Is what I would've said in the past.

I'm different now. I've had my time-skip and I'm back and ready to start my Shippuden series as a fanfic writer.

So what does this mean for you my lovely and devoted readers that have been patient with this slacker of a writer? (thank you very much for that by the way)

Well, it means that I'm back to finish this story (yay).

That's right, after such a long time away from the community as a content producer (I've never left as a consumer of the stories though), I'm back to finish what I started and make something that can stand with the other great Naruto fanfictions of this site.

With that, I'll state that this story will have multiple arcs and will often deter from canon. There will be romance in this story but it won't play a heavy role in the overall tale. At least not for a while anyway. There will be a heavy focus on Team 7 and the other Genin with a specific focus on their interactions both regarding their duties as a ninja as well as what they do in their downtime. That being said, the other characters will be much more willing to engage Naruto as he won't be such a ridiculous little shit.

Instead, our Naruto will have a little bit more common sense - thanks to the little change I've based this fic around - enabling him to better apply the skills that he has and will obtain in a more realistic way. He might seem like a different Naruto as the story progresses, but I'm wanting to keep the heart and soul of Naruto. The underdog, the hard worker and the one everyone is always underestimating. As, after all, that was the characteristics that made me fall in love with the character and the show as a whole, to begin with.

There will be some cross-overs with other series in regards to abilities, powers and weapons but the characters will only ever be from the Naruto-verse.


So once again, thank you so much to everyone that has been patiently waiting for my next upload. And for those that are joining me for the first time, welcome!

I know typically this kind of A/N is written on the newest chapter, but I'm going back from Ch1 and making any changes that I feel are necessary to move the story in the direction I'm wanting to take it. They won't be full edits, just touch ups that I feel need to occur for the future chapters. So expect a different kind of writing style from Ch4 onwards.




Unfortunately, despite being how cool and awesome I am, I do not own Naruto.

That honour goes to the esteemed Kishimoto-sensei whom I respect quite a lot.

Naruto: The Tale of a Slightly Smarter Shinobi

Chapter 1:

The First Page of a New Chapter





With a slow, sloth-like movement, our blonde-haired hero tilted his head to face his instructor. A slight trickle of drool escaping from his mouth.

"Why'd you have to wake me up for Iruka-sensei, I was having a really good dream ya know."

"That's exactly why I woke you up Naruto. You were sleeping during one of my lectures," Iruka said exasperated. Naruto looked up at his sensei with his drowse induced eyes. Said man looked back at him with a slight glare. After a moment, Naruto simply turned his head over and started to sleep again. A tick mark formed on Iruka's forehead.

"Naruto! Get up right now or I'll have you clean all the tables in the academy for a week!" Iruka said angrily. With a yawn, Naruto slowly started to raise his head off the table.

"Ok, Ok I'm up," he said as he stretched a little. "What'd I miss?" he asked.

With a sigh, Iruka moved to address the whole class.

"Because Naruto here missed the majority of the lecture, each person is going to tell me one thing they know about the Hokage."

A collective moan erupted in the class.

"Sensei! Why do all of us have to be punished because of the idiot?"

Iruka smirked.

"Because I said so. On top of that, this lets me get to see if all of you were actually paying attention to my past lectures. Think of it as a pop quiz. Now, let's start. We'll go from the top of the class and work our way down," he said.

He then pointed to the girl sitting at the back.

"Hinata, would you please start us off?" he asked smiling. With a start, she stood up from her seat.

"Y-Yes sensei!" Hinata took a breath to steady herself. "T-The Hokage w-w-were legendary ninja w-w-who led our v-village into greatness t-t-through their skill a-a-and leadership."

Iruka smiled.

"Good job Hinata."

Feeling a little relieved, Hinata sat back down.

"Ok," Iruka started "Next!"

And so the next person got up and said one thing they knew about the Hokage. This proceeded to happen throughout the whole class. Each person would stand up and mention one thing they knew about the previous four Hokage. There were a rather wide variety of answers between the students. Answers that ranged from the type of techniques the different Hokage were famous for, the weapons they used, some of the summons they had, their teachers, and so on. Iruka was rather pleased with how much his students knew about the Hokage. However, there was one student that gave him some doubts.

