Kitsune no Tsuki – Arc 1: Ch 04-06

Title: Kitsune no Tsuki
Author: Silver Dragonfly
Fandom: Naruto x Sailor Moon
Genre: General, Drama, Alternate Universe
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Canon Character Death, Canon Level Violence
Words: 19,537

Summary: During peace talks hosted by Konohagakure between The Golden Kingdom and The Silver Moon Kingdom, Namikaze Minato fell in love. Nine months later his children were born, and due to the politics, logistics, and the secrecy of their relationship, the newborn twins were separated. One each remained with each parent. Twelve years later, the estranged twins are meeting for the first time.

Chapter 4

Luna leaped carefully from roof to roof as she made her way through Konoha. It had been just over three months since they had made their escape from the Moon Kingdom and arrived in the shinobi village of Konoha to seek sanctuary with her charge’s father and brother. It had been an unfortunate shock to discover that the Yondaime Hokage had been dead for twelve years. Fortunately, Usagi’s brother had not fallen to the same fate, and it was with him and his own guardian, her brother Konshu, that they now resided as the five girls integrated into the shinobi lifestyle.

It still unnerved Luna a bit at just how easily her charge and her friends had adapted to the new lifestyle here, but then she had always known that all five of the girls had chaffed at the chains their rank of birth had bestowed upon them. Here they were themselves and they advanced solely on their skill. It was remarkable how in just three months they had flourished in the abilities that marked the shinobi of this world, their own magical and elemental affinities giving them an easier understanding of the discipline it took to learn the shinobi arts. Not that any of the girls would ever become one of the feared ‘black ops’ shinobi that specialized in the darker aspects of the job, but they were not just average either.

The three-man squad made up of Minako, Rei and Makoto had easily caught up to the other genin teams of their age in functionality despite being several months behind. Their jounin sensei, Mitarashi Anko, seemed to take a great pleasure in bragging to her colleagues but never relenting on the girls themselves in their training. Usagi and Ami were already taking regular shifts at the hospital as assistants under Rin and a few other of the medical-nin’s guidance. While the pair were becoming excellent apprentice med-nins, they were by no means left off the hook when it came to combat experience either as the two were frequently assigned to join the various other genin squads as an additional member for various missions. Usagi had in fact just returned the night before from such a mission with Team 8 under Yuhi Kurenai that had involved traveling to a village that had a problem with gang of bandits.

Luna was suddenly broken from her train of thought as the sense that someone was watching her made her pause. She stopped on a roof and looked around seeking the source of the feeling, after a moment of spotting nothing she continued on. Moments later she sensed it again and this time she spotted the source.

A form covered in dark fur was perched watching her a small red bow attached to one ear and a bell on its collar. The cat then sauntered forward purring.

Luna stared in shock. ‘That cat can’t be…’

The cat circled her and gave her a feline grin.

Luna frowned and then stuck her nose in the air and moved past the other feline determined to ignore him and just move on her way.

The cat moved to travel with her, and Luna frowned. She did not need a tag along. She picked up her pace and was vexed to find the strange cat keeping up with her.

‘All right buddy if that’s how you want it…’ She thought and then began to use every trick she knew (and she had learned quite a few since their arrival in Konoha) to get rid of her unwanted companion only to have a growing sense of frustration as the cat managed to stick with her.


“This sucks.” Naruto grumbled.

Sakura rolled her eyes at her teammates voicing of his distaste for their current mission assignment. Sasuke remained silent, however.

“You just don’t want to get all scratched up again like last time.” Sakura commented.

Naruto turned to her, “Of course I don’t! That cat is a demon!”

Sakura rolled her eyes again. “It’s just a cat Naruto.”

Sasuke smirked, “So the dobe is afraid of one little cat?”

Naruto growled and was about to utter a retort when a dark flurry blur landed on his shoulders and curled their turning to hiss at something else. “What the hell—Luna?!”

The rest of his team including Kakashi all blinked in surprise at the cat now clinging to Naruto’s shoulder and hissing.

“Maybe he has a reason for hating cats…” Sakura mumbled.

Naruto just snorted. “This is my sister’s cat Luna.” He explained. “She normally goes to meet Usagi at the hospital about now, but I have no idea why she’s acting like this.”

Just then another cat made a leap for Naruto’s face growling. “WHAT THE—”

Sakura, Sasuke and Kakashi just stared as Naruto was knocked on his back with two cats in the vicinity of his face. The one he had named as Luna swiped at the other cat as she kept it from clawing the boy’s face. The second cat seemed somewhat shocked at this however and backed off a pace.

“Isn’t that the target?” Kakashi spoke up.

“Che.” Sasuke stated and began to move in to pick up said feline.

In an uncanny display of agility, the cat suddenly turned off Naruto and leapt for Sasuke’s face only to be snagged midair by Sakura who had caught it by the scruff. “Oh no you don’t! No cat is going to markup Sasuke-kun’s face!” She snapped. The cat growled but seemed to content to be held by Sakura for the time being.

Kakashi smiled at them as Naruto climbed to his feet Luna perching much more calmly on his shoulder this time. “Nice catch. Mission successful, let’s go turn the feline in, shall we?”

The genin blinked in surprise and then nodded as they all turned and headed back for the Hokage tower.


“So, care to tell me just why that stupid cat was chasing you?” Naruto asked the feline perched on his shoulder as he strolled through the streets of Konoha to meet up with his sister as the hospital since Luna’s journey there earlier had been delayed.

“I don’t know.” Luna answered. “I was on my way to meet with Usagi-chan when that creature just showed up and started following me. I tried to lose the pest, but it was almost like it had been trained by some shinobi. I couldn’t shake it. I was starting to panic and that’s when I saw you…”

“And you immediately used me to get away from it.” Naruto stated finishing her statement but seeing the curt nod from his feline passenger. “Well at least you kept it from clawing me up. That damn cat thinks I’m a scratching post. The last time we had to find the thing, it tried to shred my face into ribbons.”

“You’ve had to capture that beast before?” Luna asked.

Naruto nodded. “Yeah, you saw what his owner did when she got him back right?”

“Indeed. You mean the cat makes regular escapes from that woman and genin teams are often assigned to its recovery?”

“That’s right. Kiba told me about when Team 8 got sent after it, and what it did to his partner Akamaru. That cat really is a beast. It probably has picked up some shinobi like traits after all this time.”

“Well, I hope I don’t run into it again—”

“Naruto-nii! Luna!” A familiar voice called out and Naruto turned with a grin and waved to his sister who jogged up to him.

“I was beginning to wonder what happened since Luna wasn’t here at the end of my shift.” Usagi stated as she fell into step beside Naruto and Luna moved from Naruto’s shoulder to hers.

“Luna had an incident with the feline terror known as Tora.” Naruto explained.

Usagi’s eyes went wide. “You mean that cat that Kiba told us about—”

“That’s the one,” Naruto grinned. “Luckily she ran into me with the damn thing chasing her. Was right after our team had been given it’s retrieval as a mission to.”

“Well at least that made the mission easy. Maybe we should get Luna some training if she is having problems with just another cat.” Usagi suggested giggling as Luna began to voice complaint at the idea.

The three of them quieted suddenly as both Naruto and Usagi glanced behind them at a large rectangular box painted to look like rocks with two eyeholes cut into it.

Naruto turned and faced the rock with a glare. “What kind of rock is shaped like that with eye holes!”

No sooner had Naruto spoken then there was a release of smoke as three academy students appeared from under the box.

“That’s the man that is my rival!” One of the boys called out amidst a bit of coughing.

Naruto blinked. “Konohomaru?”

Behind him Usagi giggled.

The boy grinned at being recognized.

“What are you up to Konohomaru?” Naruto asked.

“Boss, are you free?” The young girl standing just behind Konohomaru asked.

“Eh I was going to do some training after walking Usagi home.” Naruto replied.

“You don’t have to walk me home if they need you Naruto—”

“Hey—Boss! Who is she!?” Konohomaru demanded.

Naruto blinked. “Usagi is my sister.”

“She can play with us too then right!?” Exclaimed the girl named Moegi, self-proclaimed sexiest kunoichi.

Before either of the twins could answer another voice called out.

“Usagi-chan! Naruto!”

“Ah! Sakura-chan!” Naruto called back in reply.

The three younger kids watched in suspicion as the pink haired genin approached.

“Another girl!” Konohomaru exclaimed and then he got a sly grin. “This one’s your girlfriend, right?”

Silence spilled over there area as the pink haired kunoichi in question turned a full glare on the boy. “What did you just say…”

Konohomaru let out a squeak in shock and then turned tail and ran with Sakura hot on his heels as they barreled around a corner.

“Ouch!” Konohomaru exclaimed after a brief thud was heard.

Naruto blinked and then moved to see what had happened, Usagi and the remaining two academy students following behind.

“That hurt you brat!” A voice growled just as the group rounded the corner to see Konohomaru being held up by his shirt collar by a strange boy in foreign looking ninja garb.

“Hey, I’m sure he didn’t mean it so let him go!” Naruto called out as they approached a frown on his face.

“Che. Why should I?” The boy asked. A sandy blonde-haired girl next to him seemed rather annoyed with the whole situation but was not directly interfering or getting herself involved.

“Because I’m not asking.” Naruto said coldly back. Behind him he could sense Usagi tensing as well.

Sakura looked on with wide eyes.

“Just who do you think you are punk!” The boy growled.

“Kankuro.” Another voice interrupted as the boy facing Naruto and the others seemed to freeze. “You are an embarrassment.”

The boy now recognized as Kankuro released Konohomaru and turned to face the speaker who stood in a nearby tree.

“Ga—Gaara I was just—”

Naruto studied the red-haired boy standing on the tree branch noting what appeared to be some sort of gourd on his back. The red-haired boy vanished in a swirl of sand and reappeared on the ground next to Konohomaru who now had Usagi next to him and checking for injuries. Naruto frowned further at his close proximity to the pair.

“And you would be…”

The red-haired boy turned cold green eyes to Naruto. “Sabaku no Gaara and while you don’t interest me…” He then turned his attention back to Usagi. “Your name…”

Usagi met his stare head on but remained silent.

“Leave my sister alone.” Naruto growled.

The red headed glanced once more at Naruto. “Your name then?” the boy called Gaara asked.

Naruto narrowed his gaze, “Uzumaki Naruto.”

“Uzumaki—very well.” The red then turned and began to walk away.

Sakura breathed a sigh of relief as the foreign shinobi began to walk away and some of the tension faded from around them. She then turned to Naruto. “Naruto you idiot! Were you trying to pick a fight!?” she yelled as she clobbered him.

Naruto turned to Sakura in a pout, “But Sakura-chan, they were—”

“No buts!” Sakura interrupted. “They were Suna shinobi and are probably here for the upcoming chuunin exams.”

“Exam!” Usagi suddenly exclaimed in an almost horror-stricken voice. “Why’d you have to remind me!” At that she curled into a feeble position muttering to herself.

Sakura looked at the girl in surprise as Moegi poked the distraught blonde in the shoulder to no visible reaction.

