"And so I'm nominating you three for the Chuunin Exams... Show up at the building-"
Naruto began to tune Kakashi out, as he had already learned the details governing the chuunin exam when he last scouted through the ANBU mission briefings- Naruto needed to keep himself updated, after all.
After finishing the bridge and making their way back to Konoha, Team 7 had dumped Haku and Zabuza off with the Torture and Interrogation people, and resumed normal Konoha life. The Torture and Interrogation squad felt a mixture of amusement and jealousy at the fact that the prisoners felt happier and safer in their hands then they were with Naruto. They weren't actually used to having Naruto bring in prisoners, a novelty unto itself. Most people that got in Naruto's way ended up dead, insane, or reformed (and usually turned themselves in to the local prison).
Team 7 resumed normal village life... Mostly training, and attempting to catch up with friends. Oddly enough, Ino and Sakura were unable to find any of the Rookie 9... None of them were in their usual training spots.
They'd only been back for a few days, which hadn't given Naruto enough time to yet desire to train with his varied training partners... But finding out that he was about to be entered into the exam meant that a priority had to be placed on it.
'After this, I shall go sparring...'
Kakashi wound down on his spiel about the exams, and dismissed his students, disappearing to only God knows where. Well, actually, he went to the adult bookstore, and then returned home with a sack-full o' loot... The kind of loot one wouldn't want their mother finding.
Sakura and Ino tried to hide their nervousness about the exam from each other, and both turned to speak to Naruto. What better way to bolster ones confidence then training/eating/hooking up with Naruto? Sakura couldn't quite find an immediate justification for why the latter would make her a better ninja, but she knew that somehow it would.
Only to find that he had disappeared, too.
And, it was at that moment, that Tenten and Hinata arrived.
Immediately, Ino and Sakura were suspicious... They barely knew who the older girl was, but they DID know it was extremely out of character for Hinata to be in anything other then a heavy sweatshirt. The fact that not only was she wearing a rather pretty sundress, but also a light layer of makeup, sent off warning bells in both girls minds.
Of course, they both ignored how incredibly embarrassed and nervous the poor girl looked. They both assumed that she was nervous trying to approach Naruto, while the older girl with her looked rather confident and a tad bored about the whole thing.
That wasn't quite the truth
"But... Tenten, I've never worn that dress out of the house before..."
"Oh, stop complaining, and take off that jacket of yours. How are you supposed to win a guy over if they can't even see what you've got going for you? Off with it!"
"Hey! Stop that! Let go!"
It was at that moment that Hiashi had walked into Hinata's room. He was on his way over to the training compound for a session with Hanabi, and was rather curious about the noise. After all, as far as he knew Hinata had never brought anyone else into her room before. Maybe his daughter had finally brought home a boyfriend for him to terrorize?
The thought filled him with a sadistic glee... He had seen how much fun his father-in-law had doing that to him, and Hiashi had been waiting for years to get to do it himself.
He opened the door, only to see Hinata wearing a pair of pants and a bra, with her sweater and shirt both being pulled off her (and blocking her face) by another girl.
Tenten froze, leaving Hinata to struggle blindly with the sweater.
Hiashi sighed. It seemed as if Hinata was even too much of a failure to bring home a boy for him to scare.
As Hiashi slowly turned around and shuffled out of the room, once more disappointed in his eldest daughter, Hinata had finally managed to get her head free.
Only to see Tenten licking her lips at Hiashi's apparent approval.
After all, he never told her to leave, did he?
And it only got worse for Hinata from there... After all, that sundress just wouldn't look right if Hinata was wearing pants under it, would it?
No, Hinata had every reason to be embarrassed at the moment... She had never felt as violated as she did right now.
And now that she was being glared at by Sakura or Ino... It just made her nervousness worse. Why the heck was she even here, anyway? She didn't even LIKE Naruto, and she was pretty sure Tenten didn't, either.
And it didn't even seem like he was here, anyway... Even though they knew he had been a few moments earlier, as they had heard Team 7's leader addressing the whole team.
Just as Tenten was about to ask if the girls knew where Naruto was, several screams could be heard from the next training ground over. When each scream abruptly cut out, all 4 females quickly made their way over to see what exactly was going on.
