Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Iruka's eyes scanned the classroom, Naruto was on time, again. This was highly unusual for the young blond, usually he would rush into the classroom out of breath and sweaty, the calm confident boy in front of him did not match that description at all. That is not to say he was completely different, he still had moments of hyperactivity and shouting matches with Kiba but those moments seemed to be getting few and rare. Iruka nodded, he was going to have to tell the Hokage about this, he closed his book with a snap. "Alright class, today we'll be learning the Henge and Substitution jutsu-" Naruto raised his hand. "uh, yes Naruto?"
"Can I learn something else, I already know those." he asked politely. Iruka blinked, "S-sure, but just to make sure you really know it… care to show us?" The flicker of a smile passed over the blonde's face as he nodded, he stood up from his seat and walked down. "Anytime you want Naruto." Iruka said as he stepped back to analyze him. Naruto smirked as he formed a single hand seal. Smoke obscured his image for a moment before it drifted away to reveal a tall man in a white robe and loose black pants that went down and stopped just before reaching his feet, the middle was open to allow a cool breeze to pass through, his skin was as pale as the moon, a white mask covered all of his face save for his left eye which revealed a single cobalt eye staring out at the classroom in contentment. Iruka narrowed his eyes. "And now substitution." Iruka said carefully. The man nodded as there was a slight blur of white and the entire classroom was left to look at a wooden carving of the man Naruto had changed into.
"Naruto," Iruka asked casually as Naruto slurped down his Ramen next to him, "Who was that man you transformed into earlier?"
Naruto let out a content sigh as he placed his bowl down, "That was just Master Cobalt, I don't know his real name but that's what I call him." he said coolly.
Iruka nodded, "And where does he live?"
"I can't tell you that Iruka, he made me swear not to tell." Naruto smiled. "Sorry." Naruto stood up and stretched, "Thanks for the food Iruka, I'm off." Naruto turned around and rushed out of the stand, leaving Iruka concerned and with a large bill.
"Master Cobalt, I'm here!" Naruto called out as he tossed his things down on a sofa, Naruto shouted as a Kunai whistled by.
"You're late baka." Cobalt said coolly as he leapt down from the ceiling.
Naruto rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, "Sorry, I was eating."
Cobalt nodded, "Ready?" Naruto grinned as cracked his knuckles. "Let's do it." Naruto was sent sailing back with a lazy kick.
"You're not strong enough to fight one on one yet, weight and chakra exercises." Cobalt said as he took out a paint brush and extended his hand for Naruto. "Let's increase your gravity weights to times 50."
"Are you crazy, I won't be able to move!" Naruto shouted incredulously.
"… you'd be surprised how fast you can heal Naruto-kun. Where is the wound I inflicted on you yesterday?"
Naruto blinked as he checked himself over, "Hey, you're right. All my bruises and cuts are gone." Cobalt nodded as he walked over and grabbed Naruto's arms, the paint brush flashed and Cobalt did a single hand sign. Naruto's arms went wide as he crashed to the floor, "What the?" Cobalt smirked underneath his mask. "Come on Sensei, this is to much. How about I do jutsu instead?"
"Good idea Naruto-kun, run through hand seals while your gravity weight is on to increase your speed. Then we'll go onto strength training." Naruto cried as he went on with his sensei's wishes.
"Why do I listen to you?"
"Because you want to get strong. And I agreed to teach you, now hurry up slacker." Cobalt said as he sat on a couch reading a small orange book.
Naruto staggered into his door, "I…huff… hate…puff… master Cobalt's training session! It's worse then torture!" he grunted as he locked the door behind him, he sighed as he managed to straighten up and walk the last couple of feet to his coach.
"Hello Naruto." Naruto instinctively flung a kunai towards the voice. Sarutobi's hand shot up and caught it. "How are you?"
"Old man? Sorry." Sarutobi waved it away, two anbu next to him exchanged a look. "What do you need? I haven't pulled any pranks."
"No, No. It's nothing like that Naruto-kun." Sarutobi smiled before turning serious, "Naruto, would you please tell me who Master Cobalt is?"
Naruto fidgeted, "No, he made me promise and I don't go back on my promises. But I can take you to him." Naruto said as he scratched his chin. Sarutobi nodded, "Lead the way Naruto-kun."
Cobalt took a drink from his glass of water, his head turned slightly in concentration and he stood up. "Well that took longer then I thought." he muttered as he grabbed a sword and made sure his mask was secured. He turned around and formed a single hand seal, "Kage bushin." three more copies came into being around him, "Have fun with the Anbu in the house. I'm going to talk to the Hokage." he fixed his sword to his side before nodding to each of them, they disappeared and Cobalt began to walk down the stairs.
"So…" Cobalt stood before the Third Hokage. "You are Cobalt." Cobalt nodded as he glanced over his shoulder at the house.
"I thought I told you not to come here at night Naruto." Naruto hid behind the Hokage. "This is… problematic." he muttered as he turned to face Sarutobi. "May I assist you Hokage-sama?"
"Where are my Anbu?"
"My clones are probably beating them as we speak, come, I'll show you." Cobalt lead Sarutobi and Naruto into his dark house. "See? I told you, they have been defeated." twelve anbu sat on the floor crying as a shadow clone of Cobalt packed away the poker cards. "No one beats me at poker."
"Actually, Anko did beat us." the shadow clone said as he scratched his head sheepishly.
"Why do you have the money then?"
"Well Anko beat us when we were playing strip poker." The clone explained. Cobalt looked at his clone, his clone looked back. "… Okay then." he turned back to the Hokage and Naruto. "Now how may I help you? This had better be important."
"Y-you're not mad Sensei?" Naruto asked as he poked his head out from behind the Hokage's legs.
"No, but for no account on its own tomorrow is the beginning of a segment of your training I like to call hell week." Naruto hung his head in despair. "Now Hokage, I am a patient man but asking more then three times is trying it. What do you need?"
"Why are you teaching Naruto?"
