Second Time's the Charm?

Hello all. This fanfic came about from a random thought: why is Naruto the same age as his classmates if he failed three times and they only took the test once? So, what if Naruto didn't fail on his second try, and he was placed on a Genin team with the older students?

Well, here's the result of my work. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: Kishimoto-sensei owns Naruto.

As Naruto Uzumaki walked toward the Konoha Shinobi Academy, he had a determined smirk on his face. Today was the day he would make his second attempt at passing the Graduation Exam and becoming a full-fledged Genin of Konohagakure. His first attempt had ended in failure due to him being unable to properly create a single Bunshin, but this time, he had an ace in the hole.

Naruto smiled as he remembered the incident that had given him the tool he needed to hopefully pass this time around. To think it all started with a simple prank.

xXflashbackXx

It had started three weeks prior. Naruto was currently hiding in an alleyway inside a dumpster. Why was he hiding you might ask? Well, Naruto was known for his pranks, and he had just pulled one on the ANBU, Konoha's elite Shinobi Black Ops group, by placing itching powder in their uniforms and replacing all their shampoo with neon green hair dye.

Suffice it to say the ANBU forces were not amused.

As Naruto peeked out from where he was hiding amongst the trash, he saw an ANBU wearing a mask modeled after a lion standing outside the alleyway, but at an angle that would prevent him from being seen.

"Where is that Gaki," grumbled the Shinobi as he ran his hand through his now green hair, "I'm going to need to cover more ground."

Naruto watched as the Shinobi placed his fingers in a crossed position with curiosity. He wanted to see what kind of Jutsu the ANBU would pull out.

"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" said the ANBU, causing two copies of himself to appear in a poof of smoke, "Go."

The two clones nodded and bolted off in search of the blond troublemaker, with the original doing the same.

"Woah," said Naruto as he climbed out of the dumpster, "those clones were real! "I wonder if I could do that?"

"Do what, Naruto-kun?" asked a sickly sweet male voice from behind Naruto.

"GAH!"

xXflashback endXx

After Iruka had taken Naruto to apologize and clean up the mess he made, both on himself and in the ANBU barracks, Naruto had headed to a secluded training ground where he spent a full day trying to get the Jutsu to work for him, and get it to work he did. However, there was a catch though. Where the ANBU had created two clones, when Naruto pumped chakra into the Jutsu like he did for the normal Bunshin, the training ground was suddenly filled with a small army of Naruto copies.

After a few weeks of work, Naruto was able to lessen the number he created so they would fit in a classroom and now he was ready for the final exam. Walking into the building, Naruto took his seat among the older students (he was allowed to enter the Academy earlier then most) Naruto couldn't help but smile as Iruka and Mizuki-sensei walked in.

"All right, settle down," said Iruka, "today is the day when you will see if you are ready to become Genin of Konoha. If you succeed, then you will be assigned to a team where you will grow and learn."

Mizuki pulled out a scroll and opened it up, "You will all be called into the side room where you will be evaluated. Until you are called, please wait here."

Naruto listened eagerly as the other student's names were called, waiting for his turn, and mentally going over the new Jutsu that he was depending on to pass the exam.

"Uzumaki Naruto," called out Mizuki, causing the blond to jump up and head to the testing room.

When he walked in, Iruka nodded to him, "Naruto-kun, I'm sure you're familiar with how this goes. First, I'll need to see a Henge, but NOT your Orioke no Jutsu!"

Naruto pouted a bit at the restriction, but nodded and placed his hands in the Ram seal position, "HENGE!"

A poof of smoke covered Naruto and when it cleared, Teuchi Ichiraku was standing in the center of the room, accurately depicted down to the apron he wore. He even was holding a steaming bowl of miso pork ramen in his hands.

Iruka shook his head and chuckled at Naruto's choice due to the common knowledge of the blonde's ramen addiction, "Very good, Naruto-kun, and extra points for managing to incorporate the bowl."

Naruto transformed back in a poof of smoke and Iruka took down some notes on his clipboard, "Next," said the Chunin, "I'll need you to demonstrate the Kawarimi no Jutsu."

Naruto nodded and Iruka threw a blunt training kunai at the blond, aiming away from any vitals, just to be safe. The knife struck the blond, causing him to be covered in a poof of smoke, and when it cleared, Naruto was seen leaning on a log that had taken the hit for him.

"An excellent Kawarimi," said Iruka.

"Praise the Log," said Naruto.

"Amen," they said together before Iruka glanced back at his notes, "now, the last thing I need for you to do, is to perform the Bunshin no Jutsu and create at least three passable clones."

"Iruka-sensei," said Naruto as he raised his hand, "does it need to be the Bunshin no Jutsu, or can I create any kind of clone?"

"Well," said Iruka as he thought about it, "as long as you create them with a Jutsu, I don't see why any other clone technique wouldn't count as a pass."

