Naruto sat next to Sakura, who sat next to Sasuke.
Iruka hadn't only taught him the teachings from the academy he had missed or been taught wrong, he had also been teaching him about human interactions. Apparently being a boy and wanting to be friends with a girl didn't mean (contrary to what the silver haired dog-masked ANBU, who had been his primary shadow when he was younger, had told him), that he wanted to be her boyfriend.
To further clear it up; Iruka had asked him if he wanted to kiss Sakura.
Eew. Even with the squeezing of Sasuke-teme's lips with his own (NOT A KISS) that had happened minutes prior, he would still prefer to kiss a boy rather than a girl. Girls didn't exactly have cooties, like the other boys had told him on the playground when he was younger, before their parents had taken them away, but how anyone would want to get that close to someone who smelt that unnaturally of flowers and candy, and would grow up to be so squeeze, he didn't know.
When he had told Iruka that he would rather kiss him than Sakura, Iruka had looked a little flushed, but had continued his explanation, and further told him that what he had been doing to Sakura could be classified as harassment. He had felt really bad after that explanation; but when Iruka had continued and told him that what Sakura did to him was called abuse, and explained exactly why abuse was bad, he had lost most of that bad feeling.
Still; when all the girls had been fighting to be the one who sat next to Sasuke, he had tried to find out what was so special about the brooding bastard; leading to the 'looks-like-a-kiss-but-was-a-hit-with-lips-on-lips' thing that had just happened. And as a result he now sat nursing his bruises from the collective beating most of the girls in the class had given him. Not that it really hurt; the girls in the class were really weak.
Finally it seemed like Iruka had finished with his speech. It wasn't a bad speech, and he should probably have payed attention, but he had heard it like 6 times… Iruka had gone over it multiple times in his apartment, whenever he had been over to help him get ready for life as a ninja.
According to Iruka there was still a lot of stuff he needed to go over, and a lot of things he needed to relearn from scratch, but the most important things had been corrected, and they still had time before he was sent out of the village on missions. He couldn't quite imagine what kind of missions could be done while in the village, but Iruka had just smiled, rather diabolic, when he asked, so he was a little worried. Not a lot, but enough so that he wasn't quite looking forward to it.
But even if the missions sucked, he wouldn't complain… at least not until after Iruka had decided that he had learned enough not to get killed as soon as he stepped out of the village.
Iruka had also told him about the quite real dangers he was facing by becoming a ninja. And it wasn't only while he was on active duty. When he became known enough he run the danger of assassination attempts when he was relaxing in the village, of his future family getting killed or kidnapped by enemies who wanted to hurt him, even by attacks on the village by other villages. And he wasn't even rid of the danger when he stopped being an active ninja. No he would always be on call to do his duty and defend the village should it ever be under attack, especially during war. Even if he had lost a leg, or something like that.
When it was spelled out like that; it was actually a really dangerous road for him to take. But when he asked Iruka whether he should stop being a ninja, and just become a civilian, he was told that he, as the village's jinchūriki, didn't have a choice. He would become a weapon of Konoha either way; becoming a ninja of the leaf was just the more humane way to do it.
When he asked what Iruka meant, he was told that the Hokage had confessed that there were forces inside the village that had campaigned for him to be put in a program called root, where he would have been stripped of individuality and be taught to obey orders no matter what. It was a quite harrowing picture that had been painted, and he was suddenly very grateful for what the Hokage had done for him. From putting him in an apartment when the orphanage had thrown him out, and letting him have the ANBU to communicate with, when they guarded him, when no others would talk to him, to stopping him from becoming an unfeeling weapon.
Iruka started to read out the team placements, making Naruto pay full attention.
It was another of those things Iruka had informed him about; be aware of who your comrades are, so you can't get tricked by enemies.
Plus he really wanted to know who his teammates were, and what team he would be on.
"… on team seven we have Nara Shikamaru, Aburame Shino and Uzumaki Naruto, under jonin Hatake Kakashi."
Suddenly the room was filled with noise. It wasn't loud, but most people were whispering with the ones next to them. From what Naruto could understand; everyone, the three involved included, had expected for Ino, Shikamaru and Chouji to be on a team together, something to do with their fathers.
Naruto didn't quite understand. He thought it would have been illogical to put the three of them on a team together; Ino really didn't work well with the guys.
Another thing that made people talk was the fact that there was no girl on the team. Apparently there had, for as long as Konoha had existed, been one girl and two boys on every team. What made it double weird was that the numbers fit. There was the double amount of boys as girls who had graduated, so there should have been a girl on their team.
Not that Naruto cared. He was happy that there weren't any girls on his team, and he was happy for his teammates.
Sure Shikamaru would sleep the day away if he didn't get motivated to do something. But Naruto had made an art out of finding ways to motivate Shikamaru a long time ago.
And Shino talked weird and was a live hive for chakra eating beetles; but hey, he had learned to understand the thing he named Shino-speech during their times playing hooky and playing pranks. Sure you didn't normally notice that Shino was there, but he was one of the very, very few who had never feared or disliked him. And concerning the beetles; well he had a giant village destroying monster inside of him. Much less helpful than the kikaichū inside of Shino, plus it wasn't like they were any danger to him… he had way to much chakra for one Aburame to be able to empty him more than a couple of percent.
As the class started to calm down again, but did not quiet fully, Iruka used his Big head no jutsu, to make them shut up and pay attention. It worked and he continued.
