A/N: I own neither Naruto nor Eyeshield 21
This fic is AU by necessity, since replacing Naruto with Hiruma, Choji with Kurita, and Hinata with fem!Sena will result in changes to the way events play out. Incidientally, Sena is still called Sena as according to Google the name works for both men and women.
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"Delicious! Another bowl please!" The boy slammed down an empty bowl, a huge smile on his face. Ayame couldn't help but smile in return as she served up what was his fourteenth bowl of ramen. Certainly, Kurita Akimichi lived up to his family's reputation as gourmands. The black-haired twelve-year-old was a huge boy, easily mistakable as a short, fat adult from behind. Everything about him was round, He had a large round smiling face with plump cheeks, a large round torso, with massive arms and legs as thick as tree trunks. It was a constant source of amazement to Ayame that one of the five great shinobi clans of Konohagure could have produced an heir like him, or that said heir was actually considered one of the better students at the shinobi academy.
Ayame glanced at his similarly aged companion, a true study in contrasts. If Kurita could be described as 'round', the one word to describe Hiruma Uzumaki would be 'sharp'. The boy was of average height but thin as a rake. His loose, bright orange jacket and trousers couldn't conceal bony knees and elbows. He had a sharp chin, slanted eyes, aquiline nose, and his unkempt blond hair seemed to form natural spikes. There was even a hint of pointiness about the ears. Hiruma had already finished his lunch – the same lunch he had ordered every day at Ichiruka for the last six years, a single bowl of ramen, no extras. Now Hiruma was idly juggling three kunai in one hand as he waited for his friend to finish. Seeing Ayame looking at him, Hiruma gave her a smile (even that was sharp, like the grin of a hungry fox), pointed a thumb at Kurita, and observed: "The fucking fatass can really put it away, huh?" The language was shocking, but Ayame had long since realized that Hiruma used profanity as punctuation. Certainly, Kurita didn't even pause in his consumption of ramen at the implied insult. To stave off further foul-mouthed language, Ayame plumped down a bowl of ramen in front of Hiruma. "On the house, for a valued customer." Once more, Hiruma gave her his scimitar smile, picked up his chopsticks, and went to work on the bowl with a murmured thanks.
This was a ritual between Ayame and Hiruma, that had started shortly after Hiruma joined the academy. He had been coming to Ichiruka for three years, and in all that time, he had never been with anyone or engaged anyone in a conversation. He would order a ramen bowl, eat without any apparent enjoyment (yet he must have liked it, or why would he come back every day?), pay, and leave. Even as a small child, he had had a 'fuck-off' aura that discouraged small talk. On that day, though, some sort of perverse spirit had entered Ayame. She had learnt from Iruka-sensei that Hiruma was now an academy student, and steeling her courage, the teenager had marched up to Hiruma, and placed a second bowl of ramen in front of the 9-year-old. "On the house, congratulations on entering the academy." That was the first time she had seen Hiruma smile. Later, when she had told her father what she had done, Teuchi had simply remarked, "That boy needs all the kindness he can get." Since then, Ayame had actively kept an ear open for gossip about Hiruma, and had treated him to a free bowl whenever something happened, be it good or bad. When Hiruma first brought Kurita over to have lunch, Ayame had given him free ramen every day for a week ("to friendship!"). She had hoped it was a sign of things to come, but sadly, Hiruma was now on the verge of graduating, and Kurita remained the only person who ever took lunch with him. Ayame sighed to herself and went back to work.
