Warning: I'm not pulling any punches with these, as they're SCRAP FILES. This is my raw, personal edits and not screened for much other than my own inner grammar nazi. You can expect just about anything, and I know there are a few scenes of mature and violent content. Some of it harsh. So, be warned.
I've resisted the urge to build a scrap file for a while now. Since '09 in fact.
The simple matter of it all is, I'm a perfectionist. I don't like having unfinished work made public. It feels rude of me, and by the simple act of these things existing, I'm proven – at least in a sense – a failure and liar. These are things I never finished, that I put so much time and thought and work into, but never took past some critical point. They make me a liar, in that they're unfinished and there's this tacit we writers make when publishing a work, that we'll finish it. Why start a story you'll never finish?
Those things aside, this will be a file specifically for Naruto works. Which, obviously, I have no finished samples of.
There's a reason for this.
Ultimately, I tired of the material, fandom, clichés and my own lack of motivation and put all of it aside. Losing all my source material that didn't get put on a cloud drive didn't hurt matters. Most of these are half-finished and hanging at best, or simple starts at worst.
"Yukari" for instance… this is a good look into how I write. I didn't need to put 70,000 words into a prologue. But, that's how I think. I can't rebuild a world without starting from the ground up.
Also CURSE THIS NEW KEYBOARD. ARGH, my fingers aren't where they're supposed to be! *flail*
Anyway. On with it. First up –
Shape shifting was easily the single most useful ninja skill Naruto could think of.
Too bad it had driven him more than a little insane.
Which was why, other than a few slip-ups, he kept it to himself. Why hadn't ninja come up with it a long time ago? Did it take having the Demon Fox in him, to make it work? Surely someone thought to mimic kitsune skills... Well, unique or not, it was his, and he'd keep it hidden as much as possible. Some people had to know, and though that wasn't a problem, he drastically limited it. Let them think it was just some perverted skill, and nothing serious. It wouldn't be an awesome skill and help him with his goal of being Hokage if everyone knew about it, right?
Still, a little showing off never hurt. He'd just have to do it the right way.
Kinda like how he'd taken to that lesson in stealth. It was really hard to hide in a city full of people who knew you, he understood. So, instead of doing that and failing a lot, and getting nothing done, he decided to hide Naruto, but still be there. That was a long time ago, though, and now he had a team. Well, a genin team.
The idea almost made him laugh.
Except he had a job to do, and it wasn't optional. Three years of cover work, building a persona while also training had been hell, but at least he'd gotten a chance to go back and pretend to be a kid for a while. Not to mention meeting the coolest person in the Element Nations... And as much as he wanted to wipe that snide little smirk off Sasuke's face, and punch him in the mouth every time he called him a 'dead last', there were more important things.
Luckily, he'd gotten clearance to drop one of his little acts, and was rather pleased by it.
He didn't like his team. Irritation flooded the blonde, as he crouched overhead, listening to Haruno fawn over the Uchiha, who could have been asleep for how he reacted. The kind of obsessive clinging she was doing was certainly irritating, but he could at least say something to the girl. It would be kinder to try and explain why he was so cold, rather than just let the girl chase a ghost.
Eh, not his problem anymore. Not really on the radar, even.
Kakashi was lurking in the trees across from the clearing most likely, watching as well. It would be his style, either that or a clone, as he idled away his morning. Either way, they were observed.
But, who watched the watcher?
No matter, it was time to say hello.
Sauntering into the clearing, the blonde halted by the end of the bridge, happily sipping some tea in a thermos. Steam wafted off the cup, clearly pointing out the early morning cold. He knew enough about Hatake to have expected the delay, so didn't come unprepared. He'd be damned if the man would make him freeze out here. Stupid mind games.
Naruto's brow rose, as he peered over his cup at the loud girl, wondering if Hatake had arrived while he wasn't paying attention or... Yep, pointing at him. "No. I have a perfectly twenty-eight day cycle," he replied, quietly enjoying the initial stun his comment caused. Rather than bask in the glow of shutting her down, however, Naruto capped off his thermos. He knew her better than to expect-
A spike of chakra later, and Naruko was glaring down at the girl, her attempted haymaker caught in a hand. Then a fan snapped out, cracking the shorter genin over the head. "Stop being such a brat."
Blinking and wincing at her new headache, Sakura wasn't one to back down lightly. "Hey! Drop that perverted Henge! And what's with hitting me?"
Naruko shrugged, settling the yukata she wore around her shoulders a bit tighter. "One, I don't feel like dropping it. Two," she pointed with her fan at the pink-haired girl as she gathered steam. "I try not to hit girls unless I am one." That jerked a snicker out of Sasuke, which in turn got a smirk out of Naruko. "And what, did you expect me to let you get off a free hit?"
"Never stopped you before, dead last." Naruko's smirk dropped almost as fast as her other hand. Another fan smacked down on the Uchiha's head, making a sharp 'Thack!'. Sasuke glowered, narrowing his eyes.
"I hate stuck up little boys," the blonde girl muttered, pulling her fans back into her wide sleeves, before shimmering back into Naruto's familiar form. He reached down, and retrieved his thermos. While his team worked out their confusion nearby, he finished another cup.
It was at about this time that the sleep-addled genin noted that Naruto wasn't wearing his customary orange jumpsuit. Oh, the color was still present, on a few patches of his gear and the customary swirling icon he always seemed to have on his person, but the balance of his gear was in typical Leaf Village regional camouflage. The effect was faintly reminiscent of fall trees. More curious, the clothes weren't new.
Some few feet away, Hatake appeared in a flare of chakra and displaced leaves from a Shunshin. "Naruto. Come with me." With another flare identical to the one he'd arrived in, he was gone.
