Disclaimer: If you're not at least ten minutes early, you're late. - My Drill Sergeant
"Sorry I'm late Iruka sensei," Naruto grinned. "Let's go get ramen now."
"Before we do," Iruka took a deep breath he was worried that his favorite student might be picking up some of his new teacher's less reputable habits. "I need to tell you something."
"Promptness is a sign of respect," the scarred man began. "Showing up late is a sign of contempt, if you show up late you're telling everyone in the meeting that you don't respect them enough to show up on time."
"I'm sorry," the blonde looked down at his feet. "Our mission went a little long and I couldn't get here on time . . . I didn't mean to tell you I didn't respect you."
"Don't worry about it," Iruka ruffled the boy's hair. "I figured that it was something like that, it's ok if you have a good reason and you're not late all the time."
"Ok," Naruto's good mood returned. "Now let's go get some Ramen."
Naruto ate several bowls of Ramen and returned to his apartment. After brushing his teeth he went to bed and tried to go to sleep.
"Somethings wrong," Naruto muttered to himself. "I can't get to sleep because somethings bothering me."
He stared at his darkened ceiling for several minutes before it came to him, "Kakashi is always late and he always gives those lame excuses . . . Kakashi doesn't respect me." A tear made its way down the boy's cheek, "well then I won't respect him either."
It was a very tired Naruto that arrived at his team's meeting place and he waited as the meeting time came and went.
"I'm going home," Naruto announced. "I need to get some more sleep."
"You can't leave," Sakura streaked. "What about Kakashi? You can't just leave, you have to wait until he shows up."
"Why should I wait for someone I don't respect?" Naruto muttered as he began walking away.
"What?" Sakura's eyes widened, that was the last thing she expected to hear from her unwanted teammate.
"Yo," Kakashi gave a lazy grin.
"You're late," Sakura shouted.
"Where's Naruto?" Kakashi ignored his pink haired student and looked around.
"He left sensei," Sakura tattled. "He said that he wasn't going to bother waiting for someone he had no respect for."
"Oh," the masked man nodded. "Then you two do some exercises or something while I go get Naruto." Kakashi frowned as he made his way to the wayward Gennin's apartment, whatever did he mean when he said he didn't respect his teacher?
"Kakashi," Naruto said as the man landed on his window sill. "Something I can do for you?"
"You didn't show up to the meeting Naruto." Kakashi smiled. "Why?"
"I showed up," Naruto protested. "And I waited and you didn't show up so I left."
"You should have waited Naruto." Kakashi's smile widened.
"Ten minute rule," Naruto shrugged. "If you're not there within ten minutes of the time you gave then I'll assume that you aren't going to show up . . . was there anything else you wanted?"
"You told Sakura that you didn't respect me," Kakashi got to the point. "Why?"
"I was talking to someone and they told me something," Naruto paused. "They said that showing up on time was a sign of respect and that lateness was a sign of contempt . . . I don't see the need to show respect for someone that shows me so much contempt."
"Oh . . ." Kakashi was stunned, how to answer this in a way that would let it die a natural death. "You shouldn't worry about it Naruto . . . I'm always late."
"And I'm always on time," Naruto smiled. "So if you're not then I won't be there, anything else?"
"You need to show up to meetings Naruto," Kakashi scolded.
"Why?" Naruto looked puzzled. "If you're not going to show up then why should I?"
"You're my subordinate and I expect you to show up," Kakashi said as he patted Naruto on the head.
"Can you teach me a cool jutsu?" Naruto asked suddenly. "Since you are my teacher and all."
"No," Kakashi replied with a shake of his head. "now run along back to the meeting place."
"So you're not my teacher then," Naruto said in a tone of understanding. "I just wanted to make sure, bye Kakashi."
"Naruto wait," Kakashi called out after the blond who either ignored him or didn't hear. "Damn."
Naruto breathed a sigh of relief as he ran from his former teacher. It was so relaxing to finally get things out into the open, he mused. And who knows, maybe his former teammates would follow his example and find teachers of their own. Or wonder of wonders, maybe Kakashi would finally teach them something useful. It was all for the best, Naruto told himself. Better to get everything out into the open and to get a new start then to let things fester.
