At the sound of Lee's voice, Tenten cringed. She had been sleeping deeply in her nice, comfy, quiet bed. Now that she was awake, she was aware that Lee and Guy were outside banging on the door.
" Gmph muble." was how 'good morning' came out when she sat up and looked around groggily. She had been up a little late since she'd had trouble sleeping, since she'd been crying about not having a family. She hated when she did that because she hated to be weak, but it was hard to resist. " I'll be out in like five minutes!" she called, hoping that Guy and Lee had not let themselves in. Sure, she locked the door, but they were ninja's. Like a lock meant anything.
After dressing quickly and eating a hasty breakfast, she went outside to join Guy and Lee. The pair was doing aerobics on her front steps, attracting odd looks from her neighbors.
" Tenten, how are you this youthful morning?" asked Guy, doing a one handed pushup so he could give her a thumbs up with the other arm.
" Sleepy." she said, looking at the sky. It had to be before seven, judging by the orange-ness of the clouds.
" Shall we go to fetch the youthful Naruto?" asked Lee. No….he's saying it now too? thought Tenten, sweat dropping.
" Uh, I don't know. It's kinda early. Did his family mind the other times?"
" I don't know." said Lee, continuing the exercises. " We found him at the ramen stand."
" Oh." said Tenten with a sigh. Of course Naruto was at the ramen stand.
Naruto wasn't at the ramen stand.
" Has Naruto been by today?" Tenten asked the serving girl, who was cleaning the stools.
" Nope. Usually he's here for breakfast, but not today. It's pretty rare for him to not show up. I hope he isn't sick." said the ramen girl genuinely.
" Perhaps we should go by his house." said Lee. " Do you know where he lives, Guy-sensei?"
" I do not." said Guy, looking thoughtful.
He doesn't know where Naruto lives? He knows where I live! thought Tenten, annoyed and concerned.
" See that apartment building?" said the ramen girl, pointing to a dilapidated high rise in the distance. " Top floor on the north side. You can see him sometimes."
" Thanks." said Tenten. " I'll make sure he comes by for lunch."
" We shall race there! The last one there shall do five hundred jumping jacks!" said Guy, pointing into the air.
" One thousand!" Lee declared, upping the ante.
" Uh, since you guy's are all ready to practice, you two should head to the practice field. I'll go get him and meet you there." Tenten quickly deterred Lee and Guy. Naruto was embarrassed enough about his family. There wasn't any sense throwing the Youth Brigade into the mix.
" Yosh!" said Lee, pumping his arm. " I shall use the extra time to train so that I can surpass him!"
Tenten walked away as the 'Lee-Guy-sensei' act began again.
This building is horrible. she thought, walking up the wet, moldy steps. It looked like most the apartments were empty, the building had seen little repair, and it was surrounded by filthy alleys on all sides. True, the upper levels didn't have the same funkyness and had a excellent view, but none the less, it was the worst building Tenten had ever seen.
She came to a door that had to by the Uzamaki's. First of all there was a trashcan full of ramen cups by the door. Second of all, it was orange.
The exact same shade of orange that Naruto's jacket was.
Tenten sighed nervously, hoping she wasn't overstepping any boundaries by coming here. From the apartment she could hear a bit of a ruckus, meaning the family was probably all up. She knocked and waited, hoping for the best. She hear the sounds behind the door stop instantly.
Crap. That can't be good. she thought, waiting tensely. She had just about convinced herself to run when Naruto opened the door a crack and peered out.
" Uh, hi." said Tenten lamely, waving. " Sensei sent me by to pick you up for practice."
" It's time already?" Naruto asked. He seemed concerned about something.
" Yeah. I'll wait…over there." she said, excusing herself and walking a short distance from the door. Naruto quickly shut the door, leaving her alone. She could hear muffled talking coming from inside, but tried not to listen in. She had intruded enough already.
Then, as if to draw her into the situation further, the door opened and a chibi version of Naruto came out.
" Hey!" said the little boy that Tenten guessed was Kamaboko. " You look like a panda!"
" What are you doing?" screeched a woman's voice before she could reply. A older blonde woman with long hair (who was disturbingly reminiscent of the Sexy Technique) reached out and grabbed him, dragging him back in. She gave Tenten a fearful look and shut the door.
And the weirdness escalates. she thought. Sure, she could imagine Naruto's mother being annoyed at the little boy, but not dragging him inside like that. She's seemed practically terrified of her seeing them. It's not like she was some sort of monster.
