Hi everybody. For this weekend I have a new one-shot for you. Due to going through chemo-therapy, as I have cancer, I mostly don't feel up to writing most days. I can't say when I can update my current stories, as I have real trouble with my stomach the week after chemo therapy and I need to be in the mood to work on them. Thus I will post what I have in terms of stories, like this story, which I wrote a while ago. Consider the running stories on part-hiatus, to be continued when I feel better. I'm not giving any of them up.

Things look good for full healing, but the stomach problems really suck.

I don't own Naruto, just this little idea.

Chunin Exams Sabotage

Naruto stood in front of his secret sensei. He had been a genin for about three and a half months now, and while he gave the impression of a clown, he was actually pretty serious about his job. Nobody, especially not Kakashi Hatake, knew that Naruto had been called into the Hokage's office the day he had been passed from the academy by Iruka Umino, thanks to learning the shadow clone jutsu in just a few hours and taking down the traitor Mizuki. The Hokage had told him clearly that, while he would honour the decision of Iruka, he needed to catch up on many things that he hadn't learned at the academy. He also got a clear plan of how certain elements in the village wanted to keep his growth as a ninja stunted, simply because of the fox and power plays. As the Hokage, he had ways to work around that, but he couldn't openly assist him, as his political standing wasn't what it had once been.

Still, he had introduced Naruto to his true sensei, who in turn had put Naruto through hell in training. Kakashi neglected his team a lot, both by never being on time, as well as by limiting their training to simple things. Naruto, thanks to meeting his true sensei early in the morning, in fact he trained from six until eleven with his true sensei, as Kakashi never appeared before eleven, even if he told them to be there at eight, got a lot more training in than both of his teammates, who stupidly didn't do anything useful while waiting for Kakashi. He had also been told the secret behind the shadow clone jutsu and abused it, as much as possible without damaging his mind or body, to catch up onto what the teachers at the academy should have taught him during the years he was there.

He had done that, thanks to his sensei understanding how his mind worked and how he learned new things the best way, after one month of training. The one area Naruto didn't lack in was the physical one, meaning stamina, reflexes, body strength, stealth and speed. That was something he could work on by simply imitating what the other kids were doing and which didn't need much explanation. He was also very adept at trap building, simply by transferring his experience from playing pranks to the area. Replace paint bombs with kunai and shuriken, or add premade explosive seals and you had one very dangerous opponent in Naruto.

"Naruto, I have an important mission for you," His sensei told him.

"What is it, sensei?" Naruto replied, knowing that his sensei wasn't one to like useless small talk. He always got to the point quickly.

"In four weeks' time the chunin exams will be held here in Konoha," His sensei informed him.

"Alright, I doubt that my team will be ready by then. Sakura is a banshee that slacks in her training in favour of caring for her hair and body, or for stalking the emo Uchiha after training," Naruto stated a known fact, "Sasuke, well, he has some skill, but by far not the needed mentality to survive the exams. I mean, if the tasks aren't too impossible to go through, I might be able to pull them through, but nobody but you and the Hokage know my true level."

"I agree with your estimation fully, and I would add that the other two rookie teams that passed the true genin test in your years aren't ready either. But certain elements will want to see the heirs to the clans that are known to be genin at the moment to participate, as they want them to draw a lot of attention to the finals, which means more business for the village. No matter that most of them aren't ready at all for the true sides of ninja life. They are still children, mostly playing around at being a ninja. But I know for a fact that Kakashi, Kurenai and Asuma will nominate their teams, either out of false pride, competitiveness or being bribed," His sensei pointed out.

"That's madness. You should only enter the exams if you are actually ready for the rank, not for showing off one or two people that might have a chance to get through with their lives," Naruto groaned, "What am I to do?"

"We can do nothing about their nomination, but nobody says that they can't be sabotaged in the tasks. The first task will be hard to interfere with, but I know that the proctors for the exams are from our T & I department. They will weed out a lot of unsuited candidates. What I want you to do is only making sure that you and your team reach the second phase. Once there, you are to sabotage all teams that aren't ready for the exams. I will give you a list of all Konoha teams that are nominated and highlight those that should take a bit more time to train. The older teams will probably manage to get by, they should have had enough training, but I want none of the rookies or the ones from the year above you to make it into the finals. While I know that Gai's team isn't bad, his students aren't ready to become chunins yet. And the team of Kirei, should he nominate them, are even worse and can't be allowed to pass.

