A Naruto fic
A/N: Since I can't reply directly to a certain reviewer who brings up some interesting questions…and since this is stuff the rest of you might be interested in, a little info on the silver eyes Naruto got from the unfortunate Hyuuga Shirubagan. First, they're the Byakugan, not some ridiculously overpowered elaboration on the Byakugan's theme. They do happen to have a soft silver luster to them, rather than the classic 'frozen milk' color of the common Byakugan. Other slight color variations in the Byakugan are a pearly version, and a soft lavender tint. For those of you keeping score at home, yes, I'm riffing on the ways people describe the Byakugan in fanfics to make it seem 'beautiful', because a blank white eye is honestly pretty creepy. All of these variations are considered to have superior aesthetics by the Hyuuga, with pearly being the most common variation and silver being the rarest by far. Hence why Shirubagan got named that. There's also some superstition having to do with the kind of person that has each kind of eye, but that'll be explored in story. It might be a while before it gets explored, though…fair warning. And like the fact that the Hyuuga teach more of the old languages to their members than is normal, it's mostly just stuff I added to make the Hyuuga a more convincing group of people.
'Blind' does do a good job of justifying the use of Hyuuga eyes in non-Hyuuga bodies, even if it's scientifically suspect. I'm afraid I'm taking a somewhat different tack with it, though. I really don't want to say too much about it. That's more Teijo's job. It has to do with history. That's the most I'm going to say for the moment, though.
As for fail-safes built into the seal…if I were designing the seal, I'd toss out the ability to kill the wearer with a single seal. Three reasons. One, I have moral problems with it. Two, if a main house member snapped, they could wipe out a significant portion of the clan with ease, possibly the entire clan. Three, it's possible the activation method could fall into enemy hands. Unlikely, but possible. Then, I'd make the seal change the eyes over to normal, pupiled eyes like everyone without a dojutsu possesses upon death or removal of the eyes. (With the kinds of stuff we see chakra doing in the series, this isn't too much of a stretch.) In the case of death, I'd also have the seal send a disrupting chakra shockwave through the chakra coil system to eliminate any important information found there. For a final touch, I'd have it also fry the brain to eliminate any information one might glean from the way one's mind would be affected by use of the Byakugan. And I'd put it one each and every Hyuuga. It's not exactly a bad idea to keep such a powerful combat multiplier "in-house", so to speak.
Obviously, the seal isn't designed in this way. I'm sorry that I didn't really answer the question, but the answer is tied up in the Hyuuga history that it's Teijo's job to explain, and is a plot element. Fraid it's like the information about why the Byakugan can be easily transplanted and the Sharingan can't. You're just going to have to wait.
Teijo looked in horror at the stack of what had been three heaping bowls of ramen. Even now, his three year old ward was starting in on another one, and showed no signs of stopping. Yes, he understood that the boy was probably quite hungry, having missed lunch and all on top of some rather intense training. It still didn't seem physically possible for the blonde to eat that much. As in the boy didn't seem to have the necessary internal volume free to account for the ramen he had sucked down. Did the boy have traces of Akimichi blood? The Hokage had assured him that it wasn't the case, but he was starting to wonder if there hadn't perhaps been a dalliance that hadn't been caught by the records somewhere in the boy's past. Naruto just kept on surprising him, he reflected. And like his ramen eating, he didn't seem inclined to stop.
Neither did Kurenai, who was rolling on the ground in laughter. The kunoichi had caught the look on his face as he'd seen Naruto's ramen consumption capabilities, and promptly laughed so hard that she quite literally fell off her stool. By his internal clock, that had been a good two or three minutes ago. "Please stop that, Rubigan," he sighed.
Naruto's chopsticks clattered against the fifth…fifth empty bowl. An enormous belch issued from the three year old's mouth as the stand's cook and owner grinned in absolute delight. A three year old who could put away five bowls of ramen? The kid was going to grow up to be one of his most valued customers, he just knew it. "That was soooo good!" exclaimed the boy.
Teijo tapped the boy on the shoulder. "Naruto, if you're going to eat like that every time we come here, we might have to limit Ichiraku trips to special occasions."