"… Call it a favor. I owe his father for what he did for me."
"What are you going to teach him?"
Cobalt scratched his head, "I don't have a solid plan. I'll teach him what I want, that's the most honest I can get." The Hokage looked at him for a long moment before he pulled out a pipe from the lining of his robe.
"You seem to have expected us." he commented as he lit his pipe and took a slow puff. "Why is that?"
"It was inevitable, we are shinobi. And I wanted to talk with you anyway Hokage-sama."
"Why is that?" he asked calmly.
"Naruto! I just remembered, I have something for you in the upstairs attic, can you go get it? it's in the right hand corner." Cobalt and the Third watched as Naruto disappeared around the corner. "I want to take Naruto on a training trip." Cobalt said as he turned and faced the Hokage.
"For how long and why?"
"I… have never seen a young ninja with Naruto's determination. I gave him a jutsu to learn that should have taken weeks to learn at his level… he finished and mastered it in a day. I believe that if I am allowed to teach him he will become a serious ninja, this village would slow him down as he tries to catch their attention long enough for them to see him for who he really is. Am I wrong? You know how the young are, if it was simply a training trip with me and him he would already have my attention and therefore would use all of his determination in learning to become the best."
The Hokage nodded, "But for how long?"
"Well… I would have him back a month before his graduation date. Just so that he can get settled back into Kahona." Cobalt scratched the back of his head in thought. "So… do I have your permission?"
"You would go even without it?"
"Yes Hokage-sama. I would. You don't know what they do to him Hokage-sama. They call him demon to his face, their children do as well, and… he doesn't have many friends. I've seen him try again and again and it's always the same results, the children ignore him because there parents tell them to."
Sarutobi sighed as he rubbed the bridge of his nose, "How can I trust you?"
"Because Naruto does." Cobalt said simply.
Naruto burst into the room, "What is this?" he asked holding up a black shirt and cloak along with a pair of black pants. "This is what you're giving me?"
"You need new clothes, I refuse to teach you if you insist on wearing that orange jumpsuit, you want to learn from me you wear that." Naruto scowled at the ground.
Cobalt fastened his personalized Katana to his side, it was a vicious looking thing. Four feet long, serrated, and sharp enough to cut through rock. He planned to make an identical duplicate for Naruto with a little more adjustments to fit Naruto's style. Cobalt stiffened and his blade hissed as it blurred in a black arc to the throat of an Anbu. "What now? What could the old man possible want?"
The Anbu held up her arms as the blade remained at her throat, "Calm down, the Hokage just wanted to give you something." she reached into her robe and pulled out a small scroll, "You might need it." Cobalt grabbed the scroll and nodded once.
"Thank you Anko."
Anko took off her mask and frowned, "How did you know?"
"I can never forget the smell of citrus Anko, you smell delicious." the blade was removed from her throat and Cobalt cupped her chin in his hand, "You look even more delicious." Anko swatted his hand away as she blushed heavily. Cobalt chuckled as his cerulean eye winked at her.
"Pervert." Anko muttered.
"Only for you Anko my dear."
"Great I'm a magnet for idiots." she smiled as she tilted her head at him. "Why haven't I ever seen your real face? Take off the mask." she purred as she reached for it.
Cobalt caught her hands, "Sorry but that would be a very bad idea for me or you." there was a hiss as snakes started to come out of Anko's sleeves.
"I will see your face." she insisted.
Cobalt smirked as snakes too rushed out of his sleeves and wrapped around Anko's snakes. "You think you're the only one that bastard has taught Anko?" Anko froze with shock as Cobalt backed away and faced her. "We'll talk about this when I get back I guess." he sighed as he turned and stalked off towards Kahona. Anko clenched her fists as tears welled up in her eyes. 'Could he be like me?' she wondered.
Cobalt ran his hand over his masked face, 'The first thing he'll have to learn is how to wake up on time.' he mentally muttered as he watched Naruto sleep. "Alright wake up idiot!" Cobalt booted him out of his bed and splashed him in the face with water.
Naruto shouted in surprise as he landed on the cold floor, "Sensei! What the heck?" Cobalt just shrugged as he pointed to a huge backpack in the hallway.
"Tell me you're not brining all of that?" Cobalt asked calmly.
"Well, yeah!" Naruto smiled.
"Well, no." Cobalt said smoothly. "Have you ever heard of sealing scrolls? No? Well then I'll pack for you." Cobalt grabbed Naruto by the back of his collar and proceeded to drag him across the floor to his pack.
"No buts! We are not taking Ramen on this trip." Cobalt commanded, Naruto opened his mouth to protest and Cobalt shoved a able in it. "You're going to eat healthy while I'm teaching you, when we get back you can have Raman if you want. But until then all five basic food groups, understand?"
Naruto sighed, "Yes master Cobalt."
"Good, now remember what I told you about emotions?"
"Do not show them unless with a friend, otherwise have the façade of being calm and collected to unnerve your opponent." Naruto recited.
"Good, now use what I'm teaching you fool." Cobalt said as he ruffled Naruto's already messy hair. "And fix your hair next time." he frowned.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." Naruto said calmly. Cobalt grinned, "Where's your wallet? You need money."
Naruto blinked before scratched the side of his head sheepishly. "Oh, that. It's back at the apartment." he explained.
"Well go get it, I'll meet you back here." Naruto nodded and sped off as Cobalt watched. He turned and his arm shot out into the bushes beside him, he pulled out a struggling Sasuke and raised his eyebrow. "Why are you hiding in the bushes Sasuke?"
Sasuke growled as he glared at Cobalt, "None of your business." Cobalt shook him roughly. "Ok! Ok! I wanted to know why someone like Naruto is getting trained and not me!" he admitted reluctantly.
Cobalt blinked, "Sorry but I don't have room in my party for egotistical brats like you Uchiha." Cobalt tossed him aside contempt, "Go away."
Sasuke got up and glared at him, "What's so special about Naruto?" Sasuke found Cobalt's icy cold eye staring at him.
