What's Up? It's been a while hasn't it? I finally figured out where I want to go with this story. It took a while but I'd never leave anybody hanging when I've already written up something. It's just not my style. Not that it matters, this fic will probably seem new to everyone since I haven't updated in so long. Just know that YES this fic is still alive and NO I did not fall off the face of the Earth. Someone asked me in a review or PM or something to give some descriptions on the Genin and me being the nice man I am...did so. So underneath are their profiles.

Ayako Ogasawara

Age: 13

Hair: Short and Brown

Eyes: Hazel

Height: 5' 1"

Weight: 109.2

Akio Inuzuka

Age: 13

Hair: Spiky and Brown

Eyes: Brown

Height: 5' 5"

Weight: 121.8

Ryo Haruno

Age: 13

Hair: Normal and Black, Covers his Right Eye

Eyes: Green

Height: 5' 3"

Weight: 117.1

Naruto Uzumaki

Age: 27

Hair: Spiky and Yellow

Eyes: Blue

Height: 6' 1"

Weight: 141.5

Ok ok, so maybe it's not a complete breakdown of what you were expecting, but I just thought I'd let you guys be creative about what kind of clothing they wear and what particular type of hairstyle they have and things like that. That way you guys like them more, because in essence...you are creating their look. Or maybe that's just my messed up mind getting to me.

Anyway...Chapter 3 is OUT. So go ahead and read...meet you at the bottom!

Naruto looked down at his exhausted students with nothing but pride in his eyes. It had been three months since Team 5 entered service and he couldn't be happier with how they were doing.

The Inuzuka Clan had finally begun teaching Akio some of their jutsus and he had been working on them daily after Naruto's training regiment was done for the day. Ayako had been working on her teamwork skills more after Naruto scolded her one day. Ever since, Ayako had become more lenient towards yelling at Akio. Ryo had become a leader within the group and used most of his spare time training with Ino or, on occasion, being a solid buffer between Ayako and Akio during their more heated arguments.

More than anything he was happy in their teamwork. Naruto had really angered all of them on some days, but overall he was happy that they turned out for the better. He didn't want any of his team to experience what he and Sakura had to go through…

"Yo teach! Snap out of it!" Akio jumped excitedly waving his hand in front of Naruto's face. "What are we doing today?"

Naruto shook his head free of his thoughts to look down at the excited Inuzuka, "Right. Same as always guys. D Rank mission, but today I think I'll do something a little different, but only if you guys can work as a team."

The team groaned out of the repetitiveness. For the last three weeks this is all that Naruto had been doing. D Rank missions every day. The first two months were all about getting to know each other. They all were forced to spend the night with another's family. It was divided so that two would have to be together and one got the night off.

In a way that might of also been the reason behind Ayako's lenience recently. She was no longer a Ryo fangirl…thank god…and she was more acceptant towards some of Akio's comments. Naruto was proud of how far she had come since first meeting her.

"So what's the mission?" Ryo asked.

Naruto blinked his head out of confusion before scratching the back of his head. He really needed to stop thinking so deeply. "Ms. Yuuhi lost one of her cats the other day and he hasn't been seen, so since we have a tracker on our team I thought the mission wouldn't be too hard for you guys."

Sakon and Ukon barked happily knowing that they were being put to work. For the most part, Naruto had trouble finding ways to incorporate the dogs into the team but he was getting used to it…slowly but steadily.

"Alright boys, have at it!" Akio yelled excitedly opening the cage and watching the dogs fly off towards Ms. Yuuhi's house. Ryo just shrugged his shoulders before going off after them. Ayako sighed before slowly following.

"Well…that should keep them busy for a little bit," Naruto said holding back a chuckle. "Time to hit up old Ichiraku."

Ichiraku hadn't changed too much since when Naruto left. Same tasty ramen as always. The only difference was Teuchi was now in a nursing home and Ayame's husband had taken over the cooking. Things always change in some way or another. It was even more apparent when Ayame's little six-year old girl came up and asked him for his order.

"I don't think I'll ever get used to this," Naruto blinked down at the child.

"Ha ha, well she's mommy's little helper, aren't you darling," Ayame sweet talked to her child who grinned happily. "Same as always, Naruto?"

"Yes, please!" Naruto shouted loudly for everyone to hear.

The drape over Ichiraku's ramen stand was lifted as another customer made his way into the little diner.

"I thought I heard our number one knuckleheaded ninja."

