spinning straw into gold
Current Residence: SE US y'all
Favourite genre of music: trance, celtic, whatevs
A Single Step: 4 - A New OpponentFor Naruto, the days and weeks melted together.A Single Step: 4 - A New Opponent by =trixieg
Every morning he would watch Sasuke disappear down the long, damp hall towards the labs, then he’d trudge off in the opposite direction for solitary training.
Sometimes he would encounter the white-haired medic, busily delivering trays of medicine to and fro down the corridors. With that fawning smile, Kabuto would remind him that the door was always open to him as well….
“Naruto-kun, a training regimen like Sasuke-kun’s would greatly accelerate your skill—“
Naruto never let him finish. Instead he’d shove past without a word, leaving Kabuto still smiling under the lamplight.
He wanted no part of Kabuto’s ‘training regimen.’ Pumping drugs into your veins was no training.
Sometimes Orochimaru was with the medic. Although he never pushed the way Kabuto did, Orochimaru always watched…. His never-blinking golden eyes followed Naruto’s movements as they passe
A Single Step: 5 - Unshakeable BondsFor Naruto, mornings in the containment cell with Juugo became more and more vicious. He really couldn’t classify it as training — it was survival. Often he had to summon his own well of kyuubi chakra just to get through it. Which always took its toll long after the he’d left the cell.A Single Step: 5 - Unshakeable Bonds by =trixieg
Orochimaru came down to watch the first few times, reassuring that if it ever went too far they would intervene. But no one ever did.
“We are not so different, you know. I grew up in Konoha too,” Orochimaru said to a heaving Naruto in the corridor after a spar. Naruto slanted an incredulous look up at the man. Orochimaru simply smiled, earrings swaying behind his curtain of black hair. “Just think of this like your chunin exams. Once you beat Juugo, you can move on to the next."
Naruto rolled his eyes, not believing it for a moment.
“Let’s start by seeing how long you can stay in there, shall we?”
Orochimaru pulled a small hourg
A Single Step: 6 - Sakura's JourneySakura dragged the back of her dirty glove across her forehead, smoothing back her sweat-tipped bangs.A Single Step: 6 - Sakura's Journey by =trixieg
She smiled toothily at the mess in front of her. Plumes of dust clouded the training field…or what used to be the training field. But she could still hear Tsunade's praise from far beyond the wreckage.
"Excellent, Sakura! Excellent!"
Sakura leapt nimbly over the ruptured earth to where they stood. Only a small circle of land — the ground beneath the Hokage's feet — was left untouched. Now it rose in a lone spire over the destruction. Sakura dropped out of the dust cloud and landed in a controlled squat in front of Tsunade, Shizune and Kakashi.
Dusting herself off as if she had just come in from the store, Sakura rose to smile proudly at her three teachers, mentors, friends. She couldn't help it. It was an official viewing of the product of her training, and today she'd outdone herself.
They beamed back at her.
"I couldn't have done it better myself," Tsunade said wa
A Single Step: 3 - Into the DarkThe steep stone pathway was invisible behind the natural rock outcrops of the vast forest. But at the right angle, beneath a curtain of dripping vines, a shaft opened up. Black and foreboding, it lay there like a hidden snake, mouth open, waiting to devour anyone unlucky enough to fall in.A Single Step: 3 - Into the Dark by =trixieg
Sasuke held the vines back. Naruto stopped, nervous. One glance told him that Sasuke wasn’t certain about this either.
“We don’t have to—“
Sasuke shook his head. “We can’t go back. That’s why we left the headbands.”
Naruto frowned. He’d told him not too.
“Come on,” Sasuke urged, nodding toward the darkness.
But Naruto didn’t budge. “We should check it out first,” he said, eyeing the wet pavers that melted into the black. “Sorta looks like it could be a trap—”
“It’s not a trap! I’m sure of it,” Sasuke snapped. Naruto still didn’t move. “Fine. I’ll