"We are just burning potentially good ninjas for the ambitions of the senseis. Skills aren't the only thing that's needed to be a chunin, you also need the mental part to be ready to shoulder the responsibility that comes with the rank. And even you, who are much more mature and aware of what the job entitles, aren't ready to advance in rank yet. You have the skills, without any doubt, but you need more time to mentally grow enough to be ready to lead others on potentially lethal missions. You get clearance to do what is needed to get the teams thrown out of the exams as soon as possible. I'd rather have a number of genin fail in the exams and stay alive, than having to think up ways to build up new candidates that could shoulder the future of Konoha after your year has been burned up. Your graduation class's teams that passed the true genin exams have a lot of potential, it just needs the time to truly grow," He explained.

"I understand, sensei. I agree. While I can hold my own against a chunin level opponent right now, I wouldn't know the first thing about how to be a good team leader. And I have the living example of how much damage can be caused by throwing a child into military situations that it isn't ready for way too early in Kakashi. How many teams do you want to pass the second phase overall and any preferences onto which villages should be allowed to stay in the exams until the finals?" Naruto asked.

"I don't want any of the smaller villages to have a team in the finals. That would be bad for business. One of the older Konoha teams is a must have, and possibly a team from Suna. I doubt that Kumo will send a team and Iwa never sends teams to Konoha for the exams, like we don't do it with theirs, and Kiri is still in their civil war, so they are too busy," The sensei summed it up.

"Understood. So, perhaps two Konoha teams and one Suna team. That would have the balance in our favour, but wouldn't look too bad for village relations. I'll have to see which Suna team has the best chances of passing and then just leave them alone. If they make it, all is well, if not, then they don't deserve their promotions. And I can also already get started before the exams even begin. I have some nice ideas," Naruto grinned.

"I will leave that to you, Naruto. We will use the next month to increase your training and get you started on fuinjutsu. With your Uzumaki heritage, you have a high chance of being good in the art," His sensei informed him.

"I will do my best, sensei," Naruto promised.

His sensei nodded and then pointed his arm at the door to the left, which led to the secret gym Naruto was using to train away from prying eyes.

Naruto had got the list with the names of the nominated teams a week before the exams would start and had sent his shadow clone army to spy on them all, wanting to know if the observations of his sensei about the level of the participants were true. Well, he had to say, the level of training that most genin teams had got was pitiful. He now understood why his sensei vehemently refused to let those that were simply not ready and in danger of being killed enter. As he knew that certain targets needed to at least get past the first phase, among them his own team, as he needed to be present to sabotage the second phase, he would concentrate on weeding out idiots from those teams that didn't need to progress past the first phase before the exams even started and while the first task went on.

He grinned evilly. This would be so much fun. He made a list of pranks that he wanted to pull off against the participants in the exams, especially some long-overdue revenge pranks against Sasuke and Sakura. They would pay for the way they treated him all the time. After all, if they couldn't see that he was sabotaged by all teachers at the academy, even Iruka, before he finally understood that Naruto wasn't the fox or malicious prankster, somewhere close to the last two weeks at the academy if he had seen things right, then they were blind.

Well, he had a few days to buy all the needed supplies, of course he would do so under a transformation jutsu, he didn't want to be robbed blind for this after all, and to prepare the needed seals. Then he would run wild in assuring that Konoha's next generation wasn't gutted before it could ever grow up enough to make a difference. It would be helpful that the test started at nine in the morning. Oh the possibilities.

It was the first of July and Konoha's hospital was dealing with a mass food poisoning. Somehow, a large number of people had eaten a delivery of poisonous or rotten food. They were still working out the source of the problems, but everybody that lived within a certain neighbourhood was hit. So far there were about fifty victims, civilians and ninjas alike. Though most of the ninjas were just genin, which was somewhat logical, as higher ranking ninjas were taught to look for bad food while they got their initial instructions as chunins. Poison was after all a favourite tactic of ninja warfare. An enemy that was poisoned, wasn't as big of a danger anymore, or no danger at all. Among the victims of the poisoning were three genins that should have entered the chunin exams today, but it was simply impossible to get them ready in time. Their teams would have to wait for the next round in six months.

Nobody noticed one of the nurses that helped with basic caring for the patients grin secretly, and neither did anybody notice when she dissolved into a cloud of smoke after going into 'break'. Naruto had placed shadow clones at some strategic spots inside the village to have the perfect idea of what was going on. Three teams that weren't ready gone, he mentally checked off his list. And many more to follow.

