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

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 99

"I still can't believe you won't celebrate your promotion," Naruto grumbled and Eiji deflated and rolled his eyes at him. Seriously, the blonde just wouldn't leave that alone. Yes, he was a Jounin now, officially since he came back to Konoha, really, but…

He didn't feel any different.

One would think that becoming a Jounin would change something, right? Didn't feel that way at all for Eiji though. The only thing it seemed to add to him was a title, really.

[Jounin of Konoha

Increases stats when taking part on a Konoha sanctioned mission by 30%.

Increases skill efficiency when taking part on a Konoha sanctioned mission by 15%.]

It wasn't a bad title, really, but Eiji was pretty sure he still preferred to have Weaver and Wielder of Nuibari. After all, those had pretty much the same effect so long as he had Nuibari with him, with Weaver having some other bonuses added to that. Only thing Jounin of Konoha had going for it was the skill efficiency part, but it wasn't enough, really. Besides, he wasn't too sure about the 'sanctioned mission' requirement, really. What if it didn't work at some point because something wasn't actually mission required? Yeah, Eiji much preferred to have something that would work all the time.

It was underwhelming, honestly.

What else was there to celebrate about? Being a Jounin gave him access to knowledge on almost any Jutsu he could want, but… he was a little past that part. If he wanted a technique, chances were that he could just make one and it would be tailored to his style instead of something more generic.

Authority? Please, Eiji didn't have more of that than he had before. Only thing that changed on that front was that he now could be put in positions of power over people. However, out of missions, he didn't have much more authority than anyone else. People would listen if a Jounin told them something, for sure, but abusing that was a quick way to get thrown back to Chunin, or even Genin. Besides, he didn't want authority in the first place, really.

He had access to missions with higher pay, yeah, but those usually came with increased risk. There were more than a few missions that Eiji wouldn't have much trouble with but… He couldn't even go on those, since he was apparently stuck dealing with Akatsuki while the world struggled not to fall apart around him.

'Fun stuff,' he thought wryly.

"Naruto, will you leave it alone," Sasuke grumbled from where he sat opposite to the blonde. The Uchiha, much like he'd started doing before they were even out of the Academy, had joined them for most meals. He'd never accepted their offer to just stay with them in the extra room they hadn't ever actually filled with anything, but it was what it was.

Turned out to be a sort of good thing, since their place now housed Karin too. Then again, with just the money Eiji had been given for the Iwa mission alone they would have been able to get a bigger place. Funny that, since nobody had told him about that part. Probably foreseen that he didn't much care about it, really. It had been a nice bonus though.

Speaking of Karin, she was currently looking between the three of them. Poor girl was still getting used to the group's antics, it seemed, which told Eiji that she hadn't been around for very long. He didn't have a single clue how that had come to be either, which just confused him more. What change had led to that? Or was it just an entirely AU thing? Both?

"But Sasuke! He's a Jounin now!" Naruto whined, as if he couldn't understand why nobody was making a big deal out of it but him. The rest of the group were like that probably because they had grown up in families that had more Jounin members than not. Hell, Sasuke's brother had become Anbu at a younger age than Eiji had made Jounin. "It was your dream before, why aren't you more excited?!"

That got the whole table to blink, before both Sasuke and Karin turned towards Eiji.

"Huh…" the boy in question said intelligently. Then, a memory almost forgotten resurfaced.

"Huh, so it was," he heard Hachi mumble.

"Just Jounin, really?" Kage said, both amused and bemused by that tidbit.

"Hey, I was a kid!" he joked, earning a snort from both of his Mindscape occupants.

"I'd forgotten about that," Eiji replied out loud. "I remember someone saying that it was lame though."

"Eh, well, hehe," Naruto stammered then, chuckling weakly as he started scratching the back of his head. "It was, but it was still your dream though!" He 'defended' himself.

"Anyway, it's been forever since then… My goal has changed quite a bit. Jounin isn't all that, really," Eiji said then with a shrug.

"Just Jounin, really?" Sasuke asked, incredulous.

"That's what I said!" Kage exclaimed, with a laugh.

"What? I was a normal kid before I met this idiot," Eiji replied, almost letting out a laugh himself. He'd never been normal really, after all. "It's all his fault."

