If there was one thing Naruto Uzumaki absolutely hated, it was the fact that even the best laid plans could go awry. If he had known how his day would turn out, he would have never decided to go and introduce himself to the one of few men he considered a true father figure.
Naruto stopped in his tracks, his hand inches from the door. Glancing behind him, he could make out Zabuza, staring at him.
"Yeah," said Naruto. "Why do you care?"
Zabuza shrugged, "you're never around, 'boss.' Me and the guys don't know what to do…we feel rather stuck here, you know? I'm sure you've heard the saying; the boss takes care of his subordinates."
Naruto grunted, "Nice try, Zabuza. You're staying in the Uchiha Complex whether you like it or not. You have access to the training grounds. Go train with that stiff, Kisame, or something."
Behind the Mist assassin, a rather irritated voice yelled out, "Hey! Who you calling a stiff, brat?!"
Naruto sighed, "Look, find something to do. I'll ask the Old Man later if he's willing to send you on some C-rank missions. Of course Sasuke or someone will have to accompany you guys at first, but…we'll see."
Zabuza huffed, "Good…we're getting bored around here."
"Don't worry; you'll have plenty of work to do very soon. In fact, if my intelligence is as reliable as it usually is, the whole of Leaf Village is going to be very busy soon."
"How cryptic of you," grumbled Zabuza, "care to elaborate?"
Naruto paused, "Nah," he said. "Now, to answer your first question, I have errands to run."
And leaving a sulking Zabuza behind, Naruto gave a cheerful wave and stepped out the open door. He wasn't lying when he said he had errands to run. Not that he really intended to do any errands; he really only wanted to go meet a certain someone. But, alas, meeting an old acquaintance was far from being an easy task, as Naruto would find out. He was in for a very interesting day; one that would make a lasting impression on him for the days to come.
Konoha Bath House District
If any passerby really stopped and looked, they would have noticed the old man half hidden by bushes, peeping into the women's bath house. It wouldn't have taken even the slowest of the slow to realize this man was the most blatant pervert in town.
Sadly, no one did notice him, being too busy with their own tasks and errands. No one that is, except for a certain blonde. Part of Naruto's personality was to sometimes overreact and show too much emotion. So, when Naruto rounded a corner and saw the familiar white hair and heard that oh so familiar giggling, he nearly broke down in tears of joy.
Certainly a fine mist spread over his eyes, and, when it cleared, he found himself leaning against a railing. Thoughts ran through his head and the first thing he could feel was the pain he had felt when he had learned from Tsunade that his favorite Perverted Hermit, Jiriaya the Toad Sage, had been brutally murdered.
Shaking his head and taking a breath to control his emotions, Naruto moved forward, ready for the encounter he had most anticipated since the Chuunin Exams. As silent as he could be, Naruto inconspicuously crept forward, until he was directly behind his target. Then, letting out everything he could, he shouted, "AH! THERE'S A PERVERT STARING INTO THE WOMEN'S BATH HOUSE!" Simultaneously, he used an earth jutsu to smash a hole in the wall, revealing the naked women inside.
Naruto's target was the first to move, being severely startled by the outburst. To Naruto's delight, his teacher fell through the new hole in the wall headfirst, having jumped up in surprise. The next few moments would remain in Naruto's mind forever and ever. There had been a brief pause in which every woman in the bath turned their heads in Jiriaya's direction. During that moment, Naruto watched in glee as their expression turned from confusion to pure and absolute anger. The looks Jiriaya received could almost… 'Almost' match the ones Sakura gave when she was in a rage.
Trapped, Jiriaya did the only thing he could do; scream like a little girl. Laughing, Naruto watched as the Toad Sage was pelted with everything the women could get their hands on: chairs, tables, towels, beach balls, everything. It wasn't until the Perverted Sannin used a quick Body Flicker Technique to transport himself away.
Grinning, Naruto gave chase, following his Ex-Master onto the rooftops. He was surprised to find the man waiting for him.
With a frustrated look, Jiriaya pointed an accusing finger at him. Unable to resist throwing out a taunt, Naruto said sweetly, "Looks like the pervert got caught. You old Pervy Sage!"
A thick vein bulged in Jiriaya's forehead, as his expression went from pure anger to a mixture of disbelief and surprise. "What'd you just call me, you brat! Why, do you have any idea who I am?!"
Naruto inwardly smiled, though he left his blank face. "No," said Naruto, sweetly, "so tell me then. Who are you?"
