"You know I don't need you to be here, right?" The blond didn't even try to hide his annoyance as he glanced over in the direction of his master.
Jiraiya kept silent and his face remained stoic as if he had not even heard the blond. He was sitting in a chair with his legs crossed just… watching the boy. It was honestly starting to creep Naruto out a little.
He sat there with an analytical gaze, but it was obvious that he enjoyed making his protégé uncomfortable. The small smirk that had appeared on his face was proof of that. He shifted slightly in his chair, but his eyes remained fixated on his student.
The boy huffed and looked back down at his paper while he tried to ignore his sensei's presence. However, looking down at his paper only reminded him that he had not written a single word in the three hours he had been sitting there. 'I'm doomed…' he thought to himself in despair.
"I'm just here in case you need any advice." The Sannin spoke his first words in hours. "I'm an experienced author, after all. My wisdom is invaluable, it would be stupid to not ask me any questions." He finished with a shrug.
Naruto scoffed. "Liar! Whenever you train me you always leave me by myself!" He pointed an accusing finger at his master before continuing. "Now that you have something to lose you're suddenly all supportive. I don't buy it!" He crossed his arms across his chest and cast an accusing frown at his sensei.
Despite looking a little guilty, the sage brushed off the boy's words. The kid was partially right. Jiraiya would love nothing more than to walk his pupil through the steps of his training, but that could be more harmful than helpful to the blond in the long run. Naruto needs to understand that to become a great ninja, you must be able to figure things out on your own. You can't have your hand held through every step and expect to grow and become stronger.
"Fine. I can tell when I'm not wanted!" The dignified sage stuck his tongue out in a childish manner. He stood up to leave, but before he left he reached into his pocket and placed something on the table beside him. Naruto couldn't help but notice the large grin the Sannin had on his face. "See ya!" He said with a wave as he disappeared into a cloud of smoke.
Naruto's eyebrow rose in curiosity but he refused to move from his seat. He didn't trust the grin that he saw one bit. Upon further inspection from afar the mystery object was revealed to be a book. 'It's just a book, anyway.' He thought to himself dismissively. That, however, did not sate Naruto's growing curiosity.
Whatever book it was, Jiraiya just put it there to mess with the blond. That much was obvious. Despite this obvious fact, it was doing its job. For whatever reason he felt compelled to see what it was that the Sannin had left him.
Naruto glanced back down at his blank paper. He sighed. He recalled Jiraiya's willingness to give him advice, something he was now regretting not asking for. Maybe that's what the book was there for. "It's worth a shot. Got nothing to lose, I guess." He said aloud to himself.
He stood up to get a better look and his face scrunched up in annoyance. He recognized the cover of the book immediately. Jiraiya had placed his latest Icha-Icha book on the table for the boy. "That idiot. I knew it was gonna be something that wouldn't help me." He grumbled to himself. "Like I would actually read one of his pervy books."
He would've ignored the book without a second thought but there was something else about it that caught his attention. He walked closer to the book to get a better look.
'A note?' He reached down and picked up the book. He started to read the note and instantly regretted his decision.
'I'll be gone for a few days, so here's a little bit of inspiration for your book in case you need it… try not to make a mess while I'm gone, brat.'
He dropped the book as his eye twitched. A bright red blush creeped up his face and enveloped his cheeks.
"Dirty old man…" Naruto was wrong about there being nothing to lose. He lost a bit of his innocence reading that note.
He gave himself a few moments to recover from the images his mind had created for him. He sat back down and continued to stare at the blank paper in hopes of getting a wealth of sudden inspiration. After a few moments of nothing a feeling of hopelessness started to creep its way up his spine.
What if he just didn't have the ability to write a novel? How would he tell Sakura that he wouldn't be able to keep his promise and bring Sasuke back because he couldn't write a stupid book?
"I never expected this to be so hard!" He dropped his head down on the desk with a thud. Naruto knew he didn't know how to write, but when Jiraiya challenged him all he could think about was winning. This caused him to accept the bet before he had fully processed it. "I don't even have an idea for what my book will be about, either. What was I thinking?"
