The alarm clock rang for less than a second before Sasuke turned it off. With the speed of a excited eight year old he leapt from his bed, a goofy smile plastered on his face.
Why? Because today, he started at the Ninja Academy.
Last night he had laid out his clothes so he could get dressed as quickly as possible, so he was out of his room only a minute later. He checked his backpack one last time, making sure every notebook, pencil, lock pick, and tool was accounted for before making his way to the kitchen and taking a seat at the table for breakfast.
His mother, Mikoto, was already making breakfast, just like always. She smiled as he entered, giving him the look of approval any mother would give a child eager to go to school. Sasuke had always been closer to his mother than father, as Fugaku had more interest in Sasuke's genius brother, Itachi.
A fact he was reminded of when his father entered, said hello to his wife, and sat down to read the paper without so much as looking at Sasuke.
Sasuke shook of the neglect with ease. He knew that for now, he would never capture his fathers attention. The Uchiha trained their children before sending them off to the academy, and while Sasuke had done well, he didn't match Itachi's skill at his age. However, he was determined to rise to his brothers level and had resolved to practice as hard as he could at school. He was, no matter what, going to earn his fathers approval.
" Here you are, sweetie." said Mikoto, putting a bowl of rice with a fried egg in front of him.
" Thanks, mom." Sasuke said with a nod and a smile before digging in. A few moments later Itachi entered wearing his ANBU uniform, save the mask, and took a seat at the table.
" Itachi." said Sasuke's father, putting down the newspaper. " I hear you are being offered promotion to ANBU captain."
" Yes." said Itachi succinctly. He had never been talkative.
" It will be useful to have a family member high in that organization." said Fugaku with a nod. Though his father didn't notice him often, Sasuke was proud of his father. He was head of the Uchiha and the Military Police and a powerful man in the village.
Though, Sasuke looked up to his brother more.
" I need to get to the office." said Fugaku, standing up. " There is some paperwork I would like to finish early. I trust I will have the full details about your promotion tonight?" he asked Itachi.
" Oh, dear," said Mikoto, interrupting her husband. " Today is Sasuke's first day at the academy. I was hoping you'd walk him."
" I don't have time." said Fugaku, walking towards the hall.
Like always. thought Sasuke with a hidden sigh.
" I am not entirely sure I will accept that promotion yet." said Itachi, meeting Sasuke's gaze for a moment. Sasuke gasped, but quickly smiled. His brother occasionally was able to prod his father into spending time with him, a fact that made him admire him more.
" Fine." sighed Fugaku. He had been hit with this tactic before. Itachi nodded to Sasuke, indicating he should go. Feeling like he would explode from joy, Sasuke raced into the hall and donned his shoes and backpack while his father got ready.
" And here's your lunch." said his mother, walking out with the bento. " Red curry and dumplings."
My favorite. thought Sasuke, taking the box and hugging his mother. " Thanks mom."
" Let's go." said Fugaku, walking out the door. With one last look to his mother Sasuke followed his father outside and down the street.
The Uchiha complex was actually a small sub-district in the village. The clan was large and powerful, with nearly two hundred members. Those without the ability to activate the Sharingan ran shops in the district, but most of the Uchiha could activate their eyes first and second tomoe and were ninja. Sasuke's family was of the leading line, the only with the ability to activate all three tomoe and abilities in their eyes.
Other than the Sharingan Thief, Kakashi, but Sasuke knew he could get in trouble for even thinking about him in his fathers presence, so he didn't dwell on the thought long.
Sasuke and his father received many warm looks and nods as they made their way though the district and village. Everyone liked to see a new Uchiha going to train as a ninja, and everyone liked to see the head of the Uchiha clan. Sasuke liked how his family kept the village safe, taking the role of the head clan since the Sarutobi went into decline.
Though, admittedly, the Sarutobi were only weaker because there were few of them.
As the academy came into view, Sasuke had to force himself to keep his composure. He knew it wouldn't do for him to act like the Inuzuka boy he could see, who was running around with a puppy and yelling loudly. He had to present him properly as a member of his clan.
