Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, and unless I missed a gift stashed under my tree in the form of legal documentation that more or less summarizes to "Kenchi618 now owns Naruto effective immediately" I don't think it's in the cards this year. Oh well, next year's always up for grabs. Santa better pay what he owe!
Chapter 3: The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
Naruto had been frequenting the library pretty much every day with a few clones. He wanted to make enough to fill the library with them but both Atsutu and Shiho weren't going to tolerate a library full of Narutos when only one was more than enough to raise a ruckus and cause a disturbance, thus forcing him to keep the clones at a minimum, usually around six. Naruto pitied his clones, Shiho had them reading the books she picked out to help him along in his knowledge as a shinobi. She was a nice enough girl, but reading was still ultra-boring, not even a new friend could make him think otherwise.
She didn't even have him learning cool stuff like he wanted. After she realized how much basic knowledge he lacked Shiho saw to it that she drilled something into his head to make sure that it stuck, and her sensei didn't have any problems with her doing that, especially since she had Naruto's clones helping out keeping the place organized. By the end of the week one of the things drilled into his head was how to replace books and scrolls that other shinobi had checked out and returned. Naruto's clones went over basic tactics and combat strategies, yes, at least things that Shiho thought a genin needed to know anyway. In addition to that she introduced him to the immediate geography of Hi no Kuni and its surrounding nations so that he didn't look a complete horse's ass when he went outside of the country on missions.
While Naruto's clones suffered indoors he took his business to the woods where he would go over his taijutsu. His choice of using Nebaiken (Sticky Fist) seemed like the most tailor made for him at the moment but he had to make sure his taijutsu was decent enough for it to even work. This led to him doing the thing from the other day, working with his clones to trap melee attacks like the Academy scroll instructed him, as he realized it wasn't in the other one due to it being an intermediate scroll.
He would have skipped straight to learning the new style if he hadn't been training his moves in the exact place he had been trying to the other day, where he once again ran into Tenten, this time with some kid with long brown hair and white eyes. Naruto didn't like that guy straight from the first meeting as he looked at him like he was stupid when he told Tenten what he had been doing when she found him again.
Tenten quickly informed him that he should finish learning what the Academy scroll had to teach him before anything else. When he got all haughty and asked her how she knew she just gave him a deadpan look and asked him if he wanted her to go get Rock Lee or someone worse. Naruto politely declined that offer and took her word for it for two reasons; she already proved she could beat him so what could it hurt to actually listen to someone that proved they were stronger than him, and he didn't even feel like seeing Lee so soon after getting dropkicked in the face, he sure as hell didn't want to see someone that Tenten labeled as worse.
She had a point as well that she had the benevolence to explain to put it in perspective for him. Naruto could start from the Nebaiken scroll and master every little thing on it. It wouldn't do him any good knowing all of the slick techniques available after latching onto an opponent if he couldn't even get a hold of them in the first place. After an interrupting grunt from the guy that Naruto assumed was her teammate as well as Lee, Tenten ran off leaving Naruto to his own devices once more.
The problem was that Naruto's taijutsu wasn't necessarily bad per se. The issue was that when the spars in class started a few years back Naruto… kind of dominated. It was the only thing he was really good at when they began. He never really had to study for the entire year because he was always able to outlast his opponents and wear them down for a win. Everyone else kept getting better and learning technique while Naruto coasted on his laurels for as long as he possibly could in the category since he hit just as hard if not harder than anyone else and could take ten times the damage others could before calling it quits. And he wound up coasting all the way to graduation in this case as it was his one saving grace on his grades.
He wasn't really bad in practice, when you factor in how much punishment he could take before dropping, but take that away and he would have failed that too. Good thing he was so damn stubborn huh?
Nevertheless, he was still taking punch after punch from his own Kage Bunshin, he was simply having trouble getting the timing aspect of catching an attack down. The clone doing the punching was absolutely loving his job for the day as well. Naruto had been at this for four days at this point, between the reading and messing around with his echolocation jutsu, and while there had been improvement, today you'd have thought it was his first day. Grinning wildly as his fist connected with his creator's face once more. He let the original get settled again before gleefully throwing another punch, however this one was caught at the wrist before a return fist dispelled the clone.
Naruto panted as his Kage Bunshin disappeared in a puff of smoke. He rubbed his sore, bruised face, "Finally." He laughed to himself, "I got one, I got one, I got one, I finally got one!" He winced at a particular stinging part of his face, "It took long enough damn it…" He didn't know why it was so hard, but the reason was that his clones knew how he would try to trap a limb, they altered their punch and kick style to keep him from ever getting a hold of them. So it wasn't really that he was doing it wrong, he was simply not adept enough at it to take on an opponent that knew what he was going to do.
