The Demon Shinobi of Konoha
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
By: John Sutphin
Lunch Time Rush and Konoha's Demon Teacher
The room seemed incredibly quiet compared to the noisy place it had been only hours before. It would be one of those nights that would remain in the elderly Hokage's memory for many years to come for. He feared it would also be one of those nights that caused a headache that would last nearly as long.
"The kid seems to cause you a lot of headaches, old man." a gruff voice called out.
Hiruzen didn't need to turn around to know it was his son speaking to him, sensing his son's chakra entering the room a moment ago. The smell of cigarette smoke drifted into his nostrils as Asuma lit a cigarette in the corner of the room before walking over besides the window Hiruzen had been staring out of.
"Yes, he is very good at causing those sorts of problems." the Hokage commented sadly as he pulled his own pipe out of his robe. "I must admit, he caused quite the commotion tonight."
"That's a bit of an understatement." Asuma stated, causing a small chuckle from his father. "I was waiting out there for hours before the last ones left. I take it they weren't happy?"
"I received quite the earful from Danzo, Homura, and Koharu." the old Hokage chuckled out. "My old teammates were none too happy about letting Naruto become a sensei, though I really think they were just mad that I didn't inform them of my decision to let him become a teacher."
"And what did that old war monger have to say about it?"
Sarutobi let out a long sigh at this one. "Same thing he always says about Naruto, that he should be treated as the weapon he has been trained to be. He just doesn't want Naruto to become a sensei because he feels Naruto can still be of greater use in the Anbu for missions."
"He has a point there." Asuma commented. "The kid gets missions done in record time and gets them done efficiently. It would be quite a blow to the power of our Anbu."
"Yes, but not a blow to our overall strength as a village. I'm sure he will be rushing for his team to do higher ranked missions quickly. And if he can train his students as well as he believes he can, they may become a force to be reckoned with as well."
"Hmm…you really think he can lead this team?" his son asked him thoughtfully.
"I still can't help but feel that I was conned into this." Sarutobi muttered out loud. "But I still have faith in him. I must admit, he did do his research for picking the teams out, and while they are not quite the teams I would have selected, they are still fair and will work. I trust him."
"Heh, I don't think Kurenai was very happy about the selection." Asuma said as he looked out towards where he knew Kurenai lived.
"True, but she will have to get over it." Hiruzen cast a glance at his son, curious as to why he would be here. The disagreements the two held in the past that caused Asuma to join the Twelve Guardian Ninja were never truly settled between the father and son. "So do you have a complaint about the team arrangements also? I thought you were looking to take the Ino-Shika-Chou team."
"Nah, I think I was just looking for an easy ride with the Ino-Shika-Chou team anyway. This way, I'll get more free time and maybe I can give that nephew some of that training he's been begging for." Asuma commented, walking towards the exit. "Heh, maybe I'll help him plan his next ambush on you."
A small tick appeared on the old Hokage's forehead at the thought of his grandson's attempts to ambush him. Walking towards his office, he could only think of one way to relieve his stress as he reached his desk.
"It's times like these where it best to take Tsunade's approach to relieve stress." he sighed as he reached into his desk for a bottle of sake.
She had been awake for hours now. Nervousness and fear clawed at her as she sat in her room, staring out the window towards where the sun had only just begun to rise. Who would be on her team? Would she have a nice sensei? Would her team like her? Would she just be a burden to them? Thoughts like these had been running through the young Hyuuga's head since she had woken up in a cold sweat near three in the morning.
She had long since bathed and changed into her training clothes, figuring that she would not see sleep again this morning. It seemed nothing could distract her mind right from the moment that would set forth the path of her future ninja career, mere hours away. Not even the knocking on her door could snap her from her thoughts until she felt the hand on her shoulder.
"Hinata-sama?" the worried branch girl asked the shocked looking Hyuuga Heiress. "I am sorry to intrude Hinata-sama, but you wouldn't respond to my calls."
"No no, it's ok Hanako-chan…" Hinata responded after she steadied her rapidly beating heart. Suddenly she started panicking again as a thought crossed her mind. "Am I late for training with Elder Hisao?" Hinata asked as she stood up, quickly worried.
"No, Hinata-sama. The elders were in a meeting until just now. Your father wishes to see you; he said your training was cancelled this morning." Hinako answered as she bowed and walked out of the room, leaving a stunned heiress behind her.
"Father wants to see me?" She thought in a panic, running to the mirror on her wall to check her appearance. She definitely looked as tired as she felt, not to mention slightly pale, but other than that she appeared well groomed enough to appear before her father. Her heart pounding, she stepped out of her room and walked down the hallway to where her father's study waited.
She knocked softly on the door before calling out to her father. "Otou-sama? You requested my presence?" she spoke softly through the door.
"I doubt I would have heard that, had I not been right behind you." her father's voice came from behind her, causing the girl to jump and turn in fright. His face was a mask of calm indifference as he stood out in the hallway. "Come inside, daughter."
He slid open the door to his study and walked inside. Hinata had only been in this particular room a few times in her entire life, but she knew one day it could be her own study. Her father sat behind his desk and gestured for her to sit across from him. With a lowered gaze, she obediently sat down in front of him.
Hiashi stared at his eldest child with slight remorse. He knew he had been neglecting her over the years; clan business and Naruto's training getting in the way. He would see her everyday amongst the compound and for meals, but he never got to spend time with her like this, away from the eyes of the clan. A welcome change for him, but she seemed rather apprehensive about being in front of him.
"Are you feeling well? You look tired."
Hinata shyly looked up at her father. "G-gomen, I had trouble sleeping…" She berated herself heavily for stuttering in front of her father. She nervously bit the inside of her cheek as she felt her father's gaze upon her. Seeing her tepidness in front of him, Hiashi couldn't help but be reminded of the meeting he had just left and the mixture of emotions he had felt.
Knowing how to suppress emotions had become a sort of art form for Hiashi. Anger was by far the hardest emotion to suppress, and this was the emotion battling to make its appearance, as he listened to the elders before him. Raw emotions burned inside of him, begging him to be let loose and to strike nearly every member of this council down.
