naruto-kun."
"Even if I do get it, I will never fall into the darkness of the seal!" Naruto shouted, "And Sasuke has changed! He's not going to fall back onto the fake power that it gives!"
"Fake?" Orochimaru questioned, a smirk was present on his face, "My dear Naruto-kun, I'd hardly call it fake, but if you must, I'll let you find out for yourself!"
Naruto and Sasuke were pressed harder against trees by the snakes, and Sasuke was beginning to droop from consciousness, the poison in his system was beginning to have its effect. "No," He muttered, "Mustn't let it… get me…"
Both of the Orochimaru's began to extend their heads towards the necks of Naruto and Sasuke, ready to give them the seal.
Suddenly Sakura crashed down from the trees and punched right through the neck of the clone, making it explode and saving Sasuke, she then saw Naruto was about to be bitten and did the most drastic measure ever. "Naruto!" She shouted as she dived towards him.
All was silent, under Orochimaru released his teeth from the neck of the child he had just bitten. He looked confused, this was not Naruto. "What is this?" He made his head retract back to his own body and looked wide-eyed as Sakura fell to the ground, a mark on her neck, "NO! You little bitch! I'm going to kill you!"
"Sakura-chan!" Naruto looked shocked, sad, and more than anything, angry, "You," He looked at Orochimaru from Sakura, "You bastard!" Tears filled his eyes, and a red hue began to glow from them, "YOU BASTARD!" Red chakra erupted from him, destroying the snakes that were holding him, and with very surprising speed, he gave Orochimaru the hardest punch to the jaw he had ever received.
Orochimaru flew far away and collided with another tree, making it fall down from where it once stood. He slowly climbed out of the rubble and looked on as Naruto had red chakra begin to cover all parts of his body, "And so Kyuubi finally emerges."
"I won't underestimate you this time!" Naruto shouted, his voice was a mix of his own and some other demonic voice, "You poisoned Sasuke, and gave Sakura that mark, in return I'm going to KILL YOU!" He charged at Orochimaru, a chakra tail formed right behind him.
Orochimaru brought up his hands to block the blow Naruto was going to throw out, and was surprised when Naruto hit his arms that were defending his face, nearly breaking them both and making him fly further away.
"It's not over yet!" Naruto shouted, and slowly walked at Orochimaru, two chakra tails flowing all over the place right behind him, "Remember what I promised,"
"Show me his power Naruto-kun!" Orochimaru laughed, as he flew through a set of hand seals and slammed his hands on the ground, causing a huge wall of rocks to come up from the ground in front of Orochimaru and bury Naruto.
Naruto simply grinned evilly at it, and raised one arm, causing it to burn a hole right through the avalanche that was coming right upon him. "You'll have to do better than that!"
Naruto stopped in his tracks; he could feel his mentality beginning to turn to a more feral one, what is this? He could feel the power flowing through his veins, the want to kill was welling up inside of him, and he glanced at Orochimaru with hate in his eyes.
Kill him now…
No! Naruto shook his head, I promised Sakura-chan and Sasuke that I wouldn't use your chakra you damn fox! Naruto tried to push it away, but one look at the two he mentioned, and all his reasoning went away. Sakura was curled up into a ball, holding in her screams of pain as the seal took its toll, and Sasuke was begin to get very sick because of the poison the blade pushed into his body.
Kill… Nauto glanced up at Orochimaru, his sanity nearly depleted, "Yes. Orochimaru, I will, KILL YOU!" He charged once more, engaging combat with the one he swore to kill without using the kyuubi's power.
Sakura glanced up at the fight occurring, and then looked at Sasuke with the sword wound in his shoulder. She then curled back up as another wave of pain shot through her; tears fell from her eyes for it hurt her so much. "I need to help them." She slowly uncurled after the next wave, and wiped her tears away. "Sasuke!"
She crawled over to him, and looked at the wound he had, "I- I…" I can't do this! She looked desperately at the wound, blood poured out of it and onto the ground, and she could see bits of the poison seeping out, It's not as much as Gaara's but-. She tightly shut her eyes as the mark on her neck gave her another wave of pain, causing her to nearly scream out in pain this time.
Can I do this? I need to concentrate, but with this pain. She touched the mark on her neck, and instantly felt the biggest wave of pain and screamed in pain as she looked down on the ground holding her head, tears freely falling from her eyes.
"It hurts!" She looked at Sasuke and saw him beginning to pale; I need to save you! She thought, and brought out her water, it was half empty, a little more than enough to finish this. She poured it on her hands and concentrated her chakra to form a bubble of water on her hands, but when she brought out her chakra, the curse mark reacted violently, causing all the water to splatter to the ground and her to once more fall over in pain.
"DAMN IT!" She shouted, clutching the side of her neck, which only caused more pain, she was close to passing out from it all. SASUKE! Don't die! She quickly grabbed her water once more, and concentrating her chakra, she knew this was going to hurt her, but if she failed Sasuke would die. She formed a bubble and the intense pain returned once more, the bubble wavered, but she kept it stable as it turned a slight green hue.
She put it over Sasuke's wound and pulled the poison out of it, and then followed the most logical path it would have taken through his body. Every five seconds she would stop as an intense wave of pain went through her and she kept in a scream. Finally, after extracting all the poison, she threw the water in her hands away into the wild, and focused on closing the hole. She gathered a little bit of chakra at the tip of her fingers and slowly connected each side of the flesh until the wound was closed.