Iruka's favourite, but also most troublesome student, Naruto.

He decided to save Naruto for last so as to hopefully allow one of the students that presented make something spark in Naruto so that he remembered something about them. Little did he know though, Naruto was probably the most informed person about the Hokage in the room (despite his sensei of course).

He loved the Hokage. He thought they were so cool! He loved how they were so respected, so feared and well known. That's exactly what he wanted to become. Respected, well known and a super famous ninja! This was the reason why he made Hokage his goal. The stories that the Third had told him about the past Hokage just resonated with him. Naruto wanted people to tell stories of him like they did the past Hokage one day.

When it was finally Naruto's turn and he stood up, instead of answering as he should have, he simply said:

"I don't need to know a thing about the Hokage! They're not going to matter when I take their spot and outshine them all, ya know!"

A pause. Then a moment afterwards, the whole class started to laugh.

"Ahaha! As if an idiot like you could become the Hokage!" shouted a boy near the back.

"Yeah! Kiba's dog has a better chance to get that spot than you do!"

Naruto hung his head, his hair overshadowing his eyes as the insults continued.

No matter how many times they said it, no matter how many times he ignored them and pretended that their words didn't mean anything, it didn't change the fact that it still hurt.

After all, he was still just a kid; one that was dealt a rather bad hand in life. But he never let it bother him for long. With a face of strong determination, he turned around, raised his head and faced everyone.

"Watch me!" he shouted "I'll be the best ninja that this village has ever seen! And before you know it, I'll have you eating your words!" The class continued laughing except for a few people like Shikamaru, Hinata, Sasuke, Shino and Chouji. They didn't participate in the classes petty bullying.

Sighing, Iruka spoke again.

"Sit down Naruto," he said a little exasperated.

"Your Hokage speeches are all well and good, just don't do them in my class. Now, would you at least please answer the question like everyone else?"

Naruto gave a reluctant nod.

"Thank you," Iruka said allowing a soft smile to grace his face.

"So, Naruto, tell me something you know about the Hokage."

"The Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, was said to have been the greatest out of the four Hokage!" he declared. Iruka gave a small smile. It was rather basic but it was at least a try for his delinquent student. Hinata Hyuuga said something just as basic earlier anyhow. He decided he would let him off easy today.

"Good job Naruto. Ok next," However, Iruka was suddenly cut off by Naruto's voice.

"The Fourth Hokage's nickname was 'The Yellow Flash' because of his teleportation jutsu that allowed him to teleport from one place to another with his signature kunai. His victory over Iwa, in the Third Great Shinobi War, earned him the very first Flee on Sight order ever seen in a Bingo Book. It wasn't long afterwards he was elected as the Fourth Hokage. Where, once again he lived up to his name and title by protecting the village from the Kyuubi, which wreaked havoc within the village. It was one of the worst moments in all of Konoha's history. Many lives were lost including our late Hokage."

Everyone was stunned into silence. Naruto had gone into a detailed description of one of the Hokage. Something no one ever thought he'd be able to do. Naruto had given his little presentation with his eyes closed so as to concentrate on remembering all the information that the Third had told him. However, at the end of it, his eyes opened and a massive grin was etched on his face.

"He's also my idol and we kind of look the same ya know!" he shouted as he did a little fist pump into the air. Everyone gave a little sigh and went back to ignoring him as Naruto sat back down, everyone but Shikamaru that is.

'They do kind of look the same don't they…' he thought to himself as he gazed over his occasional class-ditching buddy.

"U-Uh, thanks for that Naruto. That was very…informative," Iruka stuttered as he tried to recompose himself.

'Where did that even come from? I might have a word with him after class about it,' Iruka thought as he continued his lecture.

It wasn't until another couple of hours was class finally dismissed. Naruto had once again fallen asleep (not long after Iruka had resumed teaching) but he woke up for the last ten minutes of the lesson. Once the final bell had rung, all the students hurriedly made their way out of the classroom. Well, except for Naruto. He was the last person out of the classroom. He decided that he'd take a leisurely stroll after class as it wasn't like anyone was waiting for him at home anyway. He had gotten up from his chair and desk and made his way down the classroom.

