Thousand Hands (Mokuton Naruto AU)

Story1

AoMythology

Well-Known Member
#1
Somewhere I Belong, AKA Thousand Hands (Naruto AU)

Naruto teams up with (Fem-)Sasuke, known as Uchiha Biwako. This story won't have pairings until the involved characters are well into their teens. Even if they share a bed, it's innocent (they're eight!)

Loosely based on Ginjaa Ninjaa’s ‘History repeats itself’, with his permission (he's on FF.net). This is also my second try at a Mokuton (Wood Style) Naruto story. AU.

First two chapters beta-ed by Ginjaa Ninjaa.

Naruto was born to his canon parents, but one of them is descended from Hashirama - you'll see how later.

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Summary: Two children by a lake, and a moment of understanding. Such a thing can change the world.

-----

Naruto made eye contact with his classmate, the one he thought was named Biwako. In her eyes, he could see the same pain he felt all the time, loneliness. Before he could think, his lips moved and he said, “wanna spar?”

It was too late for take-backs. Biwako looked at him with her completely black eyes for a moment, then nodded.

Naruto followed the girl to a training ground, and the two of them stood still for a minute, sizing up one another.

“So how do we do this? I’m Uzumaki Naruto by the way,” Naruto said, starting to jump in place.

Biwako didn’t speak for a moment, but she simply said, “Uchiha Biwako. Taijutsu only.”

Naruto nodded and got into a stance. He had been looking at (ob-serv-ing? That’s what Iruka called it) the other Academy students in taijutsu practice for a while to copy them, and with some help from Iruka, had gotten somewhat good.

Fortunately, the man had also helped him learn how to read and write.

“What’s the problem, Naruto?” Iruka said, making Naruto jump in place.

The boy had stayed in the classroom to try and study during lunchtime, but….

“It’s too hard, Iruka-sensei! I don’t get it! All those kanji, and - and,” Naruto said, ready to cry.

“Wait,” Iruka said, realizing the problem immediately, “didn’t they teach you how to read at the orphanage?”

Naruto, expecting his sensei to mock him, lifted his head slowly. He said, “they didn’t.”

Iruka looked furious after hearing that, but he didn’t mock Naruto. He took the time to teach Naruto how to read, and even called him a very fast learner.

A few months later, his scores ended up higher than the class’s highest scoring student, though he had already forgotten the girl’s name. The (theory only) scores were as follows:
Naruto: History: 100/100, Biology-anatomy: 100/100, Math: 97/100, Sciences: 99/100, Tactics: 92/100, Traps: 90/100, Ninjutsu theory: 100/100
Unknown girl: History: 100/100, Biology-anatomy: 90/100, Math: 95/100, Sciences: 93/100, Tactics: 99/100, Traps: 100/100, Ninjutsu theory: 100/100


He now remembered that Biwako was the girl who always got the highest overall scores. He also remembered her taking her loss calmly (she pouted for a bit), unlike Sakura.

“Sensei, this can’t be right,” the pink-haired girl he couldn’t remember the name of said, “why did you score my test lower than that bum’s?”

Naruto froze in place and looked at Iruka, only to see his sensei’s face was still smiling, but it was scaring him for some reason.

“Sakura,” the man said gently, “Naruto earned his marks. If you had used your head more, you would know why I marked you down on question three. Maybe you’re not cut out for the ninja life, if you can’t even accept your mistakes and move on.”

The girl looked at Iruka, then at Naruto, then ran outside, crying. Naruto had never before seen this side of his sensei - he must have been very, very angry to have spoken to a student that way.


Iruka had admitted to Naruto that he hadn’t intended to go that far, he just had gotten ‘damn furious’, though the man denied he had ever used a curse-word. On the other hand, when Sakura’s parents had come to complain and threatened to pull her out of the Academy, Iruka hadn’t backed off.

Naruto didn’t know what the man had said then, but Sakura had become more serious in the practical subjects, and Iruka helped her get better, just like he did for Naruto.

“Your stance is all over the place, Naruto,” Iruka said, looking the boy over carefully, “where did you learn it?”

Naruto said, “I’ve been watching the others and copying them. Is it that bad?” Rubbing the back of his head.

Iruka rubbed the back of his head too and said, “well, it’s good for a beginner. The very good thing is that it shows you can learn quickly.”

Then, the older male corrected Naruto’s form. It took many hours of trying again and again before Naruto was tired.

After that, Iruka treated Naruto to Ramen at the Ichiraku stand.

The blond boy was busy slurping up the noodles in his bowl, when Iruka cleared his throat.

The man said, “hey, Naruto.”

Naruto said, “whak is ick Irukka-sensei?” Still eating.

“Chew first and swallow, then speak, Naruto,” Iruka said, scolding him gently.

“Sor- sorry, Iruka-sensei,” Naruto said, leaving the poor bowl of ramen alone for now. “What is it?” He said then.

“How would you feel if Sakura were to join our training sessions?” Iruka said.

“What! But Iruka-sensei, Sakura is- is-” Naruto said, lost for words, mostly because any word he could think of right then would make Iruka scold him.

“She’s a fellow classmate who wants to improve. Don’t forget that you’re not my only student, Naruto,” Iruka said, smiling gently at him.

That smile made Naruto not want to disappoint him. The boy said, “yeah, I guess, sensei,” sulking a bit.

Iruka ruffled his hair and said, “oh, don’t be like that, Naruto. You might even like Sakura if you get to know her better.”

“Yeah, right,” Naruto murmured, still not over how Sakura had treated him.

“Just give it a chance, all right, Naruto?” Iruka said, almost pleading, and Naruto just couldn’t say no.

“Okay sensei,” Naruto said, not sulking anymore, “I’ll try.”

“That’s all I ask,” Iruka said and ruffled Naruto’s spiky hair again.


Either way, Naruto had a spar to begin. He saw that Biwako had been waiting for him without complaining, and that made him respect her a little more.

The two of them had never sparred in the past; boys and girls fought separately in the early Academy, so they never did what they were going to that day.

Naruto put up the seal of confrontation, and Biwako reluctantly did the same thing. They tensed, and the second a bird passed just over a pond, the two of them moved towards each other.

Naruto noticed that Biwako moved much faster than he could, but he shrugged off the knowledge and concentrated on the fight. Biwako kicked him in the gut, making his breath catch.

Then, Biwako tried to kick Naruto in the chin, but he stepped back quickly, making her mostly miss, barely grazing him. So, his pain tol- tol- whatever, saved him from that follow-up.

Naruto elbowed her in the thigh of the kicking leg immediately, hopefully slowing her down. He had learned his lesson of holding back with girls after the Ami and Maifa incident.

Biwako backed off quickly, hobbling; she also seemed more surprised than hurt. She said, “your reflexes are as quick as mine,” sounding surprised.

This time, Naruto was the one who didn’t speak much - in fact, he didn’t speak at all, he simply shrugged. He tried to keep the fact that he was a bit out of breath quiet.
The two of them, on another unspoken signal, clashed again; this time, Biwako’s much greater flexibility and clan training won out, and she pinned Naruto down.

Unfortunately for her, she hadn’t perfected the hold. And Naruto was much, much stronger than he looked, so he got out, though he was visibly out of breath after that e-xe-rtion.

Naruto looked at his opponent and decided to put his experience to use. After all, Biwako had to fight against girls who were more worried about getting a boyfriend (usually their senpai, Hyuuga Neji), with Mito (ugh) her only challenge (Sakura was strong too, but she usually held back against Biwako for some reason), while Naruto had had to outmaneuver Kiba in the past, outsmart Shino and block Chouji’s powerful blows.

(And show patience to that lazy shit, Shikamaru. Seriously, his new habit of giving up every time he was supposed to face Naruto really annoyed him.)

Mizuki, the assistant teacher probably had it out for him, so Naruto usually had to fight the strongest students; but Mizuki regretted it when Naruto ended up stronger than them in a year or so.

He ran at Biwako, but not straight on, then used his incredible a-gi-li-ty to turn on a Ryo and attack her from behind. He punched her as she was turning, too stunned to react immediately, and got her in the cheek with incredible power, making her actually bleed.

Biwako wiped her injured cheek of blood. Naruto blurted out an “are you all right, Biwako?” But the girl ignored him.

She glared, full of hatred; however, Naruto knew that she was seeing someone else in his place - he knew what being hated was like, so he knew that she was looking through him, and not to ignore him. She hated someone else with all her heart.

Biwako let out a cry filled with rage and attacked him again; this time, she wasn’t as smart in her fighting, so Naruto still had a chance. On the other hand, his stamina was running out, and Biwako was still going strong; he now knew that she had higher reserves, but fortunately, that didn’t ne-ce-ssa-ri-ly mean she could last longer.

Their last exchange ended with Naruto being kicked in the chest with incredible strength; he absently noted that this time, she used her left foot. ‘Either she was holding back before, or her left is much stronger,’ he thought while flying through the air, coughing out saliva, hopefully without blood.

This time, she looked a bit worried, but when he got up, injuries no longer a problem, she said, “what are you made of?” Looking at him with a mixture of shock and… excitement?

Naruto dusted himself off and said, “I always healed quickly. Now, let’s go!”

Thanks to Naruto having gotten his second wind, their next exchange ended up with Biwako getting a punch in the gut, then a kick in the chest when she bent down, being thrown away.

She looked like a vengeful goddess then, eyes literally red, pain and fury twisting her features. It was all or nothing then. This last exchange would decide the fight.

This time, Biwako went for a punch in the face. She avoided Naruto’s counter perfectly, with an ease that seemed to surprise even her, which made her punch be weaker than it should be.

Still, Naruto was seriously tired and hurt already, so his headbutt in the chest was weaker than he had expected; much weaker. Still, the previous gut and chest hits must have done their job, because Biwako dropped - at the same time Naruto did, and their fists met on the way down.

-----

There are three known methods to increase one’s natural talent for an element, four, if one counts the awakening of an already existent elemental Bloodline. One is through (usually illegal) experimentation, such as injecting oneself with an elemental Bloodline one does not possess the potential for. The second one is sealing a Bijuu with an elemental affinity or bloodline within oneself, though the compatibility with that Bijuu is lower when the affinities are different.

The other is when, in a process little is understood about, two people connect with each other during pitched combat (even if they are enemies), or even a (very intense) spar, and happen to possess the correct combination of elements. Even fewer know that this is the product of Ninshu*.


