A/N: Wow, I haven't written a single fanfiction for soooooo long! Well, that is going to stop right away. Sorry for all those people who liked "UN, SP", but I had to take it away... ( It was like a stain on my brain, because it had such flaws. I really hope you guys can forgive me for reading sub-par entertainment.

Professional Ninja Skills for Idiots

Chapter 1

"Wh-a-at?" Naruto said, looking disgruntled as he unwrapped the plain plastic covering the slim object. Well, it was less 'unwrapped' and more like 'tore', actually. "'Professional Ninja Skills for Idiots'? That's your idea of a good birthday present!"

"Don't dismiss this book before you check it out, Naruto… it's really quite good!" Iruka exclaimed, patting the boy's spiky yellow hair. "I went to another town to get it, and this was the last book left on the shelves, you know… Hmm. Rather coincidental, that, since the stock had just been renewed." Iruka mused.

The two were at Ichiraku's, a semi-famous Ramen Bar near the central area of Konohagakure, celebrating Naruto's twelfth birthday – it was only a few more weeks to the Genin exam, and both were quite anxious, though for quite different reasons.

Iruka was anxious because he hoped for the best, for Naruto, and yet he knew the blond-haired Genin-to-be (well, hopefully, in any case) would have to train hard indeed if he wanted to have any chance at passing. 'His Jutsus, to be frank, are downright terrible,' Iruka thought with a touch of despair. 'At this rate, he'll probably have to stay in the Academy for another 2 years, at least!'

On the other hand, Naruto was anxious because the noodles he'd ordered hadn't come yet, and he really was quite hungry.

The Ichiraku Ramen Bar was no lavish palace – it was just a stall set on the side of the road, with only a flimsy waterproof cloth supported with wooden poles to protect the stall's customers' heads from the ravages of Nature. A line of hard, wooden stools – no more than ten – were set just in front of the stall, comfortably under the protection of the half-tent.

At the moment, the temperature was comfortable, cool but not too cold. Dressed in his orange jumpsuit, Naruto sighed in contentment when the noodles finally came. The chef's daughter, a rather pretty girl, set the bowl on the table with a clack of plastic, smiling as she did so. "Happy birthday, Naruto! My father says to tell you that this is on the house, as thanks for being such a loyal customer. He also put extra ingredients in, so enjoy yourself!"

"Really?" Naruto's eyes grew large and moist. "That's so nice of him! Ramen is my most favourite food, ever! Thanks a lot!" he cheered. She smiled and walked back, humming as she went to attend to another customer. As she left, Naruto held his hands above the bowl of noodles, rubbing his hands together happily as the steam moistened his palms. Chopsticks flashed, and in an instant, half his bowl had vanished into thin air – or Naruto's stomach, as the case was. Glancing to his right, he saw Iruka gazing blankly into space.

"Ne, Iruka-sensei… why aren't you eating your noodles? You don't like it? Well, I'll help you finish-" Naruto added helpfully, before Iruka realized what was going on.

"NO!" With great speed, Iruka snapped his chopsticks just in time to fend off Naruto's approaching ones. "It's mine!" Sighing, Iruka shook his head. "I was just thinking… do you want to become a better ninja, Naruto?"

Naruto sighed with disappointment at failure to attain Iruka's noodles, but brightened up considerably when he turned to his own. However, a frown crossed his face at Iruka's question. "Well…" Naruto pondered, swirling his ramen around. "Of course I do! It's just that sometimes I'm not sure of stuff… or, you know, I don't really…"

"Don't really listen in class?" Iruka asked rhetorically, after swallowing a mouthful of hot noodles. "Yeah, I gathered. Just… promise to read the book carefully, okay? The bookshop owner assured me it was great stuff."

"Uh… okay, I guess." With that, the hyperactive ninja dug in and demolished the rest of his meal. "Mmm, that's good! Another bowl! My friend here's paying for me, so ya don't have to worry!" he shouted to the chef as he raised his bowl up. The old man nodded solemnly back.

"Yes, Ichiraku's does have the best… hey!" Iruka protested.

Later that day, back in Naruto's apartment, the blond boy opened the book and flopped on his bed. "I guess if Iruka-sensei tells me to read it, it can't be too bad…" Naruto muttered. Turning to the front page, the boy read the words contained therein.

Professional Ninja Skills for Idiots

Are you:

A failure at ninja classes?

Almost a dropout?

Determined to become better?

Do you:

Suck at all things ninja?

Find your peers laughing at you missing your target during shuriken practice by a mile, or failing to perform even a simple Jutsu completely?

Well then, you've bought the right book! This guide is determined to teach you how to succeed in all your adventures where Ninja skills are concerned!

'Hmm. Well, I'm definitely not an idiot! I'm NOT!' Naruto yelled in the recesses of his mind. 'But,' he conceded, 'I might have a little trouble with some stuff the Academy teaches…'

So saying, the Genin-in-training flipped to the next page. He spent the whole of that day absorbed in the book, never noticing the time passing by.

