The chunin exams were in full swing, the crowds were making their way to the seating arrangements. The Hokage sat proudly in his box looking down upon the future generation, the ones who would hold the fate of the hidden leaf in their hands. However, under his proud demeanor, a warrior was growling under him.
With 5 minutes to go before the start of the Third round the contestants where almost all there ready to go. All except one.
The Hokage looked grimly through the hospital glass, the unconscious form of Sasuke Uchiha laying there on the hospital bed, Mikoto was there in the room with him. Naruto wasn't scheduled to return for another week and Kakashi was mediocre at sealing at best. And Jiraiya was of somewhere training Hitomi
His old student Orochimaru had managed to infiltrate the village once more, marking Sasuke with his Curse Seal. He would have to cut the business of the Jounin short and call him back to the village.
Indeed he had needed to cut his business short, managing to seal the curse seal away… mostly, however, due to concerns of the counter seal holding up Sasuke Uchiha was removed from the competitor's list. This obviously led to a souring in the genins mouth but what could be done? Seals although powerful were a fickle thing and even the best-crafted ones still came with a large chance of failure or malfunction. Hitomi Uzumaki lived with the burden of Carrying the nine-tailed fox however that meant that 1/3rd of her chakra was always used to suppressed the tailed beast. Hence she was never using her maximum availability drastically decreasing her kill factor by much. But what if an opponent or foe had the ability to completely steal her chakra, would the seal hold?
He thanked whatever gods were out there for the fact Orochimaru was smart enough to hit her with something that suppressed the bijuu and not the opposite.
Hiruzen felt movement from behind him signaling the arrival of one of the kages, the tsuchikage if the diminutive size was anything to go by.
Onoki took a left side seat greeting the Hokage "Hiruzen, it's been a long time old-timer."
Hiruzen chuckled at the greeting and said: "If I'm old you must be decomposing then".
The 4 guards sweatdropped at the banter. It was almost as if they weren't aware of the tension between the 2 duos. After all, it wasn't coming when 2 Konoha jounin and 2 iwa jounin plus the kages met in a none hostile manner.
But the Kages were well aware of the tension, but they understood what the chunin exams really were. Under the guise of friendliness and festival-like cheeriness that went through the village, the chunin exams where a tool to scout and spy out future threats without repercussion. It was ninja war games, showing off their greatest genins to the clients while flexing their muscles onto other villages. Some failed some succeeded but it was definitely there nonetheless.
But also, despite not being allied nations and their bloody history, above all Hiruzen and Onoki respected each other as individuals and as the last vestige of the warring clans era.
Soon after the 'Kazekage' arrived. Hiruzen quickly deducted that The Kazekage in front of him was not the Kazekage. He was a sensor type ninja after all and he had met with Rasa many times, enough to be familiar with the chakra of the Fourth Kazekage.
"Hokage-dono" greeted the 'Kazekage'
Hiruzen was further convinced that the man behind the mask was not Rasa, after all, they had been in the presence of each other enough that they no longer used formal greetings, even in the presence of other Kage when they met in the 5 kage summit.
From the corner of his eyes, Onoki caught hiruzen discreetly signaling his guards to be on guard, but what surprised the fence-sitter was that they weren't on guard for him… but rather the Kazekage. 'So what Kitsuchi said is true, the sand is planning an invasion of this village. They must be getting desperate to commit to stupidity, Plus that would give the leaf a legitimate reason to occupy Oto no Kuni if what their missive says. Is leaf ninja so close to my border? Troublesome."
It was time for the chunin exams to begin
Hiruzen stood up and approached the rails.
Applying chakra to his vocals he began "Welcome travelers and natives alike, to the Chunin Selection Exams."
The crowd cheered, The Hokage waited for them to calm down before he continued "Today, this exam is a special occasion, as it is the first time since the 45th chunin exams that 3 of the 5 great nations have sent contestants… and even longer since all 3 have had a chance at the finals. Today, 10 contestants from the Hidden Sand, Hidden leaf and Hidden Rock will be given the chance to show just why they deserve to become a chunin. As such, a special exam deserves a special proctor. Welcome, Naruto Namikaze, son of Minato Namikaze and Jounin of the hidden leaf."