It was amazing, the power of the boy's pout. "Why, Teijo-niisan? It's so good!"
The Kami curse it, that pout would be the death of him…or at least of his disposable income. Steeling himself, the recon raider chuunin put a joking smile on his face. "My wallet won't be able to take it, Naruto." Judging from the look of terror on the boy's face, he thought that they weren't ever coming back to the stand. Dammit. "Well, maybe once a week and special occasions."
It was hard to tell who had the bigger smile, Naruto or the cook. Then Naruto shot from his stool into a hybrid between a tackle and a hug, knocking the gray-eyed nin from his seat. Kurenai, whose laughter had been dying down, took one look at the scene and collapsed into peals of hilarity again.
Teijo gave a long-suffering sigh and rolled his eyes…but a broad grin was painted on his face.
"What kind of ninja are you?" asked Naruto as the three walked through town, Teijo's wallet seven bowls of ramen worth of ryo lighter. The gray-eyed Hyuuga still had trouble believing what he had just seen.
"You mean me?" asked Kurenai.
Naruto nodded. "Uh huh, uh huh."
"Well, I'm a recon raider, like Kaijin here, but I specialize in genjutsu."
"That didn't make any sense, did it?"
Naruto shook his head.
Teijo chuckled. "That's okay, Naruto. It'll make a good lesson for the day."
The boy looked up at him. "I thought we were going to go back to the house and train."
"Well, it's important to learn about things too, Naruto, and since you already did six hours this morning, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't have a bit of a break. Besides, Rubigan just got some time off from the front lines, and it would be a shame to waste it, right?"
The boy nodded vigorously.
Kurenai smiled at the boy. "So you can learn about being a ninja while we get some things."
"The first thing to realize, Naruto, is that there's a number of different types of ninja," said Teijo as their little group made its way into the section of Konoha that most ninja supply stores were located in. "Most nin are set on their path upon graduation from the Academy. Their genin team's specialization by and large will determine their career's path. The most common type of squad is the light combat squad."
"Light combat squads are set up for combat against enemy ninja squads, samurai units, and your basic bandit threat. Taijutsu, weapons use, and precise ninjutsu use is empathized in light combat squads," put in Kurenai. "Come on, let's go in here. I need to pick up some kunai." The males followed her into a weapons shop. "Now, light combat squads might make up the backbone of our forces, but they don't get the most attention. That's the heavy combat squads. Both the Sandaime and Yondaime were heavy combat."
Teijo rolled his eyes. "Please. They both thought like recon raiders. She's right, though, Naruto. Heavy combat squads get most of the glory. You see, heavy combat squads are specialists in high-power ninjutsu usage, and are often summoners. Flashy, with a bunch of power behind it, but it's actually less efficient than what the light combat squads do. Still, going up against a heavy combat ninja one-on-one is a pain, and they're some of the best when it comes to samurai support and dealing with fortified objectives. Then there's the capture, investigation, and tracking squads." He ticked these three off on his fingers. "The first two are mostly only in the Konoha Military Police, but there's a few of them in the general forces so that we can take those kinds of jobs. Tracking squads are common in both the MP and the general forces."
"Jobs?" asked Naruto.
"A Hidden Village's economy is based on the fact that ninja are technically mercenaries," explained Kurenai. "People pay Konoha so that our ninja teams will perform missions for them. But we're also quite loyal to the Fire Country, even though they have to pay us as well for our services. It's somewhat complicated." She turned towards a display case of kunai and shuriken.
"Not something you need to worry about, though, Naruto. Not for a while at least." Teijo laced his fingers together behind his head, stretching. "Anyway, there's a couple of other specialties for teams, but they're generally put together on an 'as-needed' basis. And then there's the 'community'."
Naruto looked up at the gray-eyed ninja. "The community, Teijo-niisan?
"It's slang for the recon raider squads, Naruto," explained Teijo. "Like Rubigan and me. Recon raiders' squads are the closest thing to the original ninja, back when samurai really controlled the military, rather than just being foot soldiers."
