Disclaimer: And... I still don't own Naruto. I'm still sad about that fact.
Author's Note: Like I mentioned after my True Potential update, I don't want to keep you guys waiting because it has been a long time since I updated. I'll just post it here and leave it at that. Please read, review, and enjoy!
'What?' Itachi questioned himself.
The Godaime Hokage received a mission report thirty minutes ago that was starting to deeply disturb him. The mission was a simple B-rank escort mission to Kaze no Kuni assigned to a trio of chūnin with only a minor risk of other village shinobi interference. The mission should have been simple, but the report the Hokage received suggested otherwise. Itachi continued to read the repot over-and-over again, trying to process what exactly happened.
The Hokage looked up to see Shisui entering the room. The jōnin smiled and waved to his best friend as he took a seat directly in front of him.
"Seem stressed to me. The job finally getting annoying? I was wondering when even you would get sick of paperwork." Shisui chuckled. When Itachi did not smile or react to his joke, Shisui's smile disappeared. A serious expression crossed his lips. "What's up?"
"… After completing a mission in Kaze no Kuni, a team was ambushed at the border of the country by a single shinobi. They were overpowered." Itachi answered.
"… Were they all killed?" Shisui asked solemnly as his eyes lowered downward.
"No. The shinobi knocked two of the chūnin unconscious. Only one was killed." Itachi sighed and brought his right hand to his face. "A girl from our clan: Uchiha Sagiri."
Shisui's eyes widened as memories of five years ago entered his head. He remembered an eleven year old girl from his clan with bright red eyes and short black hair coming to him for help with her chakra control and he remembered spending hours each day for about two months with her improving it. He remembered all the conversations they had and the times where they went to dinner after training. The strongest memory in his head was seeing her wearing her Konoha forehead protector, smiling, after she graduated from the academy.
As memories entered his head, Shisui's eyes started to water up and he felt his hands tighten into fist.
"Did you know her?" The Hokage asked quietly.
"Yeah. She came to me asking for help when she was still in the academy and we started talking a lot. Really polite and funny. It had been a while since I talked to her last, because she got busy after she reached chūnin." Shisui shook his head, stopping his tears from coming down further.
"I didn't know her well, but she came into the office with her team often for missions. She was a really sweet girl." The Hokage noted with a sigh.
"She was… She probably would have been one of the best shinobi the Uchiha clan produced in years… She didn't deserve death this young." Shisui's eyes narrowed and he slammed his fist onto the Hokage's desk. "Goddammit! I'll hunt down the bastard that killed her!"
"… He did something else that was odd." Itachi spoke quietly. Shisui calmed down slightly and turned his attention back to the Hokage. "… He didn't take her body or anything; he left for her teammates to bring back to the village. However, he cut into her eyes and destroyed them. He didn't steal the Sharingan from her; he just destroyed the eyes."
Shisui's eyes narrowed in disgust once again. This time, he didn't outwardly react as he tried to process what Shisui meant. It wasn't odd to hear someone attack an Uchiha due to their Sharingan. It was the risk that any shinobi with a kekkei genkai faced when they went on missions. However, they were usually only attacked by shinobi that had the intent of somehow stealing the kekkei genkai. Instead, the assailant attacked and destroyed the Sharingan.
"… Are you sure he didn't just replace her eyes or something?" Shisui asked quietly.
"The report here came with an autopsy report that was already done. Her eyes were definitely not stolen; they were destroyed." The Hokage clarified.
"Do you think the eyes were destroyed by accident? Maybe he intended to take them, but fucked up and realized that he couldn't." Shisui continued to question.
Itachi shook his head. "If that were the case, I think there were be more damage to the rest of her face. No, I think he specifically intended on destroying the Sharingan."
Silence filled the room between the two best friends. A few seconds passed before Shisui spoke up with a sigh.
"So, what does this mean?" He asked.
"… Her teammates were spared for a reason. I think this was meant as a threat of some sort." Itachi sighed in response as he finally put the mission report down.
"Threat of what?" Shisui questioned, but then immediately shook his head. A scowl crossed his face before he started to speak again. "Never mind, I don't give a fuck. I don't care what this insane bastard wants to tell us. I'll kill him myself one of these days!"
"And once we get more information on whoever it is, I will personally assign you this mission." Itachi informed him. There were still a few more concerns he had about the mission, but now was not the time. After all, Shisui wasn't here for a social visit and to listen to his thoughts about another mission. "We have something to talk about."
"… Oh yeah. You called me out here." Shisui remembered. He calmed himself down before he continued to talk to his best friend. "What did you want to talk about?"
"You are training with your genin team tomorrow, correct?" The Hokage asked. Shisui nodded in response. "Then, could you bring Naruto over here after training?"
"Uh sure. That shouldn't be that hard." Shisui shrugged in response. "What for?"
"… The Sandaime and the advisers disagreed with me about this, but I feel he has a right to know the truth, especially since he is now a genin." Itachi informed him seriously. "Tomorrow, Naruto and I will be discussing the truth about the Kyūbi."
Morning came quickly for the residents of Konoha. Around 6:30 A.M, Uzumaki Naruto got himself dressed and ready for the day and left his apartment. He then started to wander the streets with a piece of paper in his hands. He kept looking back and forth between it and the streets of Konoha. It took him a few minutes before he arrived at his destination: a small little green stand called 'Tamago' near the shops of Konoha. There were a few people there, eating breakfast. One of the people there was a girl that the Uzumaki recognized, which caused him to grin. Naruto realized that he was in the right place and walked up to the stand and took a seat next to the girl: his teammate, Tenten.