-----

It took a few minutes for them to catch their breaths, but when they did, Naruto said, “that - was - incredible! I never knew you could fight like that! What’s up with the red eyes by the way?”

“You said it,” Biwako said, “I wish I had healing and stamina regeneration like yours, though.”

“Don’t sell yourself short,” Naruto said, “I could tell that your reserves of stamina are much higher than mine; without the second wind I got, I’d have lost much earlier.”

“Right,” Biwako said, “wait, red eyes?”

Then, she looked at the small lake and whooped in joy, saying ‘Sharingan’ repeatedly… and fell backwards, unconscious.

Naruto caught her quickly, panicking. He said, “Biwako? Biwako! Come on - it’s not funny!”

He checked her pulse, but it felt normal to him. He carried her, went up to one of the houses in the Uchiha district, trusting his gut; and, of course, it looked lived-in.

He put her in a bed and went to her kitchen to make some tea. He had to decide if he would take her to the hospital, and it was a hard decision. He would immediately be blamed for any injuries she had, his fault or not.

Still, he steeled himself. It probably was actually his fault; he also wouldn’t risk Biwako’s health. He felt calm after deciding that, but he heard something he didn’t expect: movement from Biwako’s room.

He knocked at the door, saying, “Biwako! Are you awake?”

Naruto couldn’t hear what exactly she muttered, but she soon stumbled out of said room, looking like a zombie, like in the manga he sometimes snuck a look at in the orphanage.

“Who’s- oh, it’s you,” Biwako said, slurring a bit.

“What’s wrong? Are you sick?” Naruto asked, worried again. He didn’t dare tell her that she sounded and looked like a drunk.

“What- no, it’s just Chakra exhaustion, but never mind that! How did you find my house?” Biwako said, a strange look on her face.

“I’m not sure,” Naruto said, “I trusted my gut; the place felt more alive, somehow.”

Biwako frowned a bit. She said, “that doesn’t make sense - wait. Are you a tracker, or maybe a sensor?”

“What’s that?” Naruto asked, curious. He had heard the words before, but didn’t know what they meant.

“Never mind- is that tea?” Biwako said.

“Yeah. I’m sorry I took over your kitchen, but I couldn’t sit and do nothing. How do you drink your tea?” Naruto said.

“I drink it with no sugar, and no cream or milk - I don’t like sweet things,” Biwako replied.

Naruto couldn’t believe that. He said, “even fruits?” Before he could stop himself.

“I can… tolerate fruits, especially non-sweet ones like tomatoes- okay, that’s a lie; I love tomatoes,” Biwako said, looking more alive.

Naruto smiled. He said, “I like all fruits, including tomatoes. Vegetables too. I wish I had a place to grow them.”

“Why don’t you grow them here, in the Uchiha district?” Biwako offered.

Naruto could see that she was surprised by her own words, but she didn’t take them back. He eventually said, “I think I’ll do that. Thanks.”

Biwako went up to a mirror and simply looked at her own face.

“What are you doing?” Naruto asked after a while, seeing that she was absorbed in her reflection.

“Checking my eyes. Do you know what the Sharingan is?” Biwako said.

“Eh, not really…? But if it takes Chakra, should you be using it right after Chakra exhaustion?” Naruto said, a bit worried.

Biwako turned to him, her eyes once again red. Now that he was able to examine them, he could see a comma mark in each of them, at least until they turned black.

“You’re right of course, what was I thinking?” Biwako said angrily, hopefully not angry at Naruto.

“Is this ‘Sharingan’ a bloodline limit?” Naruto asked, curious.

“Yes,” Biwako said, swaying in place again.

Naruto quickly said, “you should go to the hospital for your Chakra exhaustion. You might have cuts and bruises too,” getting ready to catch her if she fell.

“Hmph,” Biwako said, “only if you go too.”

Naruto looked down and explained that the doctors and medic-nins in the hospital didn’t like him.

“Will they refuse to treat you?” Biwako asked, her expression neutral.

“Only if my problem isn’t very serious,” Naruto replied, “I also don’t want to make my re- reputation even worse, so please don’t tell anyone we sparred like that. If we go to the hospital at the same time, people might guess what happened.”

Biwako nodded. She said “I’ll lie and say that I got an older student as a sparring partner. Is that enough?”

“Yeah, thanks,” Naruto said, relieved.

“For the time being, you can sleep on the couch,” Biwako said, strangely calmly.

“Eh? Are you sure?” Naruto said, taken aback.

Biwako nodded. She said, “unless you prefer the orphanage,” slyly.

“Oh, gods no,” Naruto said, disgusted at the idea.

It was a temporary arrangement. Right?

-----

Biwako had come back from the hospital. She had been given a pill for her Chakra exhaustion and prescribed a cream for her bruises. The doctor tried to question her on how she got the injuries, but her cold attitude helped her for, like, the thousandth time.

When she got back, she found Naruto on the couch, asleep. However, he was twisting around as if he was having a nightmare and sweating terribly.

‘That can’t be healthy in this weather,’ Biwako thought.

So, she went to get a blanket. Unfortunately, as she was covering him, Naruto latched onto her in his sleep and wouldn’t let go.

‘I have to get away without waking him up,’ Biwako thought, ‘well, at least he’s not shaking anymore.’ After a few attempts, the girl resigned herself to her fate and tried to fall asleep.

She didn’t realize she had until she woke up.

Fortunately, she had just enough time when she woke up to stop hugging Naruto.

-----

“Ugh - where am I?” Naruto said, realizing something was off, only to meet a black-eyed glare from up close.

“Did you sleep comfortably?” Biwako asked sweetly. Too sweetly.

Naruto soon realized that he had his arms wrapped around something - or someone. Biwako…? Shit.

Naruto unwrapped his arms from the girl and threw himself off the couch, hitting his head on something.

Bright lights flashed in his sight.

‘Ouch. What happened?’ Naruto thought, blacking out for a second.

-----

“I said I’m sorry,” Naruto said, “what more do you want?”

“Idiot,” Biwako said, brow twitching. She had slept better than she had since- well, for the past month, and didn’t mind all that much, but she wouldn’t let Naruto know or let him off the hook.

Naruto sighed, but he didn’t say any more. Smart boy.

The coming night, Naruto crashed on the couch again and Biwako ended up lying next to him again. (‘Don’t you dare tell anyone! Idiot!’)

Soon enough, Biwako ended up telling Naruto to use her bed… and that’s the story of how Naruto left the orphanage.

-----

The second spar Naruto and Biwako had was a week or so later. Biwako was so sure of her victory thanks to her Sharingan that she lost easily.

She learned not to underestimate Naruto, the hard way. And that was how the two of them became (friendly) rivals.

According to Biwako, she wanted her rival to be strong, which was why she taught him the basic E-rank Academy jutsu early, telling him that he should try to learn them so well that he could do them without hand-seals.

The two of them didn’t have anything more advanced, other than Biwako’s Goukakyuu (Great Fireball), but they wanted to correct that.

Biwako had been trying to find the Uchiha library for ages, but even now she had the Sharingan, it wasn’t so easy. She didn’t expect what Naruto suggested next instead of learning from scrolls.

“Let’s spy on shinobi who are training,” Naruto said, smiling wide and with teeth, which was a rare thing.

“What if they catch us?” Biwako said, not really against the idea.

“Your Sharingan can see really far, right?” Naruto said, still grinning, “my stealth is great, too, so let’s spy on adult ninjas.”

“I can’t copy jutsu very well yet,” Biwako said, annoyed at the fact that her Sharingan only had one tomoe (comma mark) in each eye.

“I’ll do it,” Naruto said, “my memory is great - I can me-mo-rize the hand seals perfectly.”

Biwako sighed. She said, “just be careful; don’t spy on Jounin, and don’t be your usual reckless self.”

Naruto crouched down, and Biwako could swear she saw a dark cloud hovering above his head. He kept saying ‘Biwako thinks I’m reckless’, depressed, drawing circles on the floor.

Biwako rolled her eyes upwards - Naruto was being an idiot again.

-----


Naruto learned, after a bit of careful spying on chuunin sparring in training grounds, how to use the Water Clone jutsu.

To be exact, he saw it used once, and managed to use it right in less than an hour of trying it. The hand-seals were Dragon, Ram and Tiger.

Biwako was looking at Naruto in disbelief. She said, “Naruto… have you had training in Water ninjutsu?”

Naruto shook his head. He said, “no - I haven’t learned any of the elements at all.”

Biwako said, “I think you might be a sensor - even with a Water affinity, it’s unlikely you would have learned an elemental ninjutsu with so few hand-seals without some training, unless you knew how the Chakra had to be used for that jutsu.”

Naruto said, “you’ve talked about sensors before. What does that mean? Does it mean that I can feel Chakra somehow? We haven’t learned that in the Academy.”

Biwako nodded and launched into a lecture on the subject, complete with a lecturing pose.

“So, how do I use that skill?” Naruto asked.

“Well… I don’t know,” Biwako said, blushing.

“What do you mean you don’t know!” Naruto said, almost shouting.

“Give me a break, Naruto - it’s not like I know everything. Even if I do know a lot more than you do,” Biwako said, smirking.

Naruto sulked for a bit after hearing that, making Biwako- wait, did she just-

“Biwako,” Naruto said slyly, “did you snort just now?”

Biwako was blushing again. She said, “now you’re hearing things, too?”

“Biwako-chaan,” Naruto said in a sing-song voice, “don’t be like that. You can’t fool me; I heard you loud and clear,” smirking.

“Whatever. Idiot,” Biwako said, her expression once again unreadable.

Naruto murmured that she sounded just like a tsundere.

“What did you say!?” Biwako demanded, raising a fist.

Yup, definitely a tsundere.

“…What are you smiling at?” Biwako asked a few moments later.

“It’s nothing,” Naruto said, still smiling wide.

“So, Naruto - do you have a dream? Or maybe an ambition. I’m curious,” Biwako said a few seconds later, changing the subject, looking at Naruto without smiling; not that she ever did.

Naruto stopped smiling and thought the question over. He then said, “I don’t know yet. I… guess that I want to be accepted by the village, or at least find another place that will accept me. I believe that becoming a legendary ninja will help me in that; I definitely can’t be accepted if I’m just a nobody. What about you?”