He glanced out the window. The dark skies let him know just how late it was. "It's already dark out?" he asked himself with a yawn. "Maybe I'll have some better luck tomorrow. No use in staying up when I haven't gotten anywhere all day."
He walked over to the couch and plopped down. He sighed contently as he sunk into the soft cushions. The blond kicked his sandals off and closed his eyes. 'I wonder where Pervy Sage is...' He thought to himself as he drifted off into slumber. He fell asleep in what seemed like seconds.
-Early Next Morning-
"I don't think that's how it's supposed to be written." One high-pitched voice said loudly.
"What do you mean?" The same high-pitched voice asked in confusion. "How else am I supposed to write this out?"
The Naruto clones looked at one another and blinked, both of their identical faces scrunched up in complete confusion. Surrounding those two were eight more Naruto's. The ten Naruto's were split up in groups of two, making a total of five groups. One Naruto in each group was responsible for writing down any ideas that they may have, while the other's job was to simply say whatever came to his mind in hopes that it would give them an idea.
"How am I supposed to know?" The other Naruto shot back in slight annoyance. "I'm you, I can't know something you don't."
"Well then why do you think I'm writing it the wrong way?" The other blond retorted in just as much annoyance as his doppelganger.
"Because, we're dumb." The clone said causally with a small shrug.
The vast truth in his words caused the other nine Naruto's to all stop what they were doing and nod their heads in agreement.
After nearly two hours of trying to use his clones to help him get an idea, the real Naruto had had enough. He stood up and looked at his copies with a frustrated expression on his face. However, there was a silver lining to his frustration. Even though he and his clones made no progress on the story, this did make the blond realize something.
"We are dumb." He began with a small smile. "We've been trying to rush and get this story finished, but we don't even know how to write." He watched one by one as each clone realized that he was right.
"So, what are you saying?" One of the clones questioned. It appears not all the clones understood what he meant.
Naruto shot the clone an annoyed glance. He was aware that he wasn't the smartest of shinobi, but talking to his very own clones reminded him just how dense he was. "It means that I have to learn how to write properly before I can even start this book." He didn't like what just came out of his mouth but he knew that it was something he had to do.
The other blonds winced at the implications of the original Naruto's words. "That's going to take forever, though..." One of the clones said what the others were also thinking. The longer it took to write this book, the less time the blond would be able to train to face off against the Akatsuki.
"Yeah…" The original blond said in a sad voice. "But don't you guys worry! I'll study my butt off and have you guys back here to help me before the week it over! Believe it!" All nine of his clones smiled back at him with renewed confidence. They believed they have what it takes to write a book.
Naruto dispersed his clones in eight plumes of smoke. When the smoke cleared a single clone remained. He had a confused look on his face as he glanced over at the real blond. "Uh, why am I still here?" He asked with his face scrunched up in confusion.
Naruto grinned sheepishly. "I need you to go into town and get me some books that will help me learn how to write." He explained as he reached into his pocket and threw the clone his frog wallet, Gama. "I figured while you did that I could make some instant ramen for lunch and by the time I finished you'd just be getting back here.
The clone gave his summoner an irritated look, but shrugged his shoulders in agreement. "Fine. Just don't expect me to rush back here it's been a while since I've been able to walk around and get some fresh air." He stuffed the very full frog wallet into his pocket and made his way to the door.
Naruto's eye twitched in slight annoyance. 'My clones are so stubborn. Talking to his master like that who does he think he is? He's lucky I'm nice…'
The blond shook his head away from those thoughts and brought his attention back to the task at hand. He needed to figure out a way to read all the books his clone brought back as quickly as possible while also retaining all the knowledge within them. He said he'd be able to do it in a week but he was beginning to doubt his own confident claim.
"I'm only one person… how can I do all of this by myself in such a short amount of time." He thought to himself desperately. If only he knew the answer to his dilemma was out buying his books this very second…
The blond clone happily strolled through the streets of Tanzaku Town. He had been stuck in the hotel room for the entire day and it was refreshing to get out for a little. He stretched out his neck, careful not to drop the plastic bag he had cradled in his arms. It contained a dozen books that will hopefully be the key to helping Naruto write a full-fledged novel.
