When Kakashi's genin heard him say that they were going to get a mission today, they did not expect this. Needless to say that in the mind of three pre-teens, the ninja lifestyle was sensationalized. This was especially true to for the hyperactive member of the team who thought of jumping through trees slinging kunai and shuriken at all the enemies without getting injured at all. So when they found themselves gathering wood from the Great Konoha Oaks for one of the village's craftsmen they were not satisfied with their work. Not satisfied but definitely tired.
After chopping up the last oak, an exasperated Sakura called out, "Sensei, we have finished! Can we go back now?" "Sure", replied Kakashi, "as soon as we load them up in the cart." With his characteristic eye smile, he took a seat. By "we" he meant "you". Three collective groans...well two groans and silence..followed Kakashi's words.
As they were leaving the Hokage's office Naruto stopped in front of Kakashi and turned to face him. After an awkward silence of about 15 seconds he asked, "What's the big deal sensei?"
Kakashi with a confused look on his face responded, "What are you talking about Naruto?" "You know what we are talking about sensei", replied Sakura. An affirmative "Hn" came from the direction of Sasuke. "Ok ok I get it. It's about the missions right?" "Exactly! When you said mission I thought we were going to do something exciting", said the energetic blond. "What were three fresh genin expecting from their first mission? Did you think that you would be given an infiltration or assassination mission as a rookie? You have to work on the efficiency of your teamwork and execution. How do you expect to do that without practice? Besides, its not like chunin and jounin will do these missions." Once again two groans and silence followed his words.
"Well, even though we are not doing any exciting missions right now, that leaves us time to do other things right?", mused Naruto after Kakashi had left. "Let's go on a date Sakura-chan!" "Why would I go on date with you idiot?", shouted Sakura but in the same instant turned to ask Sasuke, "would you like to go get something to eat since we have the rest of the day free?" Sasuke had a far away look in his eyes while his two teammates were talking. Unbeknownst to them he was thinking of the man who killed his clan. Specifically he was thinking of the difference in power between himself and that man. That is why he did not realize how out of place his casual response of "later" as a goodbye was when he turned to leave. Naruto continued to sulk about Sakura's favoritism of Sasuke while Sakura stood there confused.
On his way home Naruto remembered the talk he had with Kakashi after their first day. Although he appreciated the advice Kakashi gave him, Naruto realized that he did not have much direction to go on. Just then Naruto happened to be passing by the favorite cloud watching spot of the laziest out of the rookie 9 when he spotted hair that was tied in the way that he has only seen from Shikamaru. "HEY! SHIKAMARU, is that you up there?", shouted Naruto. Within 5 seconds Shikamaru quickly decided that responding to Naruto would be more troublesome than he would like to so he decided to ignore him by pretending to be asleep. It would have worked on anyone else but unfortunately for Shikamaru this was Naruto, who proceeded to jump up to his location and prod him. To be fair Shikamaru deserved a lot of credit for his perseverance on account of the fact that he withstood prodding for about five minutes before he decided that being prodded was more troublesome than responding to Naruto. He decided to 'wake up' at that moment and said "Hey Naruto." Naruto with an annoyed look on his face shouted, "Finally! You sure are a heavy sleeper Shikamaru." 'I was trying to ignore you idiot', thought Shikamaru, nevertheless he responded, "Sure you can say that, what do you want Naruto?" "Well I was thinking of something Kakashi-sensei told me the other day and I was looking for help. Sensei told me that if I put the same effort into using tactics that I do with my pranks then I would become a much more formidable ninja." "So you want me to help you create tactics right?" "Exactly!", shouted Naruto in response. "Troublesome."
It was not everyday that Shikamaru would stick out in public and be noticed by everyone on the road. To be honest he considered it troublesome to be noticed at all by people. He figured that if people did notice that he was there then it would be much more probable that they would bother him. Ironically his clan's Kage based jutsu was a perfect representation of the type of obscurity that he would like to live in. Unfortunately for him at the moment there was something...rather someone who was impeding that from happening at the moment. For the past five minutes Naruto had been following him around Konoha begging him to help with tactics. "Please Shikamaru?", pleaded Naruto. Shikamaru contemplated what would be more troublesome, helping Naruto or allowing Naruto to destroy his lifestyle of obscurity and laziness. In the end it was an easy choice. Not to mention that he has already thought of a way to help Naruto without having to do much of anything. "Ok Naruto I will help you." "Really! That's awesome Shikamaru. So when do we begin?" "Right now. The first step is easy: reading", said Shikamaru with a knowing smile. "Reading?", questioned Naruto with an exasperated face. "Yes, the best place for you to start is the Konohagakure library. You need to gain as much information as possible before you start creating plans", stated Shikamaru sagely. "I guess so", said Naruto with a questioning look on his face, "thanks Shikamaru, I will let you know how it goes." 'Great, that should buy me some time.'