Biwako laughed without humor. She said, “I walked right into this one, didn’t I? I have this dream - no, it’s more an ambition: I will kill that man and avenge my family.”

Naruto decided to keep to himself the fact that she didn’t sound all that assured of her chances against whoever she hated. He said, “who is ‘that man’?” Almost whispering.

Biwako remained silent for a bit, seemingly thinking. Then, she said, “I might as well tell you. The man I hate with all my heart is the one who murdered the rest of my clan, who slaughtered them; my older brother, Uchiha Itachi.”

Naruto didn’t know what to say to that. No, that was a lie - he definitely had something to say. He vowed, “I’ll help you get stronger to kill your target and fulfill your ambition. You’ll see, I’ll be the best rival you’ve ever had!”

Biwako blinked, a hint of water in her eyes. She said, “oh Naruto,” and hugged him briefly, a rare thing, other than what she does in her sleep.

-----

Biwako had found something when trying to discover the Uchiha jutsu library, with Naruto being there to help her against any traps her target had left.

She tried a password passed down by her father, but it failed to open the passage or safe or whatever it was. Grimacing, she wrote ‘foolish little sister, maybe next time’, then made a poking motion, opening a relatively small space, which had a large scroll inside, barely able to fit while folded up.

Biwako asked Naruto to check it for traps with a Water Clone. The clone unfolded the scroll, which had the kanji for Hawk, ‘Taka’, on it.

Fears forgotten, Biwako looked at the scroll in awe; few people got the chance to sign a summoning contract. But then, her blood ran cold: what if That Man had signed it first?

She checked, but none of the names belonged to him. The fact that Shisui had signed it last gave the girl hope.

“Well? Aren’t you going to sign it?” A voice said.

Biwako lifted her head to see the original Naruto smiling at her.

“I’m not completely sure,” she said, breathing slowly, “this is a life-changing decision.”

Naruto shook his head. He said, “summoning contracts don’t grow on trees dattebayo.”

“I know that!” Biwako said, snapping at him. Then, she said, “sorry. Just… let me think for a moment,” sheepishly.

Naruto’s expression softened, and he nodded.

Biwako thought of the cats - but cats didn’t fly. Some other members of the Uchiha had summoning contracts of their own, but most of those had been taken by the village or were still in the home of the summons.

She made her decision.

-----

Naruto and Biwako started using ninjutsu in their spars, but they were still roughly equal; Naruto’s Water Clones took a lot of Chakra to dispel with the Great Fireball, and gave him enough of an advantage to negate Biwako’s experience in ninjutsu.

Not to mention it created mist, and Naruto had the better hearing and stealth, so Biwako had to dispel them up close. (Biwako’s sense of smell was better, but it didn’t help much without special training.)

In the meanwhile, Naruto took Biwako’s advice to heart and practiced the E-ranks, mainly the Kawarimi no jutsu, so that he could do them faster and reduce the hand-seal number.

Biwako had kept training her hand-seal speed. She wasn’t as good as Naruto at reducing the number of hand-seals needed, apparently, so she had to be fast. Fortunately for her, her ma-nu-al dex-te-ri-ty was much higher than his.

That morning, though, they had to go to the Academy, so they cut their training in hand-seals short.

-----

Mito had sat close to Naruto and Biwako that day, much to Naruto’s annoyance.

“So, what have you two been learning? Pervy Sage is back in the village, and teaching me how to use the Wind element!” Mito said, enthusiastically, her bright blue eyes shining.

“Fire,” Biwako said, speaking the usual way she did in the Academy.

“Ah, okay,” Mito said, “what about you, Naruto?”

Naruto simply shrugged, both disliking the girl and not wanting to give away his abilities.

“Mou! Can’t the two of you be more talkative?” Mito said, pouting. “Like Kiba- never mind, bad example,” she said.

Naruto rolled his eyes, and Mito pounced. She said, “so you do have a sense of humor, Naruto. I had begun to wonder dattebara.”

Naruto couldn’t help grinning. Maybe Mito wasn’t that bad, after all. She had a verbal tic just like his, too.

“You usually look so constipated. You’re worse than Biwako, I think,” Mito said innocently.

Naruto took it back - she was as troublesome as Shikamaru said. Biwako and Naruto turned twin glares upon Mito, who laughed nervously and rubbed the back of her head, strawberry blond hair moving around in sync.

Naruto still wanted to show up that pampered princess, even if she wasn’t that bad after all. So, he decided to learn the Wind element and surpass Namikaze Mito in it.

-----

Naruto was checking on his plants in Biwako’s garden. Biwako was the only one who knew, but he had a habit of talking to plants. He had read in a book that that helped them grow, but in truth, he had done that even before.

Did he somehow know that it helped them grow in-stinct-ive-ly, or was it just a habit he got because he had been lonely? “Aargh, this in-tro-spe-ction thing is hard!” Naruto said out loud, tugging on his short blond hair in frustration.

He eventually noticed that two of his tomato plants had been uprooted, most likely by a dog or something like that. ‘How’d I miss that?’ Naruto thought, angry at himself - the ground around them was very messed up.

He took one of them and put it in the ground again, but stopped himself before he did the same with the other. He knew it was too late for those plants - it was foolish to try to get them back… like it was foolish to have hoped for his parents to suddenly show up at the orphanage and tell him they had been looking for him all along.

Naruto wiped his eyes with his shirt, near the shoulder, because his hands and sleeves were dirty. No. No! He wouldn’t cry any more, and he wouldn’t give up! He was Uzumaki Naruto, damn it!

Without bothering to think about it, Naruto put a little Chakra into the tomato plant he had replanted. He made a bit of a mistake, though: he used his Chakra in a strange way. Part of the Chakra that went into the plant reminded him of the Water Clone, another part reminded him of freshly tilled soil, and the Spi-ri-tu-al Energy entered first, then the Physical part.

-----

Life is transient, and yet, some people are immortalized through their actions; through the light their very soul emits. That had been the main principle of Ninshu: to reach understanding by linking their souls and their Spiritual energy (also known as Yin Chakra), with Yang Chakra (physical energy) as the medium.

What is even less-known is that Indra was not the only one to modify the process, though he was the only one to do so on purpose.

Of all people, a direct descendant and reincarnate of the younger brother, Ashura, was responsible for that. His name was Senju Hashirama.

As a very young boy, Hashirama was secretly injected with White Zetsu cells by the nameless being some call Black Zetsu, in a gambit to trick an Uchiha into combining Ashura’s powers with Indra’s.

The operation succeeded beyond Black Zetsu’s wildest dreams, in every way. Far beyond. New, insanely powerful abilities emerged in Hashirama (and old ones were made insanely powerful), such as his Chakra and flesh regenerating at a rate even his wife -a Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi- was envious of.

Hashirama unknowingly tapped into something resembling Ninshu for the first time while taking care of a plant as a child, and went on to make a supreme form of Zetsu’s Mokuton, combining Ashura’s powerful Chakra and natural talent for Senjutsu with Zetsu’s Water and Earth element.

Many have theorized that Mokuton includes Yang Release, and is a Kekkei Touta rather than a Kekkei Genkai, among them Tsunade. The truth, though is a bit more complicated: Mokuton includes Yin-Yang Release, being closer to Creation of All Things than anything else.

Creation of All Things doesn’t use actual Chakra because it splits it into Yin and Yang, though, unlike Mokuton, which gives form with Yin Chakra and uses Yang to give life - while still keeping Chakra in its balanced form.

People could study Hashirama’s abilities for a lifetime and still have more to find. People DID study Mokuton for a lifetime and found very little, and not just because those who knew the most were very tight-lipped.

What would it be like, if someone had the Mokuton at full strength, naturally? None of Hashirama’s direct descendants inherited his Bloodline Limit, because none of them had Ashura’s Chakra. Or did they?

History has a tendency of repeating itself.


-----

Naruto couldn’t believe his eyes. The tomato plant he had thought dead was in perfect con-di-tion.

‘What did I just do…?’ Naruto thought, ‘were the other orphans and that one caretaker right? Am I a freak?’ Panicking.

He decided not to tell anyone about this.

-----

It was Naruto’s turn to do the shopping; mainly because Biwako was too tired that day. The usual for the two of them was for Naruto to always cook and take care of the garden and Biwako to always go shopping and clean.

He went to the butcher’s, when his eyes met the owner’s. He saw the emotions play out on the man’s face; from a smile, to unpleasant surprise, to anger and hatred.

“Out,” the man said, evenly.

Naruto’s fists clenched. He saw that the man had an expression of fear and was about to pick up a knife, so he left the store before he did something he might or might not regret.

Two women in the street gossiping started speaking about Naruto, and how ‘that thing shouldn’t be allowed to be a ninja’, so he glared at them, putting a bit of Killing Intent into the look, making the air heavy with his hatred.

He could smell the piss running down the clothes of one of the women, and smirked at her with hate, making them both shudder.

Naruto reached a park, going to a secluded corner to calm down, closing his eyes. ‘Damn it! Why do they hate me like that? I don’t get it,’ he thought, and took deep breaths to calm down, while leaning on a tree.

While he meditated like that, he felt like the tree was reaching out for him, as if it had Chakra of its own. ‘My imagination is working like crazy today,’ Naruto thought, ignoring the little voice that reminded him of that tomato plant and told him he should at least tell Biwako.

The next day, Iruka scolded Naruto. The man said, “is it true, Naruto, that you hit a civilian?”

“Huh? No, sensei, that never happened! I did make a woman piss herself by glaring at her, though, hehe,” Naruto said, smug, but hiding the fact that he could use Killing Intent thanks to Biwako.

Iruka shook his head. He said, “that’s bad enough, too. I’m disappointed in you, Naruto. You gave people fuel to spread lies about you. Besides, how can you protect Konoha’s citizens if they’re scared of you?”

Naruto looked down - he didn’t like disappointing his sensei. “Sorry sensei,” he said in a small voice, ignoring the surprisingly loud part of him that said he didn’t care about protecting Konoha’s citizens.

“Hey, Naruto. Chin up,” Iruka said, “how about I come with you to apologize to that woman?” Smiling.

“Hell no! Screw that bitch!” Naruto said loudly, startling even himself with how ve- ve-he-ment he was.