Meanwhile, at the Shinobi Academy, Iruka had decided to have lunch at his desk. He wanted to finish correcting the test papers before he went home that day. It was the last round of quizzes before the final exam, and the tests had been getting tougher and tougher, as the Academy sought to eliminate those unsuited to the shinobi lifestyle. He pulled up another paper, and sighed as he saw Hiruma's name. I don't know why I bother, he thought, the pass grade's a 60, so he'll score or a 60 or a 63 or something. It turned out to be a 61. How does he do it? How does anyone come so consistently close to failing without actually failing? Even that bone-lazy Nara manages to ace the occasional quiz. Iruka paused, his pen tapping on the desk as his brow furrowed. Now that he really thought about it, it was odd. If Hiruma was a marginal student, he should have occasionally failed. If he was a good but lazy student like Shikamaru, his grades would be low, but not this low. Frowning, he pulled out Hiruma's file and started checking. It was as he had thought. Over the past two years, Hiruma had taken dozens of graded quizzes and tests, both theoretical and physical, and had always scraped a pass with the thinnest of margins. There were some tests which were not graded, but simple pass/fail. For example, this year there had been twelve such tests, and students had to pass nine of them to continue. Hiruma had passed the first nine, then failed the last three. The same the year before. Perhaps the most obvious clue was his shurikenjutsu results. Shurikenjutsu was the easiest of the physical tests to grade – just have the students throw at the target, then total up the points. In each such test, Hiruma had scored exactly the points needed to pass. Darts. A test to determine his future, and the brat's playing darts. Iruka continued going farther back in the records. Finally, the strange pattern broke. In Hiruma's first three months in the academy, his grades made a lot more sense. High score in maths, above average grades in everything theoretical, low to average in everything physical, and a perfect score in shurikenjutsu. The only other perfect in that subject, so early in the year, had been Tenten. Except, where Tenten had continued being perfect, and was now considered a budding weaponsmistress, Hiruma had starting barely passing. No, not barely passing. He was passing perfectly.
Iruka put aside the file, and went back to grading tests, but he couldn't stop thinking about it. There was no doubt in his mind that Hiruma was deliberately messing with his grades, but to what purpose? He tried discussing the problem with his fellow teacher, Mizuki. Mizuki heard him out, then laughed and assured Iruka that he was being paranoid. Iruka was surprised by the reaction, since Mizuki had seemed quite interested. No matter. If Mizuki wouldn't help, then Iruka would go to the source.
Three days later, Ayame was amazed to see Iruka-snesei accompanying Hiruma into the shop, and declaring that he was paying for both. Even more amazingly, Hiruma ordered his one bowl of ramen... and then kept on ordering. Iruka observed with awe, and some worry, as bowl after bowl was emptied by the skinny child. The ramen seemed to vanish in front of his very eyes. Somewhere between the seventh and eighth bowls, Iruka opened the conversation, partly in the hopes of stemming the tide. He presented his suspicions to Hiruma, quickly and concisely, then demanded to know why Hiruma was deliberately misrepresenting his skills.
"So, ya finally figured it out? Lemme guess, it was the fuckin' shurikenjutsu scores."
"That was the clincher, yes. So, you knew those scores were a giveaway?"
"Yep. I knew I shoulda made it more random, but I couldn't resist."
"Yes, well, that's not important. What is important is, as your teacher, I have no idea how much you've actually learned. You have systematically destroyed any chance of my giving you an appropriate grade."
"Well, why's it friggin' matter? These fucking tests are there to weed out those who ain't got what it takes. Beyond that they don't matter squat. Once we out of the academy, all that matters is how well we do on our missions."
"They do matter, Hiruma. These grades are what we use to set up well-balanced genin teams in the first place. Now, a team that could have benefited from your skills will have to make do with someone else. Lives are literally at stake!"
"Cut the fuckin' drama. What you really mean is, you use the grades to stick the strong kids with a bunch of weak-ass noobs, and expect them to pick up the slack. Well, this kid declines bein' a fuckin' babysitter. When I get a team, I want fuckers that I can put to some use."
"Well, that plan's out the window. I know you're better than you pretend. We just don't blindly follow the grades, you know. The teachers get a lot of say in the team formation. Now, I could just guess at your skill level. Or you could let me test you, in private – no official records, I swear – and I promise to try and find you a team you'll be happy working with."
Hiruma slurped his ramen for a moment, then replied. "Tell you what, you want to know how good I am, fine. I'll let you test me. But in exchange, I want Kurita on my team. I don't care who the third member is, but me and Kurita stick together. Give me your word as a Leaf Shinobi you can make that happen, and I'll do whatever you say."