"Team 8 is Haruno Sakura, Hyuuga Hinata and Yamanaka Ino under jonin Yūhi Kurenai." The whispering started up again, but this time Iruka was quick to make them calm down, or at least be quiet.
"Team 9 are still in action, so the next team will be team 10, team 10 will be Inuzuka Kiba, Akimichi Chōji and Uchiha Sasuka under jonin Sarutobi Asuma."
Iruka rolled the paper he was holding up, and took a quick look through the classroom, the only dissatisfaction he could see, was all of the girls looking disappointed at Sasuke; likely unhappy with the fact that they weren't on his team, yet happy that none of the other girls had a leg up by being there themselves… no that wasn't true; Hinata was looking at Naruto with the same disappointment the rest was giving at the thought of not being at Sasuke's team. He had got a little confused due to Sasuke and Naruto sitting at the same table, therefore in the same direction from Hinata.
Iruka gave a short snort, and nodded back to Sasuke, who was giving him a nod and a slight (almost not there) smile in thanks for dodging the bullet of a female teammate. Then he straightened up to deliver the last message he would be given this class; silently wishing them luck in their choosen careere, and, although unlikely, long lives.
"your jonin-senseis will be collecting you after lunch, you have one hour before you are expected back here; may I suggest you spend it getting to know your teammates."
With those words he left the classroom, followed by most of the class.
Naruto hurriedly grabbed both of his teammates, and started to tow them after him. At Shikamaru's protests he informed them that he had information to share, and that they would be eating Ichiraku ramen for lunch. He was even willing to pay. (After all, due to Iruka's idea of shopping wearing the transformation jutsu, he now had a lot more money, even if it had only been a week. There was a reason he had been forced to supplement his food with what he could forage in the forest.)
When both Shikamaru and Shino had a bowl of ramen in front of them, Naruto had five, Shikamaru asked, though not before Naruto had yelled itadakimatsu and had broken his chopsticks, with a low 'troublesome'.
"So what was it you needed to inform us about?"
Naruto swallowed his mouthful, looking a little worried, and with a watchful look around him, something that didn't escape the notice of his new teammates, he answered… or rather let loose a stream of consciousness.
"What I'm about to tell you, you can't tell anyone. It's supposed to be a secret and I can't tell you where I heard it from… and it's not like I was told, I had to guess most of it, and he couldn't even tell me if I was right without breaking the rules, but I'm pretty sure I'm right, because he looked really satisfied when I told him my guess… but still I know we're not supposed to know because of the whole 'secret test' thing and…"
"Okay Naruto you need to slow down… what test are you talking about and what secret are we supposed to keep?"
Naruto took a deep breath, and another mouthful of ramen; letting the ramen get soggy was just a sin, and after the short break he tried to explain.
"I'm talking about the real genin test… I know what it's supposed to be about; what we have to prove we can do!"
"That is quite unneeded, why; because we have already passed the genin test."
Shino apparently thought this was as much a waste of time as Shikamaru, but at least the food was good and free.
"no, no, no… you don't understand; we have taken the graduation test… now we need to take the test to become jonin track genins, or we will just be put in the genin corps… didn't any of your parents tell you about that? I thought they would, considering the fact that they went through the same thing."
His two teammates, placed on either side of him, shared a look. Then in tandem they shook their heads; now looking intrigued, or at least given off that air, as Shino was mostly covered and Shikamaru had his face in one of his hands, leaning it on the counter.
"We have to take some test the jonin put together… its different from jonin to jonin, but they all have one thing in common; we have to show teamwork to pass."
His two teammates didn't look all that surprised about the revelation, after all; the academy had always put focus on the importance of teamwork.
"I think… I think that Hatake-sensei will try to set us up against each other… try to trick us… I know that it isn't all that surprising, but apparently only about thirty three percent usually pass the test, so I thought I better inform you… I'm pretty sure we pass or fail as a team, so…"
With a bowed head Naruto returned to his ramen. He had kind of hoped that they would be happy for him going out of his way to help them pass, even if he primarily did it to help himself.
Suddenly he felt a hand on his head, slowly, almost lethargic, rustling his hear. At the same time he noticed a Kikaichū crawling on his hand. He almost shock it off, until he remembered what an Aburame would place a female Kikaichū on those they cared for, to be able to always find them, or be notified if they were in any danger or had been harmed, if they had been outside of the Kikaichū's communications range.
With a soft smile he continued eating, after the short break to notice the care from his two teammates, happy in the knowledge that he had done good.
The newly formed team seven had been sitting, waiting for their new sensei and team leader, for over an hour after the last of the other groups, team ten, had left the classroom.
That is not to say that they were bored.
Shikamaru was catching up on missing sleep; apparently he either stayed up all night, or really needed a lot of sleep. Naruto was kind of hoping it was the first, as the last could be kind of dangerous for a ninja.
Shino was communicating with his beetles; exactly what they were telling him Naruto wouldn't be able to say, but it must have been interesting as he was rather consumed by the activity.
Naruto had, to the surprise of his teammates, brought a book, and was about half way through it. It was apparently as engaging as Shino's communication with his bugs, as he hadn't let it go or looked up even once.
Suddenly he put the book down, and with a rather naughty smile he rose, and started to rig up some kind of trap; which involved a lot of wire, the calk eraser, which looked like it hadn't been cleaned for a long while, a box of firework, though it looked like it was only the small once which did nothing but make sound, and a bucket full of some yellow goop; maybe paint.
His teammates were so interested in what he was doing, that they had stopped their own activity. How Shikamaru had awoken from the small noise of Naruto putting down his book was a mystery, but awake he was, and rather interested in what Naruto was doing.
