The crickets rub their legs together in the debt of night in Konoha. Koichi lays on the ground panting heavily, his body bruised and battered from his long training day. Lee stands across from him on the training field staring at the young shinobi.
*This one is truly remarkable, to adapt so fast to the seal...At my own peek when I first began this training, it took me a week just to get accustomed to regular movements. He only took a few hours.*
Koichi grips the ground to his side and pulls himself up. He stumbles as he does but manages to maintain balance and he walks over to Lee without much problem.
*Even if he's a Jinchuuriki every ounce of his strength he's used to train has been on his own. His physicality is beyond belief* Lee walks over to Koichi and puts his hand on his shoulder. “Lets call it a day.”
“*panting* Yeah, I'm down with that.”
“I'll take you to Naruto to have him release the seal for the night for you to rest.”
“No, I want to keep it like this so I can—”
“You're durable I'll give you that but for you to fall asleep on the first night with this seal, could paralyze you. It's going to take more then one day for you to truly make this feeling second nature. The fact that you could stand up on your first day is more then I could say I've done on my first day with this.” Koichi drops to his knees but Lee catches him and puts him on his back. “Plus this is a warm up exercise tool. I'm going to teach you a technique, I thought it would take most of the month to get you used to the seal but I feel with your progress you can learn this new technique before the month's end.”
“Yes, I'll introduce it to you tomorrow.” Lee says. “But for now lets head onto Naruto!”
Naruto sits at his desk with Sai and Hinata at his sides. Just then the door bursts open and a young black haired shinobi waring a Konoha vest and headband bursts in frantic.
“Is she okay?!” The young shinobi asks rather impatiently.
“Jin!” Kurenai bursts out looking at the boy's disrespect. She comes in behind him and the boy cringes slightly.
“My apologies, Hokage-sama I—”
“Don't worry about it. With the vague details I sent you two, I wouldn't have expected less from anybody, especially you Jin-kun.”
“I was still out of place, forgive me Hokage-sama...is Mika-chan alright?”
“She's fine, no harm came to her but this attempted kidnap was of Kabuto's doing through one of his stronger subordinates. The fact that he would send one of his elites to take a 14-year-old genin makes me thing there's something valuable to him to gain.”
“I've taken her to my father, she does possess the genes and does have the ability.” Kurenai says. Jin turns to her with surprise, shocked to hear her words. “She's the only one after my father in our family to possess the capability.”
“Mom, when were you going to tell me this?!” Jin bursts out upset.
“She was tested shortly after her birth and she showed early signs but just to be safe we conducted another one not too long after her admission into the academy. She doesn't know of her ability yet, we were waiting for her to mature before we began her training, preferably after the exams but it may take president to teach her now.” Kurenai completely ignores her son as she continues talking to Naruto.
“Naruto-sama, it may also prove some good to take Mika out of the exams and hide her until we can confirm Kabuto's absence.” Sai says.
“No, Mika wouldn't go for it. She's stubborn, plus she's worked hard to make it where she is now.” Jin says in defense.
“Jin, be quiet!” Kurenai expresses annoyance in her voice at her son's outburst. “This isn't your place to speak—”
“Yes it is mother! I apologize if I'm 'embarrassing' you again but Mika is my family to, she's practically my little sister. I may have only been brought here for my purpose knowing my place in training her but I know Mika better than anybody could possibly know her! You're all talking about her like she's a tool or something. None of you know half of what I know about her!”
“Kurenai-sensei I called both of you here for Mika's sake. I agree with Jin though, Mika shouldn't have to leave the exams because of this, she has worked hard and she is talented. Besides if we take too strong a course of action it could lead to backfiring. When the exams start back up again, she'll be safe as long as she's inside the arena. With myself there plus all the active shinobi around the facility, she'll be fine.” Naruto says. Kurenai nods her head to Naruto and she continues to ignore Jin. Hinata looks at the young shinobi, his expression hurt at his mother's coldness to him.
“She'll need to be watched until the exams start up again though.” Sai insists.
“With Jin, Kurenai, and her father training Mika, I'm more than positive that's enough security detail. Who better to entrust a person to then their own family?” Naruto says rhetorically. Just then a knock on the door is heard and the five shinobi in the room turn their attention to see Lee and Koichi.
Koichi is unconscious and Lee is smiling. “I apologize, am I interrupting?” Lee asks entering the room.
“Not at all, we were just about finished here.” Naruto says. Jin and Kurenai bow and they walk past Lee and Koichi as they take their leave. “Who do you have there with y...” Naruto looks at Koichi's face closer and he looks both shocked and confused? “Lee, why is Koichi unconscious?”