"Man… I have to get that ID picture taken today." Naruto picked himself back up off of the ground, "I hope these marks go away before I get there." Naruto decided that the best way to train was to work his taijutsu which would work his Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Clone Jutsu) at the same time, and he would also release random bursts of Chakura Hankyouteii no Jutsu (Chakra Echolocation Jutsu) as a short break. Iruka said it placed a decent drain on him to use it, but so far Naruto wasn't feeling it.
Naruto placed his hands in the ram seal to begin charging the pulse, "Chakura Hankyouteii no Jutsu (Chakra Echolocation Jutsu)!" Naruto let loose the jutsu only to hear a sharp cry of pain from a decent distance away, "What?" Naruto looked around himself before taking off in the only direction that he felt anything big enough to be a person, "Who's there? I know you're over here!"
He arrived at the place where he felt the presence and saw no one, "Someone's messing with me." Naruto fired up another sonar pulse and felt the person quickly leaving the area. He felt like chasing after them but he had things to do, and if they hadn't attacked him when he revealed that he knew where they were they must not have been dangerous, right? Besides that, once they reached a populated area he wouldn't have been able to pursue any further, he had trouble pinpointing exact people in decent crowds. With that thought in mind Naruto headed off towards the Hokage Tower to get his ninja ID picture taken.
Hinata finally stopped running once she finally reached the village itself. She had found Naruto and decided to follow him to see what he had been doing, seeing him fail obviously hurt him and she wanted to know if he was okay. Her surprise was eminent when she saw him make a physically solid clone that could actually fight, and she almost yelled out for him to stop once she saw it start beating on him. Only after a few tries when she saw him actively trying to counter by catching its punches and kicks did she realize it was training did she relax and simply watch with her Byakugan active so that she didn't have to move.
She watched right up until the point where he let off that weird pulse of chakra. A spherical wave of chakra expanded outward from Naruto's body and she sure as hell wasn't ready for something like that from him. From her point of view when it hit her eyes it felt like the strongest camera flash she had ever felt in her life and she had to cry out in unexpected pain at the sensation which tipped Naruto off to her presence. From there she simply ran away as fast as she could lest he find her and actually ask her embarrassing questions on what exactly she had been doing there.
She nervously activated her Byakugan again to ensure that Naruto wasn't near her again, and once satisfied with that went on her own way, still somewhat shaken by her close call of being discovered by her object of admiration.
Naruto cursed his revamped schedule as he walked away from the Hokage's office. He intended to do something awesome for his ID photo but with all of the stuff he had been doing he simply didn't have the time to set it up in time for his appointment. It was nice to see the old man smile at him and complement him, thinking he was starting to take things seriously, but he would have rather had the fallout that would have occurred if he had done something outrageous instead. Oh well, there was always another day.
As Naruto walked through the hall to exit the tower a small boy ran into his knees. Naruto looked down and frowned, "Hey kid watch where you're going. And what are you doing running around with that shuriken in your hand?"
The boy was wearing a yellow shirt with the Konoha symbol on it, grey shorts, a long blue scarf, and a grey helmet with a hole out the top for a tuft of hair to stick out of. He looked up at Naruto with a glare, "You tripped me!"
Naruto got an angry look on his face, "You tripped over your own feet and ran into me clumsy, don't blame me for your lack of balance." With that, Naruto walked past him and down the stairs to leave the building.
As he kept walking the boy ran out and stopped at the top of the stairs, "Don't you know who I am? I'm the Hokage's grandson! Apologize to me!"
Naruto scoffed and didn't even turn his head, "The Hokage himself only gets me to do stuff because I actually respect him, because he earned it. If you want me to apologize to a brat like you you'd be better off trying to make me yourself with action, because being his grandson doesn't mean anything in reality." After saying that, Naruto hid his hands from clear view as he let out a pulse of his jutsu, allowing him to feel the shuriken that the boy threw. Naruto simply stepped to the side and let it fly past him, "You'd better watch out with that thing, you might hurt somebody."
The boy simply stared at him in awe until he disappeared from sight at the bottom of the stairs. A man with a dark long-sleeved shirt and dark pants wearing his headband to cover his entire head like a bandana came up behind the boy, adjusting the sunglasses on his face, "Honorable Grandson there you are. You shouldn't run away like that, not while in the midst of my lecture. You do want to be a powerful shinobi one day don't you?" He then noticed that the boy wasn't paying attention to him and was looking down the stairs, "What do you see?"
The boy just kept on staring, "Who was that guy?" He asked more to himself than to anyone else.
Naruto stood right behind a corner at the bottom of the stairs with a wide grin on his face, 'I love that jutsu so much! Oh man, that probably looked so badass! I wish I had made a Kage Bunshin to let me know what it looked like!' Naruto shut his eyes and walked away grinning until he himself bumped into a solid figure. When he opened his eyes and looked up a plume of smoke greeted his face, forcing him to cough and hack somewhat.
