In which Jiraiya meets his genin team and has an ominous feeling that they will be a lot more trouble than they're worth, Minato makes a friend, and Ellie Potter decides that the world is secretly a giant genjutsu that isn't even bothering to try anymore.
A man with hair the color of sunshine, cloaked in white and red with a wide brimmed hat, a seal, the destruction and desperation of his people, his first born son, and then an offer.
Namikaze Minato, like others before him, makes his bargain with Death.
"Alright squirts, let's all start by introducing ourselves, likes, dislikes, hobbies, and dreams. My name's Jiraiya, I'm your jonin sensei. I like astoundingly busty and beautiful women and toads, I dislike being interrupted appreciating astoundingly busty and beautiful women and toads being mistaken for frogs, my hobbies include searching for and appreciating astoundingly busty and beautiful women, and my dream is to turn you all into awesome ninja."
Jiraiya grinned at each of them and they all just stared back. Team seven was always an odd bunch of ducks, it was in how it was created, putting the best kunoichi graduate, shinobi graduate, and then the dead last together and then pounding it together until it mixed into something cohesive always got interesting results. Sometimes good, sometimes excellent, but other times…
This combination had produced his own team and for that they ignored the little oddities that came along with it. And boy, were there oddities with this group, he could tell that even from the files.
The boys weren't too off the beaten path of normality (of course normal for a ninja was debatable anyway).
The blonde, Namikaze Minato, was hailed as the next rising star and had an excellent grasp of academy materials and technique. He was inventive, he thought outside of the box, and that more than his speed and power was indicative of a ninja that would become something to reckon with. The only odd thing was that he was an orphan, usually the geniuses came from the clans, where they were given preliminary instruction but he'd sort of popped up from nowhere. Originally when Sarutobi sensei had come to him about taking students, and he'd studied the files, he'd thought about maybe just taking the kid as an apprentice and seeing how he fared with fuinjutsu but a small argument with the Hokage had made it clear that it was genin team or nothing.
The other boy, a civilian born boy who'd sweated and bled his way through the academy wasn't what Jiraya had been expecting but he wasn't surprised. Having been dead last himself he knew that there usually was a reputation with dead last; they were the ones who didn't get it the first, second, or third time but they were the ones who tried until they were bleeding; the ones who never gave up. This boy had that, but he didn't have the normal weirdness that came with being dead last, that quirkiness that got on every academy chunin instructor's nerves until they were looking for reasons to fail the poor bastard. This kid was supposedly quiet, extremely hard-working, but just had no natural talent and had only scraped his way out of the academy.
So pretty normal rookie of the year, kind of normal dead last, the weirdness came in with the top kunoichi.
Eru Lee's (and what kind of a name was that for a little girl) file hadn't been so much a file as it had been a book. If she had been a boy then Jiraiya suspected she'd be his dead last instead of his top kunoichi but apparently there was a fine line between idiocy and genius and her instructors honestly could not tell the difference.
Mastery over ninjutsu, to the degree that her academy instructors couldn't assess her taijutsu abilities because she kept using ninjutsu to avoid it (apparently going so far as to somehow make a shield of solid invisible and undetectable chakra that blocked any sort of physical attack). Excelled in genjutsu but made use of it in order to skip class or fake the answers to her homework assignments. Struggled with hand seals, or rather, had apparently never felt the need to use them and still hadn't learned any. Struggled with the concept of creating a clone (there were recorded incidents of her fighting her clones to the death when her clones declared that they wanted to be autonomous free beings) and just generally drove every instructor she'd ever had up the wall without even seeming to realize she was doing it.
She was going to be his problem tadpole.
The blonde started first, "My name's Namikaze Minato," He started smiling and motioning to himself, "I like ramen, reading, finding out new jutsu, I dislike those who insult my friends, my hobbies are… going on adventures? And my dream is to one day be hokage."
Good likes, good dislikes, good dreams (ambitious but good too, somebody had to be Hokage), bit of a vague hobby but that was alright. There was just something about the kid that Jiraiya liked.
