Kay guys! I'm starting my first story! Wish me luck... wait, scratch that, considering I've already posted this... Anyways, hope you like it.

WARNING: I'm not too sure. Rated T for sure, might be T+. Positively not M. You have been warned evil laugh.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NARUTO... YEAH... THE ONLY THING THAT BELONGS TO ME IN THIS STORY IS THE PLOT... UM... YEAH...

Chapter One: The Journey Begins

Naruto watched as Sakura winked at him. "Next time, we'll do it together, Naruto!" she said and ran off.

That definitely cheered him up.

"So, what are you gonna do?" Shikamaru asked.

"Huh?" he snapped back into reality.

"Sasuke's gone. He's with Orochimaru. What are you going to do? You're staying here for at least another day. What are you going to do once you're out?"

Naruto's closed a bit and softened. "I don't know..."

There was a long and uncomfortable silence between.

"I'm sorry." Naruto suddenly said.

Well isn't that out of character..."What do you mean?"

"Your first mission... You picked me... Everyone did their part... Everyone sacrificed to lead to my part... And I choked... I had a chance to knock him unconscious... But I didn't... I was too soft... To-Too unwilling to let go... And in the end, I lost him... I'm sorry... I guess because of me your beginning as a chuunin didn't turn out too well."

Shikamaru chuckled. "If we hadn't lost, I would have never learned how to manage a team properly. I would have never faced such an amazing battle. I would have never learned to take risks, to believe the impossible... and to trust my teammates. I should be thanking you." he said.

Naruto managed to smile back, though it still hurt.

"Oy, Naruto."

"Yeah?"

"One more thing before I leave. You're an excellent fighter. Strong stamina, crazy powerful moves, good last minute thinking. But it would make you ten times stronger if you had a plan, controlled your emotions, and stayed hidden."

Naruto sighed. It sounded like something Iruka sensei would tell him. Only now, it meant much, much more. Because, for the first time, Naruto realized, it wasn't just a stupid lecture... It was true. And it would have helped their mission... all their missions so much more...

"If you can learn to not show your opponents all your moves and brag, you could be really, really useful." Shikamaru advised. "But, thanks man."

"Spoken like a true leader." Naruto replied faking a smile.

Shikamaru gave him a chess book.

"Nani! What's this? Homework?"

"Read it. It'll help you." he said.

Naruto sighed grumpily but stuck out his clenched fist anyways.

Shikamaru raised an eyebrow.

Naruto took Shikamaru's hand, made it into a fist, and put it on top of his. "Down, up, sideways." They did the 'handshake'. "See ya man." he said.

Shikamaru nodded and left.

In truth, Naruto felt worse than ever. All those years at the academy... If only I had taken that seriously... I have such a good stamina, such good jutsus... Just a pathetic, loud mouth brain... Now the voice of Sakura sayind, 'Shut up Naruto! You're so annoying!' came into his mind, and Naruto felt worse than ever. Shit...

Suddenly, there was a loud thump outside. The next thing he new, Jaraiya entered.

"Ero-se --"

"Nice to see you, too, kid." he interrupted. "Stop calling me that."

"What do you want?" Naruto complained. He didn't want a lecture on how bad he did – he felt bad enough as it was.

"Jeez, kid! That isn't a nice way to treat your new sensei."

"SAY WHAT?"

"Yup! I've decided to take you on as my student. You, me, and bunch of stip --"

"Get to the point!"

"for the next three years." Jaraiya finished.

Naruto thought about it. "The last student of yours was Yondaime..."

Jaraiya nodded solemnly. And kid... You're gonna shine just like him...

Naruto, for the first time in his life, sat down and thought for a while.

Jaraiya raised his eyebrows. "You're thinking? Wow, do you have a fever or something?" he asked.

Naruto ignored him. He told what Shikamaru told him previously, and how he felt. "I feel damn useless, and I'm wondering if becoming your student will help."

Jaraiya chuckled. "Trust me. You become my pupil, and you'll be as useless as the rasengan." he stated coolly.

This naturally perked up Naruto's interests. "Seriously?"

"It all depends on you... We'll have near death situations, face dangerous enemies... And you'll be training in one way or another 24/7 with barely any sleep of food sometimes to train your body... And I'll require you to memorize around 3,000 jutsus... If you're good enough... Yondaime did about 3,000..." he said.

