Author's note: You can't judge a fanfiction by the first chapter. At first, this will seem like a retelling of the manga. Get over that lump, and you're set.

After waiting outside in the intense sunlight for over an hour, Uzumaki Naruto had to admit that his wardrobe was less than practical. It was at times like these he would envy Shino or even the accursed Uchiha boy. Shino was always well sheltered from the sun, and Sasuke's clothing was the best of the best; it was by far superior to whatever was available for Naruto to buy.

It angered the blonde, right then. Of course, the feeling never lasted. Soon, he would be distracted by something; perhaps anything, if only to free his mind of such a burden. He was quite good at that. Shutting himself out or playing dumb was a great way to get by in life. There was also the fact that he didn't hate himself as much as others did, so his mind was as comforting an escape as thinking about nothing, which he tended to do a lot.

The day seemed so mundane; so routine. Sasuke sulked to his right while Sakura sulked to his left, being deprived of her chance to sit next to her favorite male on the face of the planet. The fact that today had originally been a life-changing event made no difference to Naruto. Not after he had come to the conclusion he was dreaming. The whole event had already happened. It was only a memory playing behind his closed eyes.

Sweat dripped down his brow, leaving the blonde to wonder exactly how he had managed to heat his room when he was asleep. Unless he was sick, which was very possible. The more he sat in the sun, the more that seemed a plausible theory. He could do nothing about that, so he joined his teammates in sulking, thinking about nothing and allowing himself to be very miserable.

A sudden plume of smoke to the face educated Naruto's adrenal system, startling him no matter how much he was expecting it. The sadistic gleam in that sleepy eye was one the jinchuuriki was all too familiar with.

"Hey, Kakashi-sensei. Nice to see you." Naruto greeted, wiping the sweat of his forehead with a yawn. Kakashi dismissed the respect as sarcasm, which probably wasn't going to help the young Uzumaki in the long run. Who'd -upon Kakashi's arrival- noticed he really wasn't feeling so great. His stomach was really hurting, as if he hadn't eaten anything…Wait a minute…

"-WE'VE BEEN HERE FOR HOURS!" Sakura ranted, glaring daggers at their new instructor. This made the ninja even happier. Sasuke groaned, completely apathetic to the whole situation. A lame excuse was given. Probably the same as what had been said before, but Naruto didn't catch it. In fact his stomach hurt so badly, that he didn't listen to too much of what Kakashi had said afterwards either. He pretended he did, which wasn't too horrible since he already knew the drill. Bells. Teamwork. A lot of scolding.

With his stomach acting the way it was, Naruto had to admit that he as tempted to try the same stunt he pulled last time which would end with him tied to a tree stump in even MORE intense sun. He would avoid that route if at all possible. Though the words he used in his mind to plan the event were nowhere near as eloquent.

As soon as Kakashi had finished with his explanation, he stepped back, leaving his two teammates to ditch him.

"You really don't get the idea of hiding, now, do you?" Kakashi asked casually, taking out his book. As much as those bells called to him, Naruto wasn't as stupid as he had been when he'd tried for the bells in the real world. He could also use the shade, but he still stood there, transfixed on his sensei. The fact that he already knew what made his teacher tick was more than a little humorous to Naruto. To laugh was only natural for one in his unnatural situation. It wasn't real, anyway.

It was at that moment Naruto decided things were going to be different this time around, dream or not. He wouldn't just sit there and let himself be yelled at for the main flaw he was aware of having. The brain inside his body now was one that knew betrayal, loyalty, and pain. He knew that Sasuke was even more disturbed than he looked, and just how frightening a sand demon could be. He understood just how to pass the test they were currently in, and perhaps even outshine the traitorous Sasuke-teme, in the process.

A bitter thought came to his currently over-active consciousness.

It's still just a dream. The old man is still gonna be dead when I wake up in a fever sweat, and then Sasuke-teme will still have betrayed us and left Konoha for more insane pastures. Even so, Kakashi will still respect the bastard more than he does me. That has to change.

Hatake Kakashi was dumbfounded by the behavior of this orange eyesore of a pupil. He was just given instructions that would intimidate any normal academy graduate. Yet, there he was, staring at the copy-ninja with those cobalt blue eyes; mocking him, he imagined. Was the boy goading him?! Was it a simple, narrow-minded and extremely futile part of a plan to get one of the bells tied securely to his waist? He felt himself tense up when the boy gave him an expression he had recalled being made by the Yondaime, but could have never in a million years have expected what happened next.

"Sakura!" Naruto called, prompting a startled sound from inside a nearby cluster of underbrush. "There are only two bells, right? ... There are two bells and only three of us." His laughing stopped, and he put on a serious face of thought. It was an act put in place so that nothing was suspicious. No one would be more than a little surprised from learning that he as willing to give up everything for Sakura. "-Let's work together. All three of us." he said, smiling earnestly. The reply he got was another muffled sound from the bushes, sounding less than pleased. He pretended to get offended, causing Kakashi's features to soften just a little. Well, the visible ones, anyway. The Uzumaki boy was surprising his teacher at every turn.

"Sakura, I am more than willing to let you have my bell. I thought that maybe, since I've already flunked twice, I could probably breeze through the coursework like it was nothing, and... I have to finish what I start." he trailed off, but was amused when even less desirable set of sounds erupted from his pink-haired comrade. It involved Sasuke, whatever she was saying, and how the two of them could do things without the dead-last anyway, or something. All-in-all, it managed to give away her position, making her look very foolish.

Kakashi sighed, putting his finger on another page of the book. They had to come at him sometime. He had honestly expected to be assaulted by then, and for the blonde village idiot to have been the one to do it. What really induced the bookmark to be put in the page was the maturity of the condemned boy's behavior. He had high expectations for Sasuke, but he now realized he had completely undermined the example of demon symbiosis that was now standing right in front of him, unafraid.

"What are you doing, Naruto?" the jonin asked, eyeing the subject of his attentions carefully. The boy was swaying a little bit, still completely relaxed.

"I'm waiting," was the boy's reply. Naruto's blue eyes scanned the area, waiting for some sort of assent or backup. He wasn't about to give away his teammates' positions that they had managed to secure once again without their assent.

Several painfully stretched seconds elapsed before Kakashi sighed. They weren't coming. It was regimental responsibility, though, and he couldn't just pass Naruto for thinking like a team by himself. In fact, he should probably punish Naruto for his inability to speak in a way that made sense to his teammates-or for just standing there. That wasn't very smart.

That being said, the jonin approached his target of an adolescent with one hand, preparing a kunai to attack. With one swift movement, he brought it down in a stabbing motion. Unfortunately, Naruto did not react in any way, causing Kakashi a little amount of guilt as the impact was made. He had probably just killed the troubled youth. As it could be imagined, Kakashi was pleasantly surprised when a wisp of smoke vanished where a body should have been. There was no replacement, but the fact that the kid had been thinking like a shin obi with his supposed intelligence level was impressive.

The elite ninja's ears strained, listening for any sounds of the other genin. There was nothing, which almost prompted a weary smile under the mask. Could it be that they were actually going to go through with it? Attacking him together? It still wouldn't work, of course. Any effort of the children would be useless. Still, it was a nice change to think of. Of course, there was still the chance that he was mistaken, and that they were all going to attack on their own, and were biding time. With that on the brain, Kakashi opened his perverse book again and waited for the inevitable confrontation.

Author's Note: Skendall Beta'd this for me. Thanks, dahl!