And Sakura and Ino could only look on in confusion, as Tenten groaned and Hinata shrunk into herself even more at the sight before them.
After Naruto disappeared from the meeting, he had decided that he needed to get some training in.
Moving into the next training ground, he saw several people practicing taijutsu forms... Or at least, that's what it looked like at first.
Immediately, Naruto recognized the people who were there. The fact that Sasuke, Kiba, Shino, and Chouji were all there, training under the watchful eyes of Gai, earned a nod of approval. After all, anyone seeking to stretch their own limits earned Naruto's respect, though those that failed and gave up (like Shikamaru apparently had, sleeping hidden in one of the bushes) tended to be regarded as worthless.
However, what had looked like a practice kata of sorts turned out to be just the various boys, clad in identical green spandex, doing various poses, holding the pose for a second... then looking disappointed?
Naruto frowned for a second... 'They all wear the green spandex now?'
Naruto thought about it for a moment, and then came up with a solution. Surprisingly, it was the correct one- Only someone who was truly dedicated to learning at Gai's feet would actually wear the Green Spandex.
The Genin must truly be dedicated to improving themselves, indeed.
But, what they were doing didn't seem all that effective, or meaningful. Naruto was about to interrupt such useless training and treat them with some of his own, when Gai, Lee, and Neji appeared.
"No, students, you have yet to fully bring to life your inner youth! Only then will it work! Watch closely!"
Naruto was even more confused when Gai, Lee, and Neji all sprang back into martial poses, only to then throw their fists into the air and give a huge thumbs up. Naruto wondered for a few seconds what the point of this was, before IT happened.
IT being a genjutsu unlike any Naruto had ever encountered before.
'A seal-less genjutsu that causes the a localized sunset and ocean behind the person doing it? They simulate the sound of the waves lapping the shore. And all it took was a... pose? Clearly, Gai is even more formidable then his file makes it seem.'
And while a genjutsu that could be done without seals did seem like a very useful technique, to Naruto's practiced eye it did not appear that the newer students were anywhere near succeeding... So, he decided to let them train in a different, and probably more fulfilling, manner.
They could train with him.
With that, Naruto walked out into the open.
Naruto could see Gai's eyes open wide in fear (as well they should), and saw him begin to shout out a warning to his newer students (undoubtedly something to the effect that his training would be far too advanced for them), even as Naruto began his strike.
Moments later found Naruto and Gai engaged in a fierce taijutsu battle, with all the students looking on... Before Naruto decided to up the ante and activate his 'sharingan'.
However, Gai was more prepared this time, and never lifted his eyes from Naruto's feet. Unfortunately, it was at this moment that Lee decided to join in on the fight.
After all, Lee knew serious training when he saw it.
And just as Gai ducked down to dodge a kick to the face, Lee leapt right over Gai in what would have been a truly effective surprise attack... If he hadn't been staring right into Naruto's eyes.
Sadly, Gai then made a mistake- He reached to catch Lee out of midair, to ensure he didn't accidentally land wrong and get truly injured. This caused him to look up just high enough for Naruto to catch his eyes. This in turn caused the two to both be on the floor, in a rather... inappropriate position.
And every other student swiftly followed (even Shikamaru, who Naruto had to kick awake first to join in the training).
For Neji, a return trip to meet Fate wasn't so bad. He was used to it, really, and lost nearly all of his former ego. After all, he had learned what the future had in store for him. Hard to keep up his pride when he knew that he'd be doomed to begin ballet training sometime in the next 7 years. And that wasn't even the most humiliating of things he had learned.
For Sasuke, it WAS bad. Sasuke was intimately aware that Naruto did that THING to him again, that THING that caused him to start losing bowel control out of fear. This time wasn't so bad, though... He had only been placed into a small padded cell, with some terrible song called 'Mmmbop' placed on repeat.
He'd been through worse.
Then again, that was like comparing using thumbscrews on your finger, to thumbscrews on a more, ahem, 'personal' area. It hurt A LOT more in that other area, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt when used on your finger.
Lee and Gai were once again paired up... Gai had been tied up upside down in chains, hung from a tree, and had boulders swung at him. He was then told he had to break them with one finger.
