The Great Romantic
Adapted from an Idea by Finbar
The battle was over.
Gatoh was dead, throat cut and body tossed off the bridge.
The boat bearing the thugs had departed, taking the few survivors with it.
And surrounded by the bodies of enemies he slew lay Zabuza, dying.
But he wasn't quite dead yet.
As the snow began to fall, Zabuza beckoned Naruto over to him.
"Look, kid... I gotta be straight with ya. I don't like you, nor do I want to do this. But it has to be done. Tradition, ya might say. Not only that, but a sword should always be used. Reach into my pocket and grab out the scroll there."
Naruto, kneeling down next to the dying missing-nin, complied. The scroll was covered in markings that he had never quite seen before. He quickly passed it off to Zabuza, confused about the whole situation.
"Ya see, kid, whenever a swordsman of the Mist loses his last fight, and is getting ready to move onto the next world, he has to give his sword to the person who bested them. Though you yourself didn't actually strike me down, out of all your team... You're the one who deserves it the most. Kakashi would never use it, and you're the only genin who shown that you knew what it meant to be a ninja."
As he spoke, Zabuza lit up with the last vestiges of his chakra, and activated the sealing matrix on the scroll. His sword, which had been resting against the scroll, looked like it got sucked into it by a vacuum.
"There... take it."
And with that, Zabuza expired.
Naruto stood up, holding the oddly small scroll.
'But... I don't know how to use a sword. What the hell am I going to do with this?'
In Naruto's mind, a fierce argument raged.
'Sword! Swords are cool! Swords are awesome! Look at how cool I would look if I could use a huge ass sword! Sakura-chan would love me for SURE!'
On one side, Naruto thought the idea of becoming a swordsman to be a pretty nifty one. After all... He didn't have a really cool bloodline or anything, to make himself stand out... But everyone could know him because of his kickass swordsmanship! Plus, if Zabuza using water clones to make 10 more of him became that much deadlier... How effective would it be when Naruto made 100 clones?
On the other side, was Naruto's love of ninjutsu. He loved ninjutsu. There was nothing more kickass then someone waving their hands around, and then causing a fireball to appear! It was like that magician he saw back on his 6th birthday. The guy could pull rabbits out of hats! How cool was that? Maybe... If Naruto got good enough with ninjutsu, he could do the same thing to?
It was tough for Naruto to decide what he wanted to train in next- Swords or Ninjutsu.
So, as they traveled home from wave, all Naruto could do was pester Kakashi to train him. Unfortunately, Kakashi's reply killed Naruto's dream of being an awesome swordsman who could pull rabbits out of fireballs.
"It takes way too much training to become good with swords. Do you want to make that your only focus?"
In his head, Naruto could picture it. Ninjutsu, or Kenjutsu?
A chibi-Naruto appeared over his left shoulder.
"SWORDS! You have a kickass sword already! How hard can it be to learn to swing it around? You'll have mastered it in no time, and then Sakura-chan will like you! It's how those things work, I think.'
Naruto's smile grew, ready to reply to Kakashi in the affirmative for swords, when another chibi-Naruto appeared over his right shoulder.
"Screw swords! Ninjutsu is where it's at! You've seen the things that ninjutsu can do... Fireballs and lightning bolts and ice needles and all sorts of cool stuff!"
The argument was fierce... Which one would make him a cooler ninja?
As the rest of the team walked, no one even suspected a miniature war was going on around Naruto's head.
But... The Ninjutsu Naruto had used Kage Bunshin, while the Sword Naruto assaulted them all with his sword. It was a 5 minute miniature battle... But in the end, only one Naruto remained.
"Just think, Naruto! Sakura likes Sasuke, right? It's not because he can use a sword... It's because he has ninjutsu!"
And that made up Naruto's mind.
Unfortunately, Naruto was still in the mindset that Kakashi would eventually teach him SOME kickass ninjutsu.
After arriving back in Konoha, Naruto reached his apartment.
'Well... What am I going to do with you?'
He wanted to do something with the sword, though... It's what Zabuza would want.
'Well... I suppose I can give ya over to someone who DOES use swords? That's a good idea, I guess.'
He just needed to find someone who actually used swords, first.
'Hmm... Do I even know anyone who actually fights with swords? Or seriously uses a weapon? Besides those random ANBU... they all have ninja-to.'
"Naruto! Pay attention! This is news you'd probably love to hear!"
Missions went on as usual, with Naruto still stumped on who he could give his sword to.
"Sorry, Kakashi-sensei... what were you saying?"
"For those of us who weren't listening the first time I said it, I decided to nominate you three for the Chuunin exams."