The stadium went deadly silent, everyone was watching as from the middle of the arena the air became distorted into a whirlpool and in Materialized Naruto, fully decked out in his war armor
His black spiky hair had grown even more giving a small resemblance to his Uchiha ancestor, coal-black eyes watched uninterested the 10 competitors, Shino Aburame, Shikamaru Nara, Temari of the Sand, Kankuro of the sand, Akatsuchi, Neji Hyuga, Sakura Haruno, Gaara of the Sand, Kurotsuchi Kamizuru and Hitomi Uzumaki. He assessed them by their power level, Shino Aburame was the weakest of the group but had the most skill and what he had read and seen had the second keenest mind of the group.
Shikamaru Nara was his equal strength wise but his high intellect put him on a higher bar of power. Temari of the Sand while good at wind jutsu and her fan, she seemed to lack in other areas, however, he knew she had the third sharpest mind of the group. kankuro of the sand as a puppeteer was obviously more diversified in his skills and although a bit more of a brute compared to his sister had power and more chakra than the other competitors. Above him was Akatsuchi, and while the man was more muscle than the brain, the rock genin had experience, strength, and techniques.
His mind then turns to the higher echelon of the group, Neji Hyuga was indisputably the genius of the Hyuga clan, but his arrogance and tendency to underestimate his opponents and his attitude towards his teammates would be his downfall. Sakura one of his genin, perfect chakra control, excellent control over water, great with poisons and anatomy, plus the fifth sharpest brain in the exam, she would be more than a match for those below her with the exception of the Hyuga, they were more evenly matched of course. Then he turned to the top 3, Gaara of the Sand, jinchuuriki of the One-tailed tanuki. He was leagues above the genin prior to him his control over sand was unmatched and naruto knew even sakura would lose to him.
Then there was Kurotsuchi, this world's parallel of his wife. She was more towards the jounin level in the scale of power, her Kekkei Genkai, skills and experience might be enough to allow her to take on Gaara up to a partial transformation. However, should the reports on the loose jinchuuriki be true… his eyes turned to the only genin on the group who would be able to take on the tanuki, His little sister Hitomi Uzumaki. Her newly received toad summons, control over wind and newly manage control over her Kekkei Genkai would allow her to take on the one tail. And if need be he knew the Kyuubi would protect her, if only to preserve itself.
He pulled out a clipboard from his vest and said "these are the new arrangement. Memorize them quickly."
Hitomi Uzumaki vs Neji Hyuga
Sakura Haruno vs Kankuro of the Sand
Shino Aburame vs Akatsuchi
Kurotsuchi Kamizuru vs Shikamaru Nara
Temari of the Sand Vs Gaara of the Sand.
Hitomi whooped at having the first fight
After everyone else left the arena naruto stood between Hitomi and Neji who were 20 feet apart from each other. The glare Hitomi was sending Neji was one of hatred, Naruto thought back on the memory of his shadow clone. How he and 5 jounin ninjas reacted the moment the Hyuuga prodigy almost took the fight against his own cousin too far. Naruto hated those who betrayed and hurt their own family members, (Itachi being the exception of course). This, of course, being from his own experience as an orphan.
He lifted an eyebrow at the Hyuuga who looked like he wanted to speak.
"Want to say something before the fight?" Naruto asked.
Neji inclined his head and said to Hitomi "You should just give up. Fate has already decreed your defeat."
If that pissed of Hitomi she didn't show. At least if you didn't know where to look. Her already serious demeanor stiffened, her thinned lips thinned even more. Her blue orbs gained a little shine to them, the way her brow muscles twitched. It was all too visible to Naruto who had spent many a night just sharing moments with his little family and whose eye of insight surpassed all else, even the visual progress of the best Byakugan.
Naruto didn't keep his precious little sister waiting and raised his hands "Neji Hyuuga, Vs, Hitomi Uzumaki. You may begin when ready."
Neither competitor moved, Hitomi despite how strong she has had the meaning of the third round hammered into her. It wasn't about winning or losing but proving she had the skills and mentality of a chunin. Neji however was just waiting for Hitomi to make a move.