Needless to say, his finger broke far quicker then the boulder did.
At the same time, Lee had a ball and chain attached to each leg, and then a rather large hunk of raw meat strapped to his back.
And then wolves started chasing him.
Though, oddly enough, Gai DID manage to poke his finger straight through the boulder by the time he was let out, even if he didn't manage to make it explode.
But for the others in the group?
They... They were terrified.
Shikamaru, Chouji, Kiba, and Shino found themselves floating in a void, unable to move.
Then a voice addressed them.
"You have already begun your ascent into my worship... Now is the time to finalize your initiation. It is too late to go back now! After this, your soul will forever belong to me... You will forever be a part of the Cult of the Green Beast!"
None of them had expected that this could be the reason Gai acted as he did... None of them had even intended to keep up training as long as they had. Kiba and Shino stayed on because they HAD been learning some pretty cool taijutsu, when they weren't learning pointless stuff like the posing they did today, and Chouji had come along (and dragged Shikamaru) because Gai paid so much personal attention to each student, personal attention Chouji had never received before.
But none of them WANTED to have to openly wear the green spandex, or act like morons.
And, as an evil voice began to cackle malevolently, they wondered if they even had a choice anymore...
The girls arrived to Naruto standing amidst a field of downed Konoha ninja, looking bored as could be.
Ino and Sakura squealed, once again having evidence that Naruto kicked major ass. That sort of thing would never get old for them, it seemed.
Tenten, though, stepped forward, dragging Hinata behind her. Walking around (and, in Neji's case, on) the bodies on the ground, she approached Naruto.
"Hello... I don't know if you remember me, but my name is Tenten. Hinata here and I were wondering if you wanted to come over to Hinata's place for dinner... and maybe some dessert, too."
Naruto stared at Tenten. He didn't miss the emphasis that this Tenten girl (who he placed as Gai's other official student) put on the word 'dessert', but for the life of him, he couldn't think of what she meant.
Nor why she was winking at him like that.
Normally, Naruto would have rejected such an offer out of hand... But this was for dinner at the Hyuuga household. This would give him a chance to study the other most powerful (though of course inferior to his own) bloodline in the village, an opportunity that he'd never been given before.
Or rather, the opportunity to study conscious Hyuuga, as opposed to ones who had been knocked out.
And it would be silly to turn down such an offer.
So Naruto merely nodded, and gestured for Tenten to lead the way.
And Ino and Sakura could merely gape in shock at seeing Naruto accept from those two what he had always rejected from them.
"Hiashi-sama, Hinata-sama has just returned, and she has brought back a boy-"
Before the Hyuuga guard who had been sent to inform Hiashi that the demon child was entering their home could finish his sentence, Hiashi had flashed out of the room, as fast as he could.
'Maybe Hinata isn't such a disappointment, after all?'
Hiashi, approaching the front door, where he knew Hinata had to be entering from, put on his game face, and waited in the hallway...
... Only to see Hinata and that girl from before leading THAT boy into the house.
Hiashi made an about-face, heading back to where he had been training Hanabi before he had left moments earlier.
Hiashi knelt down to eye-level with Hanabi, and spoke.
"Hanabi, when you get old enough to date, I forbid you from bringing boys back to the house that are scarier then I am."
Hanabi merely nodded confusedly (boys are icky... Why would she bring one home?), before Hiashi sent her to her room, and told her she'd be eating dinner there tonight, away from the 'scary boy that her sister had brought home'.
One might say that dinner that night was tense.
When you have a table meant to seat around 30 people, and only 4 people eating at it (only Hiashi had been brave enough amongst the Hyuuga to eat dinner with Naruto, and that was only because propriety demanded he be there as host), things could be awkward.
Conversation was sparse. Hiashi was nervous, as Naruto merely stared at him the whole of dinner, as if studying a lab specimen. Every so often, Tenten tried to begin conversation, only for no one to respond.
After twenty minutes of this, Hiashi excused himself. He then went to the family shrine, and prayed that his eldest daughter stop being the exact opposite of what she should be. And to pray that he and his clan made it through the evening.
Tenten tried to put the moves onto Naruto... Getting nowhere.
