Second Time's the Charm?
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
The next morning, the three Genin arrived at the Training Ground to find their instructor waiting for them with a smile on his face. The three of them were rather tired, having had to drag themselves out of bed early enough to be at the Training Ground by the designated time, but their sensei looked like he had had breakfast, tea, and a good night's sleep.
"You're all her on time, excellent!" said Guy, "Now, let us begin with today's training, then we'll head to the Mission Room and see what youthful tasks we can do to help better the village."
"What about breakfast?" asked Naruto, "I didn't have time to eat anything before coming here."
"Not to worry," said Guy as he pulled out a bag, "I happen to have some of my special Soldier Pills. They're chocked full of protein and electrolytes with enough nutrients to get you through a good workout."
Naruto, Lee, and Tenten looked at the round pills skeptically, but all three Genin took one and ate them before turning to their sensei, waiting to see what kind of training he'd have them do.
Guy started them off with pushups and sit-ups to build up their strength and stamina before having them take a few laps around the training field to build their legs up. After this, they would drink some water to rehydrate and their sensei would work Chakra control exercises until their bodies were recovered enough for them to walk to the mission room.
When in the Academy, Naruto had dreamed of missions where he would be off saving princesses or priestesses, fighting off evil warlords or tyrants, or recovering ancient treasures. Unfortunately for the blond Genin, the missions they were assigned were a bit less glamourous. Instead of storming fortresses and rescuing princesses, he found himself painting fences and helping out at the day-care. It irked the blond a bit and he decided to bring it up after their first day of these demeaning tasks.
"So," said Guy after listening to Naruto's outburst, "you are wondering why we are doing D-Ranked missions instead of more glamourous ones?"
"Well yeah," said Naruto, "what kind of Shinobi paints fences and weeds gardens for a living anyway?"
"Hmm," said Guy as he rubbed his chin in thought, "Naruto-kun, how is a tree grown?"
"Um, someone plants a seed and it becomes a tree?" said the blond Genin.
"Exactly," said Guy, nodding his head, "the same can be said of the Shinobi of the Leaf. We must all start from the ground up if we wish to grow into strong imposing figures in the Shinobi world. Work hard, all of you, and I promise I will help you all to achieve your hidden potential."
The three Genin of Team Guy nodded in determination and followed Guy back to the Training Ground where he told them that, now that they were more awake, he would be evaluating their skills with Kunai and Shuriken. Guy then set up several targets and had them take turns trying to hit the targets with their weapons.
Guy watched as his two older students took their turns first, and their results were about as much as he expected. Lee's Kunai and Shuriken were all over the place, but not so much that it was abnormal for a Genin fresh out of the Academy, while Tenten showed that she had an above average skill with the weapons, easily hitting her targets with her chosen tools. When it came to Naruto however, Guy realized something was a bit off.
"Naruto," said the green-clad Jonin as the blond readied his Kunai, "may I see your knives?"
"Sure," said the blond as he handed his Kunai over to his Sensei.
Guy looked over the Kunai that Naruto had been preparing to throw and his large eyebrows rose in surprise, "Naruto-kun, where did you get these?"
The Kunai were a far cry from barely passable. Some had rust in several places and many had edges that were so worn down that they were practically blunted. For a Shinobi to bring these into a combat situation was equivalent to having a death wish.
"Is there something wrong with them?" asked Naruto, "I found them around Training Ground Three and they looked to be in good shape compared to some of the others I've found."
"Found?" asked Tenten as she glanced over at the younger boy, "Why don't you buy them from the supply stores?"
"Well they're pretty expensive," said Naruto, "especially since I entered the Academy and had all those new Taxes I had to pay along with my Rent. So, I just took to scouring the Training Ground for some every night."
Guy frowned at this, knowing that these 'taxes' were the result of the Villagers striking back at the blond without violating the Sandaime's edict, but even though he understood, that didn't mean he couldn't do something about it.
"Naruto-kun," said Guy, "borrow some of my Kunai for today and after training, I'll take you to purchase proper supplies of your own."
"Are you sure, Guy-sensei?" asked Naruto, "I don't want to incontinence you. I mean, Shinobi gear can be really expensive."
"Come by my family's place then," said Tenten, surprising the blond, "we run a Shinobi Supply store and the prices are pretty good. Heck, my father would probably give you a discount once he finds out you're my Teammate."
"That is a most excellent suggestion, Tenten-san," said Guy, "choosing to look out for your Teammate when they are in need is a commendable action."
Naruto smiled and thanked Tenten before accepting some Kunai from Guy and throwing them at the target, with some hitting the outer rings of the target and the rest missing entirely. The blond was just about to frown at not measuring up to his Teammate's score, but Guy clapped him on the shoulder and smiled down at the young blond.
"An excellent job, Naruto-kun," said Guy.
"But my Kunai were so far off the mark," said Naruto as he glanced at Lee and Tenten's targets.