Naruto cleared the tears gathering in his eyes from the smoke and saw a man with brown eyes, short spiky black hair, a beard, and his headband around his head with a cigarette in his mouth. He wore the stuff he saw a lot of Konoha ninja wearing; the black long-sleeved shirt, the black pants, and that vest with the pouches on the chest. He also had a strange sash with the kanji for fire on it, "Sorry there kid."
Naruto stopped rubbing his eyes, "Why are you apologizing to me?" He really wasn't used to this, people didn't apologize to him, as a matter of fact most adults glared at him if they even bothered acknowledging he was even there at all after something like this, not this guy though, "I was the one that ran into you."
The man had a calm smile on his face as he answered, "Well sometimes you've got to remember that kids younger than you are prone to accidents and the like, just like ignorant people are going to do ignorant things. There's no need to try and look cool all of the time you see. Cool just happens, you can't manipulate it."
Naruto blanched, thinking the man might have taken offense to what had just happened between him and that kid, "So, you saw what just happened…" The man nodded, Naruto's train of thought then shifted, "Hey what are you talking about? That was cool."
The man shook his head and took another drag of his cigarette, "Nah, like I said, cool just happens. You just graduate the academy?"
Naruto blinked before grinning at the man, whoever this was certainly was getting on Naruto's good list. He hadn't been condescending or an outright asshole to him once yet, "Uh yeah. I actually have to show up for orientation tomorrow. Why?"
The man took on a thoughtful look, "So what have you been doing for the week?"
Naruto was about to open his mouth and go into full, colorful detail about just what he had been doing, from learning both of his new jutsu, to the people he met, to the fight against Tenten (that he was going to edit down substantially to fit his own ego of course), when a lesson learned hit him from Shiho's brutal method of force feeding his Kage Bunshin information.
Information is one of the most useful tools at a shinobi's disposal. Even simple information such as a person's day-to-day life or events that have transpired in the past, ranging back decades in some cases, can be a powerful weapon to be used one way or another, either as a point of leverage or a talking point in somewhat hostile negotiations.
Naruto shut his mouth and rubbed the back of his head, "Just stuff heh. Trying to keep busy." He so wanted to tell this guy about his Kage Bunshin, or about Iruka's echolocation jutsu that he used so much, or anything, but the sooner he could put some lessons to practice the better things would be in the long run… or so Shiho had said when his clones griped.
The man chuckled and walked on past Naruto, heading up the stairs and leaving him alone. Naruto looked at where the man had been for a moment before moving along his own way.
The bearded man walked through the halls until he finally reached the office of the Hokage. He knocked on the door and opened it up to walk on in. Hiruzen looked up and smiled, "Ah, Asuma. What can I do for you today?"
Asuma stood in front his desk and spoke with the cigarette in his mouth, "Hey dad, you know how you sent out requests for teams?" Hiruzen nodded, "Well I've got one request that should be easy enough. I'm sure there won't really be anyone else jumping at the chance to take him."
Hiruzen's eyebrow rose in curiosity upon hearing Asuma begin to make a request. He never requested anything.
Naruto just couldn't shake the feeling of someone following him as he walked the streets of the village. Sending out regular pulses of Iruka's jutsu, that he was starting to like just as much as turning his head to look for things with his eyes (it took basically the same amount of effort), he noticed that there was something following him, but he just didn't feel like turning around to see what it was. It hadn't tried anything yet and he was hungry. Whatever it was could wait until he got to Ichiraku Ramen.
"If you're still following me when I get to the ramen stand I'm going to have to mess you up!" Naruto shouted to whoever was following him. After walking a few blocks and another check to see if he was still being followed he shook his head. Just as he entered the stand underneath the curtain he formed a Kage Bunshin that made itself scarce before anyone that cared could take notice.
Taking his seat at the counter, Naruto immediately called out his order, "Oi, Teuchi-oji, one large serving of miso ramen with roasted pork fillet and keep 'em coming!"
The middle-aged man running the stand gave Naruto a half-salute and got to work on his order, "You've got it Naruto. Coming right up!"
Ayame leaned on the counter while Naruto waited on his food, "So Naruto-kun, tomorrow right? That's the day you become a ninja."
Naruto laughed to himself, "Yep, I can't wait. I'm so excited I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight! I'm going to kick so much ass tomorrow, it's going to be great." His attention was directed downward as a large, steaming bowl of ramen with the works was placed in front of him. Naruto grabbed a pair of chopsticks and broke them apart, "Itadakimasu."
The blonde stopped the chopsticks full of noodles just short of his mouth as the memories of his Kage Bunshin and his little stalker came into mind.
(With Naruto's Kage Bunshin)
Across the street from the stand the Kage Bunshin stood with a sweatdrop on its head as it stared at a square rock looking intently at the real him eating at the stand. 'Naruto' kicked at the rock twice and deepened his sweatdrop when it scuttled away from him a few feet before continuing to watch the real him.
"Rocks aren't square…" 'Naruto' said absently. Upon hearing his voice the rock abruptly turned around before being thrown off to reveal the little kid he had met at the Hokage Tower earlier, "Why have you been following me for so long? Can't you see it's chow time?"
