Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or World of Warcraft or any of its characters and such.
The forest hummed with life, birds chirping, squirrels chattering and bees buzzing. It was a beautiful afternoon, not a cloud in the sky. It wasn't too windy, or too humid, and it was clear that people all over the country had enjoyed such a day.
Uzumaki Naruto, 13 years old, was not one of those people.
He stood in the middle of a pond, clad in a tattered and soaked black t-shirt and orange pants in a similar state. He was sweating profusely, his normally spiky blonde hair now stuck to his head, and because it was unsupported by his forehead protector, also got in his eyes. Across from him stood a large, imposing looking man. The man had long, spiky white hair, was wearing one of the most ridiculous outfits one had ever seen, and had the most unbearably smug smile on his face. He had his arms crossed over his chest, and was looking straight at Naruto, grinning. This man's name was Jiraiya the Toad Sennin, or to Naruto, Ero-Sennin. Said man suddenly called out to the boy, laughing as he did,
"Hey brat! If you wanna beat that Uchiha kid, then you need to step it up a bit! My dead grandmother could perform this jutsu better than you!" Naruto scowled at the Toad Sennin, his eyes narrowing into slits. He did not take well to being insulted.
"Argh! Shut the hell up Ero-Sennin! I'm trying to concentrate! Did you harangue all of your students, or am I just a special case?" the boy shouted back.
"Hah! Do you even know what harangue means?" Jiraiya retorted, snickering when the boy shut glared at him, before taking a fighting stance once more. Jiraiya watched as Naruto ran through a string of hand seals, before shouting out.
"Water Element: Water Barrier!" The water that the boy was standing on began to bubble undulate. Suddenly it shot up, surrounding the blonde boy in a dome like barrier. Seconds later Jiraiya launched six shuriken at the barrier. The barrier deflected four of said shuriken, but two managed to slice through it, and judging by the yelp that came from inside the barrier, they had found their target. Seconds later the water dome collapsed in on itself, drenching Naruto in water and setting off another bout of laughter from the perverted Sennin. After he stopped laughing, he looked up into the sky, noting the position of the sun. It was getting late, so Jiraiya called out,
"Let's head in for the night, brat. It looks like you could use some rest." The man then abruptly turned and walked away, his footsteps making wet noises as he walked across the surface of the pond.
Sighing, Naruto followed his teacher back to the edge of the water, and into the surrounding forest. They walked for a few minutes without speaking, allowing the sounds of the forest to fill the silence. They soon reached their camp, which consisted of a single tent (where Jiraiya slept) and a fire pit with two logs on either side, so they sit near the flames to warm. Naruto immediately stripped off his shirt, and tossed it over one of the overhanging branches. He grabbed two pieces of wood from a pile near Jiraiya's tent and threw then on the dying fire, before sitting himself down on one of the two logs and basking in the warmth of flames. Jiraiya sat down on the other and immediately took out a notebook, in which he began to make notes and marks with a pencil, giggling every once and awhile. Naruto threw him a disgusted glare, before staring into the fire once more. He reflected on what had brought him there.
After Sasuke's defection to the Sound, Naruto had left with Ero-Sennin as soon as he had recovered from his injuries. Saying goodbye to the village that he loved had been hard, but with the knowledge that he would become strong enough to defeat and return Sasuke to Konoha, was more than enough to get him motivated. He still missed the place, but more importantly the people that lived within. He missed Iruka-sensei, the first person he had ever befriended, Kakashi-sensei, who despite his lack of teaching abilities, Naruto respected a great deal. He missed Tsunade-baba, the Godaime Hokage of the Leaf, whom he considered to be a sister of a sort. He missed all of his friends, Shikamaru, Chouji, Neji, Kiba, Lee and the rest, whom he couldn't wait to see again, and find out how strong they had become. The person he missed the most, however, had to be Sakura. He had found out just before he left that she was now training under Tsunade, and when he got back he knew that she would not only have become much stronger, but would have grown he more beautiful that he remembered. His crush on her hadn't died, but he had to put it aside in order to focus more on his training.
Training…Naruto had once jumped at the word, knowing it was the ticket to him achieving his dream of becoming Hokage.
Now, however, he dreaded it. Immediately after he had left, Ero-Sennin had subjected him to the most grueling training routine he had ever experienced in his life. He swore that the man was even more sadistic than his snake-faced former teammate, Orochimaru. They had begun with chakra control lessons, of which Naruto desperately needed, that involved Naruto trying to move and suspend things in air with his chakra. At the same time, however, he'd make Naruto stand in the middle of a lake, or on the trunk of a large tree.
He had never experienced something so agonizingly difficult and tedious in his life.
After the first day of doing it, he had fallen into the lake he had been standing in a total of 321 times, on several of those plunges he had been bitten by something which he still didn't know what it was. He had been ready to kill Ero-Sennin when he got back to camp, but his exhaustion had gotten the better of him, and he had slipped into blissful unconsciousness the moment he entered camp. Jiraiya hadn't stopped teasing him for a great while after that.
Naruto was now on the sixth month of his training, and he had improved a great deal (in his opinion) since he had started. Jiraiya had taught him several new jutsus; mostly fire based ones with a healthy dose of water and earth mixed in as well. Naruto's chakra control had increased as well, but he still was nowhere near the level that Jiraiya wanted him to be, so he still mixed in chakra control to the rest of his exercises.
Naruto would have continued to mull over thoughts of his training and occasionally Sakura, but he was interrupted by a command from Jiraiya,
"Hey brat! Get some firewood will ya?" He said looking up from his perverted work.
"Why can't you get it yourself? I'm busy!" the boy groused, who was surprised that the fire had died down already.
"Because I'm you sensei, brat, and if you refuse we can always go back to that "special" training that I designed for you." The man snapped, glaring at Naruto, "besides I need to finish editing my latest work!" He blushed a little at that but paid no heed to Naruto, who had paled slightly at the mention of the "special" training. I won't go into details, but it involved several large rocks, a piece of rope, and Naruto's tree climbing ability. Needless to say, Naruto never wanted to do it again.
So he got up, mumbling "Stupid Ero-Sennin," and grabbed his still drying shirt from the branch he hung it on, and left the campsite, still grumbling.
He walked through the forest, occasionally grabbing a piece of wood that he thought could be used, but soon found himself at the water's edge. He walked along it for a while, trying to spot any potential pieces of firewood near the edge of the forest.
A sudden glimmer caught his attention, however, and he turned to the pond. He walked over, squatting down low as he peered into the clear water, searching for the source of the glimmer.
He found it.
It was a small, silver pendant, roughly shaped like a clover, with a brilliant green gem imbedded in the center. It was attached to a silver chain, and both the silver and the green gem seemed to glow in the darkness. His curiosity peaked; Naruto picked it up to inspect it more thoroughly.
As he lifted it out of the water, he was only dimly aware that the wind seemed to pick up, throwing leaves around him up into the air. The darkening sky seemed to turn instantly to night, as the winds churned the water of the pond, sending small waves crashing against the shoreline.
It was at this point, that Uzumaki Naruto realized that some god must hate him, muttering to himself,
Seconds later, Naruto vanished in a flash of red light and a swirl of leaves around him.
Back at the campsite, Jiraiya looked up at the darkened sky and muttered,
"What have you done this time brat?"