Disclaimer: I do NOT own Naruto, and a lot of this goes to Big Al and other CYOA makers.
AN All thoughts in italics are thoughts Naruto hears.
"Old Man! I passed!" Naruto cheered as he entered the Hokage's office, grinning ear to ear.
Only to blink as he saw three more elderly folks standing in front of the Hokage. The guy missing an eye and with an arm in a sling gave him a rather unphased expression while the other man and woman just looked insulted by his barging in.
And the True Old Man just smiled at him. "Ahh, Naruto, good to see you. You seem to have caught me at a bad time."
"Why exactly were you permitted to enter, boy? We're in a meeting," The one eyed man inquired sternly, looking like he was tempted to snap the cane at him.
"Um, I thought the secretary went home, so that's usually when he's free," Naruto answered with a shrug.
"Likely on a bathroom break," The Hokage supplied offhandedly. He left out that the unseen ANBU guards obviously let Naruto come in due to the frequency of these visits.
"If you're busy, I'll just come back later," Naruto offered, inching to the door.
"No, no, it's fine, my boy. We were just wrapping up," Sarutobi assured with a voice that was both kind, to Naruto alone, and stern to everyone else.
"Sarutobi, this is a serious matter!" one of the elders demanded with a scowl.
"A serious matter that is already decided, Homaru," Sarutobi stated firmly.
"Very well then, Lord Hokage," the seemingly crippled man stated with a small nod of respect, turning abruptly, prompting Naruto to get out of the way quickly.
"Danzo!" The woman called, seemingly outraged by his acceptance.
"The Hokage has obviously made up his mind, Koharu," Danzo stated simply as he paced to the door. Naruto decided to be polite in holding it open but Danzo found the young ninja staring at him intently, as if scrutinizing him. "...What is it, Boy?" he asked in disapproval.
"Just trying to figure out how you are so good and bad at the same time at hiding you're a badass ninja," Naruto answered honestly as he sized him up, looking to the Hokage with a grin, "He's almost as good at hiding it as you are, Old Man."
The other two elders blinked while Danzo rose an eyebrow at the odd compliment, more emotion than Hiruzen had seen in a while, prompting a chuckle from Danzo's old rival.
Danzo ultimately left without a comment. At least, none that the Third Hokage could hear.
'Hmm, more peculiar than I expected him to be.'
'Dismissing us for a brat, even if it THAT brat.'
'What is wrong with you, Hiruzen?! Keeping this secret helps no one now!'
Naruto scowled, closing the door after he heard those "whispered" comments from Danzo, Koharu, and Homaru respectively. "Well, they're a bunch of assholes," Naruto stated flatly.
"Those are my old teammates, Naruto," Sarutobi informed in amusement.
"...I'm sorry?" Naruto offered sheepishly.
"Apologies work best directed at the offended party," Hiruzen pointed out.
"No, I mean sorry they were your teammates," Naruto corrected with a wide grin.
"Hehe, we might disagree a lot these day, but I wouldn't trade my time with them for anything else," Hiruzen answered honestly, tipping his hat as awkward memories came to mind. 'Particularly that time Koharu literally saved my balls.'
Naruto winced, wanting to say just how TMI that was, but thought against it. "Even that Danzo guy?" he inquired, pushing the joke along.
"He wasn't my teammate," The monkey summoner answered cheekily as they both shared a laugh. "So, you think Danzo is a badass, eh, Naruto?" the Hokage inquired in amusement.
"Well, all you elderly ninjas seem to use the same fake hobbled look," Naruto said with a shrug.
"Is it really that obvious?" Sarutobi inquired with a sweat-drop.
"It wasn't until I saw you push a tree off a path on your own a few years ago," Naruto answered smugly. "After that, you start to realize how many of you old timers just like to surprise everyone with how in shape you actually are."
"I needed some fresh air and exercise," Hiruzen defended proudly as he came up to Naruto, examining the Hitai-ate on his head. "Third times the charm, eh, Naruto?"
"A lot of people say that," Naruto murmured with an eye roll.