Kisuke Himatonamo was a genin and had been so for a year already. His sensei, Kirei Fujita had nominated his team for the chunin exams for the first time. But try as he might, he couldn't get out of his house to be on time for the first test to start. He hadn't noticed anything when he woke up at the time he had set his alarm clock to. But then, when he wanted to go to his bathroom, he had noticed a huge problem. His bedroom had been turned into a totally closed room. He had tried the door, the window and even a substitution with something on the other side of the door that he knew was there, but it had only got him a bloody nose, as he couldn't get through the wall. Now he wished that his team had already learned the body flicker. That worked from closed rooms. His teammates were going to kill him if he didn't show up. He had by now begun attempting to cut down his door with a kunai, but he wasn't really making progress. Who knew that simple wood could be this stubborn? He looked at the alarm clock on his bedside table. Shit, only twenty minutes left. He would never make it. And to top everything off, he really needed to pee. He frantically hacked on, but the door didn't budge at all.

Naruto grinned when one of his clones that was transformed into a bird told him about the fate of three more genins. Yes, his plan was working well so far. He had sent two teams onto a genjutsu powered chase for the academy building, seals were truly great, and, like his sensei had suspected, he had a true knack for them. Then he had booby trapped the bedrooms of three Konoha genins, next to putting powdered sleeping pills under the food of two others. The less teams appeared at the academy, as long as they weren't the well-known clan members, the easier his mission would be. And honestly, if they had some proper situational awareness, they wouldn't be falling for the level of traps he was using.

And he knew that the test could only be taken in teams of three. That meant, if one genin was taken out of the equation, the whole team couldn't participate. An easy and unbloody way to give overambitious guys a one-year-long period of time, as he knew that the next exams were going to be held in Iwa. And nobody would let any team go there. Perhaps one reason why the senseis sent teams that just weren't ready yet into this exam.

He made his own way over to the academy, leaving any further sabotage before the exams to his shadow clones. After all, it wouldn't do for him to miss the start of the exams. While that would keep the emo and the banshee out of them, he wouldn't have access to the others that also needed to fail. And a good ninja could sabotage other teams without being noticed. There would be suspicions of sabotage later on, but hey, they were attempting to become chunin, which meant that they needed to prepare for other teams trying to thin the competition out before it even became an issue.

Naruto admired the subtle pre-test that Izumo and Kotetsu had set up on the second floor. Very ninja-like that genjutsu. And honestly, everybody attempting to become a chunin should know that room 301 wouldn't be on the second floor, but the third floor. The two chunin had stalled a large number of teams already and it would weed out a good number of weak teams before they could get themselves killed in the exams. Thankfully, he noticed that the idiot Uchiha was about to mouth off again and created a wind barrier around him to not have him blow the secret. He directed his two supposed teammates towards the stairs to the third floor before taking it off.

"What the hell, dobe?" Sasuke growled.

"Do you really want the idiots that can't even spot a genjutsu in the exams? I mean, even I saw through that, as I know the academy building very well from my pranking the teachers all the time, and I'm not good at genjutsu. And room 301 is on the third floor, not the second. I could see that Sakura saw through this immediately, simply because she is smart like that, but as far as you constantly said after Kakashi sensei told us that he had nominated our team, you want to go up against the strongest opponents in the exams. Why would you let the weak ones pass?" Naruto argued.

Sasuke didn't give a comeback to that, just his usual 'hn', simply because he wouldn't admit that he had been wrong and Naruto had been right.

"It's already ten to nine," Sakura said, "We should make our way to the examination room to not be disqualified for being too late."

"You're right, Sakura," Naruto nodded with his usual mask smile on his face, "Let's go there and kick some ass."

"Naruto!" Sakura growled out, annoyed at his behaviour.

Sasuke took the lead and they found their sensei waiting for them in front of the room.

"Kakashi sensei, what are you doing here?" Naruto asked.

"Well, I waited here, just in case that you didn't all come for the exams. You see, the exams can only be taken in teams of three. So, if only one or two of you had come, I would have intercepted them," Kakashi explained.

"But why didn't you tell us that before?" Sakura asked.

"Because I didn't want anybody to force the others to compete, mainly you Sakura, you would have taken the exams just for Sasuke, perhaps also for Naruto, but I'm proud that you decided to come on your own volition. Now you can proceed," Kakashi said with one of his eye-smiles.

'Figures he only cared about Sakura being forced, as her mother sits on the civilian council,' Naruto thought, 'But then again, with the image I give while wearing my mask, he didn't need to worry about me not wanting that promotion. If he only knew.'