"There…," She muttered, closing her eyes as a few tears escaped and the pain continued to grow worse. She looked up and saw Naruto and Orochimaru fighting. "Naruto," She whispered as she saw the three tails he now had and Orochimaru dodging each attack, a small smile on his face, "He's playing with him?" She asked no one in particular.
She slowly stood up, the pain caused her to fall back down and clutch her neck once more. After a little bit, she got up. "Naruto," She mumbled as she walked forth, her mind was beginning to shut down, as she was about to fall unconscious. "Naruto…"
Naruto attempted to slash Orochimaru, and only succeeded in getting mud all over himself as the one in front of him was another clone. "Where are you?"
"Naruto!" Sakura shouted with the last of her might as the darkness finally filled her vision; she fell to the ground completely unconscious.
Naruto glanced at her fallen form, then at Sasuke. "You guys, You guys!" He shook himself out of his daze, and as quickly as it came, his Kyuubi chakra went away, he didn't know, but at that moment, the demonic chakra was about to take him over, he was very lucky Sakura knocked him out of it so quickly.
"Well, Naruto-kun. You are powerful, but yet, not near good enough to take me on. I hope one day we can have a real fight where you needn't rely on that horrible demon, and instead fight with out own powers." Orochimaru shrugged his shoulders, "Either way, when you're that angry I can easily toy with you. If you could control that chakra I would be in trouble," He then pulled out his sword, "Now move aside as I go finish off your team."
"Do you really think I would do that?" Naruto said as he stood in front of the man, "They wouldn't let you get close to me, so I am not going to let them down!"
"Poor Naruto-kun." Orochimaru said smiling, "You're far too weak now to even stand a remote chance against me, what makes you think you could stop me from killing them all?"
As if on cue at least a dozen men in ANBU robes dropped down, and faced Orochimaru, "Stand down, and we'll make your death quick."
"How about no," Orochimaru answered, and the man who asked the question was suddenly hit from behind by one of Orochimaru's snakes he summoned. At that distraction, he disappeared.
"Don't let him get away! All of you go after him, we'll allow the Hokage to help these people here!" He turned to Naruto, "Go check on your team, we'll go get him now!" Naruto didn't even wait for him to finish as he turned towards his team.
Naruto ran over to the fallen body of Sakura, "Sakura-chan!" He grabbed her and put her head in his lap; he looked at the left side of her neck and saw the curse mark pulsing an almost purple hue. "No! It's all my fault! Why did you do this Sakura-chan?" He felt tears leaving his eyes.
He then picked her up and walked over to Sasuke, where he put her down next to him, at least when they were both asleep, he couldn't hear the pain they both must have been going through at the last moments of their consciousness. After making sure his two teammates were fine, he went over to Kakashi and check his status.
"You're not poisoned," Naruto let out a sigh of relief and began to try and shake the man awake, "Kakashi-sensei, are you there?"
It took a little bit, but Kakashi was beginning to regain consciousness, "Urgh, I have a huge headache…"
"Naruto!" Anko landed in the middle of the completely destroyed clearing, trees were blown out of their roots, and the ground was completely vaporized, "What the hell happened here?!"
Naruto spat on the ground, "Orochimaru happened." He glared angrily at Kakashi, "You guys knew he was coming, what took you all so long? I know you felt our chakra flare while we were fighting him! Because of how late they were, Sakura got the Cursed Mark, and Sasuke could have died!" Tears fell from his eyes, "I had to use Kyuubi! Even when I told them I would never rely on his power again." He fell to the ground; his morale for the moment was completely depleted.
Another dozen ANBU appeared in the clearing; most were shocked to see the place in such ruins, and glanced at the team that supposedly caused it all fighting Orochimaru. The Hokage himself suddenly appeared, and shot Naruto a concerned look, "Naruto!" He shouted as he ran over to the boy.
"Old man," Naruto muttered, he looked up and glared at the man, "You knew this was going to happen Where were you? We could have killed him if you had gotten here sooner." Naruto felt betrayed, angry, and most of all saddened that the one man he trusted the most had done nothing during their fight.
Sarutobi sighed, he knew this would happen, but let it go on anyways. "Naruto, I knew Orochimaru was here, we just needed to assemble the ANBU, and warn Anko about it so that-"
"Why didn't you come yourself? You could have just forgotten about the paper work and broken the rules, and Konoha's most deadly criminal would be dead! Instead you did absolutely nothing to help us!"
Kakashi went over to Naruto and grabbed him by the collar, "Naruto! You're stepping over your boundaries! You can't speak to the Hokage like that!"
"Whatever Kakashi-sensei." Naruto muttered, "At least you came right away…"
Kakashi paused, and let Naruto go, "We need to get Sakura and Sasuke to the hospital immediately. You too, that battle took a lot of you all, I can tell."
The Hokage nodded, but couldn't hide his shame. Naruto is right, I should have acted faster. I was too busy following village protocol, and look where it got me.
There was a periodic beep that sounded every few seconds it seemed. Naruto shook his head and could feel bandages wrapped all around him without even opening his eyes. He grunted in annoyance and slowly opened his eyes. White ceiling, white walls, medical equipment to his right, yep, the Hospital. How he despised this place.
He lifted his head off the pillow it was on and glanced over at the other two beds in the room. Sakura was on the one next to him, and Sasuke was the furthest one from him. From his view his eyes watered slightly when he saw the Mark on Sakura's neck, but a sigh of relief came out when he saw that there was apparently another seal covering it.
Thank you Kakashi, He silently thanked.
He moved his fingers around a bit, and he managed to lift himself up. He then looked over to Sasuke, who was in the same condition he and Sakura seem to be in, however Sakura looked a lot less beat up than both he and Sasuke.
