I don't own Naruto.
What if Naruto was less of an idiot? I decided to write this fanfic to entertain that idea, as well as implement many, many other ideas I have, while still including a lot of Naruto and Hinata. He won't be as smart as Shikamaru, just a little above average. Also, I like to write in detail about jutsu and chakra sometimes, simply because I have a reasonable explanation for them. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story.
Date: January 1, 2008
The Scroll of Sealing
The Scroll of Sealing. In it are contained many powerful jutsu that are considered forbidden, usually because they are dangerous or just incredibly difficult. This was his target. Now all he needed was a way to obtain it, as the penalty for stealing it would be severe. As he left the school building, he noticed the perfect scapegoat. The genin exam would be tomorrow. This would be his best chance.
"Uzumaki Naruto" a voice called. The blond entered the testing room to find Iruka and Mizuki seated, prepared to administer the test. "Okay, Naruto." Iruka began, "All you have to do to pass is make a decent clone. Naruto grinned. 'That's all?' Putting his hands together to form a seal, he began to call up chakra. "Bunshin no jutsu!" A cloud of smoke filled the room.
As it cleared, it revealed two Narutos. However, one of them was a mess, lying on the ground in an unconscious heap. "You fail." Iruka stated, secretly disappointed in his student. He had grown to tolerate Naruto over the past few years, and almost saw him as an annoying little brother. But he just couldn't pass him with such a poor clone. He wouldn't last in the shinobi world.
Mizuki, however, was pleased at the result. It turned out just as one of the other senseis had told him it would. "Iruka, how about we let him pass. He did make a clone, after all." He suggested, knowing Iruka wouldn't allow it. As expected, Iruka refused, and Naruto left the room, a miserable look on his face.
Naruto found himself running through the streets of Konoha, carrying a large scroll. Heading into the forest, he found a secluded clearing. He quickly landed, and opened the large scroll in front of him. Pulling out several smaller scrolls of his own he began to immediately copy down as many jutsu as he could. So far his plan had gone perfectly.
As he left the school building, he saw the perfect scapegoat. A silver-haired chunnin sensei by the name of Mizuki, who he knew hated him more than even most of the villagers. He walked behind the corner of a building, and a wisp of smoke could be seen before quickly disappearing.
From around the corner emerged Naruto in the form of another chunnin sensei, one that Naruto knew also hated him. Making sure his henge was sufficient, Naruto approached Mizuki as he had seen the chunnin do many times before. "Hey Mizuki, you know the Kyuubibrat? Well I had an idea. The brat's sure to fail the test tomorrow, and when he does, he'll be so upset, he'll probably do anything to become a ninja. I was going to do something like trick him into stealing the Scroll of Sealing, then taking it for myself while he gets blamed."
"Is that all you could think of?" Mizuki answered, trying to hide his blatant avarice. "We've been too soft on him these past years. Let's bide our time, and plan out something more devastating" He paused as a few stragglers left the school building. When they were out of earshot, he continued. "We'll discuss this more this weekend. Just remember to show up this time." With that, Mizuki said his goodbyes and left to plan for tomorrow's events. 'Sorry for stealing your idea, old friend, but that scroll will be mine.'
Naruto dropped the henge, and headed back to his apartment, hoping Mizuki-teme took the bait. He had some preparations to make.
Naruto grinned as he finished copying down the details of all the jutsu he liked, leaving out the ones that required him to give up his own life. Now it was time for the second part of his plan: Establishing his innocence. It shouldn't be too difficult after all the years of feigning incompetence, and pretending to be the class clown. In reality, he was as smart as any other student his age, and a little—or rather—much more clever than most. All he had to do now was wait for his scapegoat and his witness to arrive.
It wasn't too long before Iruka showed up in the clearing, as Naruto knew he would. Iruka always seemed to be the one to find him first when he pulled one of his pranks. How the man did it he had no idea, but at the moment it would serve him well. "Iruka-sensei! I learned one of the jutsu from the scroll. Does that mean I can be a genin now?" he feigned.
"What gave you that idea?" Iruka responded. 'Wow, he must have been out here learning…'
"Mizuki-sensei said so. If I learn a jutsu from this scroll, then I could still pass." Of course he had tricked Mizuki into telling him this, but it was for the most part true.
"Mizuki said that?" Iruka asked, confused.
"That's right!" came a voice from a nearby tree. There stood Mizuki, holding a giant shuriken, with a second one on his back. "Give me the scroll Naruto."
"Naruto, don't listen to him. He's trying to steal it for himself." Iruka protested.
"He's lying, Naruto." Mizuki interrupted. "He hates you just like everyone else. And do you know why that is? The fourth sealed Kyuubi inside a newborn child, inside you! You, are the Kyuubi no Kitsune! Now die!" With that, he hurled the giant shuriken straight towards Naruto. Iruka was about to intercept it, but stopped as a familiar figure landed on the tree behind Mizuki.
Mizuki laughed in triumph as he saw the shuriken hit its target, but stopped when he noticed it pass through and keep going. 'Bunshin?!' Before he could react, he felt himself take a heavy blow to the back of the head, knocking him to the ground unconscious.
