Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor The Gamer. I own nothing, really.

Chapter 4

"I actually feel bad for watching this… fight." I commented cringing at the sight.

"I want to cheer for her but…" Naruto tried to explain ending with just flinging his arms around.

"I get what you mean, Naruto." Chouji said nodding sagely.

"Then focus on our game." Shikamaru said with a bored tone.

"This is almost as sad. I feel like that civilian that sparred against Sasuke."

"Thanks for the compliment."

"Why am I playing against you?"

"To escape boredom."

"Right." I sighed.

The situation was quite simple. Shikamaru was beating me in a Shogi match for the… tenth? I stopped paying attention after the sixth to be honest. Chouji and Naruto had joined soon afterwards and we were watching the spars unfold. The current one though, was embarrassing to look at. It was Sakura vs Ino and… it was a catfight. There was no other word that would do the… spar… justice. I was afraid they would start ripping their clothes off, honestly.

With that disturbing thought in mind, I turned my attention to the board. I had started to understand why the Nara's strategic thinking was often described as difficult to describe. There was no way a mediocre writer would find the words to do their brains justice, so it was better left as beyond their comprehension. And that was the case right now. He was beyond my comprehension.

[Shogi – Lvl 5

Increases your strategic thinking while playing Shogi according to skill level.]

The skill had leveled faster than any other that I had. My best guess would be because I had played some chess in my past life and Shogi was like a Japanese version of it. It didn't mean much though. I had never been good and I was sure Shikamaru couldn't tell the difference between a complete amateur and me. There wasn't much of a difference when you played against someone like him.

"Do you have plans for after classes?" Shikamaru asked. I wasn't sure if he was asking me alone or both me and Naruto. He had been making a move so it was difficult to tell. I decided to include Naruto just in case.

"I was planning to go in some Stealth training with Naruto. I've been kind of ignoring him as I focused on the Taijutsu training." I explained and he nodded.

"Wanted to beat Kiba, huh?" He asked indifferently. Of course, he knew.

"More like, didn't want Kiba to beat me." I said lamely and he snorted.

"Stealth training?" Chouji asked curiously.

"Pranking." Naruto whispered loudly.

"I just told you, Naruto. I won't be pranking anymore." I narrowed my eyes at him and he frowned before his eyes widened and started scratching the back of his head.

"Right, I forgot." He replied looking away. I just sighed and made my move. Shikamaru moved instantly and a groan escaped from my throat as I saw I was screwed again. The Nara just smirked my way as I glared.

"I'm gonna beat you. Eventually, it'll happen." He just shrugged as if he could care less. I just hoped my skills didn't come with a level cap or that the cap was enough to allow me to beat Naras. Otherwise I would have to rely on my own brain and I just knew I would never beat him with just that. "Thank Kami, it ended." I exclaimed as the cringeworthy match ended. And I am not talking about my game with Shikamaru.

"Anyway," Shikamaru said as he set the pieces back into place for another game. "Do you want to come to my house? We can continue there if you are up for more games." I resisted the need to growl at that. At least he didn't say 'up for more defeats'.

"What do you say, Naruto?" I asked as I made the first move. I couldn't just leave the blonde out. I just wouldn't feel right. If Shikamaru's parents had a problem with that then we would just get out. I was sure Shikaku Nara was smart enough to know that Naruto wasn't a demon or a ticking bomb. Or wouldn't be if he had enough support in the latter case.

"Erm… Sure…" Naruto answered scratching the back of his head nervously and I saw Shikamaru narrow his eyes. I shook my head at him and his suspicious gaze turned to me. I continued playing with a neutral face and the Nara seemed to follow my example with a bored one himself.

"Eiji Satou vs Hibachi Mizuno." Iruka Sensei called for me again. It seemed it was time for everyone to have second spars. I wondered if the class would have enough time to get thirds.

I stood in the circle in front of my opponent. He had short brown hair, almost hidden under a grey bandana and stone colored eyes. He was wearing a beige t-shirt and grey pants with black 'ninja sandals'. The lasts still seemed silly to me but everyone used them, so I just went with it. After doing the Seal of Confrontation he took his stance and I took mine with a smirk. I had trained my ass off for these spars, there was no way this kid would beat me.

I had decided to wait and see as my strategy. There was no need to rush into things when I could let the opponent make the first move and possibly the first mistake. That is, unless I knew they were someone like Hinata and Chouji where they would probably be taken aback if I rushed right from the beginning.

The kid, I had already forgotten his name, seemed a bit nervous as he shifted in his feet while I just stared at him without moving. Finally, he seemed to have enough as he rushed at me to throw a fist to my face.

