"Hey, dead-last, don't you know only those who passed the test can come to this meeting?"

Naruto turned and smirked, pointing proudly to the Konoha forehead-protector tied sideways around his neck. "What are ya, blind?"

"Huh," the other boy said, a little startled. He peered closer at the metal plate, as if trying to check for forgeries. "When did YOU get this?"

"Ano sa, ano sa," Naruto began excitedly, launching into an excited retelling of his adventures the night before, attracting an interested if mostly unbelieving audience. When he was winding up with an account of how Iruka-sensei had bestowed a forehead-protector on him in a morning ceremony, complete with an audience of awed shinobi, a voice called from the crowd.

"So, what's with the new look, Uzumaki?"

It wasn't really a new look. Naruto had tied his orange jacket around his waist, that was all, baring his black t-shirt to the world. (more a matter of being overheated than of fashion, actually...) He had tied his Konoha headband, collar-like, around his neck. But most of all were the new goggles on his head - larger than his old ones, with orange lens and a silver frame.

"Oh, these?" Naruto said, pulling them off his head. He held the new goggles in his hands, turning them over thoughtfully. "...after Iruka-sensei gave me my Konoha protector, I was just wandering around...and near that big rock with all the names, you know..."

"The Memorial Stone?" someone supplied.

"Yeah, yeah. Well, I bumped into this kid there." Naruto grinned at the memory. "He was really cool! He asked me if I was a genin - " He stuck his tongue out at the original questioner. "See, someone recognizes me for my talent. Then, then, we ended up sparring a little. He was pretty good!"

The class made surprised noises. Naruto was notorious for never complimenting anyone else (except Sakura) always proclaiming he could do better. Who was this kid that Naruto actually sounded nice about?

"But then I had to go, because it was almost time for the meeting," Naruto said, sounding regretful. He perked up as he added, "But then, but then...he said, to congratulate me for becoming genin today, he'd give me his goggles!" He held them up proudly. "Aren't they cool?"

Then Iruka came storming in, and the new genin filed into their seats. Naruto, lost in thought, never even noticed his crush and her best friend fighting over Sasuke-bastard. He just sat at his seat near the front of the class (next to, though he didn't pay attention to him, a slumbering Shikamaru).

He hoped Obito-niisan would spar with him again soon.

to you from failing hands we throw
the torch; be yours to hold it high

-Flanders Field

AN: because I joined the Obito FC. :D