….Unless that's how they see the villagers. she thought. Since they are hated, they might be scared of being attacked or something. I'd make sure my kid didn't talk to strangers if that was the case.
" Sorry!" said Naruto, exiting quickly. " I don't know why he did that."
" It's okay!" Tenten said quickly. " It was nothing."
" Uh, let's go." said Naruto hopping off the balcony to a nearby rooftop. Not wanting to linger, she leapt after him.
And that sums them up. thought Tenten exasperatedly, watching Lee and Guy do their beloved teacher slash prize pupil thing.
It was both disgusting and hypnotic at the same time
" Clones?" asked Naruto, looking nervous.
" Sure." said Tenten, giving him a smile. She was trying to act as if nothing weird had happened, which was hard, considering the fact that she couldn't get the picture of Naruto's mother looking at her like she was some sort of monster. It was a unsettling experience. Naruto and Tenten began their routine, but were stopped by Guy.
" Today, I have some special training for you two." said Guy, indicating they should come sit by Lee. Eager for some actual attention, they raced over and sat, facing their sensei. " Lee, I want you to double your weights and run ten laps around the village."
" Yes, Guy-sensei!" said Lee, leaping to his feet, saluting, and running off.
" He's not going to be learning with us?" asked Naruto, looking confused.
" As he cannot draw chakra, learning ninjutsu would be pointless. Training is a better use of his time." explained Guy.
" We're learning new techniques?" asked Tenten eagerly. Finally!
" Correct. I have done some studying and found several jutsu you will find useful." said Guy, smiling and taking a 'oh yeah, I'm a awesome sensei' pose. He held two scrolls out to Tenten and gave Naruto a small slip of paper.
" Before you open them, I wish to explain some things." said Guy with a smile. Naruto looked at the paper disappointedly, but didn't open it. " First, Tenten, throw a kunai into that stump."
" Done." she said, throwing the blade at full speed and strength. It embedded several inches in.
" Now, attack me with the same kunai." said Guy, a glint entering his eyes.
" Uh…." She was drawing a blank on her teachers intentions. " How?"
" Exactly." said Guy with a smile. Tenten sweat dropped. He didn't explain anything. " Now, take out a shuriken."
" Ooookay." she said, drawing one from her scroll.
" Now, throw it and hit five different trees."
" Sensei, your not making any sense." she whined.
" You will understand later. Now, Naruto, as you have a large chakra reserve, you are well suited to ninjutsu. A critical step in becoming a ninjutsu specialist is to develop your elemental focus. Some ninjutsu, such as shadow clones, have no particular elemental focus."
" Elemental focus?" asked Naruto, looking confused.
" The element that the jutsu uses for it's effects. This, for example, is a earth technique." said Guy, throwing together several hand seals clumsily. It was obvious he rarely used ninjutsu. Besides them, a square section of ground suddenly rose, forming a clay wall.
" Woah!" said Naruto excitedly. " Teach me that! Teach me that!"
" I will, if you are a earth type." said Guy, forming another seal and making the wall fall to the ground.
" Every person has a specific element that they lean towards more naturally. They have various advantages and disadvantages. Fire, for example, is the most balanced. It can defend and attack equally. Lighting is only for attack, but nothing can rival it's damaging power. Earth is best for defense, but if used creatively the defenses can become attacks."
" How?" asked Naruto, not understanding.
" Summoning a wall and dropping it on someone." said Tenten, fascinated.
" Oh man, that'd be awesome!" said Naruto, throwing his hands into the air.
" Water is special category, with many special effects, such as the ability to create mists that block vision. Finally, there is wind. While it's attack isn't as powerful as lightning, wind jutsu create the greatest number of attacks. I, unfortunately, don't know any wind jutsu, so let's hope you aren't a wind type."
" How can you tell?" asked Naruto.
" Channel chakra into that paper. How it reacts will show us what type you are." said Guy. Naruto smiled and focused his vision on the paper, which immediately cut in two.
" If….the paper is cut in two, it means you are a wind type." said Guy, standing up.
" Dammit!" swore Naruto, tossing the paper away. " Is there something else I could learn?"
"Well…." said Guy, scratching his chin. " Truthfully, I know only a few ninjutsu. I do have one that you are suited to with your large chakra reserve."
" What is it?" asked Naruto, not sounding too hopeful.
" The summoning technique." said Guy, flashing his smile. " One of the most powerful and useful of all jutsu. And, one of the hardest to use. While the process is simple, it has high chakra demands."
" Awesome!" said Naruto. Anything only requiring chakra would be easy to learn for him. " What does it summon?"