The three went through the large door into room 301, only to be confronted with a large number of genin teams that stared at them hostilely. Sakura was a bit intimidated, but was distracted by Ino making a move on Sasuke. Naruto looked at the other five that were the members of the two rookie teams that had passed besides team seven. Team eight consisted of Kiba Inuzuka, a brash boy with a small white and brown puppy called Akamaru as his ninja dog partner. He was one of the people on the list that shouldn't be in the exams yet. Then Shino Aburame. A boy that used insects for his fights with a sound and calculating mind. He was one of the people in the exams that should have just been given a year of more experience and he would be great. For giving him experience in a setting that was in known territory, it might have been acceptable, as Shino was a good ninja, but if that was the intention, his sensei should have added him to another team of older genin.

Naruto's sensei's analysis was that he might be able to pull his team through to the finals, if nothing to bad took place. And that couldn't be allowed, as Kiba and Hinata, the third member of the team, just weren't ready. Hinata Hyuga was a girl with short bluish-black hair in a hime stile, a large, baggy tan jacket and a serious confidence problem. Still, she had more potential than Sakura and Ino had, if she only got the time to grow at her own pace. The expectations of the elder council of her clan certainly didn't help her anything.

The team of children of their clan's leaders would be good in a year's time, but right now it was too early. Only Shino was close to being ready for the position of chunin and that wasn't reason enough to endanger the other two like this. The other team, consisting of Shikamaru Nara, Choji Akimichi and Ino Yamanaka, was the next generation of the famous Ino-Shika-Cho formation, which their fathers had made feared. Still, this team was even less prepared for a higher rank and more dangerous missions than team eight. Shikamaru might be a genius, but he was lazy and didn't take his job serious enough. But that was normal in young Naras. He would need a wake-up call, which might be the reason that Asuma had nominated the team. Still not a good reason. Ino was a gossip and also a hopeless fangirl of the Uchiha. While her clan training put her a step above Sakura, she really needed to take her training more serious, otherwise she would be killed on a mission.

Choji was simply not experienced enough and was quick to give up in the face of adversary. Not to mention that he needed to deal with taunts towards his shape better to not let an opponent gain an opening from it. Naruto's eyes narrowed though when an older genin named Kabuto approached the group. The admonishment, well, that was more than justified. They nearly all behaved like the children they were, but his offer to give up information for free didn't sit right with Naruto. Information in exchange for something useful, yes, believable, but just for nothing? That didn't fit the ninja mentality. Or the guy simply wanted to butter up Sasuke. He didn't know enough about his background to be sure, but he would keep an eye on Kabuto during the second phase of the exams, should he get there, which was probable, as he was a repeat taker of the exams.

Naruto soon found himself sitting next to Hinata Hyuga. He had decided to not let her team fail the first test, as he didn't want to totally destroy her confidence. He would act against her team in the second phase. Hinata just needed some gentle encouragement and building up of her abilities, not the constant beat down that the Hyuga elders called training. The old bastards were just angry that Neji, the son of the clan head's twin brother, which they had decided to send into the branch family, had way more natural talent than Hinata, the heiress of the clan. Not to mention that he thought that Hinata was cute and he wouldn't mind getting to know her better. He would be nice, compared to what he would do to other teams, in sabotaging her team during the exams.

Well, let the second phase of his mission begin. He hid a grin, as he had so many nice ideas on how to get some idiots thrown out, by making the proctors catch them cheating, or totally destroying their answering sheets. Ibiki had told them what to do. Cheat without getting caught. Do it like a true ninja. Well, taking out the competition unnoticed was part of that. He had already chosen his targets. Five genin from his list would be failing the test here and now. And if he could blame his cheating on somebody else to get them thrown out, all the better. He wrote down instructions to his shadow clone, which was disguised as a speck of dirt on his jacket, without actually writing on the paper and the clone passed the information on to the other clones.

He had prepared for this test and sent about twenty clones into the room beforehand, after all, he had known for about a week where the test would be taking place. Not using that would have been stupid. His clones were all transformed into unsuspicious things inside the room. From pictures on the wall, replacing the ones that were there normally, to spots on the benches to have good sight onto the papers that those in the row in front were filling out. Two clones took some time to collect the right answers before dispelling and sending the information that Naruto needed to him. That part was done. Now to use the remaining clones in useful ways.

The first clone was very creative in sabotaging his victim. A spot on the table, which was actually a miniature seal to set things on fire, was activated and the paper of the one sitting in the seat cried out in surprise and tried to salvage his paper, but the seal had activated right in the middle under it, burning from the inside to the outside in seconds.

"Well, as you won't be able to hand in a paper at the end, you are out. Take your teammates and leave!" Ibiki instructed.

"What, but that's unfair!" The genin in question protested.

"You don't have a test to hand in anymore, which means you are disqualified. That should have been logical. And your whining isn't worthy of a ninja. Leave before I make you!" Ibiki threatened.