The kid pointed at the clone with a shaky, accusing finger, "H-How can you be over here? You're supposed to be over there! I heard you yell from over there! You're not real- ow!"
The clone rapped the boy on the head, "Well you said ouch so I must be real enough right?"
He stared at Naruto in awe, "How did you do that?"
'Naruto' grinned widely at him, "I'm a ninja kid! Pretty cool huh?"
The boy then got adetermined look in his eyes, "Alright then I've decided, you're going to train me now boss!"
The clone almost face-faulted itself into oblivion, "What? Who decided? Why would I want to train you? And what's with the 'boss' stuff?"
"I'm calling you boss because you're going to be training me, and I've decided on you because, well you're awesome boss, and this thing with the making two of you as well as being able to discover my location just proves it, kore!"
The clone blushed under the praise before sighing once he thought of the kid being impressed at noticing a square rock was out of place in the middle of a street, "Yeah whatever kid, I don't even know your name so it's going to be kind of hard for whatever training you think I can give you. Besides, don't you have a teacher already?"
"Konohamaru." The boy mumbled facing the ground, "My name is Konohamaru." His head snapped up abruptly, "But no one ever calls me that. It's always 'Honorable Grandson' even though my name should be easy to remember. No one ever sees me for me, they only just see me for the things that my grandfather did. I want people to acknowledge me."
'Naruto' frowned as he heard the boy explain himself to him. It was kind of like him. People seemed to prefer to pretend that he simply didn't exist and he had no clue why. At least Konohamaru had the luxury of already knowing what it was they saw when they treated him that way, and it wasn't so negative. Still, the kid strangely reminded him on himself, especially at that age. He wished he had the balls to go up to someone and ask them to train him though.
"Alright…" Clone Naruto sighed, "But there's not really anything I can teach you." He scratched his head, "Well, there's one thing. It could work for you and it seems to be effective on most of the people I use it on." The clone thought to himself, 'Boss doesn't need to actually go do this himself does he?'
"Well?" Konohamaru asked excitedly once he realized that Naruto was going to teach him something.
'Naruto' patted the boy on the head, "Alright. The jutsu I'm going to teach you requires you to do quite a bit of studying. Come on, let's get started."
That didn't really work out so well for Naruto's Kage Bunshin. Naruto sighed and made a bunch of Kage Bunshin, "Go with the kid and stay hidden except for one in case you get dispelled again, this might be a really long day."
The clones saluted him and took off towards Konohamaru's last location to make sure the kid wasn't freaking out at watching his instructor for the day burst into smoke. Naruto took in a sigh of relief and inhaled the aroma of the new bowl that Ayame had just set in front of him, "There is no way I was going to be stuck doing that all day."
"Stuck doing what Naruto-kun?" Ayame asked curiously. He seemed really comforted about something.
Naruto laughed and gave her a mega-watt smile, "Nothing Ayame-neechan, I'm just talking to myself."
(The Next Day)
Naruto arrived to the Academy super-early that morning and sat down before sighing to himself and pulling out a bunch of small sticky notes that Shiho made his Kage Bunshin write down and carry home before they dispelled. Yesterday had been very troublesome for the existence of realistic replications if the way his Kage Bunshin had to deal with the stuff happening around them was any indication.
Konohamaru's attempts to go through with research for the jutsu Naruto planned on teaching him ended up in pain and anguish for Naruto's clones, even though it was always Konohamaru that got them in trouble. Maybe teaching a kid the Oiroke no Jutsu wasn't the best idea in the first place? Anyway, Konohamaru eventually got it just in time for his instructor Ebisu to show up and take him away.
"Honorable Grandson it's time for you to stop associating with this rabble and come with me." Ebisu said, tilting his glasses up as he looked down on Naruto coldly from a tree limb.
'Naruto' returned his look with a glare of his own, 'Guys like this are always looking at me like they have a problem. What is their deal? I don't even know who this guy is and he looks like he's trying to set me on fire with his eyes.'
"No!" Konohamaru shouted, "I want to go with Naruto! I actually learned something today! Check it out, Oiroke no Jutsu (Sexy Jutsu)!" In a puff of smoke, Konohamaru turned into a beautiful naked brunette woman that winked at Ebisu, "Hey there, how do you like my jutsu?"
'Naruto' smirked to himself, he had actually gotten it down after just a few hours of practice. Ebisu on the other hand was mortified, "Honorable Grandson what kind of deplorable acts have you been coerced into by this ruffian? This 'jutsu' is far below someone of your stature! The only guaranteed way to achieve a shortcut to Hokage is through my teachings, I'll show you the way!"
'Naruto' growled, "Oi, can you forget the damn way that he looked for a second and think about what the kid just did?"