" Mine summons turtles." said Guy, looking proud. Tenten and Naruto, however, weren't that impressed. " But there are many different summons. For example, Tsunade the Sannin summoned slugs."
Slugs? Tenten cocked her head and tried to imagine how a slug could be useful.
" In fact, I once saw her strongest summon. It was nearly the size of the Hokage's tower."
Oh. said Tenten, shuddering as she imagined something that massive squirming its way though town.
" Unfortunately, to begin the summoning technique, you must have signed a contract with the creature you are trying to summon. I'll have to go get it from the person holding the scroll for me."
" Someone else has it?" asked Tenten, confused why Guy wouldn't have something so important.
" Truthfully, the summoning scroll isn't mine. It's belongs to my wife."
" Thanks." said Tenten, holding the ice pack to her head. When Guy mentioned he was married, her brain…broke. So did Naruto's. They had both faceplanted hard.. Guy had made sure they were alive before jogging off to get the summoning contract.
" Yeah." said Naruto, who had gone and gotten the ice.
" Well, time to get to work." Tenten said, opening the first scroll and reading.
Shadow Shuriken Replication…focus chakra into the shuriken and…..
" EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" she shrieked, clutching the scroll to her chest and smiling so wide her face hurt.
" What? What?" asked Naruto, bewildered and concerned looking.
" A jutsu that allows me to make clones of shuriken!" she replied excitedly.
" But you already have like a million." Naruto pointed out.
" No, this is like….you throw it and a bunch of copies appear. Like your shadow clones." said Tenten, now quite fond of Guy for giving her something like this. " Each time I throw one, I can turn it into like a million!"
" Aw crap." Naruto said, looking nervous. Tenten gave him a sympathetic smile, as he'd be the one dodging the shuriken. " I guess that's what he meant with the ' hit five trees at once' thing."
" And the other thing…." Tenten said, eyes going wide. She reached for the other scroll and tossed it open.
Chakra Strings….multiple uses….attach to weapons….
" No way." Tenten said, jaw hanging open.
" I'm not going to like this, am I?" asked Naruto, gulping.
" It's a technique that lets you attach stings made of pure chakra to things. I can use it to retrieve weapons from a distance or make them move. It says you can attach the strings to anything! I could attach them to you and trip you!"
" I'd cut them as soon as I could." Naruto said, sounding unimpressed.
" Since their made of chakra, it's nearly impossible to do that." said Tenten, reading on. " It's hard to connect them to someone with out them noticing, and if they do they just have to get far enough from you that the strings snap. But it's still really cool."
" Well, I'm going to have a new technique too, so watch out." said Naruto, giving her a friendly smile. The two genin nodded and began training.
" It worked!" cheered Tenten as a single shadowy copy spilt from the shuriken she had tossed at a target. It had taken a few hours, but she had finally got it. It was way more complicated than the clone and transformation techniques, so getting it right was quite fulfilling.
" I have returned, my youthful students!" Tenten and Naruto turned to see Guy and Lee jogging towards then. Guy had a large scroll on his back. He stopped and told Lee to continue on, then turned to Naruto.
Tenten continued to practice with the shuriken replication, and as the day came to a close she had gotten to where she could create several replications and hit accurately with them a decent amount of the time.
Naruto hadn't done so well.
After signing the contract he began to practice the jutsu. Guy immediately left after showing Naruto the hand seals, meaning that he was unavailable to help. However, Naruto seemed to be able to perform the jutsu correctly.
The problem was the turtles he summoned were hatchlings.
" Why the hell isn't this working!?" he swore in frustration, falling back onto the grass. " I'm putting all the chakra in that I can, but I don't get anything!"
" Actually, what you get is just useless." said Tenten, talking a seat next to him. " Maybe it takes a while to get used to summoning or something. Kinda like learning the weight of a new weapon."
" I hope so." said Naruto, calming down. " I wish sensei had stayed and helped us."
" Yeah, I do to." said Tenten, leaning against a tree. " I know Lee need's help, but it'd be nice for some real training."
" Well, ramen makes everything better." said Naruto as a smile broke on his face. " Want to head to the stand?"
The next day Guy decided that it was time for them to try for a mission. After the usual brutal morning warm-ups they went to the Hokage's tower, where the chunnin greeted them nervously. The other genin teams kept their distance, obviously having heard about the last time.
Tenten, to her surprise, shared Naruto and Lee's opinion that another fight would be just fine.
" Hokage-sama, Team Guy is reporting for a mission!" said Guy, skipping into the meeting room when it was their turn. The genin came in behind him and tried to ignore the looks of shock from everyone but the Hokage, who seemed rather amused by Guy.