“Well I took him in as my apprentice for the month.” Lee grins.
“What about Senten?” Naruto asks.
Lee shrinks, squatting down in the fetal position with his head down, “He'd rather be trained by Tenten...” Naruto scratches his head laughing awkwardly. Just then Lee shoots up fast, violently shaking Koichi as a result and waking him up. “That's why I've decided to put Koichi-kun through my ultimate training regimen and it's going great.” Koichi throws up over Lee's jacket however Lee still has a smile on his face.
Naruto, Sai and Hinata look with expressions lacking surprise and and Naruto shakes his head. “And what is it you're here for exactly?”
Lee puts Koichi down and Naruto sees the seal on him. Naruto's eyes widen when he sees Koichi branded with the seal. “Lee are you crazy, I told you not to use this on anybody unless I'm around to lighten the pressure. How long did you keep him this way?!”
“A few hours.” Lee says counting on his fingers.
Naruto squats down and make 3 seals and his hand glows with chakra and he proceeds to place it on Koichi's chest. Koichi, regains full consciousness as Naruto thrusts and he moves out of the way quickly, startled. “What the hell are you doing?” Naruto's amazed at Koichi's swift movement while the seal is still active. “I didn't do anything why are you attacking me?”
Naruto looks at Lee *Does Lee know how to lighten the pressure of this technique? No it can't be, this kid is actually moving rather fluently with that sort of stress on his body.* Naruto walks slowly to Koichi. “I'm releasing the seal, it's not an attack.” Naruto places his hand on Koichi's chest and the seal dissipates back into the tag, center his chest. Once the seal is deactivated Koichi's body feels extremely light and the sensation is weird for him at first and he sits down.
“You'll learn to adapt to this feeling Koichi-kun. Thank you Naruto-kun! Now we head home!” Lee grabs Koichi by the arm as he runs to the door quickly. He yanks Koichi along and they speed out of the room.
“To think in one day that boy even managed to move with that seal on...” Naruto says. Naruto feels a hand on his shoulder and sees Hinata just behind him.
“Determination...reminds me of somebody else I know.” Hinata kisses Naruto on the cheek and she exits the room. “I'll be in bed when you're ready Naruto-kun.” Hinata says gently. Naruto blushes and he laughs scratching his head.
“You're such loser.” Kurama says to Naruto and Naruto grits his teeth and punches his stomach, to no avail other then to hurt himself. “Case an point, idiot.” Kurama goes back to sleep.
Naruto turns and notices Sai has left as well and Naruto turns the light off in his room and heads out.
Kana awakes the next morning just as the sun peeks over the village. The sky is partially light but still relatively dark. She turns over to Koji's location and looks at the empty bed. She shoots up quickly realizing he was gone and she leaps out the window and heads to the roof.
*Damn it I can't even sleep without—*
“Morning.” A voice says from behind Kana. She turns behind her and sees Koji leaning up against a door leading up to the roof. “If it means anything to you, I'm not going to try and run away again.” Koji says.
“What are you doing up here?” Kana asks.
“Fresh air.” Koji sighs. Kana notices Koji's mood is completely different. He's calm and isn't on edge. “I didn't wish to bother you so I didn't say anything...judging by your frantic move up here I would say that wasn't the best idea on my part.”
“Huh, no it's alright...” Kana is less aggressive in her tone, trying to be less harsh to Koji. The wind blows through the area and Kana realizes she's still in her night clothes and she blushes embarrassed. “I'll be right back!” She jumps off the roof and heads back into the room. Koji sighs and looks up into the sky and he grips his fists slightly. Several minutes later Koji and Kana walk through the main streets of Konoha. “So, what are we doing today?” Kana asks curiously.
Koji stops and Kana stops a few paces ahead of him and looks at him. “Kana-san, you don't have to act any different then you normally do. You don't have to try to be nice to me.”
Kana looks at Koji with no emotion in her eyes. “I'm a pretty easily irritable person but I like to think of myself as nice most of the time. I guess I was only mad because I thought Shishou was giving me a more difficult assignment but instead I was placed as a personal nurse.” Kana halts herself before she begins her next phrase and blushes. “I was just being bratty yesterday so if it helps, we can try to start over.” Koji nods ans smile slightly. “So...like I said where are we heading today?”
“You said you'd show me some of your medical techniques.” Koji says. “You're not opposed to a little light training are you?”
“Light training?!” Kana says slightly annoyed. “Medical ninjutsu is one of the hardest arts to master, it may not take large amounts of chakra all the time but it's definitely not light.”