"I am," continued Jiriaya, striking a pose, "the most holy hermit sage of the Mount Myoboku Toads, otherwise known as the Toad Sage. Pleased to me ya!"
"Toad Sage," asked Naruto. "Oh, I get it, you're the Pervy Sage, Old Man Hokage told me about. The guy who made Make out Paradise. Jiriaya, also known as one of the three famous Shinobi. So Pervy Sage is your true identity.
Jiriaya's mouth dropped, "Actually, that's not my true identity. I'm not a Pervy Sage. Argh, god kid, what a brat you are!"
Naruto laughed, "But you were just staring into the women's bath house and giggling crazily."
Jiriaya folded his arms with a huff. "I was doing some research. As you must know, writing novels is a difficult task. I need some inspiration for my works."
"Research," laughed Naruto, "you're just a blatant Pervert. If you were my age it could be passed off as some kind of mischief, but you're an old man. So apart from it being nasty, it's also criminal like."
"F…FOOL," shouted Jiriaya, "I'm not just an ordinary leech! Why, peeping into the bath houses is…"
"Blah blah," interrupted Naruto, "I don't care about your lies and excuses. I just want you to train me since I'm preparing for the Chuunin Exam finals."
Jiriaya blinked, "Training? Nah…I can't stand rude jerks. And I absolutely hate men."
Naruto shrugged, "Bah, you're right; it would be a waste of my time. You're just a Pervy Old Sage after all."
Another vein bulged out, "You idiot! I'll have you know I'm one of the strongest ninja in the world right now."
Naruto smirked, "Oh yeah. Try this jutsu on for size then." And Naruto formed a hand sign, smiling mischievously.
Jiriaya smirked, "Well, kid, I'm kind of disappointed. You seem to know my reputation as one of the Three Great Shinobi, and yet you insist on trying to pull some weak Ninjutsu. I'm a powerful sage. I'm no fool to be twirled on a string around the finger of a greenhorn like you."
"Oh trust me, Pervy Sage, this one's good," said Naruto. "Ninja Centerfold!"
Jiriaya's eyes shot open. "Wha…Ahh…WHOA…" A beautiful female version of Naruto, entirely nude, appeared before him.
"How do you like it?"
Blood appeared out of Jiriaya's nose, but he seemed to take no notice as he gave two thumbs up. "I LIKE IT A LOT!" Naruto rolled his eyes, but inwardly, it made him happy to see his favorite teacher going gaga over his technique.
"You're my type of gal," shouted Jiriaya hopping over like a crazed fan boy. "Wh…what's this technique called? Eh?! Well?!"
"Er, I call if my Ninja Centerfold," said Naruto, rubbing his, or her, head.
"WOW! What an imagination," shouted Jiriaya. "You're a genius."
Naruto put a finger to his lips. In a soft voice he said, "So, then you'll oversee my training then?"
Jiriaya smiled, "Hoho…yup, you bet. But…there's one condition." And putting his fingers together, he turned around, giggling crazily.
Jiriaya turned his head, "you…have to stay like that the whole time you're around me."
Immediately, Naruto dispelled his jutsu. "Inspiration my butt! You really are just a Pervy sage."
Jiriaya laughed, "Actually, I'm not an ordinary pervert."
"WHAT? Now you're just…"
"I'm a Mega Perv," declared Jiriaya.
"No shame at all," said Naruto, shaking his head.
"Alright, alright," sighed Jiriaya. "All joking aside, I'll train you. So, kid, let's see what you can do."
"Out here in the middle of public," asked Naruto. Jiriaya shrugged.
"Fine…fine, we'll go somewhere else. Follow me then." And leaping up, Jiriaya went off towards the nearest training ground. As he left, he took a glance back at Naruto. 'So, that's Naruto Uzumaki, eh? What an interesting little kid. I wonder where he found out about me. It was an obvious lie when he said that old man told him. Hm…looks like I wasn't wrong in coming back to this damned village."
"He's been gone for quite awhile," said Kisame, "I wonder where Naruto ran off to."
"He'll probably be gone the whole day," replied Sasuke. "He went to go meet Jiriaya, one of the Legendary Three."
"Oh…that guy," said Zabuza, "Hrm, I wonder if you can beat him, Kisame."
Kisame looked away, "probably not."
Sasuke laughed, "Well, you can't complain too much there. Even I, in my greatness, would not be able to beat him easily. He's not one of the Legendary Three for no reason. Anyway, we have a mission. Itachi, Haku, and Zabuza."