Iruka looked shocked, then pained. He said, “Naruto-”

“No!” Naruto said and bolted, hating the look he saw on his father figure’s face, but he couldn’t bring himself to apologize, even to Iruka.

That night, Naruto forgot all about Iruka, because he found out something else. “Wait, so you found the Uchiha shinobi library? Without taking me with you? It’s dangerous!” Naruto said to Biwako, worried.

Biwako said, “don’t worry. I didn’t try to get into it yet. Come on, follow me.”

She took him to one of the buildings in the Uchiha district and switched on her Sharingan. She tapped the floor on three particular places and a stone tablet appeared. She ‘wrote’ some stuff with her finger, did some hand-seals and there it was - a secret passage opened.

“What can you feel from there?” Biwako asked, her eyes focusing on the darkness below.

Naruto molded some Chakra, but didn’t let it form into a jutsu, controlling it in a way that made it enter everything around him. So, he used his sensory skill to make sure that there was nothing alive larger than a cockroach there.

Biwako hesitantly walked down the stairs of the passage, did a few hand-seals to close the entrance (apparently, her need to keep the Uchiha jutsu library secret was stronger than her fear) and they were soon met by a huge room - or so it seemed to Naruto, but it was too dark to see any more.

Suddenly, fire flashed, making Naruto jump. He immediately noticed Biwako with her hands in a Tiger seal, next to a lit torch attached to the wall. More torches were lit that were connected to that one, just like in those manga that had brave archaeologists and explorers find ancient tombs.

“Incredible, isn’t it?” Biwako remarked, her barely visible eyes betraying her excitement.

They both looked around; there were scrolls and books everywhere, and according to Biwako, the library had three more levels underground. The both of them explored those levels - the fourth and smallest level had things written by clan heads and just as important stuff, usually by the main families.

“What’s this?” Biwako remarked, “Advanced usage of Katon, by Uchiha Madara and Izuna?”

“Look, Biwako! The same guy, Madara. has a guide -no, many guides- for Fuuton, too! And a how to on using fans like a Gunbai!” Naruto said, enthusiastic.

“Inside voice, Naruto,” Biwako scolded, “didn’t you want to learn about Fuuton? You should put the basics book on the first level, somewhere we can get to it easily. I’ll do the same for the basic Katon book- wait.”

“What is it, Biwako?” Naruto asked.

Biwako showed him the thick book called ‘Raiton: the Full Guide of Going from Expert to Grandmaster’.

“What’s so great about- wait, Uchiha Mikoto? Wasn’t she your mother?” Naruto said.

He had met Uchiha Mikoto before and other than Iruka (and the man who owned a particular Ramen stand, to a point), she was the only adult who ever wanted him around. Sometimes, he saw her look at him and get an angry, scary look on her face, but he ignored those times - she was very good to him, usually.

Nowadays, that he understood some things better, he wondered what she was angry at; he didn’t think it was Naruto himself.

Biwako smiled, though her eyes had a sheen on them. She said, “I think it’s time I learned a second element.”

Naruto couldn’t find it in him to disagree.

They also found a guide on tricks with shurikenjutsu, by That Man - much to the disgust of his best friend, but she still kept it; a guide on wire use by Uchiha Fugaku; a guide on using the Shunshin in battle, by Uchiha Shisui, and incomplete documentation of two jutsu called the Raiton Chakra Mode and Hell Stab, by Mikoto again.

She supposedly wrote the Lightning guide when she was twenty one and a retired Jounin and the Hell Stab and Raiton Chakra Mode when she was seventeen, a rookie Jounin. She was one of the few who survived going up against the Third Raikage, in the first open battle of the Third Shinobi World War; though with a serious shoulder wound, according to Biwako, who skimmed through the text.

More interesting things were a jutsu called Housenka Tsumabeni, which made use of the rare Fire Release Chakra Flow, co-written by That Man and Fugaku, the Clone Great Explosion, by That Man (along with the Shadow Clone, its parent jutsu, kinda), and Gouryuuka (Great Dragon Flame), Gouka Mekkyaku (Great Fire Annihilation) and Gouka Messhitsu (Great Fire Destruction), all written by Madara, the Gouryuuka co-written with Izuna like the previous guide.

According to Biwako again, Gouryuuka needed very high Chakra control, even though it was supposed to be weaker than the other two. In return, its range (and something called ‘versatility’. What was that?) was incredible, though it also cost more Chakra the further it went from the user.

Finally, a book on genjutsu and Yin Release co-written by Shisui and That Man.

They had found a literal treasure trove of techniques, ninjutsu and otherwise. The two of them couldn’t keep the smiles off their faces, and they ended up studying the ninja arts well into the night (though they were smart enough to start from the basics). Fortunately, the morning after they got into the library was a Sunday.

On the next school day, Naruto was nervous about seeing Iruka. He couldn’t eat much of his breakfast and could only think of how angry his teacher might be.

During the Academy’s lessons, Iruka didn’t act any different, but when he dismissed the class, Naruto stayed behind. When Iruka didn’t comment and simply started grading some tests, Naruto started sweating.

He couldn’t take it anymore and shouted, “Iruka-sensei!”

Iruka looked up from his tests, his expression unreadable. He said, “yes, Naruto?” Tests and pen left to the side of his desk.

“I’m really sorry, sensei! I shouldn’t have blown you off like that!” Naruto said, ending up rambling a bit, after that.

Iruka held up a hand. He said, “okay Naruto, I got it, I got it. But should I assume that apologizing to the civilians too is out of the question?”

Naruto looked everywhere but at Iruka.

“Your silence says it all,” Iruka said, dryly, “it’s not easy to forgive, I get it. Just don’t lash out like that again.”

“You got it, Iruka-sensei!” Naruto said seriously.

-----

*(Biwako’s Lightning affinity has improved. Biwako’s talent for Fire has improved hugely! Biwako has gotten her Fire Element to be an actual natural affinity!

In response, Naruto’s Water Element and Wind Element have improved greatly. His Wind element remains a non-affinity.)
 
Last edited:
Story1.5

AoMythology

Well-Known Member
#2
Interlude (Ch 1.5)

-----

Snake, Ram, Monkey, Boar, Horse, Tiger ‘Goukakyuu no jutsu’ (‘Great Fireball jutsu’). Biwako molded Chakra in her mouth, inhaling, taking that Chakra with the air into her lungs. Then, she immediately blew it back out, turning it Fire-natured as it left her mouth.

Unlike the usual, something went wrong -or right- in that last step, though.

WHOOSH!

The lake Biwako was aiming at had nearly boiled. There was a sudden improvement in the power and reduction in the Chakra cost of her Great Fireball jutsu, and Biwako couldn’t for the life of her figure out why and how.

She couldn’t just accept her good fortune; an unknown factor like that might come back to bite her… like her brother’s changing behavior-

No, I won’t think about that!

Naruto was also someone she had a hard time predicting, but in that case, it might be a good thing; she needed someone in her life to keep her sane -she didn’t want to snap and become like that man-, and Naruto was perfect for the job. The fact that he was an excellent rival, with talent of a level she could never have expected, was the cherry on top.

He makes you weak, whispered a voice that sounded a lot like Ita- like that man

So much so, that she repeated her hand seals, letting out a Great Fireball that created even more steam than before, leaving her panting.

Without meaning to, her mind went back to simpler times; her father teaching her the Great Fireball, to be exact.

As expected; you are my child, after all.

‘Dad,’ Biwako thought, tears running out of her eyes, though she ignored them completely.

She longed for those simpler times, of piggyback rides on a brother who didn’t seem to be a psychopath, of a mother and a father and an entire clan of relatives… and hated herself for it.

“Oi, Biwako! Time for lunch!” A voice shouted, making Biwako start. Naruto was behind her -in the place where her father was standing when he acknowledged her- and waving at her, asking if something was wrong.

“Coming!” Biwako said, laughing without humor under her breath.

Food was ready; it was Naruto’s turn to cook, as usual. The both of them were about equally as good at cooking (which is to say decent, maybe even good, but not great), but they had split the jobs that way.

After they ate, Biwako had a question for Naruto, something she had been curious about for a while. So, she said, “so, Naruto, I told you about who I hate the most. But who is the one you hate the most?” Very interested in his answer.

Naruto didn’t even think it over and said, “Yamanaka Maifa!” His face twisting into an ugly expression.

Biwako was surprised. “The Academy’s Deputy Headmistress? What did she do?” She said, smelling a story behind this.

Naruto nodded and started speaking again. He said, “you see, it started when Ami and her two cronies tried to bully me. I had weird hang-ups then, like avoiding hitting girls, so they beat me up. That’s when I fought back, hitting Ami in the arm and accidentally snapping it, but a teacher saw the last part and brought me to Maifa’s office. Ami’s cronies tried to run away, but the teacher, Mizuki-sensei, was thorough and took everyone to Maifa.

»Maifa questioned us, seemingly to understand what had happened; Ami tried to be excused to go to the hospital, but the woman wouldn’t let her. Even the teacher wasn’t allowed to leave or tell Ami’s parents. It still seemed like I was going to be blamed for everything, though. But when Maifa was told that nobody else had seen what happened, a gleam appeared in her eye.

»Suddenly, none of us could move; I only heard a whisper of ‘Shinranshin no jutsu’ (‘Mind Body Disturbance jutsu’). The teacher asked her what she was doing and why, and I still remember her words. She said, and I quote, ‘this boy is an important military asset. I cannot let a lowly bully from a minor clan ruin that. If need be, I will make the girl “disappear” and make her parents forget about her’. She… did something to all of them, and afterwards, Ami and her cronies remembered nothing, and she thought she broke her arm in a fall. Mizuki-sensei doesn’t seem to remember, either - but the man has been… different since then.

»I broke out of the jutsu holding me still in my anger. Maifa simply looked at me with a smile, complimenting my power, for breaking her Shinranshin. For some unknown reason, she didn’t try to do anything to my memories, but she did tell me nobody would believe me if I told on her - that might have meant she was working alone, but I’m not gonna trust a word that comes out of her mouth. After what happened that day, I realized what Konoha was really like. I’ve let Iruka-sensei believe that I’m going to protect Konoha’s citizens, but the only reason I haven’t left yet is because I have nowhere else to go. Recognition from them? Ha! Who cares! Sorry I haven’t been completely truthful with you.”