Naruto gave a wide smile and moved his fingers into a cross shape, causing Iruka's eyes to widen.

'Impossible,' thought Iruka, 'he can't have the reserves for that Jutsu!'

"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" yelled Naruto, causing the room to be filled with smoke. When the smoke cleared, Iruka's eyes bugged out, for filling the room was a small army of the blond prankster.

"So," said the group as one, "do we pass, Iruka-sensei?"

'Kage Bunshin?' thought Iruka in disbelief as he looked at the veritable army of solid clones, 'More like Taju Kage Bunshin.'

Shaking his head, Iruka grabbed a Hitai-ate, "Well, I must say you surprised me, Naruto-kun. You pass. Congratulations."

"Yatta!" cheered Naruto as he took the Hitai-ate and tied it around his head, "Thanks, Iruka-sensei!"

"You earned it, Naruto-kun," said Iruka.

xXsceneXx

Naruto celebrated that night by pigging out at Ramen Ichiraku, a feast that was on the house, courtesy of the owner, who was a good friend and almost a father figure for the blond. The next morning, Naruto headed to the Academy for team placements, and he had to admit, there were butterflies in his stomach at the thought of being here, graduating amongst the students that were all older than him. It made him really nervous.

As he walked in, several of the teens stared at him oddly, wondering why someone so young was here among them, but none of them chose to say anything about it, as there had been Shinobi that had advanced early. Just look at Itachi Uchiha and Kakashi Hatake.

Naruto took a seat just as Iruka walked in and the Chunin looked over the graduating class, "All of you here have passed the Academy Graduation exam, and are on your way to becoming great Shinobi of Konohagakure. All of you here will be assigned to Jonin-sensei in groups of three. You will become teams that will inherit the Will of Fire our village so strongly protects."

Iruka unrolled a scroll and began to read off the team placements. Naruto zoned out somewhat as he waited for his name to be called, ignoring the other teams that were being called. Idly he wondered what his new teammates would be like, and he hoped they wouldn't look down on him for being young.

"Uzumaki Naruto," called out Iruka, causing the blond to perk up, "Rock Lee. Miyamoto Tenten. The three of you will serve under Might Guy as Team 9."

Naruto looked around the room and glanced at the two other students that had perked up when his team was called. One, who he assumed was Lee, who had the biggest eyebrows that Naruto had ever seen. In addition, he looked pretty energetic, if not a bit nervous. The second one, was a girl wearing a pink sleeveless outfit with her hair tied into two buns on her head. She was also tossing a kunai into the air and catching it with skill.

"TEAM NINE!" said a loud and energetic voice, causing Naruto to look up and do a double take as the man had a weird sense of style, wearing all green and having a bowl cut hair, "I am Might Guy, Konoha's Noble Gentleman! I will be your Jonin Instructor."

"Follow me to Training Ground Eight," said their instructor, causing the Genin to follow him out the door.

xXsceneXx

"Well!" said the bowl cut Jonin, "Perhaps we should begin with introductions. I am Might Guy, Konoha's Green Beast of Prey and the village's Taijutsu expert. The three of you will be my students from this day forward, so please tell me your dreams!"

"Alright!" said Naruto before the others could react, "I'm Uzumaki Naruto, and I'm going to be Hokage one day dattebayo!"

"Excellent!" said Guy, "What a youthful answer! Who is next?"

"I am," said the teen with eyebrows as he jumped up, "I'm Rock Lee, and I'm going to become a great Shinobi despite not being able to use Genjutsu or Ninjutsu."

"A most youthful goal as well!" said Gai with a smile.

Tenten sighed, "Good grief. Well, I'm Miyamoto Tenten, and I want to become the greatest master of weapons in the Shinobi era and to become a Kunoichi on par with Senju Tsunade of the Sannin."

"You all have such youthful goals," said Guy with a huge smile and a thumbs up, "now, for the purpose that we've come here: the Genin Exam."

"What do you mean?" asked Naruto, "We already passed the exam in the academy."

"Ah," said Guy, "but this isn't the same as the Academy. That test was to determine the potential to become a Genin. This test is to determine who will become Genin."

"What do we have to do?" asked Tenten hesitantly.

"It's simple," said Guy, "just show me your strength in a fight."

"If that's what it takes," said Naruto, "then I'll do it, cause I'm not gonna give up here-ttebayo!"

"YOSH!" said Lee as he clapped Naruto on the shoulder, "An excellent thought, Naruto-kun. We will show him we mean to be fine Shinobi."

"Like he said," said Tenten, "if that's what it takes."

Guy looked over at the three Genin and smiled. It was clear that they were ready to become Shinobi, but why not have some fun sparring? He would be sure to hold back.

Okay! First story for the new year! Happy 2017 everyone. Let's hope it's a good one.

Also, Naruto is 11 here and Lee and Tenten are 12. It was stated in canon that he took the test three times, so it shouldn't be a problem here.