Disclaimer – I don't own Naruto

The Hand Fate Deals

Chapter 3 – Two Pair

"So old man, any particular reason why you wanted to see me, or are we just going to sit around sipping tea," Tsunade asked after several moments of silence. The Hokage had invited her to lunch shortly after she had taken Naruto to meet his new team. They had only been in town two days, and already Naruto had managed to cause mischief. Today had been interesting, that was certain. It had definitely started weird. Tsunade and Naruto didn't often engage in serious conversations…but today they had done just that.

Flashback

"Yo, Tsunade, what exactly is this 'Academy'?" Naruto inquired.

"It's where kids begin learning the basics of combat. The 123's of being a ninja, if you will," Tsunade explained.

"But I'm not attending it? Just meeting my team there?" Naruto was cringing at the thought of having to study.

"Yes. Your teammates have just recently passed the genin exams. The announcements for team assignments are taking place today at the Academy. So you'll also be meeting your jounin instructor. You didn't have to take the test, because I'm vouching for you. Which is a lucky thing, but you always did have peculiar luck…" she trailed off. It was true. Naruto's luck was very strange. He didn't have to take the test (which he probably would have failed) but he'd be happier failing because then he wouldn't have to be on a team. It had taken hours to make him accept the whole 'team' idea. Naruto had the best luck she'd ever seen, especially when it came to gambling. At the same time, he'd been given a harsh live, being the fox demon's vessel. Naruto's luck was usually a double-edged sword. She had never before seen so many contradictions in one person before meeting him.

"Why is it lucky?" Naruto wondered. Tsunade gave him a blank look. "Why am I lucky not taking the test, I mean," he clarified.

"You'd never have passed," Tsunade told him. "The final exam was to complete a successful bunshin."

"That makes sense, I suppose," Naruto agreed. "Bunshin would be considered a very basic, but necessary, skill. It's not everyday you encounter a ninja who can't do it…"

"That's interesting. I could have sworn I see you every day," Tsunade smirked.

"Not funny!" Naruto glared.

"Don't get upset brat. We both know your talents lie elsewhere."

"Yeah, but still…"

"You're nervous about today, aren't you?" Tsunade realized aloud.

"No way!" he snapped. But Tsunade knew he was. He had been acting oddly today. First had had been silent the majority of the morning. She had originally thought he was just sulking over the whole 'team' thing. Then, when he finally did speak, it was to ask a multitude of questions about the Academy and what exactly it was he would be doing on a team. Yeah, he was definitely nervous.

"You don't need to worry so much Naruto. You'll be fine. You're somewhat above the average skill level for a genin. You can handle it. Don't worry about your team, either. No one expects you guys to be best friends. It won't matter if you like each other or not. All that matters is that you learn to trust each other and work together. Eventually, your team can become like your family…" Tsunade's eyes glazed over as her voice became slightly wistful. Naruto didn't know much about Tsunade's past…but he did know something traumatic had happened to split her team apart.

"Not that I would know much about family," Naruto muttered bitterly. Tsunade heard, but didn't comment. Family was a touchy subject for both of them…and best left alone. Tsunade had lost her brother and Naruto had never known his parents. Of course, no one really knew who Naruto's parents were. Tsunade had a suspicion…but that's all it was. Just a thought.

End Flashback

Of course, it hadn't been until the actually meeting with his team that the chaos had started.

Flashback

Tsunade and Naruto had arrived at the Academy about thirty minutes early and were the first to arrive. Naruto had taken a seat at the back of the classroom while Tsunade sat at the front in the chair provided for her. She had decided to go with Naruto today for two reasons. The first was because she wanted to see what kind of team Naruto would be part of. The second was a favor to the Hokage. He had wanted her to see the new Genins and report to him on her first impression. He was up to something. There had been a humorous glint in his eye as he had asked and she wanted to know what was so funny.

"Hey, Tsunade!" Naruto's voice called from his seat. "I'm bored!" The legendary sannin glanced at her watch and blinked. They'd already been there for five minutes. Naruto had actually sat still for five minutes! It had to have been a record. The boy in question reached into his pocket and pulled out a deck of cards.

"Poker, eh?" Tsunade inquired as the boy approached. Naruto grinned. Tsunade, being the legendary sucker she was, couldn't say no. "Fine, but just one hand…" she sighed.

With the precision of an expert, Naruto shuffed and dealt the cards. Tsunade sighed as she looked at her hand. It was, as usual, unpleasant. Naruto, once again, had that insufferable grin on his face. He always did whenever he played cards. She supposed it could be called his poker face. That dumb grin made it impossible to tell his reaction to his hand. Not that Tsunade could ever read people's faces anyway. Naruto was an expert gambler. Unlike Tsunade he seemed to have unnatural luck and talent. Whenever she lost all their money gambling, the brat would immediately go and win it back. She sometimes wondered where his ability came from. It was no surprise when a minute later Naruto won with a straight flush.

"Winner…me!" Naruto exclaimed, bouncing around. The legendary sucker wondered once again where he got his energy. Just then, the teacher (Tsunade thought his name was Iruka or something) walked in. It was at that moment that Naruto tripped over himself and crashed onto the teacher's desk. There was an ominous creak before the wooden legs collapsed.

"What is going on in here?" the teacher gasped, watching the random papers and objects on the desk fly in different directions. Once again, Tsunade sighed. Today was just one of those days.

"I apologize for the ruckus. My student seems to be on a permanent sugar high sometimes. I'm Tsunade and over there is Hurricane Naruto," she said, pointing towards Naruto. The boy groaned from where he lay on the floor. "I'm very sorry. I'll pay for all the damages," she added.