"See ya later sensei," Naruto said as he walked past his teacher sitting behind his desk at the front of the class, his hands casually resting behind his back. Iruka hurriedly fixed up the papers he was fiddling with before he himself rose to leave.

"Wait a second Naruto," he called out, as Naruto was about to leave the classroom. The young man turned around to face his sensei confused.

"What did you need sensei?" he asked before eyeing him nervously. "I'm not in trouble again am I?"

Iruka walked up beside him.

"No, no, nothing like that." He reassured him. "I was curious as to how you remembered all that about the Fourth Hokage. If I recall, you didn't even show up for that lesson."

With a smile, he said "The Old man taught it to me! I was in his office one time and he was telling me all about the Hokage! It was one of the best afternoons I've had with him ya know," he said happily as he recalled the memory with the Third Hokage.

Iruka gave an understanding nod. That made sense.

Naruto rarely got to spend any one on one time with anyone so it's not that hard to assume that it was one of the moments he cherished and learnt from the most. Iruka smiled fondly at Naruto. He knew that Naruto was a smart boy, and a hard-working one to boot. He just needed extra support in his education. And Iruka needed to find a way to teach him things without being labelled as a teacher that played favourites. Sure he could just spend hours and hours before and after class with Naruto, but all extra remedial classes and one on one teacher time that had any resemblance to tutoring had to be pre-approved beforehand. And, with Naruto's rather unfortunate reputation, the education board at the academy probably refused Iruka the privilege of tutoring Naruto.

Iruka sighed which went unnoticed by Naruto who had continued rambling about the 'cool things' he had done with the Third Hokage.
'If only there was a place where there was a rather extensive amount of information that Naruto could learn from.' Iruka thought to himself. A light bulb clicked in his head.

He suddenly felt like smashing his head against the door frame for being such an idiot.

'Of course!' He thought to himself 'The Konoha library!'

Iruka suddenly grinned wildly.

"Uh…" Naruto started "is everything OK sensei, your smile is kind of creeping me out,"

"Yes Naruto, everything is fine," he said, quickly recomposing himself.

"Say Naruto, would you like to learn a little more about the Hokage and about a lot of other super cool stuff as well?" Iruka asked Naruto with a tone that was drenched in temptation.

Naruto's curiosity was shown all over his face. He would never miss a chance to learn more about the Hokage. He quickly thought on it for a moment though. He did have plans on getting ramen. He quickly shrugged it off though. He could always get ramen later. In fact, he thought he might be lucky enough that Iruka might even end up treating him again.

"Yeah ok!" Naruto happily said. Iruka stood up straight and went to grab the rest of his things from his desk.

"Excellent! Well then Naruto, follow me!" He exclaimed as he led the way out of the classroom and the academy until they found themselves on Konoha's roads.

The two walked through the streets of Konoha for quite some time in relative silence. Iruka walking at a rather brisk pace thinking about what books he should make Naruto read and whether or not he would actually read them. Naruto walked a couple of steps behind his sensei with his hands still casually behind his head, a questioning look on his face. He wasn't sure where they were going but he was hoping it would be exciting and super cool. Unfortunately, when they arrived at their destination, he was incredibly disappointed.

"A library!" he shouted pointing at the building whilst yelling at his sensei. "You made us walk all that way for a library?"

A smile grew on Iruka's face.

"Yep, a library!"

Naruto just gave him a deadpanned look.

"Sensei, you can't be serious. You and I both know books and I don't work so well together."

Iruka shrugged his shoulders.

"Who knows, maybe you've just been reading the wrong ones." With that, he started to make his way inside the library. Naruto grumbled but followed along anyway.

When they entered. Naruto was stunned. The place was huge! It was like an endless sea of books that carried on for another two floors. Each bookcase had to be at least seven shelves tall. Despite it being such a large place, he realised that there weren't as many people there as he thought there would be. Iruka had walked past the counter and started making his way throughout the different rows of bookshelves with Naruto following close behind.

