I don't Harry Potter or Naruto, damn the rotten luck.
"Tell me something kid," said Jiraiya to the impatient kid that was currently pacing the floor of the inn in which they were staying for the night, "What kind of techniques to you like?"
"Kick ass techniques, duh," said Naruto impatiently, "Why are we stopping, there is still time to travel?"
"We need to rest, we'll make it back to the village in plenty of time tomorrow, now let's try this again. What kind of technique do you like?"
"Well . . ." said Naruto thinking, "I like Ninjutsu like that Rasengan you taught me."
"Hmmm, what about elements?" asked Jiraiya studying the boy. It was true that it was much too early in his career to start learning something as advanced as changing the nature of his chakra but if he could give him a head start then he would do it.
"Hmmm," contemplated Naruto considering all the different Ninjutsu he used. Fire was fun but he usually struggled with it. Earth was really useful and he didn't struggle too much with it but it was mostly defensive. Water was like Earth in that it was mostly just used in defense or even a bit in healing though very rarely. Lightning was cool but he'd had something of a dislike of it from all the times he'd been zapped by Harry with it. Wind was really easy to use and he loved the mass destruction he could cause with it. "Wind, I love the havoc I can cause with it."
"It is fun to blow up women's skirts with it," said Jiraiya daydreaming for a moment before he was brought back to reality by Naruto's fist meeting with the back of his head.
"Ero-sensei," hissed Naruto getting annoyed once again by Jiraiya's lecherous ways.
"Che," complained Jiraiya, "Stupid gaki never let's me have my fun."
"Why do you want to know anyway?" asked Naruto.
"Know what?" asked Jiraiya completely forgetting his earlier questions.
"Which element I like and that other crap," said Naruto getting annoyed again.
"Oh, right, almost forgot about that," said Jiraiya, "Well, seeing as we're just wasting time by not traveling I thought you might like to do a bit of training. I don't think there is enough time to teach you any new techniques but I just might be able to teach you something . . . rare."
This had Naruto raising an eyebrow, "Alright, I'm listening."
"Come with me then," said Jiraiya guiding the brat out of the hotel and into the outskirts of the village.
"So what are we going to do?" asked Naruto excitedly after he helped Jiraiya set up a few small fires to light the area around them. He failed to notice that Jiraiya had set up the fires in very specific locations.
"Come stand here," said Jiraiya pointing at the ground in front of him.
Naruto followed orders though he wasn't sure what the pervert was up to.
"Now, Kata Sho," said Jiraiya as he back away from his sometimes-pupil.
"Huh?" asked Naruto.
"I want you to do Kata Sho of the Kazama-Do," said Jiraiya with a smirk.
"What the hell does this have to do with anything?" asked Naruto impatiently.
"Trust me brat, just do it," said Jiraiya.
Naruto frowned but he did it anyway. He'd only gone six moves in when Jiraiya told him to start over.
"What? Why?" demanded Naruto, "I was doing it just fine."
"Just Fine' is not Good and 'Good' is not Great and 'Great' is not Perfect, now start over and do it right," said Jiraiya.
Naruto grumbled and mumbled several curses towards his teacher but complied all the same. This time Naruto's moves were perfect, they were fast and they were crisp and yet again he was stopped by the sixth move.
"Damnit, I know it was perfect that time. What the hell do you want from me now?"
"It was perfect, but not for this exercise," said Jiraiya knowing full well that he was really beginning to piss off the boy before him.
"Then what the hell do you want me to do?" yelled Naruto angrily.
"Back to first position," said Jiraiya with a slight smirk that he just knew the boy was longing to wipe off his face permanently. "Now, bring your hands together in front of you as if to pray."
Naruto looked at the old man as if he were crazy.
"Just do it," said Jiraiya ignoring the look, "Good, now close your eyes."
Naruto growled but did so.
