Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
The two girls were shivering in fear as they watched the men before them tearing through their teammates effortlessly, not even their jōnin teachers had lasted a minute against the opposition. The man who just had thrust a kunai through the brunette girls teammate turned around, giving the two young girls a lecherous grin that would forever be imprinted in their memories. The two girls only froze up as they saw the man's bloodied hand reach out for them as his grin grew wider. Just as the hand was about to touch the brunette girl with two red marks adorning her cheeks it flew of its arm, the man now screaming in agony before a sword was hefted through his stomach, slicing him in half. The two girls watched in amazement as the man's companions were cut down as well, however their amazement soon turned into fear as the masked persons who had killed the missing-nin that killed their entire teams closed in on them started to walk towards them, towering above them.
"Are you hurt?" the two girls heard a soothing female voice coming from one of the masked persons say as a hand was stretched out to the scared girls.
The brunette noticed that her companion was unable to do anything but sit there in fear, she herself not being much better off, slowly shook her head. The girls had been the rearguard and as such explosion that signaled the start of the ambush had sent the girls flying backwards out of further harm's way, their teammates had not been so lucky.
"Come, we'll get you back to Konoha immediately, I'm sure Hokage-sama will be relieved to hear that there was two survivors." The two stunned girls mutely let themselves be carried by the masked ninja towards their home village.
The Sandaime worriedly paced through his office, three days ago he may have sent three of the latest half year's batch of genin teams to their deaths, among them were a Hyūga as well as the heir to the Inuzuka clan. The cause of their death, a improperly classed mission, the cause of the wrong classification had been due to one of the ninjas entrusted to deliver the information had made a, according to him, quick stop at one of the red light districts on the way from the place where he had performed the investigation. The man had been punished for the miss, but he was sure that it wouldn't be the last punishment the man would see, he had so far only been punished for delaying his mission, if there had been any deaths because of his miss the Sandaime was sure that many clans would cry for the man's execution. If that was the case it would be a strong blow towards Konoha's perceived strength at the next chūnin examination. The old man had been hoping that at least the combat team would be nominated to attend to the next examination that was in three months time.
The old man's feeling were mixed when he saw the rescue ANBU team's scout appear in his office, bowing before him with his shoulders slightly sagged, apparently the team had arrived too late. The old man had during the years learned how all of his ANBU showed the success of their mission when they arrived in his office, especially the scouts were the ones the old man had specialized in reading.
"How many of them died?" the Sandaime Hokage dejectedly asked the masked man kneeling before him. The old man knew that the rest of the hawk masked man's team would arrive shortly.
"All but two were killed, Hokage-sama," the ANBU answered, his voice betraying no emotion.
"Who were the survivors?" the Hokage hesitantly asked as his mind was reeling in at the damage to Konoha's power and the emotional aspects of this failure. The Hokage had no doubt that it probably was two of the Jōnin teachers that survived; it was usually the case in events like this.
"Inuzuka Hana and Yūhi Kurenai," the ANBU replied just as the office doors were opened to reveal the man's team carrying the two girls just mentioned. It was with a grim mindset that the old man noted that the teams had been shattered, one person from a pursuit and recon team and one from the intelligence gathering team. Not much could really be done out of that and for the coming genin examination there looked like there really was only three potential genin that had the capacity of fulfilling the role of a pursuit team, meaning those three genin-to-be would be matched together in a team. The other potential genin were all more of combat specialists.
"Tsume-san will be glad to hear that her daughter survived," the old man said cheerfully, hiding his troubled thoughts from the people present. "Did they receive any injuries?"
"No Hokage-sama, the two have been shocked by the events but no physical harm has befallen them, we were able to intervene before that," one of the ANBU responded.
"You may take them to the hospital, I'm sure that they need a warm comfortable bed to rest in, Inu may I have a word with you?" the Hokage requested, dismissing the ANBU team as the captain stayed behind.
"What is it Hokage-sama?" the captain asked, his voice emotionless.
"I've thought over your request Inu and I've decided to allow you to return to Jōnin duties indefinitely, you may return the mask to me, as soon as I get the report the this last mission. As you know there is a genin exam in a week's time, you will be one of the potential teachers, is that understood?"
"Yes, Hokage-sama," the now former ANBU captain said.
"I believe your student is one of the boys attempting to take the test is he not?" the Hokage asked innocently. The man gave the Hokage a surprised look, he had no clue what the old man was talking about. 'Maybe he is going senile?' he pondered.