“Why is she so worried about an exam?” Sakura asked.

Naruto sighed. “It’s cause she and Ami have this huge medical nin evaluation coming up in a few days. She’s been trying to not think about it much.”

The others all suddenly looked on in understanding as they then set about coaxing the girl out of her panicked state before continuing back on the path to the Uzumaki’s home.


The Sandaime Hokage watched silently as all the jounin currently not out on missions filed into the large conference room. The majority of those present were in the position of sensei over genin squads, many of the rest were those holding more permanent positions within the village. Sarutobi continued to wait until the shifting stopped and the group stood facing him waiting for the meeting to start. The Hokage let a small smile grace his lips as he began to speak.

“As I’m sure you are all well aware, the chuunin selection exam will be held in Konoha one week from this date. Foreign shinobi have already begun to arrive. It is at this time that we will accept nominations from you for your respective teams. To begin, would this year’s rookie team leaders step forward.”

Almost as one Kakashi, Kurenai, Asuma and Anko stepped up. There was some muttering about Anko’s inclusion, but it stopped almost as soon as it began.

“Do any of you wish to nominate your team?” Sandaime asked while ignoring the bit of chatter.

Kakashi raised his hand in a ceremonial seal and spoke, “I Hatake Kakashi do nominate Haruno Sakura, Uchiha Sasuke, and Uzumaki Naruto for the chuunin selection exam.”

This immediately started a bit of chatter again only to be interrupted as Kurenai then raised her hand in seal, “I Yuhi Kurenai do nominate my team of Inuzuka Kiba, Aburame Shino, and Hyuga Hinata.”

Before chatter could pick up once more Asuma spoke up. “I Sarutobi Asuma do also nominate my team of Nara Shikamaru, Akimichi Chouji, and Yamanaka Ino for the chuunin selection exam. “

Chatter immediately began again in earnest only to stop again as Anko smirked and raised her hand in seal as well. “I Mitarashi Anko do nominate my team of Aino Minako, Hino Rei, and Kino Makoto for the chuunin exam along with those to my left.”

The Hokage cleared his throat to silence the buzz of chatter that had spread and glanced at his left to Iruka who was serving as his aide in this meeting, noting that the academy teacher was looking very grim.

Iruka kept his gaze locked on the jounin in front of them as he spoke. “Hokage-sama, I must ask you reconsider their nominations. Their teams only just graduated the last term— “

“Means nothing about their capabilities now Iruka-san,” Anko interrupted with a slight edge to her tone.

“After all,” Kakashi spoke up. “They aren’t your students anymore; they are our soldiers.”

Several muttered comments followed the two jounin’s statements as Iruka frowned but said nothing more knowing that it was the jounin who now knew his student’s current abilities best, even if he didn’t agree.

“All rookie teams of this year have been nominated, let us move on.” The Hokage spoke up deciding to defuse the situation from becoming any worse by moving on.

“Excuse me Hokage-sama,” Kurenai spoke up once more. “What about the med-genin. Will they be included for nominations despite not having a said team?”

Several of the jounin who had genin teams that either of the two girls had worked with began to mutter amongst themselves at this inquiry.

The Hokage leaned back a moment as he watched the reactions of the men and women before him. It was Rin who had been standing a bit off to the side who then stepped forward.

“May I explain Hokage-sama?” Rin asked. Sarutobi nodded.

“The med-genin Uzumaki Usagi and Mizuno Ami will be taking the second level med-nin evaluations during the chuunin exam which will include serving as aides and assistants to the med squads on duty for the exams. This will serve as an evaluation on the medical abilities and their rank specifically as med-nin however they will be examined in alternative methods on the rest of the chuunin qualifications.”  Once she had finished her explanation she bowed briefly and then stepped back into the row of medical staff in the room.

This explanation seemed to satisfy the jounin who had worked with the two girls and apparently also felt they should be included in chuunin evaluation at this time despite the two girls not having a regular team.

“Moving on then, senior genin squad nominations will now be accepted.” The Hokage announced and the meeting moved on from there without much further incident as various genin squads were nominated.


Sakura waved goodbye as she turned to leave Usagi’s and make her way home giving a farewell to Naruto as well. Once more she found herself thinking about the recent changes that centered almost entirely around her blonde-haired teammate. For the last two months she had been meeting up with Uzumaki Usagi, Naruto’s twin sister, for some help in basic medic abilities whenever their schedules allowed. She had first decided to pick up at least basic medic abilities after a mission where Usagi had been assigned with them as support and backup. At first, she had felt it would be a disaster, after all two Uzumaki’s on one mission? From what she remembered Sasuke hadn’t been too happy about it either though Naruto had been all but ecstatic.

That had been the first time she had met the mysterious girl who had been named as Naruto’s twin. However, once she met the girl there was no doubt that she was who she said she was. Her sunny and bright personality matched Naruto’s almost to a fault and that wasn’t even considering the physical similarities. It was then that she first started to reevaluate her opinions of Naruto as well for she found herself unable to dislike Usagi. There was just something that drew her in and made her at ease and the two had soon been on the path to friendship. It was that budding friendship that soon made it clear that friendship with one Uzumaki meant friendship with the other. True friendship at that, not the casual arm’s length she’d been keeping her blonde teammate at before that.

Choosing to accept that friendship was proving to be one of the best choices Sakura felt she had ever made. Usagi had soon introduced her to the rest of her friends and the sudden flood of female comradeship had done amazing things for Sakura’s outlook on shinobi life. She had been unable to ignore a growing disdain for her behavior in the academy as she spent time with a group of girls her own age who were all fully focused on their careers as shinobi. Not that there wasn’t boy talk (much to Naruto’s annoyance), but it was idle chatter and was not something any of the group that seemed to swirl around the two Uzumaki’s let take control. And so, Sakura soon found herself picking up new topics to study and train with that would complement and build on what she had started in the academy. She had even attended a few kunoichi specific sessions with team Anko which had been enlightening to say the least.

All in all, though Sakura found herself happier and while she still cared for Sasuke a great deal, she found her obsessive crush wasn’t quite so predominant. In fact, she could honestly say that even Sasuke had benefitted from being exposed to a double Uzumaki dose. Not that the rivalry between him and Naruto was any less, but it was being doubled in a way by Usagi’s lighthearted teasing and the occasional run in with her friends. Sakura had been appalled and shocked the first-time team Kakashi had run into team Anko. The dark-haired girl on the team who Naruto had later introduced as Rei had immediately greeted them by calling Naruto ‘Whiskers’ and Sasuke ‘Ducky.’ Looking back on it know it was actually pretty funny even if Rei and Sasuke had nearly burnt down a training field that day. However, the dark-haired pair had found a sort of uneasy partnership when it came to facing off with the Uzumaki duo. Although, even that scenario did not remain consistent as Usagi and Rei were just as likely to team up with each other against the boys if the situation called for it. All in all, Sakura admitted things were never dull when the two teams came into contact with each other, and she was finding she rather liked it that way. With that in mind she smiled brightly as she entered her home.


Usagi let out a big sigh as she handed her file to the waiting med-nin and then stepped out of the room to find a seat next to Ami. The first part of their evaluation exam was now complete. Once the med-nin in charge of this exam completed his evaluation of their work they would find out if they had passed and would be moving on to the second stage.

Ami rested her hand over Usagi’s which had been tapping steadily on the armrest between them. “Relax Usagi-chan. I’m sure you did fine.”

Usagi nodded silently but continued to fidget. “I’d hoped we’d be done here soon enough to see the others off for their exam.” The blonde-haired girl stated as she proceeded to nibble on her lower lip.

“They will do well…” Ami began to reassure but was interrupted.

“I know, I know–but it’s a team exam and we are part of those teams to! I just wish we were part of it with them and not limited to the medic exam.” Usagi confessed.

Ami only smiled softly understanding her friend’s feelings. “We will just have to do the best we can for them on our side of things then, won’t we?”

Usagi smiled at Ami, a bit of the tension falling from her figure.

“Why don’t we go cross check the inventory of the kits set up for the med squads on duty in the next part of the chuunin exam?” Ami then suggested. “It will help take our minds off the wait.”

Usagi nodded eagerly and followed after her blue haired friend. They had been aware of the upcoming chuunin exam for a while as some of their duties at the hospital had included preparation for it. While they didn’t know the specifics of the second portion of the exam, they were well aware that half of the med-nin squads had been slotted for standby duty during both the second and third portions as well as a tournament immediately after the second exam if there was a need for it. Provided the pair of them passed their evaluation they would be included with those squads on duty which would serve as the ‘hands on’ portion of their own med-skill evaluations.

Taking one long look out a window before entering the room where the kits were stored Usagi’s mind drifted once more to her friends. ‘Do your best everyone!’ with that last though she turned her attention to the task at hand and set to work with Ami.


Minako let a small smirk grace her lips as she watched the illusion settle into place over her exam paper. It hadn’t taken her too long to uncover the real point of the written segment of the Chuunin exam and from there it had just been about how to get the answers without being discovered. Unfortunately, in her case, none of her current tricks would quite let her copy the answers without being a bit too apparent. An illusion, however, was another story altogether. Her illusions, when she chose them to be, were nearly undetectable to the majority of shinobi based on the simple fact that she literally used light to create them. While she continued to let her pencil scrawl across the paper to make it seem she was imprinting answers onto the sheet, the illusion was in fact settling into place so that anyone who looked at the paper would see the correct answers. This was her talent, a very unique blend of her heritage and shinobi training.

Similarly, Minako knew that Rei and Makoto would be using their own unique talents to fill in their own exams. She was pretty sure Makoto would draw on her affinity to nature, wood specifically in this case, and let her writing utensil do the work for her by linking it to another in the room. Rei’s affinity was a bit more volatile though, and Minako figured she would use her more newfound ability to summon the sacred fire in her mindscape to find her answers. That was a discovery that had been of irreplaceable value for the fiery daughter of Mars as the lack of a sacred fire had been a major concern for one who needed it almost as much as she needed air to breath. In some ways Minako truly felt that the sacred fire was really an extension of the girl herself. The discovery of this ability along with their other ‘talents’ as they called them were something they never would have been able to find had it not been for their new sensei here in Konoha. Minako remembered clearly the first day of real training their unit had undergone.

Their squad that day consisted of Anko, the three officially on her team and Ami as well while Usagi had been assigned to work with a different team. Anko led them through Konoha, her travel path casual and relaxed as the four girls followed her. It wasn’t until they entered the side door of a building that her casual stroll seemed to take on a purpose. The violet haired jounin waved casually to another Konoha shinobi who sat at a desk just inside the door. The shinobi just nodded though arched an eyebrow as he watched the four girls follow Anko silently. No explanation was offered however, and the shinobi didn’t ask, but just waved them through after their sensei. Soon the four girls found themselves being led into a room that for all practical purposes appeared to be either a lounge or conference room. Once all four were inside Anko closed the door and then channeled chakra through the seal that was on the back of it.