" Well….we have a few D-rank ones for you." said the Hokage, looking down the list. " They won't be as exciting as the incident last time, but they should make you a little money."
" D-rank?" asked Naruto.
" The lowest ranked missions." explained Tenten. " They are more like chores the village needs gone that real missions."
" Screw that!" said Naruto, folding his arms. " I want a real mission."
" Ow!" Naruto exclaimed as she kicked him in the shin. " Stop that!" he begged as she hit him again. She continued kicking him, despite any protests he made. " Fine, I'll do the stupid mission, just stop!"
" Yosh!" said Guy, pumping his arm. " Tenten, you have used your youth and foot creatively to motivate Naruto!"
" Not really." said Tenten with a giggle. " You have to do the same thing with my neighbors cat to get it out of the way."
The silence from the stunned onlookers was priceless.
" Erm…." said the Hokage, clearing his throat. " The Hyuuga need someone to repaint a wall on their manor. The pay isn't good, but it's the best one I have for you."
" Why are the others not suited to us?" asked Lee, furrowing his brow.
" Because I don't think it would be wise to send Tenten on a mission to catch the fire lords cat." said the Hokage, smiling.
" Man, that's a white building." whistled Naruto.
The Hyuuga manor was indeed white, as well as large. Those were the only things that could be used to describe the building, as it was plain and unadorned. Tenten, with what she knew of the Hyuuga clan, wasn't surprised. They were famously bland, as Neji's style of dress had suggested.
" And now to begin!" said Guy, knocking on the large wooden gate. When there was no immediate answer he began to knock again, only louder. And he continued to increase until he had begun to put divots into the wall. The gate was suddenly wrenched open by a Hyuuga ( with the ever-present long hair and white robes), who looked quite annoyed.
" Yes?" he asked in a dry voice.
" I am Might Guy, the youthful Green Beast of Kohona!" yelled Guy, taking his pose. " and these are my students! We have been sent here to fulfill the painting job that your clan gave the Hokage!"
Cringing, the man nodded and let them in.
Inside was a white and plain as the exterior was. A number of nondescript Hyuuga were training and going about their routines. They were taken down a side passage into a small, radiant garden. There were flowers of almost every type and color, though orange seemed dominant, and the paths and small pond were well tended to. However, the walls seemed to have been neglected for a number of years. They were wordlessly given several buckets and brushes.
" Why don't they do this?" asked Naruto, forming a few clones to help. " It'd be cheaper."
" The Hyuuga are the strongest clan in the village." Tenten explained, as Guy looked at a loss. " I bet they consider this kind of thing beneath them."
" How unyouthful." said Lee, dipping his brush into the paint.
After several hours (mostly thanks to the fact that none of the boys did very good jobs, so Tenten had to check everything they did) they finished and sat back, enjoying the pleasant surroundings from a well used wooden bench.
" I wonder if Neji is here." Lee said, wiping a droplet of sweat from his brow. " I am sure that challenging a genius such as he would give me a new insight in how to defeat Naruto."
" He's pretty good?" asked Naruto.
" He should have passed best in the class." said Tenten with a sigh. " But he got sick the day of the exam. He still barely failed."
" It was quite motivational." added Lee, nodding. " I have never seen someone get the flu, pinkeye, and the chickenpox at the same time. Yet, he was still able to fight and do jutsu."
" Woah." said Naruto, blinking.
" The fires of his youth sound impressive." said Guy, giving Lee a smile. " Perhaps we could arrange a match."
They were suddenly distracted by a squeak and looked up, finding a Hyuuga girl with short hair standing there, blushing and looking terrified.
" Hi, Hinata!" said Naruto, waving. I guess he knows her. Maybe they were in the same class or something. thought Tenten. The girl seemed unable to move and Tenten could sense the timidness many kunochi at her age had.
Okay, not sense. It was literally spelled out in the girls posture.
"N-naru…ru…" the girl stuttered. She gave another squeak, turned, and fled.
" Man, she's so weird." said Naruto, sitting back. Everyone else on the team looked to him in shock. She just ran away from him in terror and he's not even surprised? Damn, what's the village done to your family, Naruto?
" Does she often do that?" asked Lee, his large brows furrowed.
" Every time I talk to her." said Naruto with a laugh. " One time, I walked around a corner and ran into her in the academy and she completely freaked out. She was screaming and one of the teachers had to restrain her until she fainted."