"I'll do it." was the answer in less than half a second. But as Jaraiya turned to go, Naruto spoke, "Wait... What about Sasuke?" he asked.

Jaraiya winced. He had been hoping to talk about it during their travels once Naruto was more mature. O well, no avoiding it... "Forget about him, kid. He chose Orochimaru on his own... He's not coming back... And don't worry, Orochimaru only does his jutsu once every three years. He can't do it any more often. And guess what, he's going to do it a month from now to another guy to switch bodies. Then, for three years he'll train Sasuke. Then it'll happen. By that time, you'll be done with your training. After that, what you do is not my choice."

Naruto nodded.

"But I do repeat myself. I know how it feels. Forget about him. If you don't, you'll only have more pain."

Naruto shook his head. "I would never abandon my friends... Besides, I already promised Sakura-chan... And I don't go back on my word. That's my ninja way." he stated with a fox grin.

Jaraiya shook his head. "Fine. Get ready, cuz tonight, we're leaving."

Naruto nodded. After Jaraiya left, Naruto strained and got up. He soon got used to it and was able to walk quite comfortably. Of course, it was only the kyuubi chakra which made this all possible, but Naruto didn't think about that. He went out of the hospital, walked home, and packed his stuff.

The bell rang. Opening the door, Naruto was surprised to find Hinata.

"Hinata? What are you doing here?"

"O-Oh, well, you s-see, I s-saw you p-packing, and I-I realized I-I wouldn't s-see you in a w-while, so I --"

"Come in, come in!" he said smiling and sat down next to her on the sofa.

Hinata blushed heavily and was getting very hot. "N-Naruto-kun, I-I-I brought you a p-present b-because you're g-going a-away... S-So --" she held out a small box.

Opening it, Naruto found a necklace with a small card case at the middle where he could put two photos. Smiling, he looked at the small, beet red girl next to him, hugged her, and said, "Thanks Hinata-chan! I love it!"

This was too much for her. Not only was her Naruto-kun hugging her, but he called her 'Hinata-chan'. She did what every logical, cool headed, sophisticated girl of her age would do – she fainted. Waking up, she was about to faint again realizing she was on Naruto's couch, but Naruto looked at her.

"Sorry I made you faint... I didn't know I hugged you that hard... Heh..." he said placing an arm behind his head and giving a nervous grin.

"N-No, i-it's not y-your fault... I-I have to g-go... B-Bye..." she said and quickly went out.

Well that was rather strange... O well! In one end of the picture case on his necklace he put a picture of team seven (centralizing on Sakura's face, of course,) and on the other he put a picture of his graduating academy class which had all of his friends as well as Iruka-sensei. Packing up, he headed to Jaraiya.

"Quiet." Jaraiya whispered. "We don't want attention. Let's go quickly."

Naruto frowned. Why? Probably running from Granny Tsunade as usual, the pervert... Some lights were on now, and the sun was long gone. He had one last glance at his village, and looking at the hokages' statues one last time, he looked at Yondaime, and thought, My face is going up on that wall.

Chapter 2: To the Monastery

"So, where are we going?"

"To a monk training ground. We'll reach there by dusk." his teacher said.

"A monastery?" Naruto raised an eyebrow.

"Sort of. Only they train, too."

"What kind of --"

"You have to have faith in me. Or should I just send you back?"

Naruto grumbled and walked along.

By dusk they had finally reached it. It wasn't a monastery – it was a palace! It was huge! Naruto's jaw dropped. The tops were fully hand carved mahogany wood, and it was a Tibetian style building.

Jaraiya knocked the door, and then lied down and fell asleep.

"WHAT THE HELL! GET UP!" Naruto screamed.

"Shut it, kid. Wait till they open the door. Do some push-ups or something..." and fell back asleep.

What! My training awaits, and this pervert goes to sleep? Nani! Having nothing better to do, Naruto decided to do push-ups. He was on 3,000 (using the kyuubi chakra, and tired to hell!) when the door finally opened.

Jaraiya yawned and got up.

"Welcome, Jaraiya. Please, come in."

"Thanks, R. Say, can a friend of mine come in, too?"

"Of course."

Naruto looked at the old monk and frowned. This was one of the great training ground's inhabitants...? Seems pretty weak... But nevertheless, Naruto walked in. Coming inside the largest building, Naruto found a large statue of Bhudda. Naruto decided it would be best to keep his mouth shut, for once.