"Hey Tenten!" He spoke to her with a smile as he took his seat.
"Ah, Naruto. Good to see you could come." The kunoichi replied with a smile of her own. "Sorry again about the last minute rain check last yesterday."
Naruto and Tenten agreed to go get something to eat after their 'true genin exam' yesterday. Just as they arrived, though, Tenten realized she had to leave. She decided to make it up to Naruto, however, and agreed to meet up with him for breakfast before their training.
"Just don't make it a habit, and it's all good." Naruto chuckled. "What'd you have to do though?"
"I just forgot about a promise I made to my boss to work after the exam." Tenten admitted sheepishly as she brought her right hand to one of the buns on her head. "I work at one of the weapon shops here and they're always busy, so I knew he would need my help and would probably be kinda pissed at me for skipping."
"That's actually pretty cool." The Uzumaki smirked at his teammate. "How much does the job pay?"
"Well… Honestly, not that much." The kunoichi sighed in response. "But hey, it gets me by. Besides, my boss is actually renting out a room in his house for me, so that kinda factors into my paycheck."
"Wait, you live with your boss?" Naruto repeated the idea in surprise. Something about that seemed odd to me. He couldn't imagine living with Iruka, so he didn't really know how someone else would be able to live with someone with a relationship like that.
"Well, yeah." She shrugged in response. "He offered it to me, and well, I can't afford a place by myself yet. And it definitely beats actually living in the orphanage here."
"… Oh yeah, you're an orphan too." Naruto remembered what she had said during her introduction to Shisui.
"Wait: 'too'? You're an orphan as well?" Tenten's eyes widened as she looked at Naruto intently.
"Mhmm. I have an apartment for myself now, because the Old Man Sandaime Hokage liked me enough to give me an allowance, but I lived there until I was seven." Naruto sighed in response as a frown crept onto his face. "Still no idea why. I don't even know what happened to my parents or family."
"… Ah." Tenten's eyes dropped slightly and a frown crept onto her lips. "I'm sorry about that Naruto. I couldn't imagine what that feels like. I'd hate not knowing what happened to my family."
"It's okay. I'm in a better place now, so I don't really think about that." Naruto told her lightly. The Uzumaki then picked up on the wording of her response. "Do you know what happened to your parents?"
"The matron of the orphanage knew who my parents were, so I got to find out. Apparently, they died in the Kyūbi attack." Tenten answered quietly.
"… Oh." It was now Naruto's time to look away sadly. "I'm s-"
"Don't apologize for that. You didn't do anything." Tenten shook her head and laughed lightly. "You're right though: I'm in a better place now, though, so I just don't think about it much. Don't feel bad for me."
"… Heh." Naruto let a sincere smile grace his lips. He was really starting to learn more about he realized that she understood him in a way that most people would never be able to. It made him realize that the two were going to be great friends.
"Anyway, enough of this depressing stuff: let's get some food and just start talking about something more fun." Tenten told him with a grin on her face.
A loud grumble came from Naruto's stomach. The Uzumaki's face lit red in embarrassment for a few seconds before he gave her a sheepish smile and a nod. "Sounds good to me dattebayo."
An hour and twenty minutes later, Naruto and Tenten were sprinting away from the 'Tamago' breakfast stand and were heading in the direction of training ground twenty-nine. The two shinobi had distressed looks on their face. The training ground was, after all, about a twenty minute walk from where they were and their training would begin in ten minutes.
"I can't believe we spent that long there! That was only supposed to be an hour max!" Tenten groaned as she and Naruto continued to run as fast as they could.
"Why'd you have to order those weird brown circular things? It took them so long to make those!" Naruto asked the kunoichi frantically. Between the two of them, he was the one most stressed about the idea of being late to his first day of training.
"They're called pancakes, and I don't know! I never had western-styled food and it sounded like a good idea at the time." Tenten replied back. "And the taste was worth it!"
"But we're gonna be late now!" Naruto whined.
"You could've left me! Besides, the taste was worth it!" Tenten exclaimed.
"What does it even mean to be 'western-styled' for food?"
"I don't know, but it must mean 'amazing', because it tasted great!"
Naruto and Tenten continued to banter between each other about 'why they were running late' and 'what exactly western-styled food was' while they ran to the training ground. The two only stopped their banter when they arrived at the designated training ground. Both Neji and Shisui were already there and discussing something when the other two genin arrived. They were breathing heavily and sweating.
"We're sorry we're late. It won't happen again; promise!" Both Tenten and Naruto apologized in unison loudly.
Neji gave no response to their apology. Shisui blinked for a few seconds before he tilted his head slightly in confusion. "But you guys are on time exactly. It just turned 8:00."
"It just did…" Naruto's eyes widened in shock.
Both he and Tenten turned to face each other. Both of them were still breathing heavily, but they now had wide grins on their faces.
"We just… pulled off… a twenty minute trip… in ten minutes." Tenten commented between breaths.
"We're… awesome like that…" Naruto replied.
With those words, the two genin fell to the ground in exhaustion.
"Idiots." Neji shook his head in frustration.