Biwako was looking at Naruto wide-eyed. The bitterness she saw from him reminded her of when she asked herself, ‘why didn’t the ANBU or the Hokage notice on that night?’

She asked him, “are you going to take revenge on her?” Looking at him in a new light.

Naruto shook his head. He said, “what’s the point? If she’s working with the higher-ups, then what am I going to do? Kill the Hokage too? He’s the Headmaster of the Academy, after all. If she was working on her own, then she was trying to help me in her own twisted -very, very twisted- way. I still don’t get the crap about military assets, though.”

“You know what this means, though, right?” Biwako said, smirking, “we need to go to the Uchiha library so that we can research exactly what that bitch meant.”

After all, while the main thing the library contained was information on the ninja arts and jutsu, hence it being called the Uchiha Jutsu Library, it had more than that. Information on various clans, even Konoha’s (for some reason, especially Konoha’s); memoirs of various Uchiha and more.

Naruto smiled at her shakily, and hugged her tightly.

‘He’s starting to grow on me,’ Biwako thought, ‘like a fungus,’ which made her smirk wider.
 
Story2

AoMythology

Well-Known Member
#3
After those rumors that Naruto had hit a civilian, Konoha became really fearful and hostile. To keep his agreement with Iruka, Naruto avoided being out and about unless it was to go to the Academy. Once, when a villager threw a rock at him, Naruto played a nasty prank on him later that ended up with the man having an arm and leg broken, his skull frac-tured and in a coma for two weeks.

Naruto was never caught. Even Iruka didn’t suspect a thing, but Naruto swore to himself that he would be more careful from then on.

After eavesdropping on a conversation between a teacher and that monster of a Deputy Headmistress, Yamanaka Maifa, he found out how the teams were formed. He had the option between being the Rookie of the Year and the Dead Last, and he decided on being Dead Last - mainly because the villagers of Konoha might fear and hate him less if he wasn’t seen as powerful. Though the only reason he cared was his promise to Iruka.

On an unspoken agreement, Naruto and Biwako didn’t use the Shadow Clone in their next few spars -even after learning it well-, much less its explosive version, even though both of them learned the two jutsu. Of course, that might have something to do with how much Chakra they took - Naruto’s Shadow Clones barely had enough Chakra to explode when he made more than six.

Naruto started working on the Wind Style training; he tried to cut a leaf using only his Chakra, which was much harder than it sounded. He had already managed the Water element exercise in less than two weeks, which would have probably surprised Biwako more if she hadn’t learned the Lightning element exercise almost equally as quickly.

After a few months, Naruto managed to fully cut the leaf, partly thanks to Madara’s advice in the prologue of his beginners’ book (‘imagine two spinning discs making contact. The point of contact is where the cut spreads, in two directions’). After that, he learned a D-rank Wind ninjutsu, Fuuton: Shou (Wind Style: Thrust), which pushes one relatively small object or person away. It took him three weeks or so to learn Shou.

He had also studied the Uchiha clan’s information on the Senju clan’s fighting styles. For some reason, Naruto felt drawn to the Senju clan, Hashirama and Tobirama the most of them. Well, Tobirama had been the greatest Suiton user in the history of Konoha.

Naruto was good at learning by doing things with his body. That didn’t mean that he wasn’t good at learning from books and scrolls, though; it was just slower going. He needed some help from Iruka, but he managed to piece together some of the Senju clan’s styles.

Naruto was also starting to get the hang of the fewer hand-seals thing - he recently managed to substitute with one of his Water Clones without Biwako noticing in a spar, mainly because he could use the Kawarimi (Substitution / Body Replacement) with only one hand-seal.

The track record of the two of them remained about equal, and neither had managed more than two wins in a row. They also found out their elements through Chakra paper, which had surprises for both of them. Biwako stared into… well, nothing, after her paper crinkled into a ball, then burned to ash.

According to her, her talent for Fire Style had increased recently, but that she would have two affinities was still a surprise.

As for Naruto, he had expected Water, but not Earth in his affinities.

The Hawks started to train Biwako, including in Raiton (and the basics of using her nose for tracking), and the advantage of her having a high-level teacher and him not having one proved to be too much. That was the first time Naruto lost three weeks in a row, so he went to Iruka for advice.

-----

“Iruka-sensei,” Naruto said, distressed, “I need help ‘ttebayo.”

“What is it, Naruto?” Iruka said, putting down his cup of tea calmly.

So Naruto told him the problem without details. He told him that he had a rival, and that they were surpassing him; none of the skills he could learn at the moment could counter their skills, and he didn’t want to get left behind; would his rival throw him away in that case?

Iruka smiled a bit. He said, “firstly, if you two are friends, not just rivals, then they won’t throw you away. Secondly, have you tried improving what you’re best at instead of learning new skills? Try not to learn too much at once, it’s like trying to look left and right at the same time.”

Naruto thought it over. Wind Style was a bust; he just wasn’t good enough at it to counter Biwako’s improved Raiton. Even if he learned Earth jutsu, Earth simply wasn’t good against Lightning. So, that left the Water element. ‘Yes,’ he thought, ‘there has to be a reason it’s not considered weak to Lightning, con-duc-tor or not.’

“Thanks Iruka-sensei,” Naruto said with a grin and hugged his teacher.

“Ow. Can’t- breathe,” Iruka said, getting paler and paler.

“Oops. Sorry, sensei,” Naruto said, blushing in embarrassment, and released the man.

Naruto read up on water and discovered that only when the water had ‘impurities’ did it remain a good conductor of electricity. So, he managed to purify the water on the fly, which took him nearly a week to do quickly enough with help in training from Shadow Clones; a trick which he discovered thanks to Iruka’s advice, again.

He only had the Chakra reserves of a slightly above average adult Chuunin, but the quick restoration of his Chakra and his great Chakra control allowed him to train with two clones for hours; more clones, if he was learning something less costly.

The help of a medic-nin didn’t hurt, with his own custom food pills, which allowed him to get enough nutrients and energy for Naruto not to need to take many breaks to eat when training.

The skill of purifying the water, despite how costly it was in terms of Chakra, got him the win for two matches straight.

-----

The Hokage was in the Academy, and all the students were stood at attention. He gave a speech and introduced an ANBU by the codename ‘Wildcat’.

Wildcat told them about his Mokuton, which was the combination of Water and Earth natured Chakra, and showed them two jutsu: the Moku Bunshin (Wood Clone) and a ninjutsu which made houses out of nowhere.

Naruto couldn’t believe his eyes and ears. Could it be - could he have Mokuton? He met Biwako’s eyes, and the same shock was in them.

-----

Naruto tried for days to use the Wood Clone, to no avail. Again. Tiger, Dog, Snake, “Mokuton: Moku Bunshin no jutsu!”

Nothing again. “Damn it,” he said, fists clenched, “why the fuck can’t I do it?!”

Biwako whispered that a bloodline might need to be activated in an intense situation first, but Naruto wouldn’t give up; he knew he could do it as he was!

The next try created a bit of sawdust, which didn’t look like much, but it was, in fact, his first success in using Mokuton. If he ignored how healthy and strong his trees and plants were and how incredibly high-quality the fruit and vegetables were, that is. In hindsight, it was obvious; when he was in a good mood, the plants seemed more alive, but he had thought that was a trick of the light.

As for the time he brought a dead plant back to life, that was probably a fluke he’d need lots of practice to manage again.

“Yatta!” Naruto said and started jumping around.

After winding down, he saw Biwako’s serious expression. He said, “what’s wrong, Biwako?”

“So, you’re a Senju,” Biwako said, expression unreadable.

“Well, yes, apparently. Is that gonna be a problem?” Naruto said, hiding his insecurity.

Biwako shook her head and smiled; she actually smiled! She said, “no, but it’s fitting, don’t you think?”

“Fitting?” Naruto asked, a bit confused.

“Madara and Hashirama,” Biwako explained, “only one could match the other; it might well be the start of something legendary, this rivalry we share.”

Naruto smiled too, for real, and all plant-life around them came alive.

“Wait,” Naruto said, “does that mean Tsunade-sama is my mother or grandmother - or something?”

Biwako blinked. She said, “I didn’t think of that. Should we look for her? I could put the Hawks on a search.”

Naruto said yes to the idea, and felt really happy; he might have living family out there! He nearly didn’t notice that Biwako looked sad and envious. Nearly. After all, he was very good at reading his only friend.

He put a hand on Biwako’s shoulder. He could see how she put on a brave face, but was hurting inside; he didn’t begrudge her the envy she felt, and silently showed his support.

Biwako unexpectedly hugged him, and Naruto couldn’t believe his senses. It was only the second time she did something like that outside of their sleeping arrangements, and the first time it lasted so long.

She trembled a bit in his arms, but she didn’t cry. She might not be able to cry anymore.

-----

Naruto was planning his tactics on their new spar; he couldn’t think of how to beat Biwako a third time in a row, but he would try his best; she had copied him in using Shadow Clones to train, and had learned a new jutsu that could rip through his defenses. Perhaps Iruka’s advice of playing to his strengths would hold true again.

Mokuton was a tough nut to crack, so he wouldn’t keep on that for now. He’d look up in the Uchiha archives what his female relative was known for, other than her medical ninjutsu; same with Hashirama. He’d also ask Iruka.

-----

“Well, let’s see,” Iruka said, nursing a cup of tea, “Tsunade-sama? Where do I start? You see, Tsunade-sama is known for her great Chakra-enhanced physical strength; Shodai-sama was also a medic-nin, like his granddaughter.”

“Any details on her strength?” Naruto asked, leaning in in interest.

“Well,” Iruka said, “I don’t know for sure, but apparently the key to her enhanced strength is timing, precise Chakra Control and knowledge of anatomy. She’s also naturally strong, even without it. Why? Do you want to try to reverse engineer it?”

“Maybe,” Naruto said, smiling at Iruka mysteriously (or, at least, that’s what Naruto hoped).

“Well, I wish you luck,” Iruka said, winking at Naruto, “it’s going to be a long and difficult road.”

Naruto nodded and thanked Iruka. He decided to stay there and finish his own tea; Iruka promised that he would treat him to lots of ramen if he managed to get the basics of Tsunade’s Chakra-enhanced strength.

The man no longer asked him to raise his grades, because Naruto told him that he was trying to affect the team selection. That might have given away the fact that Biwako was his rival, but he didn’t mind; Iruka was discreet. He wouldn’t tell anyone unless he was certain, at least.