As soon as he had finished rigging his trap up, he returned to his seat, picking up his book again.
Shikamaru was about to lay down his head again, as the activity apparently was over, but before he could do more than close his eyes, they were forced open by the suspense of someone opening the door. The door opened inwards, and as soon as it was open enough; the eraser stuck the head of the tall, mask wearing, silver haired man. The shock at getting hit by something, for the first time in a long while, and at a place where he should feel safe, combined with the sudden explosions from just behind the door, made him release the door; which was forced open, by the force of the counterweight; a chair which had been stopped from falling over due to the pulley, and the final part of the trap hit their new jonin-sensei: the bucket full of the yellow… stuff (which could be paint, or could be something entirely different. The color matched but the consistency was wrong).
There was silence for three heartbeats, then a snicker sounded; not from Naruto as expected, but from Shino.
Their jonin-sensei was absolutely covered in yellow goop and calk, and as the final firework gave its last, belated bang, he made another little jump.
Naruto was just sitting; staring. He hadn't expected it to work; this was a jonin, and if he was right about the glimpse he had seen of his hair, before the trap had been executed, former ANBU. It shouldn't have worked.
Shikamaru closed his mouth, and then, because while it had been relaxing to sleep while they waited, he didn't want to be kept waiting every day, he opened his mouth again.
"Well that wouldn't have happened if you had come at the appointed time… unfortunately Naruto is rather hard to reign in, so if you don't want similar episodes; I'm afraid you will have to change your habit."
He too had recognized the jonin. He hadn't known him by name, but his father had once pointed him out, and told him that the jonin with silver hair would always be at least an hour late for any appointment; three if he could get away with it, and to bring a pillow if he ever was called to a meeting together with him, as he would be waiting on him, he was that important.
The jonin gave all three of them the stink eye, and after removing a handful of goop from his mask he told them to meet him at the roof, whereupon he disappeared in a shunshin with yellow tainted leafs.
The team took their time to get to the roof; so as to give their sensei time to get rid of the yellow goop, and when they entered the roof; he was sitting, staring at them, free from yellow paint and calk.
He still gave them the evil eye though.
The three teammates sat side by side. Their sensei had finally stopped looking hateful at them. Not even Naruto was given a look of dislike; even though for once he deserved it.
"Why don't you present yourself…? Name, likes, dislikes, hobbies and dreams for the future…!"
The three boys looked at each other, and then Shino, who was sitting to the left, gave a nod and started.
"My name is Aburame Shino, I like beetles and to sit quietly and read, I dislike those who kill insects, arachnids and lightning, my hobby is to study different insects and to train with my Kikaichū and my dream is to discover new species of insects that will be useful to my clan."
Their new sensei nodded once at him, and turned his eyes on Naruto, who was sitting in the middle. Naruto was still in shock that his trap had worked, but tried to put some enthusiasm in his presentation.
"My name is Uzumaki Naruto, I love ramen, especially from Ichiraku, my pet plant Ukki and Iruka-sensei, I hate rats – they taste urk, and those who can't differentiate the sealing scroll from what's within it, my hobbies are training and pranks, my dreams are to become Hokage and…mumble, mumble."
His team was looking rather shocked at him by now; why in the world had he thought it would be a good idea to eat a rat? After a short moment of stunned silence, their sensei decided to ask for a clarification of the last part.
"What was your last dream? I couldn't quite hear you!"
Naruto took a deep breath and repeated.
"My dreams are to become Hokage… and to find someone who loves me."
It was hardly more than a whisper, but at least they could hear it when they listened closely. To think that the class dope and unrepentant master prankster of Konoha felt so lonely that one of his greatest dreams, because it had to be a big dream for it to be mentioned together with his until now believed biggest dream; to become Hokage, was to fell loved.
The rest of his team, their sensei included, felt rather chagrined that someone they should have included, and taken care of, felt so isolated.
Right there Shino and Shikamaru decided to never turn down an offer for ramen again, and to invite their teammate to visit their homes. The part about sealing scrolls threw them a little, but they both, individually, decided to keep their eyes and ears about them; their sensei hadn't been surprised at that part, so it had to mean something. Shino at least felt some kind of connection with Naruto, even if he didn't know what he contained (as he was able to get at least that much from what Naruto was saying); being a living hive for Kikaichū made him understand where Naruto was coming from, as he was often pushed away in fear and disgust, due to what he contained.
Finally, after yet another short, stunned break; to take in what Naruto had said, they all turned toward Shikamaru, for his introduction.
"Troublesome… my name is Nara Shikamaru and my likes are clouds, sleeping and hanging out with my friends when we skip classes together." This was said with a nod towards a beaming Naruto and the quietly satisfied Shino.
"My dislikes are my mom, when she won't let me sleep, rainy days and Ino. My hobbies are shogi and go and to look at the clouds drifting in the wind, and my dreams for the future is to live to become old!"
When they heard his dream they all nodded in agreement, that was a pretty lofty, considering their career, but good goal.
As one the three genins turned toward their teacher.
When he just sent them an eye smile Naruto said, in a quite serious voice, surprising all of them.
"We have opened up in your presence, the least you could do is to do the same!"
When the rest of the team turned their serious small faces at him, he couldn't make himself make the half-assed introduction he had planned. Naruto was right; they had opened up, even though he was a stranger. They had trusted that they could place their ambitions in his hands, without getting laughed at. And that was exactly what it would be if he continued as planned; a scornful laugh in their face.