All three looked up.
"Well," said Sasuke, "you guys are always complaining how bored you are. I convinced the Hokage to let you off on a mission as a reward for good behavior these past few weeks."
"What do we do," asked Itachi?
"You're to follow a Rock Shinobi that just recently left the village. It's that same Kyo guy that beat Chouji at the Chuunin preliminaries. He left his teammates behind, so it's clear he either plans to return or send someone in his stead. Your mission is to figure out why he's left."
"I see," said Zabuza, "what about Kisame?"
"He'll have something else to do," explained Sasuke.
"About time," mumbled Kisame, "I was getting bored of sitting in the house."
"Get going then," said Sasuke, "you're group leader Itachi."
"Right," mumbled Itachi. "Let's go." And with that, he, Zabuza, and Haku vanished.
"In the meantime," said a new voice, "you'll be working with me."
Whirling around, Kisame found himself face to face with Naruto's ANBU commander; and ironically, his opponent, Neji Hyuuga.
Training Ground 10
Huffing and puffing, Lee dropped to his knees. In front of him, without even having broken a sweat, Sakura waited for him.
"Sakura…it is too much. I cannot keep up."
"C'mon Lee," demanded Sakura, "keep fighting or we'll never get anywhere. You lost to Saizo; so you need more training. Plus, it'll help me keep in shape for the finals," she said with a grin.
Lee groaned, "Oh, don't do this to me," he mumbled as Sakura threw a steel ball in the air. Smacking it with her foot, she split it into fourteen other balls, forcing Lee to dodge. Nearby, Kakashi and Guy watched with amusement.
"Keep up the flames of youth, Lee! If you get hit again, five hundred laps around Konoha," shouted Guy.
"GUY SENSEI! I WILL NOT FAIL YOU!"
"Oops," said Kakashi, turning a page of his book, just as Lee fell to the ground again.
"Why did you call us here, Gaara?" Folding his arms, Baki waited for his student's response.
Shrugging, Gaara opened a closet door and pulled out a terrified Cloud Shinobi. "Go on then, little Cloud man…tell Baki here what you told me."
Shivering with freight, the Cloud Shinobi stared into Baki's curious eyes. "It's like this, S-s-sir… Lord Raikage formed an alliance with Lord Tsuchikage of Rock Village. They plan to invade Leaf and Sand Village during the Chuunin Exams. Our forces are already moving towards your borders; ready to make an attack.
Baki's eyes widened. "W…what?" Shooting glances towards the windows and doors, he made entirely sure no one was spying on them. And then, grabbing the defenseless Cloud Chuunin, he thrust him onto the wall. "You had better be telling me the truth."
"It is, sir," blurted the Chuunin, "p-please don't kill me. I was just following orders."
Baki glared at the man for another second, before sighing and turning to his team. "We too had intended to invade Leaf Village. However, because Orochimaru and Kabuto were killed, we were forced to withdraw. Even worse, we found out that Orochimaru himself killed the Kazekage and was acting in his position."
"WHAT," shouted Kankuro, "then who's the new leader?"
"It has yet to be decided," said Baki. "In any case, we have a perfect opportunity to prove to that daimyo of ours that Sand is no village to be trifled with. It is the opportunity we have been looking for, for a long time. It will also allow us to get back at Rock for spying on us last year. You three…stay here. I will bring this Chuunin back with me Suna. In the meantime, Temari; should the council agree with me, you will inform the Hokage of these developments once I send word. Understand?"
"Alright," said Baki, picking up the Chuunin. Knocking him unconscious, he took off. As he left, he failed to see that the Cloud "Chuunin" was in fact, Sasuke, in disguise. The Uchiha winked at them as he slowly disappeared into the distance.
"That worked well," said Temari.
"Sasuke played his part well," said Kankuro, impressed with the level of Sasuke's transformation.
"Indeed. Now we hope that his words can avert an alliance between Cloud, Rock, and Sand," said Gaara. He opened the closet a second time and pulled out two Rock Shinobis and a Cloud Shinobi. Wrapping his sand around them, he crushed all evidence that they had ever existed.
Training Ground Seven!
"Alright then, kid," said Jiriaya, "show me what you can do!"
And Naruto, who had up till now, displayed a purely childish face, became serious. Raising his hand, he formed the Rasengan. If the situation hadn't been so serious, Naruto would have laughed at the dumbstruck expression on the Toad Hermit's face. He was going to enjoy messing around with him.