Naruto blinked and turned around to see Kiba Inuzuka sit beside him.

"One beef bowl," Kiba said to Ayame before looking at Naruto, "So…how's it going?"

Naruto stared into his old friend's eyes. A hint of sadness still held in his eyes from back then…

Zetsu split right down the middle from Hinata's Gentle Fist Technique. She had reached her limit in strength. With relief she deactivated the Byakugan.

"Hinata you did it!" Kiba and Naruto yelled out happily.

She sighed in relief and smiled towards both of them.

In an instant the two halves of Zetsu created two separate entities, a Light Zetsu and a Dark Zetsu. Before anyone could warn her, Hinata was punctured through by several poisonous vines.

"Hinata!" Everyone screamed.

"You're finished. Our poison is incurable." The Dark Zetsu spoke maliciously. "You'll be dead in three minutes."

Hinata stared in shock as the Zetsus ripped the vines out of her. Already the poison was affecting her. Her vision was blurring and it was getting harder to see clearly. The one thing she did see though…were the Zetsus.

With all the chakra she had left, Hinata activated her Byakugan and slammed her gentle fist technique into both of the Zetsus to deactivate all of their chakra points. With that done, she fell…

"NO!" Kiba screamed rushing over to her, but it was too late. The poison alongside chakra exhaustion was just too much for her to handle.

"Kiba look out!"

Kiba looked up to see a vine zooming towards him at incredible speed. At the last second, Akamaru bashed the speeding vine off course and grabbed Kiba by his shirt to pull him back.

"Let me go! Hinata!" Kiba screamed out.

Shino looked sadly at their fallen teammate. The battle was over. Thanks to Hinata, Zetsu could barely move and wouldn't be able to get away.

So Shino's bugs descended on Zetsu, and nothing remained once the bugs had left.

"I'm okay…" Naruto replied back to Kiba bitterly.

Kiba chuckled bitterly, "It seems that both of us can only remember sad memories when we see our friends."

"I have the feeling it will stay with me forever," Naruto replied in kind. "Life goes on..."

Kiba nodded as Ayame brought them their food.

"Itadakimasu!" Kiba and Naruto yelled out before chowing down.

"Sensei, we found the cat early!" Ayako smiled happily.

Naruto looked up from under the tree he had been snoozing. "What, already?"

"So what do we get to do!" Akio blurted out, which caused Ayako to smack him upside the head. Naruto decided to let it pass since she had been holding it back for a while now.

"We get to train. I want you three to go get the three kunai at the top of each of those trees."

Team 5 blinked as Naruto pointed out three trees near the lake that had kunai embedded at the top of each tree.

"Uh…no offense sensei, but those trees don't have very many branches for us to climb on to get up there," Ayako stated uncertainly.

"Who says you're using your hands to climb up there? You guys will only be using your feet." Naruto grinned happily. Oh how he was going to enjoy this…

"Um…okay…" Akio said hesitantly as he walked up to one of the trees. He began to wrap his feet around the tree and tried to shimmy himself up by using his thighs. Two inches later Akio fell and hit his head on a tree root. Naruto burst out laughing.

"Oh…my…he just…oh god…" Naruto laughed having a hard time making complete sentences. "ha ha…ah ha…ha…no."

"Then how are you supposed to do it?!" Akio yelled out of aggravation.

"Geez guys it's not that hard just walk up and get it."

With that Naruto made himself an example and walked up to the tree, put his foot on the tree, put his other foot on the tree, walked up the tree, grabbed the kunai, walked back down the tree, and hopped off the tree in front of Team Five.

"Now wasn't that simple?"

Akio and Ayako stared bug eyed as the laws of physics were shattered in front of them.

"That's impossible." Akio and Ayako stated at the same time.

"No it's not, all you have to do is—"

"Is use your chakra and push it into your legs so that you can stick to surfaces, right?" Ryo stated inquisitively.

"Correct," Naruto nodded.

After lecturing them on its exact use for a few minutes, Team 5 was ready to try it out for themselves. Ryo, of course, was the first to have it pegged in three hours. He was just like his mother, good chakra control. Naruto made Ryo run laps up and down the tree while the others finished. After a bit more pushing, surprisingly enough it was Akio that finished second…two hours later. Ryo was exhausted.

"Ryo you can go on home. You've done enough for today," Naruto stated and Ryo nodded and took his leave almost unwillingly.