So he shifted slightly, and told them the truth.
"My name is Hatake Kakashi, call me Kakashi-sensei, and my likes are the Icha Icha series, my summons and free food. I dislike loud noises and strong smells, and those who would hinder Jaraya-sama's great work, and my hobbies are to read, come up with stupid excuses for being late, and to communicate with the dead when I sit at the memorial stone. My dream for the future… to never ever lose a teammate again."
They could hear the seriousness in his voice all though his introduction. He was telling them the truth.
"Now while I normally wouldn't be telling you any of this, you are ninja now, and I have to believe that my fellow ninja of the leaf are capable of protecting sensitive information. To make sure you understand; none of you are allowed to tell any of what you heard today to anyone else, of course with the exception of the names. Information is sensitive in the ninja-world, and any information can be used as a weapon, either to impersonate someone or to hurt someone directly…"
Then Kakashi clapped his hands together and send them another eye smile.
"Now I am going to tell you what you will be doing tomorrow… we will be having survival training… you against me. And I'm sure this is going to freak you out; but it will be a test… normally 33% of the graduates will pass, the rest will be sent to the genin corps."
At their total lack of surprise he stuck out his bottom lip lightly, underneath his mask, but continued on.
"We will meet at training ground 3 at 5am and I recommend you don't eat breakfast, as you will throw up otherwise. Good luck."
And then he disappeared in yet another shunshin. Or at least he made it look like that. In truth he used a genjutsu, and hid to spy on his cute wannabe genins.
"Troublesome… Naruto remember to eat breakfast tomorrow, and better take a couple of energy bars with you. If you do throw up you don't want it to be on an empty stomach, and you will need the bars to give you back your energy afterwards… I know how much you can eat."
Naruto did a salute to Shikamaru, signaling that he had understood and would obey, but when he looked toward Shikamaru, he noticed the suns placement.
"Shiiit, I'm late… I was supposed to meet Anko-sensei as soon as we finished our team meeting… she must have expected me over an hour ago."
With a wave of goodbye to his two teammates he run through the doorway, setting course, as fast as he could, toward the dango shop he had been informed he would be meeting his new sensei in. The exhaustion from this morning's training with Gai and Lee long out of his body.
"Troublesome" but it was said with a little smile, and both Shikamaru himself and Shino knew he didn't mean it… the sunny blond might be full of energy, but he was far from troublesome.
The bell test wasn't quite what they had expected, even though it held all the elements they had expected; a teamwork test, as there really was no way for any of them to get a bell without working together, and a try from the jonin side to put them against each other, as there only was two bells.
After the yell of 'begin' they had jointly jumped away, and were now hiding together a little way into the trees surrounding the clearing that held their possible teacher and the goal of the mission, the two bells.
Shikamaru speculated that if all of them were jointly holding at least one of the bells when the alarm sounded, they would have passed, so the goal was to secure at least one of the bells. But how were they going to do it?
None of them held any illusions that he wouldn't know even more about Shino and Shikamaru's clan jutsus than they themselves did, as they were only starting their training in them, and Kakashi likely had worked with, if not their parents, then their clan members, before.
They had a slight hope that he didn't know about Naruto's shadow clones, or any other specialty, not clan related, they had, but they couldn't depend on that.
The only chance they had of completing the mission, and not get sent to the genin corps, was to fight smart. Kakashi was after all a jonin, and if Naruto had guessed right, former ANBU, and they were just fresh out of the academy genins. All they had on him was numbers.
When they had their plan ready Naruto created and dispelled a clone, thereby sending the signal to the clone they had posted as lookout to dispel.
The information Naruto got back from the dispelled sentinel was puzzling.
Kakashi was just standing in the middle of the clearing, reading a book of all things. Maybe it was the famed Icha Icha they had been told about the day before.
Upon the description of the book being given, Shino actually got visibly red in the face, but refused to tell why. Only saying that it was not a book any of them would be allowed to read, as its content was for only those above 18.
While that information confused Naruto, it apparently meant something to Shikamaru, as his cheeks also got a slight duster of red.
Shaking the unimportant information from their minds, they started their plan.
Three shadow clones, two of them henged to respectively Shino and Shikamaru, were sent off. Meanwhile the three originals spread out. They had plans with backups, and backups to the backup plans and so forth. With everything they had plans labeled from plan A to plan V, and a number of corrections to each plans, depending on the situation, labeled with numbers.
As such they would start out with Plan A, and depending on their sensei's reaction to the teams of decoys they had sent in, they would use sub-plan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
Shikamaru, upon discovering just how many plans that made, had been rather worried for whether Naruto would be able to remember the many different plans, and their designations. But Naruto hadnt been worried at all; it kind of reminded him of the planning he had to do when he wanted to hit either the ANBU's or a really visible target, with his pranks.
The actual execution went something like this:
His three students flew out from the surrounding trees, running at him with what appeared to be full speed (he would have to train them in that, they were far to slow), and as they came within striking distance (not that he couldn't have hit them before, but he was downscaling his power to high chunin level) of his weapons, Shikamaru seemed to almost get hit, when he used kawarimi to replace himself with a branch, lying behind Kakashi himself, quickly followed by similar replacements with the surrounding foliage from his teammates.
The genins kept replacing themselves, sometimes to get closer, sometimes getting father away. There seemed to be no system to where they replaced themselves too, it was just a big mess of appearing and disappearing genins; actually succeeding in confusing Kakashi.
Suddenly kikaichū rose from the ground all around him, making him retreat from the center of the clearing, where he had been holding his placement, pushing him closer to the tree-line, and its shadows.