"… They were that unaware of how fast they were moving then? And unaware about time?" Shisui questioned himself before he shook his head. "Man, I hope I wasn't that stupid back when I was a genin." His eyes then widened and he proceeded to shake his head again. "Wait, I was probably worse than them. I was an absolute dumb shit. Bad comparison. I'm sure most of the people I work with weren't like that when they were genin."
Shisui was speaking quietly to himself, but Neji managed to hear his sensei's words. The Hyūga simply brought his hands to his head and continued to shake it. 'All of them are idiots…'
A few minutes passed by as Shisui let Naruto and Tenten relax a little bit after their run. Once he deemed that they were no longer exhausted, he decided to begin training. All three members of Team Five looked at their sensei expectantly, waiting for him to start.
"Alright, just as a thing of note: I'm a big fan of teamwork and making sure you all work and train together. But, since this is the first day and I think I have a few things I want to talk about, I kinda want to spend the first hour of our training on an individual level." Shisui quickly made a hand sign and a poof of smoke filled the area. When it cleared, two clones stood next to the original Shisui. "Again, this won't take long: just about an hour. I just want to polish up on a few individual issues that we can resolve before group work. Anyway, Naruto, you'll be with the real me. Neji and Tenten, go with my clones."
Neji and Tenten nodded in response. They then followed one of Shisui's clones respectively and went their separate ways. Naruto was now left alone with the original Shisui. The blonde was looking at him curiously.
"So, what do you want to work with me Shisui-sensei?" Naruto asked.
"I want to get you some true, grade-A offensive power." Shisui replied with a smirk on his face.
"Hell yeah!" The Uzumaki jumped up in excitement at the prospect of getting 'even tougher'.
"Because believe me, you sure as hell need it." The Uchiha mumbled under his breath.
Naruto, unfortunately, heard the Uchiha's comment and stopped cheering. He then looked at his sensei in shock, feeling a mixture of surprise and insulted.
"What do you mean by that?" The blonde questioned.
'… I need to be quieter when I talk to myself. Either that or just stop the damn habit.' Shisui sighed to himself before he spoke up to explain. "You got better from your last year, according to all the notes I received from your academy instructors, but you just don't have a lot going for you other than the transformation and substitution jutsus. You may have speed and some general strength, but you don't have much knowledge of ninjutsu, your taijutsu stances are atrocious, and your genjutsu is nonexistent."
"…" Naruto looked downward after Shisui finished his comments. The Uzumaki had never really thought about it like that, but now that he was, even he had to admit he was lacking in strength. He really needed something to make himself better.
"Ah, don't beat yourself up about that." His sensei said with a frown on his face. Naruto looked upward to face him. Once he realized he had Naruto's attention, the Uchiha let a smile return to his face again. "You're a genin, meaning you're kinda supposed to not be that tough right now. It's during this time though when you truly begin your training and start to get stronger. So don't think of yourself as weak or something like that; just think of yourself as somebody who is going to improve starting now!"
As Shisui continued with his speech, the Uchiha became more passionate and animated with each word. By the time he finished, Naruto couldn't help but grin and chuckle at his sensei's antics. He was starting to really like Shisui, and Naruto realized that he was right.
"So, what do you think I should do to get tougher?" He asked. His grin remained on his face, showing that the Uzumaki was excited to figure out what he could do improve himself.
"Well, to get some offensive shit ready, I think you need to add some jutsu to your repertoire that could actually do some damage." Shisui commented sagely as he started to dig into the pockets of his jacket. "However, when I was given some reports about you, I heard that you got some insane levels of chakra. Like 'kage' level amounts." The Uchiha continued to dig in his pockets, unaware that Naruto was now gaping at him due to his claim. A few seconds passed before Shisui finally pulled out what he was looking for: two, black scrolls with the word 'clone' printed on both of them. "So, if you have that much chakra, I think we should take advantage of that!"
The Uchiha tossed both scrolls over to Naruto. The Uzumaki caught them and began to look at them. He opened one up and looked at the title of the technique: Shadow Clone Jutsu.
"That right there is what we are going to start practicing today. Once you have that down, I'll teach you the other jutsu." Shisui informed him. "For the record, though, the other jutsu is the Shuriken Shadow Clone Jutsu."
"… Are you sure you got my file right? Because apparently I can't do clones." Naruto mumbled in response as he continued to look at the scroll on the 'Shadow Clone Jutsu' in confusion.
"Nah, I got your file. The reason you can't do regular clones is because of your chakra. You have way too much, so you can't concentrate the little amount to do the basic clone jutsu." Shisui explained. "The two jutsus you have are not 'basic illusions'. Those are the 'real deal' type of clones and require a lot much more chakra. And considering the amount you have, that should be easy for you to use."
"Really?" Naruto's eyes went wide as he looked towards his sensei for confirmation. Once Shisui nodded in response, the Uzumaki proceeded to jump up-and-down in excitement. "Hell yeah! Then let's get started and learn this stuff!"
"Whoa, take it easy kid. Just because you have the amount of chakra to pull off these jutsus, it's still going to take time to learn both. Way more than the 'hour' we're going to actually work on them right now." The Uchiha informed his student. He proceeded to stop jumping and pout in response, which caused Shisui to chuckle. "But we'll see how much practice we can get done right now and we'll continue from where we left off tomorrow. So, let's get started, shall we?"
