Hello! I'm XYZArtemis, and I hope you enjoy the prologue!

A/N: Okay, here's the low down: the story is set after the Land of the Waves. All characters' personalities will be the same, except for Sakura; she'll be more mature and less fangirlish. Imagine the Sakura after the Forest of Death. So, no "SASUKE, SASUKE!".

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

It was supposed to be a simple recon mission. Observation and examination. No one expected anything to happen, not even the Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, who assigned the mission. It was a C-Rank mission given to Team 7 for their skill and courage during their mission to guard Tazuna on his journey to the Land of the Waves. In the Hokage's mind, this was a perfect reward: more skilled missions to more skilled genin. Imagine everyone's surprise when they found out it was actually an A-Rank mission. Perhaps it was good that the young genin went on the mission; it certainly improved their skills as a ninja. Others may speculate it was too soon for them to go on such a mission, too soon to learn secrets that were not ready to be shared… But no matter, all is said and done, and there is no changing it. Maybe it is best to start at the beginning where, or more accurately when, it all started…

"No." Naruto's loud voice was heard throughout the entire office.

The Hokage sighed. "Naruto…"

The members of Team 7 stood before him: Kakashi Hatake, Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura Haruno, and Naruto Uzumaki, who was speaking loudly and very, very obnoxiously.

"We are not going on another D-Rank mission to catch that stupid pest the Fire Daimyo's wife calls a cat! We were on an A-Rank mission! An A-Rank mission! Can't you give us something a little more challenging?" During this rant, Naruto's voice went from angry to incredulous.

Hiruzen closed his eyes. He could feel a migraine coming on. "No."

"Excuse me? Maybe your hearing's gone a little in your age old man, but I said-"

Before Naruto could finish, Kakashi interrupted him.

"Naruto that is no way to speak to your Hokage-"

Said person smiled in gratitude.

"-even though you're right."

The Hokage sighed for the umpteenth time.

Kakashi silenced Naruto (who was about to begin yelling again) and respectively bowed toward Hiruzen.

"Naruto is right, Hokage-sama; I have deemed my students ready and able to perform C-Rank missions." He paused for a moment. "With your permission of course."

Hiruzen had come to two different outcomes. Option one: Say no. But then Naruto would go insane on him and start to nag, nag, nag and there was no way in heck he was doing that. Option two: Say yes, and have a few days of a blissful, quiet office.

The Third let out something similar to a half groan, half growl. Opening one of the various drawers in his desk, he pulled out a scroll. Shaking his head and looking torn, the Hokage held it out.

"Alright, Kakashi. I will allow your team a higher ranked mission."

Kakashi bowed respectfully before accepting the scroll. "Thank you, Hokage-sama."

Looking at the joyful face of Sakura, even the ever-sullen face of Sasuke could not damper his slight pride in them. Maybe, just maybe, it was a good idea to-

"Thanks, Old Man!" Naruto yelled before running straight for the door. "This is my chance to prove to everyone I'm a true shinobi! Heck, I might even get promo- "

Everyone watched in horror as he ran straight into the door. He slowly turned around, wobbling as he did so. There were stars spinning around his head.

"See, Kakashi-sensei? I'm such a great ninja," Naruto slurred. "Sasuke ain't go nothin' on meeeee."

-and there was that instant regret he had expected.

Hiruzen pinched the bridge of his nose. "Team 7, you are dismissed."

With a short bow, Kakashi quickly opened and stepped through the infamous door, with Sasuke close behind. Sakura snatched a now very dazed Naruto by the collar before disappearing as well. Before the door closed all the way, however, a grinning Naruto gave him a shaky thumb's up.

The Third Hokage shook his head and returned to his never-ending pile of paperwork. They would be the death of him someday.

That's it for now! Drop me a review to tell me if you liked it (constructive criticism is wanted as well; don't feel shy about it : )

See ya!