"I'm talking about Uzumaki Naruto," the Hokage explained. He saw an emotion of recognition flash before the former captain's face. The old man could still remember back when he first had assigned the captain and his team to the protection of the boy, the captain had then begrudgingly accepted the mission, thinking no higher of the boy than as the demon that had killed the Yondaime. However as the captain was around the boy and protected him, doing it only because if the boy died, then so would he along with his team and the person who killed the boy. By observing the boy and his friendly and carefree attitude he eventually came to grudgingly respect the boy, he had never once felt any ill intent come from the boy and as the years passed the seasoned ANBU started to see the wrongs of his treatment of the boy. The boy bore no ill intent towards the village, nor was he influenced by the fox as many believed because of his prankster nature. No, the boy's ambition was to actually protect the village, to become the Kage of Konohagakure no Satō. The boy's pranks were merely a call for attention, and the boy didn't care if that attention was positive or negative, if only people started to take notice of him. As the boy was integrated into the ninja academy system the man along with his ANBU team was hoping to see betterment of the boy's treatment as he started down a path that was towards his goal. Aside from the old Hokage, one ANBU team and two civilians the boy received no positive feelings, the other ANBU were indifferent to the boy, a mission was a mission to most. As the man watched the boy being neglected over time, his ninja skills after two and half years being barely above those that had attended for six months, the ANBU captain had enough and decided to teach the boy from the side, leaving notes in the boy's home. Eventually he decided to step out of the shadow when he noticed that the boy was unable even with his notes help to keep up with the pace the others were learning in the academy due to the lacking help the boy received since he had no real ground to stand on since the two and a half first years were basically void as far as teaching came. That had been the start of a friendship between the two souls; silently the captain would admit to himself that the young blond had grown to be something like a younger brother to him.
Abarai Toroe was a patient man, but the boy standing before him was making him lose it. Not only had he managed the written test, something that everyone was sure he would mess up, especially since they had made sure to prepare a special test for the boy covered in a genjutsu. He had much to their surprise aced the target practice and made better than average in the taijutsu test. His endurance was something that none of the Chūnin instructors were willing to speak of, it was ridiculous how long the boy could last for being only ten years. Now Abarai was sitting behind the bench, staring wide-eyed at the sight before him. Before the brown-haired Chūnin stood one Uzumaki Naruto, Konoha's scapegoat, along with thirty clones, a technique that was considered impossible for the young blond to perform.
"So do I pass Abarai-sensei?" the boy asked gleefully as he ran to the desk.
"Shirai, check the clones so that they aren't just a ploy by the boy," Abarai told his companion who slowly rose from his seat and walked up to one of the clones,"
"They are solid!" Shirai exclaimed as he punched one, only for it to burst into water.
"Sorry Uzumaki-san, but we told you to perform Bunshin no jutsu, not Mizu bunshin," Abarai said smugly as he held the Hitai-ate he nearly had given the boy closely to himself.
"Abarai-san," the Chūnin heard a voice say sternly, sending chills down the man's spine. The usual warmth in that voice was gone, replaced by cold fury even if there was no malice in the voice, "not only did Naruto-kun perform a clone technique, he made one superior to the one taught at our academy, this technique isn't even common within Konoha as only a few have been able to learn this Kirigakure technique and here you are telling me that this boy who not only made three clones but thirty fail? Surely this can't be correct?"
"I'm sorry Hokage-sama, I thought that since we agreed that the technique being tested was bunshin they were strictly restricted to that and not any of its variations," Abarai said halfheartedly.
"Any clone is good enough, now give the boy his Hitai-ate. After that we shall discuss some of your teaching methods, I've heard some disturbing things from one of my Jōnin-senseis," the Hokage said.
"Hai, Hokage-sama," the Chūnin said meekly as he handed the blond boy the Hitai-ate.
The boy started to jump up and down in joy as he received the piece of cloth with a plate of metal adorned with the Konoha leaf attached. His eyes were brimming with tears of joy; he couldn't wait until he could tell the great news to the man with the weird mask that trained him, he was finally a ninja like he was. "Thank you oji-san," the boy said gleefully as he made his way out of the room, receiving a wave and a smile from the Sandaime.
The Sandaime had closely been watching the young boy's examination and saw how the teachers tried to sabotage his tests, only for it all to fail. No wonder they had given the prediction that there would be twelve genin candidates from this batch, now instead the Hokage would have thirteen potential genins. There was only one problem with that, who would be the unlucky one to end up in the team which had very slim chances to be accepted to become actual genin allowed to go on missions. There was really only one way to determine that, and that would be the students' grades. However that was for later, currently the Hokage had a Chūnin-instructor to deal with.