Ebisu stopped pulling on Konohamaru and looked at 'Naruto' who he had expected to say something at any minute, just not something like that. He expected a challenge to fight or something. But hearing this boy perceived as a dead-last have anything to say to him irked his ire, "Oh and what would that be, besides making himself a public nuisance and besmirching his name in your tasteless influence?"
'Naruto's' eye twitched. He so wanted to fight this guy and show him what was what, but he promised too many people he'd stop acting like a bother and getting into a fight with another person so soon after being scolded for it wouldn't bode too well for him. 'Naruto' grit his teeth and continued to speak, "He did a transformation you idiot." Was all he really had the self-control to get out.
Ebisu looked at 'Naruto' expectantly, as if to say, 'that's all you had to say?' It took a few seconds, but the facts of what he had just uttered had finally dawned on Ebisu as his eyes slowly panned down to Konohamaru still trying to break his grip. After realizing that Konohamaru had indeed used a jutsu that he hadn't even come close to teaching him yet he let go of the young boy in shock, "Honorable Grandson this is incredible! To learn such a jutsu in one day!" 'Naruto' wanted to yell at this guy so much for changing his tune so abruptly.
"Of course it only took a day!" Konohamaru bellowed before running back over to 'Naruto', "Boss taught it to me!"
'Naruto' patted Konohamaru on the head, "Yeah, but now you can use it to turn into other stuff, all you need are the hand-seals now since you already get the idea of turning into a different form." He pointed to Ebisu, "That guy can do that for you later."
Konohamaru frowned as he looked over at Ebisu, "But Boss, he doesn't teach me any cool jutsus like you do. How am I supposed to get to be Hokage fast if I don't learn any jutsu?"
"You idiot." 'Naruto' said, "There isn't a shortcut. Nothing you do will make the way to Hokage any shorter or any easier. If you really want to be Hokage one day you're going to have to prove that you're better than me." Konohamaru gulped at that, "You need a lot of guts, and you're going to fall down a lot, but if you work your hardest one day you can be Hokage… after me of course."
Konohamaru stared at 'Naruto' as he started walking away from both him and Ebisu, "Fine, you're not my teacher anymore. From now on we're rivals!"
'Naruto' chuckled and waved absently over his shoulder, "Yeah, fine. I couldn't keep teaching you stuff anyway. I have to start my ninja career tomorrow."
And then there were the clones that had been combing through the library for anything with a jutsu in it. The old man couldn't have been lying when he said that there were a few in there somewhere, he wouldn't have done that, but he would be damned if he had found any yet because he sure hadn't. And whenever the clones came across anything that Shiho thought he would need she pulled that particular clone away from searching and proceeded to make it read whatever it was. She kept on claiming seniority over him to get the clones to read what she told them to and accentuated the fact that he would have to learn how to take orders he didn't like so he might as well get used to it.
Poor clones… better them than him though.
"Hey." Naruto looked up to see a boy with black hair and a ponytail giving him a pineapple look looking at him lazily, "What are you doing here Naruto? This is for students that graduated."
Naruto flicked the metal on his headband around his forehead. He still wore the goggles as well, just around his neck. He might need them at some point so why not? "You see the headband Shikamaru? That means I'm a ninja just like you."
"Ugh, troublesome." Shikamaru rubbed his neck before going off to find his own seat, leaving Naruto back to his own devices.
Hinata's breath hitched in her throat when she saw Naruto sitting in class, 'Naruto-kun passed after all! I'm so glad.' However she still really hoped that he hadn't caught on to her tailing him the other day.
"Ha! Take that Ino-pig I got here first!"
Naruto turned his attention to the top of the stairs where he saw an out of breath Sakura and Ino. Sakura looked down to his level and put on a sweet face, 'No way, is she looking at me like that?' When Sakura began moving his way he took a chance that he probably knew the results of beforehand, standing up to greet her, "Hi there Sakura-chan!"
"Get out of the way Naruto!" Sakura bowled him over and moved directly to the seat beside him, "Good morning Sasuke-kun." She pleasantly greeted the boy in question seated directly to her left.
Naruto picked himself up off of the ground as a bunch of the girls in class began fighting over who was going to take that seat, 'What the hell was that for? Shiho says being nice to girls will get them to like you, and she hasn't hit me once all week. *sigh* I just don't get girls…' Naruto leered over at the object of all of the commotion, one Sasuke Uchiha. Naruto smirked to himself, it was only a matter of time at this point until he could go and prove that he was better than Sasuke was. Let Mr. Popularity there enjoy his last day as top dog, once things got going Naruto would be the one seen as the best.
With that in mind, Naruto took his seat and went back over the notes that he had placed in front of him on the desk with much trouble to his attention span due to the harping on by all of the girls around Sasuke. Seriously, how could that bastard keep a stone face in the middle of that? He had to have nerves like a river stone to not let it show that it was bothering him one way or another.
"What are you doing Naruto?" He looked up to see a boy in a hooded parka with fur lining the edges. He had red marks on his cheeks, rather feral features, and a little white puppy on top of his head, "Why are you studying? That's kind of the opposite of what you should be doing here, school's over now."