-----

Naruto had put together what he had found out from the Uchiha shinobi library and what Iruka told him. Mold Yang Style Chakra at the right moment; put it into my arms, including the shoulders and shoulder blades and release it as I… punch! Ahhhh!

It had only taken him a few days to get down the basics of Yang Style, a record that went beyond even his Water Style training (which was sped up by the fact he had already gotten down a C-rank Water element ninjutsu in the form of the Water Clone).

He smashed the small tree he was using as a target with one punch. He was hurt by the backlash, though; his right arm was broken in at least one place, and his knuckles were bleeding. It was lucky he healed extremely quickly. So, he decided to work more on his Chakra Control and anatomy knowledge; first, he would read books while his arm was healing on its own. (And if his reading speed was slower because of the distraction of the pain and being reduced to one hand, well, that wasn’t a huge problem.)

After his arm was better he, the original, did a new Chakra Control exercise, the Tree Climbing, while two clones were slaving over his book on the human body and its workings.

Now, he could climb a tree without using his hands. It took him only three tries until he was able to manage it; then, he stuck leaves on himself to make the whole thing harder.

Unfortunately, the Water Walking exercise was much more difficult. One step, two- crap (Splash!)

Naruto kept failing at it, but he didn’t stop trying. It took him hours (especially with the distraction of Shadow Clones dispelling and him recreating them, without using them to help him get the exercise), but he managed to stand on water shakily.

The next day, after he could manage to spar with a Shadow Clone without falling in, with a leaf stuck on his forehead, he called it quits and went back to trying Tsunade’s strength technique.

His knuckles bled again, but he didn’t break his arm. He would go to the hospital to be certain that his arm had healed correctly before, though - mainly because Biwako would be on his ass if he didn’t.

-----

“So, you say that you broke your arm in at least one place… yesterday?” The medic-nin, Yakushi Kabuto (the same one who gave him food pills), said, “I can see that your bones have broken and mended perfectly, in two places, it’s like weeks or months of mending have taken place. You have an amazing healing factor, Naruto-kun. In the future, though, be sure to come to me immediately; there is always the chance you will heal incorrectly.”

Naruto nodded with a smile and said, “okay, Kabuto-sensei.”

Kabuto rubbed his head in embarrassment. He said, “no need to be so formal, Naruto-kun; I’ve told you that before. Call me Kabuto-san, or something.”

“Very well, Kabuto-san. Thank you for your help,” Naruto said and bowed to the teenage medic-nin. This was the first person who treated him as a human being in the hospital, so he made sure to always be polite and courteous.

At first, he feared that Kabuto was trying to poison him with those pills, but the older male proved himself good on his word. The fifteen-year-old, white (gray?) haired medic-nin had unofficially become Naruto’s physician - Kabuto was always called upon whenever Naruto was in the hospital, on Kabuto’s own request. The man also often gave Naruto tips on nutrition.

Kabuto nodded back and gave him a piece of advice: “One last thing, Naruto-kun. Make sure to get enough nutrients, especially red meat, fish and yoghurt for proteins, certain vitamins and calcium. Healing your bones like that may well have used your body’s stores of nutrients, and you don’t eat enough red meat - I could tell,” Kabuto said, serious as only a doctor giving advice could be.

Naruto grimaced. Yoghurt was yucky, but he would bear with it; he already had Ayame and Teuchi to nag him to drink milk, so he wasn’t lacking in calcium - if Naruto’s healing took a lot of nutrients, though, he had better be careful. He would make sure to eat more meat as well. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it; it was just something Biwako, who did most of the shopping, often ‘forgot’ to buy.

After all, the nearest butcher was a bit too worshipful of Biwako, and disliked Naruto very much, which Biwako couldn’t stand.

Kabuto also said that ‘most of the more obscure vitamins that are necessary to convert calcium effectively and efficiently, are actually present in more than high enough of a concentration in you, which is rather rare.’

“You probably won’t need supplements other than my food pills, Naruto-kun,” Kabuto said afterwards. Then, the older male absentmindedly told Naruto he was free to go, so Naruto left.

‘It must be all those fruits and vegetables that keep me from missing vitamins,’ Naruto thought. He had made it his mission to obtain seeds and other samples of various kinds of trees, bushes and plants that produced something edible; then, he made them grow quickly with his Mokuton.

Larger-scale jutsu -or any actual combat jutsu- of that element were still beyond him; he could only make lower-sized trees, too. The Wood Clone was still something he couldn’t use well; it was like something helped him with the dead tomato plant - maybe it was the emotions he felt then?

He had played around with the Earth element a bit, but couldn’t put much time into it. He had managed to cover a leaf with a little bit of dirt over the past month; it should take another month to manage it perfectly.

-----

The time of the spar between Naruto and Biwako arrived, and Biwako couldn’t wait. The two of them stood in a stance, and on an unspoken signal, they attacked each other with taijutsu.

They knew each other’s style too well to manage anything, though, so Biwako activated her (very basic and weak) version of the Hell Stab. Naruto… punched the ground?!

Biwako lost her balance and very nearly impaled herself with her own jutsu. By the time she recovered, Naruto was on her… and punched her in the gut.

Biwako’s world was spinning, and she thought, ‘what- the hell- happened?’

…Naruto had been smug for the entire day; Biwako couldn’t be (too) angry at him, but she was angry at herself for losing so easily. She had to step up her game. But what would she work on? It needed to be too quick to allow Naruto to disrupt her balance, or maybe… yes, Housenka no jutsu (Phoenix Sage Fire / Phoenix Flower jutsu) should work.

After all, the Hell Stab was a bust for now; the information was too incomplete, it was weaker without learning the Raiton Chakra Mode and even if she had been able to use it well, the full version was too lethal for a spar.

When she was better-rested, Biwako made sure to memorize the Housenka no jutsu scroll from the genin section of the Library. After managing that, she went to practice it by the lake.

She went through the hand-seals, and-

“Nii-san, nii-san! Please show me one of your jutsu!” Biwako said, hoping that her brother would show her something amazing.

She half-expected a poke in the forehead, but Itachi nodded, saying, “all right, Biwako. I have some time now that the Chuunin Exams are over.”

Her brother had just become a chuunin at ten - he was amazing! He took her to a training ground near a river.

The jutsu Itachi showed her was called ‘Housenka Tsumabeni’ (Crimson Claw of the Phoenix). He threw a few shuriken and set them on fire. Then, those flaming shuriken destroyed a few targets, changing their course in midair.

Wow. “How did you do that, nii-san? The shuriken moved on their own! Is it because of the fire? Is moving like that the difference between the Housenka no jutsu Dad showed me and this one? Is it-?”

Poke!

Biwako rubbed her forehead, saying, “ow! Nii-san! You’re mean!”

Itachi shook his head in exasperation and said, “foolish little sister. One question at a time. Now, this is a Chakra Flow jutsu; using the Fire element in Chakra Flow is very difficult, so it is rare. While Father is capable of using this jutsu, I am the only one to truly master it in generations; the only one with Fire Chakra Flow of this caliber or higher in Konoha -definitely higher, I admit- was Sarutobi Sasuke, Hokage-sama’s father. When you were in Mother’s womb, we thought you were a boy, so you nearly got named ‘Sasuke’.”

All Biwako heard was that her brother was incredible; she didn’t much care about people who had died.
Wait a moment. “Nii-san,” Biwako said, “where did the name ‘Biwako’ come from then?” Thoughtful.

“Like Sarutobi Sasuke, Hokage-sama’s father, was one of the strongest male shinobi of his generation, Sarutobi Biwako -Hokage-sama’s late wife- was one of the strongest kunoichi of her own. Sarutobi Sasuke was an incredible Katon (Fire Style) user, while Sarutobi Biwako used Fuuton (Wind Style) with paper fans to augment her husband’s own Fire Style from afar. It was my idea to name you Sasuke or Biwako,” Itachi said, “but I digress. The difference between Housenka and Housenka Tsumabeni is like the cool early morning and the blazing early afternoon sun,” Itachi said, smiling fondly.

Itachi then said that Housenka Tsumabeni was hotter and could be controlled from afar much better than Housenka.

“Why didn’t you say that in the first place, nii-san?” Biwako said, definitely NOT pouting!


…The Fire jutsu fizzled out, making Biwako breathe out a ball of fire smaller than an adult’s fingernail.

Biwako shook her head and tried again. She had to be strong enough to beat Naruto! …And kill that man, of course.

Biwako tried for hours to get that jutsu, even using Shadow Clones like Naruto, but it didn’t help her get it. Flashbacks of that man kept getting into her mind. She hated him, didn’t she? Then, why did she keep remembering all that?!

What was worse, she couldn’t detect a single hint of that man faking his emotions even now! Was he that great of an actor? What was the truth and what was a lie?

‘People live their lives by what they accept as correct and true. But what does it mean to be “correct” or “true”? Such vague concepts… Their reality may well be only an illusion.’

‘I'll always be there for you, even as an obstacle for you to overcome. That's what big brothers are for.’


Uchiha Itachi was so confusing! At first glance, he was either a psychopath and pretending all along or someone who snapped under the pressures of ninja life and went homicidally insane.

All Biwako could tell was that Itachi was a lying liar who lied. But what was truth and what was a lie? Fact was, Itachi tortured her with their clan’s deaths for hours, making her go unconscious for close to three days.

‘I did it to test the limits of my abilities.’

‘There is no value in killing the likes of you... Foolish little sister, if you wish to kill me, then hate me, scorn me, and survive in an unsightly way. Run, run and cling to your pitiful life.’


Biwako grit her teeth, but something struck her as strange once again. She thought that man’s words over, and realized what was wrong: the man killed even the babies (she shuddered at that). Then, why did he tell her she wasn’t worth killing? Was he only trying to rile her up to keep her from thinking about any inconsistencies?

If so, it worked. It fucking worked. But what was the true purpose? She had already established that Itachi was one of the biggest liars in existence, but there had to be something she was missing! Did it have something to do with his tears on that day?

…Wait, tears? Why did she remember Itachi shedding tears when he was attacking her, and why had she only remembered now?

‘The mystery deepens,’ Biwako thought.