"I know. I'm awesome that way," Naruto boasted, clearly proud of having turned Eiji away from a path of normality.

"As if you'd have ever been normal, Eiji," Hachi told him, with no mercy whatsoever.

"So, about that party-"

"No," Eiji denied instantly.

"But Eijiiiii!" The blonde then proceeded to whine, making him roll his eyes.

"Hm… I think I'll just… go wash the dishes, yeah," Karin said shyly, starting to gather the table.

"You aren't gonna be able to escape this… madness, just saying," Sasuke told the girl, with a wry smile. "Believe me, I've tried."

"Way to crush her hopes, Sasuke," Eiji commented.

"I wasn't trying to-"

"Normal people are boring anyway," Naruto protested, crossing his arms.

"I didn't say anything about that though," Karin said weakly. "I just thought I'd wash the dishes while you talked," she added, earning a raised eyebrow from all three of them.

"Sure you did, Karin, sure you did."

[}-o-{]

"Is this what being Tayuya feels like?... Because it sucks," Temari grumbled from where she sat in a small circle with Kabuto, Jirobo, Yugito and Sasori.

"This is… an interesting game," The Puppet master commented as he put down a card. Which was all sorts of surprising on its own, nevermind the fact that he was playing at all. Mostly because he'd spoken, since Sasori usually stayed silent, even when doing something with the team.

"Oh come on! Tayuya, can you come and play too? Take the bad luck away from me, please!" Temari all but cried out.

"Fuck you, Bimbo Number One," The red head 'said' as she glared at the blonde, flute still in place as she played her music. She was using that trick more and more, Eiji had noticed. He wasn't one to complain though, if he could hear her music all day, he would.

[}-o-{]

It had been a while since Eiji had stopped doing kata training. Anko's style of teaching involved a lot more sparring than just going through motions and he'd taken that approach when training with his team too. Thus, as he slowly went through each stance, transitioning from one to the other as carefully as possible, he couldn't help but find it interesting.

[Subtle Fist Taijutsu has gone up a level.]

It was good that he'd long since gotten used to the screens. He couldn't imagine Hiashi would take kindly to his concentration being broken out of nowhere for seemingly no reason. Still, it was good that he could all but follow the katas in his sleep by that point, because he couldn't help but mentally call for the skill screen.

[Subtle Fist Taijutsu – Lvl 7

Increases the skill of the user in hand to hand combat targeting weak spots in the human body.]

'We're getting there,' Eiji mused to himself as he continued through the exercise with Hiashi by his side, watching like a hawk. The man took teaching very seriously, he'd found. Which was great, actually. Eiji was already coming up with ways to use this knowledge to his advantage.

Between what Hiashi was teaching him and his medical knowledge, the boy was sure he could create something interesting. 'Maybe involving threads?' he thought, idly using Living Thread to move the wires he carried around for no apparent reason. Honestly, after so long using them, they felt almost like an extension of his body. 'Nuibari could be used for that too, I guess,' he continued theorizing.

"You are doing remarkably well," he heard Hiashi comment, but Eiji didn't so much as twitch at the sound of the man's voice. He'd made that mistake once and not again.

"Thanks, I guess," the boy replied without stopping.

The existence of the Subtle Fist had been a surprise, really. As Hiashi told him when they'd started, the style was used by Hyuga members that had lost their eyes one way or another. It made sense then, even if it was… a little disturbing, that many members had lost their sight at some point in their career. Any enemy would try to take the sight away from a Hyuga, which meant that some had to have managed to succeed. The Clan's answer to this was the Subtle Fist, a style that used their extensive knowledge of the human body to target weak spots just like the Gentle Fist targeted tenketsu.

Apparently, it was the closest thing to the Gentle Fist the Hyuga clan could teach to anyone that didn't actually have the Byakugan. Eiji wasn't complaining though. It was an honor to be given the opportunity, considering that according to Hiashi, nobody else had been taught the style.

There were similar stylesthroughout the world, of course, but the one from the Hyuga clan wasn't found outside of it… until Eiji, that is. And that wasn't even mentioning the fact that Subtle Fist was supposed to use the same chakra attacks that the Gentle Fist did, which was unique to it as far as Hiashi was concerned at least. Eiji was sure that meant that he'd get to that once he finished leveling up the Basic skill or something of the sort.