But then, she hadn't expected to, what with Naruto's reputation and all.
No, she tried because trying meant that she could convince Hinata that it wouldn't be worth it, and that perhaps ordering the fish might be better then springing for the sausage.
Hinata noticed the increasingly, err, friendly looks that Tenten had been giving her throughout the meal, and began to grow more and more panicky. Each time Tenten failed to engage Naruto in conversation further then a grunt or two, Hinata received another suggestive expression.
And it only got worse after Hiashi left.
But luckily, it didn't last long. After realizing he wasn't going to learn any secrets that evening, Naruto just got up and left, too.
After Naruto left, Hinata took one look at Tenten, and made her escape, locking the door to her bedroom.
Tenten, left alone in the dining room, sighed.
'Looks like she's going to play hard to get, eh?'
The next morning Ino and Sakura arrived early at the testing center. After all, there was a major issue they needed to discuss... An issue that needed to be dealt with swiftly. An issue that took them 45 minutes to discuss even the opening point, a matter that could be summed up in two sentences.
"Why on earth did Naruto go to dinner with those two skanks? What do they have that we don't?"
It was around that point that Team Gai arrived... Or rather, Neji and Lee went running by, with Tenten slowly following behind them.
This was the perfect time to interrogate the girl on her plans for Naruto!
Before Ino could even open her mouth, Tenten spoke. Actually, Ino's desire to speak was cut off by the odd... leer?... she was getting from Tenten.
"Hello, ladies... I hope your night was as good as mine? Hinata's place is so much fun."
Ino could only mumble some small talk back, still extremely put off by the way Tenten was looking at her.
Sakura, though, stared straight ahead, brow furrowed.
"Yeah, I can truly say that I'm ready for the exams today! I hope you two can be as... lucky... as me, eh?"
And with that, Tenten sauntered past.
After she left, Ino turned to Sakura.
"What the heck was THAT about?"
But instead of getting an answer, Sakura flung one of her fists in the air in triumph.
"Yes! I know how we can get Naruto to go on dates with us!"
Ino lifted a brow. "Oh, how so?"
Sakura turned to Ino, and smirked. "The same way Tenten did... Take him over to Hinata's place."
Ino began to smirk too. After all, neither could believe that Tenten was so happy over how far she was able to push Hinata last night... No, it had to be the fact she went out with Naruto!
Poor, poor Hinata.
Naruto soon arrived, and Team 7 found themselves ready to enter the and take their exam.
Naruto knew the underlying premise's behind each individual exam. He also knew the numbers involved in passing each exam, and that less competition meant a higher chance of promotion.
So Team 7 walked a path littered with the bodies of fallen genin into the examination room... Genin who were in no way prepared for what they were about to face.
The three wandered in, as Naruto scouted out the foreigners. After a moment's perusal, only one stood out... And it was one that Naruto recognized from his own findings.
After all, Gaara of the Desert was well known in his own village, and demon containers were something that other villages liked to spy on.
'Truly, a jinchuriki would be quite the foe to test ones limits on.'
Another site of note, and one of hilarity to other villages, was the corner where all the guys wearing identical spandex outfits were standing. Only one looked happy to be there... One looked resigned, one looked smug, and the rest looked rather nervous. Most took that nervousness to mean they were afraid of the competition.
In reality, they were afraid that they hadn't assembled a proper alter to the Green Beast yet, and that they somehow might be punished.
Kabuto did attempt to approach the corner, and thus speak to Sasuke... But he took so long in doing so (as he hadn't expected the Uchiha to be there), that the proctor arrived before he could begin speaking.
Morino Ibiki looked up and down the rows, noticing that there were about half as many people as expected in the room. Then again, Ibiki had stepped over about 30-40 genin lying in a path that started on the road outside the building all the way to the front door, so he had some suspicions at what had caused their absence.
Ibiki shrugged. If those pussies couldn't take a little bit of torture, then they didn't deserve to take the exam, much less pass it.
In point of fact, Ibiki had never been mangekyo'd before. Because of that, and because of the fact that he couldn't imagine the torture to be worse then some of the things he did, as not only did it all take place in your head, but you KNEW it took place in your head and wasn't real, he didn't have a high opinion of the pansies who ran away from Naruto screaming.