"Sensei," Naruto began with a whisper "what exactly are we doing here?" he asked as he looked around.

"Well, what do you think? You said you wanted to learn more right?" Iruka asked as he pulled out a random book, looked at the title and put it back.

"There isn't going to be a better place for learning than here, other than the academy or the field of course. Everything you could ever want to know is somewhere within these stacks of books. The trick is, you just have to find it," he said as he pulled out another book, this time keeping it as he moved on.

"But sensei!" Naruto protested, "We both know these stupid things won't help me. I thought you were going to take me somewhere cool. Like the Hokage training grounds or something."

Iruka sighed.

"Look Naruto," he told his student "just give these books a chance. Take a look around. I'm sure you'll find something interesting. Besides, this is a shinobi library. Most of these books have some kind of link to the shinobi arts." He told him. "Look over there," Iruka said as he pointed to the desk where a young librarian wearing glasses sat. "Ask her for any kind of book you want. She'll be able to help you find it. Make sure you register to get a book card so you can borrow books here as well alright. I'll give you thirty minutes. If you can borrow at least three books that you find actually interesting, regardless of what they are and will actually read, I'll treat you to ramen."

Naruto's face went from that of annoyed to determined.

"You got it sensei! I'll borrow three books no doubt! Then, ramen!" he shouted which got him a shushing noise from his sensei.

"I admire the enthusiasm, but we're in a library Naruto. You need to keep it down," he whispered. Naruto gave a silent nod as he walked off and headed towards the counter.

"Excuse me," Naruto whispered to the girl on the other side of the counter. There was no response. He tried again a little louder.

"Excuse me."

The girl looked at him. There was a moment of awkward silence between the two but just as Naruto was about to say something again, the girl cut in first.

"Sorry young man, was there something I could help you with?" she asked. He gave a nod. The girl beckoned for him to ask away and so he did.

"Well, you see," he began, "my sensei said I should borrow some books but I don't know what books to borrow. He said this was a shinobi library, and well, I'm in the academy learning to become one..."

The girl gave a nod urging him to continue on.

"And I was hoping you could help me out by telling me about the library and stuff."

The girl gave another small nod.

"Sure," she said. From there, she started to explain everything about the library; everything from the different books that the library stored, the different sections of the library and where he could find certain books. As she did this, Naruto took in certain details of the girl behind the counter. She was young, around her late teens. She wore a brown coat with a blue scarf. She had rectangular glasses that sat on the bridge of her nose. Her hair was long and curly but not curly enough to make it look messy.

"So did you get all of that?" she asked him making Naruto come back to his senses.

"U-Uh, yeah. Thanks, Ms…uh…"

"Call me Rika," the newly announced Rika said with a smile when she realised that the blonde was trying to find a way to address her.

"Thank you Rika!" he said with a smile. Rika frowned.

"That's Rika-san to young man," she told him. With her frown never leaving her face she looked at him sternly "and it's polite to introduce yourself first," she scolded. Naruto looked down embarrassed.

"Sorry," he said as he looked back up at her with a sheepish smile whilst scratching the back of his head. "The names Naruto Uzumaki! The number one prankster in the Leaf Village and future Hokage ya know!" he announced to Rika.

The brunette let a critical eye was over him without adding another word. Naruto was sure she would tell him to leave the moment she realised that he was the young man always pulling pranks within the village but it turns out he was wrong. Rika gave him a warm smile instead of the usual yelling he often received.

"Well Naruto," she started "As long as you behave, don't make much noise and don't pull any pranks, you're welcome here anytime."

Naruto's smile only grew.

"Thank you again!"

"Don't mention it," Rika said. Rika then had a thought.

"Say Naruto, you don't have a library card do you?" she asked him.

He shook his head.

"That was one of the things Iruka-sensei said I had to get."

She gave him another smile.

"Well," Rika began "I'll tell you what. You go over there and look for books you would like to borrow and bring them over here. When you bring them back, I'll set up a library card for you."

With another quick thank you, Naruto made his way towards the ocean of books.