Naruto sighed, capping his thermos again and muttering. "Melodramatic primadonna," he groused, forming a half seal and disappearing as well, leaving behind a faint howl of air and a few crackles of red chakra.
Sakura blinked to Sasuke, who was still rubbing his head faintly. "...what the hell just happened?"
Shunshin wasn't a combat skill. It could be used in such situations, but the focus needed to 'lock in' a destination, then the chakra use after tended to make it a poor option. For one, any competent opponent can read the tells of the skill, and end up where you went just as quickly. Beyond that, being injured tended to break the needed focus, and left you simply venting chakra stupidly in the middle of a fatal blow.
It was also what made the Yellow Flash a terror in battle. His skill made the impossible dream of a combat Shunshin possible.
For all those reasons and a good guess as to his destination, Naruto dropped out of Shunshin before the Hokage, Kakashi's own jutsu having only just dissipated.
Hatake wasted no time. "What is the meaning of this?"
Below the wide hat, Sarutobi raised a brow. "Excuse me, Jōnin? What was that?"
Kakashi's mouth snapped shut, and he took a calming breath. "My apologies, Hokage-sama. I was... distraught."
The old man grunted, then waved the masked ninja on. "No matter. What is it you need?"
After a gesture to a losely 'at attention' Naruto, Kakashi began to explain. "The Academy records tell me that Naruto Uzumaki is a barely-passing non-skilled recent graduate, who can hardly create a Bunshin clone, somehow knows the Kage Bunshin in replacement apparently, but little else. His test scores make him sound like an idiot."
"Standing right here, you know."
Kakashi glared over his shoulder at the blonde. "I arrive this morning to a subdued Naruto in fitted and worn Field Ops gear, who then uses an unknown skill to become female, and I'm not talking about that prank skill of his!" One step from losing his composure, the one-eyed Jōnin paused, catching his breath. "Something isn't right. I'd appreciate being in the know."
The Sandaime shrugged, slitting an eye to the blonde. Naruto nodded, and the man visibly relaxed. "Very well. Naruto has been released from his covert duty's major requirements so that he may bond with your team, rather than take on an infiltration role. He's been essentially undercover for three years, training during that time as well." Repacking his pipe, the old man spared the Jōnin a glance, to test his reaction. Mild shock was prevalent.
"Why wasn't I informed first?"
"My suggestion," Naruto replied in an even tone. "Your bell test is well documented, as well as its usual results. It causes most potential teams to split up and work independently, and I wanted to observe the Uchiha's actions."
Thinking things through, Kakashi nodded faintly. "I see. And I noted you said 'major duty's requirements'. May I inquire what affect that will have on my team?"
Nodding, the Hokage tossed over a folder that had been on his desk in preparation for Kakashi's visit. "That's what you need to know. We have two major issues both closing on Konoha, one which is targeting Jinchūriki like Uzumaki here," the Sandaime ignored the sudden intake of breath and look that Kakashi shot the otherwise bored-looking blonde. "The other a former student of mine, the Sannin Orochimaru. Both pose potential serious risks to Konoha, and had to be put under all possible scrutiny.
"To that effect, I tapped Naruto here, after he displayed some very... unique talents, early in life."
Kakashi turned to regard the blonde again, and was only mildly surprised to be facing Naruko instead. "What you need to know," the teenage-looking girl pointed out, "is that I'm trained as a covert insert specialist. I can be anybody." To demonstrate that fact, Naruko formed a familiar seal. "Kage Bunshin."
Over the next five minutes, Kakashi had the surreal experience of having his last day played out in small snippets.
Two familiar Chūnin at the Hokage's Tower chatting while he was waiting on the Hokage to see him.
An old woman, walking along the same path he did as he went about his morning routine, getting a coffee and meeting up with some friends.
Two sports enthusiasts at the nearby bar, who were arguing over something he'd not payed attention to beyond their volume, wrapped up in his own thoughts.
A stray dog that had sat and napped in the sun, as he idled near the Memorial Stone.
Dispersing the clones, Naruko shrugged daintily. "Stealth and covert observation. 'Solid' Henge, and Shadow Clones."
Frowning behind his mask, Kakashi regarded the youth. "What skill level are you really?"
"Oh, maybe, maybe Chūnin," the blonde replied, shrugging again. "I have no complex chakra recomposition or shape jutsu. I have no leadership or combat experience. I have two B-rank and three C-rank solo, non-combat espionage missions under my belt. I've also trained briefly," and here the blonde made a sour face, "with a Jinchūriki from Kumo, to better understand my potential. I have yet to progress the theory into practice, however."
The Hokage watched the two of them with mild amusement apparent, noting Hatake's ebbing annoyance at the situation. He was glad the man was looking past his young charge's deceptions, to his possible value. The bitterness Naruko relayed when mentioning her mentor however, made him sigh. "You know why that was so brief, Uzumaki-kun."
Wrinkling her nose in an altogether too-cute manner, Naruko pouted. "Yeah, but I like Yugito-chan," the blonde whined. "And we hardly ever get to talk anymore."
"Be that as it may," the old man pointed out, leveling a slight smirk her way, "you will have more than enough opportunity to catch up in a few months." He pointedly ignored the blonde's muttering about 'time' and 'boyfriends'.
Kakashi nodded faintly. "So, you won't be fully revealing your potential to the team, then?"
Naruko shook her head. "No, not likely. I'll just 'smarten up' a bit. Oh, and be like this more."
That caused the Jōnin to raise a brow in surprise.
AN: Cliche, done before, done to death. Meh!