Only to blink as the elderly village leader leaned down and hugged him. "I'm proud of you, Naruto."
Naruto grinned as he fought back tears and embraced his surrogate grandfather. "T-thanks old man. J-just wait, I'll be a kickass Hokage and take that hat from you in no time!" he declared with determination.
The Hokage chuckled and released the boy. "I'm sure you will, Naruto and then I can finally retire again!" he mock-rejoiced as he ruffled the blond's spikey hair. "Now, I can already guess what you're going to ask, but the answer is no," he informed apologetically.
"No victory Ramen?" Naruto asked with a pout.
"No, but it's for a good reason. After all, who do you think reviews all the team placements?" Sarutobi asked with a grin.
"Geeze Old Man. I thought it was weird though. We graduate and you're going to figure out the teams in one night?" Naruto inquired curiously.
"Well, your instructors do most of the work, recommending placements based on all their observations of the fresh genin and their skills," Sarutobi informed. "Still, I have to review all of them and, if changes are needed, find the best combinations possible."
"Guess that makes sense. Tomorrow night then?" Naruto asked hopefully.
"Hehe, I'd say yes, but you'll be busy preparing for a...tradition we have for new teams," Sarutobi informed carefully. After all, who would jump to the conclusion that the first test was just for weeding out the rest?
"Aww man," Naruto muttered in disappointment before brightening up. "Oh well, I'll probably be busy with this team stuff anyway."
"That's the spirit, Naruto. Now why don't you head off and enjoy yourself," Hiruzen suggested.
"Sure. Great talking with you, Old Man," Naruto called as he did an about face to leave.
"You as well, my boy," Sarutobi called as the potential-genin made it to the door. 'I'll tell him if he passes the real test.'
"Huh? You say something, Gramps?" Naruto asked, about to close the door behind him.
The wizened leader blinked and smiled. "No, Naruto, just murmuring to myself," he assured while mentally confused, wondering if he said that out loud.
"Oh, okay," Naruto accepted, trying to clean out his ears as he closed the door. "Shame, was going to show him that bar I found. I'll just head out then," he decided with a shrug.
After a few annoyed words exchanged between him and the secretary about her needing a "Be Back in Five" sign, Naruto found himself wandering the streets of Konoha.
'Oh great, it's him.'
'Is that a headband?'
'Dammit it, he really did pass.'
'That child's a ninja now.'
He was just a bit uncomfortable. He was used to the stares and hushed words, but they seemed much louder than normal. Was him passing really pissing them off that much?
He blinked and came to a stop. 'Okay, THAT is the voice I heard at the academy,' he recognized, looking around curiously.
'Did he spot me?'
Naruto turned around, scanning the crowd as he made his way through them, focusing only on that little 'voice'. When did his hearing become this good again? Oh well, like the clone jutsu, he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
'Oh no, he's coming this way!'
Naruto's eyes locked on as he saw sudden movement near an intersection, prompting him to pick up the pace and ignoring all the other looks he was getting.
The villagers got oddly quiet now that he wasn't paying attention to them, not that Naruto took stock of this.
Turning the corner, he spotted a flash of grey and indigo ducking down an alley way. He could just keep running after them, but he was a ninja.
While he didn't know how to walk up walls (or that he could yet) just about any academy student half way through the academy could jump on and across rooftops with ease. Taking to the roof, he decided to cut his stalker off, heading to the alley between two buildings. Looking down, he was treated to the sight of someone, his age by their size, hiding behind a dumpster.
Deciding to figure out just who this was and why they felt the need to run from him, he jumped on down and land right behind them.
Or, rather, her.
His arrival made her jump around in alarm, staring at him with wide, pale, startled eyes and a growing blush on her face. He eyed her in confusion. "Umm, hi?" he greeted awkwardly. This made look away, several times, with an uneasy expression on her face. He crossed his arms, taking this to mean she had issues with him like everyone else. Still, he knew this girl. She was from his class, right? Did she have a bone to pick with him? "Do you have something to say or are you following me out of boredom?" he asked with a scowl.