"Jaraiya... Brought another pupil, have you?" said an exceptionally old monk in front of the statue. He was in a meditative stance, and his eyes remained closed.

"Yes, sensei. Please, I want him to take the six courses."

"Six? You seem to have much faith in him."

"Yes... His name is Uzumaki Naruto..."

The monk's brows came together a bit. "Uzumaki, you say? Has he ac --"

"Naruto, please leave this building. Go with R, he'll show you to your temporary room." Jaraiya interrupted firmly.

"But Ero-senin --"

"Ero-senin? He has a great deal of respect, I see..." the monk said.

"Naruto, out!" Jaraiya seethed.

Naruto had never seen Jaraiya like this, and he got the hell out of there!

Coming to his room, he saw there was only a mattress on the floor.

"This is it?" he wondered.

"We monks believe simplicity is the key to virtues and humility. Thus, we allow ourselves to grow stronger with obedience and virtue." the man called 'R' said.

"I see..." Naruto said rubbing his head. I What the? Oh, well. I'll have to make do with what I have here. /I With that he unpacked his materials and set up his 'temporary' room.

"Has he activated his ability yet?"

"No... But he's begun it. That's when I decided to teach him the rasengan. He learned it in a week. He's on the third level right now."

"My, my... Just like Arashi, isn't he?"

"More than you know... He's Arashi's son." Jaraiya said. "And, also... He's a jinchuuriki..."

"For which bijuu?"

"The kyuubi..."

The monk remained meditating for a bit. "Why do you want me to train him, Jaraiya... In all six courses?"

"Sensei... You once told me, it is not necessary to be forgiven. However, one must try and recompense for his actions... Well, this child, who saved the village by accommodating the kyuubi in himself, has been treated like nothing but trash by the villagers. You should hear him talk. Ask him about his life story, and what he wants... You will see he sounds just like you... Only, more rowdy and childish... He is amazing. He can forgive anyone, and anything, if you just say sorry. He will trust you. And, also..."

"There is the matter of Akatsuki."

Jaraiya nodded. "Yes, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. There have been two people so far who have survived all six courses... No one but you, have done the seventh... This boy, his ability is stronger than any of his clan before him... His ability almost matches your own, sensei... Not only that, but he is a jinchuuriki... Much like yourself... He wants to crush Akatsuki... His best friend, was Uchiha Sasuke, who has now betrayed the village, betrayed his team, and betrayed him, and run off to Orochimaru for further training... Nevertheless, Naruto treats him like a brother, and still waits for him... I believe he can fix your past mistake, sensei."

The monk shook his head. "I will not give him all six courses..."

"Sensei... The scrolls..."

"The three scrolls have not been mastered by anyone but myself... No one has had the patience to master all of the jutsus so far... Even I, have gone on to meditation... No one has had the determination... I am sorry, Jaraiya, but after Arashi, my hope has been lost."

"Your first pupil... was not right... You and I both know that... Your second, had not enough patience, and went on to become hokage... But this boy... He does..."

"You're being a fool, Jaraiya. I will teach him four courses. No more, no less. Bring him here to talk with me. I request you to leave for another two years. The third year I will give him back to you."

"Understood, sensei." Jaraiya said smiling. I Well, Naruto... The rest is up to you... /I

Naruto went to the old monk. "Hi..."

"Uzumaki Naruto of Konoha... Tell me your name, where you were born, and what has happened in your life..."

"Nani! You just --"

"SILENCE... One must have trust in a teacher... In the monastery, there will be no perverted thoughts, or actions... There will be no foul language, and there will be utmost respect. Understood?"

"Yes, I sensei /I ..."

"Good. Now continue."

"My name is Uzumaki Naruto, and I was born in Konoha..." Naruto thought this was going to be really stupid. He continued anyways...

THE NEXT DAY...

"Do chores!... Study about nature?... MEDITATE? What kind of schedule is --"

WHACK.

A dazed Naruto looked up. Wh-What happened? He could barely do that. Examining his body, he found he was bleeding all over.

"If there is one thing you are going to learn here, it will be to control that aggressive temper of yours, and learn trust. Next time, I will break your bones. Do not worry, you will not fall behind – you have plenty of work here that does not require movement, believe me."

This, was going to be a long, long three years...