AN: Well this is my third fanfic and I hope it turns out better in my eyes than my first and better in the viewer's eyes than my second. So let's go and get a nice combo platter going shall we.
AN 2: FINISHED
Disclaimer: I've said it before and all say it again I don't own Naruto and if you give me trouble for it you can take it up with my lawyer (who has yet to leave high school, but I'm getting good with law too so between the two of us…).
Chapter 1: The Gathering of the leaves
Naruto was out strolling through the village. He loved his village, but the big meanies always gave him a funny look, that gave him a bad feeling and made him want to stay off the streets during the day, so he didn't really ever get to have a good look at things while the sun was out. He wasn't really bothered by it though the shadows of the night and the glow of the moon just gave the village a different glow that was non-existent during the day. Besides the matron of the orphanage didn't take enough notice of him so he doubted he'd be missed anyway.
He was making what looked to be his third round around the village and had just passed the Hyuga manor again when he heard a muffled scream. He decided to go check it out. He awkwardly climbed his way up and over the fence to see what looked like a ninja carrying a sack over its shoulder. Now Naruto was no genius but when a sack moves it's generally easy to believe that it has something living in it and boy was this sack moving like crazy. So Naruto did the first thing that came to mind, "HELP!" okay so it wasn't the brightest thing the boy could have done but it worked… sort of. As soon as the call left his lips the ANBU that were patrolling this sector of the village at this time of night attacked the kidnapper and released his captive. Unfortunately for Naruto the person immediately turned around, took a kunai knife from his hip pouch, and struck him through his left lung with it. He quickly passed out thinking 'So much for my normal walk in the village. Well at least I got to play the hero for once.'
Hiashi came out of his room in the Hyuga manor upon hearing the call for help. He was stunned upon what he came out to see. An ANBU patrol was tying up the cloud representative and placing him under arrest. This confused him until he found the now empty sack on the ground with his daughter not a far ways away from it shaking what looked like the local jinchuuriki who he assumed was the one to give the call for assistance. Currently he was lying on his back with a kunai knife sticking out of the left side of his chest. Thankfully he wasn't the only one to have come out of the household upon the call for help, "Hizashi take this boy to the hospital and get him medical attention. Don't take no for an answer and if they refuse to help him tell them that this is an order from the head of the Hyuga clan Hiashi Hyuga-sama himself."
"Hai Hiashi-sama!" and with that Hizashi was off. Hiashi felt no different from the rest of the village as far as the boy was concerned, that is to say he should be held at a distance; however, he was never one to refuse granting his gratitude to those who have earned it and who better would deserve such gratitude than the boy who had saved his precious daughter, the heir of his clan. 'Perhaps that boy is more than we give him credit for, hm… only time will tell I suppose.'
Hinata never left the boy's side the entire time he was in the hospital and worried about him every second she was there. Surprisingly her father didn't mind her staying there with him. He came by every once in a while with her mother to check up on her and see how the boy was doing but besides that he worried very little. She was glad that she wasn't alone while staying there as long as she had been there she had also been with an old man who stayed by his side. She had seen him around the village every once in a while but she didn't know very much about him except that people respected him. Once she had even worked up the courage to talk to him, "Ano, sir could you tell me who you are. I'm just wondering are you his ojii-sama?" Hinata asked in her meek voice.
He chuckled and responded, "No, young one, I'm not his grandfather even though he sometimes calls me that. I'm the Hokage and I'm quite possibly the only one who looks after him. He has no relatives and no friends. It's sad really." The old man explained to her.
"What's his name Hokage-sama?" She asked even more shyly now than before now that she knew that she was talking to the leader of her village. She knew about all of the Hokage and she felt kind of silly and ashamed not noticing that this was one of those legendary ninja.
The Hokage noticed this and responded amusedly, "His name is Naruto Uzumaki." They waited there for him to wake up for a week and with every passing day Hinata's fear for the boy's life grew worse and worse no matter how many of the doctors said that he would be alright until finally after that week of waiting he regained consciousness.
As soon as he woke up he looked to Hinata and asked, "Who are you?"
She deeply blushed and gave a nervous reply, "I'm Hinata Hyuga. Thank you for saving my life a few days ago Naruto-kun. I'm glad that you are okay now."
He smiled and continued the conversation, "I was happy to be of assistance seeing as I was in the area anyway. Don't worry about me there's no way that someone awesome like me would die that easily. I'm going to be the Hokage one day! What kind of Hokage would I be if I could be killed that easily" Naruto said beaming with pride at his dream which made Hinata giggles. The conversation continued this way for a while with Naruto and Hinata getting to know each other until the Hokage said that Hinata would have to leave so that Naruto could get some rest, but that she could come back tomorrow.
Ever since that day they spent every second that they could together, under strict supervision of course seeing as who he is and how lacking people's trust is in him, to the point that Hiashi even let Naruto practice with Hinata occasionally. Most of the time it would be Hinata's cousin Neji who would watch over Hinata and while he was extremely distant at first Naruto's natural charisma eventually got to him and he soon became Naruto's friend too. Now he would never be able to perform the juken style of fighting but he was able to go through the chakra control exercises for them –and boy did he need to –as well as he made for a much more decent sparring partner for Hinata than her father simply because there was a much smaller age gap between them as well as the fact that as long as Naruto was there Hinata's confidence was flying higher than any other Hyugas; as well as she was able to keep him grounded whenever he became arrogant. They would hang out with each other every day to the point that they even went and signed up for the academy together when they were seven and sat by each other every day in class.
Sasuke was sitting in his usual desk, as usual as one becomes after a week of school, listening to Mizuki-sensei's lecture, counting down the minutes until recess because after Recess was his favorite part of day.
"Well that's the bell. Everyone remember to meet by the training dummies after recess for sparring matches. You will be paired up by random drawing so be ready. Dismissed." Mizuki told them before the class charged out of the room.
Recess was uneventful, that is to say nothing new happened for Sasuke it was just another day of hiding from his fan girls. He had to use everything his aniiki had ever taught him to get away from them sometimes, but the bright side was it gave him a means to test his evasive skills.
When he got to the sparring area Mizuki-sensei was already handing out numbers to decide who was going against whom. He walked up to Mizuki-sensei and took a sheet of paper from the box he had. He pulled out the number "4" putting his match as the second one of the day and his partner as whoever had "3".
He sat down waiting for his match not worrying about who he would be paired against, after all he had yet to lose a sparring match during the entire time he had been at the academy and the semester was half-way over. There were few people he hadn't beaten left in his class so he just sat and watched the first fight which was between Chouji Akimichi and Kiba Inuzuka. Each came from a clan that focused on taijutsu and taijutsu modifying techniques so it was sure to be an interesting fight. True to his assessment the spar lasted almost the entire ten minutes allowed without either side gaining the upper hand; however, the Inuzuka's agility won out in the end and he was able to get a quick kick to Chouji's chest as the Akimichi over extended himself in a last ditch haymaker. The end result had Chouji knocked out of the ring seconds before the match ended.
Sasuke stood as soon as the match ended entering the sparring ring, aka a circle drawn in the dirt about five meters in radius, as Kiba walked out of it with a triumphant smirk spread across his face. He stood there waiting for whoever his opponent would be to enter the ring and Mizuki to call the fight. What shocked him though was who his opponent showed himself to be.
Standing across from him was Naruto Uzumaki the dead last of the class. Granted he was one of the few people in the class who Sasuke had never beaten and like Sasuke, Naruto had never been beaten either, but Naruto had to be ranked last in the class for a reason and there was no way he was going to lose to the lowest ranked member of his class, so he couldn't help but smirk arrogantly as he and Naruto got into position waiting on Mizuki-sensei to give the signal to begin, neither combatant meeting the other's eyes.
As soon as Mizuki-sensei gave the signal they each lunged at each other Sasuke throwing a quick jab at Naruto's face, which forced Naruto to duck down sliding forward in a variation of a sweep kick meant to take Sasuke's legs out from underneath him had Sasuke not jumped over it. Naruto straightened to his feet and Sasuke did a quick flip both returning to their base stance before moving to engage one another once again this time each throwing a punch that the other caught. Naruto used their position leaning back and pulling preparing himself for a head butt; however, Sasuke had other plans and used this new found shift in momentum pushing off with his legs to launch himself up and over Naruto putting them back to back. Sasuke then spun clockwise using his right foot as a stand to deliver a spin kick with his left, which Naruto turned around and stopped with his arms in a cross block guard high to his right while he used his legs to sweep kick Sasuke's remaining leg from under him. Sasuke turned his fall into a cartwheel which he transitioned into a back handspring to get some distance between himself and Naruto as they both once again returned to their beginning stance.
Sasuke was unimpressed by the situation because he knew what Naruto wanted. He wanted the same thing that everyone else wanted. All of the girls wanted to be with, and all the guys wanted to prove they were better than him, better than the great Uchiha. Sasuke knew exactly what Naruto wanted. He was no different. Or at least that is what Sasuke thought. But it just didn't make sense. Things just weren't adding up. Naruto must want to gain the respect of defeating an Uchiha, then how come when Naruto struck it felt more like he was trying to pull more out of Sasuke? Why did it feel like when they were engaged they were the only people that mattered at that moment, like the rest of the world didn't matter? It felt like Mizuki-sensei's opinion didn't matter, like Fugaku's opinion didn't matter, like Itachi's, or Hokage-sama's, or Mikoto's, or their classmates', or the rest of the village's opinion didn't matter. It felt like the spotlight that had shined down on Sasuke since his birth had finally turned off and the rest of the world just disappeared as they continued to exchange blows. It just didn't make since. That is it didn't make since until Sasuke looked into his opponent's eyes.
His eyes were filled with a respect and determination that shined throughout the battle. Sasuke could tell as soon as he looked into Naruto's eyes that Naruto wasn't fighting to gain the respect from everyone else from defeating an Uchiha. No Naruto was looking for respect from Sasuke and Sasuke alone. At that moment as Sasuke and Naruto fought in a battle that would ultimately end in a draw, the first non-win for the both of them, the two realized that within one another they had found a rival, and more than that they had each found a best friend.