"I would like for you to repeat your request." came out of Hiashi's mouth as monotone and emotionless as possible, enough to convince even those who knew him that Hiashi was as serene as ever. Elder Hisao bowed his head only slightly to acknowledge the request of his leader before speaking.
"We wish for young Lady Hinata to be removed from the position of heiress to the clan."
A small murmur of agreement rose throughout a great deal of the council member. A number of the members, Hiashi noticed, seemed just as puzzled as he was. What reasons could there possibly be for this?
"I would like to hear your reasoning behind this."
"Of course, Hiashi-sama." Hisao stated as he rose from his position to address the council. "Hinata-sama, like all Hyuuga children, has been given a high level of training. Where those children succeeded however, Hinata-sama has proven to fail."
Hiashi glared only a small amount as he took in the information Hisao had just spoken. For Hisao to be so confident in his speech and have it this well prepared…he had been planning this for at least a short while.
"Eight years ago, you asked us, the council, to oversee your daughters training, Hiashi-sama. Your reasoning was that you were working hard at improving the Jyuuken and you took to training heavily every day of the week in your private study." A number of the council members all looked at him to see if he would give any news on his progress. The development of new techniques for the clan would increase its overall strength, and when Hiashi first proposed the idea, it was accepted with great excitement.
The truth was that it was simply an excuse to prevent the council from learning of Naruto's training. It was the easiest way for Hiashi to gain the necessary amount of time to train Naruto to reach the maximum of his potential along with the other clan leaders. Hiashi knew that if the council members were to ever find out that he was teaching Namikaze Minato's only son, all hell would break loose.
"Your training and your heavy work load as both a clan head and a leader amongst the council of Konoha was taking up the majority of your time. It was for those reasons that I took it upon myself to train your eldest daughter in the ways of Jyuuken." Hisao paused for a moment as if to consider his words, but Hiashi could tell it was simply for dramatic effect. "I have been disappointed to a level that I can no longer stand."
"She has no skill in the art of Jyuuken at all." This caused small gasps to come up amongst some of the members of the council. "She can rarely get into the correct stances or forms without my assistance, she cannot strike the targets as precisely as is to be required by our style, and her younger sister has already surpassed her skill level."
"Why was her lack of development never brought to me before this, Hisao?" Hiashi questioned seriously.
"I am sorry Hiashi-sama, but I and those members of the council that I asked for support in the training of your daughter thought it would not be right to interrupt your work. Instead we felt it better to push for your daughter's skill to be raised higher. Sadly, all of our training has seen very little results."
Hiashi stared at the man for a long time as he contemplated what he should do. Those members of the council that had not participated in her training also seemed to be in deep thought at the reasons. "Perhaps it would be best if I were to take a more active role in the training of my daughter-"
"No offense Hiashi-sama, but those are not the only reasons that we propose this. Your daughter emotions are hardly that of leader. She has a weak attitude that is hard befitting of a Hyuuga, let alone the leader of our clan. It would be an embarrassment to our honor to put someone so weak in such a position."
Once again a spark of anger started to burn within Hiashi's soul as he was interrupted. Looking around at the different members of the council, he could see the nods of agreement being shown openly as they listened to Hisao, although some still seemed somewhat hesitant to take such drastic action, without seeing the proof with their own eyes.
Slowly though, Hiashi was starting to realize that he hadn't seen his daughter train since she was four years of age, that the only time he spent with her was meals in silent, and that he was holding her fate in his hands right now. Could he really have neglected his own child so much in favor of training his friend's son?
"The council would like to take a vote on the issue."
"Hinata, the council has asked me to remove you as heir and to remove you from this family."
A gasp was let loose as wide scared lavender eyes met his own in an instant. Tears started to form at the edge of her vision and Hiashi could practically see her world crashing down her. Her head became downcast and he could hear her breathing pick up as she panicked, assuming the worst.
"I refused, my child." Another gasp was heard as Hinata head once again shot up to look at her father. "You are my daughter and my heir. These things are my business and the council will not change this so easily."
"O-Otou-sama…" Hinata whispered out disbelievingly from her sitting place. A soft look had come over her father's face, a face she had not seen since her mother had passed away after the birth of her younger sister.
"They told me that you are severely lacking in your Jyuuken ability, a flaw that I can only blame myself for." Hinata's eyes grew wide as she stared at her father. "I have neglected you of the time with me that you deserve."
"N-no, Otou-sama." Hinata did her best to restrain the stutter that wanted to jump out of her mouth at any moment. Waking up this morning, she never in her life expected a conversation like this to occur. and the shock of the event was truly playing on her nerves as she tried to speak. "You are a very busy man, father. I can't expect you to always watch over me…"
Hiashi stared at his daughter as she shyly ducked her head and looked down. A forlorn look was upon his face as he listened to her words. "You are far more mature then I ever knew, Hinata. Now that I realize just how I have used my time these past years, I can't help but regret not spending more time like this with you and your sister, especially now when you have graduated and will be spending more time outside."
"There is still time, Otou-sama…" Hinata spoke out softly with small smile. Hiashi could just barely make out her eyes from underneath her hair looking at him.
"Yes there is, but not right now I am afraid." Hinata looked up at him slightly confused. "I believe you have to go meet your new team soon."
Hinata gasped loudly as she realized the time and bowed quickly in front of her father. At his nod she stood up quickly and moved for the door. "Oh, and Hinata?" Her father's voice stopped her in her tracks as she reached the door. "I know you will make me proud in the future."
"Y-yes, Otou-sama." She responded with a slight blush as she exited quickly, before the door could shut behind her a hand appeared to stop it from closing. The branch guard normally position outside of his door stepped inside quickly.
"Hiashi-sama, Elder Nobuo wishes to speak with you and is waiting outside." He spoke out quickly. At Hiashi's nod the guard walked back outside and let the elder inside before shutting the door. The elder walked in front of Hiashi before bowing deeply.
"Hiashi-sama" The elder spoke out nervously.