As the seconds turned to a minute Hitomi made her move. She began by onto the air running the hand seals Rat Snake Horse Snake Dog bringing her hands shaped into an O near her mouth she let of multiple wind blades all heading towards the Hyuuga prodigy. Said man backflipped outside of the range of the winds only to be taken by surprise seeing several spherical bullets made out of wind coming towards him.
Neji who reacted purely out of instinct began to rotate and soon a sphere of pure chakra surrounded the spinning boy. The two attacks met, the protective shell beating the spinning winds and once he was safe to stop quickly closed into taijutsu range. Hitomi was forced to dodge a flurry of the palm strike, in the month she had taken through the library of the Uchiha clan and read what they had on the gentle fist.
She continued to dance around her opponent until she saw an opening and sent a punch towards his face. Or at least what she had believed to be an opening, Neji quickly took advantage and jabbed her arms several times. Feeling the point of having her chakra points punctured and close forcefully momentarily stunned Hitomi, which allowed Neji to continued a relentless assault on her mainframe closing several of her chakra points. Before hitting her with a palm strike to her abdomen, sending her sprawling onto the ground. Hitomi quickly recovered and using her signature technique made a small army of clones to engage the Hyuuga.
Neji soon had finished the majority of the clone and when he noticed what he believed to be the real Hitomi standing back he quickly charged at her, however as his attack landed the Hitomi before his eyes went up in smoke and Hitomi appeared above him hand coated in wind as she punched him into the ground cracking a few bones.
Neji stood up, hurting from the blow. He was shocked, the supposed dead last landed a damaging blow on him and had outsmarted him many times since the beginning of their fight.
"Why?" He heard her soft voice ask.
Neji looked at her strangely "What?".
Hitomi asked once again. " Why? Why go so far to harm your own kin? Your own cousin? Especially when she so clearly cares about you?"
Neji scoffed and began telling her of the Night he was made an orphan. In the name of the head family of the Hyuuga clan.
Hiruzen who had pulled out his pipe as soon as he sat down took a large drag in and exhaled a large cloud of smoke as his mind turned to that night nearly 9 years ago.
The rock shadow sent him a questioning glance.
Hiruzen sighed and said "Six years after the end of the 3rd great ninja war, five years after Kyuubi attack on my village. The Ambassador from Kumo snuck into the Hyuuga compound and attempted to kidnap Hinata Hyuga, Her father killed the Kidnapper. But you know how ninja politics are, Kumo demanded the killer of their ambassador as compensation. But Hizashi chose to take his brother's place, to protect the secrets of the Byakugan and to protect the peace of the village. Hiashi tried to dissuade his brother, to let him do his duty as the head of the clan. But hizashi was more stubborn and in the end, well Neji Hyuuga didn't take his father's death well. To my shame, it is one of the few times My village had to bow our heads even if we were in the right and one of my greatest regrets."
Onoki nodded along with the story, he would have done the same for his daughter and granddaughter. When it came to kidnapping children Kumo was a bit of a black sheep as they were the only ones that thought such a move was ok. He himself had disavowed and banned the practice of kidnapping children after the first time he ha held his daughter in his arms.
Back in the arena.
Listening to Neji's side had mellowed Hitomi's anger out a little.
"What about you? Why do you fight against fate so uselessly?"
Hitomi looked at him face full of anger "Do you think your the only one who has been struggling for reasons beyond their control? Do you think you're only who has a seal that binds them?"
The silence was thick and uncomfortable, but Hitomi didn't care. She broke it as she continued to explain "Do you think just because I wasn't particularly skilled in the academy that, means I'm a useless kunoichi? I had to earn every ounce of strength I had through blood sweat and tears. I thought I was so alone in this world, that no one, but it turns out there aren't. If there's a thing I've learned from the hidden leaf. We don't find our strength from nice families and comfortable lives when you look in the street and you see an orphan who had to steal just to get some food. Or the everyday kid that got their news that their mom or dad won't make it home. The child that came home to see the cooling corpse of their only parent, the child who witness their parents sacrifice their life for them, the kids like me who don't even know who their parents are. The outcast is ridiculed because of his looks, the one who struggling because they're dealing with bullying at school. These are all people who struggle every day, the rags of the hidden leaf. The very common sight the majority of the village population (the civilians) ignore. You insult every one of them with your attitude, these are the very people who I want to protect. People like Naruto-sensei and Kakashi-sensei who it doesn't matter who their parents were because ultimately their rose from nothing but the ashes of their parent's death. People like Aunt Mikoto and my teammate Sasuke, who lost it all to people they loved. To people like my teammate, Sakura who I know was bullied as a kid because of how she looked and tried to fit in with everyone. These are all people who I want to protect, the reason I want to become Hokage. You can insult me, insult my dream. But don't insult those I care about. dattebayo!"