It was nearing the end of the spring term, Naruto's first term in the academy, and while usually he would spend most of his time with Hinata she was sick this week so he decided to stay after school to spar with Sasuke, after which they worked on target practice. The sun had just begun to go down when the two boys realized how late it was.
"Wow it didn't even realize it was getting so late. I guess time flies huh Sasuke?"
"Kuso, Okaa-san is gonna kill me, and that's only if Otou-sama doesn't get to me first. I got to go Naruto, ja ne."
"Ja, Sasuke." Naruto responded as Sasuke sprinted out of the academy training field. 'Hm it looks like Sasuke forgot his shuriken. Oh well I'll just have to take them to him.' Naruto thinks a couple minutes after Sasuke leaves, looking around at the training field before gathering Sasuke's tools and taking off after Sasuke out of the training field.
What Naruto found when he caught up to Sasuke, was his friend standing frozen at the gates to his home. "Sasuke what's wrong? Why are you just standing here? Sasuke-" then Naruto looked to where Sasuke was staring only to see dozens of bodies lying slain in the streets. "I think we should go get the military police or the ANBU or something right Sasuke? Sasuke, hey Sasuke WAIT!" Naruto called out as Sasuke took off into the compound.
Naruto chased after him when Sasuke continued unheeded. "I have to know who did this and make sure my family is okay."
A look of determination set into Naruto's eyes, "Well I'm not going to let you run into this alone. I'm coming with you!"
Sasuke looked back at Naruto and when he saw Naruto's look a smile spread across his face and a similar look appeared in his eyes, "Whatever, do what you want."
The two sprinted through the compound charging into and through Sasuke's house once they reached it until they got to the room that Sasuke's parents stayed. They each took up a position on either side of the door and upon an unheard agreed upon signal Naruto opened and Sasuke lunged inside followed by Naruto. There they saw Fugaku and Mikoto Uchiha lying in a pool of their own blood and a silhouette of a man hidden in the shadows behind them.
Out of the shadows walked. Itachi Uchiha his vest stained in blood as he stood over the deceased.
"Aniiki what happened? Everyone's dead who could've done such a thing? Why-"
"Sasuke look." Naruto interrupted him pointed to the blood stained blade in his hands.
"Itachi-nii-" Sasuke began but before he could continue he froze and his body stiffened.
"Sasuke what's going on?" As Naruto tried to shake Sasuke he fell to his knees, "What'd you do to him you bastard!"
"You are weak otouto. To become powerful you must hate me all with all your being and you must gain the same eyes as I have. Only then will you be able to kill me." Itachi said stoically speaking for the first time and completely ignoring Naruto.
"That's bullshit!" Naruto cried out.
"Why? Why did you do it Aniki? Why did you kill our family?"
"I killed them for power and to test my limits."
"You killed them to test your limits?" Sasuke questioned beginning to show a spark of rage.
"I don't believe that bullshit for one second!" as Sasuke charged Itachi and Naruto quickly followed Sasuke throwing a flying roundhouse kick at Itachi's face from Itachi's right side driving Naruto to throw a low sweep kick from his left. Itachi caught Sasuke's kick and widened his base to keep himself balanced against Naruto's. He then slid his left foot under the blond and flipped into the air before punting him out of the room through the paper thin walls and into the streets. He then tossed his brother to join the urchin.
"If you want to avenge our family hate me become strong through your hatred and then when your hatred is strong enough gain my eyes and hunt me down only then will you be able to beat me."
"That's a lie hatred is no way to becoming strong!" Naruto yelled back.
Itachi threw a kunai which embedded itself in the road between Naruto's feet scaring him silent, "Say what you wish brat, but there is no power in your actions."
Sasuke rose picking up the kunai and charging at Itachi with a sharingan in each eye, only one tomoe in each, "Don't you dare threaten my friend!" However once he got to Itachi he simply caught Sasuke's blade arm, lifted him off the ground, and punched him in the gut with enough force to knock him out cold. As Itachi dropped his otouto to the ground so too did a tear fall from his red and black Mangekyo Sharingan eyes. Once Sasuke hit the ground Itachi fled the scene not once looking back at Naruto, who then picked his friend up and rushed him to the hospital.
full week had passed since the Uchiha massacre and every day since Naruto would go straight to the hospital after school to visit his friend who continued to remain unconscious in his bed. Five out of the seven days he had fallen asleep in the visitor's chair that sat beside Sasuke's bed not waking up until the morning when it was time for the academy. The hospital staff had become so used to him from his occasional trips after accidents that they did not disturb him. It was one of these nights that the Uchiha had finally awaken, coming too at about 0200 hours to the site of his only true friend and rival snoring like a mother panda with his arms splayed over the back of the chair, slouched back, snoring, and with an odd book covering his eyes.
Finally he couldn't take the dull roar and snapped, "Oi! Dobe! Wakey wakey." As he leaned over the bed side and shoved a slobber covered finger into the blonde's ear, causing him to flail around wildly in surprise and fall to the side out of his chair. (sorry folks, but what'd you expect it was either that or have him yell 'wake your bright ass up' before kicking his chair until it tipped over backwards-which I may still use-but let's face it he's only 7) This elicited an outburst of laughter from the young raven and a cry of indignation from the blonde.
Once Naruto had returned to his seat he immediately started up a conversation, "Mornin' teme and welcome back to the land of the living!"
"Don't you mean goodnight it seems pretty late. Speaking of which why are you even here shouldn't you be home resting up for the academy tomorrow?"
"Nah, I get as much sleep here as I do at home anyway, besides I figured you would need someone to be here when you woke up seeing as…" the blonde soon adopted a somber face at the reminder of the deaths of so many, even if it was the Uchiha who had died. Besides they could not have all been bad.
His smile vanished before he began whispering, his head staring down at his sheets, "Oh… yeah that's right. I guess I had just hoped it had all been a dream." Suddenly he snapped his visage up, his hands gripping the sheets tightly, his facial features displaying as much malice as was possible for one so young before he declared, "I swear on the blood of my family I will kill him! I'll become stronger than he ever was, and I'll find him, and I'll kill him! I will avenge my family! I swear it!"
Naruto's features became soft before he responded, his voice uncharacteristically low as he looked at the book in his lap while doing so, "Sasuke what will that accomplish. It wouldn't bring any of them back. All you'd be doing is killing the only family you had left."
"That man is no family of mine! That bastard deserves nothing from me, but my hatred! You're the only brother I have left."
Naruto smiled at being called "brother" by Sasuke but continued in the same small tone, "He's the last blood link you have to your family vile or not," Naruto corrected himself, "besides if you give into your hatred if you try and hunt him down, then you'd be doing exactly the same thing that he did, following in his footsteps. Do you really want to give him that satisfaction?"
Sasuke finally settled down before responding, "No I guess I don't."
Naruto continued the conversation, "Besides don't you want the truth out of him?"
"Well think about it his reasons just seem too fishy to be realistic especially with everything you've told me about him. Plus a murderer, a real murderer, wouldn't be crying about his actions."
"Crying?" Sasuke asked his friend incredulously.
"Yeah I guess you were already passed out when it happened though I'm surprised your red eyes didn't pick up on it. He turned his and a few drops of water fell from his eyes."
"Red eyes…you mean I activated my sharingan!"
"I guess. They were bright red and had a tomoe or comma thing or whatever they're called in each eye."
"Wow I wonder how I did it or how I can do it again."
Naruto shrugged and gave his honest opinion, "Well you could just try to make yourself feel whatever you felt just before you attacked him. Maybe that'll work."
Sasuke nodded before getting back to the conversation, "Yeah I'll try that later when I get back to training. But regardless even if Itachi felt some kind of remorse for his actions it doesn't bring back all of the people he killed."
Sasuke still seemed to be a little bit calmer at least so Naruto continued his fight, "Well neither will outright killing him, at least think about it before you go charging in to kill him without a thought the next time you see him alright?"
"Fine, I'll think about it dobe." Sasuke finally confirmed placating his friend before finally noticing the book that was in the blonde's lap, "Oi, dobe, I didn't know you could read what's with that book."
"Oh this, well it's a long story. You see I was bugging Jiji about my parents. I wanted to know something, anything, about them, but he wouldn't budge. Finally, I wore him down until he gave me this book. He told me someone very close to my parents, especially my dad, wrote this book. He said that my parents found it so fitting that they even named me after the main character in this book. My first thought was to look at the author's name, but Jiji told me that there's a special seal on it that keeps anyone who doesn't already know who wrote it from being able to read the author's name. There's apparently an autograph on the back cover too, but it's also sealed."
"Dang, why does Hokage-sama try so hard to keep information about your parents from you?"
"Don't know but I trust his judgment."
"Alright, fair enough, so what's it about?"
"It's called The Tales of a Gutsy Ninja and it's about an awesome ninja who finds his greatest strength when protecting others and his goal is to end all of the hatred that exists in the world. After reading it I've decided to make that my life's goal as well, believe it!" (Couldn't help myself it just felt perfect)
"Wow that sounds awesome! Can I read it?"
Naruto was sitting in class his head leaning against his arms doing his absolute best not to fall asleep. Sasuke had just woken up this morning and they had stayed up for something like two hours before going the doctor came in and told them to go to sleep allowing Naruto to use one of the other beds in the hospital room, and he was still tired. What was worse was that with Sasuke still in the hospital for observation, Hinata out sick for another day according to the doctors, and Neji on a different schedule than him because of their differing years he had no one to hang out with at lunch again. Since Sasuke was awake then he couldn't occupy himself with worrying either. He was going to be so bored!
Speaking of lunch, "!", "Alright, class, remember we have taijutsu sparring after lunch so meet back here in the thirty minutes."
