HEY! It didn't take me a year to update the story this time. Imagine that! You know, I could get used to this! Joking aside I thought I'd share a little of my process with you. Late at night when I can't sleep and I get so bored that I contemplate pulling hairs out one at a time I sit down and I pump out these chapters in a single go. I don't take breaks besides maybe to pee or get a drink, I just sit and blast out a chapter in a single night. I do however think about what's going to be in my next chapter beforehand which is why you'll see the quality improve as the story progresses at this point. Because it took me so long to update initially I had lost all of my ideas and the flow I wanted to maintain with the story. I'd like to imagine that I'm finally getting that back. And thank you all for all the lovely reviews! By the way, now that I use Google Docs to do all my writing it makes things so much easier because I don't get stupid things like changing "kunoichi" to "kunzite" like you may have noticed in the very first chapter!
It was very early in the morning when Naruto awoke. This wasn't his usual routine, but with the progress he had been making with his clones he had been taking everything more serious than usual. This change did not go unnoticed. Sakura never really paid attention to Naruto so she didn't notice the change. Sasuke knew that Naruto was a joke, but didn't know this was a serious change. Kakashi however had read Naruto's files, had seen Naruto before and knew that something was extremely different with the young man. The young man seemed to be tired often, and from his file Kakashi knew that his stamina reserves should be nearly limitless. Kakashi took it upon himself to watch Naruto carefully and see what was going on. He was surprised to see six of the blonde jinchuuriki leave his apartment so early in the morning.
'Eh? Shadow Clones?' Kakashi thought to himself as he noticed they were physical clones. He noticed one went off by itself while the other five headed uniformly the same direction. Kakashi maintained his hiding place and quickly performed the shadow clone jutsu, only making one clone but judging from the pattern of the young man that would be enough. He followed the Naruto that went off by himself while the clone followed the five. It was easy for him to tail Naruto without being noticed. He followed him for a good deal of time until he noticed Naruto arive at an indoor training ground.
'Admirable, he's supposed to be a goof-off yet here he is training before our mission.' He continued to watch Naruto and noticed that he went straight for the weights and began pushing himself, seemingly to improve his physical strength. Kakashi kept watching for over an hour, and not once did Naruto leave the weights. Kakashi was quite impressed with Naruto's dedication with what he was doing but wondered why he was doing it. After several more minutes of watching Kakashi's eyes widened for a moment.
'So that's it,' Kakashi thought to himself with wry smile under his mask as memories from his clone were transferred into his mind. 'How clever, he's using the clones to study jutsu and learn techniques while he himself is improving his physical prowess.' Kakashi left the gym quietly and began heading to the Hokage's office, he felt it was something he should discuss with the Third Hokage.
* * *
"Are you sure that's what he's doing Kakashi?" Asked the Third Hokage as he looked across his desk at the silver haired ninja.
"Yes, I watched him for some time to make sure, he's studying jutsus with his clones while his real body trains physically." Kakashi said with a contemplative look on his face.
"Heh! I'm proud of that boy, he really is his father's son isn't he?" The Third Hokage said with a goofy grin on his face.
"So that rumor is true then!?" Kakashi's visible eyebrow raised at what the Third Hokage had just suggested.
"Oh that's right... you didn't know about that did you? Look, you can't tell him, not yet anyways. That boy needs to stand on his own two feet, we don't know what he'd do since he never had real supervision. He may turn out just fine, but I'm worried he'll grow lazy and try to skate on his father's reputation." Explained the Third Hokage to Kakashi who had a hint of a sad face for a moment but nodded.
"I may not agree with it, but I'll do as you say Hokage-sama." Kakashi said with a hint of reluctance, his reading of Naruto's file and his general knowledge of jinchuurikis made him know how hard Naruto's life had been, and while knowing such a fact may give him happiness he knew the Third Hokage was right about his hesitance to tell the boy. He bowed to the hokage and began to leave the office.
"Oh and Kakashi..." the Third Hokage began, causing Kakashi to turn around.
