DISCLAIMER: I do not own Naruto
[Chunin Exam Arc] [Final Exam Training Sub-Arc]
Chapter 38. Training IV
Naruto sat on the balcony of his apartment, taking in the early morning sun that was barely peaking over the eastern horizon. He sipped a bit of coffee from a cup, a beverage he started drinking recently. He turned to look inside his apartment which was empty, something he wasn't used to for a long while.
The Evening Before.
Naruto unlocked the door to his apartment and walked in, closing the door behind him and locking it. Naruto could hear stuff being shuffled around in his room. He approached the bedroom to find a backpack on the bed and Sakura packing some of her stuff in it.
"Hey you, where are you going?" Naruto asked.
Naruto's voice wasn't something she was expecting and it startled her a bit. She nearly punched Naruto out of his own apartment.
"Naruto-kun, you scared me," she said. "I didn't hear you come in."
"Heh, sorry," Naruto said nervously. "So where are you going?"
"I know this is sudden, but I'm taking my team on a camping training trip," Sakura answered.
"How long are you going to be gone?" asked Naruto, feeling a little guilty for being a little selfish for wanting her to stay.
"I honestly don't know," Sakura answered truthfully. "It depends on my team if they learn what I am going to teach them. It could be all month."
"I was afraid of that," Naruto said dejectedly.
Sakura walked up to Naruto and wrapped her arms around him. She knew exactly why Naruto was starting to feel down. Naruto hated being alone, being alone all through his childhood made him a little sad.
Naruto just let himself melt into Sakura's arms. He took in this moment as much as he could since it would be the last in probably a month. After a few minutes of silence, Naruto moved Sakura bit, almost like he was breaking the hug but not quite. He cupped her face and moved in for the kiss which she gladly accepted. After what felt like a blissful eternity for them both, they broke free and Sakura returned to packing her bag.
"What are you going to do with your team?" asked Sakura.
"I'll be training my team as a whole on another chakra control exercise and once they've mastered that, Himawari and Shiro's parents want to train them exclusively for their families jutsu which leaves me training Hiroshi on his own," Naruto answered.
"Well that kind of sucks that you will lose your team after that charka exercise," Sakura said.
"Yeah, but Tsunade-baachan gave me two other kids from clans with clan exclusive jutsu so I should have seen this coming," Naruto asked.
Naruto sighed as it only been a few hours since Sakura left with her team on their training camping trip and he was already missing her. Ever since Sakura came back alive, he felt closer to her than ever and he selfishly wanted to spend every possible moment with her now.
Naruto looked at his vintage clock and realized he needed to hurry up and get ready if he was going to meet up with his Genin on time.
Hiroshi practiced throwing shuriken at one of the three posts on the training field he was instructed to meet Naruto at. He was kind of bummed he wouldn't be spending much time with his team, especially with Himawari in a way to sort out his feelings. He understood that Naruto couldn't help teach Himawari and Shiro their jutsu like their own families could. Hiroshi did have to admit to himself, he was also a little excited for having a one on one training session with his sensei.
"You're here early," said a male's voice Hiroshi recognized.
"Shiro?" Hiroshi questioned as he turned around and saw Shiro. "What are you doing here? Aren't you training with your dad?"
"Not yet," Shiro answered. "Naruto instructed me to come here today."
Hiroshi's face lit up and he saw Himawari walking up from the distance but he immediately felt nervous to his core. Ever since figuring out he liked Himawari as more than friends, it really shook him and now has him not knowing how to act around her.
"Good morning Shiro," she greeted Shiro.
When she spotted Hiroshi, she blushed and quickly looked away. She was just as confused and going crazy like Hiroshi was. She regained her composure and faced Hiroshi.
"Good morning, Hiroshi-kun," she finally said.
"Morning," Hiroshi said.
To avoid the awkwardness between the two, he returned to practicing his shuriken throw. Suddenly, Naruto appeared on the wooden post to the left of the one Hiroshi was using as a target.
"Ah, everyone is here on time," Naruto said.
"Weren't are families going to train me and Himawari?" asked Shiro.
"Yes, on the condition they let me give another chakra control lesson first," Naruto answered.
"We're doing that here then?" asked Himawari.
"No, this was just where we were going to meet up," Naruto answered. "We are going to the Konoha hot springs for out training exercise."