"Hai, Mizuki-Sensei!" the class chorused in response.
As Naruto walked out to the courtyard of the academy he looked around at his fellow students. Just about everyone was divided into a group sitting at a picnic table. However he noticed a single boy off to the side, sitting by himself under a tree reading a book and nibbling on his lunch. He was wearing sunglasses and a buttoned up trench coat, and he had an afro.
Naruto decided to go over and introduce himself. He walked over and began speaking exuberantly, "Oi, I'm Naruto Uzumaki! What's your name?"
Shino shifted only slightly in order to regard Naruto, before replying in a clipped tone, "I am Shino Aburame."
Not deterred by the lack of conversation Naruto plowed forward, "So what'u reading?"
Shino raised an eyebrow at the uncommon and unexpected interest before replying, "It is a basic book cataloguing the phyla of simple invertebrates. Unfortunately most of them are aquatic so they are nonexistent in central Hi no Kuni."
Not really understanding most of the information, but encouraged by the quantity, Naruto pressed for more, "So you're part of the Aburame clan right? The ones who use bugs in their ninjutsu?"
Shino rolled his eyes before responding in a clipped, "Hai," expecting revulsion now that his new companion knew the truth.
"That's so cool!" Naruto replied Shino flinched slightly as his eyes widened and his eyebrows rose at the exclamation, he had never received that kind of response about his bug, but before he could reply Naruto continued, "Has anyone ever thought about using them for espionage?"
Shino took on a thoughtful look analyzing the suggestion, "Oh, how so?"
"Well think about it, even if the bugs couldn't be understood or if they couldn't read or understand what is being said they could recognize the sensory information given and relay it somehow. Plus they can gain access to written information whether the book or scroll is open or not if they are small enough. Then if you have some sort of a jutsu to create a sort of hive mind effect between you and your bugs you could open up all sorts of opportunities and advancements! That would be so awesome!"
"Hai that would be an interesting idea I wonder if there are other applications to such techniques." Shino said as he set his book down and continued conversing with Naruto about potential for his jutsu. They spent the entire lunch period bouncing ideas off of each other.
It had been about an hour since the academy had dismissed for the day and Naruto was just wandering around the village. He was planning on visiting Sasuke later that evening, but for now he was looking for a distraction.
As he was passing an alley he noticed a large gathering of kids, some of whom he even noticed from his class. As he got closer he overheard an argument going on between two very vocal members of the group.
"There's no way we're going to take fatty on our team!" One of the team captains shouted out.
"Well, we already have five team members so if we add another one then it won't be fair because we'll outnumber y'all by two." The other captain countered clearer just trying to come up with an excuse.
"I guess you guys just don't have enough room to let me play with y'all. I'll just go play somewhere else." The larger boy that Naruto recognized from his class said with a subdued voice before turning around walking away looking very downtrodden.
As soon as the kid was out of sight and the two teams were just about to start playing their game, a taller lanky kid left the group. Before he did so he turned to them and said, "Well I guess I'll leave so y'all can keep the teams even." He left before anyone could respond.
After the lanky kid had left Naruto walked over to the group and commented, "That wasn't nice at all. Y'all could have at least let him play."
The first captain turned and yelled at Naruto, "What do you know about being nice anyway teme!"
"Apparently a lot more than you do." Naruto replied without missing a beat as he walked off in the direction of the shops. When he got to the market area he found a general sales shop. He walked in and quickly found a bag of barbeque chips which he always saw Chouji eating in class. As he was walking to the cashier he noticed a game hanging on a rack, 'Hm I this'll cheer him up! I wonder how much it is.' "Excuse me shop keeper-san how much for this game?"
"One hundred and seven ryo!" he shouted back to Naruto.
"Wow, that's a little steep for some stupid game." Naruto thought out loud as he approached the shop keeper with the game carried under his arm.
"The price is the price. Take it or leave it gaki. I ain't haggling today."
"Yeah, yeah I got your money teme. Damn, don't get your panties in a wad." 'Well I guess you can't really put a price on a potential friendship.' Naruto thought to himself.
"Well looks like you owe me two hundred ryo today, gaki." The shop keeper informed Naruto.
"Alright." 'Well looks like there goes my monthly allowance. I'm really starting to rethink that bit about putting a price on friendship.'
As Naruto wondered around Konoha he eventually found the large kid sitting on a bench on a rooftop with the lanky kid lying down on the tiles not very far away, staring at the sky.
"Oi, I'm Naruto Uzumaki! I saw you run off and thought you might like some company! Oh sorry I almost forgot to ask. What's your name?" Naruto introduced himself smiling at the larger kid.
The larger kid smiled and replied, "Hello, my name's Chouji Akimichi. Thanks for the thought, but I already have some company. You're welcome to join us if you'd like. Hey are those blast chips?"
"Yeah I've seen you eating them in class before so I thought you might like some."
"Boy would I!"
"Well, here you go." Naruto said tossing him the bag.
"Wow, thanks!" Chouji said before practically diving head first into the bag of chips.
Naruto watched with slight trepidation before continuing on with his peace offering, "I was also wondering if you'd like to try out a game with me? I found this in a shop and thought we could figure it out together. Oh I almost forgot I never got your friend's name."
"Shikamaru Nara." Shikamaru replied barely moving as he watched the clouds.
"You don't say much do you?" Naruto asked him resisting the urge to laugh out loud.
"Nope." Shikamaru replied simply.
"Why not?" Naruto asked raising an eyebrow.
"Too troublesome." Shikamaru responded rolling over away from the troublesome blond.
"Whatever…" Naruto thought out loud twitching before regaining his vigor as he turned back to Chouji, "So how about that game?"
"Sure." The Akimichi replied before opening the box and beginning to read the rules of the game with Naruto.
"Wow that was a tough game, but it sure was fun." Chouji sighs after an hour of playing shogi against Naruto.
"Yeah it was. I can't believe I was able to win. You sure had me on the ropes there a couple of times." Naruto said adding in his two cents.
"Yeah, but you easily out smarted me when I did. I knew you'd win. You're pretty smart." Chouji complimented, going back to his chips.
"Please, I doubt you'd say that if you caught a glimpse of my report card." Naruto humbly countered, laughing the compliment off.
"Oi, Naruto if you're up for it why don't, you try going up against me?" Shikamaru questioned neutrally. The other two boys' game had caught his attention about ten minutes into it, and he had observed since then.
"Gladly!" Naruto replied exuberantly, happy to have someone new willing to play a game with him with the two friends he usually hangs out with either sick or hurt.
Five minutes later Naruto watched frantically as Shikamaru's gold general cut off the only maneuver left available to his king after it had been herded into a trap by Shikamaru's rook and bishop, two consecutive turns prior, followed swiftly by Shikamaru using one of his captured knights to take Naruto's king.
"There's no way you could've won that quickly! You must have cheated!" Naruto accused gaping at the board.
"Hardly, you're just that easy to beat." Shikamaru countered smugly.
"Wow, Shikamaru you're really good." Chouji praised.
"Thanks." Shikamaru responded neutrally smiling at his friend.
"Whatever, it must have been a fluke! I'll just have to win next time." Naruto said stubbornly crossing his arms sulking before his stomach began growling. His utter demolishment at the hands of Shikamaru, forgotten he quickly turned to questions Chouji, "Oi, oi Chouji do you like ramen?" he asked excitedly.
"Wow, Shikamaru you're really good." Chouji praised.
"Thanks." Shikamaru responded neutrally smiling at his friend.
"Whatever, it must have been a fluke! I'll just have to win next time." Naruto said stubbornly crossing his arms sulking before his stomach began growling. His utter demolishment at the hands of Shikamaru, forgotten he quickly turned to questions Chouji, "Oi, oi Chouji do you like ramen?" he asked excitedly.
"Do I ever! It's one of my top 100 favorite foods right after miso soup and Kuma no Kuni curry!" Chouji ecstatically proclaimed a spark glinting in his eyes. Akimichis take their food very seriously.
"Well I know this great ramen bar called Ichirakus! Their ramen is to die for! I'll treat you both if you like! I still have a little extra left over from my monthly allowance.
"Sweet, sure count me in."
"Ahn if you're paying then I guess it can't be too troublesome."
"Well then let's go!" Shikamaru would soon be proven wrong, that it was in fact too troublesome.
Three hours, ten ramen bowls, and one more lost shogi game later Naruto is leaving Ichirakus with a full stomach and the knowledge that he had two new friends. He and Chouji had, had a ramen eating contest, Naruto having won by one bowl eating five compared to Chouji's four. Meanwhile, Shikamaru had eaten one bowl before being dragged into one more game of shogi. Naruto lasted ten seconds longer than before-Chouji clocked them with a stopwatch he borrowed from Teuchi. They had agreed to do it again sometime, thus leading to Naruto's grin.
As he was walking back home he noticed a commotion in the park, under a tree on the far side, and decided to go and in investigate.
"Wow, your forehead really is huge!"
"I bet you could fit the whole Hokage monument across it!"
"Forehead!", "Forehead!", "Forehead!"
"Ino-buta isn't around to baby you now."
When Naruto got through the park to the scene he found a girl his age huddled in the fetal position crying under a tree surrounded by four other girls, who were all pointing and laughing at her. The only thing he could tell about her was that she had pink hair and was wearing a red dress over a yellow shirt. The four girls were clearly, even to Naruto, picking on the girl.
This awoke the inner hero inside of him, that so often got Naruto in trouble, and he immediately got involved, "Hey what's going on here!" He exploded angrily.
"None of your business!" The lead girl said.
"It looks like your picking on her!" He growled.
"What if we are? It's not like it's any of your business!"
"Well then I'm making it my business!"
"Pfft, whatever let's go girls. This has gotten real boring anyway." She said walking away with the other three girls following behind her away from the other two people in the park.
"Are you alright?" Naruto asked the girl offering her his hand to help her up.
