Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and only use it for entertainment purposes.

Naruto opened his eyes as he greeted the morning's sun. Today he would try for his second time at graduating. It was a little know fact that an academy student could graduate at anytime an exam came up regardless of students grades. Usually the student would only find out about this because his or her year's senior sensei would tell them because they thought the student was ready. This process usually kept students from trying to graduate too early and possibly ruining their confidence at later tries. There was also another way to limit early graduation, as it needed parental or guardian consent but because Naruto was his own guardian, this did not apply to him. Naruto was able to find out about the early graduation when he was younger. Before he became the loud prankster he is today, Naruto was a rather quite child and when everyone does everything to ignore someone enough times, it becomes a conditioned response. Because of this Naruto was able to overhear some adults talking about the subject of early graduation, at the time he did not think much of it. But when he decided that no one would ever ignore him again he figured graduating early would make people acknowledge him.

The first time Naruto signed up for the graduation exam his teacher objected. But because there was no one who could stop Naruto, his objection was ignored: by Naruto mostly. When he actually took the exam Naruto failed it, miserably. When Iruka saw the dejected look on Naruto's face he could not help but think reason for the rules of early graduation were quite relevant. But true to the Naruto he showed everyone, he immediately bounced back saying that he would do better next year. And now that year was here. Naruto walked into the Academy full of confidence on his face, but inside he was a nervous wreck. His Bushins were substandard, his Henge was still producing fish lips and he only had about a meter range for his Kawarimi. All he could really do was hope that this would be one of the times when his luck would prevail and he would do the jutsu correctly.

When he walked into his testing room Naruto saw his two Academy Senseis there waiting for him. His or her own Academy Sensei tested each student, so Iruka and his long time assistant Mizuki would be the ones to test him. "Okay Naruto we'll begin the test with kunai and shuriken," Iruka said. And so the test began Naruto was tested on the basics of being a shinobi with his kunai and shuriken throwing, Taijutsu and finally the part that Naruto dreaded, Ninjutsu. As Iruka watched he hoped for Naruto to pass, even though the Kyuubi sealed inside of Naruto was responsible for his parents death Iruka saw a lot of himself in the blonde boy. "His kunai and shuriken are minimal at best, his Taijutsu is not much better. If he can perform the Bushin correctly he may actually pass." He brought himself out of his thoughts when Naruto came back in from his break. "Alright Naruto, the Ninjutsu you have to perform to graduate is a Bushin."

Naruto gulped and thought, "Here goes nothing." He put his hands together and concentrated pulling out as much chakra as he could, "Bushin!" A burst of smoke appeared and instead of the four Bushins required to graduate there were only two. The problem was the two Bushins would never fool anyone. The one to Naruto's right was lying face down on the floor missing an arm and a leg and pail in color. The one to Naruto's left had no face and was about four centimeters too short.

Iruka blinked for moment then sighed, "You fail again, Naruto."

"Iruka-sensei," Mizuki spoke up, "He did make two Bushins this time, it is an improvement since last time; perhaps we could pass him."

Naruto brightened up at the suggestion and Iruka knew that what he would say next would crush his student, "No Mizuki we cannot allow Naruto to graduate. The Bushins must be good enough to fool an enemy and as you can these will never full an enemy. My judgment stands." Iruka left after that, to an outsider it would look very cruel but Iruka just could not stand to see Naruto's face after his judgment.

A few hours later Naruto was walking away from the Academy going to his favorite, and subsequently only place that would allow him to eat there, restaurant, Ichiruka Ramen. On his way Naruto bumped into Mizuki, "Hey Naruto, don't let what Iruka said get you down."

"Oh don't worry Mizuki-sensei," Naruto said putting on a smile. "There is no way I'll fail next time. And then I'll prove to everyone I can fulfill my dream."

"You really wanted to graduate huh," Mizuki said. Naruto nodded with enthusiastically. "Well this is not normally done but there is a way for you to graduate. But it must be done tonight." Mizuki watched as Naruto's faced brightened, "With the Hokage out of the village visiting Kiri. I'll never get another opportunity like this again. And even if the demon fails it'll be executed for trying to steal the Scroll of Forbidden Seals."

"What do I have to do Mizuki-sensei?" asked an excited Naruto.

"Well all you have to do is take a scroll from the Hokage's residence and learn the techniques in that scroll. It's located…" Mizuki went on to explain just how to reach Scroll of Forbidden Seals.

At his house Iruka was thinking about what had happened as few hours ago. "I'm sorry Naruto. But you have another year to learn what you need to learn. I'll help you pass next time for sure." A sudden pounding on his door brought him out of his thoughts. When he answered the door Mizuki was there waiting for him panting from exertion. "Mizuki what are you doing here?"