Uchiha Itachi was more complicated than he allowed her to see, and she would make sure to investigate him thoroughly. Going back to practicing Housenka no jutsu, she swore that Itachi wouldn’t get to pull the wool over her eyes ever again!

…After two days of trying to get Housenka no jutsu, Biwako was feeling impatient.

Should she…? ‘Well, it worked for Naruto and for the Summoning jutsu,’ Biwako thought, ‘why not now?’

So, Biwako went to Iruka for advice. The man was sitting at his office, probably grading assignments. The girl cleared her throat, making Iruka finally acknowledge her presence.

Iruka said, “Biwako. What brings you here today?”

“Iruka… sensei,” Biwako said, reluctantly showing the man respect, “I need some advice.”

Iruka put down his pen and looked at Biwako in curiosity. He said, “I see,” stopping at that.

Biwako took a deep breath and told Iruka that she was trying to learn a jutsu, but found it impossible to manage it. She even told him about the flashbacks to that man that she got whenever she tried it.

Iruka mulled it over for a bit, then said, “that jutsu - is it Katon (Fire Style)?”

“Yes,” Biwako said, not elaborating.

“I think I see the problem - after all, I am a Katon user myself, though my primary element is Water,” Iruka said, taking on a lecture pose, “Fire is unique in that it is fueled by the user’s passion. An indecisive and torn heart cannot perform Fire Style well. While all jutsu need focus, and one’s Spiritual Energy, thus their Chakra, is affected by emotions, Fire is especially unforgiving of lapses, and is affected by strong emotions directly.”

Biwako digested that for a few moments. She hated that man, didn’t she? Why was she torn? But she wouldn’t lie to herself - she was, after all, very confused by Itachi’s behavior. Then, deciding to bite the shuriken, she said, “what kind of emotions are best and how do I get through my mental block?”

Iruka said, “good question,” rubbing the back of his head. Then, he said, “the best kind of emotions to use are hatred and love, though protectiveness works too. As for your mental block… well, I’m not sure. Have you tried of thinking of someone other than your brother? If you have someone you want to protect, it might help.”

Biwako let out a quiet sigh, then said, “thanks Iruka-sensei,” trying to find how exactly she would follow Iruka’s advice.

“You’re welcome, Biwako. Do you know that another student came to me for help with their Suiton (Water Style), sensory and reverse engineering Tsunade-sama and Shodai-sama’s techniques relatively recently?” Iruka said, giving her a knowing smile.

Biwako shrugged, bid Iruka goodbye and left, thinking, ‘that teacher is too smart for his own good! Well, I shouldn’t use Shadow Clones for now. They might affect my concentration and spiritual energy.’

Biwako was back at the pier. She went through the hand-seals for Housenka no jutsu. She imagined Naruto, and protecting him against enemy ninjas, letting out a much larger ball of fire - it wasn’t right yet, though: Housenka released multiple balls of fire, not just one, and it was still weaker than it should be.

After a bit of thought about Itachi and Naruto, Biwako’s blood ran cold. ‘What if that man kills Naruto just because he’s my f-friend?’ She thought, shivering a bit after she thought of that. ‘Should I stop being friends with him?’

She knew it would devastate Naruto; she was his only and best friend. The alternative was to get strong enough to protect him- no, to fight by his side as an equal. There would be no dying for Naruto while she was around! There would be no easy win for Naruto in the spars between them, either; Uchiha Biwako did not lose, and she wouldn’t let that monster take anything more from her!

Rat, Tiger, Dog, Ox, Rabbit, Tiger! ‘Housenka no jutsu!’ Biwako said in her mind, letting out a dense ball of Fire-natured Chakra, which exploded when it met the lake.

Then, she decided to try Goukakyuu no jutsu (Fireball jutsu) while thinking of how she’d protect Naruto from Itachi and fight by Naruto’s side. Hatred and protectiveness filled her in equal measures, and instead of a continuous flow, she breathed out a powerful ball which moved much faster than any of her Katon had before, fell into the lake, then exploded, making the lake shower her with hot water.

She stayed in place, looking at the giant explosion… and yet the water didn’t quite reach her. ‘That was powerful!’ She thought, ‘that one old woman would have said I’ve been blessed by Amaterasu and Kagutsuchi.’

Biwako heard a sigh and realized someone had a grip on her shirt. The grip let up, and she turned to see Naruto.

Naruto said, “and you call me reckless. What was that!” Gesturing at the lake, an angry frown on his face.

Biwako realized that Naruto had saved her and was speechless.

Naruto’s expression changed, looking at her with concern. He said, “are you okay, Biwako?”

Biwako shook the mix of emotions off and said, “I’m better off than I’ve been in months,” realizing that she meant it.

Naruto looked confused, but he said, “all right. Just don’t do that again. Please,” seriously.

Biwako said, “I’ll try, but no promises,” walking with lighter steps than before.

Naruto said, “hey, Biwako, wait for me!”

…It took Biwako three more days to manage to get Housenka no jutsu to a satisfactory level of mastery, and one more, that one with clones, to improve it to where it was usable in a real battle, or at least an intense spar.

-----

It took Naruto over a month to go from sawdust to splinters to a functioning dummy, and another ten days to make an actual Wood Clone. Unfortunately, Biwako’s new jutsu, Housenka no jutsu, was a decent counter to Water Clones, Shadow Clones and Wood Clones; according to Biwako, her Fire Element in general had gotten even stronger recently - something he had seen for himself, too.

Fortunately for him, his skill with Water ninjutsu had also gone up thanks to his Shadow Clones practicing it; he learned Wild Water Wave, a C-ranked Water ninjutsu which unleashed a waterfall-like wave from the user’s mouth to wash away their foes. Thanks to help from Iruka, his own improved Chakra Control and his Shadow Clones, it took him less than a week to learn it.

So, they were back to winning and losing alternately. Naruto would have liked to have learned the Kirigakure no jutsu (Hiding in the Mist jutsu), but even the Uchiha hadn’t managed to copy everything.

Biwako had taken to using Shadow Clones to train, too. After she nearly fried herself at some point, she was much more careful with the Lightning element, mainly using clones for new things; she still had a small scar near her wrist.

Naruto was a month or two before reaching nine years of age when Biwako came up to him with news.

She said, “Naruto, the Hawks have found your relative. Tsunade is in Shiruku City right now, in the south of the Land of Fire.”

“Yosh! So, how will we reach her? I hope you have a plan,” Naruto said, bouncing on his feet.

“Of course I do,” Biwako said, looking somewhat offended. She then said, “Fuuinjutsu, the art of Sealing. The Hawks taught me about the Summoning and Reverse Summoning jutsu, I have known the basics of Sealing since an early age thanks to my parents, so I made this,” showing him a temporary tattoo. She also said something about making a contract.

“It goes this way: we use both our blood to apply the tattoo,” Biwako said, “then, we will be able to summon one another or send a distress signal by putting blood on the tattoo. So, where do you want yours?”

Naruto was worried over what Iruka would say if he saw his tattoo, but he simply said ‘fuck it’ and told Biwako to put it on his left forearm. Biwako put her own on her right shoulder, and the two of them finalized the contract by cutting their palms (Naruto more deeply, because he healed fast) and shaking hands, mixing their blood.

“Let’s try it!” Naruto said, fired up.

“Okay,” Biwako said, with just as much enthusiasm, even though it was hidden under her poker face. “But first, we make sure the tattoos are invisible. Fortunately, I’ve managed to make enough progress in Sealing to be able to include that,” she said after that.

She taught him the hand-seals to make it invisible, so that it only appeared when his blood was splashed on it. It also would alert the other, as soon as blood fell on the tattoo and send them the other’s position. Naruto was just glad that Iruka wouldn’t see the tattoo; especially considering Biwako intended to make a permanent version when she was more confident in her Fuuinjutsu skills.

“You learn quickly; as expected of my rival,” Biwako said, looking impressed, “have you ever considered learning Fuuinjutsu?”

“It’s very useful; I never knew until now,” Naruto said, impressed, “but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is no guarantee it even worked.”

Biwako glared at him, offended. “Let’s just get on with it,” she said.

She went to the other side of the small house and summoned him… three meters (ten feet) in the air, dropping him on his ass.

“Ow ow ow! You little…,” Naruto said, a bit annoyed, especially now that he looked at Biwako’s smug smirk.

Giving Biwako a glare that promised retribution, he bit his right hand’s thumb and smeared the blood onto the tattoo, running through the correct hand seals - pop! Biwako appeared next to him, her feet sinking into a mud puddle made by Naruto’s Water ninjutsu earlier.

“So, I think it’s safe to say it works,” Naruto said happily, ignoring Biwako’s glare, “but will it take more Chakra with more distance? It took a huge chunk of my reserves right now.”

Biwako shook her head. She said, “it’s a Space-Time jutsu. It takes the same amount of Chakra at all distances and has no distance limit,” looking at Naruto as if it were obvious; and damn, it was obvious.

Naruto was great at learning, but some things were taught ahead of time to clan children.

Apparently, Biwako still had more Chakra than Naruto did, which was why the jutsu took a lot out of him.

-----

Poof! Biwako appeared just outside a particular town. The forest out there was lush and beautiful, and the trees were quite tall, though not especially thick. After admiring the scenery, she went through the motions to summon Naruto.

Poof! The boy appeared in smoke.

Biwako dismissed Garuda, the granddaughter of the Hawk boss and Biwako’s personal summon. Her mind wandered to the first time she met them.

Biwako was in the Uchiha district’s training ground, which was protected by seals to ensure privacy. Her reason was so that she could test the Summoning jutsu after signing the Hawk contract.

It had taken quite a bit of research (read: spying on shinobi training; then asking Iruka when that failed.) on her part and Naruto’s to discover the hand-seals of the Summoning jutsu.

She bit her thumb, drawing blood, and went through the sequence: Boar, Dog, Bird, Monkey, Ram. She said, “Kuchiyose no jutsu (Summoning technique)!”

In a small cloud of smoke came… a large, colorful egg?! “What the crap is that!” Biwako said, breaking her cool.

Naruto snickered a bit and said, “wow, I did expect that your first try would be at least a little bad, but this is an epic failure!”

Biwako said, “if you have nothing important to say, stay silent,” annoyed by both the words and the snickering.