Dead last started next, "Hello, my name's Matsuda Haru…" He trailed off looking at his teammates then at Jiraiya, "I like cooking I guess, I guess I dislike getting bad grades and making my parents upset, I don't really have any hobbies, and… And my dream is to become an awesome ninja."
That was a little vague but they could work with that, potentially, it all depended on how the bell test went of course. But he could grow into himself given time and who knew, maybe Jiraiya was selling him short, Jiraiya had been dead last too once upon a time.
(Not that Orochimaru had ever let him forget it; the bastard.)
The girl just looked at him for a few moments and that was when he first noticed it. She had no expression, not even a small expression, or the emotion of concealing your emotions. There was nothing in there, well not nothing because clearly there was some thought process going on back there, but like displaying emotions was a result or after thought and not a part of thinking.
She had an odd foreign look to her; one that Jiraiya couldn't place. Bright red hair, but not Uzumaki red, it had more yellow and orange in it than that. Her eyes were green, not hazel, but the green you saw in blades of grass and not in eyes. Pale like an Uchicha or Hyuga, but leaner than them, and her hair was an odd texture of loose curls, a kind he'd never really seen before (at least not naturally).
She was also an orphan, apparently she and Namikaze had been friends since back then, before they'd even entered the academy. Two genius orphans in one decade, Jiraiya couldn't remember if that had ever happened before.
"I'm Eru Lee," She finally said in a clipped and frankly odd accent. There was something off about her r's the way she shaped them that again he couldn't place (and wasn't that going to drive him up the wall because he should be able to place something like that), "I like manipulating the inner workings of the universe with chakra, I dislike bureaucracy and the overwhelming yet strangely ineffective genjutsu that's been placed over reality, I don't have hobbies so much as weekly adventures with Minato, and I currently have no dreams."
Namikaze's face fell slightly at this, cringing, and with a glance towards Jiraiya he looked over at her and began to rapidly speak… gibberish… at least it sounded like gibberish (there were a lot of sounds there that Jiraiya didn't know humans could even make) but she was cocking her head and listening.
"Strike that." She said her eyes flicking back to Jiraiya and she started again, "I'm Eru Lee. I like ramen and ninjutsu, I dislike detention, I have a lot of hobbies, and my dream is world peace."
She then smiled at him as if she had just aced some test and Jiraiya should give her some kind of a reward.
"Right, well, there's that…" He really couldn't think of anything else to say to that.
"Question," The girl said a musing sort of expression on her features, "Why do we always do the same introduction? I mean, the likes, dislikes, hobbies and dreams?"
"Well, I think those things say a lot about us, don't you?" Jiraiya countered, because it certainly told him a lot. True it didn't tell him things like specialties and he was wondering if the girl would bring that up, which was a bit of a drag, because she should know that genin weren't at a level to have any sort of specialty.
The girl gave him a dubious sort of look as if she was unimpressed by his logic, "Anyone can answer that sort of question, Dudders could have answered that and he's not even a real person."
"My fat whale of a cousin, he's secretly a defective aspect of the genjutsu that never managed to get sentience down. Point being, even Dudders has likes, dislikes and hobbies. It just doesn't really make a reliable Turing Test, does it?" Jiraiya understood maybe about half of that, that sort of worried him, but at least judging by dead last's expression he wasn't cluing in either. Only the blonde looked like he had any idea what she was saying and judging by his expression he was hoping Lee was going to shut up before Jiraiya got the wrong idea.
"Alright, what would you ask then?"
The girl appeared to think about this quite seriously and then with a smile that could only be described as bright and cheerful she said, "You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling towards you, you reach down and flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that?"
Well, Jiariya thought to himself as the silence stretched on, he now knew what some of those comments in the file had been about. Really, the only thing he can think to answer is that this is why toads are the best summons, not that he has anything against tortoise summons but really…
"Yeah, well, I like my questions better." Jiraiya finally said, much to the relief of his other two students.
And the silence just kept stretching as it appeared that none of them had anything else to say to each other after… that. Eventually he clapped his hands together, "So, tomorrow we're going to have a test, if you pass you get to be my genin, if not you all get sent back to the academy! Be at training field seven at six sharp!"