Naruto smirked in response. He put away the 'Shuriken Shadow Clone Jutsu' away as he started to analyze the 'Shadow Clone Jutsu' scroll's content in more detail before he verbally responded: "Dattebayo."
"Whoa." Tenten gasped at the sight of the area where Shisui's shadow clone took her.
The clone had escorted her to a smaller area of training ground twenty-nine that was covered with training posts. The posts, in particular, were shaped in the form of human bodies. Each of them had the different vital points marked for reference.
"The academy didn't even have this many posts." The kunoichi commented with a grin as she instinctively reached for a kunai in a pouch on her right leg. Realizing that the clone wasn't going to stop her, she took out the knife and tossed it at the training post. Her knife hit the target at the location that was marked as 'the heart'.
"Nice aim. Just as good as the reports from your academy instructors told me." Shisui's clone chuckled.
"Thanks." Tenten gave the clone a smirk in response. "It's kinda my specialty."
"That's also what I heard. You're a budding weapons expert." The clone noted with a smirk as it pulled out a scroll from one of the pockets on its jacket. "So, have you had any experience with the sword yet?"
"Loosely. I've experimented with one before, but nothing really specific. I can't afford a legit sword yet, so I really can't practice much with one." The kunoichi sighed in response. "But I'll get one someday and I'll definitely practice like crazy with it!"
The clone smirked in response as it activated the seal on the scroll on its hand. A poof of smoke was generated and, once it cleared up, a steel katana with a hilt that was painted red. The clone gripped the sword loosely in its hands before it held the blade out to Tenten.
"Well, what if I said that day was today? Would you take up the offer?" The clone asked the kunoichi.
"… Seriously?" Tenten looked at him in disbelief. She couldn't believe that someone, even if he was her sensei, would simply 'give away' a sword for free just because she expressed an interest in it.
"Seriously. This isn't the best type of blade, I'll admit, but it's a pretty good katana to start learning the basics on it." Shisui's clone responded with a shrug. "But yeah. I'd like to think I'm pretty good with kenjutsu, so I felt it would be a waste if I didn't teach what I knew to at least one student. So yeah, would you want to start practicing kenjutsu?"
Tenten was still a little hesitant to take the blade. It still seemed odd that somebody would be willing to just 'give' a sword for no reason. She didn't know many people who could be considered that giving. Once Shisui's clone realized that she was still unsure, it walked forward towards the girl and brought the sword closer to her hands. With the blade being closer to her, Tenten couldn't resist her inner desire and took the sword away from him. She gripped it tightly and her eyes widened.
"This feels right." She commented with a smile as she started to practice swinging with it.
"Again, I think it's a good blade to start practicing with, so I hope it would." The clone chuckled in response. "So, how do you feel now?"
Tenten nodded immediately in response as a wide, extremely happy grin covered her face. She then gently placed the blade on the ground before she rushed over to Shisui's clone and hugged it tightly.
"Whoa, Tenten, loosen the grip!" The clone gasped, interrupting the kunoichi's repeated 'thank you'. "I'm a clone, remember? You'll destroy me if you keep this hug up!"
Tenten quickly stopped her hug and backed away. Her cheeks were tainted red from embarrassment and her eyes started to become focused on the ground.
"Damn, you got more strength than I thought." The clone commented with a deep breath after he was released.
"Well… I've been trying to get tougher." Tenten replied sheepishly in response.
"I can tell. That's good though. It'll make your swordsmanship better, I think." The clone commented with a smile. "Anyway, let's get down to business. I'll work with you on the basics and see what you actually do know how to do, then we'll move on there."
"Got it!" Tenten replied as her 'excited' grin covered her face again. She picked up the katana eagerly, ready to truly begin learning kenjutsu.
Shisui's second clone and Neji arrived at another training post-filled area of training ground twenty-nine. Once they arrived, the clone turned his attention towards his student.
"I do have something to work on with you, Neji, but before we truly start, you and I need to have a talk." Shisui's clone told the Hyūga.
Neji noticed Shisui's serious demeanor immediately. Realizing that whatever he was going to say was most likely going to be important, the Hyūga nodded in response, urging the clone to start speaking.
"I'm not one to really criticize one's view of life, because I never saw the point of that, but I have noticed that yours is negatively impacting your view of your teammates. So, Neji, I'm not telling you to stop believing in fate or destiny. But, you need to realize that you don't know the 'destines' of your teammates or the other people around you. So, you need to stop acting like you do know." The clone informed the Hyūga sharply.
Neji's eyes narrowed at the clone and his fists tightened.
"I didn't realize this was the direction you wanted to take this conversation." The Hyūga commented coldly. "Shisui-sensei, you must understand that people's destinies are not that hard to see. It is evident in their personality and how well they succeed in the things they do. A genius will always be a genius and a failure will always remain a failure. And there is nothing anybody can do to change that."
"Bullshit." The clone responded immediately. "You're projecting your own views on others and making them out to be 'geniuses' or 'failures'. That's doing nothing but potentially hindering their development, and it's not even helping you grow. It's just you being an asshole and hiding that fact behind your preconceptions of fate, and I won't tolerate that."
"… Hmph!" Neji scoffed in response. "I suppose the Sharingan can't see what the Byakugan can. I can tell a person's fate by looking at them and finding out some information about them. I'm not trying to 'be an asshole', as you put it. I'm just letting others know exactly what their destiny is." A scowl then developed on his face. "It's absolutely disgusting to watch others try and fight their fate. It's a foolish decision that will ultimately get them killed. What's wrong with me letting them know their errors and potentially saving their life?"