"Iruka," Mizuki responded, "The Council has just called for a village wide search."

"Why?" Iruka inquired.

"Naruto was able to sneak into the Hokage's residence and steal the Scroll of Forbidden Seals."

"What?" Iruka was beside himself after that, "Does anyone know why?"

"No," Mizuki answered.

"Alright," Iruka said. "I'll join in the search."

Out in the forest Naruto just fell back into a seated position, "Alright the second one learned. I wonder why it was easier to learn that one than it was Kage…" before Naruto to finish a person dropped down beside him and slammed him on the head.

"Idiot!" Iruka shouted after he hit Naruto on the head, "Just what do you think you're doing stealing that scroll?"

"Eh?" Naruto rubbed his head in confusion and pain, "But I was told that if I took the scroll and learned some of the jutsus I could graduate." He then jumped to his feet, "And I was able to learn two of the jutsus. Just watch me do them and you'll have to pass me."

"Wait, wait," Iruka was even more confused, "Who told you to stealing that scroll would allow you to pass?"

"Mizuki-sensei did," Naruto answered. "So are you going to…" Naruto never finished his question as he was pushed down. When he looked up he saw Iruka over him with a pained look on his face.

"That was surprising," Mizuki dropped down from the trees. "To think you would protect him of all people."

"Naruto run!" Iruka ordered. "That scroll is the Forbidden Seals Scroll of the village it's very dangerous and Mizuki must not get it!" Naruto frozen in fear did not move once. "GO!" the shout brought Naruto out of his trance and he bolted from the scene.

Mizuki tried to intercept him but Iruka through some kunai to distract him. "Why are you trying to save him?" Mizuki asked. "After all it was him that killed you parents. He is the Kyuubi after all."

Unknown to them Naruto was still within hearing distance and was listing in on them, "Kyuubi? wasn't it killed?" Naruto whispered. "What are they talking about?"

"It must have been sickening to watch over the thing that killed you're parents for the past few years." Mizuki was gloating over the fallen Iruka, "In fact you should thank me in a way, after I'm done killing you I'll kill the demon for you and as payment I'll take the Scroll of Forbidden Seals as my own."

"I admit I hated the idea of watching over what killed my parents, the Kyuubi, and the Hokage for ordering me to," Iruka lowered his eyes.

"So what he said was true," Naruto thought falling even more into depression. "Even Iruka-sensei hates me." Naruto was about to leave when Iruka continued.

"But you know," Iruka said. "After watching him for so long I've come to realize something. He's not the Kyuubi at all and the Hokage was not forcing me to watch it. He was assigning me to watch over a fellow orphan that needed a friend. And if you think I'm going to let you hurt him…!" Iruka lunged at Mizuki only to stumble and fall flat on his face. "What happened?"

"Oh that would be the paralyzing solution I put on the kunais you were hit with," Mizuki said. "Now to kill you and then track down and kill that demon!" Mizuki was about to stab Iruka what a burst of orange collided with Mizuki knocking back three meters.

"Don't touch him," Naruto spoke with a stern voice. "You do and I'll kill you."

"Like you could demon," Mizuki said. "I could crush you with one blow."

"Then why don't you just try?" Naruto yelled.

"Have it your way!" Mizuki yelled back.

Mizuki charged faster than Iruka could follow because of the drug in his system. All he heard was the horrifying sound of metal stabbing into flesh with and the coughing of blood. "Naruto!" Iruka called. But to both Chunins were surprised the Naruto in front of them disappeared. "A Kage Bushin!" Iruka wondered. "Then where is…"

Naruto's voice signaled his location, "That was the first jutsu I learned, here's the second!" He made four quick hand seals then raised his hands up and separated them saying, "Raimei Oru!" Electricity started to gather in between his hands. Naruto then threw it at Mizuki to fast form him to dodge.

"Ahhh!" Mizuki screamed as a small bolt of lightening struck him. He then collapsed his body still sizzling.

"Naruto?" Iruka asked. "What?"

"I heard what was said Iruka-sensei," Naruto said. He then turned to his teacher with tears in his eyes, "Thank you for what you said."

Not liking to see his student cry Iruka thought of a way to cheer him up. "Naruto close you eyes," Iruka said. "I have something for you."

Naruto did as instructed and felt Iruka take his goggles off his head and put something on in their place. He reached up and felt a metal plate where his goggles should have been. His eyes snapped open to reveal a smiling Iruka without his forehead protector on. "Where…?"

"Congratulations, you graduate," Iruka smiled as Naruto went from shock to ecstatic faster than a blink of the eye. The next thing Iruka knew Naruto had him in a bone-crushing hug thanking him over and over again. "Come on Naruto we need to get back and explain everything that happened."