“All right brats, take a seat and get comfortable.” The woman then ordered as she herself took a rather cozy chair herself across the table from them. “This room is sealed and nothing that is said or done in here will get out of this room. It is here that the first step of your training will be taken, and it must be completed if we are to get even a step further.” The four girls glanced at each other not really following where this conversation was going but opted to wait for explanation.

Anko nodded approvingly. “To get straight to the point I need to know a good deal about your abilities, and I do not mean your shinobi training. I need to know about your planetary heritages as Rin called it when she first gave me a briefing on you lot. Until I know enough to understand it in theory at least I cannot determine the best approach to your training. I’ve been informed that your planetary abilities have been sealed and that’s just fine. But I’ve been studying you four and each of you still has something more to you than simply chakra at this point. That is what we need to identify and bring to the surface. I’m almost certain these affinities I’ve noticed are in some way connected to your heritage so that is where we begin.” Anko waited a moment to let them ponder what she had said for a few moments.

“Goldie from what I understand you are the leader of this little troop when not under direct command of your princess. I am asking you to share your secrets and place a great deal of trust in me as your teacher and it is you who will make the decision to trust me or not.” Anko then ordered and met the blue-eyed gaze of the blonde girl.

Minako or ‘Goldie’ as Anko had dubbed her met her sensei’s stare and opened her heart to the emotions that the violet haired woman was keeping well hidden from her expressions. Emotions that she as a daughter of Venus had the ability to sense and there was much there for her to sift through. At the very top of it all was confidence and anticipation, these told Minako that Anko was confident in her ability to teach them and was looking forward to it. They were however in part a mask for what lay below them. Uncertainty and fear were there strongly, and at first Minako wondered if the woman feared them, but what lay with those emotions banished that thought. Hope and a longing for their trust and friendship fluctuated in and out with the fear and uncertainty. Minako closed her eyes and relaxed a smile spreading across her lips. She could tell that their sensei had been through much and feared that they would not be willing to trust her. Yet she could also tell that Anko truly wanted to teach them and see them do well. On either side of her Ami, Rei, and Makoto waited for her reply knowing what she had been doing and trusting in Minako to make the decision. Minako gave the girls around her a reassuring nod before turning her attention back to their sensei.

“What we are about to share with you Anko-sensei, is information that has never truly gone outside of the royal family of the silver millennium. I know your intentions are true however and I agree that in order for us to find the strengths we will need in the future, we will need guidance and new perspectives. There are still some things we will not be able to share with you. There are things kept secret between the senshi and to share them would make us oath breakers. That is something we simply cannot do. Our planetary heritage outside of that however will be opened to you. Ami, could you?”

Ami smiled in understanding as she then took over and began to explain in detail to their sensei how each planet’s royal family shared a bond right down to their soul with their respective planet and while these bonds were what also allowed the females of the royal family to become guardians it was also so much more. Each planets power had a different flavor or affinity and those affinities represented themselves in the planets people but most of all in the royal family.

The discussion had spun on about the power affinities, so very much like the elemental affinities of chakra, and yet very different as they were not just part of their chakra but their entire being.

It had not taken Anko long after that day to start identifying just what those affinities were for each of the girls as she ran them through all sorts of trial exercises. In the end it hadn’t been all that surprising to find that the elemental forms their senshi abilities took were extensions of these personal affinities. Which lead them to where they were today; using their unique talents to complete the task of the exam set before them.

It was then that the proctor announced the final question and Minako’s attention was brought fully to the present once more. Emotions throughout the room spiked with confusion and growing panic as the new rules were announced. Her attention was then drawn to Naruto as she picked up on the emotions flowing from him. He was in shock and angry, feelings which were echoed by others as complaint was voiced over the strict rules. She continued to watch as the blonde-haired boy clenched his fists, and she could sense the conflicting emotions battling. Her eyes widened slightly as she picked up on a slight movement from his teammate, Sakura. It was then, just before the girl could act, that something seemed to click within the boy as he rose to his feet and shouted back at the proctor defiantly.

She smiled as the tension in the room completely melted away to be replaced by confidence and determination. Naruto had changed the outlook of the final question for everyone in the room. It was much like how his sister had once stood up for their shinobi training on the moon when one of their instructors called it foolishness and a waste. Usagi had stood up to the Martian woman and refused to give up the training that was her paternal heritage. The woman had fumed and stormed off, and the princess senshi had continued on with both senshi and shinobi training. Training that was proving invaluable now as they were living in the world of shinobi without senshi abilities to fall back on.

Naruto’s declaration to follow his dream no matter the obstacle had held power in it, and it seemed even the exam proctor had recognized that as he smiled and announced the exam over with everyone still in the room passing. Minako smiled and glanced at Rei and Makoto and could tell that both had been reminded of Usagi’s stand in the past as well. Both of the Uzumaki twins were determined and focused on their dreams, and neither would let anything change that. It was for these facts and the charisma both displayed so naturally that Minako knew Naruto and Usagi both would make great leaders.


To the casual passerby, the Fire Seal had been closed down for the duration of the chuunin exam. While this put out some of its regular non shinobi patrons, the shinobi were able to look underneath the obvious for the bar and club often favored by the jounin of the village was anything but closed. Much like the traditional once a week gathering that the establishment was home to, it also closed its doors to all non-shinobi personnel whenever the somewhat illustrious chuunin exams were held. This gave the jounin who had nominated teams for the exam somewhere to gather and sweat out the wait together in more or less, pleasant company. It also kept them out from underfoot of those administering the exam, a practice that had become all but standing orders after a few jounin hovered over their genin in worry a bit too much.

This particular chuunin exam had seen an increase in nominations from Konoha both because the exam was being held within their own village at this time as well as the fact that all four of the rookie teams of the most recent academy graduates had been nominated, something that had not occurred since the early days of the village’s founding. So, while it may have surprised some to see the group of highly elite jounin all appearing to be relaxed and at ease, the fact that their minds were all more focused on their Genin was the well-hidden as they waited for the runner who would bring those waiting the results of the first portion of the exam. In the meantime, however they fell back on the age-old tradition of needling each other.

“So, who nominated old Ibiki-san to proctor the first test this year?” Asuma asked before taking a slow draw from the cigarette balanced between his lips. The name seemed to catch the attention of quite a few others in the room as well.

“Ibiki is the proctor?” another jounin sitting at a table a few feet away asked with a grimace.

“That’s right. I heard it was requested of him after that incident in ANBU HQ a few months back. Hokage-sama figured he needed to get back in touch with the younger generation after he let that pair wreak havoc in the HQ building.” Another jounin chimed in.

“Punishment for Ibiki or for the genin involved?” a third chimed in.

“Not my fault he underestimated the brats I was testing, and a good old stare down with Ibiki will be good for the lot of them.” Anko chimed in with a sadistic grin as she flicked a dango stick casually to her side only to have it quiver where it embedded in the wall a scant distance from Kakashi’s ear.

“I don’t understand why you are all so worried about this man being the proctor?” Kurenai then asked having not had any dealings with the shinobi in question.

“Ah that’s right, being a rookie jounin yourself you probably haven’t worked with him yet.” Asuma commented.

Kakashi turned a lazy smile towards Kurenai before deeming to answer the question. “Morino Ibiki is in charge of the Interrogation unit and is well known for having a somewhat nasty sadistic streak… though I think Anko has given him a run for his money a time or two.”

“Damn straight.” Anko snipped.

Before anymore could be said Rin entered the room and after a quick glance around made her way over to where the jounin were gathered.

“Usagi and Ami have cleared their written examination and are already in route to the tower with their assigned medic squad. Oh, and here are the results from the first exam for the rest, I met the runner just outside.”

No sooner had the dark-haired medic jounin dropped the scroll on the table then it had been opened and pinned flat as those present quickly began to scan through the list of names and teams. Some of the jounin sighed or muttered before giving congratulations to those whose teams had passed and then left to find their own teams who had not. Soon the number of jounin had gone from over a dozen to a mere handful.

“I hope Hayate appreciates the honor I’ve let him have by taking my job of proctor for the second portion.” Anko muttered as she called to one of the club’s employees for another order of dango. The others who remained chuckled lightly at Anko’s comment though were in some ways also glad that their teams would not have to put up with Anko’s sadistic mannerisms right after the racking Ibiki had likely put them through.

“And now the real wait begins.” Asuma stated and then lit up another cigarette.

Chapter 5

The jounin in charge of the second portion of the chuunin selection exam turned to meet the approaching medic squad with a nod of satisfaction. “Good you’re the last team to arrive and there is just enough time for you to get underway before the contestants being to arrive.” He greeted before turning his gaze specifically on the two genin with the squad. “These are the two med-genin under evaluation?” He asked then as the group stopped before them.

The leader of the med squad nodded. “They are sir. This is med-genin Uzumaki Usagi and med-genin Mizuno Ami. They have successfully completed their medical evaluation from earlier today and have been cleared for the practical evaluation during the second exam.”

“Well done—” he began before being interrupted by a fit of coughing.

Usagi stepped forward concern evident on her face, “Sir, are you all, right?”

The man smiled behind the first covering his mouth and nodded. “I am fine Uzumaki-san. You better get underway with your squad the safe route will have to be sealed shortly. I’ll see you both at the tower.” With that the man vanished in a small flurry of leaves giving Usagi no more chance to question him. Their squad leader quickly gave orders to move out as they were then guided into a tunnel entrance on the exterior of the fence that surrounded the training area known as ‘The Forest of Death’ and site of the second examination.


Usagi moved quickly through the halls of the tower as she continued on her task to ensure all the medical stations were well stocked in basic supplies. They had arrived at the tower in good time the day before and it had only been hours afterwards that she has heard that the first of the teams from the exam had arrived as well. From what she had heard this was unusual, but unless one of the team members needed medical aide she wasn’t likely to run into them. For now, she just had to focus on the tasks given to her and try to not worry about her brother and friends who were also participating in that same exam. She was only a little more concerned for the girls, knowing that when it came to business, they would get the job done even if they tended to get into just as much mischief as she did off the job. Her brother she was a little more concerned for as she was well aware that he was just as likely to find trouble as it was to find him.

“Uzumaki—” a monotone voice spoke from behind her making her startle and drop the packets of bandages in her arms.

“Oh, you startled me!” She exclaimed as she bent to pick up the packages she had dropped only to be stopped as sand swirled around them and lifted them to her. She slowly raised her gaze to meet the intense blue-green stare of the red headed boy she had run into with Naruto only a few days before. “Sabaku no Gaara—”

“Why are you here when you were not on a team in this exam?” The boy asked his voice unchanging.

“I—I’m part of the medical staff on duty here within the tower.” She answered slowly accepting the packages from him but remaining still otherwise. Something about the boy was warning her to not make any surprising movements and let him direct the conversation… and yet unlike their first meeting much of the initial hostility that she had sensed was gone. Fidgeting slightly under his gaze she wondered what he was thinking and decided to see if she could find out what it was that was on his mind. “Is there something you need Gaara-san?”

The boy’s eye’s narrowed and then he closed them and seemed to be lost in thought a moment. “I would like to speak to you—privately.”