Then, feeling there was no other choice, he shunshined the hell out of there leaving them staring after him and only catching the last words of the girl, "I think I like him."
Lee and Minato were the sort of friends that people imagined knew each other from birth or were secretly twins like the Hyuga clan heirs.
They went everywhere together, it was never just Minato or just Lee, but always MinatoandLee no matter where they went or what they were doing. They had their own language and their own way of doing things that made them a unit rather than two separate people.
But they hadn't always been together.
He still found that hard to think about, hard to remember, because he'd fallen into the trap of MinatoandLee too. So that whenever he thought of time without Lee in it, the time where Lee wasn't there, it was as if there was a hole in his memory where she should have been.
He didn't actually meet her though until he was almost five years old.
"Minato-kun," The matron smiled at him, her hand clutching a smaller paler one in hers, "Could you be a dear and help…" She trailed off looking somewhat bewildered.
Minato stared in confusion as his eyes settled the girl whose hand she was holding. He'd never seen her before, she must be new, because he would remember if he had seen someone like that before.
She looked… foreign. More than him, with his blonde hair. She was pale like some of the clan children but that was about where things stopped being familiar. Her hair was red, not crimson like blood, but brighter. It was the color of early sunsets, before the light had bled to purple, the color of poppies, and the color of autumn leaves just as they've turned. It was also large, framing her face in untamed curls, falling down her back and becoming more circular as it went. But that didn't even get to her eyes, her eyes which were larger and somehow fuller than any eyes he'd ever seen, and were green. Again he found himself thinking of trees, of sunlight filtering through and you could see every shade of green as you looked up.
The girl gave the woman and then Minato a dull, unimpressed, and somewhat impatient look.
Finally she seemed to guess what the matron wanted, she must have only just arrived if the matron didn't know her name, "Eleanor Lily Potter"
Only what came out were three garbled and almost unpronounceable words, (Eranoru Riri Potta… He guessed but even that didn't really sound… right.)
"Right, well, she doesn't… speak well. If you could help her and keep her occupied…" The matron trailed off again looking at him hopefully.
Minato wasn't the oldest but he was near this girl's age and he was known for being helpful and smart too. Besides, the older orphans wouldn't want her to hang around anyway. He nodded and the matron gave him a relieved look before smiling down at the little girl, who returned the look with that unchanging unimpressed expression, and then disappeared into some part of the orphanage.
And then she just stood there.
He was sitting on the floor, reading through one of the books, he'd read it before but sometimes it was nice to be able to reread things. "You can sit here, next to me."
He grinned at her, she remained unmoving, her expression slowly disappeared and then she was staring at him. For a moment it seemed like she was looking through him, or inside of him, and that she could somehow see every thought that was ticking through his head.
He patted the ground next to him, her eyebrows raised, but she seemed to understand the gesture because with an oddly fluid grace (no stiffening in her legs as if they were boneless) she sat cross legged across from him looking at him with… expectation.
He grinned back at her, trying desperately not to feel so uncomfortable, she looked even younger than he did after all.
"I'm Minato." He finally said.
"Minato…" She repeated, except slower, almost tasting the syllables as they came out, not even bothering to attach a san or kun onto the end.
"Right, and your name is…" He trailed off, taking a breath, before trying it out himself, "Eranoru Riri Potta?"
(The Eranoru clan had bizarre taste in names, wherever she came from, and had made it a terrible length…)
She blinked, a swift deliberate motion, one that made him think of blinds on a window, and then corrected, "Ellie."
And again, it wasn't quite right, but he guessed, "Eru Lee?"
She shrugged, he smiled, and it became good enough.
He didn't think about it then, and he didn't really think about it later until they had entered the academy, but somehow that moment had been it. There wasn't a buildup, wasn't a period where he taught her his language and she taught him hers, there wasn't an awkward phase, they just were.
He knew her, even then, he'd somehow looked at her, through her, and known exactly who she was.