'Hopefully these are the kinds of books he had in mind.' He thought as he reached into the bag and took out one of the books he bought. The cover read 'Writing for Dummies'. 'This is definitely the book for us!' He allowed himself a small chuckle at that.
He took his eyes off the new book and looked around the bustling marketplace that made Tanzaku Town such an interesting place to explore. Despite the town having suffered the aftermath of the fight between the Sannin a few months back, the townspeople still had smiles on their faces. The marketplace was bustling with customers looking to purchase food, antiques, and other interesting little trinkets. However, many tourists are initially disappointed shortly after arriving when they realize the towns famous castle is no longer standing at its center.
Jiraiya has insisted that this be their first stop, much to the genin's confusion. After Naruto's constant pestering Jiraiya told him that it was because this town had plenty of beautiful women for his research. They would stay in Tanzaku Town for a few months while Jiraiya finished up his book and then they would continue their travels.
The blond smiled as he recalled these memories that technically weren't even his. He knew exactly what the real Naruto was feeling and he took those emotions as his own.
Even though the real Naruto wanted to train more than anything, he still enjoyed spending time with Jiraiya. The man may be a hopeless pervert, but the strength and wisdom he possessed was admirable. He was the closest thing to a father the boy had ever had.
The blond clone was ripped from his thoughts as an enticing smell entered his nostrils. His head shot up and was delighted to see that there were several food stands all around him. Each one carrying an assortment of delicious looking foods. His mouth watered while he rubbed his growling stomach.
An evil smile crept onto his face as his patted his pants pocket that contained Gama. "A clones gotta eat too."
Multiple orders of food later and the blond let out a burp of satisfaction. "Man, all of that was so good." he said to himself happily while he bit into a piece of his grilled fish on a stick as he made his way home. Despite his stomach being full of food, this was all that remained of his intense food binge and he was determined to finish what he started. He had to because once he got back and the real Naruto saw what state his frog wallet was in… well let's just say this might be the last time this clone ever got to enjoy his day this much.
He reached into his bag of books that was now slung over his shoulder and took out the book he was looking at earlier. 'Wonder how long it'll take him to read all these books.' He thought to himself as he took another bite out of the delicious fish. He curiously opened it to the first page and began reading.
He continued to walk down the road with his eyes glued to the pages. The clone was slightly surprised by the contents of the book. Naruto disliked reading with a passion, so he wholeheartedly expected to hate every minute of reading it. To the clone's surprise, it wasn't that bad of a read. 'This is actually kind of interesting.' The clone thought to himself. Perhaps the blond had found an affinity for writing that he wasn't aware of.
The doppelganger finished the last of his fish and lazily threw the stick over his shoulder. Before he knew it, he had read the entire first chapter of the book. It appeared to be a basic introduction into the world of grammar and literary devices. Despite it being filled with very basic concepts, a lot of this information was brand new to the blond. 'And this is just the beginning. A lot of the other books I bought are way more advanced than this one.'
"It's about time you got back! What took you so long?" The loud voice made the clones head shoot up. His eyes immediately locked with the original Naruto's. He had been so lost in thought that he didn't even realize he was already in front of the hotel. "I was about to come looking for you. Thought you might've gotten lost out there."
The clone scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Sorry about that. I wanted to make sure I got enough books." He explained as he reached into his pocket and tossed back the wallet to the original blond. It was technically the truth. The clone casually left out the part where he ate a ton of food. Naruto didn't need to know that part.
He caught it and quickly slipped it back into his own pocket. He thought Gama felt a little lighter than he should be but he just assumed he was imagining it. "So, these are the books?" He asked as he took the plastic bag from his clone.
"Yep! Just like you asked, boss!" The clone said proudly.
Naruto smirked. "Great job! I'll start reading these right away!" The confidence in his voice covered up what he was really feeling. He was still worried about how long it would take for him to finish all the books.