"We have known each other since we were young children, Nobuo. I think so formalities aren't necessary in here, my old friend." Hiashi spoke with a ghost of a smile on his face. Nobuo visibly relaxed slightly, but still looked very tense as he sat down before Hiashi. "What seems to be troubling you?"
"Hiashi…" Hiashi watched Nobuo with a puzzled expression. Nobuo had never been the type to be nervous in front of him and had never been the type to have trouble expressing himself, but something was deeply bothering him if he acted this way. "Do you really know what you are doing?"
"If you are referring to me protecting my daughter then yes, I know what I am doing." Hiashi's eyes narrowed as spoke. Nobuo had always shown good faith to the decisions he made on the council and had on occasion spoken with Hiashi to give advice, but this was different than the ways they conversed in the past.
"Hiashi, I admit I was as dubious to the claims made by Nisao as you yourself were. But when you stood up for your daughter and did not allow for a vote to take place you angered a good majority of the council." Nobuo was trying his best to make Hiashi understand what exactly he had done. "Those before, that were as doubtful to the claims as we were, might now shift sides."
"You are saying that I should have risked the vote going very poorly and let my daughter be removed from her home, rather than not allowing that chance to ever happen." Hiashi questioned shocking Nobuo in his seat, a panicked look coming across his older friends face.
"No, that's not…" Nobuo let out a deep sigh as he couldn't really argue with the statement. "Hiashi, you are my friend. I just don't want something bad to happen to you and your family. The council has a lot of influence in the clan and if they can convince a good majority of the clan that Hinata is unfit to lead…"
"You truly are a good friend." Hiashi spoke softly looking at his old friend. Nobuo looked on in shock as he saw the confidence in Hiashi's demeanor. The clan leader that he knew Hiashi was sitting right in front of him with all the regal of royalty. "All I ask is that you believe in my decisions. Hinata will have the strength to lead this clan in the future."
For the first time since entering the room, Nobuo held a small real smile on his face. "I don't know who or what it is that had been affecting you these past years Hiashi, but you most certainly have changed from the strict and proper Hyuuga I knew as a child."
Hiashi sat in a small stunned state as Nobuo exited his study, his last words circling his mind as he stared ahead in a stunned state. When the door closed, Hiashi swiftly stood, walking to the doors that that linked his private dojo to his study. Passing through the room to the opposite wall, he opened a set of shoji doors leading to a small enclosed courtyard for the Head Family's use only.
The small enclosure was a place for Hiashi to rest his weary mind. Half of the yard was dedicated to just grass where he could either rest or practice, while the other half held a small Zen garden originally placed there by his ancestors many generations ago that he attended to everyday. Picking up the rake from where he placed it the day before, Hiashi set to his work, leaving his mind free to wander.
'Just how much has the Namikaze family changed me as a person?' The thought stuck to his mind like glue. 'Would I be like those elders in there if not for Minato and Naruto? Willing to throw my own daughter out so easily at the first signs of weakness?'
The blond stood in front a shoji door, rapt in concentration as his palm rested on the frame. A drip of sweat rolled down his cheek as he focused on the sliding door in front of him, just one of many he had passed through during his time here. After a few more minutes of waiting the door finally slid open, allowing him to relax. He slowly opened his eyes, letting them adjust to the new sight in front of him.
For as far as he could see, there was only a dark and damp tunnel. What was once tatami flooring changed to a warm wet concrete and what was once shoji walls changed to solid walls with leaking pipes running through and around them. A feeling of dread washed over him as he stared down into the darkness.
"Still not good enough..." Inoichi whispered to himself, feeling the sensation of being pulled backwards as his consciousness returning to his body. Opening his eyes, he stared down at the pouting demon container in front of him, Inoichi's hand still resting on his head.
"Your blockers are still not good enough if I could get through them in a matter of hours, Naruto-kun." Inoichi remarked. "I understand how much your dislike genjutsu, but your secrets need to be protected."
"Gah! I know." Naruto yelled out as he flopped backwards in frustration, laying on the ground and staring skywards. "I just suck at genjutsu…"
"This is why you need to train harder at it!" Inoichi scolded, frustrated. "I know you are more worried about fighting face to face, but you must also be prepared if, Kami forbid, anything actually happens and you are captured. You must know these things so that your secrets and the secrets of the village aren't used against you."
"But I already have so many defenses in my subconscious! I mean, it's not like they are going to make their way through those tunnels." Naruto pleaded to the older blond.
Inoichi pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance. "No Naruto, that is not enough for you. You can't rely on something that you yourself don't completely understand yet. We have been over this before." He glanced down at the blond and sighed. "Are your clones supposed to dissipate soon?" Inoichi asked with restrained anger at seeing Naruto not really paying attention.
"Yeah, my clones are training with Shikaku-sensei and Tsume-sensei on strategy and tracking right now. They should dissipate any minut-" As if on cue, Naruto's eyes lost their focus as his mind started to process the masses of information being sent in. Years ago, after Naruto had learned about the memory transfer, he and his teachers had all agreed to make sure to not dissipate all of his clones at once.
Never one to miss an opportunity, Inoichi cocked his fist back, striking the blond across the cheek just as his eyes came back into focus, sending him flying back to the other side of the room.
"What the hell! You sucker-punched me!" Naruto yelled out indignantly from the floor, jumping to his feet and growling at the Yamanaka.
"You mean like the sucker punch you dealt me last night at the team assignment meeting?" Inoichi growled out, eyes narrowing slightly. An embarrassed look came over Naruto's face as he scratched the back of his head.
"Still pretty pissed about that, huh?" Naruto let out a loud gulp as the angry Yamanka began to stalk towards him. "Oh look at the time, need to go get ready to pick up my team!" he said nervously, forming a seal and poofing out of the room as quickly as he could.
Iruka stared at the sheet in his hands with a contemplative look. The teams he had thought would work out well together and please everyone had been rejected and changed to ones created by a man who had never once met the students that he cared for; someone that never spent any time at all with them, and now had just had a hand in determining their very futures.