And she'd done the same.
It probably should have worried him more than it did, that suddenly everything became Lee, but Lee was large in a way that other orphans weren't. She was large and complicated, you could keep peeling back layers of her and always find something underneath the underneath.
Lee was an idiot, Lee was a genius, Lee believed outrageous things that no one else believed, and sometimes she believed in them so much that he thought she must be right.
It'd taken time for her to get conversation down but Lee always learned things she thought were important relatively quickly. Everything else she just didn't bother with, Lee was always practical that way.
"I come from a village called Surrey, outside of London, in the nation of England." It'd been a few months, enough time so that she wasn't talking in fragments anymore, and she didn't substitute her own English words for ones she didn't know in his language.
They'd been sitting outside in the yard, in the shade of a tree while everyone else played, and he'd finally asked where it was that Lee came from and why she had come to Konoha. At first he'd just assumed she was from somewhere in the Land of Fire, except a weird part of it that he'd never heard of, but then he'd never heard of anyone speaking different languages before. So wherever she was from, it had to be much further than Fire Country's borders.
He also hadn't asked because he didn't like talking about his past either; about the family he no longer had. It was getting harder to remember them, they kept fading out of his thoughts, and one day he was afraid he wouldn't be able to remember them at all. Already he wasn't sure what color his mother's eyes had been.
Lee wasn't like that though, she never took being an orphan personally, to her it was more like a fact that she couldn't change. Like her hair being red, it just was, there was no point thinking about it or wondering what if.
"We don't really have shinobi there, or anywhere really." Lee admitted with a shrug looking somewhat thoughtful as she made her way through her own memories and impressions, "I didn't get out much so I didn't get much of a chance to look but I think I would have heard about it if it was a thing, you know. Bruce Lee's probably the closest thing I've seen to one and I don't think he could jump across buildings."
For a moment she considered Bruce-san, probably thinking back on what he'd been able to do and what she'd seen from ninja in the village, but quickly enough just shrugged once again and moved on, "Anyway, about my getting here, well that's sort of a long story. My parents died before I can remember things clearly, when I was a year old, in a car accident. My aunt's family took me in and I have, well had I guess, to pay off the debt for the car so I work as an indentured servant. Which, it's not always bad, but let me tell you vacuuming and weeding get really old really fast."
Again she shrugged as if this was ultimately unimportant and now irrelevant although her expression had darkened at the thought of weeding.
"They always kept threatening to send me to the orphanage and one day I guess I just decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about. And that's how I ended up in Konoha and met you."
"How did you get in?" Minato asked, because Konoha was a hidden village, you had to at least immigrate in.
"Teleported." Lee said with a shrug then seeing his face explained, "Appeared out of nothingness."
When she saw his confusion she added again, "Reality's not always consistent, Minato."
"I've never heard of any of those places." Minato finally said, somewhat stunned because while he wasn't an expert he would have thought something would be familiar, but even the name of the country sounded different from all the others. England, what did that mean?
"Well, I'd never heard of Konoha or the Land of Fire either, so I guess we're even." Lee paused before adding, "Besides, England's boring anyway, nothing interesting ever happened there."
He was glad, in a way, because if it had been anyone else they might have tried to get home and it became more and more difficult to imagine Lee going back to England. By the time they entered the academy, when they were six, the thought was nearly inconceivable.
Because by then MinatoandLee was already in motion and unstoppable.
And years later, after having graduated from the academy and meeting their jonin sensei, MinatoandLee was still in motion and still unstoppable and Matsuda Haru seemed horrified.
Minato felt kind of bad about that, but, well… There wasn't much he could do.
He'd hoped that one of his other friends, the ones that didn't necessarily understand Lee but could sort of handle her, would have been placed with them but Shikaku, Inoichi, and Chozu had all been placed together, Fugaku was not only older but also only vaguely tolerated them at best, and the Hyuga twins had also graduated earlier and only vaguely tolerated her at best. Lee sort of terrified everyone else.
"So, ramen?" Minato asked, when the leaves left by their sensei's hasty retreat had settled.