The clone saluted his master and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Naruto was about to head back inside but something made him stop. A rush of memories flooded his mind. Memories of him eating that were not his own. His eye twitched as he reached back into his pocket and pulled out Gama. He was scared to open it, fearful of what he might find. He popped it open and his greatest fear was confirmed. "Half empty…" He said sadly. "That bastard. He didn't even bring me back any…"
Naruto blinked in confusion. "Wait, how do I have his memories?" He said aloud as if someone would enlighten him, although no one else was around. "I wasn't there with him."
He concentrated. In the back of his mind there was something else there. He could feel it. Some other memory waiting to be accessed. He shut his eyes tight hoping that it would help put everything into focus. He reached for it and grabbed the memory. He eyes shot open and he quickly reached into the bag that his clone had brought him. He took out the book on top and flipped it open. He skimmed through the first chapter and to his amazement he recalled everything that was contained in it.
"What the…" His voice trailed off as he tried to piece all this information together. Somehow, he knew of everything his clone did while he was out. He was even able to retain the information within the book that the clone had read.
'Have I always had this ability when using my clones? He thought to himself. The gears in his brain started to slowly turn. 'I can just use my clones to help me read all these books! This is great! I won't even need a week to finish all of these.' His grip on the bag containing the books tightened. He felt a wave of relief wash over him. He quickly ran inside, a large smile plastered across his face.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" Once inside his room he quickly summoned 11 clones. Each clone carrying the same determined look as the original. "You guys know what to do." He said gesturing to the books he had neatly stacked on the table. "There's a book for each of us. Grab one, read it, and then when you're done swap books with someone else. The more times we read each one the better chance I'll have of remembering it."
This Naruto is very different from the blond little knucklehead that was in the ninja academy. When he was in the academy just the thought of reading made him feel sick to his stomach. This time around, he felt something else. Sure, the drive and determination he felt when confronted with a challenge was there. He wanted to write this book and shove it in Jiraiya's face more than anything, but that wasn't all.
He recalled what his clone felt when he finished reading the first chapter of 'Writing for Dummies'. "I might actually enjoy this…" He mumbled to himself so lowly that his clones couldn't even hear him. They had already each grabbed a book and started reading. He shrugged.
"Guess I'll just grab a book then, too."
"I think I'm finally finished…" The aspiring author said as he closed one of the books he bought for what he hoped was the last time. He let out a relieved sigh.
Naruto squinted as a bright light shined in his eyes. He placed the book down on the desk and glanced over at the window in the room and was surprised to see that the sun was already up. "Did we really study the entire night?" He said to himself quietly. The genin yawned loudly as he stretched his tired limbs. He looked over at the sleeping clones that littered the hotel floor and chuckled. Most of them were drooling and a pair of Naruto's were even cuddled up against one another. They looked content despite the funny position they were in.
He began to reflect on the past couple of days. 'If I had known about this back in the academy maybe my grades wouldn't have been so awful.' He mused.
The method of using his clones to speed up his learning worked better than he could have ever dreamed. He was a little apprehensive at first, fearful that the first time was just a fluke and that it wouldn't work. That feeling of fear quickly subsided after he put his idea to the test the very first time. The amount of information he acquired was more than he learned in the academy 1000 times over. And that was just a few hours of reading!
The past 3 days the pack of blonds had been studying relentlessly. However, this was the longest amount of time they had read in one sitting. Normally, they would study for a few hours before he eventually dispelled the clones. Naruto did this so he could take a break while his mind gathered and processed all the information he and his clones had learned.
"There isn't any point in waking them up." Naruto stood up and dispelled his jutsu. Clouds of smoke subsequently filled the room as the clones puffed out of existence. The blond then began to walk over to open the nearest window in hopes that it would help disperse the smoke quicker.
He stumbled. "Wha...?" His vision started to get blurry and his balance began to fade. He grabbed his head as a shooting pain suddenly ripped through it. It felt as though his brain had swelled up to the point that his skull could barely contain it anymore. The pressure behind his eyes was so great that it felt like they were about to pop out of their sockets.