"He is the wind that fuels the fire. His spirit is what makes him special little boy. He is a hero to this entire village."
"What?" Sasuke stared at him in open curiosity. "How is Naruto a hero?"
"You'll learn on day, maybe even from Naruto himself…" Cobalt reached into his robe and tossed a white scroll at Sasuke, "Figure out what that saying means and I'll teach you what I'll be teaching Naruto, until then… train hard or Naruto will leave you in his dust on his journey to become the best. Now go." Sasuke turned and walked away, when he glanced over his shoulder Cobalt was talking to Naruto without even glancing back at him. He gritted his teeth together and tossed the scroll to the side, 'I don't need his help. I'll get someone else then.'
"Where are we going first?" Naruto asked cautiously, he had never been with Cobalt this long.
"Suna." he said softly.
"Are you okay master?"
Cobalt stopped and turned to face him, "…I see you've gotten used to the weights I gave you. Or are you not wearing them all?"
Naruto paled as he began to sweat. "W-well-"
"I'm upping your gravity weights." Cobalt said as he took a brush out of nowhere. The brush flashed in the air and cobalt formed another hand seal, Naruto grunted as his feet sank into the floor. "Come on, we still have a day's worth of walking left to do." Cobalt said amused.
"I hate you." Naruto muttered as he struggled to walk along.
"I know, but that is the way it's supposed to be. If I was your friend I would be a failure as an instructor." Cobalt reached over and ruffled Naruto's head. "And we're going to Suna first for a reason."
"And why is that?"
"…You should know about something before we really get started." he said as he turned to look into the distance. "Yes, I think you could take it, if not… We'll deal with that if it comes." Cobalt glanced at Naruto's confused face and winked at him. "Come on slowpoke, we better hurry if we want to get there soon enough."
"Can we rest yet Sensei? It's night and I'm tired." Naruto whined. Cobalt glanced around at the sand around them.
"Okay, we're fine here." Cobalt set his pack down and turned to Naruto. "Now we can start training."
Naruto stared at him incredulously, "Are you serious?"
"Best time to work is when you have barely any energy to use Naruto. Do you know what elemental affinities are?" Naruto shook his head slowly. "It's simple Naruto… kind of." he pulled out a white index card. "Could you mold your chakra into this?"
"What?" Naruto stared at the card in confusion.
"Press your chakra into it." Cobalt explained. Naruto frowned as he held the card before him. A second later the card crumpled up before falling down in half. Cobalt stared at it before looking back at Naruto; he looked back at the card then back at Naruto again. He repeated this process for a full minute without saying anything.
"D-did I do it wrong?" Naruto asked nervously.
"No." Cobalt said softly. "You did something impossible my boy, at your age at least." Cobalt ran a hand over his masked face. "No wonder your chakra control sucks, you have opposing chakra elements." Naruto stared at him blankly. "Chakra elements or affinities are you chakra's style, so to speak, that means if you affinity is earth you're better at earth jutsu then any other."
"So what's so strange about me?"
Cobalt turned his cerulean eye towards him, "Through rigorous training one could. Could! Gain another chakra affinity then his or her original… you have had nowhere near that amount of training. You naturally have two different affinities."
"What does that mean?"
"You have more training to do then you think kid." Cobalt ruffled Naruto's head as he groaned. "Let's start on lightning Focus your chakra as much as you can into this kunai…" It was a long night for Naruto.
"Welcome to Suna Naruto." Cobalt spread his arms wide to the sandy streets of the Village. "Let's secure a position in a hotel then lets get some food, and no Ramen!" Cobalt said as he caught Naruto's hopeful look. Naruto scowled at the ground, he rolled his arms against his weight, it was still uncomfortable and bothersome. "Change that, I'll secure a hotel, go look around but be careful… Suna is a bit more hostile the Kahona." Cobalt ruffled Naruto hair again before tossing him a bag of money. "You know how to release you gravity seals in case something happens right?" Naruto nodded. "Good, go and look around." Cobalt turned and disappeared into the crowd. Naruto smiled before turning and heading towards the nearest Ramen Stand, 'Can't keep me away from it.'
"I love Ramen." Naruto said as he slurped down another bowl, the sun was high above and Naruto had been forced to take off his black jacket to stay cool. He watched a few children his own age playing ball, chewing his noodles thoughtfully his gaze swept past them to a small red head sitting alone and gazing at the playing kids with a mixture of longing and fear. Naruto drank the remaining broth in his Ramen bowl and threw them away; putting his jacket back on despite the heat, he headed towards the playgrounds. Naruto walked over and sat next to the red head on the swings, "Hi, I'm Naruto. Who are you?" The boy gave him a wide-eyed look.
"Hi Garra, want to play with me?"
"You want to play with me?" He asked hesitantly. Naruto smiled at him as he nodded once. "What do you want to play?" he asked with a hesitant smile.
"Let's build sandcastles!" Naruto shouted enthusiastically, he quickly covered his mouth. "Opps, sorry. I'm supposed to be trying to control my emotions. I'll go first." Naruto made a serious face as rubbed his hands together, he pushed sand together and packed them down tightly to make a simple sandcastle. "Ha! Your turn." Naruto turned around to see Garra standing beside a small elaborate sand castle. "I shall not be undone." he said as he clenched his fist and set back to work, his hands were moving in blurs as the slowly created a knee high sand fortress of perfection. "Your-" Naruto's hand automatically raised and caught the rock sailing in from his side. His head snapped over to see a group of older kids staring at them. "What do you want?"
"Why are you playing with the demon?" Naruto flinched back. 'Am I cursed to be followed around with this?' he wondered.