"Because it is more damning than anything else." The clone retaliated, a scowl on its face as well. "And it shows me that you won't be able to work properly with certain shinobi because you'd view them as 'failures'. It means your communication and teamwork will be hindered because of these views. These views not only harm others, but they harm yourself. The more you view life and others like that, the weaker you will be."
"Bah." Neji hissed in response. The Hyūga opened his mouth to retaliate at his sensei's condemnation, but his attempts to speak were halted when the Uchiha began to speak.
"Neji, let me inform you a few more details about myself." The clone started quietly. "Like I said yesterday, my mother died in combat when I was really young. And my father, to end his own suffering from losing the love of his life, ended up drinking himself to death. So I was an orphan for a long period of time. And I was always considered a black sheep in the Uchiha during my younger years, both from being an orphan and for my admittedly 'odd' personality. I dealt with many people like you in the Uchiha clan telling me that I was a failure and that'd I never amount to much. Well, look at me now? I'm one of the highest-ranking jōnin in Konoha and am recognized as one of the best Uchiha shinobi of my generation."
Neji's eyes widened as he tried to process all of the information that Shisui was giving him: his personal successes and all of the 'negative circumstances' of his childhood. The Hyūga tried to process a classification for the Uchiha, but found himself unable to. To him, Shisui was becoming a contradiction to how he viewed life and other people.
"I am no failure. I made that damn clear to myself and anyone who doubted me. And everybody else that you may have called a failure is not one either." Shisui's clone stated sharply. "Still believe in destiny and all that stuff. I could give less than a fuck. But don't view people in such a simple-minded mindset. You don't know what each person's fate is and you don't even know if they could maybe one day change it. I won't tolerate this aspect of your beliefs, as they harmful both to others and to yourself. Do you understand?"
Neji remained silent as his mind still attempted to process exactly what Shisui's clone was telling him. A few seconds passed before the clone snapped its fingers.
"I said, do you understand?" It repeated the phrase.
"I… understand." The Hyūga replied quietly and unsurely. He spoke with a tone that both sounded and felt foreign to him.
It was a blatant lie and both the Hyūga and the clone knew that. Neji simply couldn't comprehend what the Uchiha's clone was trying to tell him. He'd have to do his own research and do some thinking on his own time.
"Anyway, I know that may be a lot to take in for someone like you, but I just needed to get it across to you somehow." The clone sighed in response. "That was the most important thing I wanted to do with this hour session. We could work on something, because I do have some things I'd like to really teach you, but would you like to just think for a little bit? Because you like you really want to."
"I'd like that actually." Neji sighed in response.
The clone nodded and started to walk off. "I'll be in the area if you finish your thinking early and want to work on something, but take your time. And I'd really like if you tried to reflect on what I was telling you."
Neji watched the clone walk away for a few seconds before he took a seat on the group and assumed a position for meditation. The Hyūga proceeded to close his eyes and do what his sensei requested: think on both what the clone told him and his own personal beliefs.
An hour passed by and the three genin reunited in the area where they had split apart from each other. Both Naruto and Tenten looked tired and were sweating after constant practice in their respective sessions. Neji was not physically tired, but the Hyūga did look mentally exhausted after his hour-long meditation session.
"Whoa, you good Neji?" Naruto questioned in curiosity.
"… I'm fine." The Hyūga replied dismissively. "I just have a few things to think about."
"He does, but he'll have to do that a little bit later. I'd like to really begin group-training." Shisui informed his genin students.
All three members of Team Five turned their attention towards their sensei and nodded.
"What do you want us to work on Sensei?" Tenten questioned him.
Shisui's immediate response was to walk up to a nearby tree in the area. He started to walk upward along the tree's trunk.
"This." The Uchiha commented nonchalantly as he made his way further up the tree until he reached the first branch he could. Once he made it there, he proceeded to take a seat.
"Walk up a tree with just our feet?" Naruto's eyes widened in response.
"I remember watching a few of my clan members performing that practice. We're working on our chakra control with this, correct?" Neji questioned.
"Yup. The idea is that you concentrate chakra on the bottom of your feet and, if you are able to control the chakra precisely, you'll be able to climb up this tree with just your feet. Too much and you'll get blown off the tree, and two little and you'll just slip off and fall flat on your face." Shisui explained the exercise. "Again, it's a great work to just work on your overall chakra control, which is mandatory to be able to properly learn and use certain jutsu and, well, function properly as a shinobi during missions."
"Understood." Tenten exclaimed. Both Naruto and Neji nodded silently.
"Well then, try it yourself." Shisui encouraged as he pointed to three nearby trees next to the one he was currently at. "Concentrate some chakra to the bottom of your feet and see how far you can make it."
The three genin nodded in understanding. They each made a hand sign before they ran towards the trees, ready to climb up and see if they could perform the exercise on their first try.
Instead, Naruto fell within the first few seconds of his attempt. Tenten and Neji both lasted for a few seconds longer before they two fell off. Both of the elder genin managed to land on their feet, while Naruto managed to hit the ground face-first.
"Ow…" He groaned in pain.