Shirai was standing before the class, Abarai had been pulled out of the educational system of Konoha the day before for wrongful teaching so it was Shirai that would finish the last things before the potential genin were allowed to know the teams in which they were going to through the trial for being real genin. As he read through the list of names a smile graced his lips. 'It never hurt us to have a backup-plan, you can't be here to watch the conclusion of this but I promise you that I will tell you all about it Abarai.' The young man said in his mind.
"I will now announce the teams in which you will be!" Shirai said, the class instantly going silent.
"Team one will be Sagara Tarosuke, Murozaki Senpachi and Hitsuga Mizuhiro. Team two will consist of Aburame Shigi, Kazama Akatora and Genjō Goei." Shirai now looked up from the paper towards the blond sitting in the back, his smile widening. "Team three, Shizen Ryōfu, Myosai Kaname and Uzumaki Naruto."
Naruto sat in his seat, giddy ever since the announcement of his team, sure it was two girls but that didn't matter to the boy, he was finally on a team. He snapped out of his daydreaming of high ranking missions and ultimately becoming Hokage only when he heard Shirai tell them that their team leaders would be there shortly.
Naruto and the two girls he was to team up with had been waiting in the room for nearly three hours since the last team left the room before the door was opened to reveal a man with spiky silvery hair and a bored expression on his visible face.
"Ma, I guess you are team three," the silver haired Jōnin said as he spotted the three persons within the room. The two girls sat at one side speaking to eachother about the Uchiha boy two years bellow them while the blond boy say by his lonesome in the other part of the room.
"Finally!" Naruto cried out as he jumped out of his seat towards the Jōnin.
"Roof, now," was all the Jōnin said just as Naruto reached him, disappearing in a cloud of smoke. The boy hurriedly made his way the stairs where he saw the man sitting at the edge of the roof. The two sat there in silence for five minutes before the two girls made their way up, apparently not feeling very compelled to join their new team. As they sat down on the roof the Jōnin noticed that they made an effort to sit as far away from Naruto as possible.
"So, why don't we start with an introduction?" Kakashi asked, "I'll start to show you how it's done. My name is Hatake Kakashi and my likes are Icha Icha Paradise and my dislikes are people who don't appreciate Icha Icha Paradise, my dream is to meet the author of Icha Icha and get every single copy I have of Icha Icha signed, and maybe get a sneakpeak at the next book." Now the two girls started to creep away from the silver haired man, they had heard from that their mothers that those books were just dirty things old men read and anyone reading those should be avoided.
"Then I'll go next!" the blond boy declared, "My name is Uzumaki Naruto and my likes are training and ramen! My dislike is the three minutes I have to wait for my ramen to be done. My dream is to become the Hokage!"
The two males started to gaze at the two girls as neither of them spoke after them, just sitting there chatting about Uchiha Sasuke, obviously not caring about introducing themselves. Kakashi just heaved a sigh at the two girls before he decided to stand up, "Well, tomorrow meet me at training ground three, there we will perform the real genin test!"
"What do you mean real genin test!?" Naruto asked, hadn't he just passed the test?
"Yes, the real test, the one you did yesterday was only to see if you had the potential to be a genin, tomorrow we're going to have a survival test, the failure rate is sixty-six percent so prepare yourself and be there at 5 am," Kakashi said as he turned around, "By the way, don't eat breakfast, you'll throw up," with that said the Jōnin was gone, leaving a stunned blond and two gossiping girls on the roof. Seeing that the man was gone the two girls made their way to their homes.
The sandaime could only regretfully watch as Naruto was given his real test by Hatake Kakashi. The bell test was something that only some of the best student's could manage, and here Naruto ended up with two girls that had less than ten percents chance to become real genin this year. He had watched as Naruto tried to get the girls to help him take the bells from Kakashi, apparently the former ANBU captain that had taught Naruto had told him the importance of teamwork when trying to take on someone outranking them. However the blond boy received no help from the boy, in fact they avoided Naruto more than they avoided Kakashi who then had knocked out the two girls using a light genjutsu. In the end Naruto was taken down as well, the boy's taijutsu no match for the experienced Jōnin. 'Another failed team under Kakashi' the aging man noted as he watched Kakashi telling the three youths to return to the academy the day after where they would learn more about the meaning of being a shinobi.
It was an hour after the conclusion of Kakashi's test that the twelve Jōnin chosen to test them, and in case the team met success teach them.
"Tell me which teams passed," the Hokage requested as he saw that everyone was present.
