Himawari pulled Naruto out back behind the shed and stopped. Naruto glanced around and saw his brother sitting in the stands waving at him. Obito sat beside him waving at him as well. Glancing at Himawari he saw she was avoiding his gaze and blushing slightly.
"Hey, I thought you said that Ni-san was coming down here?" Himawari's face darkened. "U-um, sorry I thought I saw him." Naruto narrowed his eyes. Something was up. "What's wrong?" He asked and Himawari pushed a small stone away with her foot. She took a step back towards the shed blocking her view of the blonde's brother and Naruto took a step forward as well, not really getting what was going on. "U-um, nothing! I mean, I just wanted to make sure you were really ok. I know guys are tough but I saw that you spit up some blood in there. My eye sight might be worse than it usually is, but it was still enough to see that." Naruto grimaced and let his body posture relax.
Crossing his arms he said, "I'm fine, you heard what the medic said, I just knocked a piece of scar tissue around." Himawari heard the soft chiding in his voice. She knew he hated being coddled like his brother loved to do to him, but she couldn't help it. He was just so pigheaded sometimes. He must have seen the worry on her face increase because he reached out and grabbed her hand, bring his other hand softly on top of it as he held it out in front of him. He gave her a small smile and said, "I'm fine, really." Himawari felt like she was floating. The gods only knew how much she loved this boy. Why did she have to be the one to marry Hiashi? She knew there were other girls in the family her age and a bit older. She also knew, with more than a touch of bitterness, that of the girls her age she was the only one with a Byakugan viable enough for combat. The other girls were too diluted with outside genes to be of much use in that area. She suspected the council had chosen her so the future clan heirs would have a better chance of being the strong fighters they were expected to be.
The single worst part about her feelings for the blonde was that he knew about all of them and still claimed that his love for her was as strong as ever, but as a best friend and a brother. She was his family and he would do anything for her, even kill, but he would never love her the way she loved him and her world seemed a little dimmer for it. She remembered what the feeling in the shed towards the blonde girl was now. She had felt it a long time ago when she watched Hiashi and Hizashi play when she was younger. They would always tell her that some things were for brothers only and that no girls were allowed. While the second part she had been angry about at the time, the first part, as an only child, was a feeling she was loathe admit. Jealousy.
Immediately the shame and guilt flooded her and her face must have shown all of them because Naruto was suddenly up close asking her softly what was wrong. Himawari felt tears start to burn the back of her eyes and she quickly shifted her thoughts to something other than her looming future.
"Right! Look, we have five more minutes; I was going to ask you about what you observed about my next opponent. I just got a little side tracked with my thoughts, sorry." Naruto pulled back and put a thoughtful finger to his chin. He knew his partner was lying to him, but he didn't have time to dwell on it now. Giving his chin a tap he spoke.
"Yes, he was the Kusa one with the brown pants. He looked to be fairly decent in taijutsu, but obviously a ninjutsu user primarily. He seemed to be averse to striking his last opponent, a girl, very hard so use that to your advantage. No one really saw anything that gave your fighting style other than that punch, although it could be called a lucky hit, so you should be able to surprise him a little bit at least." Himawari was rapt. She had heard him talk about how fights on his missions could have gone better with his brother before and it was amazing how he was able to pick apart fights with great detail and suggest possible counters. The Hyuuga was always impressed with his field skill.
"He's a doton type so watch for that. Do you know what type you are? I can't remember." Himawari shrugged and said, "I don't really use a lot of ninjutsu so I haven't really had to go ahead and find out. I think I'm a doton user as well though, both of my parents are as far as I know." Naruto was mildly surprised. Hinata was a suiton user and he knew that elemental types were mainly inherited so she must have gotten it from Hiashi.
Naruto tapped his lip again. "He's not very tall, so don't be afraid to use your weight against him. Other than that, do your best Hima-hime, I hope I get to fight you in the end." Naruto ended his briefing with a large smile and Himawari couldn't help but be infected by it. Glancing at the clock she saw that they had just less than five minutes left and decided to wait it out in the shed where the white-blonde girl struck up conversation with Naruto.