Naruto knew that Ryo wanted to talk to him about his parents, but it still brought too many bad memories to his mind. He just couldn't…not yet…

"Akio run laps up and down the tree," Naruto commanded to which Akio groaned before beginning his laps. Ayako stood tiredly at the base of the tree. Slowly Naruto made his way up to her…

"I can't do this!" Ayako screamed in aggravation. "I'm not from a clan like Akio and Ryo are. I don't have the talent to do something like this!"

"Ayako," Naruto said softly, "You can do this, you've just got to work at it a little harder than they do. I used to be the same way."

Ayako blinked. "You did?"

Naruto nodded, "I stayed up til early in the morning for five days before I ended up doing it, and if that's how long it has to take you, then we'll just keep working with you until you do it."

With that Naruto jumped onto the tree, "Alright Ayako get on the tree."

Ayako pushed her chakra into her feet and planted them firmly onto the tree. This was pretty much the only thing she had gotten figured out.

"Alright now take my hands and keep pushing chakra into your feet."

Ayako did as her sensei told her and slowly Naruto began walking up the tree with her struggling to keep the chakra to stay with him.

Suddenly, Ayako's chakra flow stopped and Naruto grabbed a firm grip on her as they dangled ten feet off the ground.

"It's okay I got you." Naruto stated alleviating only a little of Ayako's fears. "Replant your feet."

Ayako did so reluctantly and they made their way up the tree slowly and steadily with her losing it every ten feet.

Two hours passed and Naruto told Akio to go on home to which he was extremely grateful. Ayako was getting the hang of it now and only had to hang onto her near the top.

"Okay Ayako, I'm letting you do it now. If you fall, I'll catch you. Promise."

Ayako nodded hesitantly and charged up the tree again. She slipped for a second at the very top but planted her foot before falling and continued up the tree. At the top she grabbed hold of the kunai and made her way back down to her sensei exhaustedly.

"I-I-I did it!" She screamed out happily.

Naruto smiled and patted her on the head, "Good job…now…time to run laps!"

Ayako gave him the 'are you serious' look before groaning and running her laps up the tree. Naruto stayed to make sure she didn't fall and in two hours time she had the tree walk completely pegged.

"You did good work today. I'm proud of you," Naruto stated to which Ayako grinned happily, "Now run on home. We have a big day tomorrow."

Ayako nodded and rushed off to her house. It was really late now and Naruto yawned from the day he had been given.

"Well…guess it's time to visit my old teammates…"

The memorial stone was glistening tonight under the moonlit sky. Yet somebody was already sitting there upon his arrival.

"Nice night huh?" Naruto chuckled hesitantly under the woman's cold gaze.

"Nice night to reflect on past mistakes?" Ino asked with a hint of coldness and curiosity.

Naruto lowered his head refusing to look her in the eyes. "I just feel like…everyone who died…I could have done something…I could have stopped it! If I hadn't stood still Hinata…If I could have run faster Lee…If I could have—"

It came fast, loud and painfully. Ino slapped him across his whisker imprinted cheeks.

"What happened…happened. "Ino stated sadly. "We can't beat ourselves up over it. I know that more than anyone…I thought back then…if I could've just started training under Tsunade-sama when Sakura had…then maybe…Asuma-sensei…"

Naruto's eyes grew wide as reality set in, everyone felt the same way that he did, but he was the only one that was staying in the past…

"Life goes on…I said that just earlier today…and yet…I think I never really knew the meaning behind those words until now."

Ino nodded, "It doesn't always have to be sad, it can be happy, and sometimes…"

Ino cut off her speech and gave Naruto a warm kiss on the lips. Naruto couldn't even begin to grasp on what was happening just as he was about to kiss back, Ino pulled out.

"…there is something worth living for." Ino smiled finishing her previous statement.

Naruto blinked as Ino walked away into the night. "Hey, wait! …What was that?"

Ino was gone and Naruto's question was left unanswered.

"…I don't think I'll ever understand how a woman's mind works." Naruto chuckled before walking off back to his apartment.

He had completely forgotten about visiting the stone.

There was originally supposed to be more, but I figured that was a good enough place to stop for one day. Interesting? Hope so. Anyway that's it for this chapter. See you guys in another month...maybe...lol. Any questions regarding the fic, feel free to ask. Also REVIEW, it's become one of those cliche things for me to say at the end of my fics. If you like it I would appreciate a review. Anyway, all of you take care and I'll get chapter 4 up in no time. Peace out.