She flinched, bowing her head and fiddling with her fingers. "I-I, um, t-th-that is..." she mumbled uncertainly.
"Eh?" Naruto asked as he leaned in closer, making her blush and cover the lower half of her face with her hands while staring at him with wide eyes.
'I'm Hinata Hyuuga and I really, really like you and want to be as confident and amazing as you!'
Naruto went wide eyed as he tried to compute that, causing his brain to almost literally reboot.
This girl liked him? Wait, THAT was why she acted creepy and weird, because she was too nervous to talk to him?! And more importantly, there was in fact a girl not only willing to give him a chance, but who actually thought he was awesome?
Hinata was wondering why she hadn't fainted yet, why her mind refused to shut down on her as it usually did in these situations, but blushed hard as Naruto suddenly grinned at her. Like he had just come to a decision about her. Her eyes slowly widened as Naruto leaned in closer and closer.
'Wait, is he really...?!'
Her heart stopped as Naruto's lips touched her forehead.
She stared numbly as Naruto pulled back with a cocky yet sheepish grin. "Listen, I'll admit I don't have the finer points of the whole dating thing down, but...want to go out for a bit, Hinata?"
'Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!' Hinata mentally chanting while nodding rapidly in glee.
Naruto grinned wider at her enthusiasm. "Great! Hey, and I know just the place to get a drink," he mused
'A drink? A drink as in a bar..?' Hinata mentally wondered in surprised, wondering how fast this was going and how this could end...
"Don't worry, no alcohol, and it's real nice," Naruto assured to her "question" with a grin before shrugging. "Though, it's a new place for me. You mind us going for Ramen if we can't find it?"
"N-no, any-anywhere is fine with me!" Hinata promised quickly, standing straighter and keeping her stutter down a bit better. She was ablaze with determination and not willing to let herself ruin this miracle! She wasn't going to faint, she would stutter less and she would not let him misread any overt shyness as disliking him.
"Good. I just hope it's not as expensive as it looks," Naruto murmured as he took Hinata's hand and led her back out to the street.
'Naruto is holding my hand! Don't faint, keep walking!' Hinata mentally chanted to herself, completely content with the world for now, while Naruto chuckled under his breath at her antics.
If either of them noticed the villagers being surprised by the apparent and sudden couple of the Demon Brat with a Clan Princess, they paid them no heed. Hinata was on Cloud Nine, with Naruto at about Cloud Seven. He was curious about this admirer that had been under his nose this whole time, and she loved how warm and nice Naruto's hand felt around her own.
"Now let's see-huh, thought it'd be a bit farther than that," Naruto remarked as he spot the bar in question. Granted, he didn't remember the outside of it, but the words over the top saying "Archy's Den" pretty much gave it away. 'Wait, so that guy was the owner? Wow, what a chill guy for someone running a business.'
Hinata took in the bar curiously as they entered. True to Naruto's words, it was a fairly pleasant looking place with a relax atmosphere.
"Back already, kid?" Sal asked with a gruff tone as he polished a few glasses.
"Hey, um...Sal! Right, Sal! Your boss in?" Naruto asked with grin as he jumped onto one of the stools, Hinata joining him.
"Nice save," Sal said with an eye roll. "Arch is off on personal stuff, so you're stuck with me. Now, who's this? Girlfriend?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
Hinata's blush renewed itself, prompting Naruto to snicker a bit. "Kind of, probably, I think?" Naruto answered with a clueless shrug.
Hinata giggled, finding the answer too funny to be discouraged by. "W-we're just friends for right now, Mr. Sal," Hinata answered, her smile betraying her as she looked to her crush.
"Uh-huh, right," Sal responded with an eye roll as he produced two drinks for the pseudo-couple. "Well, cheers to graduating and...whatever you're pretending your relationship is for the time being," he offered in a good-natured, rough way.
Naruto chuckled, not really sure when someone officially became a couple. "So, what do we talk about?" Naruto asked curiously.