Being attacked from both the clones, which he legitimately thought to be his students, and the stream of kikaichū, he saw no other solution, unless he wanted to actually damage Shino's hive, which he could have done with just a couple of fire jutsus, but to get near the Nara's favored element, the shadows.
He kept a close eye on what he thought to be Shikamaru, and was ready to overwhelm his student with weapon attacks, should he get close enough to take advantage of the close by shadows.
But Shikamaru seemed too far away, he was the one furthest away, to be able to catch him in his shadow attack, at least without him noticing.
Suddenly he saw the shadow behind him stretch; he jumped away, although a confused look to what looked to be his shadow using student, showed that the attack hadn't come from him. Maybe they were using henge!
As one his three students jumped back, all standing out in the sun, and started to attack him with an overwhelming number of projectile weapons.
Keeping to his decided level of abilities, he jumped back once again, but kept moving, so as not to be caught in the shadows. As he landed on a tree branch, high above the ground, one of the thrown weapons went wide. He heard the sound of a cut wire, and succeeded, due to a sudden burst of speed, in clearing the target area for the trap. The branch he had just been standing on was littered with weapons.
Another 'twing ' was heard, and he jumped again, this time the branch he moved away from was covered in something that looked a little like the goop he had been covered in yesterday, although it had a much more gluey look. A second later the yellow goop looked as hard as stone; if he had been caught in that he would have been unable to move without using his real strength.
Once again he had to jump away, this time due to the swarm of kikaichū, which was honing in on him, and the weapons thrown from his attacking students.
As he landed, he didn't even get to catch his breath before he was off again, he heard the sound of a prepped explosion-seal. He felt rather hunted, yet it seemed like his students were guiding him in a certain direction. They had to have something prepared.
While he normally would have broken away from the trap they were leading him toward, he decided to go with the flow. They had already passed the test, by showing overwhelming teamwork, but he was interested in what more they could show him.
A clearing was coming up… maybe that was where they were herding him toward!
Suddenly his body stopped all movement, or rather he had no control of his movements. The stream of kikaichū caught up with him, while his three students had just surrounded him (funnily enough none of them seemed to be using the hand-seal for shadow possession). Suddenly yet another Naruto came out from the surrounding foliage, and while Kakashi could have broken the hold of the shadow possession (he did after all know how to break both the weak beginners version Shikamaru was using, and the much stronger killing version his father was so fond of), he couldn't do that without going over high chunin level.
A kikaichū chewed through the sting he had attached the bells with, and the figure of Naruto caught them in his hand, without ever touching his sensei.
The Naruto who had gathered the bells got to a tree a couple of steps away, and handed them to yet another Naruto, who had just emerged from behind the tree.
From behind another tree came the figure of Shino, grabbing one of the bells, still held within the right hand of the latest Naruto.
He could fell his body moving, and as he was turned around he saw yet again another copy of one of his students, this time Shikamaru, emerge.
Shikamaru released the shadow possession, and in the same moment grabbed Naruto's left hand, where held within was the second bell.
Just as Kakashi prepared to attack, to see how they did in defense, the alarm placed within the starting clearing sounded. They had gotten the bells, all three of them, within the time limit; over scoring all of his expectations of them. And he had thought he would be hindering them by actually appearing at time this morning.
It seemed like his students had been quite capable of planning a takeover, with use of lots of traps, within the allotted time.
He was so proud he actually felt like letting go of a little tear. This team… this team he could work with.
He sent the three genins a happy eye smile, getting three beaming, and proud, grins back… well he thought Shino might be grinning; he gave that kind of feeling, although his face was even more covered up than his own.
The words brought a cheer from Naruto, a quiet summing from Shino's kikaichū and a huff and eye-roll from Shikamaru. It seemed like he was getting a team of adorable little brats.
After having gathered in the starting clearing, with the three training logs and the alarm clock, they were each handed a bento; as they were eating Kakashi, newly named sensei, started to explain.
"Every year three teams are put together; those teams are the most likely in succeeding on getting on the jonin track. Getting put in the genin corps doesn't stop you from becoming jonin, but it definitely makes it more difficult. While the rest of the teams have a chance at succeeding, they will, upon success, become what are known as 'jack of all trade'- teams. The three teams that are most likely to succeed in going on jonin track are not like that.
Your team is specially made for infiltration, assassination and extraction. Your primary job, once you have reached a certain level and finished your basic training, maybe even before that if the situation calls for it, will be to infiltrate enemy strongholds, to assassinate without anyone ever discovering you were there, or at least how you did it, and to extract prisoners."
Naruto interrupted Kakashi, apparently the suspense was too much for him, something to work on; a ninja had to be patient.
"What do the other teams slotted for jonin-track specializes in, Kakashi-sensei?"
Kakashi eyed his orange clad student, just for a second longer than needed for him to know that he should have waited patiently instead of interrupting. Then he answered.
"Team 8 is specialized in information extraction and capture and torture."
The thought of what training in those specializations would do for the personality of the already headstrong, and considering their fixation on Sasuke, slightly psychotic, Ino and Sakura, was rather frightening. At least the training might strengthen Hinata's self-confidence.
"Team 10 is a frontline assault team. They specialize in being stronger, faster and outlasting the enemy in head on battles. There isn't normally all that much use for that kind of teams, and those with those kind of specializations are normally found within the all-purpose teams. But once in a while such teams are made. This time I believe it is due to pandering to the Uchiha, as he seems totally without subtlety from what I have heard."