“Of course.” Koji says with hinted but unintentional sarcasm. The two make it to the hospital and immediately they see Ino and Sakura at the front desk.
“Sakura-sama? She's back already?” Kana says with some surprise.
The two medical kunoichi turn to Koji and Kana as the young shinobi walk towards them. “Kana-chan, it's been a little while hasn't it. Ino tells me you're progressing pretty well in your training.”
“Yes and it's all because of her! She's truly a great teacher and medic.” Kana says firmly. Sakura shifts her eyes to Koji.
“And this must be your personal patient...you're one of Kankuro's students aren't you.” Sakura says remembering him. Sakura returns her attention back to Ino and Ino nods back at her. “Kana, how would you mind a little training session with me?”
“With you?” Kana's rather surprised at the offer.
“Yes, Ino thought that you'd benefit from some personal training from me for a while, while she tends to Shikamaru.” Kana looks at Ino and notices a solemn look on her face. Kana remembers Ino's feelings after the Shikamaru incident and understands her feelings.
“Thank you Sakura-sama b—”
*Kana, you're going to accept her offer!* Kana hears Ino telepathically. *Sakura is just as much your teacher as I am.*
*But you're not inferior to her. I know you set this up because of what happened yesterday. You're a great medic and—*
*It's okay Kana, I'm done with the inferiority complex, I asked this for you because you've progressed leaps and bounds past most of the other medics here despite your age. You have potential and I want to see it unlocked. Sakura can help you and besides...I need to focus on Shikamaru, I have to be there for him. The two of us have been through a lot together and I owe him so much. This isn't just for you, it's for me too.*
“But, what?” Sakura says breaking the silence.
“But, uhh...can Koji come along? He's a practicing medic too.” Kana catches herself.
“You?” Sakura looks at Koji. “I thought your skill set was with puppetry just like Kankuro?”
“Yes, I practice puppetry too.” Koji says nonchalantly.
“You can observe but we're going to be focusing on higher level techniques. Not something for you to attempt with only a few weeks of training, and definitely not in your condition.” Sakura says. Koji nods his head in understanding. Ino gains a cynical grin on her face knowing of Koji's abilities as she leaves for Sakura to figure out the surprise on her own. Kana and Koji follow Sakura into the training wing of the hospital similar to that of Suna.
~Konoha's Training Field~
Koichi stands before Rock Lee in the Konoha training fields. Determination dominates Koichi's face as he stands in his fighting stance. “Now Koichi, here I come!” Lee rushes Koichi and Koichi braces himself. Lee releases a barrage of punches and kicks. His speed is intermediate level.
Koichi remains on the defensive, blocking and avoiding them. *Find my rhythm.* Koichi defends fluently with his movements. Lee launches a strike with his right hand and Koichi side steps to the outside. Lee follows quickly with a left round house and Koichi ducks down. With his foot still in the air, Lee changes the direction and brings his leg up and then launches a powerful ax kick down towards Koichi. Koichi kicks back with his legs and flips away from Lee. Lee looks at Koichi as he begins to steadily pant.
“2 minutes seems to be a limit for you at this level of speed.” Lee says. Lee stands at ease in no aggressive tone and Koichi leans up against a tree.
*Incredible, the second day and he can move with fluency of this sort.* A clone of Naruto sits observing the two shinobi training. Lee turns to Naruto, signaling him. Naruto drops down from his tree and walks over to Koichi. He makes three seals and places his hand on Koichi, releasing the seal.
“Mind telling me what you have in store for this one Lee?” Naruto ask. Lee smiles and Naruto and begins to unwrap his bandages around his arm. Naruto puts his hand into his face, “You've got to be kidding me.” Naruto says. Koichi looks confused at the two shinobi. “Lee, he's not going to be able to—”
A burst of energy happens quickly and Lee appears underneath Naruto before he finishes his sentence. Koichi stands in awe at Lee's speed *No way!* Lee kicks up to Naruto's face, however Naruto blocks the oncoming kick just as quick as Lee appears under him *And he matched it effortlessly!* Naruto's still sent flying in the air and Lee appears behind him with Dancing Leaf Shadow. Lee wraps his bandages around Naruto and begins spinning rapidly downwards.
“Damn it Lee listen to me for a s—” Lee drives Naruto into the ground hard creating a crater. Lee backs out before he releases Naruto and escapes harm.
“That technique was incredible.” Koichi says. “You managed to get the Hokage in it as well.”
“Naruto-kun gave me the courtesy. Had he wanted to he could have avoided the technique all together, or at any point before he hit the ground.”