Usagi blinked in surprise and considered it, knowing that Rei would likely chew her head off for it later; however, something about this seemed very important. “Follow me.” She finally answered and then led him down the hall a bit further to a small meeting room used by medical staff.

Once he had entered the room she closed and locked the door behind him and turned to face him. “What is it you needed to speak with me about Gaara-san?” She then asked.

The boy remained silent for a few moments though his focus seemed to be turned more inward then on her. It wasn’t until his gaze was focused on her fully once more that he spoke. “I wish to know why It does not call for your blood like It does nearly everyone else. What about you makes It silent and no longer clawing at my thoughts?”

Usagi stared at him in confusion and then a spark of idea flitted through her mind as to just what he could be talking about. She nibbled on her lower lip as she considered the possibility and what it meant if it were true. Meeting his gaze once more she decided to ask and find out if her suspicions were correct. “Gaara-san… do you carry one of the bijuu?”

The red headed boy remained silent but gave her a small nod in affirmative.

Usagi let out a sigh and considered her options before speaking. “… Your bijuu recognized my blood. Centuries ago, all of its kind once answered to my family line, back then the bijuu were guardians placed to protect this world, but something went wrong and contact with all the bijuu was lost. Only recently has the fact that something corrupted them—driving them into the beasts and monsters they are of legend today. I seem to have a strong bond with them though—”

She was interrupted as the boy gasped and raised a hand to his head his eyes widening and pupil’s dilating. “Gaara-san!? Are you alright? Gaara-san?” She asked rushing to his side and raising a hand to rest over his own. A spark of feeling and energy passed through them and Gaara’s breathing slowed once more. Sand flowed around them in the room, moving smoothly through air and along the floor and walls. It was then Usagi felt it herself, the energy of the bijuu calling to her and the darkness tainting it.

“Help—this voice… It’s asking for help.” Gaara whispered seemingly stunned by the revelation as they stood there staring at each other. Usagi nodded slowly.

“I understand… and I think I can help, but it will have to be after this exam, and I will have to get others to assist. Can you wait that long?” She asked quietly beginning to have an understanding as to just what the boy was dealing with.

Gaara closed his eyes in concentration and pulled her hand away from his own before taking a step back. When he opened his eyes once more the cold and emotionless stare had returned. “I will wait.” With that statement he left the room leaving the blonde-haired girl to stare after him.

She took a deep breath and sighed as the events of the recent meeting replayed through her mind. One thing was for sure, Luna and the others would be pissed she had met him alone and agreed to help without talking to them first. However, she knew, right down to her very core, that just as helping the Kyuubi begin to heal within Naruto was something she had had to do, so was this.

She exited the room as she continued to dwell on the facts she knew and idly began to wonder specifically which bijuu it was that the boy from Sand carried.


A deep sigh breathed through the air; the only sound that passed through the very heavy atmosphere that filled the room the third Hokage of Konohagakure occupied currently. The past few days had gone from the pleasant general stress that went with the workload of being the host village for the chuunin selection exam to a tense nearly pin drop anticipation. The single series of events that had triggered this atmosphere change had also added a very heavy ache and pull on his heart, for it was his one greatest disappointment and failure that had caused it. Orochimaru… as a boy he had been his favorite and star pupil, and he had cared for him deeply. Unfortunately, that favor had put a glamour on the boy in his eyes and had allowed him to become the dark and twisted man that had later betrayed and abandoned his village, a man that had made his presence known in the forest where the second exam was being held. What the man’s motives for this unexpected appearance were unknown, though he had a sinking suspicion about it just the same.

It was only hours until the exam would come to an end, and it was unlikely that many more teams, if any, would stagger in this close to the end. This particular exam seemed to have been one of the more brutal of those that took place in Konoha, at least in terms of casualties and injuries. Those brought into the medic teams both at the tower and at the regular village hospital were almost reminiscent of war time injuries and he only hoped that those who were participating understood that. Already the medic staff was being run a bit ragged, though he had received initial reports that the two med-genin were performing admirably. He only hoped that the teams that the girl’s friends were on weren’t also those that showed up on their medic tables, such trauma could potentially scar them at this point in their careers, though he felt they would also rise above it.

Most of all, he feared what the reappearance of his old student would mean for the village and all those within it. For if there was one thing certain—Orochimaru would not be here to simply give a pleasant hello. No, whatever his former student had in mind it would likely be felt to the village’s core if they could not uncover it beforehand. And yet… Konoha had a strong will of fire running through her, and it was that will that Orochimaru would likely overlook the most.


For the first few days of the second exam, being on the duty medical squad was pretty much boring. Then day three hit and casualties started to be brought in. Most of those delivered into the hands of the medic squad had not passed the exam. Rather, they were the ones who were too injured to continue. The reality of the injuries that both Usagi and Ami were now asked to deal with could very well have been traumatic enough to scare them off medical duties. However, both of them quickly set the shock aside and focused on the task at hand—the healing and treatment required to save ninja careers and even lives. At that point time began to pass quickly.

Usagi had sensed when team Anko arrived and had offered a silent thanks when they did not appear or move toward the medical wing. She hadn’t really doubted that the girls would be able to complete the exam, however some of the things she had seen in the medic wing had made her worry about them regardless. For it was surprisingly easy to tell when injuries had been given with only intent to disable and not cause permanent or fatal harm. It was also easy to tell when the injuries had been delivered with extreme malice and viciousness and it struck something deep within her to see how many of those passing through the medic area would likely have to end their ninja career. She had not wanted to see her friends and guardians in need of medical care for while she knew their natural healing abilities were higher than that of most others, they did not have their senshi abilities available which was also a key factor.

With a final tuck of gauze and a securing fold she smiled at the genin she had just finished with and turned to find the waiting bench empty for the first time since she had started this shift. Just as she was about to seek out one of the head medics nin Ami appeared from around a corner and caught her attention.

“Usagi-chan, we’re to take a brief break, wash up and then report to the stand-by room outside the arena room. They will be doing preliminary matches because the number who passed this exam is too high.” The blue-haired girl announced while at the same time picking up a stack of medical files from a nearby shelf that needed to be filed.

“Understood, I’ll meet you up there in a bit then. Have you heard if Naruto’s team passed?” Usagi asked as she grabbed her kit from the shelf it had been resting on.

“They came in just an hour ago with no serious injuries since they did not seek medic assistance. Beyond that I don’t know. I’m sure we will find out more while on stand-by.”

“Thanks!” Usagi answered and then made her way to the showers that had been given over to medical staff use.


Team Anko had passed the second exam with minimal difficulty and overall, they were both glad and annoyed that they had not run into Team Kakashi while in the forest but were relieved to see that the other rookie teams had all passed as well. There had been no time to talk yet with the others as they had immediately gone to rest when shown to rooms after arriving the day before and had then been summoned to the arena room, they were all lined up in shortly after waking.

Rei was uneasy as she listened to the Hokage and the exam proctors congratulate all those that had passed, and then announced that there would be immediate preliminary matches in order to thin numbers further. It wasn’t the news of the matches that had her uneasy, no this was something more subtle a foreign presence in a more familiar aura. Unfortunately, she was unable to determine from exactly where the feeling was coming from. None the less though, it gave her a sinking suspicion that something had gone very wrong during this exam and as of yet, it was being kept very quiet.

She made no complaint or comment as they were directed to file up onto the waiting platforms that flanked the arena floor after the first two names appeared on the screen that would determine the match ups. She considered making a comment to Sasuke as she passed, but something in his expression gave her pause and she narrowed her eyes in thought as she reached out with her senses. Her attempts at scanning his aura were unsuccessful though as Kakashi appeared between them apparently with a few words of advice for his student. She would just have to pay careful attention to the match and see if anything was revealed during it.

“Something eating you Red?” Anko asked as she came to stand by her sensei and Minako. Rei shook her head in response though her gaze remained focused on the raven-haired boy in the arena below.

Anko seemed to keep her gaze on her a few moments before she too turned her attention to the arena as the match began.

At first nothing seemed wrong, though Rei did note the near total absence of chakra use on Sasuke’s part and she wondered at it as from what she could tell he was nowhere near being run dry. Then it happened there was a flare in his aura and chakra as he seemed to grab a spot on his neck that was pulsating in his aura. Rei’s eyes snapped open wide at what she had detected and knew immediately that whatever it was that had been injected into her fellow genin’s aura would need Usagi’s attention. She remained silent as the match concluded silently thankful that there had been no further flare out from the taint in his aura after he suppressed it. She kept her gaze on Sasuke as Kakashi quickly intercepted him and began to leave the room with him. Good Kakashi knew there was something wrong then. Rei then turned to face her own sensei.

“Anko-sensei, I feel it is VERY important that Usagi-chan examines Sasuke.” She said quietly though she felt the woman would understand without too much fuss. Anko met her gaze for a long moment and then nodded before she vanished from sight in a small flurry of leaves.


Anko found her mind wandering as she traveled through the medic wing of the Area 44 tower, word had traveled quickly among the jounin sensei before the official end of the second exam, word that Uchiha Sasuke now had a cursed seal courtesy of Orochimaru. That fact alone had caused tension levels to rise as it was still likely that the rogue sannin was still lurking within the village boundaries. Then there had been Rei’s cryptic comment and Anko had felt a hopeful tug deep within her very being. Could Uzumaki Usagi do something to counter Orochimaru’s seal?

While the cursed seal had been her bane and an unsolvable puzzle to so many, so Uzumaki Usagi herself was an even more complex puzzle simply because the mixed heritage she shared with Naruto held so many unknown variables. Would the girl be the first to actually be able to do something to counteract and dare she hope, remove the seal altogether? There was only way to find out.

Anko turned the corner to enter the corridor where the medic staff had quarters for the duration of the exam to find the blonde-haired girl in just exiting one of the rooms.

“Anko-sensei?” She questioned and Anko gave her a grim nod.

“Come with me, Uchiha Sasuke needs your particular attention at the moment.”

The girl’s blue eye’s widened in concern as she shouldered her medic kit and moved to follow the older woman. Despite the boy in question’s brisk and cold attitude, she had come to care for all of her brother’s teammates and would do whatever she could to heal Sasuke of whatever it was that they were calling her for.

It took them only moments to meet Kakashi coming down a corridor with the unconscious boy in his arms and Usagi wasted no time in showing the two jounin a room to place him in.


Minako let out a small breath she had been holding as the names for the third preliminary match appeared on the display screen. While she was glad her wait was over, she had a very suspicious feeling about the boy she was set to face.

She had noted the silver haired boy prior to the first test when he spoke with the rookie genin groups. He had introduced himself as Kabuto, a genin of three to four years already and making his seventh attempt at the chuunin exam. He had given off a very friendly aura, tinged with curiosity about the rookie teams. She had not been taken in by that aura however, as she had sensed the darker and more sinister presence beneath it. Even now as they both descended to the match floor, she could sense both the top layer of his aura, and the one under it, cleverly masked by fatigue and curiosity from the one above, and it was that second aura and the darkness she could feel from it that held her attention. She would have to be careful.