The next day, Naruto was woken up by the first, orange-red beam of slanting light of the morning blaring onto his face between a ragged hole in his curtains. Not that they were very high quality curtains in the first place, but Naruto felt slightly dismayed at it. It was like his whole apartment was going to pot (which it was, actually – second-hand goods can only get you so far)…

"Stupid curtains! Waking me up so darn early in the morning… what's the best ninja in Konohagakure and the future Hokage to do?" Naruto complained. His apartment often got lonely, and he had learnt that filling it up with idle chatter the next best thing to having another person in the house. It was startlingly obvious that Naruto lived alone. There was only one of everything, after all; one chair, one bed, one table, one – admittedly old - fridge (that in itself had been a luxury; Naruto had gotten it from a junkyard, deposited there by some rich, elderly man) and so on and so forth.

However, that empty, practically derelict apartment might have led you to believe that Naruto was antisocial, or that he was a stooge, the sort of person who goes straight home after work and complains bitterly about going out on Saturdays or Sundays. That would be the gravest of mistakes, for the blond was anything but.

He lived, breathed and ate social contact; he was the kind of person who would shout and wave his hand in the air to volunteer at those awkward magic shows that everyone expects the world of but are sadly disappointed at the end of it. He was also the kind of person who had no qualms of broadcasting his own opinions, no matter how controversial, to the whole world making sure that everyone heard it.

However, you would also be most seriously mistaken if you thought that he was the life of the party, the golden boy who everyone laughed not at, but with. For that was not the case. For some obscure reason, Naruto was the target of extreme dislike by all the villagers. Perhaps the target of hate, even.

Naruto was – quite understandably – very confused by all this, though in truth it really didn't take that much to confuse him in the first place. He was also very hurt, but usually he forgot the 'hurt' part after a bowl or two of piping hot ramen straight from the pot. He didn't mind the Instant Cup variant either. It was probably all he ate.

After brushing his teeth – something the perky ninja did very carefully, as he always did since the day he heard the chef of Ichiraku's saying stoutly that he would refuse service to anyone with rotting teeth, because it disgusted him to think of all that stuff on the chopsticks and bowls of the place – Naruto hummed, skipping along to the kitchen where he opened a cupboard and whisked a plastic container out.

As he did so, however, his eyes bugged out. "Only… only two left," he mumbled, almost disbelievingly. "Kami-sama, I've got to get more money from the old guy before I starve to death." With that, he turned away, closing the cupboard using the back of his hand, with a sort of comfortable ease that took years of living in and getting used to a particular environment to achieve.

As he ate, he pondered about the book Iruka-sensei had given him. The first ten pages had been a pointless tirade about training, its good points, its bad points (which the book said it had none) and the fact that training gave you large muscles that everyone liked.

Naruto was quite alarmed at the end of that. "What the…? Iruka-sensei, what have you done, wasting your money on this when you could have bought me ramen!" he thought despairingly, though he did rather fancy the thought of having bulging muscles. He read on, somewhat more cautiously.

It is ideal that Taijutsu should be practiced first. This is for a few reasons, most important of which is that Taijutsu further conditions one's body to incredible extremes (such as noted in pg. 235 describing the infamous 'Iron Head' Yamaka, the Hidden Stone Jounin who could break wood, bone and stone through repeated focus of training on his skull). Though one may focus more on the other parts of Shinobi, if one's body is not sufficiently sturdy to receive more than one or two blows from anyone with basic Taijutsu training, it is definite that one will, inevitably, fail.

Also, once you train in other areas of the Shinobi, you may not want to return to the more basic, painful and grueling exercises that Taijutsu is made of.

Taijutsu is the only one of the three areas in Shinobi that can only be gained through hard work. The advanced techniques cannot be copied without grievious injury to the copier in question unless the copier has already mastered the techniques leading up to that point. This is why many Shinobi prefer to master this section rather than go for Ninjutsu and Genjutsu, as history is full of the many Shinobi who have fallen to those who copy their techniques better than themselves (for more information on one such individual, refer to pg. 85-87, under section "Famous Ninjas", subsection "Konoha", topic "Copy-Nin Kakashi").

Taijutsu also helps in building Chakra capacity, and as such is a logical stepping stone before doing advanced Ninjutsu.

"Eh," grunted Naruto. "Whatever. My head hurts. I'll just go train." With that, he strode off, leaving the book open and on the dining table, next to a desolate ramen cup, with the gently swirling soup inside filled with lost dreams and preservatives.


A/N: So, whaddaya think? Remember, REVIEW! REVIEW! REVIEW! Thank you. It really does make me happy, ya know. Hate it? Review. Love it? Review. Don't give a damn? Review too. A simple "ROFL" or "nice" or "lol! Woot!" is fine. Also, I love all pairings - NarutoxSakura and NarutoxIno aren't my favourites, but I don't mind. I do, however, like NarutoxTemari and NarutoxSasuke (I have nothing against Yaoi, if you wondered. In fact, I rather like it). I WILL NOT, however, do kinky 'lil things like NarutoxOrochimaru or something like that. I repeat, this is a NARUTOCENTRIC fic, and as such, might feature other minor parings but will mostly be NarutoxMysteryPerson. Now, who this mystery person is, is UP TO YOU. Yes, that's right. You get a choice! YAY! Well, go ahead - guess what? To use it, you're gonna have to review. (I smirk). Ain't that cunning of me? Well, get to it, then! State the pairing you want, and then any comments about my fanfic. Reviews make me work faster!