"I want you to breathe deeply now, deep calming breaths. Breath in . . . breath out . . . breath in . . . breath out . . . breath in . . . breath out . . . breath in . . . breath out . . . breath in . . . breath out . . ." Jiraiya made the boy do this for a good minute or two.
"Good, now that you are much more relaxed we can begin," said Jiraiya before he adopted a sage like voice, "The wind has the power to cut through anything. It will breakdown mountains with enough time. And yet the wind will bend and weave in and around anything in its path as well. You need to learn to move like a leaf on the wind. Let it carry your movements and become as if it is part of you. This is the wind and you must become one with it. Now, I want you to start your Kata Sho again, but this time, I want every move to carry as if on the wind, I want to you do so slowly and deliberately and most importantly I want you to keep your eyes closed. Now concentrate on being one with the wind. Begin!"
Naruto felt the power in Jiraiya's words and did as he was told. He concentrated on being the wind. He concentrated so hard on moving as it he were part of the wind.
Unknown to him Jiraiya smiled sneakily as he watched Naruto move. Every move near a fire would cause the fire to jump slightly as if enticed by the wind. As he progressed the fire began to jump a bit higher but only in the slightest bit. It would be a very long time before Naruto would really and truly understand just what it was he'd begun that day.
There were very few times in his life that Albus Dumbledore was ever truly afraid. The first time he kissed a girl when he was just a young man of 15, but then again any man would have been afraid to kiss Maud Floretta Jerkins and her rather unsightly lip fungus. He still shivered to this day when ever he remembered that lip fungus. The second time he was truly afraid was just before the final battle with Grindewald. The third and forth time came when he dueled Voldemort personally. And then there was this moment.
He was going to be meeting with the new Hokage. A person who was entirely capable of killing without a single feeling of remorse and conceivably, even more dangerous and psychotic that Voldemort himself. Yes, Albus Dumbledore was scared.
"Albus get control of yourself this instant," ordered his rather strict deputy headmistress, "If you go in there shaking the way that you are now you'll no doubt be killed for showing such fear."
Albus took several deep breathes schooling himself to get control of himself. After a few moments his hands finally stopped shaking. It was then he grabbed the garbage can and emptied the contents of his recently eaten lunch.
"There now, are you feeling better? Calmer perhaps?" asked Minerva severely, "Honestly, they have invited you, I very much doubt they are just going to invite you in only to kill you."
"But Minerva, that is exactly what they do," said Albus, "The point of their profession is that you don't know you're dead until it is too late. This new Hokage could very well decide to cancel the mission and have the remaining shinobi execute the entire populous of the school without a second thought and they would no doubt follow orders. I am not so optimistic to think that this new leader will be in any way shape or form a kind and compassionate man like Sarutobi was. It is just not their way."
"Do you honestly believe that Harry would just suddenly turn and assist in killing off the entire school?"
"I want to believe that he would not," said Albus with a fond smile before a distant look over came him as he remembered back on how eager Harry was to end Severus' life at only eleven years old. "But I will not delude myself so completely. I believe that Harry will do whatever is necessary to kill Voldemort. I believe that he will do everything in his power to protect young Miss Weasley. But I do not believe for one second that he will not follow a direct order from his leader, no matter how dark or horrible it may be. You must always bear in mind Minerva that he is first and foremost a Shinobi before he is anything else."
Minerva lost a significant bit of color in her face as she reflected on those young children she'd grown so close to over the past years. Could they really have just been displaying a façade to put her and their peers at ease around them? If that were so, then just how cold blooded could those children truly be? Just the thought of it made her feel dizzy and nauseous. She quickly sat in one of the arm chairs in the hopes of calming herself and not joining Albus in vomiting in the trash.
"Now, I must go, it would not be prudent to be late to our appointment," said Albus taking hold of a marble from a dish on his desk and tapping it with his wand causing the tiny glass ball to glow blue for a moment.
Albus landed with a soft step in the office. It did not look much different from when Sarutobi had the office, but then the new Hokage had barely been in place for more than a few hours. It was doubtful that the new Hokage had even been inaugurated to the position yet.
