Hatake Kakashi wasn't exactly sure when everything had gone pear-shaped, but if he had to blame it on anything, it was most likely the preliminaries that had just concluded only a few hours ago.

"Hatake!" Barked the Sandaime Hokage, Sarutobi Hiruzen. Kakashi had known the Sandaime for quite a long time and knew that when the "kind" and "old" Hokage only used a person's last name and didn't even bother adding any suffixes then it was time to jump-ship. Unfortunately, this sinking boat had only one crew member which was only over-shadowed by the fact that Kakashi was also the captain...why was he thinking about boats? What was he thinking about in the first place? Probably Icha Icha...yea...Icha Ich..

"If I have to tell you one more time Hatake..." The venerable leader grounded out, somehow not damaging the pipe that was still in his mouth.

"Ah, right...hehe, my report. Well, I'm not exactly sure what to tell you Hokage-sama" The one-eyed jounin stated blandly.

Crunch.

Well, so much for not damaging that pipe, he thought to himself as the pieces fell from Hiruzen's mouth and clattered on the desk.

"Ah, perhaps I misspoke?"

"Yes, perhaps you did. Please. Rephrase your statement into something that will not cause me to think of how to break you as easily as I broke this pipe."

Kakashi gulped, knowing he had stalled long enough. It was just, he had no idea how to put into words- that wouldn't cause him to literally lose his head -the victories that his students achieved in the prelims. Deciding that the safest route was the most obvious, he began his tale.

"Well, as you were there, I wont waste your time with the minor details. Sasuke has been training himself intensely in eye-based illusion techniques. According to him, he has been at it long before he activated his Sharingan. Not sure how, but that apparently translated into his illusions becoming even stronger when he DID get his Sharingan"

XFlashbackX

"Uchiha Sasuke. Akado Yoroi." Gekkou Hayate called out unnecessarily, though one could contest that he was simply bored and wanted something to do other than saying 'Hajime'

The two opponents stepped onto the arena floor and faced each other. Yoroi had dropped into a loose fighting stance while Sasuke simply stood there expressionless.

Hayate looked between the two, and with a shrug, held up his arm and yelled "Hajime!"

Instantly Sasuke turned around and began to head back towards the stairs.

"Call the match Proctor-san, he isn't going to be able to fight anymore" The Uchiha scion spoke in a dull fashion.

Many disbelieving eyes went straight to the older Leaf-nin only to realize how true Sasuke's words were. Yoroi, despite being prodded by Hayate, was unmoving. At least he was unmoving until Hayate pushed the contestant over and everyone watched as the teen simply fell to the ground as if he was made of stone.

xFlashback Endx

"Sasuke said that he activated his Sharingan and cast the illusion as soon as he locked eyes on Yoroi, the match was over before it even began" Kakashi finished, his hand slowly moving towards his supply pouch where his precious lay in wait.

Sarutobi nodded his head thoughtfully while narrowing his eyes at Kakashi's gesture, wordlessly advising him against such a move. The elite-jounin sighed and brought his arms up, crossing them over his chest, trying to keep them busy or at least out of the way...or something, he wasn't able to think very clearly after being Icha Icha-deprived for so long. It had been ten minutes already! The Hokage could be so cruel.

"As for Sakura, well. I suppose her skill-set came into being when she finally realized that she was the weakest link on the team. I was honestly proud of her when she came to me and asked me to train her into the ground and not let her stay there, at least until she contributed just as much as the boys did." Kakashi paused for a moment as he reflected on that day.

Hiruzen stared at the now silent Kakashi who seemed to be staring off into space. What the hell was he doing? Was he having a mental flashback?

"Hatake!" He roared, causing the sharingan-user to startle badly.

Rubbing the back of his head sheepishly, Kakashi continued "I got her up to snuff in the physical department and then sat down with her to figure out what she could bring to the table as far as the team was concerned. I suggested either genjutsu or medical ninjutsu. Not sure how, but she decided on poisons"

xFlashbackx

Hayate shook his head as the Suna-nin, Kankuro, walked away the victor of his match. Those puppets of his reminded the sickly toku-jounin of the stories his parents had told him about the infamous Chiyo of Suna. While this genin's collection of wooden death-machines were nothing like the images in those stories, it still put the sickly man ill at ease.

Mentally pushing the thoughts away, Hayate looked up at the selection board to see who was fighting next. However, before he could call the names out, a voice called down from the balcony.