Naruto recalled that Rika had said that the library was broke up into different sections. She told him that all the shinobi books were on both the second and third floor. However, seeing as he wasn't completely sure as to what he wanted to read, he decided to start looking around in the civilian section which was on the first.

As he did so, Naruto found two books that caught his eye. 'Basic wilderness survival' and 'Cooking: Made Easy.' Seeing as Naruto hardly spent any time in the wild or living rough, he figured that he ought to learn some skills seeing as he wanted to become a ninja. The academy obviously taught basic survival topics but as everyone knew, himself included, he never really paid attention in class. Might as well trying learning from a book.

As for the second book, despite the fact that he loved ramen, even he knew that it wasn't exactly the healthiest food. However, it was practical and definitely did the job of filling him up. But, Naruto also longed to be able to eat all kinds of delicious foods. Seeing as he didn't have the money to go around buying nicer foods, might as well learn how to make them instead. He flicked through the book. He liked how they all looked pretty simple to make but still looked good as well. So, he decided to take both books with him.

Naruto then slowly started climbing the stairs to the shinobi section. Once he got there, he saw that the two floors were divided all into rank. The first floor of the shinobi section (or the second floor of the library) was for Genin and Chuunin. The Chuunin section was blocked off by black bars and had a slot to insert what looked like some kind of ID card.

'Probably just for security,' Naruto deduced. However, the Genin section was completely open. There were no locks or anything. Apparently, even civilians could walk in and find a book to borrow.

The moment he walked in, it was like walking into a candy shop with a ton of money. All the books were on ninjutsu, taijutsu, genjutsu and all the other fancy ninja stuff his sensei was always going on about. Before he knew it, he was pulling books out of the shelves and looking at the covers and flicking through the pages left and right. He found books on chakra control, how to get out of and set traps, the best places to attack the human body, some shinobi history and more.

In the end, Naruto ended up borrowing a number of different books. Chakra Control: The Key to Mastering Jutsu, Basic Jutsu vol. 1, The Art of Taijutsu: The Shinobi's First Art and finally, a dusty small book he found near the back of the Genin section.

It was a story. Not an information book but a story about a ninja. The book was titled The Tale of an Utterly Gutsy Shinobi. Naruto thought the title sounded cool so he thought he'd borrow it as well. He honestly didn't think he'd read any of these books, let alone the story but he figured he'd make Iruka-sensei happy. Naruto found a number of different books that he thought were pretty cool but he didn't want to carry too much and on top of that, a lot of them were a little bit too complicated for him.

So, he decided to just roll with what he had and made his way out of the Genin section.

Happy with the books he had, he made his way back down the stairs and off to the counter where Rika was. When the desk was in sight, he saw Iruka already there talking to the brunette. He walked up to them with a little wave. Iruka and Rika both flashed him a smile.

"Hello Naruto," Iruka said, "I see you found a number of books." Iruka was looking at the small pile of books in Naruto's arms. He was happy that Naruto was at least going to give books ago, even if he did have to bribe him with ramen. Naruto gave a nod. He put his books on the counter and then looked down at his feet embarrassed.

"Ya know," he started quietly "I don't have any spare money to pay for these books Iruka-sensei, so how am I meant to borrow them?" he asked. Both Iruka and Rika looked at each other. There was a moment between the two before they started laughing. Naruto suddenly got angry. Were they laughing at his dismal finances? How dare they!

"It's not funny ya know!" he shouted at them. Rika was the first to settle down.

"Sorry Naruto, it's just that this is a library. You don't need money to borrow books. That's the whole point," She told him.

"Your sensei here just gave me your details and I made you a library card while you were out perusing," she said as she handed him a little plastic card with his name on it.

"Whenever you want to borrow books, all you have to do is take your books to the counter, show the librarian – which is usually me – your card, they'll take it, make a note of it, and then the book is under your name for a set time, all completely free. See." Rika said as she demonstrated the process she just told him by doing it herself with the new books he borrowed. It took less than a moment before she handed him back his books with a smile on her face.

"All done."

Naruto took the books back.