"Please have a seat, I'll be with you in a moment," said a very feminine and pleasant voice that sounded somewhat familiar to Albus.
Albus sat himself down feeling much more relaxed than only moments ago. Something about this woman put him at ease. It was then that he suddenly remembered where he was and sat up much straighter than before.
"You can relax, nothing is going to happen to you while you are still a paying client," said the woman with a hint of amusement in her voice.
Albus looked to the woman in surprise. He was certain that his Occlumency barriers were completely intact. He hadn't even felt the subtle pull of any illusions that the Shinobi frequently used.
"No, I'm not reading your mind," said the woman with an almost snort of laughter. She'd not even looked up at him from the file she was currently reading.
Albus decided to study this woman before him. Could she have been the new Hokage? Or was she just a secretary? Perhaps even a bodyguard? Or something more? Some tea would have been great at that moment while he pondered the woman before him.
The woman reached over and pushed a button on the intercom system of her desk, "Shizune, please bring us some tea."
At that Albus nearly jumped out of his skin. Something was not right. How was this woman able to read him so well with having said a word or even attempting to penetrate his mental barriers?
It was only a moment a later that a short brunette entered with a small tray with a small tea pot and a pair of cups. The woman poured the tea before leaving silently without saying a word.
Albus took the cup into his hands and as he was about to drink he paused. Could this have been poisoned?
"It's not poisoned. If we really wanted you dead you would be already. We're not going to waste expensive poison to kill you when there are much simpler and faster ways. You can test it if you wish," said the blonde woman taking her own cup and taking a short sip.
Albus took a deep breath and took a leap of faith and took a sip. It was a very pleasant tea. Different from anything he'd ever had in England, he found himself smiling slightly as he enjoyed the rather splendid tea.
"I'll have a box prepared for you to take with you when you leave," said the woman still not looking at him. In fact she was now scrutinizing the same file trying to find some sort of flaw or such thing.
"I beg your pardon?" asked Albus slightly confused.
"The tea," she replied as more of a murmur as she bit her lower lip as she read further into the same file.
Albus was very unsure how he should react. It was true that he would love to bring back some of the tea for himself. It was simply eerie how she was able to pick up on these things without even looking at him. Albus was unsure how long he sat or how many glasses of tea he drank as he waited on the blonde woman to speak but after a rather long wait she finally closed the fifth file folder and put it down on her desk before turning to face him.
"I apologize for the long wait but I had to fully review both the mission parameters and the personnel file on the Shinobi you currently employ. I only arrived about ten minutes before you so I had no time to review before your arrival," she began.
"Understandable," said Albus with a considerate nod, "If I may ask just to be certain, you are the new Hokage?"
The woman barked out a laugh, "That figures, the rotten brat," she continued to laugh merrily.
"Forgive me but I am at a bit of a loss, what is so humorous?" asked Albus cautiously.
"Naruto, he didn't tell you anything about me did he?"
"Only that you were 'scary strong' and 'easily angered'. He did not mention that you were a woman or . . . anything else really," said Albus.
The woman's eyebrow twitched, "When I get my hands on that little brat I'm going to beat him senseless," she growled out under her breath. "Sorry, I'll deal with Naruto later. I'm Tsunade. I'm the new Hokage. I was Sarutobi's student once upon a time."
Albus suddenly felt all of the tension he'd been feeling fade away. If she was half as kind as Sarutobi then she would be an excellent woman to know and hopefully a good friend.
"Yes, I think I shall have to have words with Naruto myself later," said Albus with a slight grumble. "He had me quite worried from his short missive."
"Yes, he shall definitely be dealt with later," said Tsunade, "Now, let's get down to business. You've employed a full Genin team for almost the last two years full time, or nearly so. I've reviewed the reports and it seems that this is a bit excessive for such low threat mission. I realized that should Voldemort ever regain a body that the need for such heavy guard will become necessary and probably much harder to integrate into the school without gaining too much notice beyond normal. I can also appreciate that you are provide these young children with an opportunity to learn a new skill that could be quite useful to them and to this village."