"I am not a demon." Naruto said calmly, his clenched fists showed how agitated he was on the inside. 'Do not show emotions to your enemies.' Naruto recounted, his fists loosened. "Go away or I'll have to hurt you… all of you." The group of boys looked at one another before nodding once, they stepped forward. Naruto brought his hands together in a single hand seal. "Multi-Bushin." two dozen Narutos appeared and all ran through more hand seals, "Pinnacle of Ninja Art! Harem no Jutsu!" the smoke cleared and the boys stopped in shock. The single remaining regular Naruto formed one last seal, "Kai release!" the Gravity seals all over Naruto's arms and chests glowed scarlet before vanishing. "Speed plus fist equals pain." Naruto charged forward, the group had a moment to look away from the girls before Naruto slammed one of them into a wall. Naruto blinked in surprise before he turned ominously. "You want to leave now? Or do I get to do the same to you two." they shook their heads as they backed away. "That's right; you don't want a piece of this!" Naruto stuck a dramatic pose as they fled. "How about them apples!" Naruto heard Garra snicker silently behind him.
"What did you mean about being a demon?" Garra asked as he and Naruto sat on top of a local building.
"In my village, Kahona, The villagers always call me that. They always send me glares and sometimes fearful looks. They like to mutter it under their breath as they walk past me." Naruto sighed as he scratched his head. "I don't even know why they do it. Always with the looks…" Naruto shook his head swiftly. "So, you have any family?"
"Yes. A sister and a brother. What about you?"
"No. I'm an orphan." Naruto said evenly.
"Oh… do you want to meet my family?"
Naruto blinked and nodded, "Sure. I'd like that."
Garra smiled slightly as he stood up, "Come one, follow me."
Naruto leapt up and stood beside Garra. "Let's go."
"Wow… nice place." Naruto muttered as he stared up at the tall mansion.
"Are you coming, I want to introduce you to my sister and Kankuro."
Naruto nodded once as he glanced up at the setting sun, "Sensei has been gone for a while now." He turned his attention back to Garra and smiled. "Are we going to wait here forever or are we going in?" Garra laughed nervously as he unlocked the door and lead Naruto into a dim hallway.
"Come on, this way." Garra motioned up the stairs with his left hand as he cast uncertain eyes around the room. "Wait a moment." Garra said as he stopped Naruto before a door. He knocked three times.
"Garra is that you?" The door opened and a small girl walked out about Naruto's age. Her sandy blond hair tied into four small spiky pigtails. "I heard talk about an attack and I-" she suddenly noticed Naruto. "Who are you?" she asked suspiciously.
Naruto cocked an eyebrow as he smiled, "Naruto Uzamaki. You're Garra's sister?"
"What is it to you?" she snapped, her eyes were still suspicious.
"Just a question, leave off why don't you." Naruto said as he took a step back. Garra smiled slightly.
"Lay off? I don't even know you and you're in our home!" she took a step forward.
"Little help Garra!" Naruto said as he hid behind him.
"He's my friend Temari." Garra said, his voice held a hint of elation. "He came because I asked if he wanted to meet my family." Temari watched as Temari's face changed from suspicion to surprise.
"Oh." was all she said. Naruto stepped out from behind Garra. "Sorry." she blushed as she looked at him. Naruto smiled at her good- naturedly.
"No worries, you were just being cautious. I understand." Temari smiled back. 'She's cute.' Naruto shook his head roughly. 'She's Garra's sister!'
'She's Garra's cute sister though.' Naruto smiled slightly before he noticed Temari waving a hand in front of his face.
"Are you okay? You just blanked out for a moment." Naruto blushed as he rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Why are you blushing?" Naruto opened his mouth to change the subject when it was changed for him as the front door opened to reveal a tall red headed man accompanied by Naruto's Sensei. "Dad! You're home! I didn't think you'd be here for another couple of hours." Temari said in surprise.
"Hello Temari, get dinner ready my partner here is staying for dinner as soon as he finds his student." he looked at Naruto. "Who are you?"
"My Student." Cobalt said smoothly before Naruto could say anything. "Hello Naruto, I see you've met Garra." Naruto nodded. "Good, explanations will be easier."
Naruto frowned, "Explanations for what?"
"I told you we came to Suna for a reason Naruto, I'll explain later in private." Cobalt placed a hand on Naruto's head briefly before walking away with Garra's father.
"Is it always like this?" Naruto whispered to Temari. The atmosphere around the table was… strained to say the least. "Garra hasn't looked up from the floor since your father came home."
"Yeah, it's always like this. Help me get this to the table." Temari said as she hosted a large bowl of soup up from the oven top. Naruto reached over to grab it. "Careful, it's hot!" Naruto ignored her and lifted it up with two hands.
"I've got this, you get the silverware."
"Yeah but, isn't that burning your hands?"
"I'm using a chakra coating over my hands to guard them." Naruto flashed her a quick smile before turning away and walking out into the dining room. "Where do you want the soup sir?" Temari's father looked up from a conversation with Cobalt.
"Centerpiece." he grunted before turning back to Cobalt and engaging him in conversation again. Naruto rolled his eyes as he lifted the bowl with one hand and pulled a chair out of the way with the other.
"Wow." Naruto turned to see Temari looking at him in wonder. "How come you're so strong?" Naruto placed the bowl down on the table's center before walking back out with Temari to get the rest of the food.
"Sensei Cobalt is a hard man to follow, but the results of his training are assured to be fast and productive. I've still got some of my gravity seals on too." Naruto flashed Temari another grin. "I'm also pretty fast, if I do say so myself. But I still have to work on my chakra control." he admitted reluctantly. His hand past through his hair and he winced. He glanced at his hand, 'Opps, I really do need more chakra control exercises. I didn't put enough between me and the bowl, my hand is red and raw. The heat must have temporarily numbed the nerve endings within it.'
"What's wrong? Why did you wince?" Naruto tried to put his hand behind his back but she grabbed his hand and brought it close enough to see it before Naruto snatched his hand back. "Let's wrap that up."
"It'll heal soon enough."
"That's a second degree burn. It'll take a few days."
"Not for me Temari-chan, I'm a fast healer." He smiled at her again as he held out his hand, "see?" the skin was slowly regrowing and turning less red then into a slight pink color. Temari grabbed his hand and brought it closer for a better inspection.