The blonde knew that Himawari was staring at her with jealousy in her eyes, but she wasn't entirely sure why. The blonde boy she had been talking to, Naruto he said his name was, interested her a lot. He radiated confidence in a different way from the rest of the competitors, and his bright colouring was like a magnet to her. She was from Kirigakure and while it was hauntingly beautiful in its own way, it was very cool coloured. Everything looked washed out from the mist. She had been listening to the blonde talk about something his brother had done when a loud toll sounded and everyone's attention was turned towards the arena. Naruto's partner, whose name escaped her at the moment, looked pale and slightly green.
Naruto stepped around the blonde girl who told him her name was Aya, and gave Himawari a brilliant grin to reassure her. She still looked pale, but she managed to smile along with him. It was hard not to. Aya wasn't even in their exchange and she caught herself smiling. She quickly dropped most of it and watched as Himawari and Naruto exchanged a few words before her name was called and the Hyuuga stepped out into a stadium, cheered on by the majority of the villagers eager for a lengthy fight. Naruto fell back to stand beside her, but his attention was solely on his partner.
Himawari tried to remember what Naruto had told her about her opponent. He was only a few inches taller than her and slight in build. He looked slightly off-put that he had to fight another girl. The proctor raised and dropped his arm and Himawari rushed in, intending on putting on a good show of closing tenketsu. Her opponent was surprisingly fast; Himawari only managed to close 4 of his tenketsu before he slammed his hands together and smashed one of his feet on the ground causing large walls of earth to spring up in front of her. One of them caught her shoulder and sent her flying back. Luckily it was nothing more than a glancing blow and she rolled back onto her feet. Running through the ninjutsu she knew in her head, she realized it was pathetically few and silently cursed the Hyuuga clan for their arrogance. If she had children they would be encouraged to learn outside of the clan if she could do anything about it.
Her white eyes were open wide and the veins near her temples were standing out against her skin, making her look angry and fearsome. She darted around the walls and lashed out with her hands towards his torso, but her wrists were knocked back by another branch of earth that seemed to have come out of nowhere. Himawari grimaced at the shooting pain that she felt in one of her wrists, but instead of pulling them back she pointed her index and middle finger and shot out pure chakra out of the tenketsu there. The teenager from Kusa wasn't expecting anything like this and didn't have time to react. The tendril of chakra lashed out like a whip and struck him across his forearm.
The teen struck out with his foot trying to kick Himawari away so she jumped back to regain her balance and give her wrist a rest. She was sure it wasn't broken, but she was already imagining the bruise she'd have tomorrow. The teen used the few seconds of respite to flash his hands through a technique and a spike of adrenalin shot through Himawari when he called out, "Boiling earth jutsu!" and hopped backwards. She could feel the temperature of the ground raise almost immediately through her sandals and she quickly jumped to the top of one of the walls and tossed a kunai at the teen. He dodged, but his hands were still together and his face was looking apprehensive. She saw the patch of dirt she had been standing on start to steam a little bit, but nothing happened after a long few seconds. The teen cried out, "What!" before Himawari used her body weight to deliver a jump kick from her spot on the small wall directly into his chest. The teen was thrown back hard enough that he cleared nearly half the arena and smashed into the chain link fence. The crowd cheered.
The chakra tendril was something she had come up with to use in emergencies due to its tendency to use too much chakra. It essentially worked the same way as her fingers did to close chakra points but it didn't require physical contact. She had closed off the main tenketsu to his hand. He was lucky the ground didn't just blow up.