"N-naruto…" Iruka stuttered in surprise. Naruto just rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.
"Not only did you create a successful bunshin, you also defeated a chunnin and saved the Scroll of Sealing. Close your eyes, I've got a surprise for you." Naruto closed his eyes and felt a headband being tied around his forehead. "Congratulations. You're now a full-fledged ninja."
"Alright!" Naruto screamed in joy.
"Also, how about I treat you to ramen to celebrate." Iruka added, causing Naruto to stop cheering. "R-really?" he asked, his voice filled with excitement. He had already known Iruka was a good person, but this was the first time anyone other than the Sandaime had ever shown him any real kindness. He almost felt bad for involving Iruka in some of his past pranks, and for tonight's 'prank' as well. To be honest, the various 'pranks' he always pulled usually achieved some hidden goal of his, and were rarely ever used for attention or revenge. But when they were, it sure was sweet revenge! Anyway, he could ignore the scrolls he had for now. Tonight would be spent celebrating becoming a genin with his now-favorite sensei, as well as preparing for tomorrow.
"I will now announce the teams! They have been arranged to balance your strengths and weaknesses." Iruka told the class of genin before him. When he saw everyone looking at him expectantly, he continued. "Team 7 will be Uchiha Sasuke, Haruno Sakura, and Yamanaka Ino." There were some loud outbursts, but Sasuke didn't notice. His mind had collapsed in on itself, a safe haven from the hell that was his life. Why? Why did you spare me? I swear, for what you did to our clan, and how much misery you've brought forth…I will kill you!
"Team 8 will consist of Inuzuka Kiba, Akimichi Chouji, and Aburame Shino." The three just glanced at each other, appearently having no problems with the arrangements: Chouji munching on a bag of chips, Kiba mumbling something to Akamaru, and Shino…well…sitting there. Raising his voice to speak over the argument between Sakura and Ino, Iruka continued with his announcement. "And the final team, team 10, will be Hyuuga Hinata, Uzumaki Naruto, and Nara Shikamaru! Your Jounin senseis will be here shortly.
Naruto looked around and spotted his teammates. Shikamaru was sleeping, as usual. He probably didn't even hear the team announcements. On the other side of the room, in the back corner, he could see the shy girl by the name of Hinata. For some reason she had hid her face as soon as he looked in her direction. He ignored it, used to the fact that she was just weird like that.
'Naruto-kun…I'm on the same team as Naruto-kun!' Hinata felt like this was a dream come true. A moment later her joy was washed away by a torrent of doubt. 'What…what if I'm not strong enough? What will he think when he sees how weak I am?'
Her thoughts were cut short as the door opened. There stood a man with black pointy hair, a matching beard, and a black bracelet on each wrist. He wore standard Jounin attire, and a cigarette hung loosely from the corner of his mouth. "Team 10? Come with me." He said as if he had been forced into doing some repetitive chore, then turning to leave without waiting to see who it was who followed.
Shikamaru had just woken up, and seemed to somehow know that he was in team 10, or just felt like leaving; Hinata was quickly hurrying to catch up to their sensei. Naruto got up and walked out after her, if only to get away from Ino and Sakura's increasingly loud argument. He was almost sure that they had both forgotten what they were arguing about and were just trying to scream louder than the other.
As he left through the classroom door, a small 'Eep!' caught his attention. There stood the shy white-eyed girl with a red tint to her face. Her eyes were glued to her slender fingers, which she was repeatedly pressing together in what was appearently a nervous habit. "A-ano…N-naruto-kun…"
"C'mon Hinata, we've gotta catch up!" Naruto said, not hearing her. He gently grabbed her wrist and ran after their sensei, dragging the dazed girl behind him.
The three genin and their sensei now sat in a patch of sun on the forest floor. Hinata was still a little dazed, holding her wrist as though it had suddenly become precious and fragile. Shikamaru found a comfortable spot in the shade of a tree, lying down as though he had nothing to do that day. Naruto was surprised to find himself more energetic than usual, obviously from the excitement of finally becoming a ninja ready to take on missions.
"Well, let's go ahead and begin. My name's Asuma, your Jounin sensei. Now I want you to all introduce yourselves. You're going to need to work as a team if you're to pass my test. But we'll get to that in a little bit. Why don't you go first." He motioned to Naruto.
"I'm Uzumaki Naruto! I like ramen and training, and dislike stuck-up Uchihas, and I'm gonna be Hokage someday!" Since Shikamaru wasn't really paying attention, it was now Hinata's turn.
"M-my name is Hyuuga Hinata. I like…I-I l-l-like…" 'Naruto-kun' Her face was suddenly flushed bright crimson, and her stutters began to become incoherent. It was then that Naruto placed his hand on her forehead to check for a fever. "Ne, you okay, Hinata?" The stuttering stopped as she fainted, earning worried looks from Naruto and Asuma. 'That's not good. She's not gonna be able to fight if she's like this all the time…' Asuma thought to himself. "She'll wake up in a little bit, Naruto, just let her rest. Okay, sleepy, Go ahead and introduce yourself."