The degrading tone Kakashi was using to talk about Sasuke made Naruto snort in laughter, while his words made Shino give a short not in agreement and Shikamaru yawn, while waving his hand, as if to say 'get on with it… tell us something we don't know'.
As they finished up their lunch, the three of them were told to meet at the same place again tomorrow, but at a much more reasonable time of 8 am.
Not that it changed Naruto's sleep schedule in any way, as he would still be meeting with Gai and Lee at 4.30 am at the village gates, for a warmup run around the village, followed by going through his katas until he was trained enough for sparing with Lee, which was a long way off.
As Naruto said goodbye to his teammates, and headed for the village proper, as he had yet another lesson with Anko, he thought back on his last lesson with his new sensei in creating masks. It had been really hard, but he had had rather a lot of fun with the end result.
Naruto entered the dango shop in the visage of himself; he really hoped that he wouldn't be thrown out before he had caught the attention of his new sensei in disguises.
As a purple haired, rather skimpy dressed, kunoichi looked up and noticed him, he was also noticed by the owner of the shop.
He was waved over by the woman, but as he set course toward her table, the owner had apparently decided to intercept him.
He knew that he wouldn't be welcome here, but he also knew better than to ignore the unspoken command of his new sensei; Iruka had warned him to do exactly as she told him, as she was known for a rather short temper and sadistic tendencies.
Just as he reached his new sensei, the stall owner had caught up to him.
"What are you doing here monster? You are not welcome here… get out, get out!"
The man totally ignored the kunoichi, and reached out; probably to physically remove him from the premise.
His new sensei grabbed his hand; stopping his motion and making a look of trepidation find its home on his face.
"What do you think you are doing to a ninja of Konoha? Hmm? That headband on his brow is an entrance ticket to anywhere in the village… denying him entrance is the same as committing treason…. Now normally I wouldn't care about what one stupid civilian want to do with his life; but you make to good dango to justify just looking on when you commit suicide, so I'm going to give you this warning, just this once mind you, the genin is here to talk to me, so get back to work and keep the dango coming."
The man kept standing there, appearing frozen, for a couple of moments, then he gave a snort, sent Naruto a hateful glare, and turned around; likely to do as he was told, and keep the dango coming.
While he was walking away Naruto could hear his mumbled words. "Treating that thing like its human… would have been better to kill it… no way it's getting any respect from me… might even want me to service the monster…"
Meanwhile his new sensei was waving him down, to sit on the chair in front of her.
"So you are my new minion! You will be calling me Anko-sama… none of that sensei shit! I'm gonna teach you how to become anyone and no one… let you walk into the highest level of security like you belong there, and become just another faceless being in the crowd… but while I do that; your damn well gonna show me the respect I deserve… got it new meat?"
Naruto swallowed thickly (he could believe Iruka's words about he; she was dangerous), and gave her a slightly shaky nod.
"Good. Well first thing first; what do you know about infiltration?"
The answer apparently wasn't up to Anko's satisfaction, as she threw a dango skewer at him, like it was a senbon. Luckily his reflexes were fast enough, or she had just aimed it that way, and he succeeded in avoiding becoming a human pincushion.
"Looks like we will start from the bottom up."
As she ate the last dango on her plate, she got to her feet.
As Naruto followed the slightly deranged kunoichi, he thought he better had to explain and excuse why he was so late; she must have waited for over an hour.
"Anko-sama, I'm really sorry that I was so late, but my new jonin-sensei showed up not even 20 minutes ago and…"
"Hold up… I knew that your sensei would be Kakashi-kun, and there is a reason such things as Kakashi-time was named… I actually didn't expect you to show up for another two hours, but apparently Kakashi-kun was looking forward to meeting you brats."
Naruto was looking a little affronted at apparently getting a sensei that always was late, really late according to Anko, but also happy that he had apparently been excited to meet their team. Maybe Kakashi could even become someone he could come to trust and lean on; like Iruka.
Naruto saw that they had come to his part of town, but as they walked pass his apartment building, he looked puzzled at his new master in all thing disguises.
Suddenly she stopped, apparently having reached where she wanted to go. Naruto looked around; they were standing in the middle of the road, to his left was a teahouse, right next to a brothel, and on the right was a butcher and a sushi restaurant. He didn't really know what he was supposed to look for, so he got into a ready position, preparing to be given words of wisdom.
Suddenly he was hit over the head, making him loose his balance slightly.
"Stop attracting attention idiot."
At Naruto's wounded, and confused, look she clarified.
"Body language is everything. When the densities of the district see you standing like that, their first thought will be 'police'. We don't want them to clam up… you are supposed to observe the different people in their natural environment."
She made it sound like some kind of wildlife exorcision, but he tried to take his ques from her, and copied her body language.
"good, that is how you are supposed to hold your body when in uniform, but not at work. It relaxes people, without making you an easy target… now look over there, by the butchers trashcan… do you see that girl? Your job is to follow her, and notice everything about her; how she walks, how she talks, who she talks to and the difference between the different people, all her small habits. I want you to be able to make her believe she have a mirror image when we finish today… but for now; just watch her."
And he watched. For the whole rest of the day he followed her around, and he started to copy all her small habits; the way she would keep on looking around, especially before seeking through someone's trash. The way she would keep her eyes trained on everyone getting close to her, afraid that they would hit her. Even the way she would remove her hair from her face in intervals with her left hand.
When the light faded he even had down pad how she moved; she didn't walk, she scurried over the ground, taking a lot of very small steps, always ready to change her destination.