The Hyuuga didn't give the Kusa teen time to recover and moved in for a flurry of calculated blows, intent on sealing the rest of his tenketsu before taking him out. The teen put up a good fight though. By the time she had sealed the last tenketsu on his arms she was covered in cuts, bruises, and the edge of her jacket was singed from an explosion tag he had tried to stick on her. The teen was panting, sweating, and bleeding when she was done. There were little red welts where his tenketsu had been sealed, lining his arms and upper chest. By this point he had lost most of the use of his arms. He let himself fall to his knees where Himawari quickly chopped her hand into the side of his neck knocking him out and winning the fight. She gazed tiredly up at the crowd and saw Hiashi and Hizashi both standing, Hizashi was shouting and throwing his hands up in the air, but Hiashi just caught her eyes and nodded once, a ghost of a smile on his face. Himawari blushed and let herself be led back to the shed.
Naruto was all smiles and enthusiasm when she made her way into the shack. She had to be checked over by the medic to make sure nothing was too serious before being allowed to rest on the bench at the back. "That was amazing! Way to go, Hima-hime!" The blonde said; his grin so wide she was sure it must be ripping some muscles. Himawari just nodded and smiled faintly. The fight had lasted well over fifteen minutes and she just wanted to sit down. Before Naruto had a chance to join her, the next pair of names were called, and she spied her partner wishing the blonde girl good luck. As tempting as it was to close her eyes she forced them open. If the girl won this fight she would be facing Himawari next round.
Naruto sat down beside her, but he was very interested in Aya's fight. Her first round was short and sweet, as her opponent looked like he had been forced to compete and was too young and not nearly as ready as she had been. This opponent, a young woman who looked to be a bit older than Himawari, was the last remaining Kusa ninja in the competition. As Naruto knew from her previous fight she preferred flashy lightning jutsu in an effort to impress the judges.
Aya was better than she had initially looked though. Her weapon of choice was a spool of wire that she laced with her chakra and made it behave similarly to how puppet users controlled their weapons. The struggle between the two was fierce and loud, due to the small explosions the Kusa kunoichi liked to produce, but after a few minutes, it was obvious the Kusa kunoichi was more bark than bite. Her numerous explosions had used up most of her chakra, and Aya hindered almost every movement she tried to make, tripping her up, whipping her hard enough to leave small welts and cuts, and generally frustrating the hell out of the other girl. When Aya finally got bored of making the Kusa girl look like a fool, she yanked on her cord hard enough to pull the other girl down to her knees and delivered a harsh kick to her head, the sound of it resonating throughout the entire arena. The proctor raised his hands and the crowd cheered. Aya barely had a scratch on her. Himawari watched her carefully.
Naruto on the other hand stood up and practically vibrated. It was his turn next and he was fighting someone who had had his eye since the day he arrived in the village.
"Namikaze Naruto and Hirai Sho, please make your way to the centre of the arena." Naruto nearly ran, but he forced himself to walk. He watched the Kumo ninja whom he had bumped into several times follow him out. The scar he had previously seen was looking more and more like a burn scar the longer he took it in. Sho was obviously uncomfortable with the blonde's staring so Naruto reluctantly looked the boy right in the eye. He was taller than Naruto by a few inches, but looked to be about the same age, possibly a bit older. His partner, the shorter younger boy had been knocked out by Aya in the first round.
They bowed to each other, a sign of respect, before waiting for the proctor to drop his arm. As soon as he did, Naruto's vision was filled with fire. He jumped back and patted his shirt and hair out. Running a hand through his hair he scowled. He'd have to get a haircut after this fight to even out what Sho's jutsu burned away. Naruto was already running his hands through several seals by the time Sho's breath was started to run out, and he barely had time to take in a breath when a stream of water splashed into his face and upper chest and knocked him back a few metres.