With the smirk still on my face I shifted my stance leaving my left leg in front of me and my left arm extended as much as I could towards the boy. My right arm stayed firmly close to my torso. As he ran at me, I positioned my left fist so that it would point right at his face as he shortened the distance between us. My smirk widened as that little movement got the desired results. He broke his stance to avoid my fist to my left side.

I shifted my left feet back so that I faced him and pulled my left arm back. After the length of my arm and my step back, it looked to the kid like a long distance had formed between us, prompting him to take another step to reach me. As he did that though, I took advantage of the motion of pulling my left arm back and send my right arm forward as a hook to his jaw.

I took no little amount of pride as my fist connected and sent his head back and his body to the ground. During the whole thing my smirk had only grown as I watched while taking my stance once again. After a moment he shakily stood up and I waited for him. If he was a little out of it then it was even better to wait, he would surely have a ton of openings when he tried to attack.

"I give up." The kid said as he walked towards me with legs that seemed to be made of jelly. 'What?' I did a double take at that. Granted, he looked like a strong wind would down him but still.

"Winner, Eiji Satou." Sensei said as he took notes on the spar. I blinked. That was all?

Don't get me wrong, it was kind of nice. Scratch that, it was definitely nice after all that work put on Taijutsu. But at the same time, it was kind of underwhelming. I scratched my chin uncomfortably as I made my way back to the others. It was also a little disappointing that I didn't get another Quest reward but I guessed it was only for the first and maybe after I defeated someone in specific if the Game was feeling generous.

"That was fast." Shikamaru said with a raised eyebrow.

"That was so cool!" Naruto said as he stared at me with almost literal stars in his eyes. "You definitely got to teach me that!" He demanded signaling at the circle where the spars took place. I just chuckled as Shikamaru grumbled something about 'loud blondes'.

"What? I told you that I had trained for this." I said with the smirk back in my face.

"You are so going to teach me." A grinning Naruto told me. "Then I'll kick everyone's ass. Especially Sasuke-teme's, believe it." I just shook my head at him.

"I just trained what Iruka sensei taught us and did the physical conditioning by myself at home." I explained.

"But that's so boring." Whined the blonde and I rolled my eyes before turning to the Nara.

"I also eat a lot of different things besides ramen, you know?" I said, which seemed to get Chouji's attention.

"Did you start a special menu for training?" He asked interestedly and I leaned back.

"Hm, no. I don't know that much about food." I said embarrassed and he nodded.

"Because the other day my mother was telling me about…" And that seemed to spark a conversation on what were the best things you could eat when you were training. I gave the Akimichi as much attention as I could while still playing with Shikamaru. Something told me I would have to work on my multi-tasking when dealing with all this people.

[}-o-{]

"Ok, now, tell me why is Naruto so nervous about going to my house?" Shikamaru all but demanded as we made our way to the Nara compound. Meanwhile, Naruto and Chouji seemed to be having a rather heated argument about what was better barbecue or ramen. It looked like they were going to take a while too.

"Look around." I said cryptically and the Nara's eyes narrowed before doing so. A minute later he turned to me.

"Why does everyone look at him like that?" He asked this time.

"I don't know." I lied while shrugging. "But I doubt it's just because of his pranks. I also heard some people call him a demon here and there." That had actually happened, much to my displeasure, so I was safe to say it. I considered telling him that people wouldn't sell food to the blonde but I would have to wait until I knew what his parents thought about the matter at least. Shikaku was generally cool about Naruto's condition but I couldn't know for certain.

"I see." Shikamaru said while biting his thumb. "So, he is nervous because he thinks my parents will be like that?" He continued his interrogation. At least he didn't seem offended by that.

"I think so. I wouldn't take it personal. I'm sure it would happen with anyone else too." I said shrugging and giving him an apologetic smile.

"Troublesome."

"Yeah, he tends to be." I smirked at the lazy genius. "You couldn't ask for a better friend though." I said with a smile looking at Naruto. Shikamaru just hummed next to me.

"If you say so." He said looking over to the other pair with his bored look. I couldn't help but think about how much more difficult it was to get a read out of him than others. "We are here." He said pointing to a gate with a pair of almost identical bored-looking guards. I would have wondered if they were even doing their job but the way they twitched when Naruto came into view told me that yes, they were very much aware of their surroundings. "The three of them are with me." Shikamaru said waving at the guards and they just hummed distractedly.

"Well, that's effective security right there." I said smirking.