The cowed genin left, muttering about unfairness and sabotage while leaving, his teammates following him, also looking very unhappy about being thrown out like this. Nobody had said anything about sabotage being allowed. What they didn't know was that Ibiki considered everything that wasn't forbidden by the rules as allowed. A ninja had to think about how to gain the biggest possible advantage for a mission.

Naruto meanwhile used some other tricks to make teams fail, like causing one genin to always touch his ear, which the proctors considered too obvious cheating with some jutsu and threw the whole team out as well. To make things fair, Naruto got teams from all kinds of villages disqualified, which stressed many others in the room to the point of making stupid mistakes on their own, decreasing the number of participants again. Once it was time for the last question, there were perhaps half the number of teams that had started this round left.

"Pens down, maggots, it's time for the last question!" Ibiki barked.

The chunin hopefuls looked at him.

Ibiki gave them instructions how they had to choose to take or not take the question. That alone cemented for Naruto that it was just another trick. You couldn't choose your missions. If the Hokage gave you one, you took it, no matter the danger or possible lack of information. But seemingly a good number of others broke under the mental pressure. Sakura thankfully only needed a stern look from Sasuke to not even think about quitting anymore. He let this go on, as it made his job much easier. His sensei wanted that only a low number of teams made it into the finals, this would thin out the pool of people that could get there at all. After all those with weak minds had left, Ibiki revealed the intention behind the last question and told them what it had been about.

Then their second proctor, a kunoichi his sensei had warned him to never underestimate, Anko Mitarashi, crashed through the window, giving a great show.

"Hm, you still left me seventeen teams to play with, Ibiki," Anko commented.

"We have a hard core this year, Anko. The weakling already ran home," Ibiki stated.

"Otherwise it wouldn't have been any fun anyway. But I will at least cut their numbers in half again. Oh, I can't wait. Listen, small fry, my name is Anko Mitarashi, and I'll be your next proctor. Anybody that isn't present in front of the entrance to training ground forty-four at one in the afternoon, will get his whole team disqualified. So make sure that your bathroom visits don't take too long!" Anko declared.

She then jumped back out of the window and could be seen leisurely walking towards Konoha's most popular dango stall.

Naruto could only shake his head at the stupidity of his teammates. Sakura's screeching had basically told everybody around who had their team's scroll. If he didn't have his mission to sabotage the rookie teams and those that simply weren't ready for the next rank, he would be much more annoyed with her. But this way, the other teams would aim at the right person. And Sasuke's plan was basically running around without a decent plan and then beat the other team up. That might be workable if it weren't for two facts. First, Sakura was not a qualified kunoichi and would lose to any opponent in the exams, except perhaps Ino or other fangirls, but Naruto seriously doubted that the other genin teams had them among them anymore, as fangirls tended to either shape up or wash out of the ninja program after a year or so.

One more reason why it was stupid to send rookie teams into exams like these. Second, as far as they believed, Naruto wasn't much better at the ninja arts than Sakura, which meant that Sasuke would have to deal with three against one odds, should the team they came across be one of those that had actually trained properly and were ready for promotion. Which basically meant all the teams from other villages and the older Konoha teams that didn't get disqualified yet. In this round you wouldn't have many weaklings. The test from Ibiki had just allowed for a good number of those that had the basic mentality needed for the job to get through. And as his sensei had told Naruto, it wasn't that the higher ups didn't believe that the current rookies wouldn't become good ninjas, it was that it was too early for them.

As he knew that his teammates never noticed when he switched positions with a shadow clone, he excused himself to go into the bushes, which made Sakura shriek again, supposedly for him using crude language. Really, she hadn't learned anything and Sasuke also didn't see the danger of her bad habits, as he didn't bother correcting them. Naruto would have done so, if she didn't discard anything he said as stupid all the time. That was doomed from the beginning. Once he had the cover of the bushes, he made fifty shadow clones, which immediately transformed into the previously discussed forms of forest animals, other ninjas from different genin teams and so on. He let them scatter and then proceeded to take out an Ame ninja that had sneaked up on him, probably wanting to take him out to get his team's scroll. Not a bad plan, but Naruto had sensed him early on.

He didn't have a scroll but Naruto found some other useful things that he confiscated. His sensei had drilled into him that robbing an enemy of useful supplies was just the smart thing to do, as you never knew when you could need those things on a mission. And it also lessened the danger level of your enemy, should you leave him alive. Naruto didn't see a reason to kill the other genin, even if there weren't any rules in the exams, but he would make sure that his team didn't disturb them again. Once that was done, Naruto went to play merry hell with the genin in the exams while his clone went and followed Sasuke's stupid plan to get another scroll.