"Ask her about her kinky dreams!" A female voice from one of the other customers called, eliciting a round of laughs from the rest.
"P-pervert witch!" Naruto cried in protest, blushing as Hinata went scarlet from head to toe.
"Kleo! I will throw you out this time!" Sal warned with a growl, eliciting another laugh from the same woman. "Ignore her," he advised, pushing the glasses forward.
"What is this?" Hinata asked curiously, not sure what to make of the drink yet.
"This, Hinata, is a Jinglebeer: The one thing I will dare say rivals ramen," Naruto said in a too-serious voice before turning to the bartender. "So, how much do I owe you?"
"Eh, don't worry kid. Arch said it's on the house again, same for your friend," Sal waved off as Hinata took a curious drink.
Naruto raised an eyebrow at that, not sure why he was still getting free drinks. Then he turned to Hinata and stared in surprise to see her gulping her drink with wide eyes of wonder...and she promptly fell backwards out of her chair from over tipping.
"Oh shit!" Naruto cursed, moving to catch her. His footing not properly secured at first, he almost fell out too, but managed to catch his fellow graduate. "Um, you okay, Nata?" Naruto asked in concern as he cradled her top half in his arms, her legs still halfway on the seat.
'Best day, best drink, best everything!' Hinata cheered as she smiled up at him…and suddenly pulled him down into an upside down kiss.
The shock of it, feeling her tongue push against his mouth, made him forget the question of why he didn't see her mouth move when she spoke.
Hinata released him after a good ten seconds, smiling so wide she might tear her face in two. Snickers and applause reached their ears as Naruto looked up and saw Sal give them an unimpressed look. "So this is your "not-really" girlfriend, right?" Sal questioned sarcastically.
Hinata giggled, still "high" on the comically divine drink as she stood up and retook her seat. "I'm sorry if I was b-being too forward, Naruto. Today is just so perfect, I couldn't contain myself," she apologized, still obviously very happy about this whole situation.
"...Hinata, if this is ever going to work, there is one rule I have that you must follow," Naruto said evenly as he stood up.
Hinata blinked, looking concerned. "What's that, Naruto?" she inquired, her mind rushing through scenarios. Everything from not touching him without permission to calling him Master in private.
Half of those thoughts vanished and the other half intensified as Naruto was suddenly the one kissing her. She sat there, dumbly, as the crowd gave them cheers, catcalls, and the like. He pulled back, looking into her wide, attentive eyes. "NEVER apologize for kissing me. Got it?" Naruto instructed firmly.
Hinata stared for a moment before breaking out into another grin. "Y-yes, I think I can do that, Naruto," she said in a blissfully happy voice.
"Good, now, we are going to sit down and try to get to know each other and never entertain these perverts again," Naruto decided, getting boos from the crowd. "Shut up! We're not your entertainment!" Naruto yelled at them, ignoring the "Yes you are!" in the background.
"B-but..." Hinata started, recapturing Naruto's attention. "I-I thought you liked a-attention, Naruto?" she asked with a shaky smile, trying to sound playful.
Naruto stared for a moment before chuckling and patting her on the head in mock-condescension. "Nice try, Hinata."
Hinata beamed as if it were honest praise and also enjoying the headpats a little. "S-so, what do you want to know?" she asked curiously.
"Well, everyone knows who I am. Prankster, unpredictable, two-time screw up, all-time awesome. But, I'm sorry to say, I'm not too sure who you are besides being an adorably cute girl that has questionable taste in boys and tastes like cinnamon," Naruto commented cheekily.
"...Do you like cinnamon?" Hinata asked with a hopeful smile, giddy at being called cute by him.
"It's growing on me," Naruto answered, looking at her expectantly.
"We-well, I'm from the Hyuuga clan. A-actually, the clan head is my father," Hinata confessed, not sure how Naruto would take that.
"Hyuuga, huh. Wait...doesn't that make you kind of like a princess?" Naruto asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I-I wouldn't put it like that, but I guess?" Hinata answered nervously. She never did like flaunting around her heritage to make a point or anything.