Iruka paled. "Hiruma, I'm not sure you understand how big a favour you're asking..."
"I know exactly what I'm asking. The whole fuckin' village knows about the Nara-Aki-Yama alliance. And with all three heirs in the same year, the whole school is expecting the three of 'em to be on the same team. Well, Ino's cute and Shikamaru's a lot smarter than he lets on, but neither o' them knows Kurita like I do. So, why don't you go to the Hokage, and tell the old man to do whatever it takes to get the fatass on my team."
"The Hokage, huh? Well, I admit it'll take someone like him to placate the clans, but what makes you think he'll listen?"
"Sure he'll listen. After all, it's a request from yours truly." replied Hiruma with his devilish grin, as he tapped himself right above the belly button.
Now, Iruka was as white as a sheet. "You know?" he hissed. At a confirming nod, he continued. "That's an S-ranked secret! Who told you?"
"Oh, I picked up the bits and pieces here and there. With the whole village in on it, including the civilians, you can't expect to keep it a secret forever..."
The large man groaned, as an 11-year-old Hiruma stood over him with a lead pipe. It was after midnight. The man was a drunk named Keiji who had lashed out at Hiruma before, calling him a demon and threatening to kill him. Other villagers had done the same, and Hiruma wanted to know why. Once he was full of booze, Hiruma had found it easy to taunt the man into chasing him into the isolated alley. A well-placed slingshot to the ankle had tripped the man, and a few strikes to the knees with the pipe had immobilized him. After that, it was a simple matter of placing the pipe against the man's adam's apple, and increasing the pressure until he was choking out the whole story.
The Kyuubi, the nine-tailed demon fox, had attacked the village, leading to horrendous casualties. In the end, the beloved Fourth Hokage Minato Namikaze had sacrificed his life to seal the demon inside an orphan infant boy named Hiruma. The third Hokage had declared the entire incident an S-ranked secret, but it did nothing to stop the villagers from taking out their frustrations on the vessel, or to keep their children from imitating their parents.
Hiruma pondered for a bit, then leaned over the man, giving him his most demonic grin. "Keiji-san, I think we should now talk about what you can do for me. After all, by your own admission, you have just let slip an S-ranked village secret. Why, I shudder to think what the ANBU will do to you if they ever got wind of it..."
Later, having reached a satisfactory understanding, Hiruma was walking home, when it occurred to him that he ought to make some notes on the night's events, just in case he needed to refresh his memory.
The next morning, Hiruma went to the stationary and bought a little black notebook.
Iruka sighed and rubbed his head. "All right, I'll talk to the Hokage. And if he agrees to put Kurita on your team, do you agree to do your best in whatever tests I give you?"
"As long as the results are only known to you, me, and the Hokage, sure. You got a deal. Ayame, another bowl!"
With a start, Iruka realized that Hiruma had been slurping down ramen at an insane speed all through their conversation. "Um, how many bowls has it been?" asked Iruka, dreading the answer. "This is his fourteenth," replied Ayame.
"Is... is that normal for him?"
"Well, he certainly seems to have a good appetite today." Ayame replied diplomatically. Secretly, she shared Iruka's amazement. She had long suspected Hiruma didn't eat his fill due to money problems, but where was the skinny kid putting it all?
Just around the corner, Kurita performed a variant of the Kawarimi (body replacement) technique for the fourteenth time that day. Unknown to Ayame and Iruka, Hiruma had placed a chakra tag, penned in invisible ink, on the table in front of him. Now, for the fourteenth time, Kurita replaced the full bowl of ramen sitting on top of the tag with an empty one. As Kurita happily drained the bowl, he idly wondered why Iruka-sensei was treating Hiruma to lunch in the first place. Oh, well. He was sure Hiruma would tell him if and when he needed to know.
A\N: Annnnd done with the first chapter. There won't be a lot of action in the first few chapters, it'll mostly be establishing the characters of Hiruma, Kurita, and Sena, in the Narutoverse. Sena will show up in either the second or third chapter. In the meantime, please review!