The first team Naruto hit was team ten. He sneakily directed them into a field that he knew had plants with very potent sleeping agents in their sap. Those plants hang from the branches of trees, masquerading as harmless vines. They were carnivores, feeding on small animals and large insects. The blossoms would attract the prey and once they drank from the nectar inside it, the vines would free a dose of the sleeping sap into the blossom, letting the animal simply drink the sap with the nectar, falling asleep to never wake up again, as the blossoms would then suck the prey in and digest it. And while humans didn't have to fear that part, the sap's effect lasted for four days, if no antidote was given. And by then team ten would need a major miracle to not only overcome the remaining effects, like sluggishness and messed up chakra control, but also find a remaining team that had the scroll they needed.

Thus, when the team was under the vines, with Ino gushing over the pretty blossoms, Naruto threw some senbons into the vines, making the sap drip onto the three. Thankfully, it wasn't needed to swallow the sap, skin contact was more than enough. Like predicted, the three fell prey to the sap and Naruto made sure to secure them on a makeshift platform, hiding them out of sight. He didn't want them to be killed by another team after all, just that they didn't have a chance to pass the exams. He took the scroll from Choji and then leaped away to continue his work.

Naruto was honestly surprised how easy it was to take out one team after the other. He had thought that, if they were attempting promotion to chunin, they would be much more vigilant during the exams. After all, Anko had driven home that killing was allowed in these exams and stealth was something his true sensei had taught him as one of the first things in his overall training, basically at the same time as he had been taught chakra control exercises to get a grip over his overly large reserves. But here he was, one genin that had only graduated a few months before, and he was taking out teams left, right and centre without having much trouble. He didn't need to fight even once so far, which only showed how true the estimation of most teams' qualifications for these exams was.

He by now had sealed up six scrolls of both kinds, which, considering that only seventeen teams were inside the forest and eight of them could pass overall, limited the chances for the other teams a lot. He had also found out, thanks to his shadow clone that he had left with his team dispelling, that team seven had been attacked. The clone had dispelled on impact with a huge snake. Well, he had been warned that the animals in this forest could grow to grotesque sizes. He had seen a group of four Fire Country tigers already and kept well away of them. Well, probably the one behind the wind attack would liberate the two of their scroll, which would help with the overall goal of keeping the two out of the finals.

He was sure that they could at least survive until he could return to them. Sasuke was at least good enough for that, as long as the opponent was about chunin level. Defeating a good chunin candidate would be difficult, but surviving was more than possible. And he knew that he needed Sakura to pass the round, so he would look out for her as well. And she of all people needed a wake-up call. Right now, Naruto was above a clearing that had one of the Suna teams and one of the Ame teams. He could also sense team eight hiding inside some bushes, watching. What he then witnessed showed why you shouldn't send rookie genin into chunin exams.

That redhead from Suna was brutal. He had no problem with simply killing his opponents with some sand jutsu. No wonder that Kabuto's cards said he had never been injured on any mission. That sand worked as the ultimate defence and offence in one. And if his senses didn't deceive him, his chakra levels indicated a jinchuriki like himself. Well, he would have to report this to the Hokage. He needed to know that Suna had sent the jinchuriki of the Ichibi to Konoha. It wasn't forbidden, he was a jinchuriki himself after all, but you always needed to keep the holders of a biju from another country under watch.

Naruto couldn't care less if Gaara got his murderous urges out in a battle where it was allowed. As long as he didn't go around slaughtering civilians, well, he knew too well how many jinchuriki were treated by their villages. If it led to one lashing out, well, it was the fault of the villages in the end. His own experiences taught him that people were stupid and that the only way to prevent things like these was actually keeping the identity of the jinchuriki a full secret, only letting those in the highest positions know about it. And then letting the poor guy that got stuck with the biju make connections to the village, after all, you wouldn't want to fight for a place that always abused you. Naruto got shunned, but at least he wasn't attacked or anything like that, except that one time when some civilians had got totally drunk. But the ANBU had dealt with that quickly.

Well, he didn't want Gaara to kill anybody from team eight. Thus he put his plan into motion quickly. He used some chakra strings to pull the team up into the trees, while Gaara was fully concentrated on the Ame team. Some sprayed sleeping sap into their faces knocked them out and he collected their scrolls as well. They had actually already collected their needed scroll and had probably been on the way to the tower. Well, he had his orders. He was to keep the clan heirs out of the finals for this exams, they would get another chance in a year, when they were more mature and experienced.