"How is this healing so fast? Is it a blood line?"
"No. I've asked, the Hokage said no." Naruto pulled back his hand slowly. "Come on, we still have a job to do." Naruto bent down and picked up two jugs of water, "I've got these Temari-chan, you get the bread." Temari smacked him. "W-what was that for?"
"Don't call me Temari-chan." she warned.
Naruto stuck his tongue out at her, "Whatever you say Temari-chan." Naruto was forced to run out of the room as Temari chased him with the bread. Cobalt smirked behind his mask, 'This just might work.'
"Father, where is uncle?" Temari asked curiously.
"He's preparing for a mission." Her father answered evenly.
Sand swirled around him as sweat poured down his face, his chakra whipped back and forth as he concentrated to the extreme. "Focus." Cobalt said as he walked around him, "Gather it into your fist, when it is concentrated enough it'll look for a way to escape, make that escape a tunnel directed towards your target." Naruto moved his right arm in a jerky way towards the target a few meters away. His raised it and released the energy, Naruto was blown back with a blast as the energy ripped out of his hand. "Control the outpour Naruto, don't let it out all at once!" Naruto nodded as he stood back up, he ripped off his jacket and threw it to the side, he rammed his hands together in a hand sign and narrowed his eyes as chakra swirled around him causing the sand to rise in a thin dirt tornado. "Compact it." Cobalt coached. Naruto scowled as a thin shell of blue chakra covered him, "Good, now release the energy while controlling it in a pinpoint strike." Naruto raised a clawed fist and released it, the sand below the lightning's path turned to glass and the explosion that rocked the training area knocked Naruto onto his back where he stayed as he closed his eyes.
"Can we be done for now?"
"Yes, you did very well Naruto. In a couple of years you'll be able to do that in an instant if you wanted, but for now I guess we could focus on wind manipulation until you gain more chakra and control." Naruto muttered darkly under his breath. "What was that?"
"Nothing sensei." Naruto said sleepily as he drifted off to sleep.
"So Naruto, you and Garra are friends right?" Naruto nodded once. "Does anything seem familiar about him?"
"Yes… why?" Naruto asked suspiciously.
"…How many secrets do you think Kahona has?"
Naruto frowned, "Tons, why? What does this have to do with? Garra?"
"Nothing, it has to do with you." Naruto turned and faced Cobalt. "You and Garra are more similar then you know kid."
"In what ways?"
"How much do you know about the Kyubbi?"
"As much as the next person I guess, the fourth killed him right?"
"No. You cannot kill something like Kyubbi that way."
"Where are you getting with this?"
"Just keep in mind that the Kyubbi is not dead, and that you and Garra are very similar," Cobalt leaned closer, "Very similar." Cobalt glanced up at the darkening sky, "Why don't you go hang out with Garra for awhile kid, I'll come get you when you need me to." Naruto frowned but stood up to leave. "Remember everything I do is for your benefit Naruto." Naruto ran out of the area and jumped away towards the playground.
Naruto huffed as Garra watched him curiously, "What's wrong Naruto?"
"Nothing, I just ran all the way and I forgot to take off my gravity seals." Garra smirked at him.
"Be quite." Naruto sighed as he straightened up, "The moon will be up soon, what do you want to do?"
"Let's go look at the stars. You're from Kahona so you don't know how many there really are, since we're out in the desert they all come out!" Naruto smiled at him, "Okay." Garra pointed up. Naruto grinned as he leapt up as far as he could, catching a hold of a window ledge he pulled himself up and leapt up again. He landed with a thud and looked over the side to shout down to Garra, only to see he had disappeared.
"Who are we looking for?" Naruto shouted and spun around. "What?"
"Don't do that! How did you get up here so fast?" Garra smiled slightly.
"I rode my sand." he said silently.
"Oh! Okay." Naruto smiled at him. He looked up, "Wow, the moon rises fast here." Naruto commented. Garra nodded as he looked up at it. Something suddenly went off in Naruto mind and he dived in front of Garra as something whistled towards him. "Ahh!" the kunai hit him in the shoulder as the Shinobi landed a few feet away, he tossed another Kunai and Naruto's hand reached up to catch it, but it simply passed through his fingers. He heard a dull thud and looked back to see Garra lying in a puddle of blood, a kunai coming out of his head. "Garra!" Naruto snarled as he turned towards the man only to see him on the ground talking to himself.
"It was a mission." he whispered, Naruto was able to see his blond hair and green eyes, Naruto stalked forward as his fist shone with blue lightning. "I was sent on a mission by the Kazekage… No, I asked for the mission." Naruto was a few feet away from him when he suddenly opened his vest to show multiple explosive tags, Naruto was blown back and cracked his head on the wall of a building to the other side. As Naruto began to fall into empty space he slipped into unconsciousness. 'Garra.'
A long sewer like tunnel met his eyes as Naruto awoke, he stood up from the cold wetness of it and staggered forward, he looked around before he noticed a thin red mist like trail on the ground leading off to a side tunnel. Walking along Naruto followed the trail through twists and turns, 'It's a labyrinth.' he thought to himself numbly, 'Who cares what it is, Garra is dead isn't he? You're only friend is dead… you're only friend. And you couldn't stop it, the kunai just slipped through your fingers.'
"What do you want brat?" Naruto stopped as the voice sent chills down his back, he looked up to see a great looming cage standing before him. "Why do you wake me?" a great scarlet eye appeared before Naruto. "What do you want brat?" Naruto's brain went back to Cobalt's strange words, 'The Kyubbi could not be killed, he is still alive.'
"The one and only idiot. What do you want?"
"What makes you think I want something?"
Naruto scowled at him, "Why am I here?"
"I don't know, you tell me."
"… My friend just died, I was powerless to do anything about it."
"Do you know what an illusion is kid?"
"Apparently you don't idiot, that was an illusion. Your friend is fine. If you can't even see through a simple illusion like that then we may die sooner then I thought… hmm, I might be able to do something about that."