She took his hand with hers as she tried to wipe away her tears with her other hand, "Y-y-yes I'm better now thank you. I-I'm S-S-Sakura H-Haruno."
"I'm Naruto Uzumaki!" Naruto replied introducing himself.
"Th-thank y-you for getting them to leave me alone. U-usually Ino-chan helps me with them, b-but she had to leave earlier to help h-her dad a-at her h-house." Sakura thanked him and explained the situation.
"Would you like me to walk you home to make sure they don't bother you anymore?" Naruto asked.
Sakura was a glow as she responded, "S-sure!" Naruto was like her own knight in shining armor.
The entire way to Sakura's she kept asking questions to the blonde beside her. What he did outside of the academy. Who his friends were. Who he looked up to. What kind of ninja he wanted to become.
She'd ask more and more and with each question she would get more starry-eyed. Naruto just kept walking along obliviously unaware of his traveling companions building attraction for him.
When they got to her apartment building Sakura looked up disappointedly, "Well this is where I live."
"Wow! It looks so clean!" Naruto exclaimed in wonder.
Sakura giggled before asking, "Isn't your apartment building clean too?" her confidence had skyrocketed in just the few short minutes that she had known Naruto, and his easy going, confident personality.
"Nah, the guy who owns it is a total cheapskate: the other tenants are trying to gather enough ryo to buy it from him, but he's got so much stashed away, he's practically loaded! It's not like it's my problem anyway, I got a placed to sleep and get out of the rain and it don't cost too much, so I don't get involved."
"Oh well I'm sure you have somewhere to be, so I guess I'll see you later." She said reluctantly.
"Sure, later!" Naruto replied over his shoulder as he turned around and started heading home.
The next morning Naruto was walking Hinata to the academy and telling her all about his crazy time in it while she was sick, beginning with the Itachi incident and leading up to his rescue of Sakura. When he got to the end she frowned which Naruto assumed meant that she didn't like him getting into so much trouble, which it did on one level.
"I guessed I've missed a lot in this past week in a half," She said disappointedly.
"Seems we both did hime. I missed a good deal in those few days apparently, as well." Sasuke said coming around the corner with his nose in the novel Naruto had given him in the hospital. He apparently had been able to hear most of the conversation from the other street over, because of Naruto's loud volume.
"Yep I got four new friends all in one day." Naruto cheered to himself.
"Sasuke and Hinata shared a look of curiosity before continuing to the academy, they wanted to meet these others for themselves.
When lunch time rolled around Naruto sat down at an empty table flanked by Sasuke and Hinata. Almost immediately Shino noticed his new companion and decided to join him as, Naruto had joined him the previous day. Chouji noticed the gathering as well and began dragging Shikamaru in that direction.
As they were being introduced to one another, a young blonde girl was approaching the group with one Sakura Haruno glued to her hand. She approached the group and immediately and exuberantly began introducing herself and her shadow, "OI! My name's Ino Yamanaka and this, is my friend Sakura Haruno!"
"Sakura-chan, what's up?" Naruto shouted. This level of familiarity led to Hinata frowning.
Sasuke leaned over and whispered conspiratorially to her, "Don't worry hime whether he knows it or not you're stuck with him like white on rice." This earned him a quirked eyebrow from the Hyuga heiress and a slight tinge of pink to her cheeks because of the implications of the word "on" in his expression. Sasuke simply turned back to the new girls before continuing to whisper, "Besides, I doubt you should worry, she looks kind of cute to me, kind of like what one would assume to be a young damsel in distress…for now."
Hinata rose her eyebrow a little further, a slight look of shock crossing her features as she responded to the Uchiha, "Oh really? I am shocked hearing that coming from the cold-hearted Uchiha."
"You wound me hime." Sasuke countered a mock look of pain crossing his face, before they turned back to Naruto's conversation with Ino.
Ino had just bowed to Naruto, "Thank you for helping my friend, yesterday. She has a problem with people bullying her. Unfortunately, I can't be around to protect her all of the time. We are thankful for your assistance, we owe you."
Naruto frowned at the formality, "No, no it was no problem at all. You don't owe me anything. Please sit, join us for lunch. There's plenty of room."
"Sure!" Sakura replied answering for the both of them, before realizing her outburst, blushing and backing up to try and disappear behind Ino, who happened to be stunned by said outburst.
Ino quickly moved to remedy the situation, "Oh, thank you for your generosity, and kindness, but we would not want to intrude."
"It's no trouble at all," Naruto countered turning to the others, "right guys?" He said putting it up to a vote.
"It does not affect me. They may do as they please." Shino said before continuing to nibble on his lunch.
"Ino's, Shikamaru's, and my dad are all good friends so I wouldn't mind if they joined." Chouji replied nudging his friend, "What about you Shikamaru?"
"Troublesome…Whatever. Do what you want." He sighed before going back to his cloud watching.
"How about you Sasuke?" Naruto Asked.
"I'm fine with it." Sasuke replied seemingly uninterested.
"Hinata?" Naruto pleaded, busting out the puppy dog eyes.
"Well…" She looked around at the faces of the others, and after the pleading look Naruto was giving her and the mock pleading look Sasuke was giving her she finally gave in, "Alright, alright, the more the merrier I guess."
Ino and Sakura sat down, with that acknowledgement, at the table on the opposite side of Naruto, next to Shino. As soon as they sat down, they began speaking to Hinata, to her utter shock.
On the other side of the courtyard a young boy sat on his haunches with a puppy sitting on his head and two other boys sitting on either side of him as they all brooded over something or another, "That Uzumaki! He thinks he's so great! Thinks he's worthy of being Alpha of our class? Ha! Over my dead body! I will be Alpha! I will be the one that our class looks to for leadership!"
"Yea boss!" One of the other boys agreed.
"You'll show him!" The other one said.
"You know that's not a bad idea. Let's go boys!" The leader said getting up and walking to Naruto and his friends with the other two following behind him.
As the girls were getting better acquainted and talking, and Shino was having a highly intelligent conversation with Shikamaru while Chouji listened in, on them, Naruto was watching his friends old and new with a pleased eye at how they were all getting along. Sasuke was watching as well, but he was more focused on keeping a lookout for any person who had plans of approaching his friends with hostile intent, so he could protect them. As he was keeping an eye out, he noticed the boy and his group coming their way with a scowl on his face. He reached over and tapped Naruto on the shoulder and informed him, "Here comes the mutt and his pack of troublemakers at eleven o'clock."
"I here ya Sasuke, but let's see what they want first before you start something." He whispered back.
"Who ever said I was talking about me starting anything?" whispered mock offense shining on his face.
"Because we out number them almost three-to-one. It wouldn't be intelligent for them to start anything." Naruto deadpanned an unusual occurrence in and of itself.
"The mutt isn't exactly known for his intelligence." Sasuke countered just as straight faced.
"True." Naruto responded sweat dropping.
As they finished talking Kiba arrived at their table. Hinata quickly acknowledged him in an exasperated tone, "What do you want Kiba?"
"I challenge you to a sparring match Uzumaki!" Kiba replied.
"Why do you want to fight me Kiba?" Naruto inquired calmly, another rarity.
"Because you're too full of yourself! I'm challenging you for leadership of our class!" he responded loudly.
"Hmm, I don't really think I'm leading anything, but whatever you say. When do you plan on having this match?"
"Tomorrow, after school at the training ground fully surrounded by trees with the wooden post in the exact middle of the field." Kiba barked.
"Very well, I will see you then Kiba." Naruto confirmed prompting Kiba to do an about face and lead his cronies back to their table where continued to eat their lunch and speak amongst themselves.
Naruto leaned over to Sasuke and whispered to him, as the others got back to their own conversations, "I should probably get some training in this afternoon to prepare for this match."
"Yeah, you know that's not a bad idea!" Sasuke replied.
"I'm going to ignore your sarcasm. I need to ask a favor of you."
"Need a sparring partner or something?"
"No, actually, I was just planning on throwing myself through the ringer on a training tangent for that. I have another favor to ask of you." Naruto responded.
"Oh, and what might that favor be, if not a request to help in training?" Sasuke asked now completely intrigued by this left field request.
"Neji can take Hinata home so I'm not worried, as much, about her."
"Yes go on."
"But unfortunately, Sakura has a bullying problem."
"Oh, really, no, I didn't hear Ino say as much when they came over here."
"Man you're really becoming obsessed with this sarcasm thing. Regardless, I was wondering if you could tail her and make sure she gets home safely."
Sasuke watched Sakura for a few seconds first, before answering, "You know I don't think I'd mind too much."
After school Naruto went to the training ground that Kiba had suggested for their spar. When he arrived he found a kid wearing a white gi with black hair that spiked out in all directions. The kid was vigorously punching the wooden post, however, when he heard Naruto behind him, he turned around to see who it was.
"Hello! I am Lee Rock! Who might you be?"
"Oi, I'm Naruto Uzumaki! Nice to meet you!"
"The pleasure is mine!" Lee responded as he bowed to Naruto, "What brings you out this way my friend!"
"Someone in my class challenged me to a spar tomorrow afternoon so I came out this way to train and prepare, for the match." Naruto answered.
Lee suddenly looked downcast, "Well, then I will leave you to your training Naruto-san"
As Lee was about to leave Naruto called out stopping him, "First, of all there is no reason for such formality amongst friends Lee. Just call me Naruto. Secondly, why don't you stay and train with me? I could use a training partner." The only reason he had told Sasuke otherwise just because he wanted Sakura to get home safe.