"Did that hurt? Huh. I don't actually remember if I ever fell like that when I first started the lesson." Shisui pondered to himself. Quickly, he shrugged his shoulder. "Eh, doesn't matter. That wasn't horrible attempts for a first try, but you all have a long way to go. Let's keep up the practice. Remember to try and find the right balance with your chakra so you don't slip off the tree or destroy part of it!"
"Oh come on!" Naruto groaned.
The Uzumaki was starting to get extremely frustrated. The team had been practicing tree climbing for over an hour and he was making no real progress. He had only managed to get himself up the tree a few inches, but was unable to do much more than that. In contrast, both Neji and Tenten had managed to make it much further than their original attempts. Neji, himself, was actually able to reach one of the tree's branches. Now, he was working on standing still on the tree and maintaining his chakra control for as long as he could.
"This is pissing me off!" Naruto hissed to himself. He wasn't making as much progress as he wanted to in comparison to his team and it was starting to become noticeable to him.
Neji heard the Uzumaki's complaints and nearly snickered at his failures. However, he then remembered the conversation he had with Shisui's clone and remained quiet in an attempt to avoid Shisui's ire.
As he recalled his conversation with the clone and his own meditation on the subject, a curiosity started to arise in Neji's mind. Could the Uzumaki really improve?
'… I wonder if I could test my beliefs and Shisui-sensei's words.' The Hyūga told himself as he quickly made a hand sign. 'Byakugan!'
"Naruto." Neji called out to the blonde as he jumped off the tree branch and headed towards the Uzumaki.
Said Uzumaki was about to make another attempt at climbing the tree when he heard Neji's voice. He stopped running and turned to face Neji with an irritated look on his face: "Yes?" Naruto's irritation quickly faded as he noticed Neji's face. "Why do you have your Byakugan activated?"
"Never mind that." Neji dismissed Naruto's question and, instead, pointed towards the Uzumaki's feet. "You're using way too much chakra. You need to decrease the amount."
"Huh?" The Uzumaki questioned dumbly for a second before he simply shrugged. "Okay."
Naruto made a hand sign and attempted to concentrate a smaller amount of chakra in his feet. Neji paid very close attention to the amount of chakra centered in the blonde's feet.
"Still too much. Use even less chakra." Neji stated sharply.
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" Naruto exclaimed loudly as he made another hand sign.
As Neji watched Naruto attempt to lower his chakra supply, the Hyūga, for the first time, really paid attention to the amount of chakra Naruto actually had. He had to resist the urge to stare. Naruto possessed such a large amount of chakra that it took the Hyūga prodigy by surprise. He had never seen so much chakra concentrated in one person, let alone someone his own age!
"So, is this a good amount you think?" Naruto questioned, snapping the Hyūga from his thoughts.
The Uzumaki didn't even wait for Neji to reply back; he just started to run up the tree. He made it quite far up the tree and almost reached the tree, but he started to fall off then. The blonde, this time, managed to catch himself from hitting the ground hard like he normally did.
"Damn, so close that time." He cursed to himself. He then turned his attention towards the Hyūga and gave him a smile. "I'll try and work around that level, or a bit lower. Thanks a lot for the help Neji!"
"… Don't worry about it." Neji brushed off Naruto's compliment.
The Hyūga continued to watch Naruto make more progress up the tree. The Hyūga noticed Naruto took only two or three more attempts before he finally reached the tree. The blonde proceeded to cheer and shout loudly once he reached his goal before he ran back down to keep practicing.
"Hmm…" Neji shook his head, still uncertain about his own thoughts and beliefs.
Neji quickly returned to his tree and continued to practice. He was unaware of Tenten and Shisui staring at him after he helped Naruto. Tenten was looking at him in surprise after finally seeing the guy she had assumed was a jackass actually offer help to Naruto. Shisui was looking at him proudly and with a smile on his face, feeling as if Neji was starting to take some of their conversation to heart.
Once Team Five finished the tree-walking exercise, Shisui trained his students through different exercises to strengthen them. He had them do push-ups, sit-ups, run around the training ground multiple times, and practice aiming at targets with their shuriken and kunai. Once the training session was finally over, all three genin were exhausted.
"So, that concludes training for the day." Shisui told his students with a smile. "It'll be like this each and every day we meet up, so I hope you all get used to it. Some days may be different, as I may have something I particularly want to work on with each of you, but this will be the general plan. We're going to get you all toughened up and working together for a while before we truly start working on some more cooler shit." The Uchiha then shrugged. "Some days we'll have a mission to do after training, but I didn't pick any out for us today. So yeah, we're done for today."
"Understood." Neji nodded in understanding before he started to walk off.
"Neji!" Naruto called out to the Hyūga. He stopped his walking, which urged Naruto to continue to speak. "Can I take you out to get something to eat now? Consider it a thanks for helping me out on the tree dattebayo!"
"… I have a previously-made arrangement with my clan." Neji answered dismissively. "Perhaps another day, though?"
"Yeah, that's okay." The Uzumaki shrugged. "I'll just see you tomorrow then!"
The Hyūga gave Naruto a nod before he started to walk off. If the Hyūga were being honest, he would have said that he had no plans. However, he didn't particularly enjoy the idea of being around Naruto for too much longer at the moment. He had a lot of things to think about and many of them were involved with his perception of the Uzumaki. The Hyūga, at the moment, simply needed some more meditation and thought.