Naruto chuckled nervously, "Well a friend of mine just wanted me to go over some stuff that was supposed to help me out. Nothing big." How was he supposed to say he had clones running about the library every day this week going over things? That would have probably made him a laughingstock.
Kiba grinned, showing off sharp canines, "Well you can study all you want to, it doesn't matter. Me and Akamaru are going to blow right past you, whatever it is they have us doing now. Right boy?" A yap of affirmation from the puppy on his head sounded out.
Naruto stood up out of his seat and held up a fist, "Yeah right! I'm going to get out of here and hit the top in record time. Then you can all tell your children one day how you were in class with the new Hokage heh heh."
"They don't let class dobes be Hokage!" One random boy shouted out, engulfing the whole room in laughter.
"Shut up." Naruto barked back, "I could probably beat anyone in this room right now!" Could he? Yeah he could; he knew none of these guys were as good as Tenten was, he had been training all week and he was sure no one else had done anything, and he was Uzumaki Naruto, he was that awesome! Of course he could, "None of that stuff is going to matter once we get out of here and the missions start. We're all genin now!"
"Well said Naruto." Iruka said as he entered the room with a clipboard, "You're all as of this day forward official shinobi of Konohagakure no Sato. You are all expected to carry out your missions to the best of your ability for your home and for your comrades. I just want to say that I am proud of you all and that I wish you all luck in your future as ninja and kunoichi of our village." He gave his short speech a moment to sink in before clearing his throat, "Now I'm going to begin the announcement of the squads formed for the duration of your tenure as genin."
This got everyone in attendance's collective attention.
All of the would-be jounin sensei were in the office of the Hokage looking through his crystal ball at all of the rookies. Hiruzen looked at Asuma who had foregone the cigarettes due to the room being so crowded, "Is there any particular reason you asked for the addendum to your team Asuma?"
Asuma smirked when all eyes fell on him, "Trying to put me on the spot huh dad? Alright I'll explain it afterwards."
Iruka continued listing off names on his clipboard, "Team 7 will be Akimichi Chouji, Haruno Sakura, and Uchiha Sasuke. Your instructor will be Hatake Kakashi."
"Shannaro!" Sakura exclaimed after hearing her team, "Take that Ino-pig! True love conquerors all!"
Ino placed her cheek in her hand in a dejected fashion while Sakura continued to celebrate. Sakura turned to Sasuke with hearts in her eyes, "Now we'll be on the same team Sasuke-kun, isn't that great?"
"Hm." Was the stoic genin's response.
Naruto had to bite back a snort of laughter at that. It was clear that Sasuke cared so much about his predicament.
"Team 8 will be Hyuuga Hinata, Inuzuka Kiba, and Aburame Shino with Yuhi Kurenai as your jounin sensei." Iruka said as the three young ninja mentioned all acknowledged that he had been heard. Team 9 is still in circulation so we'll move on to Team 10. Team 10 will be Yamanaka Ino, Nara Shikamaru, and Uzumaki Naruto with Sarutobi Asuma."
"Aww." Ino said as her head slumped onto the desk, "I've got a lazy bum and the dead-last on my team… why me?"
Naruto rolled his eyes at Ino's words and kept his eyes on Shiho's notes, 'Why did she give me these? The only thing that's been useful so far was the one that told me we were going to be broken up into squads like all genin were. Other than that these have been a waste of time.'
"And that's all for now." Iruka concluded, "You will all be picked up by your respective jounin sensei after lunch. Until then get together with your team, get to know them, and one more time, good luck to all of you." Iruka spared the class one last glance before leaving the students on their own.
Naruto picked up his notes and stuck them inside of his jacket just as Ino came down from her seat behind him with her hands on her hips, "Alright, you and Shikamaru are coming with me."
"Troublesome." Shikamaru said before pointing his thumb in a direction, "What about Chouji?"
"What about him?" Ino asked, still sounding short-tempered about how the teams panned out.
Shikamaru and Naruto both pointed towards the door where Sasuke walked out being audibly trailed by Sakura trying to curry his favor as they were now a team, "Do you really think he's going to be welcome eating lunch with them?" The lazy boy said before motioning Chouji down closer towards where they were.
Naruto spoke up, "Yeah it's alright with me, Chouji can come on over, no problem."
The plump boy in question took a seat next to Shikamaru before breaking out a bag of chips that he began to snack on. Naruto looked at a slightly fuming Ino, and Shikamaru who had both of his eyes closed as he leaned back in his chair, "So I guess we're teammates now huh?" He said with a slight laugh, losing it when Ino glared at him.
"Alright it's pretty simple why I chose Naruto to round out the team instead of going with Chouji in the end." Asuma said, "While he's not really smart I think that Shikamaru is hiding a major brain somewhere so he'll be the intelligence. Ino is bossy enough to keep both of them in line. And Naruto is going to show more than enough effort during actual training to inspire the other two to improve. Besides, with a Nara to hold opponents in place I'm sure that the kid is going to have some knockout power to him sooner rather than later."