Glancing up at the rows of empty desks in front of him, he could clearly picture the face of every student that would be arriving within minutes. Could Naruto, as Hokage-sama referred to him last night, do the same thing? Could he possibly know how this small change could so dramatically affect how the students are going to react to their assignments?
'No, he couldn't possibly.' As Iruka stared down at the roster, looking at Team Ten in particular, he couldn't help but feel nervous for his students as he gazed at the name of their sensei. A shinobi that had become renown throughout the Konoha in just a few years, a man whom he had never met before, and a man that had never once shown his face in public was going to be taking his precious students.
'Hokage-sama trusts him completely. I should too!' Iruka tried to convince himself, but he could tell it wasn't working. He had been nervous about handing students over to certain Jounin before, but this just felt different. It felt like he was giving them to a demon.
'Perhaps I can talk to Hokage-sama later about Naruto…just to find out more.' Iruka thought as he noticed some of his students starting to file into the classroom, each one with the hitai-ite they had earned yesterday. He smiled softly as he watched them start to chat amongst themselves and their potential teams.
A loud pop in the chair next to him redirected Iruka's attention to Mizuki who was now leaning back in his chair looking rather tired. "Didn't get much rest?" Iruka questioned with a chuckle. The only response was an agitated glance and groan before Mizuki closed his eyes, resting his head face down on the desk. Iruka just laughed at his friend's misery, turning to notice the door opening and Hyuuga Hinata walk in with an odd look on her face.
"Is everything alright, Hinata-chan? You are later than usual." Iruka asked as the girl passed his desk. She stopped abruptly at the sound of her name and turned towards Iruka.
"G-gomen Iruka-sensei, I just…had an interesting morning is all." The girl responded quietly. Iruka looked at her worriedly for a few moments longer before letting out a long sigh. "Well, if there is anything I can help you with, don't hesitate to ask, ok?"
The girl nodded quickly before hurrying up to her seat near the back. At the same time, he saw Chouji and Shikamaru walk in together, Chouji eating a bag of chips at near double the speed that Iruka had ever seen before, and Shikamaru looking rather annoyed at his friend. As they passed Iruka's desk, Shikamaru answered Iruka's silent question.
"He's just nervous about the team assignments…" Shikamaru said as he and his friend walked up the stairs towards their desks, sitting down and waiting for the last few stragglers to walk in now. After a few more minutes, the entire class had arrived, all ready to hear their team assignments.
'I think they've waited long enough now.' Iruka thought as he stood up and moved to stand in front of the class with his clipboard in hand. A near immediate silence overcame the room as the scarred Chunnin stood in front of the eager looking students. A small smile crept onto his face as he looked at the ninja he had helped produce.
"Starting today, all of you are real shinobi. But you are still Genin, and the hard journey that lies ahead is just beginning." Large grins broke out amongst the young Genin, each one dreaming of the different ranks and goals they would accomplish in their future. "Now you will soon get missions to help out the village. So today we are going to create three-man teams, and each team will have a Jounin-sensei. You will follow your sensei's instructions to successfully complete each and every mission. Now we tried to balance each team's strengths…"
Iruka began listing the teams in succession one after another. Quickly friends were separated, girls heard their dreams shatter as they were placed on teams separated from their crushes, and rivalries were beginning to form. Students sat in their seats excitedly waiting for their names to be called and all waited anxiously for the team with Uchiha Sasuke in it to be announced.
"Team Seven will consist of Haruno Sakura, Suzuki Hitoshi, and Uchiha Sasuke." Reactions were immediate as those girls who had yet to have their names called all cursed their luck as Sakura let out a loud cheer at her success. Sasuke showed very little reaction to the commotion happening about him, choosing to simply ignore the bickering girls. Iruka noticed Hitoshi didn't seem terribly effected by the news himself, instead only looking more focused then he had before.
"Team Eight will consist of Aburame Shino, Inzuka Kiba…" Iruka braced himself for the eruption that he knew was coming. "and Yamanka Ino."
"WHAT!?" a loud screech pierced the eardrums of all in the classroom. Ino stood glaring furiously her hands slammed down on the desk in front of her. Her new teammate Kiba, however, was on the ground twitching after falling from his chair from the screech in his sensitive ears. Several rows up above her, Shikamaru and Chouji looked at the scene with disbelief written across their faces.
"I'm teamed with the mutt and bug boy!?" Ino shrieked out as she stood on the top of her chair.
"Shit…" Shikamaru muttered quietly to Chouji "I must have fallen asleep while Iruka-sensei was giving that boring speec- ouch!?"
Shikamaru rubbed the bump forming on the back of his head as he glared at Chouji. "What was that for?!"
"Didn't think a pinch would be enough proof that you were awake." Chouji said, still disbelievingly as he watched Ino rant at Iruka-sensei from the top of her chair. The blond girl was still screeching at the top of her lungs about her new teammates and not with Sasuke, not noticing the angry looks her new teammates were sending her.
"ENOUGH, INO!" The whole class room quieted immediately as normally kind teacher erupted, the size of his head seemingly tripled as he yelled at the blond girl. "It's time for you to grow up, Ino! Time for you to learn that things in life aren't always fair and that you need to deal with it. The teams have been balanced this way! If there is a need to make a change, Hokage-sama will see that it's done!"
Ino stood shocked, her mouth gaping open like a fish at being yelled at. When her senses came back to her she was about to protest more, but the look on her sensei's face told her that she wouldn't get anywhere with that, and the glare coming from her new teammate was keeping her quiet too. She would just have to hope the teams got changed soon.
"Team Ten will be Akimichi Chouji, Hyuuga Hinata, and Nara Shikamaru." Iruka spoke out, happy to finally be done reading off the roster. He noticed a number of shocked and angry looking faces, but it was something he had seen in the past too, so it didn't bother him too much. His worry was more directed towards how Team Ten would fair with their new sensei.
"Now we are going to break until after lunchtime. I want you all to go out and get used to your new teammates, and then come back here to meet your new sensei after lunch."
