Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of it's characters. I do own all of the characters I introduce and the storyline of this fanfic.
Thanks for the review everyone, they're really motivating me to continue to write this.
donthaveone: This has got to be the most flattering review I've had yet. Unfortunately your idea won't work for reasons to be revealed soon.
DragonFlame: All will be explained in this chapter. The reason Seame didn't see anything on Hinata was because she was looking at Naruto.
kashisenshey: I'm not spoiling anything yet :P.
Anbu Dr J: Don't forget that Kurenai is a Jounin. That means she's not weak. Naruto didn't use any of his special abilities yet, so you can still expect some power-ups.
Dragon Noir: You're giving me some bad ideas about the blindfold evil grin. Everything will (hopefully) soon be revealed.
I'm not sure what you mean by spacing the words more. I'd be happy to
do it if I knew how.
Beta Reader: I think I know what you mean, I'll test it in this chapter and you tell me if I got it right m'kay?
Me: Things got a little "too" spacious, so I did some changes. I'm using new paragraphs instead of newlines ( p instead of br for those who know HTML). Tell me if you like it this way.
hikariko: Seame's personality is still a bit sketchy in my head, but I might give here some of the traits you suggested.
If there are any grammar or spelling mistakes left, don't blame me. I have a beta reader who's supposed to take them out points at beta reader.
Beta Reader: I'm SO gonna rip that finger off in a minute, mister growls menacingly As far as my spell checker and I are concerned, there aren't any grammar mistakes left in the fic once I read through it. However, the case may be that my way of spelling is different from anyone else's way, being that I'm Canadian like how Canadians spell it 'Colour' and Americans spell it 'Color'. That sort of thing. Right now my spell checker is set to American spelling standards since that's what most people tend to use. So if there are grammar mistakes in here, blame either the American way of spelling, or the idiot who didn't get me my morning tea. I also tend to not want to touch more than the spelling and grammar out of habit developed through experiences with past authors, even though I've been given permission to pretty much rewrite this. So, we'll do a test. I'll go all-out for corrections and do a special job on this chapter, and if people like it better that way then I'll continue with it. =P Luvs to you all! purrs
«text» voice in mind
------- change of scene.
The four ninjas were sitting at a table eating the food set before them. Seame was sitting in front of Naruto, observing him. He had to take his mask off to be able to eat, so the whisker marks were visible.
Next to Naruto was Hinata. She hadn't removed her blindfold as she was still able to eat with it on. It surprised Seame that Hinata was able to walk around and act as if she could see everything. 'Those two sure are a big mystery...' she thought to herself.
Kurenai had her own thoughts on her mind. Naruto's abilities were troubling her. He had grown considerably and she didn't think she would be able to provide him with enough training. She then took a quick glance at Hinata. The girl was looking at nothing in particular while eating, and didn't seem to be at all bothered by the blindfold. 'I'll need to have a long talk with those two after today's training.
Naruto was simply enjoying his lunch, not noticing the girl who was staring at him. Then suddenly, the realization hit him. He was the only male person on the team.
«Aw damn, I'm surrounded by a bunch of girls...» Naruto thought aloud.
«I heard that!» Hinata mentally remarked, looking Naruto straight in the eyes.
Naruto sweatdropped and nervously smiled at Hinata. «I didn't mean anything bad by that, Hinata-chan...»
Seame watched their "conversation" in confusion. "What the hell are you two doing?"
Both Naruto and Hinata sweatdropped. "Nothing, it's just an old habit." Naruto responded, nervously scratching the back of his head.
Kurenai was also interested in what they were doing, but refrained from asking. 'I'll see what I can get out of them later.'
They finished the rest of their food in an awkward silence.
"Alright, after Naruto's performance, it's time to see what the females of this team can do. Seame, you're up next." Kurenai said upon returning to the training ground.
'There's no way I'm going to loose to that guy.' Seame thought, jumping back and performing a set of hand seals. "Fire Flare!" The girl exclaimed as a burst of fire erupted from her mouth.
easily dodged it and leaped forward, aiming a punch at her student's
The punch seemed to hit, but then Seame blurred at bit and she stood half a meter to the side.
'What the?! Did she move that fast? No, it's a genjutsu.'
Naruto watched the fight in amusement. «She's pretty good.»
Hinata noticed that the girl has done a genjutsu. Because she didn't see, the technique didn't affect her, though.
It was Seame's turn to attack. She jumped and did a flying kick.
Kurenai managed to dodge it. Yet, she was thrown back.
The foot had moved in mid-air, hitting Kurenai in the gut.
'The girl's pretty good, too bad genjutsu is also my specialty.' Kurenai performed a set of hand seals "Reveal!"
A shockwave formed and Seame's outline jumped around as the genjutsu hit her. She knew her jutsu had been dispelled.
Kurenai didn't stop yet: "Suppressing Mind Wave"
As the attack hit its target, Seame fell over, feeling extremely dizzy.