"Sakura-chan," He muttered, looking at her still form, the only thing movement was her chest as it slowly rose and went back down after each breath she took. "I'm sorry. That was going for me… Why did you get in the way?"
He knew there would be no answer, so he looked back at his body. Bandages were wrapped all around him, and some needles were stuck in his body, taped to him. Why do they do this when they could simply do medical jutsu? He pondered, but shook his head as he grabbed one and slowly pulled it out of himself.
Once he got all the needles out, he threw the blanket off of himself and got out of the bed. He felt pretty good actually, he had no idea why he was in the hospital, but was pretty sure that if Sakura weren't in this condition, she'd be able to list off all the reasons without even looking at him. He felt the material of the white clothes he was now wearing, it was actually pretty soft.
He walked over to her and got some hair out of her face, putting it behind her ear. There you go, He again looked at the Curse Mark to make sure that it was really there and silently cursed to himself.
The door suddenly opened and Sarutobi walked in, he still wore his Hokage robes, but his face was twisted in worry and sadness. Naruto felt no sympathy towards the man.
"Naruto," He spoke, "I apologize."
"I'm sure you do," He glanced at Sakura and begrudgingly said, "Thanks for sealing up that for her." He looked away, not wanting the man to get the impression that he was forgiving him.
Sarutobi sighed, he knew this would happen, but he hadn't expected to be thanked for the seal he and Kakashi put on Sakura. "You're welcome Naruto." When Naruto didn't answer back and continued to look at Sakura he spoke up again and said, "You all have been asleep for four days so far. The second part of the exam is coming to a close soon."
"Really," Naruto muttered, paying him almost no heed.
Sarutobi looked down and said, "Look, Naruto. What happened in there? The place was destroyed, and you all were badly injured. You had chakra burns all over your body and many injuries and broken bones. Sasuke was in a similar state, but we found traces of poison, which we quickly got rid of, and Sakura's chakra pathways were in horrible condition. We almost called in a Hyuuga to help us with her."
Naruto looked down, "Sasuke, Kakashi, and I were actually doing very well against Orochimaru. It was when he summoned his snakes that we had a lot of trouble. I think he stabbed Sasuke with his sword, and I used Kyuubi to fight him."
Sarutobi nodded, "That explains yours and Sasuke's condition, but what happened to Sakura?"
"Sakura-chan," Naruto glanced at her once more, "When Orochimaru had me and Sasuke pinned down he was going to give both of us the mark, but she destroyed the one going for Sasuke, and didn't have enough time to save me from my fate, so what does she do!" He was near shouting, "she jumped in front of the one that was going for me!" He looked angered, "I have Kyuubi in me you know, I think I can handle that seal!"
He fell to the ground, near breaking down. Sarutobi looked at the child, the one who only days ago seemed so strong and could easily lead them, and he was now reduced to this. "Naruto." He stated firmly, "I know, that you may not trust me now, but I need you, and so does this village. This attitude you have is acceptable, considering what has just happened, but we need you to be strong for now."
Naruto looked at Sakura then the Hokage once more, " I don't know," He then got a determined look in his eyes, "No, you're right. I need to save this village."
"Good to hear." Both Sarutobi and Naruto looked over to Sasuke who nodded towards them.
"Sasuke!" Naruto ran over to his bed and hugged the guy near to death until he let go, "Thank god you're ok. I thought Orochimaru stabbed you with that poison blade!"
Sasuke looked thoughtful and said, "I think a medic came at just the right time." He motioned his head towards Sakura, "I'm amazed at how screwed up we got this timeline within three years."
"Yeah," Naruto agreed, "But we did more good so far than bad."
Sasuke shrugged, "Possibly. We don't know though, three years is a short time, and anything can happen in the future because of the things we are doing now," He then looked at Sakura once more and sighed, "I'm glad she lived getting the curse. I was nearly passed out when she got it. I wish I could have helped."
"Orochimaru is still too strong for us," Naruto frowned, "What can we do to bring him down to our level?"
"Hokage-sama." Sasuke looked very serious that moment, "Orochimaru has come back from the future like we have. He's much stronger than he was at this point in our old timeline. I think we could have killed him if it weren't for that fact."
He got out of bed in a similar fashion of Naruto and walked over to Sakura's bed. "You'll need to help her out when she wakes up." Sasuke said immediately, "When she awakes she'll quickly find the power of the seal behind a barrier of sorts, and it is very tempting to use," Sasuke sighed, "Remember when I first got the seal? I used the power instant because I had no clue what it was."
Naruto got a worried look on his face, "Don't worry. I'll be here to help her through that."
"Good. I refused the help when I needed it, and since Sakura is not me or a complete bitch, I think she'll quickly take your assistance when she needs it." Sasuke explained.
Sarutobi watched as the children seem to grow much less tense and chatted, "You two, make sure to get back into your beds when you're done chatting, even though both of you look pretty well, I'm sure if Sakura here wakes up, she'll need a familiar face to help her out."
Naruto glanced at the Hokage, "I understand." He simply said.
He left at that, Sasuke and Naruto stayed up to chat for a while longer, figuring out what needed to be done. After a little while they both decided it was time to head to sleep, and went into their own hospitals beds for the night.
(Later that night)
Sakura stirred in her sleep for the first time that night, it was nearly two in the morning, but at that instant she felt a pang of sickness hit her. She suddenly got up and rolled off her bed, luckily her physical wounds weren't near as bad as her internal injuries, and she didn't harm anything when she fell.