Furthermore, there was also something else that he'd been told he would be taught. However, he wasn't getting his hopes up for that. Hiashi had told him that he'd need to lay down more groundwork for that. Eiji didn't know if that meant regarding his training or the man's take over of the clan leadership. He would possibly have to wait until the man truly started reforming the clan… which would take a while. That was time he probably didn't have, but it was nice to know, he guessed.

"Okay, that's enough," Hiashi announced then, making Eiji finally relax. The boy then took a deep breath in and let it out as he let his exhausted limbs rest, moving to sit on the ground. On the other side of the training area, Hinata and Hanabi were doing much worse, all but having dropped to the ground as the announcement was made. They had been going through Subtle Fist katas along with him, all the while using Living Thread and Web Sense.

Hiashi had been quite keen on having that latter one taught to his daughters when Eiji had mentioned wanting to teach them something else. Apparently, he'd been wrong to assume that they wouldn't be interested in it. The Clan Head had admitted that it was mainly so that they would have something they could use to 'see everything' without having to use the Byakugan.

Once he was told the man's take on that, Eiji immediately understood. The Byakugan wasn't a subtle technique, after all. The signs that the bloodline limit was used were very clear to anyone. Living Thread had no such tell though, unless the wires in question were used blatantly. Thus, it allowed the use of the Subtle Fist instead of the Gentle Fist in certain situations. After all, while Hyuga features were very obvious, nobody would expect a Hyuga to fight without their bloodline limit.

It certainly gave the girls something to work with if the situation allowed it, and Hiashi was all too eager to add stuff to their arsenal. Call the man whatever you wanted, but he certainly seemed to care, even if he went about it in some very wrong ways, from what Eiji had seen in the past. With less pressure from his clan, Hiashi almost seemed to be a completely different person, which was a relief.

"Don't move the wires so quickly," Eiji told the girls then, his own exhaustion bleeding into his tone. "You are doing well keeping them as out of sight as possible, but if you move them too quickly, they can catch someone's attention."

"Yes, Eiji," Hinata nodded, from where she struggled to stay in a sitting position on the ground.

"Yes, Eiji-sensei," was Hanabi's response, coming at the same time as her sisters. That made the girl blush profusely while both her father and Eiji himself turned to look at her with a raised eyebrow. When Hiashi spoke though, it was to say something that didn't reassure him at all.

"Now there's an idea."

[}-o-{]

Eiji leaned against the front door of the vet and stared.

Then, he looked down at Yuki, who was standing next to him, at the same time that the ninken turned towards him. Around them, a bunch of dogs and puppies ran and barked, fortunately not enough to cause too much of a ruckus.

"Is this going to become a thing?" Eiji wondered out loud, earning a single, united bark from all the canines in the vet and Yuki. He sighed. "I was afraid you'd say that."

He turned his eyes back to what he'd been staring at, which is to say Kabuto and Hana, who were trading notes on treatments and what not. The Inuzuka was currently sitting behind the front desk, while the Yakushi leaned forward in front of her, both of them looking over some notes laid on the counter. They'd been like that practically since they had arrived, which was… at the least an hour prior.

"Well, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," Eiji mumbled to himself, earning snort from Yuki. "Hey, Kabuto!" He called, snapping the two of them out of their conversation. "We have training to do, you know? But no worries, if you wanna stay, I can just go. I'm sure the others will understand if you want to have some time with your girlfriend."

"Eiji!" The 'girlfriend' in question protested, glaring at him as she turned bright red.

"Hey, I was just offering to help," He replied 'innocently'.

"Let's just… go," Kabuto mumbled as he walked up to Eiji, his expression blank. Amusingly enough, he thought he saw the ex-spy's mask crack a bit. 'Either it really affected him or he's not as committed to that act,' He noted, pleased with either development. The man seemed to be much more of a… person as time passed.

"Sorry to interrupt, man," Eiji told his team member. "But really, you should ask her out, I'm sure there's better date spots than her workplace."

"Eiji!" Hana repeated, louder this time but her voice was muffled as the vet's door closed behind them.

Yuki simply barked a laugh at that.

"I hate you, Eiji," Kabuto grumbled.

"I know."

