The sun was just rising on a shinobi village known as Konohagakure, the Hidden Leaf Village. While the villagers slept, groups of ninja patrolled the village due to the recent war with another village, Otogakure, the Hidden Sound Village. Through the war had come to an end half a year prior with the death of Orochimaru, the village had lost many ninja and may be chosen for attack due to this fact, as well as the ever present threat of Akatsuki.
One ninja however was not among the patrols, he stood atop the stone version of the Yondaime's head looking out over the village. His shoulder length blonde hair waved in the early morning breeze as his bright blue eyes stared off into space. His mouth would twitch every now and then, causing the three whisker-like marks on each cheek to shift, this ninja is Naruto Uzumaki, the container of Kyuubi no Kitsune.
Kyuubi had attacked Konoha on the night of Oct. 10, and killed hundreds. In the end, it took the Yondaime's life to seal the demon inside the newborn Naruto. Because of this, he was viewed by most of those who reside in Konoha as the demon itself and as a result, his childhood was full of misery and hate. They would beat, stab, cut, and even refused to sell him the necessities like food, and if they did it was just short of inedible and over charged him by nearly three times.
This changed slowly after the war had started, he became a force to be reckoned with. Much to the council's displeasure, he had been promoted to straight to jonin from genin after he had decimated a small portion of the Oto's army to protect the village, but even they couldn't deny that he was strong and that they needed jonin of his caliber. The battle made him almost as feared in Oto as the Yondaime was in Iwa, but it was nearly fatal, and would have been if not for the quick response by Sakura and Kyuubi's healing ability. Sakura, that name caused Naruto to remember some of the events that had happened since his genin days.
The war had started during his first Chunin Exam, when Orochimaru killed the Sandaime. The Akatsuki made their appearance just after Jiraiya took him on a trip to find Jiraiya's old teammate Tsunade. A few months later, Tsunade became the Godaime and Sasuke run off to join Orochimaru to gain the power to kill his brother Itachi. In the end Sasuke killed Orochimaru with Anko's help, and became the new Otokage, he then made a treaty with Konoha.
As in every war, there were also allied casualties. Though they all affected Naruto, a few hit harder than others. An Akatsuki member named Hidan, who was in almost every way immortal, had killed Asuma. Gai had fought against Kisame and was impale, but he pulled the sword from his own stomach and paid Kisame back in kind. Kakashi had protected Naruto from Itachi and was driven insane from whatever he had witnessed in the Tsukuyomi world, but Itachi, in an act of mercy or cruelty, ended his life with a cut to the throat.
The one that hit him hardest, was that of Anko. She was killed in a raid of the Sound village, she found Orochimaru and attacked blindly. She was stabbed with his Kusanagi sword, but continued to fight. Sasuke appeared in the room and ran Chidori through Orochimaru's chest just before she died, a slight smile on her face and her eyes full of sorrow.
In the months following Kakashi's death, he went to Anko to learn what he could except from Orochimaru in the event that he should have to face him. At first she was reluctant, but like he did so many others, he won her over. Not only did she show him the jutsu, but she used them on him, all except the most deadly, those she would only explain. He would spend hours with her every day and they grew very close, not in a romantic sense, but like siblings, and even though neither would admit it, they would refer to each other as such when they were alone. During this time, he learned that as unlikely as it sounded, she and Kakashi had been involved before his death, she found out shortly after he died that she was pregnant.
Kurenai had taken maternity leave from being a kunoichi shortly after Asuma died and Anko was forced to. Despite the raging war, or maybe because of it, couples were forming everywhere. Shikamaru and Temari were dating, much to Gaara's displeasure, Hinata had gotten over Naruto and was dating Kiba, Choji, who had grown and had more muscle than fat now, was dating Ino, Udon and Moegi, Hanabi and Konohamaru, and Sakura had been worn down and agreed to go out with Lee. Some of them were even married with families now.
Kurenai gave birth to a beautiful girl with red eyes and dark hair than her mother named Motooru. Five months later Anko gave birth to a gray haired, murky-brown eyed boy named Takai. After Takai was six months old, Anko started taking missions again, but Kurenai decided to wait longer and offered to watch Takai for Anko, which she readily agreed. That was twelve years ago, both he and Motooru had graduated from the academy yesterday and would be placed on their teams in a few hours.
They had grown up together, and are best friends, almost brother and sister, even though Takai is younger, he's over protective of Motooru and after Anko's death, Kurenai had retired and brought him to live with her. Naruto had thought about doing that himself, but knew it would have made both their lives harder, instead he helped Kurenai when she needed it, whether watching them, or helping buy clothes and food.