When she hit the cold floor, she tried to hold it in, but within only a matter of seconds, her resistance was destroyed and she threw up on the floor, she let out a whimper and wrapped her hands around herself, suddenly feeling miserably cold.
"N- Naruto," She whispered, praying that he was somewhere near, her mind was too confused to figure out where she was, and she was frightened to say the least. The last she saw was Sasuke near death, and Naruto was in Kyuubi mode trying to kill Orochimaru.
She then remembered the one thing that shocked even her. She slowly and shakily brought her hands up to her neck, and felt the spot where the mark was. She felt warmth, calming warmth. It was as if it beckoned her to come to it, and use it.
"No," She whispered, knowing what it was, she could feel it, and knew that it was the power of the Mark she had gotten, she tried to stand, but her constant shaking, plus the fact that when she tried to another pang of sickness hit her, made it difficult. She quickly fell to the floor and held her chest as she breath in and out rapidly, hoping she would throw up once more. "Naruto…" She whispered again.
She felt again the power from the seal. She looked around and could only see darkness, she then felt tears come out of her eyes as she was about to accept the power and warmth the seal was going to provide her.
She then felt two warm hands wrap around her back, and a soothing voice saying, "Sakura-chan I'm right here, Please, don't be afraid."
She didn't even resist as the boy behind her picked her up and brought her back up to her bed. It definitely beat trying to do it herself and possibly having to get sick some more. "N- Naruto, where are we?" She held onto him as he put her on the bed, not letting him go.
"It's ok Sakura-chan; we're in the Hospital. Kakashi sealed up the mark for you." He looked almost pleading, "Sakura-chan, I promise to never use Kyuubi, if you never use the Curse Mark. Please."
"Naruto, I wouldn't use the mark even if it were life or death situation." She felt like smiling then, having someone there to hold her that she knew she would be safe with, and not using a huge powerful source now within her was something to be proud of.
Naruto was about to leave, but Sakura's grip on him tightened. Naruto knew he could easily break the grip, it was definitely weak from what Sakura would normal do. "Naruto," She sounded as if she was about to break down, "Don't leave me."
"Sakura-chan," He was about to protest, but he saw the pleading look on her face, and some fresh tears on her frightened looking face caused him to choose otherwise, "Fine." He gave in.
She scooted over so he could have the spot next to her, and he laid down there. Naruto knew that she was in a near panicked state, and anything he did could scare her, it was so different from her usual tough act. He closed his eyes, and felt Sakura scoot over and wrap her arms around his arm, and put her head against his shoulder. "Night, Naruto.." She said drowsing to sleep.
"Good night Sakura-chan," He said, a smile on his face when he felt her sigh of relief. He knew what it was like to be alone when you needed someone, and for him to be there for Sakura would definitely make his lifetime, he was sure that if he died right now, he'd die the happiest man in the world. However, thoughts about what happened ruined that chain of happy thoughts…
The two both dosed off shortly after getting together, and the night continued on.
"Wake up you two." Sasuke muttered, even at a time like this they let their hormones act up. He had just woken up, and when he looked to see if Sakura was all right, he saw her and Naruto sleeping together. It was true that Sakura was the one that seemed to be making the advances on Naruto, since she seemed to be completely wrapped around Naruto, and Naruto simply snored as if nothing was going on.
"A few minutes," Naruto sighed, and he tried to turn over only to stay in place due to Sakura's grip on his body. He opened his eyes for a moment and glanced at Sakura before his eyes widened in recognition. "Sakura-chan? What the?" He looked around and then calmed down, "Oh yeah."
Sakura opened her eyes and looked around confused. Her mind was finally registering things at its normal rate, and she glanced at the boy she was currently holding in her grip, she looked very confused. "Naruto, why are you here?" She asked, after that moment, all of last night hit her like a ton of bricks, and she lowered her eyes, "oh yeah."
Naruto felt her forehead, "You feeling better now?" He asked.
Sakura blushed slightly and let go of him to climb out of the bed, "Not really." She answered, "I feel kind of nauseous still, but not nearly as much as last night."
"I'll help you around today."
"Thank you." She said as she lay back down as she began to feel dizzy sitting up for too long, "How long did this last for you Sasuke?"
"I wasn't feeling well for a few days after getting it last time."
"Urgh, I hate being sick." She moaned as she brought an arm up to her forehead and felt her temperature, "I think I'll be able to move around with you guys though, I m not that bad right now."
No one bothered to argue with her, knowing she would be very insistent, and that it would be easier to just allow her to come with them. Sasuke decided to speak up, "We didn't fare very well against Orochimaru."
"You think? Naruto replied angrily, "He kicked my ass while I was using Kyuubi; he nearly killed you, and gave Sakura-chan," He looked away from her, knowing it would probably be a very sore spot to talk with her for near the rest of her life.
She looked up, "If I need to," She looked at Naruto straight in the face, "I said last night that I wouldn't use it no matter what, but, if I have to…" She looked towards Sasuke, "I will use it to protect you two, instead of getting in the way like I did."
Naruto looked shocked and angered, "No! You can't, the more you use it, the more it can manipulate you to do things!"
"Naruto." Sakura sounded very serious, "If you're going to die and it's the only way, there's no way I am not going to use it."
"It feeds on negative emotions." Sasuke spoke up, "It amplifies them a lot. Even now you probably feel a lot more pessimistic than you had been before you got here. Just use it in serious emergencies, the more often you use it, the more corrupted you get from it, it changes your thoughts, actions, everything. Please, do not use it Sakura, it will never benefit you. I had to learn that the hard way..."