"Shut up brat, I'm thinking!… maybe, it might get me more time to get out, the seal isn't built for the corrosive abilities of a demon… I'll do it."
"You'll see, but first we have to make sure you survive to get that far. You're falling to death at the moment, get out there and stop us." Naruto was suddenly facing the ground rushing up to greet him. "Crap!"
'Naruto. Where is my friend?' Garra though numbly as blood dripped over off his face in small rivets from the mark on his forehead. "Uzamaki, where are you… are you afraid of me?"
"Are you?" Garra turned around to see Naruto crouched down in the dark of a corner. His face was hidden in shadows as he stood up and slowly turned around. Glowing slitted eyes stared at Garra in ironic happiness, "You're okay. I thought you had…" Naruto stepped out of the shadow, his thin whisker marks were now harsh slash like marks.
"I saw you fall when the explosion happened." Garra said emotionlessly.
"Who was he?"
"My uncle. Father sent him." Naruto flinched. "I trusted him, and he betrayed me. Are you any different?" Garra turned cold eyes to him. Naruto didn't move as sand came up his legs and started to wrap around his body.
"Would I still be here If I wasn't?" he asked calmly, the sand stopped and retreated back. "I will always be your friend Garra, because we are brothers in burdens."
Garra blinked, "Brothers in burden?" he asked uncertainly.
"Where do you think these eyes are from? I am the same as you Garra… except I don't have a sister like you that cares for me." Naruto took a step closer and winced, he looked down at his shoulder to see the kunai wound. "But I'll have you… won't I?" Garra turned to him and nodded.
"What happened to your forehead?"
Naruto blinked, "My-?" he reached up and touched the ride side of his head, he brought it back to show dark blood covering it.
"A little reminder of this night brat. Now you will always remember."
Naruto clenched his fist, "Come on Garra, let's go… home? No, let's simply go back. From now on we must kill to survive in this world. We'll be Shinobi." Garra grunted as he held his head in pain. "The mark on your head says 'Love' what does the mark on my head say?"
"Awaken." Garra said evenly, they both looked up at the full moon. "You're leaving tomorrow aren't you?"
"Yes, but I'll be back, I promise. When my training is over I'll return. Just remember me." With that Naruto leapt over the side and fell to the ground. Garra looked over the edge to see no sign of him.
"Until then Uzamaki."
Five years later
"What do you want to eat tonight Garra?" Temari asked politely as they sat side by side on their coach.
"… I haven't the faintest idea." he said evenly.
"How about soup?… Garra?" Garra suddenly stood up and walked over to the window. "What's up?"
Garra turned to her, "He's back." he leapt out of the window and flew down on his sand.
Temari leapt after him, "Wait who's back? Where are we going Garra?" Meanwhile at the entrance of the village a white cloaked stranger took his passport back and walked into the dusty streets of Suna.
"Garra, where are we going? We're supposed to meet Baki and Kankuro at the training grounds." Temari called after him, Garra ignored her as he flew forward on his scarlet sand. "Who is it?"
"Naruto!" Garra shouted. The stranger in the white cloak stopped and raised hi arm.
'Naruto?' Temari stopped as she watched him remove his hood, wild blond hair hung down to his eyes, slitted cerulean eyes stared at them with happiness while still piercing them in analysis, pointed canines were revealed as he smiled at them the black Kanji for 'Awaken' stood out on his brow. "Naruto!"
"What's up guys, miss me?" Naruto grinned at Garra before turning to Temari, his grin slipped off.
'What's wrong? Why isn't he happy to see me?'
"…Whoa! Is that you Temari-chan." Temari blushed.
'He was surprised at how I looked! He remembers.' She smiled at him before she smacked him in the head with her fan, "I told you not to call me Temari-chan!"
Naruto rubbed the back of his head ruefully, "I'm sorry but I can't help it. How have you two been?" he suddenly turned serious and pointed an ominous finger at Garra, "Have you been nice to her?"
"Yes Uzamaki. How long can you stay?"
"A few days before I'm off to Kahona." Naruto said with a shrug, he glanced back at Temari before looking back at Garra. "Master Cobalt went ahead so that he could talk to the Hokage about something, probably my eyes."
Temari blinked, 'I really hadn't noticed them before because of his face… his really cute face.' Temari shook her head. 'Bad Temari, he's younger then you!'
'Not by much though.' she blushed.
"Nice jacket by the way Uzamaki." Garra commented, Naruto glanced down at his white jacket, the bottom was boarded by scarlet and cobalt flames, a golden fox stared out of the back while curling it's tails around to Naruto's hip. "Not very subtle though." Naruto shrugged as he stuck his hands into his pockets of his black pants.
"Who wants to be subtle in life? I'll be subtle in battle if I have to, what about you? Why don't you get something nicer then that Spartan outfit?"
Garra shrugged, "I like it. I don't need anything fancy like you."
"Sensei Cobalt gave this to me, he said it fit me. Besides, what's wrong with fancy?" Naruto asked as a passing female ninja looked at him with an appraising sort of look. "It works for the girls."
"I don't have that much in the girls department Uzamaki."
"Not here you don't," Naruto winked at him, "But what about other villages? I know a girl like us in cloud I think you would like, I could-"
"I think you two would hit it off."
"Are you shy?" Garra glared at him, "You are!"
"Don't make me hurt you." Garra muttered.
"It'll be fine, I'll simply make a false attack on her, she'll follow, I knock her out and bring her here."
Temari hit him upside the head with her fan, "That's not how you treat a women." she growled.
"Then I'll bring Garra with me and lock them into a room together… alone, who knows what could happen." Temari giggled as Naruto tried to look anywhere but at Garra who was performing his infamous killer glare.
"As much as we would like you over at our house Father would probably try and kill you in your sleep if you did." Temari apologized.
"Don't sweat it, I'll get a hotel." Naruto smiled at her.
"Um, I think Garra wants you over at his house." Temari blushed.
"His house? Wait, Garra lives apart from you guys?"