Naruto jumped down from the wooden post he was standing on, "Follow me."
Naruto led his Genin squad to the Konoha hotsprings. The squad started to think Naruto wasn't serious at all about teaching another chakra control exercise.
"Why are we here, Naruto-sensei?" Hiroshi asked. "Aren't you supposed to be training us?"
"If you were just going to have a spa day for us, I could of just stayed home and train with my dad," added Shiro.
"Guys, Naruto-sensei wouldn't bring us here if he didn't have a reason," Himawari said, the only one on the team believing Naruto having a real reason in bringing them to the hotsprings.
"Himawari is right," Naruto said, while giving Shiro and Hiroshi a disapproving look. "We are not here to mess around. I brought you here to learn how to walk on water."
After hearing this, Hiroshi became estatic. Ever since he saw Naruto walk on water way back on their first real mission to Takigakure, he wanted to learn how to do it.
"So how do we do it?!" Hiroshi asked, yelling in excitement.
"Chunin must demonstrate near perfect chakra control, so the walking up a tree exercise was just the surface we scratched," Naruto said, ignoring Hiroshi's little outburst. "Walking on water takes more percise chakra control to your feet. Climbing a tree was easy because the tree wasn't in constant motion. However, walking on water is much more difficult because water is in motion."
Naruto gathered chakra into his feet and walked onto the water, showing to his Genin what it would look like with perfect chakra control to his feet.
"It's difficult because you must keep a steady flow of chakra to your feet and the amount you need to emit changes constantly because of the current of the water. This exercise, once mastered, helps you control your chakra even better and use it wisely with your jutsu in battle," Naruto continued.
"If you were going to teach us this technique, why did we come to the hotsprings?" Hiroshi asked. "We could of just done this on the pond on the training grounds we always meet up as."
"True, we could of," Naruto answered, "But you'll see just why I chose this place in a minute when you begin practicing."
Naruto walked back to the sidewalk where his Genin were watching him and listening to his explanation on the importance of the exercise they were about to begin.
"Alright guys it is time for you to start practicing," Naruto said.
Naruto walked to the wooden bridge that crossed over the running hot spring to watch his Genin fail. He knew they would fail at least the first few tries. They probably wouldn't take as long as he did to figure out how to do it.
The spot also held sentimental value to him as it was the same spot where he met Jiraiya, or what Naruto would nickname, Ero-Sennin. All Naruto could remember of that day was struggling really bad on trying to walk on water, meeting Ero-Sennin, getting knocked out and waking up only to be able to walk on water just like that.
Naruto came back to reality when he realized his Genin could be chickening out considering it was a hot spring.
"You guys scared?" yelled Naruto from the bridge.
The Genin didn't answer as they gathered chakra to their feets, thinking it was the right amount and walked out on the water. Immediately Hiroshi fell in. Shiro stayed above the surface for a few seconds, but the constant flow of water made it difficult for him to stay afloat and fell in. Himawari, she nearly had it as her feet were sunk into the water, but the rest of her stayed above the surface.
Hiroshi, who was still processing his failure, realized just why Naruto chose the spot they were training in. The water was hot and it made him get out of it real quickly. Naruto chose this spot so they would learn this exercise as quickly as possible.
"Now you know why I chose this spot!" yelled Naruto, who was a bit amused.
"That was kind of mean, Naruto-sensei!" Himawari yelled back.
"Is there a reason why you want us to learn this so quickly?" asked Hiroshi.
"Yeah, because I only have today to teach you before Himawari's dad and Shiro's dad want to train them!" Naruto answered. "We're not leaving until you guys master this technique."
For the next two hours, the Genin trained. Himawari was the closest to mastering it while Hiroshi and Shiro continued to struggle.
"Naruto-sensei wasn't kidding, this is a lot harder than tree climbing," Hiroshi said who was lying on the sidewalk taking a break.
"I don't know if we're going to learn this in a day," Shiro said. "Himawari is the only one that's closest to mastering this."
Hiroshi sat up, Shiro gave him another idea. He remembered asking Himawari for help with tree climbing but he stopped in his tracks. Things have been awkward between the two since the night before the announcement of who was moving on to the final exam and he couldn't bring himself to ask her for help this time around.
"Alright guys, it's lunch time," Naruto said. "We'll return afterwards."