If I ever get a shot at her, I'm taking it. thought Tenten, twirling a senbon. Hating Naruto-kun….I don't see how anyone could.
" What is going on?" asked Neji, walking in. " Hinata-sama, I heard…" He trailed off as he spotted them.
" Hi Neji!" said Tenten, waving politely. " We got hired to paint a wall for your clan. We just got done."
" A good use of your abilities." said Neji with a snort, turning to leave.
" Hey!" said Naruto with a snarl. " You take that back!"
" Why?" asked Neji, raising a eyebrow curiously.
" Cause you're a ass, that's why." said Naruto, seeming unusually annoyed. Neji laughed and continued to leave.
" Neji!" said Lee, leaping to his feet. " I wish to challenge you!"
" I would win." Neji replied.
" That is not known! We should test our youthfulness against each other!"
Five minutes later, things looked bad.
Tenten sighed, wondering how this had happened. Once moment they'd been about to go home, the next moment the entire Hyuuga clan watched as the branch family genius embarrass Lee while Naruto grew steadily more annoyed with the' white eyed bastards'.
" Give up." said Neji calmly, slapping a punch away. Lee was going all out (though his weights were still on, as Guy-sensei ordered), but he had yet to land a single hit. Neji seemed calm, as if the fight was effortless for him. Lee's footing shifted for a second, causing him to lose balance long enough for Neji to shut a chakra point in his shoulder.
" Ahh!" cried Lee, holding his numb arm and backing away. The Hyuuga were all looking on in amusement as he struggled to flex his arm to continue.
" This match is over." sighed Neji, seeming bored. " A loser like him never had a chance."
" That's it!" yelled Naruto, leaping into the training field. " Lee, mind if I beat him up first?"
" Go ahead." said Lee, smiling as he walked over to Guy, who immediately began reviewing his mistakes with Lee.
" Naruto Uzamaki, village prankster and worst ranked genin." said Neji, assessing the small blonde as they circled, waiting for the first move. " Rumored to have been passed due to favoritism. You are less of a threat than Lee."
" Hah!" laughed Tenten. " Ah hah ha he ha!"
The Hyuuga looked concerned as Lee and Guy joined her.
" Oh, man. Neji, good luck." said Tenten, wiping a tear from her eye with a chuckle. Naruto smirked, his confidence boosted, and formed a team of clones.
Neji had seemed to go wide eyed as Naruto charged, but that had really just been him activating his Byakugan. He drove Jyuuken strike into the first clone, destroying it, but the others began to pour in. He tore through them, far faster than Lee did or Tenten did without weapons, finishing them with single hits and avoiding their attacks with ballerina like grace.
Until a uppercut from a suicide attack caught him in the chin, knocking him into the air.
Tenten knew it was over at that point. Clones continued to batter him into the air, denying him the opportunity to recover. The Hyuuga looked on in horror as a chain of clones formed, catching Neji by the heels and throwing his downwards. The clones below tossed another up and Neji was struck by an aerial head butt, destroying the clone and knocking him out. The clones caught him as he landed, setting him on the ground.
Tenten didn't know what surprised her more: The fact the Hyuuga looked amazed at Neji's loss or the fact they all seemed to approve of it.
" Impressive." said a Hyuuga man Tenten recognized as the clan leader, walking out of the crowd. He was trailed by Hinata-teme and another young girl. " As I would expect from you."
Tenten could feel every adult tense with his words, Guy included.
" Thanks?" said Naruto, scratching the back of his head. His eyes met with Hinata for a second, causing her to shift behind her father and look out cautiously from behind.
" You will now leave." he said, motioning to the gate. " Please refrain from ever visiting my manor again."
Tenten was just about to protest when Guy put his hand over her mouth and forced her to follow Lee and Naruto out the gates. She gave a muffled sigh, glared at Hinata one last time, and departed.
" What the hell was that?" she asked once they were down the road.
" The Hyuuga are a powerful and moody clan." explained Guy apologetically. " It would be unwise to provoke them."
" But all I did was beat Neji!" Naruto complained.
" True. You beat their genius, the most talented young member of their clan." said Guy. " Though it was a victory for you, it is seen as a great shame to them."
" Oh." said Naruto, turning and entering sad mode.
They went their separate ways shortly after that. Tenten watched from afar as he entered his apartment.
Naruto-kun…..she thought, feeling sorrow for the boy. The hate surrounding the boy should have crushed him already, but somehow he was carrying on. Tenten couldn't understand why he hadn't left the village long ago. I'll make sure you always are treated right from here on.
I guess I'll be doing a lot of kicking.