"And he didn't even reject you that badly." Tenten noted with wide eyes. "What happened to make him not be a jackass today?"
"Hey, I don't know, but he's been kinda cool today. And helpful." Naruto replied with a chuckle. "I'll take this Neji over the one from the previous days, though, so he can stay this way!"
"Oh don't get me wrong, I definitely prefer him like this! Just haven't noticed him ever be this way before." The kunoichi shrugged. "Anyway, my boss probably needs some extra help, so I'm going to head out. Bye Naruto, Shisui-sensei!"
With those words, Tenten started to walk away from the training ground. Both Naruto and Shisui waved goodbye to the kunoichi. Once she was gone, Shisui turned his attention to Naruto.
"Before you head out, Naruto, do you mind coming with me? My best friend wanted to talk to you for a little bit." Shisui asked his student.
"Yeah, sure. I didn't have anything to do, so sure." Naruto nodded. "Who's your best friend?"
"WEASEL-KAGE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND?" Naruto nearly screamed once the two entered the Hokage's office.
"'Weasel-kage'? Oh gosh, that's BRILLIANT!" Shisui laughed loudly at Naruto's nickname for Itachi. "I am TOTALLY going to steal that!"
'Ugh…' Itachi shook his head as he watched the two shinobi enter the room. 'Great, Shisui will probably use that as well. Oh well… at least 'Weasel-kage' is a better nickname than that 'Serious-sama' name Naruto use to call me when we first met.'
"Hey, 'Weasel-kage?' We're here!" Shisui chuckled, using the nickname Naruto had just used.
"… I'm not blind, Shisui. I can see that." Itachi replied.
"You weren't saying anything, though. You were doing that thing where you just shake your head and blank out." The jōnin told him.
"Sometimes, I don't know precisely what to say with you. You're just an interest specimen at times." The Uchiha Hokage sighed. He then turned his attention towards Naruto and let a smile grace his lips. "How are you doing Naruto? Enjoy being a genin so far?"
"Uh? So far, it's pretty awesome." Naruto grinned in response. "Only first day of training, but I can already feel myself getting tougher. I started working on the Shadow Clone Jutsu and I think I'll have it down by tomorrow or the next day!"
"Impressive. Very impressive." Itachi chuckled. He knew the Uzumaki would probably learn a jutsu like that at some point, so it was no surprise that Shisui decided to start training him on it.
"So yeah, Itachi, I brought my student." Shisui spoke up. "You had something you want to talk to him about?"
While he did agree with his best friend's decision to tell Naruto about the Kyūbi, he was still very anxious to see how his student would respond. Therefore, he wanted to just get this out of the way and see what was going to happen.
"Yes, and I thank you for that Shisui." Itachi bowed his head slightly towards his best friend before he turned his attention back to Naruto. "Naruto, we are about to talk about something serious: a guarded secret of Konoha. Can I trust that I'll have your full attention?"
Naruto's eyes widened in surprise. The thought of discussing a village secret with the Hokage surprises him, but it also excited him.
"You have my full attention." Naruto attempted to respond neutrally, but his voice betrayed him and conveyed his excitement.
Itachi smiled in response, albeit slightly sadly. He knew that Naruto's excitement was probably going to loosen when he heard the news, but it was something that he needed to know.
"Very well then Naruto: let's begin. I'm going to tell you the truth about the Kyūbi incident." Itachi informed the boy.
Naruto did not speak as Itachi spoke to him about the 'truth' of the Kyūbi's attack on Konoha. He learned that the Yondaime Hokage was unable to actually kill the fox and was forced to seal it into the body of a young child: his body. Itachi explained how he was a jinchūriki and how the Sandaime had managed to keep that fact a secret both from Naruto's generation and from foreign shinobi. The explanation took nearly thirty minutes. Once he had finished, silence filled the entire room. It was finally broken by Naruto.
"So… I'm the Kyūbi?" He asked quietly in a broken tone-of-voice.
"Naruto, did you not listen to Itachi?" Shisui spoke up loudly in surprise. "What he said a jinchūriki was? You're not the fox; you're just its container"
"Then why don't other people realize that?" Naruto questioned in response. The boy felt tears starting to develop in his eyes. "It's because I really am. I have to be! It… It would explain so much. Why a few of the other people in the village don't talk to me much or glare at me when I come by. They know that I attacked the village. I killed the Yondaime and so many people in Konoha. I…"
"Naruto-" Shisui started to speak up, but he was interrupted by his student.
"I… Oh God… I killed Tenten's parents." Naruto's eyes widened exponentially and tears started to fall freely. "I made her an orphan. She says she's okay now, but that's definitely a lie, or at least a partial lie. I… I…"
"Naruto!" Itachi spoke up with a raised voice.
The Uzumaki, not used to hearing the Hokage speak that loudly, stopped his mumbling and looked towards Itachi and stared at him, still crying. Itachi quietly pulled out a scroll and laid it out on his desk.
"Naruto, what do you see here?" He asked the boy.
"… A scroll." Naruto replied quietly.
Itachi nodded. He then made a hand sign, causing a poof of smoke to cover the area. Once the smoke was revealed, a katana was lying on top of the scroll.
"Now, what was inside the scroll?" The Uchiha questioned.
"… A sword." Naruto answered. His eyes widened slightly as he realized what point Itachi was starting to make.