"Lazy asses, the both of them." He commented with a shrug.

"If you say so." I said still smirking and he narrowed his eyes at me before giving me a smirk.

"Welcome home, Shika! If you go to sleep right now you know what'll happen~!" That was how Shikamaru's mother always received him apparently. It was said that way at least. I just turned to him with a raised eyebrow. He groaned.

"Do you have to be so troublesome, woman?" He grumbled. "I'm not even going to sleep anyway."

"Like I would- Oh, welcome everyone." The Nara matriarch said as she peeked over the corner and saw all of us. "You didn't tell me you would bring friends, Shika." She chided.

"It was a spur of the moment thing." He shrugged with his hands in his pockets. "Anyway, we are going to the backyard." He said and started walking.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Nara-san." I said politely bowing to her. "I'm Eiji Satou."

"N-Naruto Uzumaki." Naruto said while bowing awkwardly next to me. Obviously not used to this kind of thing.

"Hello again, Yoshino-san." Chouji just waved.

"My my, aren't you a polite pair. I'm Yoshino Nara, a pleasure to meet you too." She said sweetly and a part of me relaxed at the fact that she didn't say anything about Naruto. "Anyone that keeps Shika from taking a nap is welcome here." I sweat dropped at that and heard the younger Nara groan and mutter 'troublesome woman'. "And just call me Yoshino." She smiled at us.

"Of course, thank you, Yoshino-san." She just waved her hand at me and went back to what she was doing.

"Let's go." Shikamaru said guiding us through the halls.

"There's no hurry, Shika." I teased and he groaned.

"You have been distinctly not troublesome, Eiji. Don't ruin it." He almost sounded serious. I just snorted and shook my head.

"Whoa, you have so much space." Naruto exclaimed as he spread his arms as if to signal the size of the backyard. It was pretty big, at least if you were used to our shitty apartments of the orphan building. "It would be awesome to have this much space, wouldn't it Eiji?" He asked turning to me. "We could have practiced Taijutsu together." There was something in his voice as he said the word 'together' that made me take a mental note to search for a place to train with him in other things besides Stealth.

"You can train here." Shikamaru said shrugging as we both turned to him. "Just keep me out of-."

"I'll be eternally grateful if you get Shika to train!" Yoshino's voice interrupted her son. He just sighed as if resigning himself to his fate and I chuckled.

"Count on us, Yoshino-san!" I answered to with she shouted a 'thank you'.

"Traitor." The Nara heir grumbled.

"We'll play Shogi and I'll spar with Chouji or Naruto from time to time. We can tell your mother that you participated too and were resting if she comes." I muttered to him and he gave me a smirk.

"I like how you think."

"What do you say, Chouji? How about a spar?" Naruto asked excitedly. Poor little guy probably was ecstatic that he would be able to do… something with someone else.

"Do I have to?" The Akimichi whined.

"Eiji will bring food for you to the Academy tomorrow!" Offered the blonde.

"Oy, leave me out of this." I said nervously. I wasn't quite sure if my Lvl 5 Cooking was good enough for an Akimichi after all. They were kind of like the Food Kings of Konoha, weren't they?

"Deal!" Chouji accepted instantly and I blanched.

"Don't worry. It doesn't have to be really good, just good enough and have lots of it." Shikamaru adviced and I nodded weakly.

"Naruto gets me into a deal to have me cook more and now I'm about to have my ass handed to me in Shogi. Why did I accept your invitation?" I asked defeatedly.

"Beats me." He said smirking as he started playing. I sighed.

It was sometime later that I found myself looking at a pair of screens while walking on the street.

[Shogi – Lvl 7

Increases your strategic thinking while playing Shogi according to skill level.]

[Basic Taijutsu – Lvl 9

Increases the skill of the user in hand to hand combat according to skill level.]

And that's how I learned that actual spars were ten times better than just practicing the katas for Taijutsu. Not that I ever doubted it but I was surprised to have received a level on the skill even though I had just had a couple of spars with Naruto and one with Chouji. The latter really needed a boost of confidence though. I hoped we could give it to him if we continued sparing him without mocking him or anything. We had tried to get Shikamaru to spar at least once but it was a lost cause.

I noticed that the Nara seemed to enjoy having someone to play Shogi against a little too much. I mean, one would think that after beating me so many times he would get bored but it seemed to do the opposite really. I wondered how many times he had crushed people only for them to give up and stop playing with him. I wouldn't though. My Shogi level would get high enough eventually. Or at least, I wished so.