"...Isn't it supposed to be the awesome underdog pinning away to impress the princess, not the other way around?" Naruto asked cheekily.
"Y-you're just that awesome?" Hinata attempted in her own manner of boldness. "W-was that why you wanted Sakura?" she inquired, looking away a bit.
"Oh, don't get me wrong. I like Sakura. Smart, spunky and pretty. BUT!" Naruto said this firmly as Hinata looked down. "I've honestly thought for a long while that every girl pretty much hated me or wouldn't give me the time of day. So, I figured, if none of them like me, I might as well as try to go after the one I thought I liked best. Sorry I never really noticed you before," Naruto said sheepishly.
"N-no, its fine! I...kind of tried to avoid you noticing me," Hinata answered, looking down with a sad look.
"Huh? Why would you do that?" Naruto asked in confusion. "We couldn't exactly ever go out if you avoided me."
"I...didn't think I was worth your time," Hinata answered, sounding a bit depressed with herself now.
Neither of them noticed Sal glaring at the other customers, warning them not to ruin the moment again.
Naruto just stared, truly unable to comprehend that. He had been treated that way by many people himself, but he couldn't imagine why anyone would feel like that about him...unless, the feeling of worthlessness had nothing to do with him.
'I'm just a failure,' Hinata thought to herself bitterly, almost feeling bad for enjoying herself with the boy of her dreams.
"Umm, Hinata?" Naruto spoke up awkwardly, getting her attention. "I...failed the exam twice. Technically, I'm the failure here," he pointed out.
He had no idea how to deal with this! He just got angry and more determined to prove everyone wrong! He wasn't sure how you help someone just shake it off when they wallow in it!
Hinata smiled a little bit. "Thank you, Naruto. But..." Hinata paused before pulling her knees to herself. "Naruto, I..I know you don't have a family, but can I ask you something?"
"...Yeah?" Naruto asked, a bit worried himself now.
"I love my friends and my family. And I hate the thought of hurting them, even if it's just for training. How do I justify hurting the people I love?" Hinata asked softly.
Naruto blinked, looked up. "Wait, you're telling me you pull your punches in spars with everyone?" Naruto asked curiously.
"I know it's silly, but...," Hinata trailed off.
"Hinata, I really, REALLY don't like Sasuke," Naruto stated flatly.
"Huh?" Hinata asked in confusion. Why did the topic change so rapidly.
"I wouldn't say I hate him, but I hate his attitude, among other things. But while I hate getting beat by him, I don't hate that he beat me," Naruto stopped to look up in thought. "Or does it make more sense the other way around? Anyway, not important! The point I'm probably failing at here is that hurting your friends in a spar is a good thing, usually. it helps you both get stronger and well...look, who are these spars mostly against?"
"M-my little sister," Hinata confessed, completely enraptured with his words.
"...Trying and failing to imagine a cuter version of you. I just realized I might get diabetes looking at your baby photos," Naruto remarked to her amusement, shaking his head clear. "But that's actually a bit worse. I...kind of watched a few families growing up. While some kids really don't like their big brothers or sisters, a lot of them look up to them. So...imagine if we got into a spar and you realized "I" was holding back on you?" Naruto clarified.
"I'd think you didn't think I was wor-" Hinata stopped as many, many things clicked to her.
"Hey, hey, don't dent the wood!" Sal warned as Hinata's head dropped, hard.
"My baby sister hates me...," Hinata bemoaned with anime tears.
"W-well, I wouldn't go that far," Naruto said sheepishly. "Just...try your best next time. Just remember, sparring is helping more than hurting. Usually," Naruto advised with caution.
"But Hanabi isn't a push over, Naruto. She's really good for her age," Hinata pointed out.
"Are you sure she's better than you though?" Naruto asked with an encouraging grin. "Look at it this way? The sooner you beat her ass, the sooner you can kiss her booboos away," Naruto teased lightly.
Hinata smiled, feeling a bit better about...everything. "I'll try, I suppose."