"Naruto," Konoha's green beast shouted. "What malady has sapped your youthful energy?"
"Hey Gai," Naruto said seriously. "Can I talk to you about something?"
"What is it my fine young friend," Gai asked as he struck a pose. "Do you have questions about the power of youth?"
"I've heard that you're Kakashi's rival," Naruto began. "Would you like to try something that he failed at?"
"Of course I would," Gai agreed. "Anything that Kakashi fails at I shall do and succeed . . . if I don't then I shall run around Konoha three hundred times with one leg tied behind my head . . . and if I shall fail at that then I shall walk on my hands for three weeks."
"Wow," Naruto gasped. "That sure is impressive."
"What is your task?"
"Kakashi failed as my teacher . . . would you teach me something."
"What?" Gai turned serious. "Why do you say that Kakashi failed you?"
"He doesn't have any respect for me," Naruto replied quickly. "And he won't teach me anything . . . I don't think that I should keep a teacher that doesn't respect me and refuses to teach me."
"Oh . . . I see," Gai sighed. "I'm afraid that I can't be your full time teacher."
"Of course not," Naruto said quickly. "You've got your own team, I was just hoping that you could give me some training techniques that I could try on my own."
"I . . ." Gai looked down at Naruto's hopeful face. "Alright . . . but I think you should give Kakashi another chance."
"I gave him lots of chances," Naruto shook his head. "I even told him I was giving him a chance and he still ignored me . . . why should I keep wasting time on Kakashi that I could spend training to be a better Ninja?"
"We can talk about this later," Gai didn't like the way this conversation was headed. "Why don't I give you some exercises and we can get back to this later."
"Ok," Naruto nodded. "What are you gonna teach me?"
AN: So what happens? My vague ideas had Naruto begging a bit of training from everyone he knew. He doesn't get much, a bit of advice here and a technique there. My thought was to have this take place before the Chunin exams so Kakashi could use them as a bribe to get Naruto to come back to the team, at least for the duration of the exam. Didn't have any idea on where to take it after that.
Omake: The working title was something along the lines of 'Screw You.'
"Hey Naruto, why were you speaking with the Hokage?" Kakashi asked curiously.
"I was asking her permission to leave Konoha" Naruto replied with a shrug, "I just want to see what it would be like to be treated like a normal person."
"What did she say?' Kakashi asked apprehensively.
"She told me that I could go so long as my teacher gave his permission"
"Then I forbid it." Kakashi frowned, "I do not believe that leaving the village would benefit you at this time."
"So what." Naruto sneered, "since when have you cared about what I want?"
"I have always cared about my team," Kakashi replied in a hurt tone, "and I don't believe that you should go."
"Too bad." Naruto fought to keep his voice even, "I already got permission to leave from my teacher and I will be gone within the hour."
"How could that be? I never gave you permission to leave the village"
"You were never my teacher," Naruto answered bluntly, "so why should I need anything from you?"
"What are you talking about?" Kakashi was starting to get angry
"What have you ever taught me? When have you ever helped me? What reason have you given me to conceder you my mentor?"
"Naruto I . . ." Kakashi froze searching for a response, "I taught you how to walk up trees."
"No you showed me how and told me to work it out for myself, try again."
"I . . ."
"Never treated me like a member of your team? Turned me away when I begged you to teach me something?" Naruto supplied helpfully, "if ninja who don't care for their teammates are worse then trash, then what is a teacher that does not care for his students?"
Kakashi felt his insides twist painfully as he considered Naruto's question.
"I don't know either." Naruto shrugged, "but I don't believe that he has any right to call himself a teacher . . . goodbye Kakashi."
Kakashi watched as the blond walked out of sight, wishing he could find the words to convince the boy to stay in the village, wishing he could go back and start over.
AN: Figured this could be a good start to a Kakashi goes back in time fic.
As always, tell me if you want one or both of these ideas so I can put up a link.