"No, it's alright," the chuunin said with an equal air of long suffering. "Things like this happen more often than most think. It comes with the job." He attempted a small smile.

"I can only imagine," Tsunade chuckled.

"Oh! Excuse me! I completely forgot to introduce myself. I'm Umino Iruka. The Hokage told me you would be here. It's an honor to meet one of the legendary sannin," he said with a short bow. Absentmindedly he began gathering the fallen objects.

"Don't worry about the mess. Naruto will clean it up. It was his fault after all," Tsunade told him. She turned to the boy sitting on the ground. "Naruto! What do you think you're doing down there! Get your rear in gear and clean up your mess! If you don't I'll take away your ramen and gambling privileges!" she snapped.

"Yes Ma'am!" he exclaimed, jumping to his feet. He hastily began gathering up the papers and placing them in neat piles on the legless desk.

"See Iruka-san! He's a relatively good boy if you know what strings to pull," she told him.

"I see. But…uh…gambling privileges, Tsunade-sama?" Iruka asked in confusion. "Isn't he a little young?"

"Well, no, not really. The brat is an excellent gambler. If it wasn't for him we'd be broke," Tsunade said cheerfully.

"Okay," Iruka said, still confused.

About twenty minutes later the mess had been cleaned and the graduates had arrived. Tsunade and Naruto had returned to their original seats. Iruka had snapped out of his earlier confusion having come to terms with the strangeness of the odd pair called Tsunade and Naruto. After announcing the teams the jounin instructors had arrived to collect their respective teams. Only one teacher hadn't arrived yet. Iruka, being familiar with the last teacher decided not to stick around for the hours it would inevitably take for Hatake Kakashi to arrive. Tsunade wanted to leave as well, but felt she should stay long enough to observe Naruto's reactions to his teammates. It would be very easy for things to go badly. They were an odd group, that was certain.

"How troublesome," the first teammate sighed. The black haired boy sat at a desk, head propped on one hand. He looked half asleep. Nara Shikamaru was his name. Tsunade knew of the Nara family. They were shadow manipulators and were usually high quality ninjas.

"Hmph," the second one grunted. This kid was definitely a piece of work. Uchiha Sasuke could definitely be labeled as the silent loner. The last of the Uchiha clan. Tsunade had met his brother on a few occasions. She just hoped that Sasuke was different from his one living family member.

"Where the hell is our teacher?" Naruto muttered. So far he hadn't even attempted to talk to his teammates. But she supposed it was better than if they were arguing. Deciding she had seen enough, Tsunade silently leapt out the window. If she stayed much longer she'd miss her meeting with the Hokage.

End Flashback

So here she was, eating lunch with the Hokage, waiting for him to say something. Not that she minded. The food was excellent and she almost dreaded whatever the Hokage would ask, as it would probably require her to answer or explain something. However, she just wanted to get it over with.

"I was wondering about your impression of the new genin," the Hokage said finally.

"The large majority will be sent back to the academy, of course," she answered. He nodded. "But what you're really asking about are those that will pass, right? Of course you are. It's pretty obvious which teams will pass because most of those particular genin have enormous potential. It is really amazing. I've never seen that much potential in a new group of graduates before," Tsunade said.

"Yes," the Hokage agreed.

"That's what you wanted me to see?" It was a rhetorical question, but Tsunade asked anyway.

"Of course. There's something more important I have to speak with you about, however."

"Oh?" Tsunade could think of several things the Third would want to know.

"I was wondering about Naruto. What is he capable of? Also, what of the Kyuubi?" he inquired.

"Well, you want to know what kind of training he's had and how skilled he is. That's a tough question to answer. Naruto is different. We made some interesting discoveries during his initial training in basic taijutsu, ninjutsu, and genjutsu. After that, I had to completely rethink how to go about training him," Tsunade began.

"And?" the Hokage prompted.

"Naruto is average at taijutsu…but if you put a weapon in his hand he excels. He is excellent with some ninjutsu but abysmal in others. As for genjutsu...well…Naruto is completely incapable of performing the simplest genjutsu. You could say that the ninjutsu he's bad at are mostly those related to genjutsu. It's rather funny. Naruto can't even make a simple bunshin, but he has no difficulty with kage bunshin. We discovered it's because of how his chakra interacts with the fox demon's chakra. It's very long and complicated to explain."

"How did you know it was because of the fox demon?" the Hokage inquired.

"Why, we talked to it of course," Tsunade said innocently.

"You talked to it?" The Third was flabbergasted.

"Yup. We developed a jutsu where we could inter his mind and talk to it. The only other way I could think of would be to put him in mortal danger. Personally, I think that a jutsu is far superior to throwing the kid off a cliff or something equally idiotic. One thing I knew from the start was that Naruto would need to be able to control the demon's chakra, or it would be too easy for him to go berserk. So we talked to it and managed to come to an agreement…if you will."

"An…agreement? And just how did you manage that?"

"Well, it turned out to be rather easy. Actually, it was Naruto that did all the work. See, the fox is as addicted to gambling as Naruto and I," Tsunade said as though that explained everything.

"Huh? I don't understand. What did Naruto do?" The Hokage was stumped. Tsunade grinned evilly.

"What, you mean you don't understand? It's simple really!"

"Tsunade…" the Hokage warned.

"Fine, fine! Sheesh. Have some patience. I'm trying to build up some anticipation of an amazing and incredible secret technique here!" she exclaimed.

The Hokage sighed and gestured for her to continue. She smirked.

"He beat it at a game of poker…"

So, what did you think? Please review. I apologize for the mistakes. I didn't take the time to proofread this. I'll get around to it someday. Oh well. Hehe.