"Yeah, Father's orders." She looked down at her feet in shame. "I go and see him every chance I get but I don't think it's enough." Naruto sighed.
"Thank you. At least you go and see him."
"Kankuro does too but… Garra likes me better." She smiled impishly. Naruto snorted at her before turning serious, "You really have been a god send to Garra, you may not be able to see it but he would be drowning in a sea of despair and sadness without you, you're his life preserver."
Temari smiled at him, "And what about you? If I'm his life preserver you must be in there somewhere too."
Naruto frowned as he studied his hands, "I'm barely keeping my head above those waters as it is," he looked up at her, his slitted eyes trapped her, "You're a life preserver for me too… Temari-chan." Naruto ducked under the fan as it swung over head.
"Don't call me Temari-chan Baka!" Temari yelled after him as he leapt away, she huffed and smiled slightly, "See you tomorrow, Naruto-kun." she whispered.
"The dawn here is beautiful." Naruto muttered. He leaned back against the stone mountain, all of Suna was lain open before him, the rosy light of the dawn causing the sand bricks of the buildings below to look like rose colored red stone. "I'm going to miss traveling around, being stuck in Kahona is going to be a drag. I wonder if I could become a traveling Shinobi like the Sanin." Naruto leapt up and spread open his arms, "Good morning Suna!"
"Are you always this hyper in the morning?" Garra grumbled from behind him.
"I'm not hyper, I'm excited." Naruto pointed out.
"How did we ever become friends?" Garra wondered.
"A miracle… or something of the manner." Naruto scratched his chin.
"Why are we going shopping again?" Garra asked.
"The store, you need food and other clothes."
"I don't want other clothes."
"Want and need are two totally different things Garra."
"I don't need them."
"You will when Yamigto comes to Suna in about a week."
"She's a demon holder from cloud, you'd like her. She's a riot. Tried to jump me three times since I met her, and in very interesting ways."
"… Why do you want me to meet her?"
"When was the last time you thought about kissing a girl?"
"Why would I think about that? I have to make sure I'm surviving, and the girl I like could be a possible threat."
"Yamigto would probably have too much fun with you and trying to break your mask to think about killing you." Naruto grinned at him as he subtly tripped an elderly man giving them the evil eye. "Besides, I'll tell you a secret about her demon… he's a huge pervert and fills her head with a lot of interesting thoughts." Naruto stroked his chin evilly, "Plus he messed with her hormones and her body so that she's-"
"Not another word Uzamaki or you'll regret it." Temari growled from behind them. "Are you trying to make my brother perverted?"
"Yes." Temari whacked him upside the head with her fan. "It would be good for him." she hit him again. "But-" Temari sent him flying with a well placed kick to the back.
"He doesn't know when to shut up." she muttered, Garra smirked.
"Okay, you'll make sure he uses the clothes when he meets her?" Temari nodded, "And make sure he actually meets her?" Temari smiled at him.
"I'm right here you know." Garra said slightly annoyed.
"I'm just insuring your future with this transaction."
"That reminds me Uzamaki," Garra narrowed his eyes, "How did you manage to convince her to come on her own free will?"
Naruto stared at him blankly, "Free will?" he laughed as he ducked Temari's fan. "I'm going to miss you guys." Naruto smiled sadly at them. "But I'm just across the desert if you need me… until then." He turned to Garra and gave him a thumbs up. "Don't mess up with Yamigto." he warned as he turned to Temari. "I know you don't like mushy gush-" Temari grabbed Naruto and hugged him tightly to her.
"Don't get yourself killed you idiot or I'll find your soul and seal it in a coffee can. So that you'll never be able to escape me." she threatened. Naruto smiled as he wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off her feet.
"Don't tempt me." he muttered. He set Temari down and gave a sigh, his grin slid off his face to form a mask of indifference. "Now on to my ninja carrier." he reached Into his robe and pulled out and anbu-style fox mask. "Wish me luck, next time we meet it'll probably be at the Chunnin exams." with that he placed the mask over his face and turned away.
"Well class, as you all know the Gennin exams are coming up in a month." Iruka said as he looked over his students. "And I know it's strange but we have a new student… or more like a return of a very old one. Naruto Uzamaki is back in Kahona and will be arriving here shortly." just as he finished speaking the door slid open and a blond haired boy walked in, his white cloak fluttered behind him causing the scarlet and cobalt flames seemed to flicker as if alive. "Yes Anbu-san?" Iruka asked politely.
"I'm not Anbu, my name is Naruto Uzamaki." the young man said coldly. 'Do not show emotion but to your friends and family members.' "Where do I sit?"
Iruka blinked in surprise, "The seat next to Sasuke Uchiha is open." Iruka said consulting his chart. Naruto nodded once before walking up the stairs and sitting next to the brooding Uchiha.
"Hello Uchiha, how have you been?" Sasuke glanced at him before glancing back to the front.
"Uzamaki, you've changed." he said quietly. "I hope you trained hard because there is no way I'm going to lose to you." Naruto smirked behind his mask. "But what's with the mask?"
"Never show your intentions to your enemy. One of Shinobi providences, another would be that all unknown acquaintances are your enemy until proven otherwise."
"So you use the mask to hide your face because you consider us enemies?"
"That means when you trust us the mask will disappear?"
Sasuke pressed his fingers together in thought, "Tell your sensei I think I might have figured out his riddle."
Naruto turned to him, "The riddle about the sun and the moon?"
Naruto smiled, "Good. I expected as much from my rival." Sasuke's smirk became more pronounced.
A month passes slowly when you're bored out of your mind with old things, but Naruto finally made it through it thanks to his sensei and partly because of the girls tried to get him to take off his mask. "No."
"When we get assigned teams."
"Then not all of us will get to see your face." Ino pouted.
"Exactly. Then I'll be around those I know I could trust." Naruto smiled behind his mask. "Besides, we're bound to see each other again someday." Naruto smiled as they groaned.