Just as she once again moved in between two buildings, and he prepared to follow her from the roof, he was stopped by the appearance of his sensei… master.
"Alright… you will now henge into her, and go from here, to where we started. I will be watching you, and for every time you make a mistake, you will be doing 50 push-ups. Plus we won't work on the next target until you have it right."
He performed the henge, disgusting clothing included, but just before he walked out on the street, to start his performance, he caught a sniff of himself; he smelled like ink, ramen and sunshine; nothing like the girl who had smelled like trash and unwashed skin, even from the rooftops where Naruto had been following her.
He looked around, and noticed a trashcan. He went over, and got some of the disgusting trash, which had apparently been sitting within for at least a week, in his hands. He almost threw up when he was painting his clothing and skin with the rotten smelling stuff, but when he was finished he knew; that was at least one mistake that his master wouldn't be pointing out. The henge only covered one sense; sight. His transformation jutsu covered two; sight and touch. He still needed smell and sound.
Smell was something he had just taken care of; but how was he going to sound like the girl. He had heard her talking to one of the other street rats, and her voice was nothing like his. Well nothing for it, he would have to ask Anko if she had a solution to the problem when he was finished… that or find a solution himself.
He got 200 push-ups. 3 times because he couldn't keep from talking when he was talked to; and the voice was all wrong, even though he said the right words in the right tone (he had been informed that he would have been marked down extra, had he had a problem with that too), and once because he didn't cover when his eyes met the butchers while he was going through his trash.
When he asked Anko about the voice thing, she told him that they would be training it the next time, and then she had remarked in a sotto voice; that it was a shame that he couldn't just transform his voice box (starting an idea for Naruto, which would in later years make him the undisputed best infiltrator in the leaf's history. He would be able to look like, and sound like, anyone).
That day's lesson with Anko was a workout. He got taught how to sound breathless, like he had a cold, like a woman, girl, boy, man… he even got taught different animal sounds and how to make noises that sounded like a primed explosion tag, a sniped wire or a drawn sword.
He had never had such a sore throat as he did after that. And Anko said he only had the beginning of voice manipulation down… he almost cried when he heard that; but his throat was just too sore.
Even though he had been warned many times, by Iruka, Anko and Gai (although Gai's warning was about his rivals 'hip attitude'), about his new sensei's lateness; he was rather happy to have arrived on time on their first real day as a team. Both because it ended the torture Gai and Lee liked to call training at a reasonable time (if he had let them they would have continued training him until he fainted due to exhaustion), but also because Kakashi was, contraire to all of the warnings he had been given, on time.
The successful trap on the first day, combined with Shikamaru's unsaid threat of more if he was ever late again, must have really freaked him out (in truth Kakashi was really looking forward to having a competent team, and the act of voicing out loud that he never wished to lose a team again made him take the training of his team seriously).
The morning started with what Kakashi had doubt as 'light warmup', at the end of which all of the genins were lying flat on their backs, totally out of energy (although the reason for Naruto's exhaustion was primarily that he had been training hard, without any break, since before sunrise, as Kakashi had arrived mere seconds after Naruto, who had been sprinting all out to arrive at time, and started the 'light warmup' almost immediately), followed, after a short break to let them catch their breath, by sparring; first against each other, then all of them against their sensei.
After having trained their body they were instructed in different chakra exercises; meaning Shino and Shikamaru did tree-walking, and Naruto, who had been taught tree-walking by Iruka in the week up to team placement, did water-walking. It resulted in many utterances of troublesome, a rather loud buzzing from Shino's kikaichū and a swearing and throughout soaked Naruto.
After about an hour and a half of chakra exercises; they were finally allowed a lunch break. Of course they weren't allowed to be lazy even then; no they were expected to play different strategy games while eating lunch.
Once the lengthy lunch 'break' was over, they were informed that they would be starting their first mission today.
Even though Naruto, and his teammates, had been informed that the D-rank missions were rather boring, and hardly more than chores, they hadn't expected them to be actual chores. The devastated air around them, upon being informed that their first mission as ninja's would be to paint a fence, made Kakashi smile in accomplishment and the Hokage hide a grin of hilarity; he always handed out the D-rank missions (and Danzo called him an overly compassionated fool… what a naïve man).
When his team had wallowed for a while in their misery over getting chores as missions, and they had left the Hokage tower; Kakashi turned serious. His team immediately noticed the changed air, and turned their attention toward him.
"Okay team; enough fun. How will you complete the mission without the client getting hindered in his actions, and keeping it secret from the targets wife, for whom the restoration of the fence is a surprise? Remember that the target will be spending time inside the house and in the garden, and might even leave the premise."
At first his team looked weirdly at him, and then they lighted up, one after the other. It might not be the most exiting mission, but it was a decent training exercise; one they were getting payed for completing. Maybe the whole D-rank mission thing wouldn't be all that bad; if their Sensei continued turning them into training exercises.
The three genins grouped together, trying to come up with a suggestion for their teacher; he wanted them to treat it like a mission, and by now they had figured out that a plan with elements from all of them, would work much better than any one of them could come up with on their own. They each had their own strength, and even though they knew each other rather well, they didn't yet know all the abilities of each other.
Shino and Shikamaru was the most surprised by their teammates hidden abilities; it seemed like playing pranks was rather developing in ninja skills… at least playing pranks on paranoid jonins and ANBU was.
When they had finished their little conference, they were nearing the clients home, and they had come up with plans; both A, B, C and D plans, should the first one not work, and taking into account; the different places the target could be and would move to.