“Okay, how about this?” Naruto said and suddenly turned serious. He then said, “keep the flow of Chakra stable, no sudden lowering or increasing of the- output. You should also put at least three times as much Chakra as you did this time into it.”

Biwako calmed down at hearing that and decided to take the sensor’s advice. She repeated her previous actions, this time putting over five times as much Chakra into the jutsu and keeping the output as even as she could.

The jutsu resulted in a much larger cloud of smoke, in which a relatively small brown hawk appeared. It flapped its wings erratically a few times, looking disoriented, but it stabilized very quickly. It said, “who is the one that summoned me?”

Naruto said, “wait! The bird talked!” Shocked, only to receive an identical deadpan ’idiot’ from both the Hawk and Biwako.

Ignoring Naruto and his cloud of depression, Biwako looked the Hawk in the eye and said, “I think I’m going to like you. My name is Uchiha Biwako, and I’m the one who summoned you,” smirking.

“Interesting,” the Hawk said, “my name is Garuda. Our last summoner was Uchiha Shisui; do you happen to be his direct descendant?”

Biwako admitted she wasn’t. She also told Garuda of the Uchiha Clan Downfall, and how Shisui died a year or two before it, without ever having children.

“Shit,” Garuda said, “Grandmother needs to hear about this,” and disappeared in another cloud of smoke.

Naruto snickered again and said, “your summon just ditched you. By the way, did you have to not tell me that summoned creatures talked?”

“Yes, I did. And yes, it did ditch me,” Biwako said, an eyebrow twitching. Then she said, “by the way, Summons can Reverse Summon their contractor, so there’s a chance that-”

After a brief bout of nausea, Biwako found herself on a huge plain. She looked around, seeing mist not far above her. She activated her Sharingan, and realized she was seeing the clouds, not mist. ‘A plateau!’ She thought, and indeed, she could make out the actual ground far away, indicating that she was at the highest point of said plateau.

“Uchiha Biwako,” a booming voice said.

Biwako instantly turned around, making her neck ache. She saw the largest bird she had ever encountered -by far- in front of her, the Sharingan seeing every detail. Its upper parts were black, whereas its belly and tail was dark grey and the rest of it was very light grey, with light red markings around intelligent red eyes.

Biwako said, “are you the boss summon?” Not lowering her guard, refusing to admit to being startled.

“Indeed I am,” the gigantic bird said, “my name is Takamichi, boss of the Hawk contract. I am also Garuda’s grandmother. She apparently took an immediate shine to you; it remains to be seen whether the rest of us will be as impressed, of course.”

Biwako bowed moderately deeply, as if addressing an equal and said, “it’s an honor to meet you, Takamichi-san.” Immediately, Biwako could see that the Hawk boss was displeased, but she refused to be cowed and maintained eye contact, not even deactivating her Sharingan.

Takamichi now looked… pleased? She said, “impressive. You are not easy to intimidate, and are a proud bird- I mean person. Even a boss summon’s ire is not enough to make you bow down.”

‘How did she manage to fool me with the Sharingan on when she pretended to be annoyed at me?’ Biwako thought, incredulous, her respect for Takamichi increasing. Out loud, she said, “so, glaring at me was a test?”

“Indeed it was,” Takamichi said, “Uchiha Biwako, we Hawks are very long-lived even for summons. I once met Uchiha Madara personally, when I was but a youngling, and my summoner and I had the privilege to participate in a hunt with him. You remind me of him the most. I truly hope that you won’t take after his worst points, though.”

That sounded ominous. Still, Biwako nodded at Takamichi and said, “anything else I should know?”

“Only this,” Takamichi said, “at most, two contracts of animal clans are possible for a person. However, you will have to get approval from me and the Hawk Council first for such a thing; on the other hand, contracts with other humans do not interfere.”

“I see,” Biwako said after thinking it over, “what about training? I don’t have a teacher right now.”

Takamichi said, “when you are able to summon me, we will speak of that; until then, only basic training will be available; what is your primary element?”

“Lightning, I think,” Biwako said, hiding her rising mental fatigue expertly.

“My own element,” Takamichi said, “impress me and I will take over your elemental training myself.”

“Understood. Am I dismissed now?” Biwako said evenly.

Takamichi said, “by all means,” this time sounding amused.

When Biwako realized she didn’t know how to end the summoning, she simply decided to reason it out on her own. First, she tried to feel out her connection with the Hawks. Then, when that failed, she tried to find the connection her Chakra network had to her previous position.

The last thing she saw before disappearing from the land of the Hawks was Takamichi’s incredulous expression.


“Is something wrong?”

Biwako was startled out of her daydreams by Naruto’s voice. She said, “nothing, just thinking.”

Naruto didn’t reply. The two of them were following (what must be) Tsunade’s Chakra thanks to Naruto’s sensory capabilities. His range was a bit less than four hundred meters, or a quarter of a mile, at most, but his skill was great and precise enough that he could follow very small traces of the Chakra that were left around the city. Strange, though, that someone so skilled would leave obvious enough trails to follow, or so Biwako thought.

She was able to put a scent to the trail, and it was full of… alcohol…? She decided to let Naruto do all the work unless her help became necessary. If she was drunk, though, it would explain why she was so easy for Naruto to sense.

“She’s with another kunoichi and an animal… in that bar?” Naruto said, uncertainty clouding his tone.

“What is one of the Sannin doing in a seedy place like this?” Biwako said, just as bemused.

They entered the seedy watering hole without bothering to put up a Transformation; such a thing would only put Tsunade on guard.

The customers there looked at them, but immediately forgot about them; nobody tried to escort them out, either. It made Biwako wonder.

The two of them walked up to the young-looking blonde and the brunet woman with a pig in her arms.

Biwako said, “are you sure this is your relative? She looks a bit too young to be her.”

“I don’t understand it either,” Naruto said. “Oi, are you Tsunade?” He said with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

Biwako wanted to roll her eyes and face-palm at his bluntness, but she controlled herself.

The blonde was visibly drunk. She said, “I am. Who’s asking, brats?” Slurring only a little despite her condition.

Biwako introduced herself, then Naruto did so for himself.

“My name is Naruto, and I think we’re related,” Naruto said.

Tsunade blinked. Then, she sobered up all of a sudden. She said, “what made you reach that conclusion?” Very seriously.

Biwako intervened, saying, “we’re better off taking this outside, where people can’t see us.”

Tsunade narrowed her eyes and said, “very well.”

The brunette whispered something in the blonde’s ears, but Tsunade shook her head, saying something in turn.

The four of them (plus pig) walked into the forest outside the town. Biwako could tell that the two adults had their senses peeled, likely for a potential ambush.

On an unseen signal, all of them stopped walking. Naruto said, “wait. I’ll check for eavesdroppers,” making a one-handed hand-seal and Biwako realized he was using his Chakra sensor skill.

She also discreetly scanned around with her Sharingan.

That put the two adult women even more on guard, but they relaxed when nothing came of Naruto’s and Biwako’s gesture.

The blond woman said, “okay, we’re far enough here. What was such a secret that you had to use all those precautions?”

Naruto said, “you’ll see in a moment. Mokuton: Moku Bunshin no jutsu (Wood Style: Wood Clone jutsu)!” Going through a few hand-seals. It took a few seconds, but the clones formed.

Both women entered a taijutsu stance but the results of the jutsu, two clones made of wood, made their jaws drop. Tsunade recovered first and said, “don’t be absurd, brat. That level of power and Mokuton is nothing compared to my grandfather. I’ll bet you’re just another experiment of Orochimaru’s,” scoffing dismissively.

“Tsunade-sama,” the brunette admonished the elder woman.

“So, you won’t even check?” Naruto said in disappointment, and Biwako could see the warning signs of Naruto losing it.

She wisely decided to keep her mouth shut, but glared at Tsunade.

Tsunade said, “of course not. I can tell you believe what you said, but you’re sorely mistaken. I never had children and never will. Besides, even if you are related to me, you’re better off without me,” whispering the last part.

Naruto’s hands were fists. He said, “I understand,” whispering too. Then, he left them to run off alone further in the forest.

Biwako was utterly and absolutely furious. She looked Tsunade in the eye and hissed, “if he gets seriously hurt because of you, you are dead, Sannin or not,” and went after him.

She knew that Tsunade and Shizune followed behind her, but paid them no heed. The three of them (plus pig) reached a truly large clearing, only to see Naruto shatter several boulders and knock down trees with his bare hands, on the other side of the clearing.

Shizune let out a gasp, and Tsunade simply stood there. Biwako decided to wait, to only intervene if Naruto was about to seriously hurt himself. She could see the Chakra that covered his arms every time he punched clearly, and could predict his moves a split-second in advance.

-----

“Damn it, damn it, damn it!” Naruto shouted, tears and snot running down his face.

He felled boulder after boulder after tree, but his raging emotions only became stronger; frustration, sadness, anger, the pain of rejection. He could tell the three females were there, and them seeing him cry only made him feel worse.

Eventually, green-colored Chakra was visible even to Naruto, and covered his entire body rather than his arms, without him being able to fully control it. “This is…,” he said, letting his instincts guide him, “Mokuton - Call of Nature.”

His Chakra spread through the clearing and nature responded to his call. He channeled all of his emotions into his Chakra, trying to mimic the size and species of the trees around him, and the result was incredible.

The clearing, over fifty meters in length and almost half as much in width was now packed with trees, and even beyond it, the forest was also more dense, from what Naruto could feel… somehow; it was not his usual sensory. The destroyed trees had also been restored.

Naruto could only admire his handiwork, almost disbelieving. ‘I did all this…? Unbelievable. This is what it means to awaken a Bloodline? Biwako was right…,’ he thought.

Then, he swayed in place, and the analytical part of his mind noted that he was going through serious Chakra exhaustion before everything disappeared from his sight.

-----

Shizune was examining Naruto, all the while Biwako was worried to the point of chewing her nails, sparing a dirty look at an oblivious Tsunade every once in a while.

“He needs an infusion of Chakra, or the consequences will be severe,” the woman concluded.

“Then, what are you waiting for?” Biwako said, fuming, barely controlling her temper.

“Unfortunately, I cannot do the Chakra Transfer technique. Only Tsunade-sama has mastered it to the required degree, of all of us here,” Shizune said, still looking at Naruto.

In the meanwhile, Tsunade was staring at Naruto’s bloody knuckles and palms, as if in a trance….
 
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