Hatake Kakashi, being a Jounin of Konohagakure, due to his ninja prowess was rarely in a situation in which he did not have control or a certain degree of comfort. Of course that applies when he is able to be a controlling factor in the circumstances in which he finds himself in. Therefore, it was quite understandable that he woke up this morning with a quick start of panic because he was in an unfamiliar location and he had no idea how he got there. Fortunately for him he heard something that immediately calmed him down: Naruto. "Oi! Kakashi-sensei are you awake?" Kakashi gave his trademark eye smile as his students entered the room and casually affirmed Naruto's question.
"Where are we you guys?"
"I can answer that", said Tazuna as he entered the room with a beautiful young woman. "This is my home. We brought you here after you collapsed. The young lady standing next to me is my daughter Tsunami. Her son Inari is also around here somewhere."
"You have to try her cooking Kakashi-sensei. It's great dattebayo", chimed in Naruto enthusiastically. Tsunami, feeling very flattered, quietly said "Arigato."
"That sounds like a great idea Naruto but first I have something for us to do." The three Genin all looked at each other quizzically. "Training."
Fifteen minutes later Team 7 stood in the middle of a clearing just outside the town. The three Genin were anxiously awaiting the training from Kakashi-sensei.
"Is it a cool new jutsu?"
"Well not quite Naruto but it is a chakra control exercise."
"Chakra control? What's so great about that?"
"I am glad that you asked. Chakra control is important because it will help you be a better ninja when executing your techniques. I will give an example: the bunshin technique. When Sakura here does the bunshin technique, it is perfectly executed. When Sasuke does it he executes fairly well, but when you do it Naruto, it fails. The reason for this is because you all varying degrees of chakra control. Sakura has some of the best control I have ever seen. She uses the exact amount of chakra needed to create a bunshin. Sasuke uses just about the right amount of chakra as well to create the bunshin technique although he does overpower it. Naruto you have the worst chakra control of the team. This is apparent by the sheer amount of chakra you use in your bunshin technique." At these words Naruto grimaced while Sakura was blushing a bit at being praised. Sasuke stood by impassively. "Don't get too down on yourself though Naruto. The reason why controlling your chakra is so difficult for you is because your chakra capacity is humongous. It is already much bigger than mine." That statement piqued Sakura and Sasuke's interest.
"Naruto has more chakra than you Kakashi-sensei? Unbelievable", remarked Sakura. 'Just what is going on with Naruto?', thought Sasuke to himself.
"Yes he does. The point is that I will now teach you an exercise for controlling your chakra better: the tree walking exercise." Two simultaneous responses of "Huh?" and a third response of "Hn?" followed that statement. "How can climbing trees help control chakra sensei?", questioned Naruto. Now in a lot of cases when Naruto asks a follow-up question in an academic or learning environment, it leads to severe cases of face-palming and sweat-dropping, but in this case his two teammates agreed with him completely.
"Yes. Learning how to climb a tree the old-fashioned way is pointless in regard to developing better chakra control", affirmed Kakashi.
"Because I am going to teach you how to climb trees with your feet only." At this statement Kakashi received three very confused stares. It was so cute that he considered allowing their faces to remain that way but he decided to tell them what he meant. After giving them the basic explanation of how to channel chakra through their feet and sustaining that to walk up a tree, Kakashi allowed his Genin to test it out. After ten minutes of embarrassment for his team...well two of them, he decided to point out the success of one of their teammates to encourage them. He let Naruto and Sasuke fall off the tree once more before he coughed to get their attention. After claiming the attention of Naruto and Sasuke, Kakashi pointed at Sakura, who just so happened to be sitting near the top of the tree. "Hey what's taking you guys so long", she playfully taunted. Two different responses came from her teammates: one of excitement and admiration and another of anger and envy. It goes without saying that Naruto's was the first one and Sasuke's was the second one. "Wow Sakura-chan! You are so cool!", exclaimed Naruto. Sasuke clenched his fists and stared at the ground. Sakura blushed at Naruto's comment but was saddened by Sasuke's seemingly lack of interest in her accomplishment. Naruto noticed this and rebuked Sasuke: "Hey jerk, be happy for Sakura-chan." Before Sasuke could respond, if he was going to, Kakashi interrupted by giving an explanation of Sakura's rapid completion of the exercise. "As I mentioned earlier Sakura has some of the best chakra control I have ever seen and a part of that is because she has a lower capacity of chakra. The less chakra you have, the easier it is to control. That still does not undermine her elite skills at controlling it though. Sakura, your potential is vast. Now, on the other hand Naruto and Sasuke will have much more trouble becoming great at controlling chakra...especially Naruto for reasons that I have already explained. At this Naruto entered a silent mini pout session that was still somewhat visible. That ended quickly though as Kakashi continued, "When he is able to control that chakra he will become a really formidable ninja. Of course we all know of the potential that Sasuke has. Well anyway, get back to work." After a few more tries of failing Naruto got a clever idea: ask Sakura for tips. He casually sauntered his way over to Sakura and asked her for help. Sakura, still feeling very flattered by Naruto's earlier comments and very eager to show the team that she had something valuable to offer as well, gave Naruto a few pointers that would help him out. Needless to say, five minutes later Naruto was making more progress in tree walking than Sasuke was. If Sasuke showed more emotion, the shock on his face would be more apparent. From the casual viewer's perspective it would seem as if he was just interested in his orange clad teammate's progress. His pride would not allow him to admit that anyone was better than him. That is probably the main reason why he decided not to ask Sakura for help in this exercise. That same pride almost prevented him from walking over to Naruto and asking for help. It was more like indirectly asking for help though as he just casually asked, "How are you doing that?" Naruto grinned. "Why would I help you idiot?" To Sasuke's credit he did not respond with anger or violence but it would seem that he had a somewhat embarrassed look on his face. Naruto grinned again and proceeded to give Sasuke the tips that Sakura gave him.