"This is a miracle…" Shikamaru muttered as he walked along next to Chouji. To his other side, Hinata walked next to him, trailing just slightly. She had yet to speak much except for her original greeting, and seemed nervous as she walked next to the two best friends.
"Yeah…I was convinced that Ino would be on our team." Chouji spoke as he reached into the pouch hanging off his side for another bag of chips. He didn't notice Hinata grimace slightly at his statement.
"Eh?" Shikamaru questioned at the sound. Turning around, he noticed Hinata standing there looking nervous. "What is it, Hinata?"
"D-did you want Ino-san on the team?" she questioned meekly.
"No…" was the blunt answer she received from Shikamaru; Chouji, on the other hand, just laughed nervously at the question. "Damn woman is far too annoying."
"Oh, I see." A small smile made its way onto Hinata's face, before she noticed the two were starting to leave without her.
"So where do you want to get lunch at anyway, Chouji? We have to be back in time to meet our new sensei." Shikamaru asked as the group entered the busier shopping districts of Konoha. "So that means no all you can eat places." That last comment drew a large groan from his plump friend.
"I know it's troublesome…but we gotta be back in time." Shikamaru interrupted his friend before he could protest. "So let's just find somewhere to-oomph!?"
The next thing he knew, Shikamaru was lying on his back with a heavy weight on top of him. Opening his eyes revealed bright blue eyes staring down into his with a confused look on both faces.
"Oh crap! Sorry!" The young boy announced before jumping off Shikamaru and lending him a hand up. He was wearing some dirty-looking khaki pants and a blue shirt that looked as if it had seen some better days. His face was the most distinctive part though, being that he had two bandages over both of his cheeks and a beanie cap covering all but the slightest amount of blonde hair peeking out from underneath.
"I'm so sorry, man! I was just playing a game with some of my friends and accidently ran into you." he explained as he tried patting off the dirt on Shikamaru's clothing. He stopped immediately when he noticed the headband tied around Shikamaru's arm. "Whoa! You're a ninja!? Man, I just arrived at this village and was hoping to go to the academy! Are all of you ninja!?"
"Uh…yeah…" Shikamaru acknowledged, his eyebrow twitching just a bit from the speed setting this kid seemed to be on.
"Oh man, this is so cool!" he shouted before grabbing Chouji's hand and shaking it and then grabbing Hinata's (who blushed brightly from the contact), practically running circles around them as he did.
"You guys are the youngest ninjas I have met!" A loud crashing noise came from behind where the hyper kid had come from. Several men had come down the path he had taken with a look of fury in their eyes.
"Oh! There are my friends now. Well, gotta run!" he said, quickly before taking off down the street into the more densely populated market area, the three teammates behind him just staring at the scene with confusion written on their faces.
"What just happened?" Chouji asked as the boy got further away.
"I don't know, but I am glad it's over with." Shikamaru replied.
"GET BACK HERE, THIEF!" a voice from behind them shouted. The men that had been chasing the boy caught up and started to run past them, leaving only a dreadful feeling in their wake as the three shinobi realized what was just yelled.
Immediately the three began reaching for their wallets containing their money. Out of the three, only Chouji was able to bring his out while the Shikamaru cursed and Hinata looked crestfallen.
"Crap…well, if we're lucky, one of the patrols should capture him soon and return our wallets, Hinata." Shikamaru muttered.
"Couldn't we just go after him and help those men?" Hinata asked.
"Nah. That's the job of the patrols around here." The Nara said lazily before sighing. "Thanks to that, I have no money for lunch…wonder why he left Chouji's wallet though." Shikamaru muttered at the end while rubbing his chin.
"Heheh, he must have known that I would have caught him in the act if he tried that on me." Chouji boasted as he reached into his satchel to retrieve another bag of chips. A smile stayed on his face as he reached into the bag, but his hand didn't come out as his arm kept searching. A look of panic crept into his eyes as he opened the bag as wide as it could go and stared inside.
"…Chouji?" Shikamaru questioned, looking at his panicking friend in concern when suddenly the plump boy took off at full speed in the direction the thief was heading, his arms raised high.
"HE STOLE MY CHIPS!!!!!!" was the roar the two heard as Chouji went barreling down the street at his top speed.
"Troublesome!" Shikamaru yelled out before taking off after his friend with Hinata chasing along behind him, neither of the two sensing the Anbu standing on the roof above them, an amused grin under his mask as he followed the two.
"Heh, that was easier than I expected." the pickpocket remarked in surprise as he got away from the team of ninja and proceeded to mix in with the crowd. The sound of the vendors that were chasing him started to fade away as he slowed to a walk. "What kind of ninja training did they receive? Jeez…"
The boy took a glace behind him, not seeing anyone paying attention to him. "Might as well enjoy the snacks, I guess." he said to himself as he ripped the bag open in the crowd. As soon as he opened the bag, a low rumbling noise from behind earned his attention. His feet started to shake as the earth began rumbling. "What the hell? An earthquake?"
"GIVE ME BACK MY CHIPS!!!" was the roar he heard from behind him. Snapping around quickly, he saw the crowd part, anyone too slow was sent flying into the air as an angry Akimichi came charging like a bull towards him. Behind the portly ninja, he could see the other two from the group following quickly behind and throwing out apologies to those unfortunate enough to have been run over.
"Holy crap!" the pickpocket shouted before taking off in a sprint.
Shikamaru managed to just barely hear the thief yell out in surprise before turning and dashing away from Chouji. A small sigh of disappointment came out as his hopes of the pickpocket giving up easily and without a chase were dashed to bits. Chouji didn't seem to mind though as it only seemed to fuel the boy into running faster after his chips.
"I'm sorry." Shikamaru barely heard Hinata speak out to a lady that was starting to stand up after being knocked down by Chouji. She shot a dark look at the two as they chased after their teammate.
"He's really fast for someone with no ninja training." Hinata remarked to him.
"That's because he is definitely not from out of town. He used the surprise from running into me to fool us." Shikamaru spat out as they finally caught up to Chouji, Shikamaru to his right and Hinata to his left. Shikamaru kept looking to the roof, hoping to spot one of the ninja patrols that policed the city and being disappointed every time. "Where are all the patrols at?!"