Teijo smiled. "This is all ancient history, Naruto. I'm talking back before the appearance of modern ninjutsu, before Rokudo Sennin and his Rinnegan. Anyway, back then, since humans couldn't really use chakra, the samurai were the heart and soul of any country's military. But samurai were, and still are, straightforward fighters for the most part. And while that has its place, sometimes something more subtle would need to be done. Scouting, sabotage, assassination…things of that nature. Ninja originally evolved to fill that role. A couple of the old tongues refer to ninja as 'special forces' or things along those lines." Teijo's gray eyes drifted from Naruto to where Kurenai was bending over the display case. "Anyway, we recon raiders strive to keep ourselves from becoming overly specialized, and train to deal with unfavorable odds. Go anywhere, do anything, to anyone. That's us. Though we don't do much deep-cover work, I'll admit."
Kurenai stood, rolling a kunai over her fingers as she turned towards the boys. "It's like in taijutsu. It's not about hitting hard so much as it is about hitting right. Right time, right place, right way. When all of that comes together, a single recon raider squad can shut down a full ninja combat division, and it doesn't even bear mentioning what we can do to forces of samurai. There's a reason ANBU likes to get their hunter nin and other field operatives from the recon raider ranks." She turned back to the counter to place her order, then swapped looking over Naruto with Teijo while he prepared himself for the field. "So, Naruto, has Teijo taught you the hand seals yet?"
The blonde shook his head, silver eyes wide and hoping for more teaching.
They were back to the area where Teijo had been teaching Naruto, and had been for a couple of days. The blonde was doing his best to mimic the twelve basic hand seals. It was taking awhile, what with the proportions of Naruto's three-year old hands not exactly being quite ready for seals. Still, the boy was learning quickly, and it wasn't so much the seals as it was transferring between them that gave the boy trouble. So long as he was allowed to do them slow and pull his hands apart for each one, he was fine.
Of course, Teijo wasn't quite satisfied with that. The gray-eyed Hyuuga seemed to have a habit of finding inefficiencies with ninja skills and devising new ways. Most famous was his attack on Jyuuken, which had led to the creation of Keitai no Nesshin Shou, but it was by no means the only one. One new way of doing things that had filtered out into the recon raider community at large, developed with the help of both Kurenai and Shibi, was a different way of forming seals. In the Academy-taught form, a ninja brought their hands together and pulled them apart. In the new recon raider form, one seal simply flowed into another, fingers working together in a delicate dance. Faster, and as they had discovered, less wasteful of chakra. Learning the 'soft seal' style involved learning fully 132 motions beyond the basic twelve starting seals, of course, but here Naruto's voracious appetite for instruction and learning came in handy. The boy had already passed up three offers of breaks.
It probably helped that Teijo had bribed the boy with the promise of teaching him the seals for activating his Byakugan once he showed basic competence with the 'soft seal' method…and another trip to Ichiraku.
The chuunin's lips were touched with a proud smile as he watched the blonde, occasionally correcting slight mistakes. He had never run into a boy who worked so hard. Oh, sure, the other Hyuuga children were drilled at this age, but that was more a matter of being forced. Naruto just did, with either a smile on his face or a gently bitten lip of concentration.
A presence entered his conscious perception of the world around him, the distinctive footfalls of a ninja walking up behind him before feathery hair brushed against his shoulder and a kunoichi's hand was placed on his shoulder. "How long has he been at that, Kaijin?"
"Near to two hours now. Hasn't been willing to take a break yet."
Kurenai let out a low whistle, though it honestly wasn't too far off from her last few days of experience with the kid. Naruto was really a wonder. "How's he doing with soft seals?"
This got a grimace from Teijo. "Could be a lot better. But he's only three."
Kurenai sat down on a convenient rock. "Kind of makes me wonder why you're not just teaching him the classic method and moving on to soft seals later."
"Better to have initial troubles with soft seals than to drill bad habits into the kid…like hard seals." He looked over to where Kurenai watched Naruto. "You do realize that if practically any other Hyuuga saw you sitting on that rock they'd have an apoplectic seizure, right Rubigan?"