Sasuke had returned to Konoha to arrange to treaty, he came with the returning leaf ninja, carrying Anko's body. When he left again, he had asked Sakura to go with him and be his wife, even though she was still dating Lee, she said yes and left. Lee had taken it really hard and Tsunade refused to assign him any missions over D-rank until she was sure he wasn't going to throw himself into harms way. Naruto was livid when he heard the news, he could not understand why she would do that to Lee. In the time they were together, she had gotten him out of the spandex, to trim those monstrous eyebrows, and got him to tone it down quite a bit, but he wouldn't let go of the 'Power of Youth', and after the loss of Gai, who could ask him to.
Naruto pulled himself out of his thoughts and looked down at his hands, all but three fingers had a ring on them, they were the Akatsuki rings. Without these, they couldn't recruit anyone else into the higher ranks, but since he put them on, he hasn't be able to remove them. On his left hand, he had Gyokunyo on his thumb, Santai on his index finger, Hokuto on his middle finger, Nanju on his ringer finger, and Kuchin on his pinky. On his right he had Genbu on his pinky and Seiryu on his index finger. Sasuke, as proof of his intensions, delivered Orochimaru's ring. The only remaining members are the leader, an unknown member, and Itachi.
He had killed Kakuzu with his Wind Rasengan the day following Asuma's death, turning his remain four hearts to shreds. Hidan met the same fate a year later, but Deidara and Tobi weren't so lucky. They had used the children when they were still infants, to lure him. In his pissed off state, Kyuubi took control while Lee took the children and ran after from the site to protect them. When Konoha reinforcements arrived, even the elites had a hard time trying not to lose their lunches. The area was covered in blood and there were no remains of the two missing-nins. Naruto was unconscious, his clothes turned to rags, and blood covering him as well.
Eight years ago, however the worst thing that could have happen did, Akatsuki's dwindling members appeared, the leader used an unknown jutsu to amplify his voice and he announced why they targeted Konoha. Naruto had believed that everyone, even his friends, hated him for this and decided to leave. Before he even got out his door, they were standing there. They wanted to know why he kept it from them, and he told them everything, from how he found out to what had happened when he had lost control.
Out of all his friends, he was the most afraid of how Shikamaru, Choji, and Ino would react. Shikamaru trapped him in a Kage Mane, stopping him from moving. "Asuma-sensei died to protect us and keep you from them. If you leave you're as good as captured, and his sacrifice would have been for nothing. I'd sooner give up shoji than let that happen." He was released. "Besides, if Kurenai doesn't blame you, then I don't see how I can, she would have more reason to hate you than I would if you were to blame."
Now that the war was over, the council had agreed to let Naruto keep his rank, and with it, the duty of taking on a genin team every other year, he was to meet said team in a few hours, of course Tsunade hadn't told him this until just hours ago.
Naruto walked into Tsunade's office wearing the normal jonin attire, except his vest was black instead of dark green. "You needed to see me Obaa-san?"
"Naruto, I wish you'd stop calling me that, you're not a little kid anymore."
"I suppose I could a more appropriate term."
"I swear if you add anything to Obaa-san, even the fox won't be able to get you out of the hospital bed."
Naruto smiled. "So what did you need?"
"As a jonin you are required to take a team of genin every other year or you lose your rank. Whether they become actually genin or not doesn't matter as long as you take a team."
"If they do pass, their parents won't be very happy that I'm teach them. Most people still view me as Kyuubi."
"I sure they won't be too bothered, you are one of the strongest jonin we have, so their children couldn't be in safer hands."
"I doubt that they'll see it that way, but you're the boss, so who are they?"
"I'm not telling, you'll have to see when you pick them up tomorrow, they're Team Seven."
Naruto smile widened. "Figures, and you think I'm childish. I take it that I have to be there after lunch."
"Yes, Iruka seemed rather happy that you were taking a team this year."
'I think I take him to lunch tomorrow, it will be like old times.' "Is there anything else?"
"Not that I can think of. You're dismissed."
Naruto waved as he walked towards the door. "If you can get away, met me at the bar tomorrow night Okaa-san, I'll buy." Before he could take another step, her arms were around him and he could feel her tears hitting his shirt.
"Did you mean what you just said?"
Naruto's smile spread even further, he knew what she meant, but his prankster nature was still working full force after all these years. "Of course, but you can't go overbroad, I have to have some money to live on."
"That's not what I meant and you know it."
"You know me, I couldn't resist. Yes, I meant every word, the whole Obaa-san thing was just to piss you off."
"I'll be at the bar around seven Okaa-san, if you can it would be nice to see Ero-sennin too."
"I'm not sure he'll be happy to see you."
"He's not still hung up on that is he?"
"Last time I saw him he was. As much as I hate the fact you wrote one of those damn books, he said his readers think it was the best one, even over his newer ones."
"You'd think he'd be happy, he gets half of the profits because it's his series."
"I think it's because all of his were surpassed by one written by a thirteen year old. I want you to promise me one thing, that you won't ever follow in that man's perverted footsteps."
