A/N: Well, sorry for the long wait. I had some trouble writing after an accident where all the stuff I had already written was deleted, an almost done chapter 2 of this story and a half done chapter for my other story. I gave them a proper grace, then had a mourning period and was quite frustrated with the hard work gone... I eventually pulled myself together and finished this chapter on one evening turned night. Hope you like v2 of chapter 2!
Navy academy was... Well, for the lack of better words to describe it, having its ups and downs. Naruto wasn't his original hyperactive and generally unfocused self with the attention span of a goldfish.
That was a luxury he couldn't afford anymore after his parents had decided he was unworthy, a lesson he had learned over time in a painful way.
The saying "only the strong survive" wasn't that wrong. Now, the obvious question would be: "What does all that have to do with strength?" Though if you think about it a second, it would be quite obvious. Being unfocused and unable to concentrate holds several disadvantages, like not being able to plan even a single step ahead.
The consequence of BEING able to concentrate on something though is quite simple. If you are focused on a fight you can figure out strengths and weaknesses, both your own and the other person's/persons'. You can make decisions faster like 'block or evade?' and even predict the trajectory of an attack to do so.
The other consequence is theft you can learn faster. Much faster. Because often, the pen is mightier then the sword. Or rather, words in general, written or spoken. Knowledge is power.
He was quite glad that he was more concentrated and focused now. These traits had not only helped him survive in a cruel world, they also allowed him to grow from everything it threw at him. Like the Navy academy.
As he had been, he would have probably failed several times and ended up as a janitor or something. But as he was now, he did very well. Most classes, he scored well above the average.
The only actual exception being history, which was the result of the teachers lectures being as exciting as watching grass grow. It was almost like the man ate a devils fruit, his voice had the same effect as a hand full of narcotics mixed with another hand full of opiates. But with the help of a fellow student, the library and a shipload of coffee, he even got the history class on an average level.
After the first year in the academy, it was decided that Naruto should take the harder classes. With his intellect, physical strength and fighting prowess, resulting from his training with Garp, he was one of the few people among his fellow students that were suited to join the elite of the navy, starting at the rank of ensign. Of course, it was still a rather low rank, but then again it was already well above the normal marine members. Starting from the rank of ensign, people were not only allowed to wear the 'justice coats' but also had permission to not wear an uniform, even though there was an unwritten rule to wear it anyways for official occasions. Today was one of those.
After the years of training and learning in the academy, additional learning with a girl called Tashigi, who was the only other person in the advanced classes with him, and almost daily visits at the library, coupled with personal training with Garp and his crew to improve his speed, strength and situational as well as environmental awareness, it was finally time. Time to let the dogs out... Ehm, the rookies. But first, a ceremony, as it was custom.
Right now, the new batch of rookies stood in the wide, open area I front of the base's main building, a boring man giving a boring speech about all of them being the future of justice, bla, bla, bla, etc. and numerous giggles were heard from the crowd, as well as a growl. Said growl coming from one Naruto Uzumaki Namikaze, or rather Monkey D. Naruto, since he was legally adopted by Garp he had decided to accept his family name.
Despite the constant fighting, they did get along quite well, they could have actually been blood relatives. Both had heads hard as steel, both could have outbursts of any kind, falling asleep in random situations, all that stuff.
Well, back to the original topic. Everyone had attended to the ceremony in their new uniforms. Everyone but Naruto. The blond was wearing a jumpsuit, mainly colored a bright, eyeball melting orange, practically screaming "KILL ME!"
Naruto didn't really like the white and blue navy uniform, he really liked orange on the other hand, it was his favorite color.
Nevertheless, this jumpsuit he was wearing right now was way over the top. Even he could not call the item in question clothing. He wished he had not taken the bet that led to him wearing THIS. It was not clothing, it was MADNESS! But, as a man of his word, he took the jokes, stares and giggles like a man, albeit with a growl, hence the opera of snide comments, giggles, laughs, and Naruto as the tenor.
After the speech, they all were given their new assignments, most were assigned to stay at the base or other bases, few actually qualified to work under a captain.
Tashigi seemed quite excited as Naruto noted, so after congratulating her, he went to get his sheet but was in for a surprise.
The man simply told him to go meet Vice Admiral Garp. It seemed odd to Naruto but he just guessed he would work under the old fart. At the thought, he could have sworn he heard a faint "I AM NOT OLD!" coming from somewhere within the building. It was like the man had a seventh sense for stuff Naruto thought or said, even if he was nowhere close to him.
So, following the order, Naruto went to find his adoptive father -more like grandpa- and had no trouble doing so, seeing as he almost bumped into him when he entered the main building.
"Are ya ready, kid?" Naruto just looked at the giant in front of him.
"Aye aye, captain!"
"I can't hear you!"
"Oh, haha, real funny. I knew you were old, but I didn't think you were loosing your hearing already." Naruto said with a smirk on his face. To his surprise, Garp didn't start shouting about not being old or still having the flames of youth. Actually, he never heard Garp saying anything about flames of youth... He looked up into the sky.