Later that night Iruka explained what happened to the Council. There were actually two Councils, the Council of Clan Leaders that was in charge the everyday running of the village and the Shinobi Council, that were Sandaime's former teammates and were in charge of the village shinobi while he was away. The Shinobi Council was not happy with the news of Naruto stealing the Scroll. Not really because it was Naruto that took the Scroll but that it was stolen by, at the time, an academy student. They would inform the Hokage when he got back and he would have several words for guards that were on duty that night. After the fight was explained they agreed that Naruto more than deserved the rank of Gennin, to which he ran smiled brightly at their statement. He decided there that he liked the old pair just as much as he liked the Hokage. After that the pair was dismissed and Naruto was told to go home for tomorrow he would begin his carrier as a shinobi.

Iruka on the other hand had a headache waiting to happen. He had to meet with the head instructor of the Academy and inform her that Naruto had now passed and then help with assigning the teams. The major problem was there was an even twenty-one graduates this year before Naruto. Perfect for three man teams, but with Naruto as the twenty-second person that just fouled everything up.

"I just don't know what to do," Mai said. She was the Jounin in charge of the Academy, "With Naruto's grades he is at the bottom of the class."

"But then again so is Rock Lee," Seina said. He was the senior instructor of the Academy students a year a head of Iruka's. "Because he can't use Ninjutsu or Genjutsu that made him fail every jutsu test. The only thing that saved him was his Taijutsu, his targeting is only minimally better than Naruto's. And we already balanced the teams out"

"We could always apprentice Naruto out for a few months," Mai suggested. "It has happened before when we had numbers like this."

"I don't think that will be a good idea," Iruka said. "Both of you know what happened so you know that Naruto now knows about himself." The other two nodded, "He needs friends about his own age now more than ever."

"I couldn't agree more Iruka," The Hokage said at the entrance. The three Academy instructors stood at attention as he entered. "And I think I might be able to accommodate you."

The next day Naruto awoke much earlier than he usually did. He wanted to get up early and catch Sasuke and show him that he graduated a year early. Sasuke had this superior attitude over Naruto for as long as he could remember and wanted to shove that attitude right down the Uchiha's throat. As Naruto made his way over to the training grounds he heard a rhythmic beating against wood and went to investigate. When he got there he saw a longhaired boy kicking a training stump repeatedly. As Naruto got closer he could here the boys counting, "432, 433, 434, 435…" and continued as thus.

Naruto was amazed at what this kid was doing and came up to him, "Hey why are you kicking the stump so many times."

Not missing a beat the kid said, "I just graduated, 440 from the, 441 Acadamy,442. And need 443 to train 444 even harder now 445."

"So did I," Naruto said. "I'm Uzumaki Naruto."

The boy turned to Naruto and stopped kicking, "I don't recognize you from our class. But you do have a forehead protector so I believe you. My name is Rock Lee." He then continued to kick the stump.

"Well then I'll see you at the Academy then Lee," Naruto waved. Rock Lee returned the wave not missing the count of 450.

Naruto then continued on to where Sasuke trained and noticed some fresh gashes on the trees but to other sigh of the Uchiha. "Must have just missed him. Oh well I'll shove it in his face later then. I need to get to the Academy."

When Naruto arrived at the room Iruka told him too Naruto saw that he was a little early. The only ones there were a pale-eyed boy, that looked like that shy girl from his own year and the longhaired boy he met this morning. Lee was glaring at the longhaired boy like Naruto did to Sasuke. But unlike Sasuke the pale-eyed boy just had his eyes closed like he was mediating or something, he only spared Naruto a glance as he came in. "Hey Lee," Naruto called, "Since I don't know anyone besides you mind if I sit with you?"

"Oh hello Naruto-san," Lee greeted. "No I don't mind. That up there is Hyuuga Neji. He's this year's Rookie of the Year."

Naruto looked up and said, "He looks like a bastard to me." Lee could not help but laugh at this. The statement caused Neji to raise open an eye at the blonde but he closed it once again.

Another fifteen minutes passed and the classroom filled up with several more recent graduates, none of which Naruto knew. When the instructor came in, again Naruto did not know him. He called out, "Congratulations on graduating, now you will be teamed up into three man cells and begin missions." Soon eighteen names were called out leaving only four left, Naruto, Lee, Neji and a girl that sat next to Neji that Naruto had not paid much attention to. "Now the last four of you are special cases. Because of the extra graduate you will receive your instructors at the Hokage Office. Report to him after we are done here." Everyone in the room had confused looks on their faces especially the four that were mentioned. The four exchanged looks for the rest of the time.

As they left the girl caught up to Naruto, "So who are you and how are graduating with us if you were not in our class? Oh and I'm Tenten."

"I'm Uzumaki Naruto," Naruto returned, "And I actually graduated early."