Hiroshi stared at his enemy, the water, he was determined to master this technique right now. His stomach was full from the Ichiraku ramen Naruto had taken them to for lunch. He was now ready to tackle this challenge.
Hiroshi focused chakra to his feet and walked out onto the water. He took a few steps ontop of the water before his feet started sinking into it.
"Shit!" Hiroshi yelled as he fell into the water.
Shiro followed suit and the same thing happened but Himawari, she finally got it right and stayed walking around on top of the water.
"Congratulations Himawari, you're the first one to master the technique!" Naruto yelled from the bridge.
Himawari smiled as she walked back to the sidewalk, proud that she finally mastered the technique.
'I am surprised Hiroshi is having such a difficult time with this,' Naruto thought. 'But if he can master this, he might be able to use his high level Doton jutsu more than twice.'
Another hour passed until Shiro finally mastered the techinque, after asking Himawari for some help. Hiroshi, was still struggling. He managed to get to the point where his feet would sink underwater but he wouldn't fall all the way in. He wanted to ask Himawari for pointers so bad, but he just didn't know how to approach her.
"Man I am so scared of our friendship changing over a stupid crush that it's changing because of the awkwardness that I've allowed to come between us," Hiroshi said to himself. "I can't do this anymore, I'm going to tell her how I feel tonight so I can get past this."
"Alright, that's enough," Naruto said. "If you keep this up, you might die of chakra depletion."
"Just a little longer!" Hiroshi said.
"Don't worry about it Hiroshi," Naruto said. "You're still training under me for the next month, so we can pick this back up tomorrow."
Hiroshi sighed, "Fine."
Naruto opened the door to his apartment and walked inside. He kicked off his shoes as he closed the door and locked it. He turned on the light to find it was still empty. Having Sakura around almost all the time really lightened up the place. Naruto decided to skip dinner and just take a shower and then go to bed.
Hiroshi stood outside Himawari's house. He was confident in how he was going to say it but once he reached her house, reality came crashing down and haulted him in his tracks. Fear overtook him and now he just wanted to turn around and leave. However, before he could, her voice called out to him.
"Hiroshi, is that you?" she asked.
"I uh, um..." Hiroshi stumbled over his words.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
'It's now or never,' Hiroshi thought. "I wanted to talk about what happened the other night and the awkwardness between us that formed since then."
"I have a crush on you!" they both said in unison.
It was an answer he did not expect. He couldn't form a coherent thought or sentence now because of this confession.
Himawari blushed and covered her mouth as she couldn't believe she just let that information slip just like that. Maybe she thought Hiroshi didn't want to be her friend anymore and just blurted it out in an effort to keep him around but either way, he felt the same way.
"You want to grab lunch together after we are done training for the final exam?" Hiroshi asked.
"I would love to," Himawari answered.
Kakashi, Kiba and Lee walked off the boat that they were riding on to get to Yuki no Kuni. The bitter cold that Kakashi remembered was still biting. Oddly enough, two ninja from Yukikagure were waiting. Did they find out Konoha was coming beforehand?
"You guys sure got here fast," one of the Yuki-nin said.
"Pardon?" asked Kakashi.
"We sent out a message for help just a day and half ago stating that we spotted the Tatsumaki in our territory," the Yuki-nin said.
"Tsunade-sama must of got that message after she sent us here," Kakashi said. "She wanted us to give a warning to Koyuki-san about one of our missing-nin looking for the site that holds the sealed Kurosaki Gekkou."
"Yeah, that's what we suspected when we saw the Tatsumaki here." asked the Yuki-nin. "Let's go, Kazahana-sama is waiting for you."
"We're finally here," Totosai said, looking at the mountain range.
"So, where is this ninja?" Sasuke asked, becoming impatient.
"That's the tricky part," Totosai said. "I don't know exactly which mountain his sealed body is located in."
"I don't have time for these games," said Sasuke. "I have a revolution to build."
Sasuke turned from the group to lead. Truthfully, he just didn't have a good feeling about what was going on and needed to get back home to tell Tsunade just what has happened.
"Please, Hashi, it will be worth your wild," Totosai said. "You must be patient, we will find Kurosaki Gekkou and once we unseal him, he will help us with our revolution."
"Let's get looking then," Sasuke said, hoping this wasn't a trap.
Yuki no Kuni: Land of Snow
Yukigakure: Village Hidden in the Snow
Next Up: Training V