"So am I to understand that you will allow the . . . mission to continue as originally planned?" asked Albus curiously.
"Yes the mission will continue, however, I have some new requirements with regards to the fee. As I see it, I am sending Genin . . . Shinobi that are especially important to this village during this time as we try to recover from the attack. We need every shinobi we can get on active duty. According to the yearly report from Anko and her students there are some severe shortcomings that must be addressed. Harry is an outstanding student both as a shinobi and as a wizard. I see no need for a change in his program. Shikamaru has grown exceptionally as a shinobi, however as a wizard he is falling short. His test scores are almost as bad as Naruto's but his practical work is much better, especially in his charms work. Apparently it appeals to his lazy nature and has become something of an enabling crutch. I want his test scores to rise to within the top tenth percentile or he will be removed and replaced with a fresh Genin that will take this a bit more seriously. And then there is Naruto." Tsunade paused to reach into her drawer and pull out a small white bottle and add a little of the liquid inside to her tea. She offered some to Albus but he kindly rejected the offer. She sat silently as she sipped on her tea for a while before turning her chair to look out over the village.
"Am I to assume there is a problem with Naruto?" asked Albus.
"Several glaring problems," said Tsunade with a heavy sigh. "The top most of which is simply that he is by far the most advanced Shinobi in his age group. That is what took me so long with the files, his was the first file and the absolute longest file I've ever seen. His academy scores were passable but mostly because Harry had helped him every step of the way. His written test scores placed him as dead last academically and I've seen the same trend continue with his score's at Hogwarts. However, his practical shinobi skills are so far advanced of any of his cohort that I have little doubt that he could probably become a Jounin himself within the next year or two with intensive training. Training that has been offered by a Kage level shinobi that has only ever had one student, Naruto's father. So you can imagine my hesitation. His strength and stamina when matched off with his speed make him the perfect shinobi weapon with one big problem, he lacks knowledge and experience. He suffers from an extreme lack of text book knowledge and history and he seems to have no drive to learn it."
Albus sat back in deep thought, "You don't believe he is benefiting any by being at Hogwarts." It wasn't a question.
"He is and he isn't. He's able to train almost full time but he isn't getting any experience in shinobi mission and protocol. This is something that Anko will begin to drill them on more and more over the next year. Hopefully this will help with his operational awareness. The biggest benefit is that it gives him time away from the village without the hateful glares of the villagers that only see the Kyubi and not him. This could also be a problem if he were to suddenly decide that he no longer wished to return. This village has already invested millions of Ryo on the boy's education and training. If he were to choose to leave, the village would recoup its losses one way or another and there would be nothing I could do to protect him at that point in time."
"So you still intend to send him back to Hogwarts, or at least I assume so based on your opening statement," said Albus.
"This will be his last chance. If he does not raise his course work to at least within the top twentieth percentile both practical and academic then he will be permanently returned to the village for strictly Shinobi only training. I've already made this perfectly clear to him. In addition though, I've given him all of the Konoha history and diplomatic policy along with the long version of the shinobi code. He will have completely learned this material by the time he returns next summer or once again, he will be pulled and made to learn it here under the tutelage of Morino Ibiki and believe me when I say that is not something you or anyone for that matter will ever want to experience. I will leave it up to you how he learns it but he will learn it. If he plans to be the next Hokage then he will need to know that information inside and out with absolute perfection. Any questions?" asked Tsunade finally turning back to the old man.
Albus was a bit lost in thought. He'd basically been told, though not directly, that Naruto was to be groomed to be the next Hokage. "Naruto must have made one hell of an impression on you."
Tsunade smiled, "You could say that. Oh, and one more thing, Naruto has been instructed that he is not allowed to ask for help with this and I would ask that you not volunteer the help to him. This is a test . . . a test to prove that he really and truly wants to become the next Hokage."