This caught Neji's attention, "How were you able to graduate early?"

"I'm sorry but I'm not allowed to tell you," Naruto said. He was truly sorry he wanted to tell everyone how he beat Mizuki, but the Hokage ordered Naruto and Iruka not too. "I was ordered not to tell anyone." This only intrigued those around him more.

When the arrived they were told to go on in by the guards at the door. But not without a hateful glare sent towards Naruto. The only one that seemed to notice was Lee and he wondered if Naruto had done something wrong. As the entered the saw the Hokage with two other men, one was wearing a green outfit and had a bowl style hair cut, the second man was wearing a dark gray uniform and had a sword strapped to his back. When they got closer they noticed his forehead protector did not have a spiral leaf but four squiggles instead. "These are the four I told you two about," the Hokage said.

"Hey Ojiisan," Naruto said, "What did you want to tell us?" His reference to the Hokage got various looks. The green clad adult shook his head at the disrespect, the other Gennins looked shocked, the Hokage brushed it off and the person with the foreign forehead protector laughed a little.

"I called you to tell you about the arrangement regarding your Jounin-sensei," the Hokage said. "Because Naruto and Lee's overall grades are the same we cannot put you on a balanced team like we do the others."

"If he has the same grades as Lee then that means Naruto was a dead last," Tenten said, "Then how did he graduate early?" Neji and Lee were wondering the same thing.

"That is not your concern," The Hokage replied. Tenten just nodded and backed away. "Now for the arrangements. The four of you will be split up among the two here." He gestured to the two men. "This is Maito Gai from here in Konoha and the other is Amaru Nazo from Kiri." This surprised the four Gennins and before they could voice the confusion he continued, "We have just signed a treaty with Kiri for better understanding between our villages. As a result Gennin from both villages will be exchanged over the next year to bolster relations between the two villages. And you four have been selected. For the next few months two of you will be trained in Kiri and the other pair here. Then you will switch off. Not many Gennins receive this opportunity so you should feel grateful." The Gennins did weather they showed it or not. "Now," turning to the two men the Hokage asked, "Which do you two want?"

Nazo spoke first, "Give me the blonde and the girl. According to the statistic you gave me she favors weapons she will do quite well in Kiri. And the boy," he paused and looked into Naruto's eyes, "I like him, and the third member from Kiri will also like him." He exchanged a knowing glance with the two other adults.

"Then I the Green Beast of Konoha will gladly take Lee and Neji!" exclaimed, "Their Flames of Youth will benefit from me."

Lee looked ecstatic about his knew sensei while Neji thought, "I'm stuck with an idiot and an idiot in training." He looked over to Tenten and Naruto and saw relieved looks on their faces and could not help but become envious of them.

"Well if that is all?" Nazo asked, "I would like to introduce my students to their third member and be on our way." The Hokage nodded and the three left the building. "Your third member came with me and is at the hotel we are staying at we'll get her first." They went to the hotel and picked up a white haired girl about Naruto and Tenten's age. "Since you know the best places to eat why don't you pick one and we'll get to know each other."

Before Tenten could say anything Naruto spoke up, "Ichiruka Ramen is the best in town."

"Ok lead the way then," Nazo said.

Once there they ordered and Nazo began, "Well lets start. I guess since we're new here we'll go first. I'm Amaru Nazo. I am one of the Seven Swordsman of Kiri and I like to paint and don't like Missing-nins."

The white haired girl went next, "I am Kawa Yuki. I like water and the winter. I dislike how people look at me and I want to be one of the Seven Swordsman of Kiri."

Tenten went next as Naruto was already ordering his third bowl, "My name if Yamana Tenten. I like weapons of all kinds and Neji from my class. I don't hate anything really and I want to be as strong as the Legendary Tsunade-hime."

Slurping up his ramen Naruto began, "I'm Uzumaki Naruto. I like ramen of all types."

"I kind of got that," Nazo said looking at the seven bowls high stack.

Naruto smiled and continued. "I dislike waiting for ramen," this earned him a laugh from everyone there including the chef. "And my dream is to be the Hokage so that everyone will acknowledge me."

"High aspirations all of you," Nazo said. "It will require a lot of work, but that is why I'm here. Now you two," pointing to Naruto and Tenten, "Return home and pack, for tomorrow we leave for Kiri." He looked around for a minute and then said, "We'll meet here at eight o'clock."

The next day everyone met once again at the ramen stand and then left for the gates. When they were about to leave the two from Konoha turned back with one last look at their home. "Don't worry," Nazo said. "You'll see it again in a few months." And with that the four people left Konoha.

Author' note

I did not know Tenten's last name. The second technique Naruto learned can be translated as, Lighting Breaker. Yuki's name means Snow River and Nazo means Enigma.