The exam proctor coughed before looking to each of the combatants. Satisfied that they were ready he spoke. “Begin.”

Immediately Minako leapt backwards giving herself some more space while beginning the weave of a subtle illusion. One that could easily be mistaken as Genjutsu by even the most experienced jounin, though it was in fact built off her ability to command light. The two paced each other in a circle, neither turning their back on the other’s they moved.

It was subtle, but Minako saw it, her opponent had attempted to dispel her illusion as a standard Genjutsu, that was the moment she moved it to the next level. This particular illusion would be slightly obvious despite subtle so that if and when her target noticed it, she then settled into the next level of it at the instance they tried to dispel it, furthering in the illusion that their attempt had been a success and not just a trap getting deeper. This was also the moment that Minako knew without a doubt that this boy was no mere genin.

He had not broken her illusion, and he had noticed that fact, something that she knew not even Rin or Anko-sensei had ever been able to detect during practices. The brief narrowing of his eyes had told her much and she began to wonder just what he was doing here. Minako looked on in surprise as he suddenly relaxed his pose and turned to face the proctor.

“Hayate-san, excuse me, but I must forfeit this match now. I do not have the strength or reserves to continue this fight.” The silver haired glasses wearing boy stated in a cheerful tone.

Minako frowned. Something was very fishy about this. His darker aura pulsed with a sensation that she could only define as a smirk.

The proctor nodded. “Very well. Winner of the third preliminary match is Aino Minako.”


Usagi watched as the two jounin left the small examination room and closed the door behind them. She wasn’t entirely happy with having to remain sealed in the room with the currently comatose Uchiha Sasuke, but she had agreed with both Kakashi and Anko-sensei. Sasuke could not be left alone. She sensed the current of chakra that marked the sealing of the door and turned to study her dark-haired companion, frowning as he seemed to wince in pain. Usagi moved to hold one hand over his forehead and then chewed on her lower lip a moment as she debated removing his forehead protector for the time being. Another wince and twitch of movement from the boy made her decision as she gently tugged at the band until it slid free. It was then she felt it.

Malice, greed, and more rolled off of Sasuke, and though Kakashi-sensei had said the evil curse seal was contained– Usagi had a sinking suspicion that it was already too late. Her thoughts quickly drifted to her brother, and Sasuke’s other teammate Sakura. Leaving the curse seal as it was would only hurt them all and likely go beyond just Team Kakashi. Usagi chewed her lower lip for a moment more before nodding her decision made.

“I know you have never liked me Sasuke-san, but I will help you overcome this darkness. I will not let you be lost without giving you every chance to choose and fight.”

With those words she then placed one hand over the mark on Sasuke’s shoulder and the other gently on his brow. In moments a faint silver glow filled the room.


Naruto did not remove his gaze from the match currently going on when he sensed the return of both Kakashi-sensei and Anko without Sasuke. He had heard Rei’s softly spoken request to her sensei and their return now could only mean that Sasuke was now in his sister’s care. He hoped the bastard appreciated just who he was being trusted with, but he could also tell deep down that Rei was right and that it was Usagi alone who might undo whatever the Snake bastard had done to his teammate in the forest.

His attention was brought back fully to the match he was watching as the sound genin who’s arms had nearly been broken by Sasuke screamed out in pain. His former classmate and member of Team Kurenai stood silent as the bugs that had caused the sound genin’s new injuries scurried back.

“Winner of the fourth match, Aburame Shino.” the proctor announced as a med nin team scurried in to see to the injured boy. Among them Naruto spotted the blue haired med-genin.

“I didn’t know Ami-chan would be in the tower.” he heard Sakura say softly to his left.

“Ah, she and Usagi-chan are taking med-nin evaluations. I saw Usagi-chan working in the medical wing just a bit ago. From what I’ve heard they are doing well.” Kakashi explained.

Naruto glanced back at his sensei and was about to ask if they would see her before they left when a shout from Kiba drew his attention to the score board.

“Naruto don’t do anything stupid!” Sakura chastised as he leapt down from the observation balcony. Naruto only smirked. The fifth match was his.


Usagi opened her eyes and studied the gloomy landscape around her and for a moment, struggled with her power that tried to rush out and heal all the sorrow and pain the scene represented. The sky revealed night, but instead of the cool silvery blue light of the moon, everything was tinged red. Even the very moon itself. She suppressed a shiver and slowly began to walk forward through the scene, noting the obvious massacre that had taken place. These people had had no warning, no chance to defend themselves, they simply fell where they stood. Sometimes the injuries were obvious, though many were not. Soon she reached a home that was a little grander than the rest, the clan head’s residence she noted recognizing the setting as one of the clan compounds. She didn’t have to guess which one knowing whose heart these images had come from. She heard crying and entered the home just in time to see an older boy kill two adults in front of a younger Sasuke.

She watched as the child form of Sasuke froze in stunned shock tears dripping down his face without his notice.

“Itachi-niisan… why?”

The older boy only stared, his eyes whirling red and menacing and then his younger brother screamed. It was then Usagi noticed the dark shadowy copy of Sasuke watching the scene with a twisted smirk as it whispered in the boy’s ear. “You let this happen. You did nothing but watch, so weak. It is your fault for doing nothing…”

Usagi stepped forward to Sasuke’s other side. “Be gone.” She commanded and her now glowing birthmark pulsed. The shadow hissed then vanished into wisps of nothing. She then turned to the form of Sasuke’s older brother. “I will deal with you another day.” She promised though instead of vanishing into wisps the form only smiled and then stepped back to vanish into the shadows. She turned back to the distraught Sasuke and turned his face up to meet her gaze.

He blinked in shock.

“It was not your fault Sasuke. It was a dark and terrible thing that happened here, but it was NOT your fault.” She said softly, warm silver light spreading outward around them and leeching the eerie red away.

The boy could only stare, his racing heart seeming to steady and calm. He could still feel the pain and overwhelming sorrow, and yet they were more distant and not so raw. He stared at the girl in front of him with eyes so blue he imagined they could hold all the world in them. He barely noticed the pulsing mark on her forehead, or the elegant gown she appeared to be wearing. An older Sasuke found himself unable to turn away from the warm expression on her face.

“How…” he whispered as the scene around them faded away to be replaced by an open meadow under a full white moon.

She smiled at him. “It is not healthy to hold such pain bottled inside you Sasuke, I only showed you the way to open that bottle and let it come out. Such pain must be shared, or it will overwhelm and control you.”

He frowned glancing around at the tranquil scene around them and glared at her. “What would you know! You know no… thing” he finished softly the sorrow in her eyes stopping his tantrum.

“Will you let me show you the fall of a peaceful kingdom Sasuke? Perhaps then you will understand.”

He was skeptic she could tell, but he sighed and gave a quick nod.

She smiled again and turned, taking his hand with the movement, and pulling him along beside her gently. “For over a thousand years the Moon Kingdom has ruled in peace and prosperity. Guarding its’ subjects and bringing hope and light to their region of the universe. This kingdom was ruled by the Lunarian royal line descend from the moon goddess Selene herself. However, there is a darker side to the moon’s glory, and it was the descendants of the dark side of the goddess that brought about the kingdoms fall…”

She led him into a scene from her own memory, the great blue-green globe of Earth hanging overhead. Into the palace library where they found a group of girls all hard at work in some form of study. Sasuke glanced from his companion to one of the girls in the group frowning at the only difference between them being the color of their hair, his companions was gold whereas the others was silver. She nodded in silent answer to his inquiry but said nothing. As a woman Sasuke recognized suddenly appeared next to them in the room.

“Rin-sensei, what is it?”  One of the girls asked as they all took in the woman’s serious expression.

“Treason. We must get to the portal quickly. Do not ask questions right now, follow me.”

Stunned and terrified expressions stared back at her.

“But we must fight!” One of the girls in a green dress said getting up.

“No.” The woman ordered.

“But my mother…” The silver haired girl said quietly. The woman’s gaze softened slightly, and a few tears welled in her eyes.

“She is already lost, that is why we must get you to safety at all cost. We cannot risk losing you as well.”

The silver haired girl stood stunned, and it was her blonde companion who then seemed to take control. “Quickly we will take the hidden way to our training ground, gather what supplies there we can and then travel to the garden portal courtyard. We must not return to our personal rooms; it is one of the first places they will look when we are not found here.”

The other girls nodded, the raven haired one rose and stood in front of the silver haired girl meeting her eyes. “Usa-chan, we must go as Rin-sensei says.”

The silver haired girl closed her eyes and her hands tightened into fists. But then she nodded once quickly, tears falling as she opened her eyes again and then turned to the blonde. “Minako, lead the way, Rin-sensei, Makoto-chan guard our tail.”

The girls and woman nodded and then quickly began to move.

Sasuke followed without being told as they began to travel through hidden doors and passages, each moment bringing new sounds of fighting and destruction. Unlike when they had first entered the palace grounds, a sickly violet haze had seemed to settle everywhere creating an eerie atmosphere of twilight as the group kept to shadows. Twice they had to stop and turn back to find a new path as they came into halls and rooms filled with people who lay in crumpled heaps with a growing dark puddle staining the ground where they laid. Others were crushed under fallen stonework from pillars, walls, and holes in the ceiling. Sasuke could only wonder at what would take so much innocent life, most of these people didn’t even seem to be fighters of any kind.

Soon they were skirting through ruined gardens and demolished courtyards, sparing hardly a glance for the destruction and death each new corner revealed. It was while they quickly gathered supplies that two felines joined the group without a word. However, the worst view came just as they turned to enter their destination when another archway showed a beautiful pearl white palace beginning to crumble as it was overwhelmed with fire and dark sinister clouds of what Sasuke could only guess was some sort of jutsu. He watched as the group quickly activated and vanished into a portal with the silver haired girl only giving a brief glance back with determination in her gaze.

The scene faded back into the moonlit meadow and Sasuke stood beside the girl he knew as Naruto’s twin sister.

He turned to meet her gaze. “Then you seek revenge.” he stated harshly.

She shook her head no. “No, not revenge. For those I should be protecting are without as long as I am away. It is the safety of my people I desire.”

“Your people?!” He asked skeptic.

“If your brother had not killed all your clan, but only left those your age and younger alive. Would you seek revenge? or to protect your clansmen?”

Sasuke frowned. “He didn’t. I am the last… but.” He frowned as he considered the possibility and knew she was right, but his brother had left him no one to protect… he studied her and bit by bit he began to see what it was that her friends were drawn to. “You give them hope. You… you want to give me hope…”

She nodded. “There is always hope if you wish for it and I believe there is hope for your brother as well. I feel there is much more to the story then what your memory shows.”

Sasuke was stunned by her words. Hope? for Itachi? More to the tragedy that was the massacre of the Uchiha clan? He had never even considered anything past his hate and revenge… but to have hope… maybe there was something more after all. If she was right…he felt a great burden lift from his heart. Perhaps he did have something to hope for after all.