'Chuunin exams? Hmm...'
Naruto didn't know much about the chuunin exams. But... It sounded exciting, right? Plus... Maybe...
"Sensei... Will there be lots of other teams from Konoha there?"
"Seeing as this year they are being held in Konoha, I'd guess yes."
'Score! I'm bound to find somebody who specializes in weapons SOMEWHERE in the exams.'
'Hmm... Well, none of the old Academy class seems to be holding any actual weapons...'
It was before the first exam, with the Rookie Nine being reunited for the first time since they graduated.
Naruto spent a lot of time looking around, which some took to mean he was nervous.
That was rather far from the truth.
Indeed, Naruto was looking for somebody- ANYBODY- from Konoha who might be a weapons-user.
And he didn't find nary a one.
None had more then just some kunai or shuriken... Unless they were hiding their weapons in scrolls, too, none of them specialized in weaponry.
"I'd keep your voices down... this isn't some kind of fieldtrip, ya know?"
But Naruto was optimistic. He knew there'd be lots of opportunities for him to find a swordsman somewhere in the exam from Konoha. He just had to find them, is all.
'Shit shit shit shit! Man, what I wouldn't do for that giant sword now that I've been swallowed by a snake! I could totally cut my way out of it if I had it!
'But I might as well go with what I'm good at...'
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
'Well, if he was ever on the list before, Sasuke is definitely off it now. If he's stabbing himself in the leg with Kunai, who knows what he would do with Zabuza's sword?
'Guess I gotta go in there and save the day.'
"Wait... Open both the scrolls at the same time."
As the scrolls unrolled, Naruto recognized them. Immediately after he recognized, he shouted out.
"Toss them away! They're summoning scrolls!"
'Sweet, a tournament! Heh... Now I'll find someone for sure!'
Of course, after thinking that... Naruto was in for some disappointment.
'Well, we've gone through a bunch of matches so far. I already knew Sasuke doesn't use weapons. Shino's too caught up with his bugs. That stretchy dude totally sucked. Sakura and Ino... Both of them don't seem to be the, uh, type, to use big ass swords. It has nothing to do with them completely lacking in, err, fighting skill.
'So, who's up next? That Tenten girl? She's the one on gejimayu's team, right?'
Naruto was stunned.
'That was amazing! She pretty much solely used weapons! And even better... She didn't even seem to have a melee weapon yet.'
"Ye gods... She's perfect!"
Everyone watching turned to Naruto, who had accidentally exclaimed his last thought out loud, after watching Tenten fight solely using weaponry.
"Uhh... What are you all staring at?"
No one in the surrounding crowd knew what he was talking about. Most in the crowd, Temari included, naturally assumed the boy was talking about her, seeing as she won the fight.
But a few, like Neji and Hinata, noticed who he was staring at when he shouted.
'Well, Kakashi told me to meet up with that closet pervert... But I have something more important to do first. Then I'll find the pervert, and make him train me! Let's see... I'll go visit Lee in the Hospital and ask him where she normally trains at!'
It was after the preliminaries, and Kakashi blowing him off.
'Stupid Kakashi... Man, I need to find someone to teach me how to use some ninjutsu. Hopefully the closet pervert will...'
Naruto made his way over to the hospital, searching for Lee's room.
'Well... Look's like I found the room.'
Naruto stepped in, and immediately turned away from the horrible vision before him.
"Uhh... Can I talk to Lee for a second?"
"... Naruto? What are you doing here?"
Naruto had walked into what would usually be a rather odd scene, but was probably normal for the two involved.
Gai stood up, from where he had been hugging Lee, who was lying down on the hospital bed.
'Thank GOD that's over.'
"I just wanted to know where that Tenten girl on your team would be right now. I have a gift for her!"
'Yup... Zabuza said a sword should always be used! That's why I have to give it to someone who will use it!'
"... A gift? Well, Tenten should be out over at the training grounds around now... I'll give you directions."
'Naruto wants to give Tenten a gift, eh? Sounds like someone's Springtime of Youth is in full-bloom!'
"Ok, Tenten, that'll be it for the day. I have to go and attend my duties at home now, anyway. I'll see you tom- What the hell are you doing here, loser?"
Just as Neji was finishing up his goodbyes to Tenten, who was gathering up all of her loose weapons, Naruto arrived onto the scene.
"Shut up, Neji. I'm not here to kick your ass. Yet."
"... Then what are you doing here?"
Tenten, who had gathered up all of her weapons using her wires, walked over to the two. She was curious about what the strange dead-last was doing here, as well.
As she spoke, Naruto quickly looked over at Tenten, and smiled. A huge, dazzling smile, that was almost, but not quite, on the order of Lee's. So it was pretty high up there.