Hiruzen sighed, "You know Kakashi wanted him for his own squad right?"
Asuma smirked and placed a cigarette in his mouth, "And where is he again?" All of the other jounin in the room snickered quietly when it was clear that he wasn't there at the time, "Oi, Kurenai!" The bearded man said when his cigarette was snatched from his mouth by a stunning raven-haired woman with striking red eyes.
Kurenai tossed the cigarette aside, "But to take him onto your team. Aren't you a bit concerned about the you-know-what?"
Asuma shrugged, "Why should I be? Has anyone ever even heard of any episodes taking place with the kid? Ever? At this point he might as well not even have it for all of the 'influence' it has over him. He's going to work out just fine on my team, I know he will."
Nodding at the points his son made, Hiruzen then gave a knowing smirk, "I believe Naruto-kun is going to have a few surprises for you already in regards to his performance on your team."
"It's been a week." A random shinobi said, "He was the dead-last of this year's graduates, how much could things have changed in a week?"
'A week?' Hiruzen thought, 'Try 24 hours.' He looked at the man that had spoken with an even gaze, "A week is far more than an ample amount of time for any competent shinobi to improve if driven. And I can assure you that Naruto-kun has an incredible drive."
"And that's why I wanted him." Asuma said before placing another cigarette in his mouth making sure to keep it away from Kurenai, "I mean, someone has to be the enthusiasm on my squad. I have a slacker, a loudmouth, and a knucklehead… It actually sounds like fun to me." He sparked up his lighter, placing it under the cigarette to start smoking.
Ino had pretty much demanded that they all leave the classroom for lunch. Shikamaru thought it better to go along with it that argue about something he didn't care about, Chouji went along with him on that, and Naruto just didn't care at the moment. He was too excited thinking about the things they were going to do after their jounin showed up after lunch. They all ended up sitting outside on an awning next to the main Academy building.
Ino was eating her lunch quietly as she looked over her teammates. She wasn't terribly unfamiliar with Shikamaru seeing as how both of their fathers were teammates and good friends. His grades and overall performance in the Academy were abysmal to say the least. He was always asleep in class, even after Iruka woke him up multiple times a day. Lazy bum.
And then there was Naruto. He wasn't a lazy-ass like Shikamaru was, but his grades in the Academy were even worse than his were. He consistently failed even when he would show up and he spent almost as much time sleeping as Shikamaru. He was the slowest to get all of the jutsu taught in class down, and he couldn't even do Bunshin no Jutsu (Clone Jutsu) by the time of the graduation exam. How the hell did he pass anyway? She was cursing out Kami in her head for giving her such a bottom-of-the-barrel team to work with. This was going to be terrible.
Naruto wasn't even eating, he didn't have lunch with him anyway, he was simply grinning madly about finally being a ninja. He had his own team and a cool high-class jounin to teach him how to kick even more ass. Maybe he even had techniques that were as cool as the one Iruka taught him. He didn't mind his team too much, Shikamaru was an alright guy, and Ino was bossy but it wasn't anything he couldn't deal with he was certain.
Shikamaru wasn't really thinking about either of his teammates at all. He knew enough about Ino to know that she was going to be troublesome, but he knew how to handle her. Naruto on the other hand was just going to flat out be troublesome. Nothing he did or could think of would change or lessen that so there was no need to waste the effort trying to deal with it. He was more concerned with Chouji on Team 7. He hoped his old buddy would be alright on that team, but then again Chouji was strong. He knew he would be fine.
"Alright." Ino stood up, "I need our team to blow everyone else's out of the water, especially Forehead Girl's team."
Naruto nodded fervently in agreement, "Yeah, I need to wipe that superior look off of Sasuke-teme's face anyway. Don't worry, I'm right there with you Ino."
Ino glared at him, confusing him. Why was she upset? All he did was agree with her, "Baka, you can't beat Sasuke-kun. He's the best genin in the entire village."
She really hadn't been exposed to very many real ninja had she? Well he hadn't either until just this week. Naruto snorted, "My ass he is. I've met some of the other genin in this village. If Sasuke-teme can beat those guys here and now I'll eat my goggles."
Ino fumed at Naruto's claims of Sasuke's false superiority while Shikamaru sighed, "Ino isn't that counter-intuitive to what you just said? You just said to beat Team 7. Well Sasuke is on Team 7, so you're getting mad at Naruto for agreeing with you. But then again I don't know why I care, this whole thing is troublesome." He looked over at Chouji, "You might have been better off seeing if your team would actually eat with you, it would have to be less trouble than this."
"It's alright Shikamaru. I don't mind." The agreeable, portly boy said as he popped open a fresh bag of chips before noticing that Naruto hadn't eaten a single thing since they got there, "Chip?" He offered to the blonde boy.