Naruto chuckled. "You don't have to worry about that Okaa-san, I still plan to take your job." He hugged her. "I'll see you tomorrow."
He released her and left, a large smile on his face when he heard her. "I'll see you then Aisoku."
Naruto sighed, and looked down at the peaceful village, to see that it wasn't so peaceful anymore. Someone was leaping across the rooftops at an insane speed. "Well, I was getting bored anyway, might as well see what's going on." He pushed some wind chakra into his feet and took off after the person, leaving a small dust tornado. It didn't take long to catch up with the person, but catching them was another matter.
Even in the early morning light, it was too dark to see anything in detail, but from what he could see, they either worn skintight clothes, or none at all. He put more wind chakra into his feet, but still could completely close the distance, but he got close enough to figure out who he was following. "Hey Lee, wait up a minute!"
The person stopped and turned as Naruto landed next to him. "Oh so you were the one following me Naruto."
"Yeah, I saw you from the monument running like a mad man. You could of at least kept your weights on, my legs are gonna be sore for a while after using all that wind chakra."
"You didn't have to follow me."
"Well at first I wasn't sure who you were." Naruto looked down only a little bit past Lee's face, to see green. "Lee, I know you miss Sakura, but why would you put that back on?"
Lee looked down, sadness in his eyes and on his face. "I loved her, I did everything she asked me to, but she still left me for him. After everything he put us through, she still wanted to be with him. I was planning on asking her to marry me that night."
"Just because she gone doesn't mean you should undo everything that she helped you with while you were together."
"Why not? It all a reminder of her!"
"Have you noticed the looks that the girls of the village have been giving you since you first got out of that?" Lee nodded. "How about since Sakura left?" Again he nodded. "So why not try to find someone else, I'd bet anything that any girl would jump at the chance to be with you, hell I heard that even Tenten would have asked you out if she weren't with Neji, and we both know how much she loves Neji."
Lee smiled at this. "Yes we do. But still it only because of the changes that they even like me."
"Lee, even if a man were to spend his whole life trying to figure women out, he probably wouldn't even scratch the surface, but one thing I have learned, is that they go off of looks first and then they get to know them. Once they do, it's time to decide if the relationship is worth continuing."
"What about Hinata, she didn't care what you or Kiba wore, or how he smelled."
"Hinata's just weird like that, but in a good way, more girls should be like her. But that's besides the point, you should get a new girlfriend, you might find out that you love her more than you did Sakura, and even if you don't at first, you may grow to. You should give someone else a chance to love you the way you did Sakura."
"I'll consider it, thank you Naruto."
"No problem Lee, but can you tell me where you were headed so fast at this time a day?"
"To train, care to join me?"
"I would love to, but I have to meet my genin team, and if I do, I know that I'll end up pretty banged up. Your type of training is on the verge of insanity, I don't know how you can do half of what you do, but I do know you're stronger for it."
"Thank you Naruto. So Hokage-sama has you taking a genin team as well?"
"Yeah, she trying to work me to death so she's not the only one miserable. You know who else is taking a team?"
"Neji, Choji, and I are, and I believe Hinata and Kiba are as well."
"Did she tell you who's on your teams?"
"Yes, why didn't she tell you?"
"No, she said I'd have wait and see."
"That's what happens when you piss off the boss too much. You'll probably get a team just like your old one too, Rookie of the Year, Dead Last, and a Fangirl/boy. Then again if they are like your team, the so-called dead last will be stronger than anyone thinks, and the prodigy will have 'a stick up their ass' as you once put it."
"I just hope she not that cruel." He did know that she was, but hoped with every fiber in him that she wasn't really. "I'll see you later Lee, there's some people I need to go see."
Lee nodded solemnly. "Just be sure to be on time, if you repeat history, so will other things."
"Don't worry about that, I'm planning on taking Iruka to lunch." He patted Lee on the shoulder. "Change out of that before you meet your team, don't want to scare them before they're an actual team." In a swirl of wind and leaves Naruto disappeared.
Lee's smile widened. "He's in for a big surprise later, Hokage-sama couldn't have been more cruel, but at the same time she's generous." He took off on the rooftops again.
Naruto sat in front of the Memorial Stone near Training Ground Seven, his eyes closed as he said his silent prayer. A small breeze came from behind him, carrying a scent he had become familiar with. "Good morning Yugao-chan."
"Good morning Naruto-kun." She sat beside him, laying a bouquet of flowers down. "You are like him in some ways."
"Kakashi-san, he would come here nearly everyday to pay his respects to Obito-san. The only difference is that he came when he was supposed to be somewhere and made up excuses to why he was late. Most of the time they weren't even original, he just used the same ones over and over again."
"Maybe, but some of them were kind of funny the first time you heard them."