Kurenai raised an eyebrow before looking down at the rock…really more of a boulder that she sat on. "Don't tell me this is one of those rocks chosen for its great aesthetic values and such…"
Teijo rolled his eyes. "What isn't around here? The tree chosen for the tranquility, the moss chosen for the rustic authenticity…the wabi and sabi in the compound is thick enough to choke a horse. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good rock garden, and I get the aesthetics in teahouses, but the clan groundskeepers go overboard."
The red-eyed kunoichi smiled. Her friend was, admittedly, more cultured than she was, being a Hyuuga and such, but he wasn't removed from reality. "So, Kaijin, why don't you have a problem with me sitting here?" she teased.
"Well, beyond the fact that you're my oldest friend, my most trusted comrade…" he stopped to look at Kurenai's expression, one which reminded him of a cat basking in the sunlight after a satisfying meal.
The look dropped off her face as the pause stretched, and she motioned for him to go on. "Continue. I like this line of thought."
"No, I think I'll get to my point." This drew a mock pout. "Anyway, all the wonderful stuff about bonds and such aside, your ass is so perfect that I figure that some of that quality's got to rub off on the rock. Win-win, you see." He smirked as Kurenai chuckled and swatted at him playfully.
"So when are you going to teach him to use the Byakugan?" asked Kurenai, looking back to Naruto.
Teijo shrugged. "Way he's going, probably going to teach him the long version seals before we head off for the front."
"So, a couple of days?"
He nodded. "Yeah. Gotta give him something to do other than book learning, chakra channeling, and forms practice. Hizashi-sama said that he would make sure Naruto was well looked after while I'm out on the front lines with you and Shibi-sensei."
"Good," said Kurenai as they both focused on the blonde, watching his fingers move clumsily between seals.
Naruto's silver eyes were moist as he looked up at Teijo. "But why do you gotta go, Teijo-niisan?"
The gray-eyed chuunin lips curved into a sad smile as he kneeled and pulled Naruto into a hug. "Oh, Naruto, I don't know if there's any way you can understand right now, but it's my duty as a Shinobi of the Leaf." The Hyuuga's arms tightened around the boy. "They hold us up next to the Kami themselves, Naruto, for we place our bodies between our home and war's cruel desolation." He held Naruto out at arms length, hands on the boy's shoulders. "Now, I want you to promise me that you keep up your practice and studies. Be good, and for the Kami's sake, don't try and activate the Byakugan without Hiashi or Hizashi supervising you." Naruto nodded, and Teijo smiled. "Good. Rubigan and I will be back to you soon." He dropped his arms to his sides and started to get up…but not before Naruto darted in and placed a kiss on Teijo's cheek, giving him one last hug.
"I love you, Teijo-niisan," said the boy, body language withdrawn.
"I love you too, Naruto," said Teijo, oh so quietly, as he stood. "I'll be back soon." With that, he walked out the door in full recon raider kit, feeling like he never had before a mission. Kurenai met him outside the Hyuuga compound with a concerned look.
"Something wrong, Kaijin?" she asked, receptive to his moods as only she could be.
He shook his head. "No. Just…different, I think." The unsure look on his face slid into one of hard determination after a few moments. "Come on. Let's go. There's a mission to be done," he said, heading off for the gates where they would meet Shibi and the others on the mission.
Kurenai smiled and followed her friend, reflecting that it seemed like the 'home' Teijo put his body in front of had just gained a bit more definition.
A/N: Well, I think that's a wrap. For the timeline record, Teijo and Naruto have been 'together' for two, three weeks or so. Kurenai has now known Naruto for one. The next chapter will be showing Teijo and Kurenai's exploits on the Kumo war front, and will also entail Naruto's experiences on his own in the Hyuuga compound, including the first meeting between Naruto and Hinata. Neji will probably make an appearance too. It will, of course be coming out after the next chapter of Nindo. On the taijutsu front, someone who prefers not to be credited has successfully figured out Keitai no Nesshin Shou. It's a combination of Ba Gua Zang and Xing Yi Quan. Hentaifan also figured out the Aburame Family taijutsu…it's Northern Mantis Fist. Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed, and please review. They make me happy, give me feedback, and spread the story to more readers.