Sakura glared at him, but sighed when he glared back. She knew he was right, "Ok, I will only use it in life or death situations."
"With that out of the way," Naruto began, "I just want to apologize to you both for using Kyuubi during the fight. It was a mistake. I was just angry that he hurt you guys and Gaara during the fight."
"Naruto, if you have to, use it." Sasuke said. When both Sakura and Naruto looked at him in shock he added, "Not the full potential, but just enough to give you a small boost in ability. You know, no tails."
"What?" Naruto looked shocked, "You're telling me to use it now? NO!" He shook his head, "I'm never using Kyuubi again." He could almost say he heard an evil growl coming from within him. Naruto looked determined until his eyes widened and he said, "The old man, you guys know he screwed us over?" He said harshly.
Sasuke shook his head once more, "No, Naruto, he did what he had to do, he has a village to protect and run, he can't just go risking his life, that is what the ANBU was built for."
Sakura nodded along, "I have to agree. As much as I hate it, and as much as I can't stand to see Hokage-sama's face right now, we need him to help us too much for hating him to be any use right now."
The door suddenly creaked open before Naruto could protest, the person walked in and bowed. "Hokage-sama sent me. He has asked you three to stand by him while the preliminaries on the second exam begin, and stay to watch the show."
The trio looked at each other and nodded, "Tell him we'll change and be right with him," Naruto answered, another smiled visible on his face. Old man, I may not trust you, but they're right, we need you now more than ever.
"Ok guys, I'm going home to change, I'll meet you all there." Sakura said and jumped out the hospital window, as if she weren't even sick that morning.
Naruto and Sasuke glanced at each other, "Shall we go home?" Sasuke asked.
Naruto nodded, and the two were on their way.
(Preliminary round building)
Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura all appeared in the building in front of the Hokage who was currently standing giving a speech to the children who managed to pass. The three looked behind them to see all the Genin giving them odd and questioning glances.
Naruto looked away from the man and simply walked up to his side, which his two friends did as soon as he did. Naruto and Sakura stood on his left, while Sasuke stood on his right.
The three wore their Chunin vest once more, each getting a new replacement for the ones lost in the forest. The only difference was that Naruto and Sasuke had some bandages going through their hair, and Sakura had on a higher collar shirt than Normal to hide her mark.
"Now," Sarutobi cleared his throat, "Is there anyone who wishes to drop out now?"
This gave Naruto the chance to see who was actually left. Let's see, Team eight, ten, and Gai are all here once again! He cheered a little in his mind, now, who else… Gaara's team, the Sound team, and Kabuto's team, He was surprised; it was the same teams minus them to have passed last time.
Kabuto raised his hand and grinned at Naruto and Sasuke. He still didn't know that Sakura had the Curse Mark and not them, "Hokage, I'd like to leave." His two teammates did the same as well, leaving only fifteen people to fight.
After a moment of silence everyone assumed the rest of the Genin were prepared to fight.
"Hayate, you may continue now." Sarutobi said and leaned back in his chair as the jounin he called jumped down from some place.
"Thank you Hokage-sama." He said and turned towards the children, "Now, you all are about to compete, because there are still too many of you here. However, there are fifteen of you, and that means that one of you don't have to fight, whoever is remaining when the board randomly picks all the fights will not have to battle today."
All the Genin nodded, most hoping that their name wouldn't appear on the board on the top left corner of the little arena they were located in.
"With that said, would you all please go up to the stands as we begin?"
Everyone began to walk up to the stands. Once up there, the board began to flash all the names of the people competing in the preliminary rounds, and it suddenly flashed, 'Aburame Shino vs. Abumi Zaku'.
Shino slowly walked down the steps, while Zaku jumped right over the railing. Sakura noticed that his arms were both fine, and nothing was in a sleeve. That was because of Sasuke. She felt uncomfortable suddenly and rubbed the spot on the back of her neck once more.
Hayate walked in the middle of the field and after a huge coughing fit said, "fight!"
Naruto huffed as he saw these two. He knew what the outcome would be, no point in watching it once more. He looked around the room and saw the Sound Jounin, and his eyes became silted and red. He looked away and shook his head; he couldn't make a scene here.
He looked back at the battle and saw Shino beginning to explain his techniques. His bugs are really good! He began to look annoyed as two minutes passed and the two were still looking at each other, Zaku sucks, doesn't he know Shino is getting him into a trap the longer he sits there and does nothing but listen to Shino?
He looked at all the other ANBU and Jounin standing around them, and noticed the same look of distaste. He avoided looking at the Hokage, for he still hadn't gotten over what he had done.
Orochimaru is still stronger than us, even after three years of intense training, he could still kill us. He closed his eyes and mouth to hold in his angry shout. He knew Sasuke and Sakura both were as equally pissed as he was, but they knew that going off at the Hokage wouldn't really be the best thing to do.
"You lose." Shino said as his bugs suddenly surrounded Zaku.
"NO!" Zaku brought both his hands up to both sides of him, and attempted to shoot out a blast at each, but Shino's bugs were in his shooting devices, and caused his hands explode off of him. "AHHHH!" He screamed, he now had no attacks.
Shino looked at him with no sympathy, "You will never be a good ninja now."
Zaku gave Shino one last glare before his eyes rolled to the back of his head. He was completely knocked out.
Hayate looked at the rather gruesome sight and hesitated a bit before calling out, "Aburame Shino is the winner!"
His team cheered for him, and so did the rest of the rookies who were in the exam, besides Shikamaru, who a little too lazy to do such a thing.