It was at that moment that Usagi opened her eyes and removed her hand from Sasuke’s forehead. The last remaining venom that has been in his body oozed out of the bite wound on his shoulder which was now just that, only a wound. The curse seal was nothing more than a bit of ink and fluid she then cleaned up with a small burst of silver energy turned into dust. She smiled softly as she saw the relaxed expression on Sasuke’s face and then caught herself yawning. She took one last glance around the room then curled up against the wall near Sasuke’s bed with a spare blanket and let her own eyes drift closed.


Rei rested a hand on the railing and hoped over to land softly on the fighting floor below when her name appeared on the screen for the next match. The previous fight between the sound girl and Shikamaru had ended rather anticlimactically. She watched in silence as the last of the three sound genin to fight also jumped down into the arena. So far none of this genin’s team had managed to win their match and now he and she would be the 8th pair to face off. None of that mattered however as the jounin examiner said “Begin.”

Almost immediately the sound genin charged forward swinging his right arm in a cross-punch motion as Rei rolled sideways and then stumbled as she tried to regain her footing. Her violet eyes widened as the sound genin chuckled.

“You should just forfeit now. This match is over.” he said a mocking tone in his voice.

Rei narrowed her gaze at him as she noted the strange device on his arm, and then glanced up at the hiate and the village mark it bore. Sound.

“Have you figured it out then?” the genin mocked.

Rei refused to rise to his bait as she determined what she could do to defend again his attack. Unfortunately, her options were proving limited, and she could not afford to let him hit her again. She narrowed her gaze and sprinted forward a collection of ofuda and senbon appearing in her fists.

The sound genin only smirked and leapt backwards bringing his right arm forward again in a guard position. However, Rei had expected that and turned her sprint into a handstand spring flinging her arsenal at her opponent as she flipped over his head landing in a crouch behind him.

The Sound genin smirked as the needles clattered off his arm and scoffed at the pieces of paper that stuck to the metal guard. A blast of chakra induced air blew the papers off, but no sooner did they lose contact then an inferno incased his arm.

Rei smirked her head lowered, and her eyes hidden under her bangs. “Norito no Hi.” she stated quietly as blood then trickled out of her ears and she fell forward unconscious.

The sound genin managed to suppress the fire but his arm was a smoking ruin, the metal guard misshapen and useless as he struggled to remove it from his arm.

“Winner, Dosu Kinuta.” The jounin examiner announced as medial staff rushed out to assist the Genin as the metal continued to burn his arm and others including the medic-genin Ami moved to remove the now unconscious Rei from the arena and treat her.

The sound genin growled in pain as the metal was removed to reveal his arm a steaming red as the med team then guided him out of the arena.

Minako watched silently as she filtered through the various emotions in the area after the most recent match. She sensed it when whatever healing Usagi had been working on finished and the darker feelings that had come from that direction eased away almost completely, however there was a sharp spike of anger in arena at almost the same time. Minako’s eyes quickly scanned the group that stood on the opposite balcony from where most of the Konoha shinobi were. Her gaze paused only a moment on the pale and blank expression on the sound jounin’s face… his eyes though. Those told a different story, he was angry. Whether that was due to the result of his last student’s match, or if he had sensed something to do with Usagi’s healing she couldn’t be sure.

Minako glanced to her own sensei and Kakashi. Both seemed relaxed though attentive to the matches, and yet she could fell the underlying tension that filled them both. There was something more going on during this exam then just the exam itself. Something underneath the underneath. She didn’t have much more time to dwell on it though as the arena was cleared and the next pair of names appeared on the screen. Minako held back a gasp of dismay as she saw the names and felt the emotional reaction from the two.

Dismay, and a fair dose of fear, those were definitely Hinata’s. Disdain, overwhelming confidence, and anticipation… those came from her cousin and now opponent Hyuuga Neji. As the two made their way to the arena floor she sensed the concern and worry rise in several of the leaf shinobi, in particular Hinata’s sensei and teammates as well Makoto and Sakura. They all knew what it meant for these two to face off. Hinata had become fast friends with the group of girls that often gathered together in the Uzumaki residence and had even joined in learning basic med-nin jutsu with Ami and Usagi as well. It had been during some of those meetings that some of the story of her family history and the current situation had come out. And it was not without her own worries that Minako watched as the fight began.

It was hard and even painful to watch the two near-siblings fight. Neji with his absolute belief that she could not be better than him, and that her luck of birth had given her nothing to truly put her above him. He did not hold back, for this was the first and likely only time he would be able to face his cousin in such a match without guarding eyes that would mean his doom if he stepped out of line. And yet as Minako watched she sensed a fear of her, a fear that she would use his one great weakness to see him on the floor at her feet. However, there was no such feeling of power over her cousin coming from Hinata, only a deep nearly unmatchable desire to earn his trust, his respect, to win her place with her own power alone. It was not meant to be though for even as Hinata tried to reach her cousin’s walled off heart he lashed out in fear and anger.

Minako squeezed her eyes shut as feelings overwhelmed her. Neji’s shock as the jounin restrained him. Hinata’s fluttering hope as she drifted into unconsciousness. Shock from the teammates of both competitors and Naruto’s fierce protectiveness… that more than anything roared across her senses. All though, hidden deep within it she could see a burning ember of something much deeper that tied him to the now unconscious Hyuuga heiress. Minako opened her eyes a small smile on her lips. She would enjoy watching that seed grow and bloom.

She didn’t have much time to dwell on this newfound hidden flutter buried in Naruto’s heart though as the next two names appeared and tension suddenly filled the room.

He’d felt it. Silver whispers of power tickling the senses of that other being that always called for blood. For a time, it had calmed but he hadn’t been fooled. Now as the silver whispers had faded it roared forward screaming for blood. His mouth quirked as he let the sand move him onto the arena floor, a green clad boy hoping down to meet him. Yes, his blood would do.


Sasuke groaned as he became aware of a pounding throb in the middle of his forehead, he raised a hand to massage his temple and rolled onto his side, leaning on the other arm. He blinked blearily as he waited for his eyes to focus. The first thing he saw was a pile of gold above a nondescript tan colored pile on the floor. He blinked again and the pile resolved into a girl sleeping under a plain blanket. He blinked once more and recognized her as hazy and dream like memories filtered through his thoughts.


The pile moved and then two blue eyes blinked at him from under gold bangs.

“You’re awake.” She said softly smiling.

“How is it, that Dobe could possibly have someone like you as a sister?” he both stated and asked.

The blond only shrugged as the dark-haired boy shook his head.

She stood and folded the blanket she had been using before turning back to the dark-haired boy who had had moved to stand beside the cot he had been laying on.

“We should get you back up to the arena room. I think the matches are still going on and I should be on call there yet.” She explained.

Sasuke could only nod, glad to have to dwell too much on what had happened for now.

Usagi knocked in rhythm on the door and an answering tap replied as a seal glowed blue before vanishing from sight on the door once more. Sasuke frowned but did not comment.

“If you could escort us up to the arena room?” The blonde asked the shinobi standing guard outside the door. The cloaked and masked figure only nodded and then led the way, his partner falling into step behind them once Sasuke had left the room as well.

The two genin were escorted into the observation room for the medical staff just as the last fight ended. Usagi rushed out with the medical staff into the arena to check on the two unconscious genin from the last match. A double knockout it between Akimichi Choji and Kino Makoto. It didn’t take long for the two combatants to be revived and then those running the exam called for all present to assemble with those who won their matches lined up in the front.

“You all have one month from now to prepare yourselves for the 3rd and final portion of the exam. Like these preliminary matches today each of you will be judged on your individual skill and merits as you are all considered for the promotion to Chuunin. During the next month many will gather to witness these matches as you not only represent yourselves but your villages. Now we will have those of you moving on to the finals draw numbers to determine who you face in the first round.” The jounin proctor of the exam explained as an assistant approached and offered each genin a chance to draw a slip of paper from a mostly in closed box. It didn’t take long, and all ten finalists had a slip of paper.

tournament bracket ladder

And with the lines drawn out the groups were dismissed, and the Second Trial of the Chuunin Exam was officially ended.

Chapter 6

Konshu frowned for a moment at the sound of knocking at the front entrance of the building. He stepped out of his own dwelling and into the hallway to answer, arching an eyebrow at the official looking chuunin shinobi waiting.

“May I help you?” Konshu asked.

“Is Med-genin Uzumaki Usagi in sir?” the chunnin asked.

Konshu blinked. “She’s not here at the moment, can I take a message” he asked.

The chuunin frowned for a moment then nodded and offered a sealed scroll. “She has been summoned by Sandaime-sama in one hour. Will you be able to get this to her by then?” he asked.

Konshu smiled and nodded. “Of course.” He turned to face the hallway behind him then called out, “Luna!” In moments a darkly furred form trotted down the hallway and looked up expectantly. Konshu crouched down and tucked the scroll into the collar around the cat’s neck. “Get this to Usagi-san quickly. She has an appointment with Hokage-sama.”

The cat meowed in acknowledgement then was out the door and quickly out of sight as the chuunin watched obviously surprised.

“Luna will make sure she gets the message.” Konshu explained.

The chunnin only nodded and shrugged, it was not the strangest shinobi trained animal he had seen after all.


Usagi sighed as she sat cross-legged atop the carved face of her late father, a habit she had picked up from her brother though he had not realized the family relation when he had first started to do so. It had been only a day since the end of the chuunin exam. None of her close friends had come out of the exam seriously injured, though she understood it had been a somewhat near thing for Hinata, and even Sasuke had she not been able to help him purge the dark curse. Hinata had received immediate and expert aide from both Ami and Rin-sensei and while she would be sore for quite some time, there was no lasting damage from her cousin’s killing strike. Mina, Makoto, and Rei had come out mostly unscathed. Rei’s eardrums had needed a bit of tender care and Makoto’s shoulder had needed to be popped back into place after she had dislocated in her ‘match of strength’ against the boy named Chouji. Neither injury was any lasting concern.

There had been one very serious injury in the preliminary matches though, and both Ami and Rin-sensei were busy trying to carefully mend the boy named Lee’s damaged muscles and bones from his match with the sand genin Gaara.

“Sabaku no Gaara….” Usagi whispered. He carried one of the bijuu, which one she did not know, and he had sought her out somehow recognizing that there was a connection with her, and the creature bound inside him. She would need to talk to the Hokage about arranging another session so she could keep her promise. She remembered all too well the debate that had risen just from her wanting to heal Naruto, and this boy was a foreigner. She would heal him though, even if she had to go against direct orders to do so, just as she had sworn to do for Naruto. She hoped it wouldn’t come to that though.

“Usagi-chan!” A familiar voice called out.

The blonde girl turned as Luna ran up to her. “Usagi-chan, you have a summons from the Hokage.” The feline advised as she turned so her charge could access the scroll from where it was secured. Usagi slipped the scroll out and held it for a moment.

“Any idea what this is about Luna?”

“No, a messenger came to the apartment to deliver it and Konshu then passed it to me to deliver to you.”