"Team one passed their test just as expected,"
"Team two passed their pursuit test with flying colours,"
"Team six passed theirs as well,"
"Team eleven showed high genin level skills,"
The Hokage listened intently on his Jōnin as they spoke in more detail after he had noted the teams' which were now genin and eligible for missions. "Well then, you're dismissed, everyone that have a team should be prepared for missions tomorrow. The rest of you are back on the ordinary Jōnin roster. " the elderly man said and slowly the Jōnin filed out of the office. Now with that done he had to decide what to do with the two genin that had lost their teams a week ago. To his surprise however he wasn't allowed to be alone, one of the Jōnin had remained within the room after everyone else had left.
"What is it Kakashi?" the elder man questioned upon seeing the silver haired man standing there.
"It's about Uzumaki Naruto, I feel that his team wasn't fair. His teammates weren't willing to help him and avoided him even when he tried to seek them out. He showed what was needed to become a genin, but his team did not," the silver haired man explained. "Maybe you can put him in an existing team?"
The old man was suddenly stricken with a realization, he may just be able to allow Naruto become genin this year after all. "Kakashi, make me a signed report over his skills you saw during the test and I may just have a plan for Naruto that will allow him to become a real genin after all."
The silver haired man gave the old man a grateful smile before he disappeared in a cloud of smoke. The Sandaime started to prepare for assembling a new team and he had to ready some transfer papers as well. There was a lot of things to do but hopefully he would be done by the following day.
The young woman was leisurely laying in the tree outside Konoha's ninja academy, supposedly waiting for one of her students. From what she had been told the boy arrived ten minutes before the start of the schoolday and as if on cue she saw the now sulking blond boy walking downtrodden down the path towards the academy.
He couldn't believe it, two days ago he had done the academy's genin test and succeeded and yesterday he had done what was referred to as the real genin test by the man that supposedly should have been his Jōnin-sensei, had his team not failed. So now he was walking towards the academy again, to go another full year there before he was allowed to take another test to become a genin. Just as he was entering the grounds he found someone standing in his way.
"Oi, you're in the way!" the blond boy said angrily, he was in no mood to be delayed.
"Where do you think you're going gaki?" the woman questioned, ignoring the boy's statement. Bothering to look up at the woman he noticed her Jōnin vest. The boy silently wondered what he had done for a Jōnin to come and stop him, what he remembered he hadn't performed any pranks that morning, yet. "You're coming with me today," Before Naruto had a chance to protest the woman had taken him by the collar of his shirt and was dragging him over the rooftops of Konoha towards the center of the village.
"Oi, where are you taking me you crazy lady!" the boy protested as he helplessly was being carried. The boy was given no response, instead the woman continued in silence.
Inuzuka Hana was anything but clued-up about why she was in the Hokage's office along with the girl she had been on a mission with a week prior. This morning she had been rustled awake by her mother that told her that she had been summoned by the Hokage for an important meeting about her future career as a kunoichi. The girl had been hesistant, she didn't feel very compelled to continue her career ever since the mission where she lost her entire team, a week ago she would most likely told her mother that she didn't want to continue as a kunoichi but as her mother had comforted her she had started to see that she couldn't let this failure shoot her down, no matter how heavy the blow had been to her.
"I'm sure the two of you wishes to know why I've requested your presence here," the Hokage said, receiving mute nods from the two girls. "From what I've understood you still want to continue your careers as ninja, is this correct?" again the response the elderly man got was nods from the two girls, this time they were more hesitant.
"As you know your teams which sadly were decimated a week ago were made considering all of your special skills, Inuzuka Hana being in a team molded for pursuit and recon and Yūhi Kurenai your team was made to gather intelligence. Now I can't find room for either of you in one of the existing teams, therefore you two, along with one of the recently graduated genin will form a new team, an experimental sort of team," the Hokage explained to the two girls.
"Please wait until your Jōnin along with your teammate have arrived before asking any questions, I would prefer to only explain this once if possible," the old man requested upon seeing the inquisitive look on the Inuzuka girl's face. Thankfully the girl stayed silent, a surprising feat considering her heritage, usually the members of the Inuzuka clan were very brash and straightforward. The three didn't have to wait long before a woman dressed in the standard Jōnin attire came through the window behind the Hokage, holding a blond boy under her arms came through the window and then unceremoniously dumped the boy on the floor.
"Here's the brat you requested," the woman said giving the aging man a wide smile before she turned her attention towards the two girls standing in front of the Hokage's desk. "So these two are the other ones. My my, isn't this boy lucky, he ends up in a team with only pretty girls," the insinuation didn't get lost on the Hokage who had to fight the thought of what he himself would have thought some years back when he was made genin.
"What do you think you're doing you crazy old lady! I'm gonna be late for the academy now, just think what sensei will punish me for not being there!" the blond boy cried out angrily, an anger that soon were thrown out in favor for fear as the woman now stood towering above him with what looked like flames dancing behind her.