Once Zaku had been taken away, and Shino walked back up to the stands, the board began to pick random names once more. Everyone looked up until it read, 'Nara Shikamaru vs. Tsuchi Kin'.
Another of the same fights, what are the chances of that? He knew how this fight would turn out, so he ignored a majority of it until the very end of it.
Shikamaru threw several kunai as did his opponent, for she was in his shadow Jutsu. Suddenly right when she was about to dodge them like Shikamaru, the wall got in her way, and the Kunai deflected off of her headband, knocking her out.
"Winner, Nara Shikamaru!" Hayate called out.
Shikamaru glanced at Naruto, and gave him a questioning glance once more. Why does he keep giving those looks to me? Naruto wondered as he grinned and gave the boy a small wave. Shikamaru nodded at him and walked away. He's onto something.
Everyone looked up to the board once more until it flashed, 'Kankuro vs. Yamanaka Ino'.
"HA!' Ino shouted, "This will be too easy!"
She walked down to the arena while Kankuro did as well. Both of them faced each other, each with their own cocky grin. After Hayate said fight, the two still stayed like that. Finally, after what seemed like several minutes Kankuro said, "Well, you're a pretty good looking girl, too bad I'm going to have to kick your ass."
Ino smirked, "I know I am." Then her face became serious, "You won't be able to beat me!" She brought her hands up to her family jutsu, to which Kankuro laughed at.
"Trust me, girl, that Jutsu won't do anything to me at all. Maybe you can just quit and we'll see what happens." He said.
"No one can resist this ability!" Ino called out, but still a little more hesitant to do it now. Ino suddenly shook her head, determination in her eyes once more, "You can't win against me!" She then shouted, "Shintenshin no Jutsu!" Her head suddenly seem to fly back, and she slumped to the ground.
Everyone looked at Kankuro who seemed to be struggling for a moment, but suddenly began to break into many little pieces until there was a wooden puppet standing there. The bandages that were once wrapped around Kankuro's back suddenly unraveled and Kankuro stepped out of them.
"Ha, I told you that you couldn't do it to me." He walked over to her and put a Kunai to her throat, "I guess this means I win?"
Hayate coughed a little before saying, "Kankuro wins."
There was very little sound at his victory, but not many people really cared. The rookies were all bummed that their streak of Konoha Genin getting through was broken, and the sand siblings really weren't all that surprised.
Kankuro brought Ino back up to the Genin and then walked over to his own team.
Hayate looked up to the board along with everyone else to see who was going next. It then flashed 'Hyuuga Neji vs. Hyuuga Hinata'.
Hinata looked shocked and afraid as she glanced at Neji, who was currently glaring at her. "Hinata!" She turned around to see Kiba, "Hinata, we all know the situation with Neji. If you know you're going to lose, please give up. He will not hesitate to kill you."
"Yes Kiba-kun," Hinata glanced back at the floor, Should I do this?
Neji walked down to the floor, silently awaiting Hinata to get down and begin their fight. He glared at her, and called out, "Frightened, Hinata-sama?"
"N- No." She walked down and looked at her opponent. She glanced at Naruto who was besides the Hokage, and his mood dropped even more when he wasn't even paying much attention to her fight. He was looking off towards the sound Jounin near him. She then glanced up at the stands and saw Shikamaru, who when he noticed her looking at him, he gave her a thumbs up.
I'll fight my best, She nodded towards Shikamaru and turned towards Neji, "S- shall we begin?"
Neji saw the look in her eyes, and began to speak, "Hinata, you're too weak. It's obvious that you can't beat me, I can see that-"
"Just get the stupid match going already!" Shikamaru shouted, cutting the boy off from his speech. Neji gave him an annoyed glare to which Shikamaru gave him a bored look.
I see, Sakura said watching the match, Shikamaru did that so Neji wouldn't finish his speech and make Hinata too afraid to fight him. If I remember this fight though, I know Neji will try to kill Hinata if she keeps resisting. She looked slightly worried.
Hayate looked at the two, and when he saw the determined look in both their eyes, he said, "Begin!"
Neji instantly activated his Byakugan and ran at Hinata, who took a little time to activate hers and defend from Neji's attack. She quickly dodged to the left in a fluid motion and struck her palm out, attempting to hit Neji in the chest.
Unfortunately, Neji was able to get out of the way and tried to strike her again, but she once more moved out of the way of his attack.
The fight went on like this for a little bit until Neji grabbed Hinata's hand and struck a few points on it before jumping back a meter. "Hinata-sama, I just made your right hand completely useless for this fight. You're proving to me that you're a worthless heir to the clan."
Hinata looked down with a pained expression on her face. He's right, She thought, she slowly raised her head and glanced once more at all her friends, Kiba was mouthing to her to quit the match, the rest gave her a worried glance, and Shikamaru glared at Neji before giving her another thumbs up, and mouthing good luck.
She looked at Neji, "Neji-kun, I will not lose to you." She slowly got up.
"Hinata-sama," Neji sighed. He looked at Sasuke and nodded, "I don't want to hurt you anymore." He nearly whispered, only Hinata could hear him.
Sasuke gave him a weird look, Hm, I wonder if I taught that guy a lesson after all. He smirked as he watched the two talk.
"Hinata-sama, I know uncle won't like it if you simply drop out, so I'll just knock you out without hurting you anymore." He walked forth, and then ran once Hinata raised her guard.
He and her fought for a little more before Neji grabbed her hand without disabling it, and spun around her until he had a clear shot to the pressure point on her neck and pressed it, knocking her out cold.