"Why would you want to train with me? I'm the last of my class. I can't mold chakra properly so I can't use ninjutsu or genjutstu. It is unlikely that I will ever be able to become a great shinobi." Lee explained looking down in dejection. He did not hear a response from Naruto so he began to look up at his new friend. Before he could look up, however, a fist slammed right into his cheek knocking him back on his back onto his butt. He looked up and stammered in shock, "Wha-wh…"
"Never, don't you ever think so pitifully about yourself! It doesn't matter what you can or can't do! It doesn't matter what kind of handicaps you have! You will become as grand a shinobi as you desire to be! Even if that means you have to master a skill you are weak in like taijutsu, you can become one of the greatest shinobi in the world! Never forget that!" Naruto's face was shadowed by his hair as he growled out those statements. Suddenly, he shifted his face to look dead at Lee with a genuine smile on his face, "So my friend how about some training!"
Lee had been moved to tears and was shocked beyond words by both Naruto's reaction to his little pity party, and at first he expected to have lost his new friend, however, with Naruto's question a kind of switch flipped inside of his head as he clenched his fists and a fire ignited in his eyes as he looked up at Naruto, "Yosh, let us begin! We will train until we have surpassed the entire world!"
"That's the spirit Lee!" Naruto shouted back ecstatically as he charged the other boy to begin their sparring session.
Meanwhile on the other side of the village Sakura Haruno was walking home alone. She would have been walking with Ino, but unfortunately, she was once again called home early to take part in chores at her family's flower shop. As she was walking she was ambushed by the same group of girls from the previous day.
"Well, well, if it isn't forehead girl, and no troublesome blondes in sight." The leader of the girls spoke up; however, just before they could approach Sakura and continue their jeering they all heard a familiar voice coming from behind Sakura.
"Excuse me is something going on here."
"Uhm, uh, no Uchiha-san there is no problem here. We were just trying to put forehead-chan here in her place, is all. No reason for you to worry yourself." The leader of the group said with reluctant smile hoping to dissuade Sasuke from acting against them.
"Leave her to me. You girls should just move along." He replied
"Yes Uchiha-san; whatever you say." She said nervously as she lead her group of girls past them.
Once they were gone Sasuke turned to Sakura and checked on her, "Are you alright?"
"What are you doing here! Were you stalking me!" Sakura yelled at him irately.
Sasuke looked taken aback and just a little shocked, 'this isn't the shy little girl that Naruto described,' "Well sorry, I heard that you had a bully problem and I was concerned about you so I decided to follow you to make sure you didn't have any trouble, Naruto thought it was a good idea too."
"Well if you're expecting a thank you then don't hold your breath," Sakura huffed in response as she crossed her arms and turned away from him.
"I wouldn't even dream of it seeing as I just helped you out and all," Sasuke affirmed, stubbornly.
"Fine!" that yelled at each other one after the other.
"Well are you going to leave now?" Sakura questioned agitatedly.
"Not until I know you're home safely."
"I don't need a babysitter!"
"I don't care!"
"Just leave me alone!"
"Not until your safety is assured!"
"Why do you even care!"
"How should I know!"
"You're just so…OUH!" she barked in exasperation before turning and walking in the direction she was previously traveling. Sasuke soon followed her quietly.
Naruto and Lee had been sparring for a couple of hours non stop and were finally taking a break to catch their breath. Naruto looked over to Lee and began questioning about his other friends and Lee suddenly got a little quiet, "Well because of my position within the class I'm not a very popular kid. But it is not like you have to have people who like you to want to protect them." Lee quickly elaborated explaining his tolerance with his current situation.
"Wow, that's a real selfless way of thinking about things." Naruto complimented before he was struck by an idea, "Hey why don't you hang out with me and my friends! There's always more room and the more the merrier, right?"
"Thank you, for the offer, but would it not seem weird for someone a year older to hang with kids a year younger than them?" Lee questioned.
"Who cares what other people think? If you're comfortable hanging with people a year younger than you that should be your decision and the rest of the academy can just go and suck it up!" Naruto callously countered until he saw that the look on Lee's face hadn't changed one way or the other so he began trying another angle, "If it makes you feel any better I'm decent friends with Neji Hyuga, because I'm real good friends of his younger cousin, and I've been trying to find a reason to convince him to come sit with us. I'm sure if you are already planning on joining us for lunch we can find some moral obligation to convince him to join us as well, and between the two of you I'm sure you can convince someone else to join in too! So what do ya say, wanna eat with us tomorrow?" He asked after he had made his point.
"Hm…" Lee hummed contemplatively…
As Sasuke walked Sakura home, she eventually became fed up with the silence so she decided to break it, "So why were those girls so obedient to what you demanded? What are you royalty or something?"
Sasuke looked at her oddly, before he decided to comment in return, "You must not be from around here."
"I'm not, so what. What does that have to do with anything?" She demanded.
"I'm from the Uchiha clan, actually I'm the last of the Uchiha clan, for now, who is loyal still to Konoha."
"So what? What's the big deal? I've heard of them before but what do they have to do with anything?" Sakura was adamantly defiant in her ignorance.
"*Huff*, the Uchiha clan was one of the two founding clans of Konoha, in fact the only one that was actually still involved with Konoha. They were also seen as one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, of the clans in the village. So many see me as the one to bring that power back into the village." Sasuke responded.
"So they expect you to reproduce to the point of rebuilding your entire clan?"
"*Huff*, yes." He replied irritated at the repetitiveness of the question.
"So they essentially expect you to be a man whore."
"Exactly…hey!" he shouted in indignation.
Sakura burst out laughing at Sasuke's expense. He could not exactly say he did not like her laugh so he was no further inclined to interrupt it, but he did resort to fuming while she got herself under control. "Sorry, sorry, I couldn't resist the jab at you. It's just so fun to pick on elitist jerks."
"Ooh, elitist, quite a large vocabulary for someone our age."
"Would you like me to dumb it down for you genius?" she asked sarcastically.
"Sakura-chan you wound me." He countered with mock hurt.
"I'm sure I'll find some way to live through your pain." She replied dryly as they continued walking.
"Good I wouldn't want to inconvenience you." Sasuke said finishing their verbal sparring as they continued walking breaking down into giggles after taking a few steps. Then he began to launch an inquisition of his own, "So why are those girls picking on you and no one helping you? Your forehead doesn't look that big to me and even so I'd expect someone to at least try and help you out."
Sakura frowned before answering, "Well it's kinda a long story."
"Well I'm sure we've got a little time to kill," Sasuke cut in earning a glare from Sakura before she continued.
"Well my parents are traveling merchants, the only reason why we've lived in Konoha for longer than a month or two is because I decided I wanted to become a ninja and signed up for the academy. My parents were extremely displeased with my decision and as soon as I become a genin and can take care of myself the plan on returning to their travels leaving me here alone."
"And I thought I had it bad when my folks were alive. That sounds rough. Nobody does anything about them? There has to be some sort of law that gets in their way."
"Hardly, it's not like they're bad parents they're just set in their ways. They don't have anything against me, I'm just keeping them from the life they know, so they plan on getting back to it as soon as they can. Besides even if they were bad parents it's not like anyone would know. No one wants to know what goes on the Haruno household."
"Why is that?"
"Well it's because of where we come from. You see while my family is one of travelers they weren't always that way and even as merchants that still had a focal village where they primarily sold their goods. Before they became merchants my grandparents were shinobi for a short time in Kumogakure no Sato and even when we became merchants we still did a lot of business with Kumo, not Kaminari no Kuni as whole mostly Kumo specifically."
"Yikes no wonder y'all get the cold shoulder."
"Yeah I mean even when Sandaime Raikage-sama backed us out of our alliance with Iwagakure during the last couple of years of the last shinobi war, the fact that he used the Kumo shinobi turned into mercenaries against both sides didn't exactly help Kumo's image, if anything it made it worse if you could believe it. And after the Hyuga incident four years ago and the fact that his son Killer A, who took over with the help of his brother and his brother-in-laws sister-the two jinchuuriki of the village-a year after that incident, instead of making alliances to make Kaminari natives look better under their new leader, he goes and strengthens Kumo's neutrality to the point where it is trying to rival Ame, so now we look secretive too. With that kind of reputation my whole family is practically scorned, which is another reason why my parents are upset with me because I decided to become a ninja here where we are looked down upon rather than going back to Kumo to train."
"Wow, that's harsh and I thought I had it bad." In truth he still did think he had it worse, but that would have sounded insensitive and possibly upset her, besides this conversation was about her not him, although he could not help but wonder since when had he started caring about another's feelings especially this peasants. They continued to walk in silence for a short distance before Sasuke decided to ask her about what he thought was one of her most peculiar traits, "If you don't mind my asking what's up with your crazy mood swings? I mean you seemed really shy and reserved earlier, but ever since we left those girls back there you've become far more…bold?"
Sakura had turned her head away from Sasuke trying to ignore the strange tingle she had started feeling while she was talking to Sasuke until she heard his question bringing her to jerk her head back in his direction inquisitively, before she answered him, "Well like I said my family used to be shinobi in Kumo, and while there were no written records of us as a clan my dad has built up a theory over the years from both personal experience and from what he learned from his parents and grandparents. According to him every Haruno is born with a bloodline, that goes nearly unnoticed compared to other bloodlines so it often mixing with both being accessible, that he calls double mind. In other words Harunos are born with kind of like two brains that fuse in a way that keeps the use of two but the appearance of one. This gives us near eidetic memories, and analytical skills approaching that of most Nara. This makes us great at handling money and keeping historical details which is drove us into our merchant business.
"However, as shinobi it's even more beneficial. We learn grow and gain experience mentally at least twice as fast as other ninja. Our eidetic memories are great for intelligence missions as we retain any gathered info a lot more easily. Plus our enhanced mental abilities allow us to control chakra nearly as efficiently as a Hyuga, and also let us learn techniques in a fraction of the time. Unfortunately, most of our clan would become so full of knowledge they believed themselves invincible without worrying at all about building themselves up physically. This was a big problem, though not the only one at all. The biggest problem probably came in the fact that the double mind gave us a case of multi-personality disorder, all of us. This was both good and bad. Good because when we were alone we always had someone to talk to and they made battle management a whole lot easier, because as the saying goes two heads are better than one. Besides that they always offered a means to escape mental techniques like genjutsu and the Yamanaka's techniques which is helpful. However at the same time they could become distracting at times and sometimes would even send Harunos off the deep end driving them crazy." She answered him explaining her family to him.