"What did you call me gaki!?" the woman questioned as she punched her right fist into her left palm repeatedly. "I'll have you know that I'm twenty-three and no one, absolutely no one is ever going to be allowed to call me old!" the young blond could only gulp in fear, he was even too afraid to apologize, something which he never would have done but in case he would want to he doubted he would be able to.
"Chizuro, no matter how amusing it is to watch you scare your student half to death could you please do it later, I have a lot of work to do today, now we have a more pressing matter like explaining the makeup of this team," the Hokage said in a friendly and sugary manner that sent chills up the woman's spine, the Hokage was usually friendly but that was way too friendly. Looking towards the Hokage and his desk she saw the reason, the piles of paperwork was huge and it was only eight in the morning. She'd bet her whole monthly salary that the pile would only increase as time went by. The young woman started to scratch the back of her head sheepishly as she stood up by the two kunoichi.
'Is she really a Jōnin?' the thoughts of Hana and Kurenai echoed within their minds.
"Now that you're all here I can explain to you about…" the Sandaime started before he was cut off by a loud yell from Naruto, asking what the meaning of this was.
"Naruto-kun, the proctor from your test yesterday told me that you personally was ready for the genin rank, however your teammates were not and he'd hate to see the potential he saw in you go wasted so I saw it fit to put you together with two girls that's been genin for six months now but a week ago their teams were in a part of an… unfortunate event," the Sandaime explaned. Unfortunate however didn't quite reach the level of failure the event a week ago was, three Jōnins and seven genins had been killed, a heavy blow for any village, especially when it was rookie genin.
"So I'm a genin? I'm allowed to go on missions?" the blond boy asked hesitantly, upon seeing the nod from the elderly man the boy nearly broke out yelling about how he had become genin, if he hadn't noticed the sullen look on the two girls he would've probably done so. Piecing together Naruto figured that the two girls' teams had probably been disabled or killed so he felt that he should show them a little respect by not being too happy over his luck since it was probably the death of six persons close to them that gave him a chance to be a genin.
"You three have been selected to see how far a combined intelligence, recon and combat team can go. Before this the Konoha teams have always been chosen by their specialization, at least until they are Chūnin or Jōnin level where the teams are specifically tailored for most missions. If this setup is successful we may continue having one of these teams. Now please follow Chizuro-san and she will get you started.
The woman promptly walked out of the office, the two girls and Naruto following her only when the Sandaime motioned for them to do so. Soon the woman had taken them to a training field in the middle of the forest surrounding Konoha.
"So kids, you heard the old man. We're going to be an experimental setup of a genin team. So why don't we introduce ourselves?" the woman said. "I'll start off. Well my name is Yukino Chizuro, twenty-three years young, I like clear nights and sake, my dislikes are early mornings and bad hairdays. My dream is to see peace in all the elemental countries so we shinobi aren't really needed. My specialization is in combat. Red-eyes you're next," the Jōnin said.
The red-eyed girl stared at the strawberry blonde woman in annoyance at the nickname, and as she saw mirth in the woman's green eyes as she let her annoyance show she reluctantly started to speak. "My name is Yūhi Kurenai and I am twelve and a half years old. I like training and honest people, my dislike is cakes. My dream is to become Konoha's premier genjutsu user. My specialization lays within the information gathering field," Chizuro nodded at the girl before motioning for the brown-haired girl.
"My name is Inuzuka Hana, twelve and a half years old. My likes are animals and early mornings, my dislike is people who mistreat animals. My dream is to become Konoha's best veterinary ninja. My field of specialization is tracking and recon,"
"Okay blondie, you're the last one up,"
If the boy was offended he didn't show it, much to Chizuro's dismay. "My name is Uzumaki Naruto, ten years old! My likes are training and ramen! My dislike is the three minutes I have to wait for my ramen to be done and late Jōnins. My dream is to become the Hokage! I'm good at ninjutsu and taijutsu,"
"So, introductions done, how about the rest of the day off?" the Jōnin asked them sweetly, receiving nods from the three pre-teens. "Well you aren't going to get it, it's time to train, twenty laps around Konoha and after that two hundred pushups, sit-ups and squats, and after that you will be allowed to go home," the three genin just stared at her like she had grown a second head or something and as they still stared at her after five minutes she decided that some persuasion was needed.
"So, be outside the Hokage building tomorrow at nine, be late and you will find yourself doing thrice of today's training," Chizuro said cheerfully to her students as they slowly made their way from training field seventeen. All of them vowed to themselves that they would be at least half an hour early.