"I understand, I will do what I can to encourage him but I believe that he will be more than driven enough to accomplish the task on his own. Is there anything else or may I collect my errant students and depart?"
This time Tsunade smirked, "Oh, just one more little thing . . ."
"Naruto-kun," mumbled a soft voice disturbing the boy from his frantic packing of his room.
"Eh?" he said a he looked over his shoulder to find the ever shy and nervous Hinata waiting on him. "Oh, hi there Hinata-chan."
"Hello," she stuttered out. She'd not spoken to him since she woke up in the Hospital next to him almost two months ago. Lucky for her she was able to sneak away without anyone catching her. She was also very lucky that her father had not caught her or checked up on her during the night or she just knew she'd have been disowned.
"How have things been while I was away?" asked Naruto as he returned to his frantic packing.
"Busy," she answered nervously, "Ano . . . father wishes to see you before you go."
"Whatever, he can wait until I've finished packing," said Naruto as just continued on with task.
Hinata was appalled. No one ever kept Hyuga Hiashi waiting. "But Naruto-kun, he will be angry if you do not come now," she barely managed to stutter out. She wanted to protect him from her father's wrath. She didn't want to lose him.
"So what?" asked Naruto continuing with his packing, "If he gets angry from being made to wait ten minutes then he seriously needs to work on his patience." Naruto chuckled a little pausing in his packing, "Not that I'm really one to speak I guess eh Hinata-chan?"
Hinata was stunned. Naruto thought it was funny. She was worried for his well-being and he thought it was funny. "Naruto-kun," she nearly yelled, "Let's go now, I will help you pack after."
Naruto stopped packing and looked at Hinata sharply causing her to recoil in. She was shocked by what she just said. She just knew that it would make Naruto hate her.
"Okay, fine," said Naruto dropping the items in his arms to clatter to the floor messily, "You win, we'll go see your father now."
Hinata paled once more. Naruto was listening to her. She yelled, and he listened. It couldn't possibly have been true.
Naruto walked out of the room, "So where is the old man?"
Hinata jumped in surprise, she was not paying attention, "Ano . . . he's in the tea room."
"Great," said Naruto with a smile, "Let's go."
Hinata walked along silently next to Naruto. She was feeling so very curious as to why he listened to her when he never listened to anyone but Harry, his sensei Anko, or the Hokage and even that was questionable. "Ano . . . Naruto-kun?"
"Yeah," said Naruto looking at Hinata.
"Ano . . . why . . . why did you listen to me back there?"
Naruto laughed a little, "Because you spoke up. You always stutter around me and everyone else. So I figured that since you spoke up it must have been important."
"Oh," said Hinata in surprise.
"Now let's go," said Naruto taking Hinata's hand without even thinking about it.
Hinata blushed furiously when Naruto took her hand but somehow she managed not to faint. It would not do well to faint now that she was finally getting closer to her future husband. Instead she smiled shyly and pulled herself a little bit closer to her Naruto. She failed to notice the faint blush the graced Naruto's cheeks.
They arrived to find Hiashi waiting and patiently sipping tea. He almost seemed surprised to see them.
"I must say, I was expecting you to take a bit longer," said Hiashi as he motioned for them to sit before the empty tea cups.
"Well, Hinata can be persuasive when she wants to be," said Naruto with a slight grin.
Hiashi suppressed his smirk at that and instead preceded with his reasons for summoning him, "I've asked you here because I understand you are to rejoin your teammate and instructor for your mission. I have also been informed that you have been given some very harsh terms that will dictate your ability to continue with said mission. Is this correct?"
"Yeah, what's your point?" asked Naruto not liking the look on Hiashi's face in the slightest.
"Well, it has occurred to me that you still need numerous etiquette lessons and you have yet to study any of the Hyuga family history. While you might not be joining this family you will still be a part of it. As such, I have spoken to the Hokage and she fully agrees with me that these lessons will be essential for your future," said Hiashi with a slight upturn at the corners of his mouth. He was really enjoying the look on Naruto's face at that moment. He couldn't wait to let out the next surprise.