"So you're more aggressive around me, because you're crazy?" Sasuke asked skeptically.
This summary caused Sakura to giggle as she responded, "I guess so." But internally she had to think, 'why am I telling him all of this. I barely even know or like him' though she felt another tingle in her chest and heard a faint whisper in the back of her mind saying something about denial, though it was too faint to take notice of. Of course even if she did feel anything she would not tell Sasuke that so she stuck to responding by saying, "I guess you just bring that side out of me Sasuke-kun."
Of course this just drove Sasuke to turn his head away as quick as possible to hide the slight heating of his face. It was lucky that he did because as soon as started looking in that direction he noticed a cart headed straight for them, "Lookout!" he called as he threw himself at Sakura moving them both out of the way of the cart just in time. "What was that all about?" He wondered out loud.
"No clue." She responded before looking up, "Oh my God! That's where I live!" smoke was rising in the distance originating from their ultimate destination.
Sasuke picked himself off of Sakura and gave her his hand to help her up, "We'd better hurry. Let's go!" he said as they took off running in the direction of the smoke.
They arrived to find a scene where dozens of shinobi were either trying to use suiton techniques to calm the fire or climbing into the building themselves, so that they could rescue any survivors trapped inside. Sealing scrolls were strewn about the ground with the seals that had contained the water on them.
Sasuke and Sakura immediately approached a jonin who wore a mask to cover the lower half of his face and who was shouting orders to the chunin and other jonin who were acting to manage the fire and evacuate the survivors. In between two of his orders Sasuke grabbed his, "Excuse me Jonin-san me and my friend here are looking for her parents. Do you know if they've made it out of the building or not?"
"Well if anyone here would know young Uchiha it'd be me. If you could describe them for me I will be happy to lead you to them." The jonin replied.
Sakura gave him a quick description of a well built male in his early thirties with pink hair and brown eyes, and a lean female within two years of age of the male with blond hair and emerald eyes. Before the jonin could give her an affirmative or a negative response a chunin called out to him, "Kakashi-senpai, we have a situation!"
"I'm coming," Kakashi replied, "Don't worry kids I'm sure they will be fine." He said quickly before leaving to attend the situation, not having actually answering the question.
As soon as he had gotten out of range to hear without listening a man walked up to the two children and began speaking, "I know the people who you spoke of. They have yet to be found. In fact they are locked on the third floor at this very moment, and with the way the fire is spreading I doubt they'll be found in time." The man said with a malicious sneer.
Sakura gasped in horror at the man's revelation. Sasuke on the other hand was only listening enough to hear the man's additional information as he was paying attention to the two ninja as they conversed, "Kakashi-senpai, the fire is spreading fast. At the rate it's moving it will hit the gas tank on the top floor in minutes. The others will follow quickly. By the end of the hour the building will collapse from the recurring explosions. I don't want to lose anybody in there, but it would be best reduce the casualties and pull our men out of there. Cut our losses and quit while we are ahead."
Kakashi looked at the chunin contemplatively before heaving a sigh, "You're right but we will do this gradually. I want everyone out of the top floor now. Have the fourth floor evacuated within the next eight minutes, the third one eight minutes following the fourth and so on and so on. I want the center of each floor evacuated in half that time."
After Kakashi finished dishing out his instructions Sasuke realized that Sakura was pleading with him about something, "We have to save my parents Sasuke! We have to! We have t-" but before she could make her final plea the top floor of the building exploded sending shrapnel everywhere.
No one was near the two children and a piece of shrapnel was flying straight towards them so Sasuke did a quick six hand signs and performed the only jutsu he knew, "Katon: Gokakyu no Jutsu!" he cried out launching a fireball from his mouth that incinerated the stray boards. He turned to look at Sakura at asked her sharply, "What apartment number do you live in?"
She quickly replied, "315!" as Sasuke took off for the apartment building. As he passed a chunin on his way he shifted his Sharingan on for a split second, like he had been practicing since Naruto told him he had it, and used it to strip the chunin of his hip pouch without his notice as he continued forward deactivating his sharingan as he entered the apartment ignoring the cries of the shinobi trying to warn him away from it. In his rush he didn't notice Kakashi slip a scroll in his pocket, just in case.
As Sasuke entered the building he immediately headed in the direction of the stairwell that would lead him, obviously, upstairs. He had to avoid many fires all over the place, on the ground, the walls, the ceiling. Ducking and juking away from the falling debris and the flames themselves, and many times he would have to hit the ground for spurts of time so that he could get any decent air into his lungs. When he got to the stairwell he looked up it and noticed that there were chunks actually missing from some of the stairs and fires were all along them. What was left was clearly far from stable. He found a length of wall opposite to the corridors that had completely been stripped of stair casing, either by the fire or by the ninja that came before him to get a clear path to the top he could not tell. He checked in the pouch that he had snatched from the chunin to see what tools he had available, 'Let's see six kunai, seven shuriken, two exploding tag, three flash bangs, and 2 25 meter spools of ninja wire. Wow this guys didn't have much, anyway how much of this can actually be helpful? Hm, maybe…' he took out the spool of wire and tied it to a kunai. He then chucked it to an area level with the ceiling of the doorway leading to the third floor, using a quick glimpse with his sharingan to keep everything right. He then wrapped the spool around his torso before wrapping it around his hand before cutting it and tying it off. He put the wire away and checked to make sure that it was secure then he began to scale the wall.
Once he got to the kunai he'd thrown he grabbed a hold of it and used it as leverage launch himself in the hallway of the third floor. He began doing mental calculations, 'let's see it took me two minutes to find the shaft and three minutes to scale the stair case. That gives me eleven minutes until Kakashi-san believes the third floor will collapse.' He began charging through the hall, but do to the proximity to the initial fire debris and smoke was an even more common obstacle than on the first floor. It took him twice the amount of time as his search for the staircase, before he found a door held shut by a chair jammed against the knob. He looked up at the number by the door and sure enough it was room 315.
With that information he kicked the chair with all his might, and, seeing as it had suffered some deterioration from the fire, and shattered to pieces. He then took a couple of steps back and launched another small Gokakyuto destroy the door before rushing inside.
When he arrived inside he found two forms collapsed next to each other a meter or two away from the door. After a cursory examination to identify them as Sakura's parents and a similar examination checking their pulse to make sure they were still alive, he dropped himself low to remain out of the smoke before taking stock of the situation. 'Alright according to Kakashi from the time that I left I had 16 minutes before all of the shinobi on this level were to be evacuated so that should be my goal. Get out of here by the 16 minute mark. Hmph, ninja on this level, there's not a soul here except for me and these two, but whatever. I've gotta get us out of here, but how? It's been nine minutes since I left which leaves me with seven. How am I going to get all three of us down there? I don't even know how I'm going to get down there.'
Sasuke began panicking before realizing what he was doing and slapping himself, 'Get a hold of yourself Sasuke you are an Uchiha, and Uchihas don't panic. Think how did you get up here?' He started digging in his stolen ninja pouch before he pulled out the two spools of ninja wire, one of which was down to a little more than half and the other which had yet to be used. 'Aright so I rappelled up here so maybe I can…zip-line! I can zip us down. Alright so I've got roughly thirty-eight and a half meters of ninja wire, if I use four meters to tie us to the line that'll leave me with thirty-four and a half for the zip and we would each be roughly a meter from the line. I don't know where that'll put us, but it should be far enough away from the building…I hope.'
Sasuke immediately got to work wrapping the wire around himself and Sakura's parents tying the other end off to separate shuriken from the seven in the pouch before putting the other four away. He then used the Goukakyu one last time, this time making the largest one that he could, so that he could blow out the wall giving him a clear shot to a target on the ground below. Once it was clear he took the last of the first spool and tied one end to his second kunai and tying the other end to the beginning of the second spool, before he chucked it into the wall behind him. Once he was sure it was secure he ran the wire in the second spool, once he got it unwrapped, through his shuriken, then through Sakura's dad's shuriken, and finally through her mom's shuriken before tying it off to one last shuriken. He realized, in passing, that this had taken him practically five minutes only leaving him two, before he ignored that thought and once again activated his Sharingan briefly using it to guide his aim as he launched that last shuriken into a tree about thirty-two meters away from the building.
He then yelled out of the whole to alert the shinobi down below, after he had shut off his Sharingan again, "Kakashi-san lookout I'm about to zip down some civilians to you! I need you to get them to the ground safely!"
"Hai, Sasuke-san I'll take care of it personally, don't worry!" Kakashi responded preparing himself.
"Alright here they come!" Sasuke shouted back as he, as carefully as possible for a seven and a half year old, pushed Sakura's mother out of the whole in the wall.
He watched as Kakashi jumped up, grabbed on the zip, clipped the line attaching the woman to the shuriken with a kunai, before diving down and catching her bridal style before she could hit the ground. "Alright, I've got her," he called back up to Sasuke, "send the next one!" Sasuke did Kakashi did the same for Sakura's dad as he had done for her mom.
"That's all of them!" Sasuke called.
"Okay now it's your turn! Don't worry I'll catch you!" Kakashi called back, and Sasuke did as he was told. Unfortunately, something went wrong. Either someone's calculations about the building's structural integrity were off, or Sasuke had been in the building longer than he thought because as he jumped from the building holding on to the connection line for dear life he got half-way down the zip-line before the building's third floor began collapsing. As the floor collapse the his kunai that had formed the back end of the line was dislodged turning his zip-line into a disproportionate swing in that the ground was too close for his current angle of trajectory so he was going to hit it hard.