"You shouldn't judge yourself by the standards of others," said Guy, "everyone must start from somewhere and everyone learns at different rates. While your skill with Kunai and Shuriken are below your teammates', you must remember that you've been training with worn down tools that have received damages that probably altered their weight and balance. Once we get you used to proper Kunai and Shuriken, I'm sure you shall be quite skilled."
Seeking the blond's expression brighten, Guy smiled down at him and patted his shoulder, "Of course, you also stand above your teammates in some areas as well. For one, you have Chakra levels several times greater than both of your teammates combined, meaning you use Jutsu that Genin normally can't due to Chakra constraints, like your Kage Bunshin no Jutsu, for example."
With that, Naruto's spirits were aGuyn lifted and the Team continued on with their training.
"So, Naruto," said Guy as the two of them walked together that afternoon, "where do you normally go to purchase supplies?"
The green-clad Jonin wanted to get a better picture of the situation of his youngest student, knowing he couldn't make much effort to help him without knowing what was going on?
"Well," said Naruto, "I typically just buy instant ramen cups from Ichiraku. Everywhere else the prices are too expensive, and I need money to pay rent. I do manage to get good deals on milk though."
"Naruto-kun," said Guy, looking down at the Genin as they came to a stop, "it is not healthy to only eat ramen for every meal. You will need fruits and vegetables if you want to grow into a strong Shinobi one day. A Hokage needs to set an example and you can't do that by just eating instant Ramen."
"Yeah well, the prices for fresh fruit are always so high," said the blond with a pout, "and vegetables are icky."
"Vegetables are essential if you want to grow into a strong young man," said Guy, "and I can help you find better prices in the market."
"Really?" said Naruto, "Thanks Guy-sensei!"
"Think nothing of it," said Guy as they continued walking, "you are my precious student and it is my duty to help you grow…in more ways than one." he finished with a chuckle.
Stopping outside a shop, Guy led his young charge inside, but didn't miss the shopkeeper narrowing his eyes and curling his lip for a brief second before schooling his features and smiling at the two.
"Greetings, how may I help you two today?" asked the man.
"My student here is looking to buy some groceries," said Guy, "I'm here to make sure they include some fruits and vegetables."
"Well feel free to browse," said the man with false cheer, "we have the best prices in Konoha."
"Thanks," said Naruto with a bright smile before grabbing a basket and going through the products being sold.
Guy stood to the side by the door as Naruto filled his basket with various things, including, happily, some fresh fruits and vegetables, and headed to the counter to pay. Now, he might have been standing rather far away, and quite out of earshot, but as a Jonin, and as the eternal rival of a Sharingan user, of course Guy had taught himself to lip read, and did so to subtly follow the conversation between Naruto and the shopkeeper.
He watched as the man calmly explained to Naruto that, due to some sort of taxation issues, he had to raise the price of his produce to rather obscene rates that any Genin fresh out of the Academy would be hard pressed to meet. Seeing that Naruto was preparing to put all of his groceries back, Guy quickly strode over and stopped the blond with a hand on his shoulder.
"Is something wrong, Naruto-kun?" asked Guy with a kind smile.
"Well," said Naruto hesitantly, "I'm really grateful that you went through all this trouble to help me buy good food, but I really can't pay for all of this. Sorry."
"Do not worry Naruto," said Guy, "I'll take care of it for today."
"Really?" said Naruto, "I don't want to be a bother to you."
"Naruto-kun," said Guy, "you are my student, and as I said before, it is my job to help you become the best you can be. It is no trouble at all."
Pulling out his wallet, Guy handed over the ryo to pay for Naruto's groceries before telling the blond to wait outside for him, as he had just remembered something he needed to grab as well. Guy waited for his student to leave, before turning to face the shopkeeper, leveling a fierce glare at him while leaking just enough Killing Intent as so to make the man sweat.
"You are a poor pathetic excuse for a man," said Guy, "I may not be able to do much because of the Sandaime's law, but I will be reporting you for your crimes."
"I did nothing wrong," said the man shakily, "I have the right to price my produce at whatever rates I feel appropriate."
"Don't give me that crap," spat Guy, "what you are doing is petty and malicious, and is an obstruction to the duties of a Shinobi of Konoha by denying him the supplies he needs to survive. The Hokage shall be hearing of this and you should expect a call from ANBU for your actions against the safety and sanctity of the village."
"How is denying that thing my service an action against the village?" asked the man as he began to grow angry.
"Naruto is a shinobi of Konoha," said Guy, "denying him service is denying a member of the village's armed forces the essentials they need to survive and keep all of you safe. You have made your bed. I suggest you sleep in it."
With that, Guy left the establishment and went to take Naruto home so the teen could unpack his new supplies. As he left, the villages fell to his knees, as his strength left him. He had only been doing this because he lost his wife and unborn child when the Kyuubi attacked. Would his retribution for their deaths be denied to him simply because the demon child wanted to become a shinobi?
'Damnit!' growled the man as he slammed a fist against the ground in anger, 'I'll have to pass along that the demon is protected now. We'll get our justice and finish the Yondaime's work, but we'll have to be more careful. It will just take time…'