"Ramen." Lee agreed.
They both turned to Haru, he said nothing, just sort of whimpered. Lee took that as a yes.
"So, dead last, I don't think I've ever actually talked to you." Lee started when they'd made their way to the booth, Lee already quickly making her way through the pork ramen. Minato winced at the name, Lee was notoriously bad at names, she remembered his but everyone else's was a bit iffy.
"Um, well, no." He looked nervous, if Minato could remember right Haru had at one point talked to Lee, but it had probably been in the middle of a taijutsu spar where Lee had shouted "shield no jutsu" and caused him to hit against the very painful chakra shield that Lee sometimes created.
Not that Lee had to shout the names of her jutsus, or do hand seals, or do any of the things Minato and the rest of them had to do. They called him a genius but sometimes he really wondered because if he was a genius then what the hell did that make Lee?
Lee seemed indifferent to this, cataloguing Haru away as boring and unimportant, and instead focused on eating while her eyes drifted back over to the front of the shop. Haru had had a moment to prove himself interesting, in Lee's eyes he'd squandered it.
"So, Haru-kun, now that we're team mates we should actually get to know each other more." Minato interrupted when the silence began to stretch too long and became far too awkward. Lee was great but when it came to people it was best that Minato took the lead.
They'd divided up their super team dynamic before ninja had even come recruiting to the orphanage. Lee would be long distance, reality defying, badasss jutsus. Minato would be badass taijutsu as well as ninjutsu master (because you can never have enough ninjutsu) and Minato would be responsible for all of the talking and meeting with people.
That's why Minato was the one who was going to become Hokage and Lee was just going to be around and be intimidating.
"…We already did the likes and dislikes thing." Haru pointed out.
"I agree, no point in rehashing information. I think we should strategize." Lee said, an unholy flash in her green eyes as if she'd just had a very good idea, but probably also a very destructive idea.
"Strategize?" Haru asked, his face paling.
"The guy who sleeps all the time says it's very important to strategize." Lee said with a look of importance before slipping into a more casual mode as she ate her noodles, "And besides, I really don't think I could handle another semester at the academy. So, we must win, we must be victorious at all costs!"
"Not all costs, right?" Minato clarified, because when Lee said all costs she tended to mean all costs, but the Will of Fire was burning bright in Lee's eyes and when that happened there was nothing anyone could do or say to stop it.
They would pass simply because Lee willed it to be, that's the way things always worked, and Minato had learned not only to live with it but thrive with it.
This was what they were MinatoandLee forever turning the word to their favor with nothing more than the Will of Fire and an ungodly amount of chakra.
Eleanor Lily Potter, also known as Ellie, also known now as Lee was trapped in a giant illusion that had stretched itself too thin and was the patchiest thing she'd ever seen. Of course, no one realized it, so perhaps the thing didn't even have to try and maybe she was just giving it a hard time. Still, Lee figured if she was going to make a giant false reality she would at least have the decency to make it halfway consistent.
However, after about half a year or so, half a year where she didn't have to vacuum or weed or sleep in a cupboard Lee figured that she didn't really mind it all that much, the genjutsu. Fake reality was far more interesting than Little Whinging, and besides, Little Whinging hadn't even been real either, had been less real in many ways than this place.
Fake, but interesting, that's what she decided Konoha was.
And Konoha had Minato, which Surrey had never had, and for that Lee was perfectly content to sit in a half-baked illusion for eternity.
And she had, she did, and like it'd promised in the beginning with its foreign language and unreadable signs the world was still interesting. When they were six they'd entered the shinobi academy, learned how to warp reality and kill things with knives so that they could become great ninja, and now they had graduated and were about to become genin.
Konoha was very sensible when it came to education, you started at six ended at around twelve. This was much better than England where she would have had to rot in the civilian academy until she was seventeen, which this was better than the cupboard, but when she had other alternatives just seemed like a complete waste of her time.
And if you were good enough, you could move up through the ranks fairly quickly.
Luckily, she and Minato were very good.