He shut his eyes in preparation for the splat that he knew would come. Strangely enough it never did. He opened his eyes to find himself on the ground in the arms of the jonin, "I told you I would catch you." Kakashi said to Sasuke's confused look before putting him down and nudging him in the direction of the Harunos where a bunch of ninja in white uniforms were gathering before telling him, "Go get the medics to make sure you're all right. You did could work today kid, you should be proud of yourself. I know I am."
Sasuke walked over to the medics surrounding the Harunos. When he arrived he inquired, "How are they doing?"
As soon as he opened his mouth Sakura attached herself to her sobbing into his shirt, "Thank you so much Sasuke! You saved them! And thank Kami you're still alive! I was so worried that you wouldn't get there on time or that you wouldn't make it out alive! Especially when the line snapped! It scared me half to death!" She started blubbering.
She continued to do so until the medics pulled her off of him so they could take a look at Sasuke and he got a word in, "shh, calm down Sakura. It's okay. Everything's going to be okay." He tried to sooth her. It worked a little as she managed to calm down just enough to stop crying and wait patiently while the medics declared Sasuke okay and her parents woke up.
Her mother was the first to do so coming out of a slight daze, "Huh, where am I? What happened?"
As the medics tried to coerce her into rest, Sasuke had other plans and a conspiracy to get uncovered, "Excuse me miss can you tell me what the last thing you remember was?"
The medics glared at him, but the woman complied regardless, "The last thing I recall was doing some house chores after my husband came home. He was doing some financials while I was dusting a bookcase when everything got extremely hot and smoke began filtering into the room. We tried to leave the room but the door was jammed and the knob would not turn. The next thing I know I am waking up down here. I must have passed out from the smoke."
"Thank you." Sasuke replied curtly, before he turned and began walking towards Kakashi as he watched the building collapse. By the time the medics had gotten through with Sasuke everyone had safely evacuated from the building and while they had nearly saved the bottom two floors they had eventually collapsed under the weight of the other three floors. The ninja had divided into groups discussing what had happened.
Sasuke approached Kakashi and got his attention, "Excuse me, Kakashi-san may I have a word?"
Kakashi turned the Uchiha slightly surprised but complied, "Certainly, what is it that you need Uchiha-san." It seemed Kakashi had returned to a more formal title for Sasuke.
"Based on your conversation with the chunin prior to my entry into the building, I am under the assumption that you had ordered shinobi to monitor every level of the building. Am I correct?"
"Yes, those were my orders. Why do you ask?"
"Because there wasn't a soul on that floor. In fact when I got the Haruno's room it was jammed shut with a chair holding the knob in place."
"What? Excuse me, Mizuki!" Kakashi called out.
"I ordered you to make sure that the shinobi were equally distributed on each floor. So tell me why was it that I have just found out that the third floor was void of relief shinobi?"
"Sir, I was informed by one of the civilians that the third floor had been evacuated prior to our arrival, so I felt that it would be more prudent to redistribute those shinobi in the other areas so more lives could be saved."
"Then why is it that there were two civilians who would have died up there had it not been for a concerned academy student? Did you not check the claims of the citizen?"
"No sir, I know the man personally. I didn't think that he would lie to me. I-"
"That's enough! Return to your post! I will discuss this with Hokage-sama!"
Once Mizuki had left Kakashi turned back to Sasuke, "It seems that this wasn't an accident. The Harunos may have even been specifically targeted."
"That's what I was afraid of. I suspect you'll be having someone look into this?"
"No, I will look into this personally."
"Very well, I will leave you to your duties. Sayonara."
Once Kakashi turned away, Sasuke returned to the Harunos to find that Sakura's father had awakened as well. "It's good to see you are doing well. I've talked to Kakashi-san the man in charge of the situation. He plans on investigating this situation personally."
"Is the situation that serious?" Her mother inquired.
"We believe this action was committed on purpose, potentially with y'all as specific targets." Sasuke informed them gravely eliciting a gasp from all three of them.
"Hold on don't you mean that's what you think? You weren't even officially apart of the fire control team so you can't really lump them in with you." Sakura accused, though apart of her agreed with his paranoia.
"No Kakashi agrees with me that it was unlikely to be an accident." Sasuke countered. Once he'd cleared that up Sasuke bid them farewell, "Well I suppose I'll see you at school Sakura. I'd offer y'all a place to stay, but I doubt you'd want to stay in a bed that had only recently been vacated because of a murderer."
"Thank you, for the offer Uchiha-san." said.
"Thank you, for everything Sasuke. I'll see you tomorrow." Sakura said as she kissed him on the cheek before turning back to her parents. Sasuke turned and walked away with a blush on his face. He rubbed his cheek as he walked away, thinking, 'She may be a merchant's daughter now but one day I'll make her a princess.'
Little did Sasuke know, Sakura watched over her shoulder as Sasuke walked away thinking, 'Who needs a knight in shining armor when I have my own dark knight.'
Of course neither of them noticed that another person was watching both of them, his right eye crinkled into his signature eye smile, 'ah young love such a beautiful thing. If only Jiraiya-sama were here, I'm sure he could make a great story out of this, it's plot gold.' Kakashi thought to himself as he pulled out his little orange book.
The next day during lunch time found three new additions to Naruto's little lunch time gathering. Lee had taken Naruto's offer and dragged Neji along with him. Neji did not go quietly, however, and he dragged Tenten, a fellow classmate of theirs and a good friend of Neji's, along with him. Of course that wasn't the only surprise for Naruto that lunch day, he also noticed Sasuke and Sakura talking together whenever he wasn't talking to Sasuke or whenever Sakura wasn't talking to Ino or Hinata.
Naruto thought about this until suddenly a conversation between Tenten, Shino, and Shikamaru caught his attention, "Seals can too turn the tide of a battle! Look at the Yondaime-sama. He was a master of fuin jutsu and it was that very mastery that made him a force to be reckoned with on the battle field, with his Hiraishin no jutsu. It also is what made him able to go toe to toe with the Kyubi because it was a seal that he used to create his time-space barrier. I bet he even beat the Kyubi with a seal." While whenever, someone made a mention of the Yondaime they certainly have his undivided attention, it was actually the mention of seals that had attracted him to the conversation and the Kyubi for some reason kept Naruto even more absorbed in it.
"While I admit the Yondaime was a powerful shinobi, I believe it was that fact that allowed him such capabilities with fuin jutsu not the other way around." Shino responded.
"Besides, I think without his Rasengan or his speed, he really wouldn't have been as dangerous." Shikamaru added.
"You're wrong Shikamaru, his seals were a massive part of his victories. Fuin jutsu is an extremely obscure art, and it's believed to be equally difficult. To see such being used on the battlefield gave him a major advantage psychologically. Plus the basis for most fuin jutsu relies on space-time ninjutsu, an art which is equally obscure and difficult, not to mention powerful, as fuin jutsu. To use seals to bend reality at his will like they have been known to do, would make him remarkably dangerous even without his other techniques." Naruto said in a kind of trance like state.
"And how would you know all of that," Shino curiously questioned about the blonde's well developed argument.
"I have no idea. It all just came to me. You know?" Naruto responded loudly and stupidly.
"No I do not know." Shino replied turning away dejectedly at the now illogical route the argument had taken.
"Troublesome." Shikamaru sighed before going back to his lunch.
Tenten just began contemplating Naruto's comment and what she knew about him as a whole, while Naruto just continued grinning like an idiot as he looked back at all of his friends.
As Naruto and his friends were walking out of academy they were ambushed by Kiba and his gang, "Didn't forget about our little match did you?" Kiba asked Naruto.
"Of course I didn't!" Naruto retaliated, though in reality it had completely slipped his mind…and every one of his friends realized this by his defensive tone and immediately sweatdropped.
"Alright then I just thought we might escort you to your defeat. You know to make sure you don't get lost, or chicken out." Kiba said trying to attack Naruto any way possible by using that verbal jab.
Before he could respond Sasuke did it forward, "While the dobe is too stupid to chicken out of anything he does have a terrible sense of direction, but your services are unnecessary, that's one of the reason why he has us." This just left a confused look on Naruto's face as he was not sure whether he should be pissed at Sasuke for calling him stupid and saying he had no sense of direction or surprised by Sasuke calling him brave in a roundabout way. He just settled on shrugging and acting as if nothing had happened.
"Boys boys you're both pretty can we just get this over with now?" Hinata asked in agitation.
The large group arrived at the training ground, and Kiba and Naruto took their places on opposite ends of it while their friends stood off to the side. One of Kiba's gang approached the middle ground between the two kids and began explaining the rules, "This will be a one on one battle between Naruto Uzumaki and Kiba Inuzuka! Taijutsu only; genjutsu, ninjutsu, fuinjutsu, kenjutsu, or any other kind of jutsu are strictly prohibited! If a technique other than taijutsu is used then the user will forfeit! If someone comes to the aid of either combatant than that combatant effectively forfeits the match! There are no boundaries for this match! The winner will be decided by knock out, forfeit-spoken voluntarily or by cheating, or by my decision! There will be no killing! Do I make myself clear?" He called out surprisingly like a skilled referee.
"Hai!" both competitors called back.
"Are both competitors ready?"
"Hai!" they responded once again,.
"Hajime!" he called out before jumping back to the other kids, as Naruto and Kiba charged at each other, Kiba on all fours and Naruto on two legs his upper body held out forward just a short distance above the ground.
As they approached one another Kiba launched himself into the air with all four limbs before lunging at Naruto leading with his fist and aiming at Naruto's head. Naruto simply pivoted to the side on the ball of his right foot allowing Kiba to miss him entirely, passing a few centimeters by before throwing a left hook that made contact with Kiba's sternum while pushing off with his right foot. Before Kiba began falling away from Naruto, Naruto planted his left foot, taking a step closer to him, and stomped Kiba's sternum with his right foot, finally sending him sliding away. Kiba tried to get, but immediately broke out into a fit of pained hacking shortly after he put weight on his arms causing him to black out from the pain.