Naruto was still young, around age 7, when he heard noises close to the Namikaze compound. They came and went by in a matter of seconds, before it recurred after a couple of minutes. After over an hour of this, he heard shouts. It started with a faint "uuuuuu" but as the noise came closer, it quickly turned into a loud shout.
"YOUTH! YOUTH! YOUTH! YOUTH!
YOUTH! YOUTH! YOUTH! YOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuu-" was all Naruto could hear from his room. He had long ago his under his bed, hoping it would finally be over, just when-
"UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTH!" "Please... Gai... Mer-mer... cy." This was a new voice, sounding like it had no energy, utterly drained by that monster he apparently named 'Gai'. "NO, MY ETERNAL RIVAL! TONIGHT WE SHALL SETTLE ONCE AND FOR ALL WHOSE FLAME OF YOUTH BURNS BRIGHTER!" After that, a long groan was just barely audible, originating from the second voice, then a loud *CRACK*, followed by the faintest of whimpers.
[Flashback over, back to reality]
Naruto couldn't help the shiver running down his spine, he wasn't a man of many fears but this event had left him with a slight childhood trauma resulting in a fear of ghosts. Of course he knew/believed they didn't exist. He just couldn't get over it...
Naruto was snapped out of his memory when he was lifted off the ground by his collar.
"Oi, kid, I am talking to you!"
"Yeah, yeah." Naruto waved his hand dismissively. "So, guess I was assigned to you?"
Garp grinned at this.
Well, yes. And no."
Naruto didn't like this. Something about Garp's grin seemed off. Malevolent even. It promised pain.
"Let's get going!" With those words, Garp walked off and after a second, Naruto followed.
Naruto was now back in his usual clothes, consisting of a hoody in black, with an orange zipper at the front and the pockets, but now with the kanji for 'justice' printed on the back. Under that was a crimson t-shirt with the words 'Fuck you' in black and a hand flipping the bird printed onto it. His pants were black and baggy and his shoes were casual, somewhat sporty, black and white with bright orange laces. Horizontal on his lower back was a tsurugi (he is carrying it like Itachi does with his tanto), a double bladed, straight short sword the length of a dagger or tanto, around 30cm of blade and a bit over 10cm of handle without a guard, hidden by his hoody, and a saber at his side, the blade roughly 70cm and the handle as long as the tsurugi's but it had a guard, starting right under the blade, going down in a curve to encase the entire handle at the front, connecting with it at the bottom. It looked like it came out of the forge just like that, with just a strip of rough leather wrapped around the steel.
[A/N: The descriptions all suck, I know that. For those of you that use the imperial instead of the metric system, I pity you. Also, an inch is 2.54cm, so enjoy the maths. I have some pictures for reference on my profile (I hope I can figure out how, I post from my mobile so I have to cry every time I try to do anything... Can't access my profile or post on the mobile version so I have to switch to the desktop version and that sucks with the small screen.)]
Naruto was staring out into the open sea. This never ceased to amaze him. The vast amount of blue water, the small waves, the slight rocking of the ship, the salty breeze, the sound of the waves when the ship cut through them. This was nothing you could find in Konoha. This was the reason that he had decided he would become a pirate when he was in the orphanage. And it was also the reason why he accepted being put into the navy, not that he was asked... It was... calming. Enjoyable.
The ship eventually came to a halt, there was a small island on the horizon. It confused Naruto a bit, there was nothing but the small island anywhere close, but it was too far away to take a small boat to get over there. Was this some crazy fishing trip? Nah, Garp wasn't senile yet, was he? Who would go on a 3 day journey for a fishing trip? Especially if said journey started on an island?
"So, ready kid?" Garp asked with a face splitting grin.
"Stop calling me kid, I am almost 18 now."
"Still a kid to me."
"That's because you are so old that everyone on this ship is a kid compared to you." Naruto deadpanned. Ouch. That hurt. Garp face planted at the verbal cheap shot, laying face down with an aura of depression hanging over him, before getting up like nothing happened, shouting at Naruto.
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING OLD, GNOME!"
"WHO ARE YOU CALLING A GNOME, WRINKLED GIANT!"
Their heads collided, sparks visibly shooting in between their eyes.
In safe distance to the two, Bogard and a miscellaneous marine watched the whole spectacle.
"Aaaaaand they are at it again." The marine chuckled.
"They are just to alike I guess."
Just as he finished his reply, Bogard spectated as both men suddenly fell asleep in the middle of their argument, with Garp holding Naruto by his collar, the boys feet dangling in the air. Burg men's face a peaceful expression and a bubble coming from their nose, inflating and deflating in tact with their breath. When they both woke up, Garp asked, "You ready?" but without waiting for an answer or giving a warning, he cocked his arm back, Naruto still gripped by his collar, and then tossed him full power towards the island.
"I NEVER SAID YES!" shouted the airborne Naruto.
"GOOD LUCK TRAINING, WE COME GET YOU IN A MONTH OR SO!" shouted Garp back, before there was a huge cloud of dust, likely from Naruto's impact with the ground...
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the chapter! As you see, I haven't put Naruto in with any captain or higher ranked... I will do that sometime between chapters 3 and 4, his devils fruit will come some time later. Just a little reminder, the poll is still up on my profile. See y'all next time!