She chuckled a bit. "I suppose some of them were funny."
They sat in a comfortable silence for some time until Naruto stood up. "It was nice seeing you again Yugao-chan, I'll see you later. It's almost time for me to pick up my genin team."
"Good luck Naruto-kun, I'm sure you'll do fine."
"Thanks." He disappeared with a swirl of leaves on the wind.
Iruka stood next to the window of his classroom, watching the last of the children run off for lunch when he felt the sudden gust of wind behind him. "How you doing Iruka-sensei."
The scarred chunin turned to find his former blonde student. "I'm fine Naruto, but you know you don't have to call me sensei anymore, you've been a ninja for a while now, and you're my superior now."
"Maybe so, but you were one of the first to believe in me. In any case, I was wondering if you are free for lunch."
"I could go for something, but your buying this time." Naruto smiled and nodded.
As they walked Naruto asked about his team. "I was told not to tell you who they are, but I suppose basic info couldn't hurt. One's the Rookie of the Year and as such as Groupies. This also means you have the 'Dead Last' of the class, but we both know that doesn't really mean anything."
"So is the third member a groupie?"
"No, the Dead Last is a groupie. Your third member and the prodigy get along just fine, but neither really like the Dead Last because of the fawning over the prodigy thing."
"Yea me." They ate lunch at the same ramen stand they had back when Naruto was still an academy student, Ichiraku's. Naruto paid for their food and went back to the academy with Iruka. Before they went their separate ways, Naruto said that he would get together with the older man again soon. Naruto slid the classroom door open and stepped inside. "Team Seven, meet me on the roof in ten minutes." He used Shunshin again without waiting to see who stood up.
Naruto leaned against the rail on the edge of the building while he waited for the children. When they finally made it, two familiar faces greeted him. "Yea, we got Naruto-oji-san as our sensei!"
"Settle down Takai, while we're training, you will refer to me as Naruto-sensei, or just sensei. Understood?" The boy nodded. "Good, now that you're here, introduce yourselves, likes dislikes dream, stuff like that."
The third member looked a like confused. "Would you go first sensei so we know what is expected."
"Alright. My names Naruto, I like my precious people and ramen, I dislike the two last Uchihas, the three-minute wait before I can eat my ramen, people who judge others before getting to know them, and those who decide to chase after someone for reasons as stupid as just looks or clan name. My dream will be fulfilled when Okaa-san retires." He gave them his fox-like smile. "Your turn Rookie of the Year."
"My name's Motooru Yuhi Sarutobi. I like those I consider family and Genjutsu. I dislike fanboys who only like me for how I look and not who I am." She glared at the unknown boy, who was basically drooling. "My dream is to be a great Kunoichi like my mother was and have a family of my own." Naruto smirked when he saw the brief glance towards Takai. He pointed at said boy to go next.
"I'm Takai Mitarashi Hatake, I like Motooru-chan, my surrogate family, and training. I dislike those who don't see people for who they are, and traitors. My dream is to live up to my parent's names and also have a family."
Naruto looked at the last member of the team. This boy was a Hyuga, but unlike any other Hyuga, he had white hair "My name's Kisei Hyuga. I like training, and Motooru-chan." Both Motooru and Takai scowled and that. "I dislike Takai-teme, being called Dead Last, and having nothing to do. My dream is to marry Motooru-chan."
Naruto pointed at Kisei. "First off, your too young to be thinking about marriage, second you have to take her feelings into account too." He then pointed at Takai. "Your parents were two of the best ninja I've had the privilege to know." The boy swelled with pride. "But you shouldn't try to live up to their names, try to make yours as respected as theirs, even if you can't they will always be proud of what you accomplish." He turned to his female student. "As uncomfortable as I feel for saying this since I think of you as family, you are as beautiful as your mother and as such, there will be guys like that. If you ask your mother, she'll say that too." He waited for what he said to sink in before continuing. "Tomorrow we'll start our duties."
Kisei brighten at this. "Really? What are we doing, protecting someone important, or fighting off an army of bandits who are attacking a village?"
"No, it's something that's just the four of us, survival training."
The boy groaned. "But we did that in the academy."
Takai sighed. "Unfortunately, the Baka's right sensei."
"I know, but this time you be surviving against me and… actually never mind."
"You won't like it."
"What is it Sensei?"
"Out of all the genin that passed the graduation test, only nine become actual Genin, the others are sent back to the academy. That means this test has a 66.6 fail rate." Naruto couldn't help but grin an evil grin that put Kyuubi's to shame at their shocked faces. "I told you that you wouldn't like it. Meet me tomorrow morning at Seven o'clock at Training Ground Seven." He turned around and was about to leave, but stopped. "Oh, and don't eat breakfast, or you'll throw it back up. Bye." He used Shunshin at left the three children there.