"Winner by knock out…Naurto Uzumaki!" the referee shouted. Kiba's group scowled at the outcome before just walking away. Naruto growled at the sheer lack of assistance that Kiba received, it really pissed him off that not one of those that came to support Kiba were willing to help him now that he lost. He walked over to Kiba and threw Kiba's arm over his shoulder helping him up.
"What are you doing? You won. Put me down." Kiba half barked and half wheezed out.
"I'm taking you to the hospital. I may have been the one to injure you, but this was just a friendly spar. There's no reason to just leave you out here. Your so called friends don't seem to be doing anything to help you. So just shut up and let me get your ass some medical attention!" Naruto replied spitting out the word friends.
"Language Naruto!" Hinata shouted out to him.
"Sasuke, get over here and give me a hand! I can't carry him by myself." Naruto shouted growling out that last part to himself low under his breath.
"Sure, sure." Sasuke mumbled back as he went to go help his friend, help the jerk.
"Oi, there's no point in taking me to the hospital. Just get me home, my sister can take care of this, and I'll be good as new for tomorrow." Kiba growled at Naruto, consenting in that statement to be assisted. By this time all of his supporters had left the area.
Naruto nodded before turning back to the others and calling for Hinata, "Oi Hinata-chan do you know where the Inuzuka clan compound is?"
"Hai, my otou-sama does a decent amount of negotiation with Tsume-sama, because Hyuga and Inuzuka work together often in the ANBU so I've been there a few times." She replied lowly and calmly.
"Do you think you could lead us there?" he went on to ask.
"Hai." She simply replied.
They began following them with Sakura joining them to bring up the rear, and Shino joining Hinata to help navigate, while the others headed for home. About ten minutes after they had left the training ground Kiba lifted his head slightly to speak to Naruto, "I demand a rematch Uzumaki. I will not stop until I have defeated you." He growled out with conviction.
Naruto briefly considered denying his demand before shaking his head and thinking against it before responding, "Fine, if that's what you want then I'll fight you at the same time at the same place tomorrow, if you're up for it."
Kiba slightly chuckled to himself before commenting, "You're on, dobe."
Shortly after their little conversation the group of six children arrived at the Inuzuka compound. Sakura knocked on the door prompting the guards on the other side of the gate to open it to admit them inside. Once Kiba's injuries were explained to the guards his sister was sent for and soon arrived.
"Kiba! What the hell happened to you?" She cried out as soon as the young woman saw her brother.
"Sorry miss; he just got his ass kicked is all." Naruto answered for Kiba.
"Naruto! Language!" Hinata said once again this time hitting him in the back of the head.
"Hinata-chan!" He whined in response.
"Do it again, and next time it will be charged with chakra!" She replied angrily.
"Yes ma'am." Naruto responded conceding defeat.
The young woman couldn't help giggle at the children's antics, before introducing herself, "I'm sorry it seems I haven't introduced myself, I'm Hana Inuzuka. Thank you for going to the trouble of bringing my brother back here."
Naruto answered for the whole group, "It was hardly a problem Hana-san. My name's Naruto Uzumaki, this is Sakura Haruno, and I'm sure you already know Hinata, Shino, and Sasuke what with their clans and all."
"Yes I am familiar with them, thank you all again for taking care of my brother." She replied.
"It wasn't a problem Hana-san we assure you." Hinata said for them.
"Now I think I can this idiot to you ma'am, sayonara." Naruto said as he and Sasuke laid Kiba down on the ground before the group took their leave.
Hana figured there was more to the situation than what she was told so she began questioning her otouto, "Kiba what is it that they didn't tell me that seemed to be important?"
Kiba turned away from her before answering him, "It was Naruto who I was fighting, I challenged him to a fight. It was him who organized the others to help me."
Hana couldn't help but start thinking about that information as she grilled Kiba for his recklessness, 'Naruto Uzumaki eh, good qualities to be able to lead with humility, forgiveness and command strength. To be able to forgive an opponent and convince his allies to do the same, that would be a good alpha for the pup to follow.' She cut off her musings as she realized she couldn't hear her little bother's voice anymore. Looking down she noticed that he was going blue from lack of breath, and she realized she closed off the internal injury leaking the blood so tight that it was cutting off blood flow, "Oh my God, Kiba!" she shouted working on fixing that problem as well.
Every day for the next two weeks Naruto and Kiba would meet to spar against each other. Every day Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura would bring him home to be fixed up after Naruto beat him up, sometimes Hinata and/or Shino would join them. Every day Kiba would lose another few supporters. By that second Friday Kiba had no supporters left.
Naruto was walking out of the academy to meet his friends and Kiba at the training ground. Approaching the gate he heard some muffled thumps coming from around then corner of the school. He turned around and went to find the noises, when he came upon a ridiculous scene. There were nine boys, probably three or four years older than him, pounding on the slouched form of Kiba Inuzuka. He immediately shouted, "WHAT"S GOING ON HERE!"
One of the boys turned to Naruto and immediately started growling out, "This little gaki wasn't showing us the proper respect as upper classmen, so we've decided to teach him a lesson. Now should just move along gaki or we might need to teach you the same thing." He said before turning about to continue pounding on the younger student.
"I don't care what you're reasons are! Nine against one is anything but fair and I refuse to sit here and let you get away with it!" He threw himself at the boy's neck who had just spoken to him, squeezing until he fell unconscious do to loss of air, before continuing to charge into the mass of bullies. Putting his back against Kiba as he stood to face off against the bullies, "Come on dog breath, you can't let these lowlifes kick your ass!"
Kiba lifted his head up slightly to look over his shoulder at the blond, "What the hell are you doing here dobe?" he huffed out unbelievingly.
"I heard some sounds and come to find a bunch of upper class bullies beating the crap out of you."
"This is my fight, not yours. Stay out of it!" Kiba growled out gaining back a little more of his fire.
"It's not like you have any back up here. I hate it when people who have a clear advantage over someone gangs up on them. It's just not a fair enough way to fight. Besides you're my class mate, and I refuse to let anything happen to a class mate of mine! Believe it!" he growled out before through more into his taijutsu. Kiba just smirked as his eyes too returned to a blazing inferno as he began fighting back.
The two continued to fight against the mob for roughly five minutes. They had been cut off from each other though they had managed to each knock out another opponent. Unfortunately, now the six older boys had divided up into groups of three splitting Kiba and Naruto up so they couldn't watch each other's back. The two younger boys were beginning to be overpowered, when all-of-the sudden one of the boys who Naruto was literally facing dropped as blunted kunai hit him in the chest with enough number and force to knock him down, ultimately causing him to hit his head and fall unconscious. The other two suddenly slumped over and fell to the ground revealing Hinata and Neji each with a couple of fingers extended pointing at points where Naruto's assailants had once stood.
Naruto looked over to see Lee and Sasuke charging in fists a blazing each taking on a different opponent as Chouji tackled the last one onto the ground pounding into him with his fists. He also noticed Shikamaru and Shino standing to the side with their hands in their pockets looking unconcerned while Sakura and Ino helped Kiba limp away from the fight zone. Tenten was squatted down on her haunches with two more blunted kunai in her hands ready to attack again if necessary.
Hinata walked over to examine Naruto's wounds, "Are you okay."
"Don't worry Hinata I'll be as good as new in a day or too. Thanks for helping out." Naruto said.
"We would have been here sooner if you'd have told us you were going to do something stupid like this!" Hinata yelled at him content that he was alright. Naruto just scratched the back of his head grinning in response.
Once they were done cleaning up the thugs they began taking Kiba home to be checked out by his sister, this time going as a full group.
Kiba raised his head to glimpse at Naruto who was walking beside him, but not carrying him for a change, "Why did you help me? I've caused you nothing, but trouble and yet all you do is repay my anger with kindness. Why?"
Naruto looked over at Kiba and smiled before answering, "I'm going to be Hokage one day. As Hokage I'm going to have to take care of my citizens, and as my classmate you are a citizen just like the rest of my friends. I refuse to let you down."
"Thank you Naruto, I'll have to make sure you become Hokage so that I can repay you for this." Kiba responded.
"Does that mean you'll finally join us for lunch and after school training?" Naruto asked smirking.
"Sure why the hell not!" Kiba shouted out, "Although if we're gonna be a group of badass ninja we're gonna have to have a name. So what do we call ourselves?"
This drew a pause from everyone as they began thinking before Naruto decided to answer, "How about we keep it simple and just call ourselves the Konoha Ju Ni?"
"Doesn't sound too troublesome." Shikamaru.
"Certainly respectful enough." Neji.
"Father would be proud of such a name, I'm sure." Hinata.
"Why not?" Sakura.
"It is a logical choice." Shino.
"It suits us precisely." Tenten
"Yosh what a grand name!" Lee.
"Not bad." Ino.
"I like it." Chouji.
"I'll agree to it." Sasuke.
"Sounds good to me." Kiba.
"Alright then from this day forth we will be known as The Konoha Ju Ni!" Naruto shouted out leading a chorus of cheers from his eleven friends, until Kiba let out a moan of pain caused by the cheer, and they hurried to get him to his sister.
AN: this is my third story and if you have any problems with it you need to give me a break. This wasn't supposed to be perfect it was just supposed to be the prologue and it was actually supposed to be a lot longer than this, but I grew tired of putting this off so here is the first part of chapter one. I'm going to start adding on to this chapter in pieces in a hope that one day I will actually finish this chapter. Though, most of the big events have already been taken care of. If you have problems with any more of the chapter you should take into consideration the fact that this is the first story I'm posting that is only rough draft all of my other stories were at least started on paper. Well that is pretty much all I got to say except read and review –flame if you have to just review. See ya next time on Konoha juuni.
Huff…Huff…Huff finally done with this chapter I think it's a lot better now that it is done. Unfortunately, I'm probably going to put more time and effort into this story than my others as canon can only make it better. Most of the chapters will probably come out broken up like this so keep checking back for updates though I'm going to try and make it obvious when it has been updated. Well until next time Ja!