Although Naruto was a bit skeptical and disappointed about Shikamaru's advice, he took it to heart. After spending a couple of hours in the Konohagakure public library, the first hour or so being lost due to the classification system, Naruto found a couple of books on the theory of tactics and basic strategies. He was so excited that he only ate a couple bowls of Miso Pork Ramen before going home to read. He cleared the first chapter of both books before realizing that he was hungry. After searching the kitchen Naruto paused for a moment and for the next thirty seconds everyone in a 2 mile radius heard a frightening shout. It was safe to assume that Naruto was out of food again...well out of cup ramen at least. There was still the chicken, vegetable mix, and rice that Jiji bought for him. 'I guess I will settle for this', thought Naruto, 'The book did say that a great tactician has a sound mind and body and that the mind and body can be impacted by eating habits.' After a meal that was not ramen Naruto started to think. As he stared at his now empty plate while tuning out the miscellaneous sounds that came from various places in the neighborhood, like the sound of old man Watarashi chasing off the stray dogs with his wooden spool or the young woman living downstairs dancing in her apartment, he thought about his new team and the things they had done so far. Thinking of Kakashi-sensei, Sasuke, and Sakura-chan made him smile. It took a minute for him to recognize that expression on his face. Naruto rarely genuinely smiled because of happiness. 'It's similar to when I am with Iruka-sensei or Jiji', thought Naruto. Thinking about his team made him remember their last interaction. 'Aw man, Sakura-chan still follows Sasuke around. What's so great about him anyway? If only I could...be Sasuke...for...a...while', mused Naruto progressively until "Of course-dattebayo, the transformation jutsu!" A mischievous grin appeared on Naruto's face. 'No one ever saw practice as a bad thing right', thought Naruto slickly. Naruto went to bed that night planning tactics "practice".
"Just my luck!", protested Naruto as he fled from the park bench that was currently seating a bewildered Sakura. 'Just as I was about to get that kiss too, dang it!' The plan had went off without a hitch. Naruto ambushed Sasuke by pretending to brashly challenge him to a fight in a secluded hallway. Instead of a straightforward fight Naruto created shadow clones to subdue Sasuke and tie him up. Naruto calculated that Sasuke did not have knowledge that he knew the shadow clone jutsu-a physical clone opposed to the normal academy style. After tieing him up Naruto transformed into Sasuke and exited the building. To the casual observer who saw "Sasuke" emerge from the building, it would seem that Sasuke made quick work of Naruto. This was the thoughts of Ino-Shika-Cho combo who just so happened to be on the rooftop of an adjacent building. "Well of course Sasuke-kun would win", said Ino pridefully as if she were talking about her possessions. "Yea Sasuke was top of the class", said Choji. "It would seem that way huh", inputted Shikamaru. 'I want to know what "Sasuke" has up his sleeve', thought Shikamaru with a knowing smile. Everything had gone fine after meeting up with Sakura and asking to talk up until the moment they were about to kiss. Suddenly a rumble shook Naruto's abdomen and he had to find a restroom, which is where he is currently. He would understand what went wrong when he got home and read the note from Kakashi-sensei attached to his milk.
Meanwhile the real Sasuke had managed to free himself and just so happened to run into Sakura sitting on the park bench. "Sasuke-kun you're back", said Sakura with a smile, 'Now where were we.' Sasuke who had no idea what Sakura was talking about simply asked Sakura where Naruto was. "I don't know where he is Sasuke-kun. Why are you asking about him anyway?" "I ran into him earlier today and I need to talk to him now, but he is missing", responded Sasuke. "That's typical Naruto for you. Always a troublemaker. You know he acts like that because he is an orphan that lives alone and doesn't have any parents to teach him any discipline", said Sakura ignorantly without noticing Sasuke's increasingly angry and irritated expression. "What do you know of being alone and isolated without family Sakura? It is a cold, dark, and lonely place. It's a hard and strenous life to live", said Sasuke darkly and vehemently while walking away. Needless to say Sakura was stunned and took a minute to adjust to what she just heard. It's true that she had not considered how hard that life must have been for Naruto. 'Maybe I can do better by being nicer to Naruto', she thought.
After emptying his bowels for the sixth time that day, Naruto lay on the bed with a bottle of water. He was near dehydrated, somewhat sad, and somehow happy. Bad news was that he failed to kiss Sakura-chan. Good news was that his plan was executed almost flawlessly. He managed to dupe Sasuke with one of the most integral aspects of tactics: making your opponent let their guard down by giving them a reason to underestimate you. Without pre-knowledge of Naruto's shadow clone jutsu, Sasuke was in no way prepared to defend against three real Naruto clones. Then his transformation jutsu was flawless. He perfectly replicated the appearance of Sasuke and somewhat got the personality down as well. Overall the day was a success. "One step closer to being Hokage-dattebayo!"