"Ano! Proctor-san! Ino doesn't look like she can fight right now, she seems very sick. Does that count as a forfeit?"

Hayate looked up to see a pink-haired girl, Haruno Sakura he concluded by her own words, staring back down at him with a curious look on her face. Her blonde opponent, Ino, gave her a contemptuous glare.

"What are you talking about Forehead-girl? I feel perfectly fine! You're not gonna win that eas..." The girl had collapsed before she could finish her sentence and was only saved having her face smash into the cold tile floor by her jounin sensei.

Sakura turned from her friend back to Hayate with an expectant look. The man sighed, then coughed, then shook his head.

"Since Yamanaka Ino is unable to fight, Haruno Sakura wins by forfeit." He declared. He watched as the girl jumped up and down cheerfully before turning towards her dark-haired teammate, arms open wide as if expecting a hug. Of course, Uchiha Sasuke was not known for such things and surprisingly this didn't even phase the pinkette as she immediately turned and all-but lunged at her blonde haired teammate who eagerly hugged her back and praised her for her "hard-won" victory. Hayate coughed.

xFlashback Endx

Kakashi shrugged. "Sakura admitted to poisoning Ino sometime in the forest during an altercation with some Sound-nin. It was a time-delayed concoction that was made to render a person unconscious. Not sure how she timed it so well, but, that's Sakura."

Hiruzen pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that explanation and you are going to pretend that it was never told to you."

Kakashi blinked, then cocked his head to the side "Pretend what didn't go where?"

The Sandaime let out a long suffering sigh. "I'm not sure I can truly handle hearing the explanation in regards to Naruto-kun's fight...if a fight is even what you can call it"

Kakashi eye-smiled " I was pretty awesome huh? "

Instantly the room went deathly silent and 'Kakashi' felt as if Haku had sprung from the dead and used his...her...whatever! Hyouton jutsus on him.

"Eh hehe, I mean, well...KAKASHI DEFINATELY ISN'T OUT WITH ERO-SENNIN AND THEY DEFINATELY AREN'T OUT PEEPING ON THE WOMEN'S ONSEN!"

xxxxxx

Kakashi and Jiraiya sneezed at the same time and their eyes instantly widened in shock and horror at the sudden uproar of angry females from within the onsen

'Sorry kid but...' With a deft kick, Jiraiya launched Kakashi into the wall causing a hole to be formed before yelling out in a high-pitched voice

"Oh my god! It's that Hatake guy! That pervert was peeking on us!" and with that the Sannin vanished leaving a hapless white-haired jounin to the merciless fists of more than a dozen women.

Kakashi blinked as he looked up and, though he might've been overjoyed at the sight that was before him on any other day, paled in fright at the angry glares from the women standing above him.

"Uh...it's not what you think?"

xxxxxx

"Naruto, why are you here while Kakashi is not?" Hiruzen asked in what seemed to be a calm tone of voice

'Maybe he's not so angry after all?' Naruto thought, having dispelled his henge.

"Well you see, I knew you were going to ask about me, Asshole and Sakura-Chan so I volunteered to be the one to tell you. Kakashi-sensei didn't really know much about our skills besides the obvious."

Sarutobi nodded as if in agreement. "I see, and why did your sensei know so little about you? His students?"

Naruto, not realizing the dark waters he was suddenly treading, continued on cheerfully

"Well, Sensei would always show up late and when he got there and saw us training, he would say something like 'Keep up the good work' or 'We got another D-rank, Naruto make some Kage-Bunshin to go do them while you guys keep training' and other stuff like that. Then he would leave, he said he would be at his apartment if we needed him."

Hiruzen clenched his fists under the table. Hatake was going to pay, there was no doubt in the Sandaime's mind about that fact.

"Well Naruto-kun, I understand that with your Sensei being admitted to the hospital, you and your teammates will be needing temporary replacements to train the three of you for the finals. I have already spoken to Jiraiya and he has...agreed, to give you all the training you'll need. As for Sakura and Sasuke, I believe I know the two perfect jounin for them."

Naruto's eyes lit up and he pumped a fist into the air, ready to give a shout, when he paused "Wait, Sensei's in the hospital? What happened?"

"Oh, nothing yet, but soon...so very soon. Excuse me Naruto-kun"

With that, Naruto watched as the old man exited the room through the open window. Naruto scratched his head in confusion before shrugging and leaving through the same window.

It wouldn't be until the finals that Hiruzen would remember that he never got an explanation for Naruto's fight.