It was all too much for his young mind to take. He couldn't hold himself up anymore. He started falling, desperately trying to grab at something that would keep him upright. He fell unconscious before he even hit the ground.
It was very faint but someone was calling his name. He could hear it, but he just couldn't pinpoint the source. The last thing he remembered was that he was about to open the window when suddenly everything went black. Everything was still black.
"Naruto!" The voice boomed again. This time it felt much closer.
Jiraiya's apprentice began to stir lightly. The sage could see his student's eyes moving ever so slightly behind his closed eyelids. He let out a big sigh of relief. 'I'm not sure what happened, but I'm glad I got here when I did. It doesn't seem like he's been out for very long.'
He noticed that there were quite a few books that littered the floor all around the blond. He immediately recognized what they were for. 'Well, well. Seems like he is taking this little wager serious after all.' The white-haired sage was certainly impressed. Despite the resolve his pupil had shown earlier, he half expected the kid to get frustrated and quit. However, this did not make his confidence falter. He still believed he was going to win.
"Pervy…Sage?" Came a groggy voice just beneath him. The genin's eyes were still glazed over, a sign that he was still very much out of it.
The aforementioned perv allowed himself a small smile at the sight of his god-child being okay. "Well, look who's finally up. Do you have any idea what time it is? No one said you could sleep in, brat." He teased lightly. The boy didn't need to know how worried he really was. That would be much too embarrassing for the sage to admit.
The teasing hit its mark. The blond vigorously shook his head and shot to hit feet. The speed at which he moved slightly surprised Jiraiya. He was expecting it to be a bit longer before the kid was up on his feet again.
"Who are you to talk, you old perv?" He grumbled. "Last time I checked you sleep in all of the time."
Despite the trueness of those words, he brushed them off. There was something much more pressing that he needed to know about.
"Yeah, yeah, kid." He said dismissively. "Tell me, what happened? When I came back you were unconscious on the ground. Is everything okay?" The concern is his voice was evident even though he did his best to hide it.
"Yeah, I'm fine!" The boisterous blond said as his put his hands behind his head in his trademark stance. "I just got a little dizzy, that's all!" While he may be stretching the truth a bit he really did feel fine. Because of this, he convinced himself that it was nothing to worry about. He didn't want to make his teacher worried either.
The look his sensei gave him, however, let him know that he wasn't buying it.
"Okay, okay." He resigned with a sigh. "The last thing I remember was that I had been studying with my clones the entire night and when I dispelled them my vision got really burry and I guess that was when I passed out." He explained. Hopefully his wise teacher had an explanation for it all, because he was drawing a blank.
The older man's eyes widened slightly, but his pupil didn't notice. "Reading with your clones?" He put his hand on his chin as he contemplated what this could mean. Or, at least, that's what it looked like to Naruto. In reality, Jiraiya already knew exactly what had happened.
'I guess he figured out what his clones are really capable of. Not bad.'
"How many clones did you make?"
"11." Was the simple response.
"Naruto." He began slowly. I don't think you should use your clones like that anymore." He was stern. There was no room for debate on this, it seemed.
"What?! Why?!" This wasn't fair! He figures out an awesome way to use his clone but he's not allowed to use it anymore!?
"It put too much stress on your brain. That's why you passed out. Your mind can only handle so much at once. You overloaded it."
Naruto was going to retort back, but nothing came out. He knew his teacher was right he just didn't want to admit it. The benefits of using his clones in such a way were very high, but he was fully aware he could damage his mind if he did it continuously. He grumbled lowly to himself.
"However." Jiraiya's voice cause the blond to look up from his brooding. "I think it'll be okay if you use no more than 5 clones and no longer than 3 hours at a time." He finished with a smile.
His student's eyes lit up in joy as he hugged his Master out of gratitude. "Thank you!"
"Yeah, yeah." The Sannin said dismissively. The blond still wouldn't let go. "Get the hell off me, Naruto…"
Author's Note: It took me way to long to get this second chapter out. I've just been so busy with other things that I haven't had the time. I can't promise consistent uploads but ill definitely do my best. I hope you enjoy. Thanks.