She'd always been good at this sort of thing, probably because she seemed to be the only one who realized that reality was something that was easily manipulated. Someone out there was already doing it, badly, and so moving a few strings here and there didn't disrupt the illusion as a whole. Chakra wasn't the point, chakra wasn't even the tip of the iceberg, chakra didn't have anything on her.
Minato didn't quite have her knack but he tried hard and he was much quicker than anyone else in the academy. This apparently was enough to get him labeled as a genius, which was a bit much in Lee's opinion because he was good but not that good, and get both him and her graduated and onto the same team.
But that was unimportant at the moment.
Because right now they were at training field seven, watching as their jonin sensei explained the test that would either allow them to become genin, or send them crawling back to the academy.
And Lee was not going back to the academy.
People looked weird in fake reality, at first it'd sort of bothered her but after enough years she'd learned more or less to get over it, besides weird was interesting and interesting was much better than cupboards.
Their sensei wasn't too far away from the norm, but his white hair and the red markings under his eyes were certainly distinctive. She'd decided that she liked him, he smiled a lot and actually meant it, which was more than most of her chunin instructors had bothered to do. More, he had this aura of power about him that made it seem like he actually knew what he was doing, which frankly was more than a little refreshing, "Alright, squirts, here's the deal. If you manage to get a bell by noon I'll pass you, if not, straight back to the academy. But notice, there's only two bells and there's three of you."
Lee had noticed that, looking to the side she saw that Minato and older dead last had noticed it as well.
She really hadn't been expecting something so easy. She didn't know what she'd been expecting, but something a little more dangerous or difficult, maybe playing tag with kunai or something. Bells just didn't seem all that lethal, then again things were always surprising her, it was part of Konoha's charms.
Either way she now had two options.
One, win in the first few minutes and hand one bell to Minato and one to her and leave dead last to go back to the academy. This was all well and good, but dead last probably wouldn't take that too well, not to mention Minato would feel bad about it for days and would probably end up becoming friends with dead last to make up for it. That's what Minato did with people she offended too much, he made friends with them, and then Lee had to learn how to talk with them since they were around all the time.
She was still getting used to the last batch, she didn't need a new one to deal with.
The second option was a little more risky, in that he could send them all back any way, but was less likely to have any long term effects like friendship. The goal, namely, was to impress him and judging by the look on his face she could tell his bar was set very low. Overwhelm him so much with their awesomeness that he had no choice but to take them on as genin.
He had that distinctly chunin look, the one the academy instructors got, where it said, "I know what I'm doing, I've done this a thousand times, and I know you aren't going to get it right away because I didn't."
He thought that none of them were going to get a bell.
Well, option two it was then.
The man finished his explanation, tied the bells to his uniform, and beamed at them, "Well, squirts, start whenever you're ready."
Before he'd even stopped speaking she'd summoned the bells to her, grabbed Minato and dead last, gave Jiraiya sensei a cheery grin and salute before teleporting back to her own apartment and leaving him to stare open mouthed at the dust they left behind.
He found them eventually, sitting on top of Tobirama's carved head on the Hokage monument and drinking tea while staring into the sunset, but judging by his embarrassed and somewhat irritated expression they'd given him a good run for his money.
However, unlike some of her academy instructors he appeared to get over himself fairly quickly, "I guess you all pass."
And that was how Lee, Minato, and dead weight became Jiraiya's genin.
Author's Note: Because I've been reading Naruto fanfiction, even though I didn't have the patience to actually watch or read Naruto, and sometimes when you have ideas you just have to roll with them.
The idea behind this story is a vague crossover of Naruto and "Lily and the Art of Being Sisyphus", if you haven't read that story though you're still okay. It's the same brand of female Harry Potter as in that fic but you shouldn't need any background from there to help you understand this. Explanations, and adventures, will come in this fic. That being said, as I mentioned above, for whatever reason I can only make it through Naruto fanfiction and not the actual show/manga. So if you want to give pointers feel free, otherwise expect vague AUness because I don't know things.
Why am I writing this when I haven't read/seen Naruto? Because I can.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Naruto.