[}-o-{]

"What are you going to do, Temari?" Eiji asked, sitting with his back against a tree. The rest of the team had been sent away, probably with Anbu/Root stalking them all the way. Hiruzen hadn't been too clear on how things went on that front, which was enough to tell Eiji that the old man didn't trust them nearly as much as the boy himself did. Annoying for his team, but understandable.

"I… Don't know," The Suna kunoichi replied, which was a bit of a problem. He'd been all too willing to wait, but time passed and she still wouldn't give him an answer. He needed to know who would be there during the next mission, he needed to know what he could count with and what not. He had plans for both situations, but clearing that up could only help focus his efforts, really.

"Have you talked with your brother?"

"We've traded a few letters," She admitted, visibly trying to gather her thoughts. "I… He has told me how things are going back home. He says things are going well. Your Hokage seems to be helping him understand what he needs to do and such… We both know that they are shaping Gaara to favor Konoha though."

"It's not a bad thing, I'd say and that's not because I'm a Konoha nin," Eiji commented.

"I know that…" Temari said. "It's probably the best way to get Suna out of its situation. I just…"

"You want to help him too?" Eiji guessed, more than able to relate to that. He'd have wanted to be with Naruto too, if he was going through that.

"At the same time… I want to take Akatsuki out, let my brother not have to worry about them," Temari mumbled, her hands balling into fists. "But they could go after him and I'd be somewhere else… I don't know what to do…"

"From what I know, there's nothing that would suggest Akatsuki is going after your brother anytime soon," Eiji commented. He'd 'talked' about that with Danzo. The Root leader had replied to that question with a summary of what they knew about Akatsuki movements so far. There were the Takigakure reports, which were the most clear sightings. There were some others though, like a few that circled around Kirigakure, but nothing anywhere close to the Land of Wind.

"That's… good to know," She replied, before looking at him strangely. "Gaara didn't say anything about that."

"They might have not told him. Akatsuki information isn't spread around unless it's needed to know. So, keep that to yourself, yeah?" He asked, receiving a slow nod from her.

"Do you think we can stop them before they reach my brother?" He remained silent after that question, wondering about that himself.

"I think it's possible," He answered, not really promising anything and he knew Temari would pick up on that. Indeed, a second later she sighed.

"Let's try then," She said then, a grim smile on her face.

"Gaara will be alright," He told her, closing his eyes as plans formed in his head. Danzo, the Spider Clan, maybe even the Snake Clan… Yes, he could pull some strings to make that happen. It was no guarantee, but he could stack things in their favor a little and hope it was enough. "I'll do my best to keep him safe. Would be a lousy friend if I didn't, right?... Maybe we can visit Suna once we are done with these missions."

"... Thank you."

"Don't mention it."

[}-o-{]

"Didn't think I'd have you working here again."

"I mean, I thought, why not?" Eiji mused as he settled a potted plant on a shelf. "It sounded like a good idea. For old times' sake and all that."

"We certainly appreciate the help, Eiji," Noriko told him with a smile. "If only so that I don't have to hear Ino say how bored she is every five minutes."

"What? This is boring," Said girl protested from behind the counter. "Besides, I haven't been complaining nearly as much as before."

"Which isn't saying much, really," Noriko shot back with a smile that didn't match her words at all.

Ino just groaned while Eiji chuckled as he continued helping out.

[}-o-{]

"As if your stupid wires weren't annoying enough already, Fearless Leader," Tayuya grumbled as threads wrappred around Jirobo, firmly holding him in place despite the Genjutsu user's boost together with Kabuto's. The big guy couldn't so much as twitch, under the grasp of one of his new wire-based techniques.

[Last Embrace – Lvl 15

C-rank technique with which the user wraps a target with threads and holds them in place.

Hand Seals – 3

Consumption – 10 Chakra Points every second.

+Creator Bonus:

Increases hold Strength by 50%.]

"Use more thread techniques she says?" Eiji mocked, almost laughing when he heard several curses. His hands then blurred into hand seals.

"Fuck!" He heard and, surprisingly, it didn't come from Tayuya but from Temari. Which was an appropriate reaction, maybe, since the wires all around came alive and started rushing at them like whips. Eiji repeated the hand seals again and again, his threads hitting again and again, with his team barely managing to dodge. Even with the delay of having to use hand seals it was a troublesome technique to go against, as his team attested to.