He would admit that his gaze lingered a good deal longer on Hinata's sleeping face. He had a crush on her, he would freely admit that, but it wasn't the time yet to pursue her. She was very shy and he first needed to gain a better reputation in the village. And that couldn't happen this quickly, as the public opinion first needed to get over their devotion to the Uchiha. Sasuke not getting into the finals would be the first step to make people realise that he wasn't some kind of prodigy in the way his brother Itachi or Kakashi had been in their youth. And the fact that they had become ninjas as early as they did hadn't helped them at all. Itachi had snapped and killed his clan and Kakashi was broken from the many dark episodes in his past. Children had no place on a battlefield, which was the reason for his current mission after all.

Training them up to be ready when the time came was a good thing. Their world simply wasn't a peaceful one. There was always battle and conflict. But children under the age of twelve shouldn't start the harder military training. The academy should prepare them for all aspects of the shinobi life, but not force them to deal with death and other nasty aspects of this life fully. The problem was that the teachers had taken that task and turned it into the academy mainly filling the heads of the ninjas in training with theory instead of letting them learn how to work as a ninja, training their bodies, giving them specialised skills that could be expanded on and the like. Like finding those with good chakra control to turn to genjutsu and medical jutsu. Teach kenjutsu or bo jutsu, and then of course arts that were time-intensive like fuinjutsu and the basics of jutsu development.

Time was wasted there by the teachers and the children behaved like it when they graduated. After all, how else do you explain that fangirls were churned out by the institution in masses?

Well, back to his job. He had prevented that Gaara could sense them, which let them live, even if they would fail their exams. And thanks to the number of scrolls that he had secured, only the best teams would get into the finals. He now had eight of the possible seventeen scrolls. One heaven scroll had been with Sasuke and Sakura, even if he was fairly sure that they had by now lost it. The rookies and the teams with the less suited candidates were taken out of the game already and now he would only need to make sure that nobody that was on the list coincidentally made it to the tower. He had his clones lying in ambush there and it should be easy to get the drop on them. Well, mission complete, as far as he would go, without giving the game away. It was truly a shame that he wasn't further in his training yet. Otherwise he could have easily aced this round. Well, in a year.

Naruto stood in front of the Hokage and his sensei.

"I have to say, Naruto, your success in the mission you were given surprises me," The Hokage stated, "I mean, how did you manage to collect ten scrolls during the second round? The participants couldn't all be that bad."

"They weren't vigilant enough and didn't know how to work with their surroundings," Naruto explained, "I could intercept their teams easily. I honestly don't understand how many of them were nominated. I mean, I'm not fully chunin level and I had a very easy time letting them run into traps or getting the drop on them. Especially the younger Konoha teams."

"I see. I will look into the curriculum of the academy to find out what the hell the teachers are doing there. I can accept that the rookie teams would be taken out by surprise, but to actually only have one competent team from our village in the finals, well, that doesn't bode well for us," The Hokage stated.

"Wasn't Neji's team one of those you should have stopped?" His sensei asked.

"Neji always spotted me too early on and took out my clones or let Tenten do it. That team was actually concentrated on their task and worked well together. While they might not have the maturity needed for the promotion, at least they understood more than others. And their skills, if somebody takes care of evening out the rough edges over the next month, will be good for showing in the finals. And they at least have a year and four months of training under Gai to look back upon. It should be enough to entertain the audience, even if they might not gain the promotion this time around," Naruto stated, "And I would rather have those three in the finals than the team of that creep Kabuto. And had I not intercepted him and his two teammates, they would have been in there," Naruto stated.

"Yes, especially as you found out that they were spies for Orochimaru. Good work on that part, by the way," The Hokage praised.

"No problem. I could deduct from their conversation that they worked on different goals than the exams and it didn't sit right with me that Kabuto had taken the exams six times before and wasn't promoted yet. Not to mention giving up useful information for free before the exams even started, and that to people he didn't know at all," Naruto commented.

"Well, Ibiki and Anko will get the truth from them," Naruto's sensei declared.

"What about my so-called teammates?" Naruto asked.

"Well, they will be out of it for at least two more weeks. Orochimaru ambushed them, pretending to be you after he had blown your clone away with that wind jutsu and gave Sasuke a cursed seal. I have called Jiraiya back to seal it away, until then Sasuke is kept under drugs to stay unconscious. Thankfully, Anko found them before the seal could fully activate. Sakura got beaten up badly and has some broken bones that first needed to be set and then heal up. Not to mention that she got a huge shock that Sasuke couldn't save her from the enemy, which she until then fully believed in. We will have to see how that ends," The Hokage answered.

"Perhaps she will start taking her training and the job serious from now on," Naruto stated.