Usagi opened the scroll and quickly read the contents. “He wants to talk to me about what happened in the tower. Good then I can talk to him about Gaara-san.”

The cat said nothing more though wondered what in the world her charge had to do with the creepy Sand genin. “Come on Luna.” Usagi said as she rose to her feet, Luna wasting no time to hop onto her shoulder.


Sarutobi looked up from a report he had been reading when he heard a soft knock on his office door. “Come in.” he called. The door cracked open just far enough for a familiar blond med-genin to slip in the door with her guardian perched on her shoulder before the door then closed behind her. “Ah Usagi-san, right on time, Luna as well I see.” he nodded to the feline.

“You summoned me Hokage-sama?” The girl questioned.

“Yes, please have a seat.” he advised as he studied her. She didn’t seem nervous which was good. “Your review from your work during the second trial of the chuunin exam is very good. Also, you did both Konoha and Sasuke a great service when you healed that curse. Though I am very interested in how you managed to do so.” At this, the girl seemed both embarrassed and pleased though she took a few moments before answering.

“It’s my gift, the ability to heal the spirit. It is what I used with Naruto, and it was Sasuke’s spirit, his very inner self that was truly under attack by the darkness of that curse. In truth, I really only helped him face his inner demons. Well, and showed him that he is not alone.” she finally answered as she tapper her chin in thought.

Sarutobi nodded, he had suspected something of the like but wanted to hear what she had to say. “Is there any chance of relapse?” he then asked. This had been a very real concern for all those that had been aware of what happened.

“Not from that particular curse no, there is still something buried though involving his brother that will have to be dealt with sometime before it eats him from the inside out. That was also the doorway the curse used.” Usagi then explained. She hesitated a moment then met his gaze steadily. “Hokage-sama, can you tell me just what it was his brother did?”

The Hokage sighed. “Unfortunately, no. The events leading up to and surrounding that night are full of holes and deception. The fact that his brother, Uchiha Itachi, even left Sasuke alive is perhaps the biggest mystery of them all.”

Usagi frowned but chose not to ask any further on that topic.

“Now, was there anything else you needed to tell me from your time in the tower?” He asked.

“I need to do another spirit healing like I did for Naruto.” Usagi quickly stated.

The third blinked, a bit surprised. “You need to make another attempt at healing the Kyuubi?” he asked.

“No, not Kyuubi.” Usagi replied. “I’m not sure yet which bijuu it is, but its carrier found me in the tower and requested my help. He could tell I had some sort of connection to it.”

The thirds gaze narrowed. This was not good news at all. Another jinch?riki in the exam? His mind quickly ran over the list of candidates and noted those most likely. “Who is it Usagi-san?” he asked firmly.

The blonde girl fidgeted a bit. “Sabaku no Gaara sir. I… I think his bijuu is driven half mad and in turn driving him equally mad. He needs to be healed, for both their sakes and it will affect Naruto in the long run as well.”

The third scratched his chin as he thought about what she said, and while he did not doubt the truth of her statement, there was more to consider. Interfering with another country’s genin was risky, particularity with Orochimaru’s interference already present. He suspected his former student had a plan yet for the final exam as well. Yet there was also something to be said for the newly found information about the bijuu in general, he did not doubt that the healing this girl could provide was needed. He considered what all had gone into Naruto’s healing and what he had available now. Kakashi had provided the seal work needed then but was unavailable now as he had taken Sasuke into seclusion for the next month.

“How soon do you feel this must be done Usagi-san?” He asked considering waiting till after the final matches.

“As soon as it can be arranged Hokage-sama. Before the next trial for certain.” And here the girls gaze hardened in determination. “I will do it on my own, if necessary, just as I would have for Naruto. I gave my word, and I will not break it.”

The third sighed. She would make that statement. It was at that moment he caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye. Perhaps it would be possible to arrange without Kakashi after all. “Very well Usagi-san, I will see about making arrangements as soon as is possible. I will send word when we can proceed. Will you be able to contact the boy about this?” He then asked.

The blonde nodded smiling. “Of course, I do not believe I am at risk despite his dangerous nature. He knows to do so would hurt himself.”

“Very well, you are dismissed for now Usagi.”

“Thank you, Hokage-sama.” The girl said cheerfully and then left the room.

No sooner had the door clicked shut then another presence made itself known leaning against his now open window. “Who’s the serious blonde?” The white-haired man asked as he smirked.

The Hokage chuckled. “I’m sure you will meet her yourself soon enough.”

Jiraiya shrugged, and then grinned. “Speaking of meeting people, I met the most interesting Gaki today.”

The third only arched an eyebrow and waited for his former student to elaborate, though he had a good idea who the interesting brat was.


Ami closed her eyes as she settled into a meditative state and opened herself up to the flow of chakra and energy. She could feel her own flowing through her like a river, steady and strong. She shifted her focus to the boy she was working to heal; his own chakra network was a mess. It trickled through channels that had recently been blasted raw by overflow. The damage done to himself with the chakra gates the boy had used during his match in the chunnin exam was minimal however compared to the mess that were his legs caused by his opponent. She settled deeper into the healing trance as she carefully began to examine the depth of the damage.

Bone fragments were carefully guided into place until all the pieces were aligned to make a whole. Then she built a web of healing chakra to help build strength and mend the bone into a seamless whole once more. Then she moved to damaged nerves, encasing them in little cocoons of healing chakra to dull pain and give the raw endings time to recover.

She sensed someone urging her to drink something as she worked, and she allowed herself to be drawn partially out of the trance to accept the drink. Then she settled back into the trance and began working with the shredded muscle tissue. This would be the most delicate and important part of this healing. The boys’ muscles and ligaments had been literally shredded to ribbons. Each shred would require careful mending so that they could then heal normally. Even a few shreds of the muscle tissue not guided into correct placement would mean lasting damage and scar tissue that would hinder the muscles strength and growth. She worked slowly. Starting in the center of the muscles she guided and mended, building layer upon layer until she reached the ligaments. There too, she spent more healing effort encouraging the ligaments to stretch out again where they had seized up and to tighten where they had become too lax and as with the nerve endings and bones, she wrapped them in supportive energies.

Finally, she eased completed out of the healing trance and took a deep long breath and let it out slowly before opening her eyes. Her gaze blurred and she felt a wave of vertigo wash over her. Rin caught her before she toppled off the stool she had been perched on besides the boy’s bed.

“Easy there Ami-chan. You did very well, but you nearly overextended yourself.” The older woman explained as she then helped the blue haired med-genin to her feet.

Ami smiled and gratefully accepted the support from her sensei. “It will still take some time and therapy, but I think he can regain full use if he puts his mind to it.”

Rin smiled. Many of the senior medical staff had declared the boy’s shinobi career over, that his injuries would heal but not to where he could continue as a shinobi. Ami had pleaded his case and asked to be allowed to perform healing surgery herself. The senior staff had hesitated, but then agreed providing that Rin would monitor and take over if necessary. It had been a procedure with some risk for the healer involved, but Ami had managed the task as if she was born to it and in truth, perhaps she was. Rin had learned much of the different cultures and people that were part of the Silver Alliance. This had included the people of mercury and how many of them had natural affinities for healing. She had made many friends among those people being a healer herself.

“Come on, let’s get you home and to bed. You can check on him tomorrow after some rest of your own.”

The blue haired girl didn’t argue as they then left the hospital room to its still slumbering occupant.

Just outside the room a jounin waited anxiously and turned to them as soon as they exited. “Rin-san, Ami-san, will Lee…?” The green clad jounin who was Rock Lee’s sensei asked not even able to fully voice the question.

Rin smiled and glanced down at Ami before she answered. “The procedure went well. It is still too soon for certain, but we think it likely that Lee will be able to recover full use of his limbs with some time and therapy. You can go in and see him now, though, he is still asleep.”

The Jounin grinned broadly and swept both women and girl into a hug, lifting them off their feet and sweeping them in a circle before he set them down again. “That is most youthful news! Thank you!”

Ami wobbled as Rin steadied her once more before they continued on their way, leaving the jounin to see his student.


Hinata winced as muscles in her chest made their displeasure in her current stretched position known. She maintained the position, though, as she counted off the necessary time in her head before slowly moving into the next stance and causing another wave of complaint from her muscles. She refused to give up though. The stretches and kata were absolutely vital to a full recovery from her nearly fatal match against her cousin Neji. She closed her eyes tightly at the memory of her cousin’s expression in those last seconds before she blacked out. So much pain and anger had been shown.

“Hina-chan! We brought lunch!” a friendly voice called out.

Hinata opened her eyes without moving from her stretched position and then smiled as she spotted two of the five girls, she had gotten to be good friends with in the last 6 months.

“Rei-chan, Makoto-chan, it’s good to see you well.” Hinata greeted as she slowly moved out of her stretch and into a more relaxed position.

“Rin-sensei told us you had already been released from the hospital this morning. We thought we might find you here and Mako-chan thought you might like a picnic lunch.” The raven-haired girl named Rei answered.

“Thank you.” Hinata said warmly and moved to help the girls unpack the basket Makoto had carried.

The three girls soon settled into comfortable chatter and gossip until Rei seemed to pause for a moment.

“Hinata… has anyone told you what happened right after you blacked out?” Rei asked quietly. Hinata froze for a moment and felt a bit of panic.

“N… n… No…” she said a bit unsure if she wanted to know.

Rei and Makoto met gazes and a silent agreement seemed to pass between them. Then Rei spoke again, “Naruto the hot head, swore a blood promise to pay Neji back for what he did to you. They are meant to face each other in the first match of the finals.”

Hinata’s eyes opened wide. “Naruto-kun did what?!”

“He swore, on your blood that was spilled, that he would prove Neji wrong and pay him back.” Makoto stated offering a bit more detail.

Hinata was shocked and then suddenly very worried, but not for Naruto. “Naruto-kun will win his match against Neji-niisan.” Hinata then said quietly, nodding to herself. “I stood up to Neji to the best of my ability and though I did not win the match… Neji-niisan was not able to make me back down. I am certain Neji-niisan will underestimate Naruto-kun.”

Rei and Makoto both smiled, both a bit relieved that what they had told the shy girl hadn’t upset her. Then Rei smirked, “Hinata-chan, did you hear how the rest of the matches went?”

Hinata shook her head in answer.

“Well, this creepy guy from Sand nearly killed your cousin’s teammate Rock Lee in the match right after yours. But the sensei were able to interrupt the match before he could deal the final blow. I haven’t heard yet if Lee-san will be able to recover from the injuries. I think Rin-sensei and Ami-chan are working with him today. After that match though Makoto faced off with Chouji-san— “before Rei could offer more details Makoto cut in.

“He’s like my old boyfriend…” she said kind of dreamily.

Hinata blinked in surprise.

Rei shook her head in amusement. “Well, you know that Mako-chan here is a bit of a strength nut, right? Not that you’d know it just looking at her, anyways, she and Chouji-san got into a plain old fist fight and ended up in a double knock out at the end. The best part was the entire time they were throwing punches they were also flirting. Mako-chan didn’t you promise to cook barbeque for him?”