So when, after giving his speech about the rules of the exam, and how cheating was 'bad', he settled down to stare directly at Naruto.
Naruto, though, knew how this test worked. He knew there were plants with the answers among the students. It was just getting them that was key.
Now, a more subtle Naruto might have used his sharingan to do something stupid like copy the arm movements of one of the plants... But that seemed rather pointless.
No, Naruto had to merely neutralize whoever could stop him from taking the answers, and then get them by force.
So, taking Ibiki up on his challenge, Naruto pulled up some demonic chakra, sucked Ibiki in, and then walked over to one of the 'plants' (casually disregarding all the chuunin proctors who were doing their level best to ignore Naruto's presence), and just switched his own test with the completed one.
And boy did that plant feel lucky that Naruto didn't decide to knock him out, too.
Ibiki came to at an odd sight. He had been fully expecting to wake up in a torture chamber, or on a rack, or something... But instead, he awoke in a field.
Looking over down the field, he saw the most massive game of Red Rover ever.
It seemed that the 40 odd teens who Naruto had downed had been forced into a massive game against a team of composed of stone golems.
Ibiki flinched seeing one of the stone golems mow his way down between two poor kids, clearly unsocketing both their arms as he broke the link apart.
Luckily, it seemed that if you were too injured to continue, the Kyuubi funneled you off to some other part of the field, where a giant TV screen was placed. From his angle, Ibiki couldn't see the picture, but he could hear someone shouting over and over about 'Soylent Green' something or other, and all the injured children were cringing in terror. Or maybe it was revulsion?
Turning back to see one poor genin forced into some broken ribs by being close lined by a pair of golems he attempted to break apart, Ibiki was treated to sudden laughter behind him.
Turning, Ibiki found himself face to face with the great Demon itself.
However, Ibiki knew this was all just in his head, so he didn't flinch back in fear. No, he looked right at the demon, and spoke.
"This is the worst torture you can come up with? Bah! It's pathetic!"
Ibiki had been seeking to piss off the Kitsune, as he didn't think the Kitsune could do anything worse to him then had already been done. After all, none of this was real.
He was mildly surprised when the Kitsune merely smirked.
"Oh, really? Then I suppose I'll just have to let you choose your own punishment, then, to make sure you get the one you believe to be most... worthy."
Ibiki found himself teleported from the field, into an empty room with just a computer, and a note.
"You will have three choices... You will replace one of the people involved in one of the videos listed on the note, and then reenact the scene."
Curious, Ibiki looked down and read the list.
"Hmm... I wonder what Tubgirl, fingerslam, and two girls one cup are?"
Later on, in his memoirs, Morino Ibiki would confirm that to be the worst question he had ever asked in his entire life.
Many competitors were angered at the fact that no one seemed to stop this one Konoha nin from doing what he wanted. One person, in fact, DID protest. That person was swiftly sent to join the game of Red Rover, and the rest of his team disqualified.
With Morino down, one of the proctors nervously stood up and attempted to intimidate the genin into leaving. A few did leave, but fewer teams had managed to enter in the first place, thus evening out in the end with the fewer teams that failed the first part, leaving 28 teams to make it into second stage.
And, after being addressed by a rather boisterous Mitarashi Anko, the teams prepared for the Second Exam.
And, for the kunoichi of Team 7, that meant finding Hinata to secure their own dates with Naruto.
After all, it wouldn't do to dally on something that could get them a date with Naruto, right?
Author's notes: Probably the most important thing I can do in these notes is warn you: If you do not know what any of Ibiki's three torture choices were, you are better off not knowing.
Please, for the love of God, do not look them up.
At least, don't do so without first making sure you know what you're getting into by wikipedia-ing them, or something.
But if you DO know… laugh because someone else has been forced to know, too.
I am rather rusty with this story, but I hope it came out with the same feel as the earlier chapters… Poor Hinata, eh? Will she have the willpower to turn down Ino and Sakura, when she completely misinterprets their goals? And how will Tenten react?
Their's also the Cult of the Green Beast to consider, as well as what would happen if Gaara would be sucked into the seal.
Many places for the next chapter to go, ain't there?