"Notice how the scroll contained the sword. It was summoned when it was needed, but it can and will be placed back in the scroll it came from." Itachi informed the Uzumaki. He then made another hand sign and the katana was resealed back inside the scroll. The Uchiha then held up the scroll. "But notice how the scroll is still a scroll, despite the fact that it has something sealed inside of it. It isn't a sword just because it has one sealed inside of it." The Hokage put the scroll away and then turned his eyes towards Naruto once again. "You see how this concept applies to you, right?"
"Yes…" Naruto nodded his head slowly.
Itachi smiled as he stood up and walked towards Naruto. He placed his hand on the blonde's shoulder.
"Naruto, you aren't the Kyūbi. You may contain the bijū, due to the decision of the Yondaime, but you aren't the fox. You're Uzumaki Naruto: a shinobi of Konoha. Most people may be ignorant of that fact due to a limited knowledge of how sealing works, but overtime, they will realize that you are not the fox." The Uchiha informed the blonde. "And if they still can't separate the image of the fox from you, then, to be frank, they don't necessarily deserve to get to know the real you."
Naruto's eyes widened further and he found himself crying for a completely different reason.
"He's right, you know? You're not a demon or anything; you're just one of my bratty students." Shisui spoke up with a similar smile to Itachi. "And you're going to become a great ninja, Naruto."
Naruto grabbed both Shisui and Itachi and pulled the two Uchiha best friends into a hug. Both young men were surprised at the blonde's action and quickly returned his hug. A few seconds passed before the hug was broken.
"Naruto, I know that was a lot to take in, but I felt you needed to know. Are you okay?" Itachi questioned.
"I… You're right. This is a lot to take in." The Uzumaki sighed slightly in response. He then let a smile grace his lips. "But you're also right. I not the Kyūbi and I'm just me: Uzumaki Naruto. I'm okay, don't worry about me."
"I believe you." Itachi chuckled lightly at Naruto's response.
"Just know that if you need somebody to talk to, we're here." Shisui offered.
The blonde let a wide smile grace his lips as he nodded in understanding at his sensei's words.
With the topic having been brought up, Itachi dismissed the young Uzumaki. Naruto left the room shortly after, leaving both Itachi and Shisui alone. The two best friends both sighed in relief once the genin left.
"That could have gone worse." Shisui noted.
"It could have indeed." Itachi nodded. A frown crept over his lips. "I understand why Hiruzen-san did not inform the boy, and I even listened to his advice to at least wait until he became a genin, but I still feel he deserved to right know. It directly involves him and answers questions he has probably been wondering for years. And, god forbid if something happened and Naruto had to find out about the Kyūbi himself…"
"Just be grateful something like that didn't happen." Shisui shivered at the thought. He couldn't imagine something happening to Naruto that would force him into a situation. He was really starting to enjoy being his sensei and the idea of the blonde being in that much peril was starting to disturb him. "Don't think about that. We told him at a good time. He'll be okay Itachi."
"Hmm…" Itachi nodded in understanding. "I agree. I just wonder if he still has any questions or concerns he didn't tell us."
"I don't know. Probably. If he has any for us, then he'll come to us. Until he does, though, I wouldn't spend your time worrying about it. I'm sure you already have enough things to stress over anyway." Shisui shrugged in response. The jōnin then started to yawn. "… Well, I'm going to take that as my cue to head on out and get some shut-eye. Take care Itachi."
"You as well Shisui." Itachi told his best friend.
Shisui disappeared from the room, using his shunshin to leave the room. Itachi was left alone, his thoughts as his only company.
His best friend was right: he did have other concerns that were stressing him out. In particular, the mission report and death of the Uchiha Sagiri was still troubling him. However, he couldn't help but worry if Naruto was okay and if he was going to take the news of his jinchūriki status well.
'… If he does have concerns, why would he come to us? We may not truly understand what it means to be a jinchūriki.' Itachi mentally questioned.
As soon as the thought entered his head, an idea came to his mind. Itachi quickly looked through some mission request forms he received recently and pulled out one marked with the image of Takigakure.
'… Perhaps it would be good for Naruto if he were to meet somebody who could probably give him some answers that Shisui or I couldn't give him.´ The Hokage started to wonder.
Author's Note: Hey guys! So, there's chapter five!
If you are also following my other story, True Potential, you would have seen the longer author's note I posted kinda explaining my absence. I don't really have much else to say: real life started to catch up to me and keep me busy, away from writing. It was extremely annoying and made me feel unsatisfied. I missed out on a lot of time that I had intended on devoting to my stories, and it really disappoints me that it happened. But I'm not going to deal with thinking about it for too long. I'm in a much better place right now and I'm much better at forcing time to write now. :) So, I'm going to keep that up regardless of anything else. Just know that I'll always update this story and will keep working on it until the day it is complete! Promise!
So yeah, this is chapter five. Kinda a transition chapter. This chapter may not have been the most exciting, but it was needed. I have many plans and this chapter is the beginning for quite a few of them.
Some of you were wondering when Fū would be coming into my story. The ending of this chapter may have been some foreshadowing, but I feel like just saying: it won't be much longer. She'll be here soon. :)
I don't really have too much to say. It's been a while since I've been able to write, so this chapter might be a little rusty. Let me know what you all thought and any things you liked/didn't like so that way I can improve on the story's quality for you all! I'll see you all when chapter six is complete. Until then! :)