"I don't know." Hinata spoke, glancing around at the observation. "Perhaps they are busy somewhere else?"
"We're going to lose him in this crowd." Shikamaru noticed as the thief dodged in between the crowd like nothing was even there. He was definitely born in this village if he could move like that.
Shikamaru glanced to his right and saw the veins around Hinata's eyes bulging out slightly and he could just barely pick out a white pupil in her iris. 'Is that the Hyuuga bloodline limit dad was talking about?'
"I won't lose him." Hinata reassured him, her voice wavering just slightly. 'Is she nervous? Or just tired already?' Shikamaru wondered.
"Ok. So we need to catch him and get our things back. He can't lose us now so we just have to either wait for him to tire out or trap him." Shikamaru told the two, though Chouji was still too focused on getting his chips back to pay much attention.
"D-don't we have to be back in time to meet our sensei?" Hinata mentioned nervously.
"Damn. We need to trap him then." Shikamaru cursed as he started to pick up some speed to catch up to the thief. "Hinata, exactly what do your eyes do?"
"Umm." Hinata started nervously. "It gives me three hundred and sixty degree vision around me and also the ability to look through objects and sort of telescopic vision. We can also see chakra, which gives us the ability to attack an enemy's chakra network…"
Shikamaru's wide-eyed look must have disturbed her as she started to blush at the stare. "Wow, that pretty useful."
"I-it was talked about when we were learning about the founding clans in the academy." Hinata stuttered as she looked towards the thief again.
"I must have been asleep for that one." Shikamaru muttered quietly. "Well, do you see anything that we can use to our advantage, Hinata?"
"The crowd is growing larger further beyond him. And there are a lot of carts and street vendors up further." Shikamaru could see her eyes focusing harder as she squinted her eyes to see beyond the thief.
"Good. Hopefully this will let us catch up to him some." Shikamaru yelled. He was surprised to hear the word thief yelled out loud as they passed an apple vendor. The vendor was cursing and pointing at the same thief that had stolen from them. "He's still stealing as he runs?"
"Apples!" Hinata shouted out quickly.
"Yeah, I know they were apples." Shikamaru commented as he looked at Hinata, surprised when she reached her hand out and pushed his head down slightly. He barely felt an object skim through the spiked up ponytail on the back of his head.
"H-he threw them." Hinata said after wards, embarrassed at pushing him down.
"Punk thief." Shikamaru muttered out as recovered his speed from the push down. Hinata avoided the apple towards her just fine, but Shikamaru let out a drop of sweat when he noticed the apple in Chouji's mouth halfway eaten. "Did you really just catch that with your mouth..?"
Some mumbling was all Shikamaru could hear as Chouji kept eating while trying to respond. Hinata looked just as astonished as Shikamaru did, but tried to hide it as best she could. From what Shikamaru could tell, the thief was even slightly astonished as his head was slightly turned after throwing the fruit. Shikamaru's eyes widened as a cart started to cross the street ahead of them and an opportunity formed.
"You gotta be kidding me…" the pickpocket yelled in astonishment as he saw two of them avoid the apples and the fat one just catch it in his mouth. He could see the Hyuuga girl was easily keeping track of him in the crowd, so losing them was pretty unlikely without halting them somewhat…
"Look out, kid!"
"Eh?" the boy remarked as he heard the yell from in front of him, as a large wagon filled with fruit being pulled by a horse was crossing the street. His eyes widened in surprise at the roadblock.
"Whoa!" he yelled out as he dropped down and slid underneath of the cart. Once on the other side, he was immediately back up and running barely slowing down. He couldn't help but smile at the looks of surprise the pedestrians gave him as he ran through the streets.
'That cart should slow them down a bit'. Glancing backwards, he saw the fat one and the one he ran into leap over the cart with ease and keep after him. 'Oh yeah…ninjas.'
The girl wasn't with them any longer though. 'Did she not leap over or what?' Glancing around, he couldn't see her on the rooftops or anywhere else for that matter. It should just make it easier for him to get away from those two though if she had backed off. With that in mind, he kept running.
He just needed to slip away into an alley somehow without them noticing. If he could just lose those two in the crowd, then it would be all too easy to get away by slipping into one of the many side streets and alleys that were all around Konoha. He knew that the crowd would reach its apex in size on this street, so it shouldn't be too hard to lose the slower two behind him.
And just like that, he weaved in an out of the pedestrians as if they were never even there. He started crouching lower and lower to the ground as he ran through the taller adults in crowd, making it even harder for the two to spot him, and looking for just the right moment to slip away.
The moment came sooner than he could have hoped when he noticed a group of women dressed in long elegant kimonos walking across the street. Using their flowing dresses as cover, he quickly dove to the side and into and alley and hid as quickly as he could behind a few boxes stacked against the wall.
Peeking just barely around the corner, he watched as the two looked around confusedly as they passed by the alley and continued down the street. The skinny one muttering to himself as he walked by the alley and the fat one looking as if he were going to break into tears after losing him.
"Too bad, guys." he whispered quietly as he started to walk down the alley, happy to have finally escaped with his earnings. A silhouette appeared at the end of the alley he was walking through though, blocking his path and making him stop. "Huh?"
"R-return our belongings and I will let you go." the girl that had been chasing him earlier stuttered out as she blocked his path of escape. His eyebrows rose in surprise as she stepped towards him, making him take a step back in response.
"I think I'll take option two!" he yelled out quickly. The girl's eyes widened in surprise as the boy turned and ran back in the direction of the main street. He was just rounding the corner when a fist appeared in his vision and knocked him cleanly in the nose.
"So you got anything to say for yourself?" Shikamaru said as he looked down at the boy sitting against the brick wall in the alley. Two wads of tissue paper were lodged up his nose to stop the bleeding, but he still looked away defiantly from the trio with his arms crossed. Shikamaru just scratched the back of his head in annoyance and sighed.