They turned toward their sensei as one, and Shino started explaining, as Naruto was busy going over the data of the villager (who was their target)'s information. He had a rather comprehensive mental library of most of the villagers normal schedules and entourages, it was needed if he wanted to go undiscovered when he did his pranks (and no matter what most people thought, it was only the big and showy once he ever got caught in).
Shikamaru was far too lazy to care about being the one who relayed their plan, so happily left the work to Shino.
"Our primary plan is as following: Naruto-san will be sending in a clone, which will be disguised through the henge as one of the target's associates. The clone will then distract the target from leaving the house, making it possible for us to work on the fence. Meanwhile we will be moving underneath the fence, so not to be seen from inside the house. The inside of the fence will be painted by my Kikaichū, making the work both faster, and more easily disguised. The fence will be covered in a genjutsu, made by Shikamaru-san while we paint it, so that it will appear unchanged while we are working, in the event that the target looks out the window while the inside of the fence are being painted. Why is the plan only the primary? It is because changes in the targets routine or other unforeseen circumstances could force us to use one of our lesser plans, either from the beginning or when the deviation happens!"
Kakashi didn't even blink at the nitpicking of his cute little student, and just gave them a nod.
"I only have one question; what would you have done if none of you knew anything about the target?"
There was a short break, where the genins changed looks; then, finally, Shikamaru spoke up.
"Troublesome… then we would have spied on the target first, or hit them with a genjutsu…" then mumbled, though seemingly wanting to be overheard. "We really need to learn some more genjutsus, or just about any jutsu!"
Kakashi eye-smiled proudly at his little genins, and gave them another nod of approval.
"Let's see if your plan works… that is the positive about D-rank missions. If you fail in your objective; no one dies."
The team, or at least Naruto, gulped at the unsaid words of their sensei; if they failed in any of the higher ranked missions, it could mean death; either for them or their client.
They decided to take every mission seriously, no matter if Kakashi made them a secondary objective (like painting the fence without getting discovered), or if it was just the boring D-rank mission given from the mission office.
It was important to not get bad habits.
As they came to the right street; Naruto made a clone, and made it henge into one of the old ladies the target would often invite over for tea; to gossip with. He just hoped that the gossip he had overheard from Ino would be useful.
He made himself a promise; he would use more energy on committing gossip, both spoken, and what he saw happening, to his memory. You never knew when it would come in handy; like now.
The henged clone went to the door, knocked, and after a hug in the doorway, and some of those weird wind-kisses by the cheek that some women do, it was let in, with an offer of coffee and just out of the oven biscuits.
First objective complete, they turned toward the fence. Shikamaru sitting down on the outside of the fence (he needed his full attention on the genjutsu; it was knew and he wasn't very good at it yet), Shino releasing his Kikaichū to paint the inside of the fence with the henged clones of Naruto working as small paint brushes (he had never imagined that use for his deadly beetles, but he couldn't deny that Naruto's suggestion had merit), he himself getting ready to help Naruto with the outside.
Meanwhile Naruto was producing a staggering amount of clones; some of them henged, some of them ready to help with painting the outside of the fence. And off they went.
The work, which was slated to be a half day job for a normal genin team, was finished within an hour. As Naruto dismissed his clones, and Shino woke Shikamaru from the trance he had gone into to be able to fully consentrate on the genjutsu, the clone henged as one of the targets gossip friends got ready to leave. It was with an exuse of having to do some shopping that the clone finally got out of the house. When the door opened the three genins, and their jonin-sensei, stood ready to receive praise for a work well done.
It was not so.
Upon seeing someone she saw as a demon, and the killer of her first husband, the target (the wife of the client) grabbed a broom and started to hunt Naruto around the fenced in garden with it.
His team was staring open mouthed at the riot, not quite knowing what they were supposed to do, but, upon hearing her call him a demon, Kakashi finally broke the chase.
"Ma'me we would like to report the mission complete… I hope you have no problem with a ninja of the leaf… if there is a problem we would be delighted to help you to the Hokage to give your complaint."
Their sensei was standing with his back against them, but there must have been something in his eye, as the woman turned white, and shock her head heartedly. Then she apparently came to her senses.
"Mission? What do you… oh." She had finally noticed the painted fence. Suddenly she was all smiles, although she pretended like Naruto wasn't there.
After her signing the mission scroll they left the, according to Shikamaru, clearly deranged woman (the clone having long since cleared the premise, having popped when it turned the corner of the street).
"Mission complete; the fence of the Shawada's has been painted."
They were standing in the mission office, in front of the Hokage, with Kakashi giving his rapport on their first mission.
Apparently it was much easier than he had said… but at least it was good training.
The Hokage looked surprised; they had taken a fraction of the time allotted to the mission. Then his eyes fell on Naruto, and he got an understanding smile on his face; shadow clones.
They were handed their mission pay; hardly more than a week's allowance for Shikamaru and Shino, but important to Naruto, as he was no longer legible for the orphan allowance, as he now was a ninja, and there for a part of the working forces.
They bowed in thanks, and left the office. They wouldn't be taking anymore missions, and wouldn't be having anymore team training for the day. That is not to say that that day's work would be over, as Shino and Shikamaru still had clan training, and Naruto… Naruto would use the remainder of the day being tortu… trained by Anko in how to make the perfect disguise as a street rat.
He would use his evening on reading medical files and eating the leftovers Iruka had left from the dinner he made him yesterday. Soon he would be able to transform his voice box when he donned a disguise.