Hayate got a closer look before saying, "Winner, Hyuuga Neji!"
Lee watched as Neji helped Hinata get to the medical room and turned to his sensei and Tenten and asked, "I recall Neji hating his cousin? Why did he just knock her out and is helping her out right now?"
"Lee!" Gai said, "Neji has had a change of heart! He now realizes that all my teachings are right!"
Tenten glared at him for a little bit before saying, "No, he probably sees Sasuke as a role model for whom to be like. He knows Sasuke has gone through much worse than him, so he strives to put the past behind him and forgive his cousin, and forget about the whole stupid fate thing – I hope anyway."
"Tenten," Gai said.
"What?" She asked, a little annoyed.
Gai pointed to the board that flashed, 'Tenten vs. Kinata Dosu'.
"Ah!" She exclaimed, "It's finally my turn!" She waved at Gai before jumping down, extremely excited that she was going to be fighting now.
Dosu grinned and appeared down there as well. "Ha, I get to fight a silly girl." He said. A grin was on his face, "This will be too easy."
"What does that mean?' Tenten yelled, a vein popping out of her forehead, "I won't be a push-over!"
Dosu laughed, "Of course, but then again. You're a girl without a family name, so that means you're going to be easy for you don't have any special jutsu's." He could see he had hit a sore point of Tenten's when she gave him a glare that could rival the most evil person in the universe.
"Hey!" Sasuke shouted, startling all those around him, "Your threats are horrible, and to pick out such simple things proves to us all in this room that you're a worthless piece of trash." Dosu gave him a glare of his own, obviously pissed that this boy was defending the girl.
"What is she to you? Why are you even defending her? You do realize this is the exams, and you can't distract us from the fight at all!" He looked rather pissed.
Sasuke laughed, "She's a really close person to me," He glared at him, turning his Sharingan on for added effect, "And if you dare say anything like that again, I won't hesitate to kill you."
"Whatever," Dosu looked away from Sasuke, who had deactivated his Sharingan. "Look, girl, I'm going full power now!" He charged her and tried to hit her, but she jumped far away and did some seals, "Here we go." She raised her hand to her mouth and said, "Katon: Housenka no Jutsu!"
Though the multiple flames weren't as big as Sasuke's, they did their job as Dosu avoided them, and got hit by a single one, causing a lot of damage. Tenten coughed out a little smoke and then grabbed two scrolls and unsealed all the weapons she had in them and began to throw them one after another at the guy. He managed to dodge several, but there was always a stray one that would manage to hit him.
When she finished with those two scrolls, hundreds of Kunai, Shuriken, and other throwing weapons were scattered across the floor, and many of them were sticking out of Dosu, who looked to be in bad condition.
"You bitch," He breathed heavily, "You're my weakness, I can't beat a long ranged fighter when I need to be in close range in order to use my technique." He breathed in once more and attempted a few steps before falling down into unconsciousness.
Hayate looked at the two children who finished their fight within maybe two minutes and sighed, "You know, I didn't even say to start the fight yet," He coughed and said, "Anyways, the winner is Tenten!"
She cheered, and turned towards Sasuke and blew him a kiss, to which he smiled at her. His mood was considerably better after that fight.
Tenten went up while the medics all grabbed Dosu and left. All the Kunai on the ground were gathered, and would be given back to their rightful owner after the whole preliminary rounds were over.
The board began to mix names until it came to, "Gaara vs. Rock Lee'.
"YES!" Lee shouted, "I knew I would be second to last to go and fight!"
"My dear student!" Gai shouted and looked down at Lee, "Please, make me proud and beat this child. There is something you must know about him though," He closed in on Lee and said, "That gourd, it looks very suspicious!"
Lee looked shocked as he wrote down what Gai just said in his notepad.
"Lee! Don't bother writing it down, you must remember that you will not have time to look through that as you fight!" Gai exclaimed and patted him on the back, "It looks like your opponent is eager to fight as well! Now go down there and WIN!" He shouted.
Lee jumped down and said, "I am pleased that I will get to fight you. You seem very strong, and will aid me in my quest to fight Neji and Uzumaki."
"Begin!" Hayate shouted, making sure to actually say it before the two Genin actually began to fight.
Gaara completely ignored him and slowly had his sand gather around him. He then looked up at Lee and made his sand begin to go towards Lee at a crawl. Lee easily jumped away from the sand and began to run towards Gaara. He threw out his hand, and was shocked when he found that a wall of sand got in his way.
"Sand?" He muttered before he attempted to kick, and then punch again. All of his attacks were useless against Gaara's wall of sand however.
"Mother wants to play," Gaara smirked as he controlled his sand to quickly grab lee by his ankle and began to swing him around the arena. He slammed the boy hard against the wall, making him cough up some blood.
Lee then flipped away, and onto a ledge far from Gaara. I can't win against him in my current state, He looked on to see if he could formulate any strategies to beat him when he suddenly heard his sensei speak up.
"Lee! Take off your weights!" He shouted.
"But Gai-sensei! You told me to do it only if I need to protect someone!" Lee said back.
Gai smiled and did his Good-guy pose, "Lee! I said it's ok to do it!"
"Yes Gai-sensei!" Lee saluted him then sat down to take off his leg warmers and then took off the weights. Everyone thought they were not too much, besides Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura, but they suddenly fell to the floor with a huge explosion following.
Lee then dashed off to Gaara and broke right through his wall of sand with one punch. Gaara's face betrayed him as his eyes widened, and he looked around for the source of damage.