"S-shikamaru-kun?" Hinata tried to get the lazy boy's attention. "How did you know he would run into a side alley?"
"Hmm?" Shikamaru hummed. "He kept running along the same street trying to mix in with the crowd. There were plenty of intersections where he could have turned at, but he kept to same street, so I figured he was trying to lose sight of us and duck into an alley on side. You can see through walls, so you were the best choice to trap him."
Hinata's eyes widened in wonder at Shikamaru's revelation; had he really planned that out so quickly? "So you used the cart as an opportunity for me to get out of sight and run down a side street?"
"Right." Shikamaru replied before putting his focus back on the thief that Chouji was watching intently. "So hand over our stuff, we don't have much time before our lunch break ends."
"Che." The thief spat as he reached into his pockets and grabbed the two wallets he had swiped from them and tossed them to their respective owners. Chouji though stood there tapping his foot impatiently as he waited for his chips to be returned only to have the pickpocket stare at him with a curious look. "Will you stop the tapping?"
"Aren't you forgetting something?" The thief just looked at him even more confused. "MY CHIPS!?" Chouji yelled, his loud voice blowing back the hairs on their heads.
"Are you kidding?" The thief raised an eyebrow at him. "You scared me half to death and I dropped those chips when you first started chasing me."
All three of their mouths drop open at the revelation and the thief could hardly hold in the laughter at the sight. "Did you really just chase me for a bag of chips?" he laughed out loud. "That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time."
"You gotta be kidding me." Shikamaru muttered as he looked up towards the sky. He scratched his head in annoyance before turning and heading back to the main street."Whatever. Let's just go and try to find something to eat before we run out of time."
Chouji followed him with tears in the corners of his eyes and a slight sniffle at the loss of is chips. It took him a moment, but Shikamaru noticed that Hinata was not following him. Instead, she stood in front of the boy, biting her lip slightly and looking nervously at the ground. "Hinata? What's up?"
"Umm…" She stood there in front of the pickpocket, trying to find the words she wanted to say. "W-what's your name? And why did you steal from us?"
His eyes widened slightly in surprise as he looked up at her before quickly reverting back to his agitated self. "Name is Michio. And I doubt one of you clan kids could understand."
Hinata stepped back a bit, surprised and confused by his answer to her question. Shikamaru and Chouji walked back over to the two to hear the conversation better. Chouji looked the most puzzled of the three and questioned him. "What do you mean?"
"Oh please," he grumbled. "Like any of you know what it's like to not have a home, to have to steal to survive and just barely get enough to survive on. Tonight you all are gonna home to your big houses, have a hot meal, then get in your nice comfy bed. Enjoy it! Because I'm probably gonna be sleeping right here and eating whatever I can manage to scavenge!"
The three looked at him in shock as he ended his rant. Their faces were a mix of sadness and shock at what he had said. Chouji seemed most shocked. "Wait? You live on the streets?"
"What's wrong? Never seen someone homeless before?" Michio sneered at Chouji. Chouji steeped back, looking shocked.
"N-no…you just surprised me is all." Chouji defended himself, looking rather sheepish. "It's just…Konoha doesn't have very many and…"
"Yeah, well I guess when you have a perfect little existence, you don't notice things." Michio grumbled as he stood up in front of them. He wiped some dirt off of his pants and took the tissue paper out of his nose before turning and walking down the alley. He waved a hand at them as he left. "Anyway, I'm outta here."
"Wait a second." Shikamaru called out to him. He stopped quickly and faced Shikamaru, wondering what he wanted. He was surprised when Shikamaru tossed him some of the money out of his wallet. Surprise was quickly overcome by anger though.
"I don't need your pity!"
"Consider it payment then, for giving us a good chase." Shikamaru smirked before turning to leave, Chouji following his best friend. Hinata bit her lip and looked as if she wanted to say something else, but instead just bowed her head quickly and then followed the other two.
They were nearly out of the alleyway when they heard the sound of someone landing behind them and a muffled shout from Michio. They turned around quickly and their eyes widened in shock and fear. Standing there covering Michio's mouth was an Anbu with the red marking of a kitsune on his mask. Then, just as quickly as he appeared, the both of them disappeared in a swirl of leaves, leaving nothing in his trace.
The three walked down the hall quietly, each lost in their own thoughts as they recalled the event from less than ten minutes ago. They had decided immediately after to just head back to the academy, having all lost their appetite in the shock of the event.
"What do you think is going to happen to Michio?" Chouji whispered to the two as they entered the empty classroom.
"I'm sure he's fine." Shikamaru said, trying to reassure Chouji (and himself) at the same time.
"B-but isn't it a major crime to steal from a shinobi?" Hinata questioned as they all sat down.
Shikamaru gritted his teeth at the thought; he had secretly hoped the neither of them knew that piece of information about Konoha law. Stealing from a shinobi was a major crime in any village, simply because of the chance the shinobi might have been carrying some kind of critical information. Ninjas are naturally more relaxed in their home villages, so if someone were to manage to steal information from a ninja carrying information to the Hokage, it could be disastrous.
"We're just Genin though! I mean what could we possibly have?" Chouji tried to reason.
"That doesn't matter." Shikamaru muttered out. "Genin are sometimes used to run important documents from one part of the village to another. There's no real danger, so there's no problem with a Genin making the run. With the law in place, most people would never dare even consider stealing from one of us."
"S-still, he will be alright…right?" Hinata asked meekly, looking at the two pleadingly. They looked away uncomfortably from her gaze, neither of their expressions being very reassuring. Slowly, other students were starting to file into the classroom around them. Soon the room was almost full with Genin anxious to hear who their new sensei would be.
"I don't know…" Chouji whispered out as he took nervous glances around him. "You've heard the rumors about that Demon Shinobi right? They say he's the reborn Kyuubi."
"That's not what I heard!" The three were startled out of their conversation when Kiba turn around in his chair from below them. Apparently, Chouji wasn't quite quiet enough for the Inzuka to not hear their conversation. "I heard he just worships the Kyuubi and draws strength from him. And to get that power he has to sacrifice a virgin every full moon!"