"You bastard," mumbled Naruto, "So let me guess, I now have to learn all of that as well?"
"Indeed, but you will not have to be perfect by the end of the year cycle. This will be ongoing for the next several years," said Hiashi calmly just waiting for the right moment.
"And who exactly is going to teach me. I don't know if you're aware of this but Anko-Sensei isn't exactly polite, well-mannered or cultured in the slightest."
At that Hiashi smiled and gave a small look to Naruto's left before looking the boy in the eye again and simply relishing in the gob smacked look on Naruto's face.
"NO!" shouted Naruto standing up and pointing a finger at him, "NO WAY! NOT HAPPENING!"
"Hinata will be joining you at your school once a month for lessons. You will also be required to correspond with her by letter every week without fail. She will be assisting you with your history and etiquette lessons as such. And before you even bother arguing Tsunade-sama has already approved."
"YOU!" Naruto shouted pointing a finger at the man but he couldn't think of anything grand enough to call the man at that moment. Instead he settled for growling at the man and turning and storming away from them both.
"Hinata, you'd best go after your future husband and calm him down. You don't need any undue stress or tension between the two of you when you go to see him in two weeks."
With that Hinata scurried out of the room to find her Naruto-kun.
With a sudden tug Naruto and Shikamaru were off.
"So troublesome," complained Shikamaru upon landing in the Headmaster's office.
"Quit your bitching Shikamaru," said an icy voice that sent chills down both of their spines.
"Anko-sensei," said Naruto with a false cheerfulness, "How nice to see you again!" While under his breath he added "you crazy homicidal psychotic bitch."
Anko only twitched slightly telling Naruto that she heard him loud and clear much to his displeasure. "Orders?"
Shikamaru sighed as he and Naruto handed over their orders to her.
"Welcome back to team hell, it's been rather boring without the both of you to torture . . . not that Harry and Ginny haven't made for sufficient entertainment."
"Where is he anyway?" asked Naruto. He was expecting him to be here to greet him.
"Class you dolt," said Anko with her favorite sadistic grin adorning her face.
"Class shall be let out for lunch shortly, you are both welcome to meet them in the Great Hall," imposed Dumbledore before Anko could do anything too sadistic. As it was he received a glare that nearly made him wet himself from the woman just for ruining her fun.
"Great," said Naruto, "Unlimited Ramen, here I come baby!"
"So troublesome," complained Shikamaru as he lazily followed the hyperactive boy through the hall. If one looked close enough you could see the corner of Shikamaru's lips upturned in a very slight smile of fondness.
Naruto only had two objectives for that day: Eat as much free ramen as possible and kick Harry's ass. So far his first objective was going well as he dug into his seventh bowl of Ramen.
His second objective was about to come to fruition as well except that he didn't know it. Naruto was completely jarred from his eating when a fist came into contact with his face sending him crashing along the bench and across the stone floor after he ran out of bench to slide along.
"Jerk!" shouted the all too familiar voice of Naruto's one and only cousin, "What the hell took you so long?"
Naruto looked up from the floor to see his smiling cousin, "You know I'm going to have to kick your ass for that later?"
"We'll see who kicks whose ass?" retorted Harry with a grin as held out a hand to help Naruto up off the floor.
Naruto took the hand to pull himself up. It was much to Harry's surprise when Naruto kept going up into the air bringing his knee to meet Harry's chin rather painfully.
Harry sprawled on the floor after the knee to his chin. And yet despite the paid he was in from the hit he was still grinning.
"Welcome back," said Harry sitting up and standing on his own this time lest Naruto get another cheap shot on him.
"Good to be back," said Naruto with a grin.
"Boys!" said Hermione in disbelief.
"So troublesome," complain Shikamaru before he found his head pushed forward into his own bowl of ramen noodles.