The blond teen looked up thoughtfully as an idea came to mind. "If you win, I'll take you on a picnic with cinnamon rolls next week?" Naruto offered experimentally.
"Excuse me, I have to go beat my sister's ass in front of my father!" Hinata exclaimed with a grin as she jumped out of her seat, heading to the door. She stopped, turned back around, marched straight up to Naruto and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you, Naruto."
"You've kissed me twice now, and I did was I treat you to drinks I got free and some advice I pulled together. I'm pretty sure I got the better deal here," Naruto pointed out with a chuckle as Hinata beamed again, leaving with an extra pep in her step. With that, Naruto turned back around and sighed. "Okay, Sal, you seem like a reasonable adult. How badly did I screw that up?" Naruto asked helplessly.
Sal rose an eyebrow as he glanced after the girl. "I'm pretty sure you haven't screwed anything yet kid, good or bad."
Naruto glared at the bartender's dry joke. "Any chance of Archy firing you?"
"Not a chance in Eternity," Sal answered with a smirk.
"So...do you sell Cinnamon buns here, by chance?" Naruto asked hopefully, getting a sweat-drop from Sal.
Hiashi Hyuuga was a fatherly mixture of worried and annoyed by how late Hinata was getting home to report if she had passed or failed the genin exam. He was sorely tempted to send out a guard or Neji to try and find her, but that became very unneeded as Hinata Hyuuga walked into his office.
He was about to scold her when he noticed this Hinata was very different from the one that left this morning. Her head was held high, there was a small smile on her face, and while her trembling gave her nervousness away it didn't show much elsewhere. Also, there was a headband around her neck. "I see you passed, Hinata," he remarked evenly.
"Thank you, Father," she gave with a small bow to her clan head of a father. "If it is not an inconvenience, I would like to make a request."
"...And that would be?" Hiashi asked, hiding his own curiosity.
Despite his Hyuuga mask, there was something he liked about how Hinata's smile grew. "I would like a spar with my sister if neither of you are busy."
Hiashi stared, his lack of response telling of his surprise. The Hinata he knew was too...coddling, too worried about hurting others and overall unconfident in herself. He had something to do with that last bit, loathed as he was to admit it. Being gentle wasn't bad, it was in the name of their taijutsu for crying out loud! But Hinata just came off as weak to most people.
And yet, something had changed for her. A gleam in her eye he hadn't seen before.
Still, he was incredibly tempted to say no. He knew that her team would meet tomorrow and learn of the true test. Even to him, it didn't feel fair to risk her getting injured to leave a poor impression on her teammates and Sensei.
However...the situation of "who is the Heiress?" was a very...fluid situation. The older Hinata got, the more fixed it became that Hanabi was the next leader. For various reasons such as lessons in leading the clan, perception and backing of the clan members, etc. In fact, most of the elder saw Hinata becoming a genin as the deadline for Hinata showing any true improvement over her younger sister.
But, despite what Hinata and her classmates believed, they weren't genin yet. Not until they passed the real exam, and even then not until they registered.
And if he was going to choose Hanabi without regret, he needed to make sure this wasn't a fluke and, if it wasn't, to know once in for all how strong was his eldest, if she had the heart and spirit to truly fight.
"...I don't believe that'll be a problem, Hinata."
End of Chapter
Well, there's chapter 2, and Naruto still hasn't figured out that he can read minds yet, but he has gotten a new friend, almost-girlfriend with Hinata at the very start. Who now has a confidence boost due to Naruto's involvement.
And Hinata holding back is canon, its stated she hesitates in spars while Hanabi doesn't. I'm not giving Hinata a power up(yet), Naruto just lit a fire under her ass.
Now, like I said, this involves CYOAs, chief of which is Big Al's Supreme Blessings: I'd give a link, but Fanfiction is bullshit and won't let us add in links. Just google "supreme blessing cyoa" and go to the reddit link.
The current, confirmed build is just Super Psionics. The other two aren't revealed yet.
Oh, and by the way? Thank you all for the reveiws, except for that one Guest. You know who you are, asshole