Lee suddenly appeared under him and kicked him way up into the air, and then proceeded to kick him further up. When he reached the climax of his attack, he wrapped his bandages around Gaara, and spun him back down to the ground, hopefully finishing him.
As the dust cleared, Lee was shocked to see Gaara getting up after such an attack, "What? No one can withstand that attack!"
"Mother, she wants your blood now." Gaara gave him a huge glare and began to beat Lee, who was too exhausted to do much against the onslaught.
"Lee! Open the gates!" Gai yelled down to the boy.
Lee nodded, and focused on opening the gates within his body. Gaara decided to watch instead of attacking right away, just to see the attack. It didn't take long before Lee zoomed across the floor, and began to beat Gaara away, destroying his defense like it didn't even exist. Soon he began to kick him up again, ready to execute his Lotus attack.
Naruto's eyes widened as he glanced at Gai and saw him clasp his hands together in pray, and he quickly turned to Lee and saw him stop momentarily in pain. So that's when he switched places, He thought when Lee did his signature move and the room exploded.
Most of the Genin were shocked to see how powerful Lee was, and most of the people in the room didn't notice Gaara switching places so quickly.
Sasuke glanced at Naruto, who nodded. Gaara was about to hurt Lee pretty badly, and they were going to stop it before it happened this time.
Lee was completely exhausted, and the sand had saved Gaara's life. Gaara raised his hand, and the sand went towards Lee. It wrapped around Lee's hand and foot, and right when he was about to crush them, and right before Naruto and Sasuke jumped out, Sakura called out, "Gaara! That's enough!"
"What," Gaara looked towards her, "You're that one." He still held his hand up. "You saved me." He muttered. He seemed to be in deep thought. "Mother, what do I do." He then slowly relaxed his hand and dropped it back down, "I win." He simply said.
Hayate went over to Lee and checked his condition, "Gaara wins! Lee is in no condition to fight right now!"
Gaara got up after a little bit and walked towards Sakura. The Hokage watched the scene with interest, as did the other Jounin around them. "Sakura," Gaara muttered, "I have given you a favor. Mother doesn't like," He grinned evilly, "Sparing people, but you and they," He pointed to Sasuke and Naruto, "Will be good for Mother." He then went away in a tornado of sand back up to where he was with his team and sensei.
"That was odd," Sarutobi whispered to Sakura, "What did you do for him?"
Sakura shrugged, "Nothing important now."
They all looked up at the board for the last fight. It flashed three names continuously until it said, 'Akimichi Choji vs. Temari'.
"YES!" Kiba cheered, he grabbed Akamaru and spun around in a circle with his dog, "We're going to the finals by default!"
Temari jumped down and Choji simply stared, "Ah man, I don't want to fight her. She's scary looking."
Asuma breathed in some of his cigarette and sighed, "Choji, you do this fight, and I'll take you to your favorite place to eat." He knew that it would work easily.
"YES!" Choji jumped down and faced Temari. "Let's get this over with quickly so I can go out to eat!" He said all his chakra pulsing out so Temari could feel it.
"You're just fighting to go eat?" She asked, "You're such a fat ass."
Choji looked up, an evil glint in his eyes, "What was that!"
"You heard me fat boy!" She said taunting him some more.
Choji screamed and did his jutsu, "Nikudan Sensha!" He shouted and became a huge human boulder. He rolled straight at Temari who simply opened up her fan and swung it, the amount of wind made Choji go flying against the wall, easily destroying it.
Temari walked over, making sure to have a grip on her fan still.
Hayate sighed and walked over to see if Choji was still ready to fight. He checked out the wall and sighed, "Choji is knocked out," He looked towards Temari, "Temari wins!"
Hayate coughed then looked around the room, "That concludes the preliminary part of the second exam! Now the Hokage would like to speak to you, so please all of you that passed come down here now!" The passing students all agreed and went down to stand in front of the Hokage.
"Genin," Sarutobi said, "You have all passed, and will be entering the third exam. Fortunately, it will be held in a month's time." Some complaining occurred, but he held his hand up for silence, which worked, "You will use this time to recover from the exam today, and to train your abilities to the max. It will be a tournament between you eight, even if you fail a fight, you will be considered to become a Chunin."
After a small period of time for them to let the information to sink in he spoke up once more, "Now, go leave and begin your training for the exam."
Everyone bowed down to show their respect and left the room.
"Would you three like to come back to the Tower?" Sarutobi asked the trio surrounding him.
Sasuke nodded, "Why not, we need to plan for things anyway."
"So we do," Sarutobi sighed, knowing that these children weren't going to be going easy on him.
-In the original version Sasuke introduced himself as an ANBU to Tenten, not so in this one. Also made it so Anko doesn't know that they are ANBU from the future, but I thought Ibiki knowing would be smart, considering he'd never let information like that get away, so I kept him knowing it in.
-Rewrote practically the entire fight scene with Orochimaru. Made Kakashi come to help during the fight, made Orochimaru summon a bunch of large snakes instead of Manda, and made ANBU come and chase off Orochimaru.
-Rewrote the hospital scene to make it more bleak instead of the previous hopeful outlook it had.
This was an annoying chapter to rewrite. The hardest one by far, taking me almost a day to get it all revised. By this point in the old story, we had a Sasuke who was really working for Orochimaru the whole time but turned good, The three children had exposed themselves as ANBU to everyone, and Sarutobi didn't help them because he didn't fully trust them yet. I think you all can see why I removed the first two, and altered the last of those things; I think it makes the story much better.