"Nara Shikamaru. My family is a clan of shadow users." They waited for him to continue his introduction, but it seemed that was all he would bother to say.
"Well then, that should be all for today. Meet back here tomorrow at noon for the test." With that he disappeared in a swirl of leaves. As Shikamaru began walking away, Naruto pulled a few scrolls out of his kunai pouch and spread them open on the ground.
Warm… Hinata awoke to a comfortable warm feeling. Draped over her like a blanket was a familiar orange jacket. Closing her eyes again, she began to drift back into a blissful sleep. A few seconds passed before her mind regained full consciousness, causing her eyes to shoot open and stare at the jacket.
W-Why is Naruto-kun's J-Jacket… Turning her attention to her immediate surroundings, she found herself now leaning against a tree at the edge of the small clearing she was in earlier. That's right…I fainted…but I was over there… Her face was becoming increasingly red in realization, when a loud yell startled her out of her thoughts. "Kuso! Why'd they make this jutsu so damn hard?!"
At the other end of the clearing was an irate blond, shouting something about Jounin and their over-complicated techniques. From the two mangled orange heaps on the ground near him, he seemed to be trying—and failing—to perform bunshin no jutsu. Hinata picked up the boy's jacket and began slowly approaching him, desperately resisting the urge to hide behind a tree and watch.
Hinata's eyes locked onto Naruto's, and there was a comfortable silence. She just stared into his cerulean eyes for what seemed to be an eternity to her, her mind no longer thinking and her heart beating loudly.
In reality, only a second had passed before Naruto broke the silence he hadn't known was there. "Hinata, are you all right? You seem, well, a little different than normal. It doesn't seem to be a cold, so I'm a little worried…"
"I-I'm f-fine." She managed to stutter out once she realized he had spoken, quickly redirecting her gaze to the ground.
"Well, you should probably rest here for a bit." Naruto suggested, "I've got some training to do; you're welcome to watch if you'd like."
A reddish color made its way across her face. "W-Would you m-mind i-if…I…umm…Can I t-train with you?" She hurriedly blurted out the last part, and was now watching her fingers press together nervously.
"Uhh..yeah…sure, I guess." Actually, he didn't really know anything about the shy Hyuuga; what she was capable of, or whether she even wanted to be a ninja. She didn't really seem like the type, and he didn't know much about the Hyuuga clan. They could have very well forced her into this life!
Naruto just then realized he had spaced out for a moment when he noticed Hinata staring at him. Before she turned around to hide her bright red face, he saw her empty eyes, filled with a strange mix of emotions: joy, relief, fear, worry, and something else he was sure he had never seen before.
"Uhh…" Naruto looked around nervously, only now dispelling the 'clones' he had created earlier. "Hey Hinata, " he said, mostly trying to keep his mind from going off on another tangent, "Think you can make any sense of this?"
Laying his jacket on the ground and taking the scroll the blond offered her, she let out a small gasp upon seeing the jutsu. "N-Naruto-kun, t-this i-is…" She trailed off, immersing herself in reading the instructions for kage bunshin no jutsu. There were a lot of things she didn't understand, but some of it had been taught in the academy in basic chakra theory, which judging by Naruto's failed clones, was the only part he could understand as well.
At the most basic level, a shadow clone was a solid shell of chakra with separate chakra circulating within in to sustain its form. When the shell was hit, it would destabilize the internal flow of chakra, causing the shell to falter and disappear, while the internal chakra returns to the owner in the form memories, thoughts, and feelings. The hand sign was simple, along with calling up chakra and molding it into the outer shell. Getting chakra to circulate inside it independently was what made this technique difficult.
I hope she doesn't ask where I got this scroll. It's not exactly the kind of thing you can just find at the library…
Several hours passed as they worked on the jutsu, stopping to let Hinata rest every so often. It took a lot of chakra to learn, and even though she insisted she could continue, Naruto kept making her take breaks whenever she started running low on chakra. They didn't speak much other than about kage bunshin, but that was enough to avoid silence.
It was about six by the time they could each produce a successful kage bunshin. They decided to part ways there, much to Hinata's displeasure. Naruto headed off to his favorite ramen stand, by the name of Ichiraku Ramen. It was one of the few places in town he was allowed to eat. Hinata was supposedly heading home but had changed her mind once Naruto left.
While she could only manage one shadow clone, Naruto had made up to three several times without showing any sign of fatigue. Hinata now stood in the same clearing, breathing heavily from exhaustion as she formed her hands into the ram seal. She had to get stronger, for him.
End of chapter
Please review! It's always nice to see what others think of the story. Also, you may have noticed the review counter at the beginning of the chapter (currently at 0). I've decided to keep track of the number of reviews I have at the release of each chapter. It should increase exponentially as the story lengthens. Chapter length should increase as well. Anyway, leave a review on how you liked it so far. I know the end isn't as good or as detailed as the rest, but meh, I got lazy. Anyway, next chapter will be up when I finish it. See ya next time!