"You're impressive with genjutsu, that's a high level jutsu that usually only Jounin know." Kurenai explained as she helped Seame to stand.
Seame went and sat down next to Naruto, she still wasn't feeling well from her teacher's beating.
"Hinata, now it's your turn. Let me see how much you've improved."
Hinata stood up at those words and walked over to her teacher. "Let's begin!" and she instantly ran forward at an amazing speed.
Kurenai could see a fist heading for her face, but she wasn't fast enough to dodge it. 'Dammit!'
Centimeters before the punch impacted, Hinata disappeared, than quickly reappeared to sweep her teacher's legs.
Kurenai managed a back flip and landed on her feet with ease. 'Hinata isn't going to give me a chance to relax. Her speed is amazing!'
Seame still wasn't feeling too well, so she wasn't sure if she was or wasn't seeing things.
Hinata was already at her next attack.
Kurenai saw it coming and raised her arms to block it. The punch hit full force and Kurenai slid backwards from the impact. 'Nani?! She's not only very fast, but her strength is not something you would expect from a girl of her nature.'
Seame now knew that her mind wasn't playing tricks and that what Naruto had mentioned earlier was true. Hinata was better at taijutsu then him.
'I have to end this quickly.' Kurenai thought, beginning another series of hand seals.
Hinata grabbed her teacher's hand before the seals could be completed.
Before Kurenai knew what was happening, she was hurled towards a tree. 'Heh, I was worried about Naruto. It looks like Hinata might be more of a challenge.' And now being farther away from her student, Kurenai had the opportunity she needed to complete the hand seals.
"Spinning Wind Blast!"
A large tornado was formed and started moving towards Hinata.
Hinata leapt forward to face the attack head on, using her hand to block the jutsu. As the wind collided with her hand, a large amount of chakra began swirling from it. She was being pushed back by the force of the attack. She gritted her teeth together while she managed to keep standing as she slid backwards from the force against her.
Kurenai's attack was now disengaged, and Hinata was still standing. Kurenai couldn't hide her amazement and surprise.
Hinata was breathing heavily, but still it was clear she was not yet tired.
"You have all now seen what each of your teammates are capable of. You should use this knowledge to improve your teamwork abilities. Training is over for today. Don't be late for tomorrow."
With that, the three students nodded and started walking away.
Kurenai followed Hinata and Naruto. "You guys aren't telling me everything. I have some questions for you and you're not getting away before I get answers."
"This could take a while, we should go sit somewhere," Naruto answered.
"Fair enough, I know a good place."
The three of them were now sitting at a table, sipping from their freshly ordered drinks.
"Let's start this. What do you want to know?" Naruto began.
"First of all, why is Hinata wearing a blindfold?" Kurenai asked.
Hinata couldn't help but smile. "There's actually no special reason besides helping my concentration. As soon as I activate the Byakugan, it doesn't matter anyway. As an added advantage, it's harder to recognize me as a Hyuuga if people can't see my eyes."
"That sounds reasonable. Now onto my next question, what were you doing back at the restaurant?"
"That requires a bit of a longer explanation." Naruto responded. Both Hinata and Naruto removed their forehead protectors, revealing a symbol on their foreheads. Naruto had the completed seal on his forehead while Hinata only had a small triangle.
Kurenai looked at them with a confused expression.
"These are the result of a technique I learned. They allow us to communicate without speaking out loud." Naruto continue his explanation.
"So you were just talking to each other back there?"
"I've never heard of such a technique, who did you learn it from?"
Both Naruto and Hinata became silent for a moment.
It was Hinata who replied. "The man who Naruto left with, Hannoki, did. Naruto adapted it slightly and performed it on me."
"That brings up my next question. Who is this man?"
"We don't really know much about him." Naruto answered. "He wasn't from a ninja village and he was trained by an old man. He just happened to pass by and take me in."
"Why did he do that? Why would he pick up a random boy that happens to run away from his village?"
"He wasn't really fond of the entire village thing. If someone decided to leave his village, Hannoki would be more then happy to help the person out."
"After your last encounter with Leaf ninja, there is a big hole, care to fill that up?"
"I stuck around with him for a while, then we met up with Hinata, and after another while we decided to return to Konoha." Was Naruto's story.
raised an eyebrow. "That's pretty brief, don't you think?"
"That's the big outline and about as much as I want to share in regards to that period." Naruto's eyes hardened at these words.
caught the hint, but still asked on. "Was this Hannoki the one who
trained you both?"
"Partially, he did teach us certain things, but we also learned a lot on our own," Hinata replied.
"There's no way anyone can improve that much in such a short time, especially on your own."
"It's true that we trained a lot on our own, but we learned some 'extreme' training methods. If you have to choose between staying alive and becoming stronger, your choice is quickly made." Naruto grinned as he said these words. His mask was undone so he was able to take a sip of his drink.
Kurenai raised here eyebrow even further. "You mean something like Gai does?"