"You know if I didn't know any better I'd say you like messing with them Naruto." Sasuke said as he read a small black scroll.
"What's your point?… I'm going out for some food, do you want anything?"
"Are you getting Ramen?"
Naruto blinked in surprise, "That's right… I can eat Ramen again… strange that I never remembered that as soon as I got here. No, I'm out to get some Dango."
"Okay then, just the regular kind for me." Sasuke muttered as he narrowed his eyes at the scroll. "And don't be late, Iruka is starting the test soon." Naruto waved him away as he jumped out of the window and vanished.
"You said we would talk." Anko said as she crossed her arms. Cobalt sighed as his single cobalt turned and lock onto Anko's brown eyes.
"Yes I did, and I will, lat-!"
Anko's fist slammed on the table beside her, "No! We're going to talk now! I waited years for this, I'm not waiting any more!" Cobalt stood up and walked over to her, "What are you doing now?" Anko asked casually as Cobalt studied her intently.
"What do you want to know first?"
"Orochimaru." Anko said firmly.
Cobalt winced, "Of coarse you do… I guess you can't remember me because of your memory loss." Anko flinched. "He had two apprentices, me and you. We shared rooms and you would always try and hit me when you thought I was trying to look." Cobalt chuckled a bit at this. "But then he showed us what he was really doing. Your reaction was the same as mine in these matters but I was able to hide it… for better or for worse you were given the curse seal before me, I stayed with him months longer, learning as much as I could from him so I could figure out how to take him out, but he learned that I had no loyalties to him and he branded me with a new seal so that if I died it would be no great loss and if I lived he would know the new seal worked and kill me afterwards… After it was put on me I filtered in and out of consciousness for months, I remember someone taking care of me but nothing more." Cobalt's eye traveled over her face, searching for something.
Anko reached forward tenderly and touched his face, "And this?" Cobalt raised his hand and grabbed hers gently. "Why do you wear the mask? What do you have to hide?" she gently grasped it and pulled back slowly. She pulled it away fully and the mask fell from her grasp, Cobalt grabbed the mask before it fell while still looking at Anko with caution.
"You are the only one who will know about this Anko, understand?" Anko nodded slightly while still looking at him in awe. "Good, but now that this thing is gone I can do something I've wanted to do for a while now."
Anko blinked, "What's that?" Cobalt's pale lips turned up perversely, Anko blushed.
'I feel a disturbance in the force.' Naruto thought as he looked out of the window. He was waiting for Iruka to call him forward so that he could take his gennin exam, it stunk to have a name like Uzamaki sometimes.
"Naruto." Naruto looked up to see Sakura and Ino smiling up at him. Naruto got up and walked over to them. "Who's team do you think you'll be on?" Ino asked.
"I have no idea, I'm an all around type fighter so I'm probably going to be a puzzle to the Hokage and Iruka for placing me on a team." Naruto said evenly. "But since I was never good at book work or all that technical stuff I'd probably be put on a team with a smart person, and then there's the trusting thing, I mean I'm on alright terms with everyone here but I only have a few real friends that I can trust." Naruto scratched the back of his head slowly. "So maybe with a few friends." Naruto caught Ino's hand as she reached for his mask. "No Ino. I'll show you tomorrow." Ino pouted before her face became a delicate shade of pink. "What?"
"You're still holding my hand." Naruto let go and smirked behind his mask.
"Uzamaki, you're up." Iruka called. Naruto stood up and dusted his coat off.
"Ninja path here I come."
Naruto sat in his chair, staring at his Kahona headband, "I put this on and I'm officially a shinobi of Kahona."
"I thought you wanted to be a ninja?" Cobalt asked from the other side of the table. "Or did I train you for no reason?"
"I just don't want to be stuck in Kahona."
"You won't, You'll be outside of the village for ninety percent of your ninja carrier." Cobalt said as he took a sip of sake. Naruto nodded as he grabbed it and tied it around his forehead. "Good. Now get going or you'll be late for team placements." Naruto nodded again before leaping out of the open window in a flash of white. "He's gone Anko, it's safe to come out." Anko peeked around the bedroom door, she grinned at him.
"You know, you would think I'd remember something like that… we have done this before right?" Cobalt blushed as he stared at his cup.
Naruto breathed a nervous sigh as he stood outside of the classroom door, he raised his hand and grasped his mask, he pulled it off slowly and stared at the backside of it for a moment before he slipped it into his inner coat pocket. His slitted eyes flickered left and right slowly as he smirked and straightened up, he opened the door and walked through, he turned and looked up at Ino and Sakura who were both staring at him with vacant expressions, Naruto heard a dull thud as Hinata fainted. "N-Naruto?" Ino squeaked, she turned cherry red as Naruto turned and looked her in the eye as the corner of his mouth turned up. "W-whoa." Naruto chuckled as he shook his head and walked up towards his seat next to Sasuke, he winked at Sakura as he passed her, causing her to turn the color of her hair as she stared at the floor.
"Now that we're all done getting used to Naruto's look I can tell you your team names." Iruka said as he raised the paper in front of his face to hide his smirk. "Okay listen up because I'm only going to say this once! Team one…"
"… Team seven will be Haruno Sakura, Uzamaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke. Your Sensei will be Hatake Kakashi." Naruto was suddenly assaulted as Sakura jumped him.
"We're on a team Together!" She giggled as she squeezed him roughly, "Cha! I'm so happy!"
"I can tell." Naruto said next to Ino. Sakura looked at what she was hugging to see a large golden plush doll of a fox. Naruto scooted closer to Ino. "Do you mind if I sit next to you Ino?" Naruto smirked as Ino blushed scarlet.
"Knock it off Uzamaki." Iruka
"Alright. I'm off to tell Master Cobalt about my team before I come back. See you!" he winked once more at Ino before vanishing in a blur.
"Good, now we can start on your training in more complicating matters."
"Complicated? What I was doing before was complicated Sensei."
"First off I am now your secondary sensei, Kakashi is your primary sensei."