"Yes Hokage-sama?" asked Kakashi, wondering what the third had to say.
"Keep on keeping an eye on Naruto, when a person accrues too much power too fast they become bored as they dominate the competition and while climbing the ladder of power they reach a point where they have no goals left, and with no goal they become unpredictable. What I'm trying to say is remember Itachi... do not let Naruto turn into that." The third stated as he looked at Kakashi with a serious face. Kakashi merely nodded, bowed and made his way out.
* * *
It came as no surprise to Kakashi when he arrived late as usual, though this time he was off buying a new copy of his book so he wouldn't be bored uring the simple missions that were no more than simple day labor. He noticed Naruto was already very tired, his stance was more slouched than usual and he was still sweating. He wasn't the only one to notice this however, both of Naruto's teammates had noticed the blond ninja's exhaustion and had mixed concerns about it. They both were worried if he was alright, but more importantly they worried whether or not he was going to end up leaving all the hard work for them.
When they were assigned a mission both Sasuke and Sakura were a little annoyed that they were giving such remedial missions at their rank, Naruto had expected it with the knowledge his clones had picked up of the ranking system for ninja. Naruto happily surprised his genin teammates when he jumped head first into the labor and began to really bust his butt, acting as if every task was integral. While watching the three young genin Kakashi noted that while Sasuke and Sakura were getting tired, Naruto was still working like a madman. It seemed that Naruto's stamina was as impressive as the files had lead him to believe, and it may even be growing with all this hard training the boy had been putting himself through. He smiled underneath his mask, he knew that at this rate this boy would not only surpass him, but surpass his father.
When the day of hard work was done Naruto looked at his share of the money with a large goofy grin on his face. The grin turned even wider when Kakashi offered to take all of them out to dinner for ramen to celebrate their hard work. As Naruto closed his eyes with that large grin on his face the resemblance Naruto shared with his father struck him with full force, causing Kakashi to beam under his mask with fond memories of his childhood and remembered that Naruto's father had done something similar for him when he had completed his first mission.
As they walked towards the Ichiraku ramen shop, the young blonde ninja staggered for a few steps, falling to his hands and knees and panting loudly in front of everyone. Sasuke shot him a contemplative look, wondering what the hell was going on as this wasn't the first time he had seen Naruto suddenly become exhausted, and Sakura had a genuinely concerned look on his face. Kakashi had a concerned look on his face as well, but that concerned face quickly turned the annoyance and realization.
'... Shit. If... If his clones just dispersed now, then he's probably going to get their appetites too.' Kakashi thought to himself, slapping his palm against his own face and shaking his head.
Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi all helped Naruto get to his feet and carried him by his arms towards Ichiraku ramen shop. When Naruto sat down he smiled at the owner and said loudly. "Five orders of pork ramen to start please!" Kakashi's visible eye widened and a single bead of sweat dripped down his temple. Sakura ordered some ramen with chicken and Sasuke had a pork ramen as well. Everyone was enjoying their meal until Sasuke caught a glimpse of Naruto devouring his fourteenth bowl of ramen while he was just finishing up his first. Sasuke's skin took a slightly green tint as he pushed his bowl forwards. "I think I lost my appetite." Sakura was also shocked by this ravenous display of gluttony that came in the pint sized package that was Naruto, she couldn't help but be jealous, wondering where he was able to put all that food without getting fat. Kakashi however was grumbling, he thought it would be nice to take them all out, but upon the realization that Naruto had eaten so much that his pay for the day didn't cover all of it he quickly regretted his kind notion.
With full bellies the companions all parted ways for the night, returning to their respective homes to get some sleep. As Naruto laid in his bed he rubbed his full tummy and wished he could eat like that every night, but there was no way he could afford that. It was as he thought of how much it would cost for him to pull that off he realized something. If he were to send his clones to do D ranked missions instead of train, he'd rake in multiple times the income that he had made today. He stayed up late that night, thinking how he might pull that off, coming up with several good ideas.