"Here! I have this for you!"
Naruto quickly pulled out the scroll, and stuffed it into Tenten's hands.
"Use it well!"
With that, he ran away. With the way the sun was setting, though... it made him look like he was blushing.
Neji and Tenten looked at each other.
"Well... it looks sort of like one of my weapon-summoning scrolls... Only a heckuvalot fancier."
"You might as well open it up out here... He is infamous for pranks, so perhaps it would be better if whatever went off went off out here."
"Ok... OH HOLY CRAP!"
"... How did such an enormous sword fit into such a tiny scroll? Tenten... are you... crying?"
"Neji... This is one of the Seven Swords of Kirigakure. This is an honest to god sword of one of the Mist Swordsman. This... This is one of the best swords in the world! How did that guy get it?"
"... I have no clue."
"And why did he give it to me?"
'Yup... That sword will go to good use. Now, to go find that closet-pervert...'
Naruto ran from the scene, leaving a stunned Neji and Tenten behind.
The setting sun caused the whole scene to be even more dramatic.
Word swiftly got around town (i.e. Gai started yelling about Naruto and Tenten's Springtime of Youth everywhere he went) that Naruto wanted to give Tenten some kind of gift.
When people actually SAW what the gift was... Well, most of them were confused.
It's hard to miss the girl carrying the Zanbato, with tears in her eyes, as she walks down the street, after all.
"I mean, I can understand she's a ninja girl and all... But when did kids change so much that if you wanted to tell a girl you're interested in her, you give her a sword? Whatever happened to flowers? Or Jewelery?"
Of course, it just so happened to be the members of Team 8 who heard that last conversation, prompting Kiba to loudly wonder at what kind of idiot gives a girl a sword to show her that they like her.
Nobody answered him, though a bunch of the adults looked at him funny.
After the team went their separate ways, Hinata went home... Only to encounter a frustrated Neji.
Who was, unfortunately for Hinata, venting his frustration out loud.
"Stupid Uzumaki... I bet you this is exactly why he gave Tenten that sword! He knew that she'd get too involved with training herself in how to use it, so she wouldn't be able to train with me! Argh, now I'm going to have to figure it out all on my own..."
'Naruto gave Tenten a sword? And didn't that old man say that boys give girls they like... swords?'
It would be an hour before a branch family member found the unconscious form of Hinata on the floor.
So the month of training went. Naruto met Jiraiya, and learned about frog summoning. He didn't really think about Tenten at all, not really knowing the girl. He just hoped she did the sword justice, or something like that.
Tenten spent the entire month training, in learning how to use the sword. She knew it must have some kind of secret property... All the 7 Mist swords do. She just couldn't figure it out. But she did get a good handle on how to use it, though.
Neji was freaking pissed as hell the whole month, due to his lack of a training partner. He was unable to learn Kaiten, for that same reason. And he blamed it all on Naruto. He made it very clear to everyone he came across that he would get back at Naruto, too.
Unfortunately, he never really specified what he was going to get back at Naruto for. All he would ever talk about is Naruto giving Tenten that sword, and that it enraged him.
Most people took that to mean that Neji was also interested in Tenten, and that Naruto had stolen her from him. Rumors travel quickly in Konoha, and by the end of the month, the story had evolved into something out of a crappy romance novel.
And, oddly enough... Most people seemed to side with Naruto here. Because he was the one who gave Tenten a priceless gift, to try to win her love. Most people (i.e. the women of Konoha) saw that as an incredibly romantic gesture (Or perhaps just the Kunoichi of Konoha, as the civilian girls could appreciate the gesture, but they wanted it clear that they preferred jewelry), and that it must be Naruto's human side showing through. And that kind of thing should always be encouraged.
Tenten kept on wondering about all the weird looks people were giving her, and how a lot of random people she didn't know kept on asking her about Naruto. She didn't even know the guy! She for sure didn't know why he gave her the sword, much less how he got it.
Naruto was a puzzle to Tenten. She barely knew the guy. They hadn't ever even spoken. Then he, out of nowhere, gives her a priceless gift in the form of a sword, and proceeds to disappear. She didn't know what to think. She'd always been a no-nonsense, serious Kunoichi, not one of those love-struck fan girl types.
But now... She was pretty confused.
At first... It was weird, but she got most of her advice from a drunken Hinata.
She didn't quite know WHY Hinata was drunk so often lately, only that she was. Hinata also quite often stalked Tenten around, looking pretty angry. Or as angry as Hinata can get. So it was actually kind of cute, and fairly funny.