"Thank you," he said with a toothy grin. He was kind of excited to start looking at some of the books now knowing that he didn't have to spend any money on them.

"Well, we better get going, I owe this rascal some ramen," Iruka said as he messed up Naruto's hair. Naruto brushed his arm off.

"Before you go," Rika told Naruto "Remember, the books are due in one month, that means you have to either return them before then or get an extension on the borrowing date. Otherwise, you will have to pay money because they are overdue."

"Extension?" Naruto said saying each syllable, trying to understand the foreign word. Rika giggled.

"It means you can borrow the book for longer," Iruka added which gave him a nod from Rika. Naruto gave a nod in understanding.

"OK!" Naruto said as he started heading towards the exit with his sensei.

"I'll see you around Rika-nee!" he called back waving to her as he left the library followed by his sensei. Rika smiled.

'He sure is something,' she thought to herself. 'I told him to call me Rika-san though. Oh well.' she thought with a small smile as she went back to her book.

It wasn't too long before the two shinobi (well, one shinobi and a shinobi to be) were sitting at the young blondes favourite eating establishment.

"Here you are," Teuchi said as he placed a bowl of miso ramen in front of Naruto.

"Itadakimasu," was all Naruto said before he hurriedly started eating his food. Iruka sat next to him eating his own bowl but at a much slower rate.

"Jeez Naruto, ease up a little. The ramen isn't going anywhere," he told him. Naruto ignored his sensei. A few minutes later, Naruto was on his second bowl.

"He sure does eat a lot doesn't he," Iruka said. Both chefs of the restaurant gave a firm nod with a happy smile.

"Yep. He's our number one customer for a reason. I'm thinking of getting a custom bowl just for him. Make it super large. If he likes it, I might even put it on the menu. Call it, the Uzumaki sized ramen. What do ya think? Pretty catchy right?" Teuchi asked Iruka with a smirk. Iruka could only give a smile as a response.

"Yeah, it does sound pretty catchy," he said a little unsure. Teuchi, however, didn't care. He knew that before too long he'd be bringing in the big bucks with the new Uzumaki sized ramen. Definitely.

Ayame, Teuchi's daughter was handing Naruto a glass of water.

"What are all the books that you have next to you about Naruto?" she asked him with a smile.

"Oh this?" he confirmed looking at the books next to him, "These are the books I borrowed from the library Ayame-nee-chan. There's a ton of cool stuff I got from there. And Rika-nee and Iruka-sensei helped me borrow them," he told her. Ayame was happy that Naruto had found a new source of information and hopefully a new productive hobby, however, there was something that caught her ear.

"Rika-nee?" she questioned. Naruto gave a firm nod as he took a sip from his water.

"She's a…" Naruto looked to his sensei for assistance.

"Librarian," Iruka added which gave his student a grin.

"Yeah! A librarian!" Naruto repeated. "Anyway, she was super helpful when finding books and stuff. And like, she said I could borrow the books for free and come by whenever I want. She's pretty cool," Naruto concluded.

"That's nice," Ayame said smiling.

Naruto and Iruka waved goodbye and walked back onto the streets again once they were both finished eating. The sun was slowly going down now.

"Well, I have some last minute things to attend to back at the academy, take care walking home OK," Iruka told Naruto. Naruto gave a fake salute.

"Yes sir!" he shouted.

Iruka sighed.

"Just behave yourself OK," and with that Iruka started making his way back towards the academy. However, before he turned the corner he heard Naruto shout out to him.

"Thanks again for today Iruka-sensei!"

It made him smile. With that said, Naruto watched as his sensei rounded the corner leaving him alone. His smile never faded as he turned around and started running home with his books in his hands. He wasn't sure what it was, but something told him he was going to start enjoying reading books. He wasn't complaining. It was a start to a new chapter in his story, the story of Naruto Uzumaki. The soon to be smart shinobi!


I hope you liked the first chapter. R&R if you did.

I also happen to be looking for a beta reader from here on out. So hmu if you know someone or are keen.

Also, if you want to give my socials a follow and sus out some of my other work, check out my site on / or follow me on twitter LrdFrench.

Till next time!