And even if being hit by the wires wasn't dangerous, dodging by itself was hard, since Eiji liberally used Living Thread to mess with their evasion routes. It was a fun exercise, really. For Eiji, that is. For his team? Well… maybe?

[Whiplash – Lvl 17

C-rank technique with which the user lashes at targets using threads.

Hand Seals – 3

Range – 34 meters

Consumption – 6 Chakra Points.

+Creator Bonus:

Increases Range by 25%.

Increases Strength by 25%.]

"Fearless Leader," Tayuya all but growled. "I hate you."

"I'm hurt, truly," He replied, placing a hand over his chest. Yugito seemed to think that was her chance… silly woman. She ran face first into a web made out of wire that had been previously almost invisible. Something that was immediately followed by a shock of Stunning Thread.

[Noxious Trap – Lvl 5

C-rank technique with which the user can hide threads from sight.

Hand Seals – 15

Consumption – 30 Chakra Points.

+Creator Bonus:

Increases hiding efficacy by 25%.

Increases wire Strength by 25%.]

"Man, using only wire is fun," Eiji mused out loud with a grin.

"Right?" An excited Shirakumo exclaimed from his shoulder, at the same time as Tsuchigumo barked excitedly inside his mind. It seemed that he wasn't the only one enjoying himself. The same couldn't be said about his team but… well, training wasn't supposed to be fun, right?

He chuckled.

"You are evil, boss," Jirobo commented with a grimace as he continued struggling against the wires around him.

"I know… But it's a lot of fun," Eiji replied unrepentantly.

[}-o-{]

"Thanks for the help, Chouji," Eiji said with a smile as he washed the dishes. It had been yet another day when the whole group and his team gathered for a meal, and that always meant a whole lot of cooking and cleaning. Having someone lend a hand was nice, especially someone that knew what they were doing.

"I'm helping too, Fearless Leader, but I can go away if that's not the case," Tayuya grumbled as she set a dry dish down.

"You know what I meant, Tayuya," He said, rolling his eyes. "Having some help when cooking is always appreciated."

"Well, it's not my fault you are so good everyone's afraid of messing up," The Genjutsu user spat then, making him blink.

"That's a thing?" He asked, turning to his Akimichi friend, who was looking at him with an uncomfortable smile. "Is that why nobody helps?"

"I mean… maybe?"

"Man, you guys suck," Eiji grumbled then. "I'm gonna start making worse food, maybe then I won't have to do it all on my own, at least."

"Don't you dare," Tayuya growled, pointing at him with a now clean knife.

"What are you gonna do? Put a Genjutsu on me?" He asked then, with a grin.

"I think you might cause a riot if you do that, Eiji," Chouji commented with a nervous chuckle.

"I mean, they might turn to you for food," The Satou pointed out, making the Akimichi pale and start sweating.

"You wouldn't do that, right?" The boy asked, receiving only silence for an answer. "Right?"

"I'm gonna find a way through your dispelling technique, I swear," Tayuya hissed, angrily turning to continue helping Chouji dry what he washed. "If not, I'll just have to find another way to kick your ass."

"You can try," Eiji shot back.

"I'm suddenly feeling like a third wheel," Chouji mumbled, making both Eiji and Tayuya turn to stare at him, then at each other and then back at the Akimichi. They ended that with an unimpressed raised eyebrow. "Um… I'll just… you know… go with the others… wanted to talk with Shika about something and… yeah…" And with that, the boy ran away.

"Man, your friends really are afraid of you, huh?" Tayuya commented and he just turned to give her a smirk.

"Just like my team," He pointed out, earning a grimace from the girl, who didn't even try to correct him.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Well, that was a fun chapter to write, even if it gave me a little trouble actually getting the words down. Lots of scene jumping, but I have lots of things to show and I don't want to take a handful of chapters to do that. If you disagree, just let me know and I'll see what I can do about it.

I hope you enjoyed the chapter.

As always, if you can't wait until next week for next chapter, there's up to three new chapters in my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: I dropped some more thread techniques in this chapter because Eiji's definitely going to abuse the new bonus for the Weaver title. I have some other original jutsu ideas, but I wanted to know, do you?

See you.