"That's just stupid. Sacrificing a virgin is way too cult." Ino spoke out as the whole class started getting involved in the conversation. "I heard he gets his power be eating the hearts of everyone he kills, but sometimes he thirsts for the taste too. So he uses criminals to satisfy his needs!"
"I heard he once killed a Chuunin for accidently running into him."
"I heard he stands over six feet tall and is as wide as two men."
"My dad said he once mutilated over fifty people during an assassination mission using only an arm that he ripped off his first victim as a weapon."
Shikamaru's scowl just deepened as the whole class had joined in on the topic, each one having some crazy story related to a man that just snatched up a person right in front of his eyes. He could see that Hinata seemed incredibly confused and worried by all the gossips, while Chouji was listening to the stories turn more and more insane.
"Umm…" Hinata looked at her two new teammates, confused. "A year ago father said that the Demon Shinobi was an incredibly strong fighter that deserved our respect. And that all these things said about him are lies."
Apparently the rest of the class was too concentrated in their own stories to hear the quiet girl speak her mind, which Shikamaru was thankful for in all honestly. If one of them heard her speak up in defense for the demon, who knows what could have been said.
"My dad never talks about him, but I have heard all these rumors too." Shikamaru was starting to get a migraine from all the students talking so loudly around them. "But he did tell me that usually all lies are at least one grain of truth. So who knows…but it's all too troublesome to worry about, since we will probably never find out the truth."
"I know the really strong thing is true, though." Chouji pitched in with what little true info he did know. "I remember my dad say that he has one of the highest bounties in Konoha on his head. So he has to be really strong."
"Whatever." Shikamaru muttered as he put his head down on the desk in front of him and attempted to block out all the noise in the classroom. Chouji looked depressed that the conversation was ending already, but knew that this was just Shikamaru's personality. It wasn't long though until Iruka and Mizuki came in to see all the students talking to each other noisily.
"Alright, what's all this about?" Iruka yelled out. Normally, most students were quiet when it came time for them to find out who their teachers would be since they were nervous, but this group was clearly more interested in something else.
"What do you think, Iruka-sensei?! Does he get his power by worshiping the demon or by eating the hearts of his victims?!" one of the girls yelled out.
Iruka felt more confused than he ever had in his entire life. "Who?"
"The Demon Shinobi, of course!" several people yelled out at once, and instantly Iruka's eyes widened in understanding before quickly turning into a scowl at the students. Iruka cursed his luck that this type of conversation between the students would have to start now if all times, when the person himself would be showing up any minute to pick up his own batch of students.
"Enough of that! Do you really think that you all should be focusing on thoughtless rumors rather than concentrating on finding out who the teacher of your group is going to be?" His words had the desired effect as the students quickly sobered up, remembering why they were there and what they were about to enter into.
Of course Iruka had heard the same types of rumors that all of the children had heard, including the ones he thought were insane, and those that could hold some truth. The difference was that he had heard the rumors from shinobi along with those from the civilian population. Most rumors in the shinobi community had to do with his level of strength and how he had so quickly risen in the bingo book. Many of the higher-ranking ninja held a great deal of respect for him, so it was mostly those ranked lower that had some sort of spite for the person.
The civilians were entirely different though. They were completely spite-filled and demeaning, talking about how he had obtained his power through evil means or murdered innocents for fun. Many of the rumors were completely ridiculous, but they did their job in breeding hate and suspicion of the man. Iruka had been taught that at least one small part of every lie is truth; he could only hope that the truth was that the people who started these rumors were simply very afraid.
"Now then!" Iruka shouted out, deciding to leave his troubling thoughts for later. "I'll start listing off the sensei for each team, and then that group will leave with them as soon as they come to pick you up. Now then, Team One…"
It was about the point that Shikamaru decided that he would just tune out Iruka's talking until it came time for his team's turn. What would the point be in hearing what sensei ever team had? Nothing, that's what, so obviously it didn't involve him.
"I hope we get a good sensei…" Chouji whispered to the two. Shikamaru gave a quick grunt of agreement and he could see Hinata nod her head slightly in agreement, but that was the only real conversation between the three as the names were listed off and different Jounin entered the room and left with their teams. Everything seemed rather routine until the name was read off for Team Seven.
"Team Seven's sensei is Hatake Kakashi." Iruka looked up from his clipboard at the three students sitting near each other with a annoyed and sorry look on his face. "Sorry, but Kakashi-san is usually late to these types of things. So you will probably be waiting a little while…"
"A long while" he added mentally as he started reading off team eight and nine's sensei.
Shikamaru sat up and looked to the front of the classroom with probably the most attention he had ever given anything during his time at the Academy. His teammates both sat up a little straighter as well. They knew their turn was coming now and their future was about to be put in the hands of the person about to come through the door.
"Team Ten's sensei is…Naruto…"
"…like the ramen topping?" Shikamaru muttered out as some of the nervousness in his body left him.
"I like him already." Chouji commented happily with a smile.
The smile didn't last very long though as the door at the front of the classroom slid open and a cloaked figure walked through. Gasps were heard all around the classroom and several girls passed out in a fright as the figure of all their gossip walked through the door. Shikamaru, Chouji, and Hinata's mouths were open in shock as the Demon Shinobi of Konoha stood in front of their class looking directly at them.
"Team Ten! You're with me!" he yelled out happily.
Not quite a two year wait this time eh? But still much longer than I anticipated. I apologize sincerely for that, but family emergencies, which I will probably explain in more detail at a later time, required me to be out of state for a good while these past few months. Which is actually the reason I wasn't able to answer a great deal of the private messages I received and I really apologize for that, since I do enjoy talking to people about manga and other stories, but I am back now if you would like to try again.
I want to thank my beta RageofKyuubi too. He was very patient with getting me to write this while I was out of town lol. And to those that private messaged me to be a beta, I am sorry I couldn't respond to all of you, but I am always looking for opinions on story progress. So if you want to try again feel free. Anyway thanks a lot, read and review!