Naruto noticed he was talking to him and smiled at him, "Thanks a lot Chouji!" Naruto reached in and grabbed a few before Chouji gave some to Shikamaru as well. All three boys were seated and munching on chips while Ino was crying over her rotten luck.
Naruto grinned at her, "It'll be fine Ino. Stop worrying about it. I'm sure Shikamaru isn't as lazy as he seems when something important actually happens."
The girl had to admit, he was right. He did graduate just like everyone else did after all, "And what about you?" Ino replied, running a hand through her light blonde locks, "He might be able to get himself up for when big stuff happens, but what about you? You can't really turn stupid off like that." She knew Naruto failed on the other hand. Everyone did, it was so evident on his face when he came out of the Academy that day. Why was he here? No one told her that.
Naruto gave her a deadpan look, "Yes you can."
Ino raised an eyebrow at him, "No you can't. You just can't fix stupid Naruto."
"Yeah, you really can, trust me." Naruto insisted. Damn he knew he was bad in the Academy, was it really that bad? Ino didn't even believe in him enough to think he was useful in a real situation. As far as she was concerned Shikamaru was more useful in a high-stress situation. That was a heartbreaker, "It's called a library Ino. That place was pretty much invented so that stupid people could fix being stupid."
Ino almost dropped her jaw at hearing that, Shikamaru actually opened his eyes to stare at Naruto in surprise, and Chouji actually stopped eating to gape at him, "You go to the library?" All three of them said at the same time.
"I sure do." Naruto said rather proudly. If it was able to get that kind of a reaction out of them then he must have been doing something right, "Every day since graduation!" He neglected to mention that he was more or less tricked into going once by the Hokage and then basically guilt tripped into returning by Shiho. Still after you get used to it the library isn't really a bad place at all. Kind of boring though, but Shiho's company made even that manageable.
"No way." Ino said in disbelief, "The dead-last that never even cracked a book to study for all of these years went to the library all this week in his own free time? I was barely under the impression that you could even read."
Naruto frowned, "That's mean Ino." He was starting to get tired of all of the cracks at his intelligence. No he wasn't smart but there had to be someone out there stupider than he was. It was a basic law of the world, somewhere out there someone had to exist dumber than him.
"Ino stop trying to antagonize Naruto." Shikamaru cut in, getting tired of hearing Naruto be grilled over this, "If he did he did. It couldn't be a bad thing that he went all week. You should actually be happy about it."
Ino blinked at Shikamaru before turning back to her fellow blonde, "Well it's not like I'm mad at him for doing it, but why? Didn't you have anything better to do for the rest of the week, like hang out with someone?" Come to think of it she never really saw Naruto anywhere with anyone. Shikamaru was at least usually with Chouji.
Naruto shook his head, "Other than play pranks I really didn't. All I had to do was train and go to the library because I promised not to pull anymore pranks." -Unless someone gave him a seriously good reason to do so. Luckily for everyone no one gave him a reason to do so yet. But he was feeling the pent-up need to vent in a pranking fashion on someone and Kami help the poor bastard he decided to unleash it on.
"Training too?" Ino said. Naruto trained? Since when did Naruto actively train without being directed to by someone. He barely did it when Iruka had everyone doing things in class.
"Yep." Naruto grinned reassuringly at her before sticking out his fist, "So like I said, everything's going to be just fine. We got through the Academy in one piece, we can handle anything that gets thrown at us right?"
Shikamaru looked up at Naruto before smiling to himself, "It's going to be totally troublesome already I can just feel it, but you've got it Naruto. We can handle whatever."
Naruto looked over to Ino with his vibrant blue eyes that exuded confidence before she smirked and flipped her ponytail back, "Well I suppose I have to agree right? I mean who else is going to dig you two idiots out of the fire when everything goes wrong? I have to be there to save both of you… I'm sure that will get Sasuke-kun to see how much better than Forehead I am."
Naruto laughed and threw his hands behind his head, "Alright then. So we're a team right? Team 10?"
"Team 10." Shikamaru agreed.
Ino sighed, "I'd still much rather be on Sasuke-kun's team though…" She then perked up and winked, "But yeah, Team 10."
Hello all. Yes I know not much happened in this chapter but patience please. Things must be set before I take this where I need it to go so in due time the pace of things will quicken, until then it's a celebration (bitches).
I hope you all had some happy holidays because me being a grown ass man of 19 I didn't get shit. Hell I'm too old for gifts anyway. I wouldn't even know what I want. Actually that's wrong, I did get what I wanted; my goddamn Ford Taurus out of the shop, but then again I laid down a lot of bones for that so it wasn't a gift to myself, it was a necessity.
Anyways, I'm done. I need to go install a door as I am extremely busy these days. Any questions that I can actually answer without blowing storyline or that aren't kind of stupid and as always I'll do my damndest to respond somewhat timely. Cheers everybody, Kenchi out.