"Ne, Eiji, it's too late to go to Ichiraku's so…" Naruto started nervously while we walked back to our building. I sighed.

"If you want me to cook just ask, Naruto." I said exasperatedly before he grabbed my shoulder and pulled me into a one-armed hug giving his signature smirk.

"You are the best, Eiji!" He said. "I'll pay you really well when I become Hokage, believe it!" I chuckled.

"You better." I shook my head.

Overall, it was a nice day. I ended the laps before Kiba, I didn't get my ass handed to me in the spars and I made a couple of new friends.

It was a good day.

[}-o-{]

Naruto POV

Today was awesome!

I mean, just thinking about it brought a grin to my face. Eiji got to beat Kiba's ass on the running laps which was pretty nice. Then we celebrated together and after that we hung out with Shikamaru and Chouji. We even went to Shikamaru's house and his mother didn't kick me out! And Eiji… Eiji also offered to make me food after I told him about the shops. My grin turned into a soft smile at that thought. He really was a great friend. It only added to my love for Ichiraku's really. After all, if I hadn't asked if anyone wanted to come with me…

"Yeah, why not? Now, where do we find this 'food of the Gods'?"

I think I disguised my surprise pretty well back then… Who am I kidding? Eiji seemed to be able to read me like an open book. It was a bit scary, how he could see right through my usual grin. Like how he always accepted to go pranking with me when I was lonely even though I tried not to show it. It was sad that we wouldn't be able to do that anymore.

'But I get to eat Eiji's food, so that is great', I thought as I continued eating what my red-eyed friend had prepared. He had made a lot of food and had left saying that he would sit in the balcony while I finished. He liked his peace and quiet sometimes.

I shook my head focusing on the food. He wasn't Ichiraku level of good, but honestly, who was? But he was pretty good, and seemed to be improving. And also… how could I tell him no? He was my first friend after all. Well, not really. He wasn't my first friend per se. But he was the first one that hadn't left me. I frowned as I remembered all the times a friend had left me after their parents or the matron at the orphanage had told them to stay away from me.

But Eiji stayed. And that was the second-best thing about him. He shrugged off all the glares we got as we walked the streets. Even back then, the first day we talked, he had tried his best as we both awkwardly chatted with one another.

However, the very best thing about him was that he didn't mock my dream.

"Heeeh~. Is that so?"

There was no mockery in his voice. It wasn't the fake praise that Ayame-neechan, Teuchi-jisan or Jiji used either. No, he just accepted that it was my dream and that was it.

"If you are going to be the next Hokage, then I'm going to be the next Shinobi no Kami."

Yeah, Eiji was the best. Putting aside the dishes, I made my way to the balcony to see what he was doing. Funnily enough, I found him sleeping on the floor. Suddenly a mischievous grin grew in my face as the thought of using a marker all over his face crossed my mind. Yeah, that was a good idea.

"No…" I froze and slowly turned to look at him. I almost let out a sigh in relief as I saw that he hadn't woken up and caught me. "No…" I froze again but this time for a completely different reason. He sounded so… weak. It clashed a lot with the Eiji I knew. He always sounded sure of himself, even when he was sure that Kiba would beat him in the Taijutsu spars he had this air of confidence. As if he knew he would beat him eventually, which by the amount of training he did, I believed him.

"No…" He moved in his sleep and I snapped out of my thoughts.

"Eiji, wake up." I shook him awake. I knew how scary nightmares were. He sat up straight instantly before looking around. Finally, his eyes settled on me. He blinked. I noticed that his red eyes were pretty scary in the night.

"Sorry, it seems I fell asleep." He apologized, if I hadn't heard him, I wouldn't have believed that this was the same voice that had sounded so scared and weak before.

"Don't worry." I grinned at him like usual and he smiled at me. "That seemed like a scary nightmare though." I pointed out and his smile vanished. Internally, I cursed myself. Having friends was difficult sometimes.

"Yeah…" He nodded tiredly. "Yeah, it was." He looked away towards the view that we got from the balcony. "It's scary, isn't it?" He asked and I wasn't sure he was talking to me anymore. I looked at him in confusion before he finished the statement. "Not existing is scary."

That day I found something else that made Eiji awesome.

He understood.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

I don't feel like this chapter is good at all. I'm not satisfied with the way it turned out. From the interactions with Shika and Chouji, to the Naruto POV and don't even get me started with the spar.

I absolutely SUCK at writing fights.

Anyway, I can't quite think of a way to improve it. Which only adds to my frustration.

Leave a review. Here's hoping there won't be too much flame coming my way with this shitty chapter.

See you.