Sputtering he jumped to his feet, his ring and pinkie fingers on each hand lying flat against his palm, and his middle and index fingers pointed. His thumbs were stuck straight out. He called out a name of a jutsu that was lost among the clamour of the crowd and made throwing motions with his hands still held in those positions. Fire balls the size of basketballs appeared out of nowhere and hurled themselves at Naruto. The blonde jumped in the air, using miniature versions of his wind cutter to push the fire away from him as they got near. Air is naturally weak to fire, so as he sliced the balls with the blades coming from a combination of his hands and feet, each one puffed up to twice its size before rapidly dying. The effect was amazing, and after each fireball diverted, the crowd gave a satisfied shout.
The blonde used his momentum to flip once as he started to fall back to earth and charged his feet with a very dull wind blade. He didn't want to cut this guy in half after all. Sho rolled out of the way just as Naruto landed, taking a fraction of a second to observe the crater he had created. Still on the ground he flung a rough version a fire whip at the blonde who was momentarily distracted by his foot that was stuck in the ground. Naruto saw the whip a moment too late and yelled in pain as it struck him across the back, leaving a large welt that was already started to form blisters. Both Himawari and Minato cried out with him, but were ignored among the crowd's cheers and shouts.
Naruto finally pulled his foot out of the crater and spun to face Sho. His back was burning with pain, especially since the tip of it had come into contact with his scar. Wiping his mouth of the dust and saliva that had mixed to form a gritty mud he said, with a tight voice, "Heh, good one. I didn't peg you for a fire user. You know with the…" He motioned at his face and Sho just raised his eye brows. "This," Sho copied Naruto's motions sarcastically, "was just a stupid and painful mistake. I'm better than that now." Naruto nodded and gave the Kumo ninja a smile that spoke of respect. The blonde was anything but a vengeful fighter.
Secretly though, he was grateful to Sho for letting him have a few seconds to collect his thoughts. Sho was agile, but not as fast as him. His fire jutsu would obviously trump his wind most of the time, and that water jutsu he had used early on required more moisture than what was left in the pond for him to collect. It was also not his nature and not worth the chakra to use repeatedly. Sho rushed forward with a chakra charged fist that threatened to slam into Naruto's face. Naruto dodged and threw his own right hook, but Sho dodged as well. The teens continued this game, neither of them landing any significant blows until Naruto tripped on a rock and Sho landed a painful blow to his jaw. Naruto used the momentum to roll away and still grimacing from the brain-rattling blow held out his hand and collected chakra into the very middle of his palm. Minato sat at the edge of his seat, causing Kushina to look at him weirdly.
Naruto had been working on this jutsu since before he had gotten out of the hospital as a training exercise. Minato had said he had been inspired by the pure chakra he had made explode under the burning building months beforehand, and with Naruto helping him 'invent' the ways to control it, they had perfected the technique in a little under six months. Minato had yet to use it in combat, but Naruto knew exactly what he was doing. The familiar rush of pure chakra swirling around in his hand came with a rush of memories, but he was able to keep them at bay for this fight. Sho looked at his hand with a sickened sort of curiosity before starting to prepare his own technique to counter.
By the time Sho had finished his hand signs, Naruto was already done. Raising his hand the blonde shouted, with a glorious sense of accomplishment, "RASENGAN!" and threw the ball of chakra at Sho. It hit him square in the chest and exploded with a loud bang. The crowd cheered louder than ever, including Minato and Jiraiya, the only others who were able to use it so far. When the dust cleared, Sho lay perfectly still up against the chain link fence. Naruto was declared the winner, but he almost didn't hear it. Walking over to Sho he saw the teen start to stir, and when he opened his eyes Naruto held out a hand. "Damn man, you are hard to beat." He said, and Sho grinned, taking his hand and letting the blonde pull him up. "And here I thought you were just some stupid blonde." Naruto laughed and helped Sho onto the stretcher that had been rushed out. Sho laid back and closed his eyes raising his hand in a gesture of respect towards Naruto. The blonde carefully made his way back to the shed where a medic was waiting to look at his burns.
End Chapter 25
I hope these fight scenes are interesting! I'm really bad at them: P. Sorry this took so long, I've been sick, but I'm better now! Next chapter is the final two fights!