"We can only hope. Well, as your team is out of the exams, you will get some specified training over the next month. I will be busy training Neji, as my clan can't afford him not showing off our superiority in the finals, while I know that Gai will train Lee and I guess he will ask Hayate for help in training Tenten with her weapons. As Genma took over the position of proctor, simply because Hayate's cough acted up too much before the exams, he wouldn't be biased towards any of the participants," Naruto's sensei stated.

"So, who will train me?" Naruto asked.

"Jiraiya will train you for the next month. I already told him what you have learned so far and, as he wants you to take over the toad contract, he will use the month to teach you summoning. It will also work as a good way to learn control over the Kyubi chakra," The Hokage answered.

"Just summoning?" Naruto asked, somewhat disappointed.

"Well, show him your training method and he will probably think of some other things as well. Probably it would be good if you asked him to start you on fuinjutsu. After all, I didn't just have you work on reading and writing legibly for mission reports," His sensei gave a small grin, which most wouldn't identify as such.

"Okay, when will I meet him?" Naruto asked.

"In two days. He's busy with the seal on Sasuke currently and then he will need to get some information and I have to hear his newest report. I will send him to your apartment the day after tomorrow in the morning," The Hokage told Naruto.

Naruto nodded and was then dismissed. Once he was gone, the Hokage turned to the other man.

"I wonder if we shouldn't have let him pass the second round," The Hokage said, "He did perform exceedingly well after all in his mission."

"While he has come a long way, Lord Hokage, he needs more actual experience in the field to be ready to be a chunin. He has the skills, but he lacks knowledge of missions when to use his skills and how to react to certain situations. Give him a year longer until the next exams into which we send our genin, and he will easily pass them. When I started out with him, he wasn't much to talk about. His education has been severely neglected. His development since then was very good, but the idea of the village founders was that children shouldn't be forced to fight before they were ready for it. I wish he had a different team though, then I wouldn't have to invest as much work as I do. Kakashi is really not suited for training genin."

"I know, but the council forced my hand in the issue to have Kakashi train Sasuke, as he has the only other sharingan in the village. And to make sure that nobody would fail Naruto in the true genin test intentionally, I had to put him onto the same team as Sasuke. I wish it wasn't the case, but I will take what I can get, Hiashi. Though I was surprised that you agreed to this experiment this easily," The Hokage mentioned.

"I know too well that my eldest daughter has a huge crush on the boy and I have known it for years, Lord Hokage," Hiashi Hyuga stated, "I wanted to see if he was worthy of her affection. When I found out just how much the academy teachers failed to notice the simplest things, well, I decided to make sure that my future son-in-law would be up to the standards my clan demands from those that marry into it. And I could see that he also crushed on my Hinata. It's very funny to watch the two dancing around each other."

"I'll leave that in your hands. Just don't break Naruto with the overprotective father routine. He has no idea of relationships so far and I think he and Hinata could help each other out there," The Hokage chuckled.

"Don't worry. As long as he doesn't take on Jiraiya's bad habits over the next month, while I beat that fate obsession out of my nephew, I won't be too hard on Naruto. I'll be going then. I have to set a nephew straight and outplay a council of old idiots," Hiashi stated.

"Have fun," The Hokage stated and the head of the Hyuga clan bowed politely before leaving the office.

Looking back, the Hokage was glad to have decided to ask the Hyuga clan head to help out with getting Naruto into proper shape after finding out just how much he had been neglected at the academy. The results were truly impressive and to think that Naruto had also managed to basically easily pass the task set for the second round of the exams. There were two Konoha teams that had made it through. One older team with solid, but not outstanding abilities and the team that Gai trained. The last team was the one with Suna's jinchuriki. Naruto had given him his analysis of the ones that were left in the exams. Well, they would keep an eye on things. Right now the people that wanted to use the clan heirs for their own goals had lost the gamble and the young genins would have more time to prepare for the next exams. And then they would be able to shine properly.

Though he wouldn't reveal to anybody that he had given Naruto the mission to sabotage nearly all Konoha teams. It was truly abysmal what kind of genin the academy churned out. He really needed to change it before it was too late. The next month would be busy, both with preparations for the finals as well as getting some much needed changes started. And with the elders being too occupied with the reasons why their favourites hadn't passed the second round, he would be free to get things done. And he could hold one shadow clone for a whole day, meaning he could cut his work in half. Nobody would get one over him. He was the professor and he had more tricks in his bag than all others. Including one prankster trained by an elite shinobi of the village. Truly one resource others always underestimated. He chuckled and turned back to his paperwork. Much to do and always too little time.

And that's it. Just a little story how it could have been.