And what proceeded that was a man trying and failing to dodge the feminine fury of an Uzumaki woman.
As the Kage watched the Beat down Onoki couldn't help but comment "That's an Interesting brat there you got the Hokage."
Hiruzen simply smiled at the will of fire display by the young Uzumaki remnant. He knew she had the potential and the will, and it seems she also had the drive and the heart of a true Hokage. "That's Hitomi of the leaf for you. She has always had a heart of gold."
The "Kazekage" chimed in "She doesn't seem to act or think like a true Kunoichi, sadly."
Hiruzen gave the man a sideways glare "The Shinobi way is subject to constant retcons and changes, should I remind you, Lord Rasa, that every generation of Shinobi is different from the previous one. However, times may change, eras may come and go. But the soul of a shinobi never changes, and her unyielding Will and determination give her the strength to overcome her foes. She is what the standard of a shinobi should be, we kill, we steal, we lie and we cheat for the safety of our nations and our peoples. But to those around us, we shall always keep in our hearts, to those who ask we shall help. And for those we love; We do things we would never think we do."
Back in the fight, Neji had managed to put some distance between himself but it was of no use. If it wasn't a wind jutsu or her clones, he was trying to avoid her sealing techniques such as her chakra chains or other…
Seeing 4 different attacks coming at him at the same time Neji, who was starting to get low on chakra rotated once more into a kaiten to avoid the incoming attacks.
However Hitomi had already worked out a weakness around the technique, it may keep chakra out. But could it keep other unwanted effects out? Two nearby clones jump at her commands and as she ran through 5 very familiar hand signs that made even naruto go into shock she brought her fingers into and ok sign near her lips and let out a roaring fireball, the 2 clones on either side of her letting out wind stream the standard fireball suddenly became more massive and began turning into a white color.
Nearby Naruto examined her combination attack with his Sharingan's It's almost as hot as my Shukaton' he noted as the fireball impacted into the dome. However, as Fire was not one of Hitomi's elemental affinities Hitomi soon canceled the Jutsu out. And just as she did the rotating chakra shell collapse showing a singed Neji Hyuuga, He was about to say something however Hitomi soon disappeared from her spot before the next thing Neji saw was Hitomi appearing out of nowhere right in front of him before his world went black
"Winner Hitomi Uzumaki!". Naruto said with.
A little pride showing through his eyes.
The girl bowed before the cheers and the applause. Leaving the stadium floor as a few medics rushed to get Neji Hyuuga off the arena.
As she approached the competitor's area Sakura tackled her into a bone-crushing hug. Hitomi was a bit of guard before sakura said "Thank you, I heard everything. And despite how I may tease you at times, know that I believe you will become a great Hokage."
Hitomi tried to hide her tears "Now you can't go saying stuff like that, ya know. Your gonna make a girl cry." She said comically while trying to wipe the tears out of her face.
Sakura chuckled "Yours still an idiot tho."
Up in the stands a teenager with dark hair and onyx black eyes let a small smile come onto his lips, he knew she would win. Although he hadn't expected such an ending. But the fact she was barely harmed was good enough for him. Sasuke was utterly surprised Hitomi had learned the Fireball jutsu of all things in a month. But then again it was only a C ranked Jutsu and Once they beat into her the years of academics she was lacking on Hitomi Uzumaki was a rather intelligent woman.
Naruto smiled at the Outcome of the fight, he looked at the arm that held a storage seal which contained a gift that would be very special to her, a gift she had earned.