When Tenten would confront the drunken Hinata, Hinata would usually start mumbling stuff about Naruto. Hinata would say stuff about how he never gives up, and always keeps on trying, and usually she'd say something about how Tenten should see how long Naruto can go without stopping.
Well, Tenten never thought it was GOOD advice... Hinata just kept on telling her random things.
After a while of this going on... Tenten decided that she needed someone other then a drunken 12 year old to get advice from.
So, she hunted down Naruto's female teammate, one Haruno Sakura.
At first, Tenten found it creepy that the townsfolk would watch her wherever she went. But, after a week of it, she got used to it, and ignored it.
So when her first conversation with Sakura was eavesdropped on by no less then 20 people, she didn't even notice.
"Hey, you're Sakura, right? Uzumaki Naruto's teammate?"
Sakura, who had been having lunch at a small luncheonette, sighed.
"Yeah... So, what did Naruto do to you? Interrupt your training? Steal your ramen? Play a prank on you? What?"
Sakura didn't really have much faith in Naruto, it seems.
"No, no, nothing like that! I just have a few questions... You know, like where he got THIS from?"
And, with that, Tenten removed Kubikiri Houchou from its scroll.
Sakura's eyes bugged out at first. She most definitely recognized THAT! She knew that Naruto had it... But she hadn't thought Naruto would give it away...
Sakura was hurt, a little... She knew Naruto decided that he would use ninjutsu over kenjutsu, and that he had been looking for someone to give the sword to... But he hadn't even offered it to her.
Suddenly, Sakura lost her appetite. But, she should at least answer that bit, err, girl's question.
Sakura didn't even question her sudden dislike of Tenten.
"Well, Naruto was given the sword by its previous owner Momochi Zabuza at the end of our mission in Wave Country. But, I have to go. Bye!"
Tenten could only look on in confusion as Sakura seemingly ran away.
Tenten wasn't an idiot... She could feel the sudden hostility that had built up in Sakura when she saw the sword. Hostility and... Jealousy?
Man, things were getting more and more confusing.
It didn't help that Hinata made an appearance right after that, to insult Sakura for her mistreatment of 'Naruto-kun'.
Tenten and Neji's only interaction during the month of training also revolved Hinata, when Hiashi would send Neji out to find his missing daughter. Hiashi had yet to realize who had been stealing his Sake... but when he found out, there'd be hell to pay!
Neji was pragmatic. He also hated having his training interrupted. So, he usually hunted down and retrieved Hinata in the fastest, most efficient manner.
Neji would just find Hinata, pick her up, and walk away with her, usually without any warning.
He'd then carry her back to the Hyuuga Compound, seeing as Hinata was usually too drunk to walk.
He thought it was a perfectly reasonable way of handling the situation. Hinata clearly couldn't make it back herself, and probably wouldn't even want to. But, he had his own orders, and those orders were to bring Hinata back. And then he'd get to continue training so he could kick Uzumaki's ass even harder.
Unfortunately... the Village gossip vine took this the completely wrong way.
All they ever saw was an angry Neji carrying around a struggling Hinata.
The plot thickened... Now, Neji was somehow getting back at Tenten and Naruto by kidnapping his cousin, to have his way with her?
Lots of people in the village were aware of the Hyuuga girls infatuation with Naruto (or they were after they heard Hinata drunkenly mumble about it as she wandered around town), so it seemed obvious to them that Neji was trying to get back at Naruto for stealing his (Neji's) woman.
To them, it seemed as if Neji was a villain, trying to break apart the lovers for his own selfish gain. And, when that didn't work... He resorted to trying to invoke jealousy to break the two apart.
Sure, a sick jealousy involving incest... But jealousy all the same.
Word spread around even more, of Naruto's fantastic present to Gai's kunoichi, and of all the reactions thereof. Even Sakura's reaction to Tenten was whispered about, because most people knew that it was Sakura who Naruto liked. The fact that Sakura seemed to react so badly to Tenten's presence boded ill for both Naruto and Tenten.
Tenten had a vague idea about the rumors, but didn't pay them much mind because she was training with her newest, and by far coolest, weapon.
Naruto? He didn't have a clue.
But the townsfolk, and soon growing numbers of ninjas... They knew. Or thought they did.
Oh, what tangled webs we weave.
Author's Notes: The story was taken from an idea by Finbar, and I posted the original version of this chapter in my 'One shots and Ideas' story. However, I recently decided to dust it off, and wrote a second chapter.
Then someone told me that I should expand this and make it something other then crack!humor… and I agreed. This IS a good plot bunny… It deserved more then just cracky humor.
So, I expanded it. Made it better. Faster. Stronger. More powerful a story then it had ever been before!