Makoto blushed. “Yeah…” she replied almost wistfully.

Rei leaned over to Hinata and said in a near whisper. “Mako-chan really loves cooking, so to meet a guy like Chouji-san who seems to love food and complimented her for giving him a black eye…”

Hinata giggled as she could only imagine Chouji’s reaction to a girl willing to cook for him. A minute or two later though she winced as strained muscles protested the motion.

“You okay Hinata?” Makoto asked gently.

Hinata nodded. “I will be off active duty for the next month, at least, but I was told that Kakashi-sensei and Gai-sensei prevented Neji from dealing his final strike which could have been fatal.”

“But are you okay?” Makoto insisted.

Hinata froze for a moment and closed her eyes as raw emotions welled up. “I…” she started but then found her throat seizing up and felt tears build up in her eyes. “Y… y… yes I am okay. I want to mend my family’s relationships. Neji-niisan is my cousin, but I have always seen him as a brother. I hope… no. I believe that Naruto-kun can change Neji-niisan like he has changed others, like he has changed me.”

Rei and Makoto blinked in surprise and then both smiled. “Well, he is Usa-chan’s brother, so it makes sense.”

Hinata smiled not needing the two to elaborate as she had seen for herself the effect that her crush’s twin sister had on others as well.

“So, when are you going to cook for Chouji-san?” Hinata asked with a small smile. The conversation soon turned back to Makoto’s upcoming ‘date’ and from there to boys in general.


Luna watched her charge with proud eyes as the girl accepted a message scroll from the Hokage. It had been two days since their last meeting with the village’s leader when the princess turned med-nin had made her need to heal and demanded to be allowed to heal another village’s genin known. She herself had not known the details that had driven her charge at that time, but in the last few days Usagi had divulged enough of her feelings on the matter to make her guardian understand.

Just as Usagi was the heart of the sailor senshi, and linked to each of them, so too were the bijuu linked together through Kyuubi. The madness of one would have an effect on all the rest if it was left untreated. This was why it was so very important that not only she heal Kyuubi, but any other bijuu she met that needed it. The more of the bijuu that also received her attention, the faster Kyuubi and all the others combined would regain their true selves.

Luna was pulled away from her musings however as Usagi left the more well-traveled paths of the village and headed out into one of the more isolated training areas. Her ears twitched as she listened for sounds of fighting that would signify the training area was in use. The message that Usagi had received from the Hokage was meant as introduction to someone whom he was trusting to replace Naruto’s sensei in the role of sealing for the sand genin’s healings. Luna was curious to meet who it would be as the Hokage had mentioned that the individual in question had already met Naruto, though only recently.

“Oi Gaki!” A man’s voice stated with a touch of irritation. “What’s the big deal? What happened to the other one?” A large man with a mane of spikey white hair demanded while looking at Usagi.

Usagi looked at him confused, “Other one?” she asked.

The man got a goofy grin as he pointed at her chest. “Yes, the other one with the curves… and less cover-up!”

Usagi only stared at the older shinobi.

The white-haired man frowned and then reached forward poking the blonde girl in the chest. “These changes are not acceptable. The wisps of smoke were much more effective. This one is not developed enough!”

At first, Luna thought she must be misunderstanding. Then, she was in shock. Was this how older shinobi treated the younger? Then she saw red, this insult to the girl who was practically her adopted daughter would NOT be tolerated. She lunged forward with a yowl.

Usagi wasn’t sure for a few moments what was more shocking. What this strange older shinobi had implied or Luna’s sudden and furious reaction. She stared, her eyes wide, her mouth hanging open as Luna howled, clawed, swiped, and eluded the man’s hands. She had never seen her guardian in such a state, and if she didn’t know better, she’d have thought this feline was actually Tora, the cat all the genin teams so often had to track down and return to its owner. She was so focused on the flying claws and bits of fur that she didn’t even notice Naruto until he managed to deftly snag her guardian by the scruff and remove her from the older shinobi.

Naruto looked from the shocked expression on his sister’s face, the still growling and glaring Luna he held at arm’s length, to his cursing and muttering sensei. Naruto frowned. “Oi Ero-Sennin. What did you say to my sister?” He demanded.

The white-haired shinobi stopped muttering and looked up sharply at the boy, and then at the girl and back again. His gaze narrowed in speculation and then he Harrumphed. “I thought she was you.” The older shinobi explained and then sat down studying the two, as well as the still growling cat Naruto was only now carefully releasing.

Naruto glanced at his frowning sister and leveled a glare to his newest teacher. It didn’t take him that long to figure out just how the old pervert has mistaken his sister for him. This also explained Luna’s reaction. Naruto then smirked as he turned to his sensei, “Oi Ero-Sennin, I wouldn’t make that mistake again unless you want to lose something important.”

The white-haired man scoffed. “As if some little cat could do any lasting harm.”

Naruto grinned. “Well maybe not by herself, but Usagi-neechan’s own sensei might not appreciate it either and I don’t think you want to tangle with Rin-san or Anko-san either.”

At those names the old man visibly cringed. He had heard that the kunoichi from Kakashi’s old genin team had made a recent return and now that he saw Uzumaki number two, it made sense why. He also eyed the cat who still glared at him and re-evaluated the creature’s potential to cause harm. He chose to make no other comment on the matter however and instead moved on to finding out why the blonde girl was here. “Usagi-chan is it?”

“Uzumaki Usagi.” The girl replied a bit tartly, obviously not welcoming the familiar tone from the proclaimed ‘Ero-Sennin.’

The old man just nodded. “And what brings you out to see Naruto this afternoon?”

At this the girl paused and instead of answering asked another question of her own. “Are you Jiraiya-san?” she asked.

The white-haired man raised an eyebrow but then gave a huge grin. “The one and only Toad Sannin of Konoha, Jiraiya.” He proclaimed with a flourish.

Usagi extended a scroll out to him at that point. “Hokage-sama said to give this to you and that you would be able to help.”

Jiraiya accepted the scroll and then tossed Naruto a withering look. “Gaki, get back to work! Full grown frogs, not tadpoles!”

Naruto cringed and then muttered an affirmative before turning back to the shallow shoreline of the nearby river.

Usagi glanced from the older shinobi now reading the scroll she had given him to her brother who set to work practicing some sort of jutsu. Luna, as soon as Naruto had released her, had immediately taken up residence at Usagi’s feet, and kept herself between the blonde girl and Naruto’s current sensei, a barely audible growl still present.

The older shinobi glanced up at Usagi more than once as he read through the scroll and then rolled it slowly as he seemed to consider all it said.

“You two are aware of who your father is.” He stated, not really asking. Usagi only nodded and Naruto was too busy cursing his latest tadpole.

“I will be most interested in seeing you perform this healing Usagi-chan. I hope that the boy in question will also allow me to examine his seal.” Jiraiya said, his goofy attitude from before absent.

“You will be able to help then?” Usagi asked, a little skeptic.

The older shinobi’s goofy demeanor snapped back into place as he grinned. “Who do you think taught that Kakashi?”

A bit surprised by the question, she answered. “You?”

The white-haired toad sage only grinned wider. “No, but I taught his sensei, your father.”

The eyes of girl, cat, and boy all widened.

“You taught Yondaime?” Naruto asked stunned.

Jiraiya frowned. “Yes, now got back to work!”

Naruto grimaced but returned to his training cursing his perverted teacher.

Usagi smiled at his antics.

“You will be in contact with the boy then?” Jiraiya asked.

Usagi nodded. “I think I am the only one who can do so without any risk. He seems very…” she paused trying to find the right word, “tense.”

The toad sage nodded. “In two days, during the full moon.”

Usagi nodded her agreement and then picked up her guardian who glared at the toad sage from her shoulder. “I will see you then Jiraiya-sensei.” And with that she traced her steps back out of the training area.


Artemis yawned and curled up in a cozy patch of sun near the edge of the training area Minako was using with Anko-san. Training for the final trial had begun in earnest with all those still competing heading off to do special individualized training. Something he was very proud of his charge, the daughter of Venus, for. Anko, however, seemed to feel she had only remained in the exam due to luck as her opponent in the preliminary matches had forfeited way too easily. There was more to that story than Anko had shared, of that he was certain. For now, though, it mattered little as the somewhat sadistic Jounin’s sole focus was in helping Minako improve. He was somewhat surprised in the direction the woman had decided to take his charge’s training, however. Minako’s shinobi career so far had been basics in taijutsu and ninjutsu, and more focus on genjutsu and how her natural inherited abilities could augment that. Now, however, it seemed Anko was determined to prevent Minako from relying too much on those abilities.

Artemis twitched as a very faint whistling sound reached his ears then he yelped as he suddenly went from his nice cozy spot in the sun to having his entire form pinned to a tree and a few clipped white hairs fluttering down to the ground.

“Artemis!” Minako gasped and quickly rushed forward to free her guardian.

“Your guardian is a liability and a weakness.” Anko stated flatly freezing her pupil in her tracks as the blonde turned attention back to her sensei. “As long as he remains such, he should avoid being around you while you train and never with you on a mission.”

Artemis winced at the woman’s blunt words.

“But…” Minako whispered as she glanced between her first teacher and her current teacher.

“She’s right Minako.” Artemis stated. “This isn’t like our old home, and I should be taking steps to adapt. Konshu has and even Luna has recognized the need. I was being foolish for trying to pretend I would not.”

The woman smirked and nodded, inwardly glad she didn’t have to drive the point home for both the feline guardian and her student. “If he is willing to learn the separation will not need to be permanent. He cannot aide you in this exam, but he could be just as much a partner to you in a battle as your teammates.” the purple haired woman then instructed.

Artemis managed to carefully extract himself from the array of needles and kunai that surrounded him. “Forgive me Anko-san for interrupting your training time.” He told the jounin in an attempt to maintain some of his dignity before he then turned to Minako. “I’ll see you at home tonight Minako. Train well.” And then he slipped off into the brush and out of sight.

Artemis ran as if his own tail was chasing him, and in a way it was. As he ran through the village hidden in the leaves his mind was full of his own voice calling himself every kind of fool possible. How could he have truly believed that he did not need to adapt in this world? He had known deep down it wasn’t true. Konshu had tried to tell him, and Luna had agreed with her brother. Her brother… he was jealous of all the respect Luna showed the slightly older guardian and the time they spent together. Artemis had tried to not let it bother him, after all he was Luna’s brother and they had been apart for a long time… but he had let his jealousy and his pride in his position as guardian to the daughter of Venus, who would be second to only Serenity herself, jade his perspective. He had deserved the solid dose of humiliation he had been given, and more, he realized as he finally started to slow his mad run. He would have to apologize to Konshu and ask if the offer for training was still open. Well, no point waiting any longer, he mused as he took note of where his run had taken him and tried to decide where he would most likely find the dark-haired man.

Silver Dragonfly

reading ~ writing ~ doodling ~ that's me Working day by day to bring creativity back into my day-to-day life when it's been lost to the monotony of work and bills.

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