Koichi looks down at his feet, his expression full of serious curiosity. “You're Hokage....he was the hero of the Fourth Great War wasn't he?” Lee stares at Koichi as he asks. “He's the strongest shinobi alive right now isn't he, even greater then Gaara-sama right?”
Lee smiles and looks up into the sky. “You know, Naruto-kun used to be a failure like me.” Koichi looks confused as he turns his attention upwards to Lee. “He failed the academy three times, he couldn't preform the basic clone technique.” Koichi is amazed at what he hears. “Naruto put in an incredible amount of work. He and I were the same, the lowest of the low in the academy. Look at us now.” Lee smiles.
“That's unbelievable. He wasn't a child prodigy?”
“Naruto is the son of Yondaime Hokage, but he never knew his father. Naruto never had the guidance or the innate ability. Although neither of us were prodigy shinobi, we are the prime examples of perseverance and hard work. We broke the barriers that nobody believed we could. Naruto went from being the most hated and weakest shinobi in the village to the strongest shinobi of his time and praised as a hero in the whole world of the shinobi. As for me, I've lived up to my dream of becoming a splendid shinobi without either ninjutsu or genjutsu.”
“The people from Konoha are truly amazing...”
“I've fought your village's Kazekage several times...I have yet to win to be honest. Gaara came from the same background as Naruto. He learned from Naruto and he progressed to where he's at now because of his determination.
*Naruto-sama...Gaara-sama.* The hardships of the two shinobi were the same, as well as their outcomes as shinobi. The Jinchuuriki of their village, hated amongst their villagers but they fought for their people. Koichi sees the same goals in himself that were demonstrated by the two Kage. He smiles and looks up at Lee. “So...this technique, what do I need to do?”
“First you're going to need to break through the physical barriers...you're going to need to open the Eight Inner Gates.”
A man waring a brown shirt under an open white robe sits at his desk signing papers. His hat has a brown mark in the front of it with the symbol for “Earth” on it. As he sits, signing the papers the door shoots open in his office and two Iwagakure shinobi come in frantically.
“What is it?” The Tsuchikage says rather calmly, despite the rude intrusion.
“We've just gotten word from the village guard, they noticed that our sensory units in the village were rendered by a genjutsu for an extended period of time.” One of the shinobi says. “The sensors didn't pick it up until a few moments ago but they know it's been offline for several hours.”
The Tsuchikage stops writing and calmly puts his pen down. He gets up from his desk and walks over to a large closet to his right up against the wall. “Genjutsu was it? Have they been able to pick up any chakra signatures within the village?”
“No, sir, but the genjutsu was definitely a rouse to get past our defenses. We've sent several sensors into the village to search for the intruder.” The other shinobi says.
“Who has the capabilities of to completely fool our sensory units?” The other asks.
The Tsuchikage takes off his robe and his upper body is revealed. His build is strong, big and every muscle well defined. his pants are black and robe like, loose and he from the closet he pulls out a Bo staff. “There's one that comes to mind but he should still be in Konoha's facilities. But regardless we can't afford to take this matter lightly no matter who it may be. If they have these capabilities, they are strong so I'll assist in the search...” The Tsuchikage stomps his right foot on the ground and closes his eyes. Through his mind a wave is sent throughout the ground and it spreads all throughout Iwa. He sees everything within the village with great clarity. After a brief moment he opens his eyes. “Go to my father, tell him to send four platoons of shinobi to Miyagi Mountains.”
The two shinobi nod and they head out and do as their leader says. After his subordinates leave the Tsuchikage opens the window of his office and leaps out and proceeds. Flying to the large mountains north of his village.
Over in the mountains a white haired young shinobi stands before Sasuke. “Who are you?” He asks Sasuke.
“Sasuke Uchiha...and you're the Jinchuuriki of the Gobi, Zen Miyagi correct?”
“Sasuke Uchiha...” the boy's voice is calm, “I've heard of you, you're one of the war criminals from the last Great War. You were allied with Kabuto and the Akatsuki...I assume then...you're here to capture me.” Sasuke takes out his sword and looks at the young shinobi, completely barren of emotion in his eyes. Sasuke quickly activates his Sharingan and he runs towards the shinobi...
To Be Continued...
Alright, I am pretty busy but never to miss a release well actually every now and again :o but not this week :D So here you go. For those of you who were wondering about who the Tsuchikage is, I will tell you that I've already mentioned his name in a previous chapter. I believe you're all smart enough to figure this out. Anyway please comment on what you liked/disliked about this chapter. To those of you who read/comment/rep this post I thank you, enjoy