Naruto laughed. "No, not really. You basically fight with someone as if your life depended on it. If they both do that, you're in for some serious training. It forces you to your limit and above."
Their teacher was at least a bit horrified.
"There's one thing about doing it with the same person over an over again, though. After a while you know the other person inside out and you are able to predict their movements. This ironically results in some of the best teamwork you can get."
"So you two were the ones who did this training together?"
"Yes, for the most part. Hannoki occasionally joined in to provide some insights and variation."
"Was this the only training you did during all that time?"
"No, we also learned some new jutsu's from various sources. We wandered around to pick up new techniques," Hinata answered.
This caught Kurenai's interest. "Did you leave the Grass country?"
"Of course, we traveled a lot. We went to pretty much every country, and we met a lot of interesting people." Hinata continued.
Naruto had almost emptied his glass in the meantime.
"Alright, that's all for the questions, for now. What are you going to do after this?"
"We're going to train of course. Like you said, the chuunin exam won't be easy. I wonder if Seame is already doing that." Naruto said while glancing at a nearby alleyway.
Kurenai looked in the same direction. She hadn't noticed Seame had been watching them all this time. "Seame, why don't you join us? There's no need to hide."
Said girl confidently walked out of the alleyway. "I wasn't eavesdropping or anything, I just happened to pass by.
Hinata still had her blindfold off, so Seame saw her eyes.
"Hey, are you a Hyuuga?" Seame asked in surprise.
"You didn't know?" Naruto asked.
"How am I supposed to know? I'm not telepathic or something..." Seame said angrily
"It's just that the Hyuuga family is pretty well known, so I assumed most people knew the heir."
"Wait a minute, you're that Hinata? The weak, unconfident girl who was beat by Neji two years ago in the chuunin exam?" A look of total confusion was plastered all over her face.
"That's right." Hinata replied. "Although I would like to think that I've changed. I'm not even sure Neji-neesan would be able to beat me now."
"We're about finished here. I still want to get some training done today, so if you don't mind?" Naruto said.
"I'm done with you guys, so feel free to go." Kurenai responded.
"Let's go then, Hinata."
"Right, see you guys tomorrow."
"Wait a minute," Seame interupted. "If you are going to train, I'm coming with you."
"Help yourself, training as a team improves our teamwork. I see no reason against it." Naruto said.
«Besides her getting killed...» was Hinata's answer. She picked up her blindfold and put it back on.
Seame was confident as she walked with her new teammates back to the training ground. 'At least they're stronger than my previous teammates. I might actually have a chance of becoming a chuunin now. I didn't actually show my full power while fighting our teacher. They probably did to impress her.' She walked at a nearby log, she was lacking mostly in taijutsu, so that was what she was going to practice for now.
After hitting the log a couple of times, she heard a big explosion nearby. In front of Hinata was a small crater in the ground. Naruto was several meters away, breathing heavily. 'He's almost out after only one attack from her? What a wimp.'
Naruto quickly got up and executed a ninjutsu: "Piercing Earth Spikes!" Several sharp spikes of earth shot out of the ground beneath Hinata.
She dodged all of the spikes and ran forward to strike Naruto again.
The boy bounced himself off of a tree and into the air: "Spinning Wind Blast!"
It was the same attack Kurenai had used earlier during training, and Hinata was planning on blocking it the same way. She readied herself to catch the attack mid-air when suddenly she was pulled under the ground up to her waist. Hinata had managed to place her hands to the ground, preventing herself from being pulled deeper underground.
Naruto knew he only had a short time before Hinata would get out of the trap. "Great Blazing Fireball!"
Seame, who had been watching the fight, opened her eyes wide in surprise. 'That attack's going to kill her in her current position!'
It was too late to stop the jutsu. A large amount of fire covered the spot where Hinata was.
As the smoke cleared up, Hinata was still standing. Her arms crossed in front of her.
"Looks like I win this time." Naruto said proudly.
'How could she have survived that attack?!' Seame wondered in awe.
Naruto saw the girl's shocked expression. "Hey, don't worry. We never use full force for the finishing move in training battles. Want to do some sparring?"
Seame quickly regained her composure. "It's better then beating up a log."
The sun was already starting to set when they finally returned home. They passed by Naruto's apartment first and Hinata and Naruto said goodbye to Seame.
"Wait a sec, you two are living together?"
looked at Seame as if she had asked if there was water in the ocean.
Hinata blushed a little at Naruto's comment.
Seame shrugged and left the two behind as she walked towards her own home.
It's shorter than the previous chapter, but it's still longer then the other chapters. If it looks large, it's because of the added space. Neither Naruto, nor Hinata have used anywhere near their full power yet. They probably won't use it in the chuunin exam either. Don't worry, I still have some things planned for afterwards.
I had no good opportunities for flashbacks in this chapter. I'll probably do some during the exam to explain what happened to Hinata.
I'll write up the next chapter and afterwards I'll go over the previous chapters and do some cleaning. I'll be using the same spacing style as in this chapter unless someone objects.