Night time in the land of the waves was very beautiful. Being able to look up into the starry sky over the ocean and hear the gentle crashing of the waves was very calming. It was a little known, great tourist spot. Some say that was another factor in Gato choosing to put his evil grip on the land. Money was his biggest motivator after all. Currently, two young ninja were experiencing the beauty of the land while lying on their backs heavily panting. Their other teammate and sensei had gone back to Tazuna's house a while ago. These two were still dedicated to mastering the tree walking exercise. They had made it to a little bit over half of the tree up until now. "Hey Naruto we should probably call it quits for tonight."
"What? You giving up already?", playfully asked Naruto.
"Not everyone has the absurd amount of stamina that you have idiot. And even if I did that still wouldn't prevent us from suffering chakra exhaustion."
"I guess you are right. This will give me more time to read."
"Read? Since when do you read?", asked Sasuke with an eyebrow raised.
"Don't say that like I am idiot or something!", shouted Naruto with a bit of irritation. "I mean I admit that I am not the smartest person in the world but I can still read."
"Hn. What are you reading?"
"I have a couple of books on tactics that I have been reading. It's actually pretty cool. If I wanted to use my powers for "evil" I could be the greatest prankster in the world."
"Only you would think of something like that", said Sasuke as he rose. "Wait, why did you start reading books on tactics?"
Naruto and Sasuke were happy to know that Tsunami was cooking dinner when they arrived. Just as Naruto was finishing a second bowl Kakashi signaled to get his team's attention. After the three eyes that he was searching for found his he began to speak. "As you know Zabuza was carried away by an unknown shinobi yesterday. This probably means that we-"
"Will see him again soon", chimed in Naruto.
"Correct Naruto. On account that Tazuna is his target, he will definitely be back. We must continue to protect him. I want you three to be better prepared to face them this time. Hence the training."
"What do you mean by "them" sensei?", asked Sakura.
"Well it is likely that Zabuza's accomplice will join the battle this time to ensure that he completes his objective. That is why I want you three to work hard on mastering the tree walking exercise so that I can hel-"
"It's pointless to fight back", said the voice of a male child. They all turned to look at the source of the voice, which was Inari. "You all will just die like everyone else who opposes Gato." Naruto, being who he was, wanted to encourage the kid, so he did it in the way he knows how: boisterously. Inari's response was not ideal. What Naruto heard was this: "You know nothing of pain, isolation, loneliness."
All that Inari said were the wrong words to say as they all quickly found out. Naruto's teammates were still staring at the door in which Naruto left out of as they were processing the reaction from their teammates. Tsunami and Tazuna had equally dumbfounded expressions on their face and Inari was shocked motionless for a moment before running off. Kakashi was the only one who knew of the pain that caused Naruto to react the way he did. He was the only one there who knew that Naruto grew up with nobody caring for him. Of course Sasuke and Sakura knew he was an orphan but they never paid much attention to the fact that he was shunned by the general population of Konoha. They were not aware that people turned away when Naruto came into view. They did not know that parents made their kids leave the park when Naruto showed up. They did not that the vast majority of Konoha either hated or feared Naruto because they thought he was the Kyuubi itself. So of course Naruto knew all about pain, isolation, and loneliness. He lived it everyday back in Konoha. With a heavy sigh Kakashi rose from his seat. 'It's better to let Naruto have a moment to himself. I will have a little talk with Inari.' With that, he let the occupants of the kitchen keep their silent company.