Though what is proper seems to vary a lot. he thought with a smirk, looking at the Nara clan head and his son, who were napping under a tree, and the Akimachi pair who was eating a box of doughnuts messily.
" Fugaku Uchiha." said a tall man in a trench coat that Sasuke recognized as the head of the Aburmae, addressing Sasuke's father. There was a pint sized copy of the man in matching shades standing next to him, looking as stoic as his father. " Your son is beginning his education as well?"
" Yes." replied Fugaku, sounding like he didn't want to be there.
" There are a lot of clan heads here." said Sasuke, looking though the playground. His class was going to have a abnormally large number of members of Kohona's most famous ninja clans in it.
" Which means you will be challenged." said his father, looking down to him. Sasuke looked his father in the eyes. " You will work as hard as you can and be the best in your class."
It was not a suggestion, but a order.
" I will, dad." said Sasuke with a smile. His father didn't reply, choosing instead to strike up a conversation with the Aburmae man. Though he wanted to go play, Sasuke knew he should stand by his father.
Inuzuka…Hyuuga….Sasuke was looking though the students, picking out the notable ones. There were a number that had noticed him as well, such as a Yamanaka and a girl with pink hair, who were watching him, whispering to each other, and giggling. This is great. he thought. Itachi didn't have anyone like this in his class to practice again. I'll be able to get better a lot faster!
He turned to say something to his father, but noticed a man in white robes walking down the street towards them, smoking a pipe. He blinked twice before he could accept it.
" Dad, the Hokage's here." he said, nudging his father. Fugaku turned and looked, looking surprised when he saw the old man. A hush fell over everyone as they noticed him as well.
" Now, I think you'll like school." said the Hokage as he got closer. Sasuke wondered who he was talking to for a moment until the reply came.
" I won't." said a voice from behind him. " Everyone'll hate me."
" Oh come now, Naruto." said the Hokage, blowing out a cloud of smoke. At the mention of the name, every one of the adults tensed. " I'm sure they will like you just fine."
" No they won't." replied a small boy, poking his head out from behind the Hokage to peek at everyone. " They'll just throw me out like…"
" They will do no such thing," said the Hokage, coming to a halt and turning to the boy. " Unless you cause problems."
" I don't do anything." said the boy quietly, facing the Hokage. He was dressed in a white t-shirt and orange shorts and had blonde, spiky hair. There were strange tattoo's on his face that resembled whiskers.
" I know you don't." the Hokage said, ruffling Naruto's hair.
" Hokage-sama." said Fugaku, walking forward. Sasuke knew his father and the Hokage were political opponent, but he didn't know what they argued about.
" Now, go play with the other children." the Hokage told Naruto, ignoring Fugaku.
" I don't want to." said Naruto, looking to the ground. " I'll get yelled at."
" Nonsense." said the Hokage, pushing him towards the playground. The boy gave him a smile and a nod and went towards the swing, where he sat down alone and began to swing slightly. The Hokage watched him and the others playing with a grandfatherly look.
" Hokage-sama." repeated Sasuke's father. The Hokage gave him a amused look.
" Oh, Fugaku. I didn't see you there." said the Hokage, giving Fugaku a friendly smirk. " Oh, and this must be young Sasuke." said the old man, looking down to Sasuke. " He's starting this year?"
" Yes." growled Fugaku. Sasuke knew his father liked to direct the conversation.
" Good, good." said the Hokage. " Oh, Choza, Shibi, you have children in this class? My my."
" It is quite the crop this year." said the pudgy Akimachi with a nod.
" I hope I'm up to it." said a man with a scar on his nose, walking over. " I'm Iruka, the teacher. Quite a class to be taught by a new teacher."
" You'll do just fine, Iruka." said the Hokage. " Though, I worry about the old class prankster becoming a educator."
" Yeah, I do too." said Iruka with a chuckle. " But don't worry, I'll only teach them how to kill each other and use chakra to kill each other faster. Nothing dangerous like how to set a bucket of water on a door."
Sasuke's jaw hung open as the Hokage and teacher began to laugh. Iruka's….not really the teacher type. he thought.
" Oh, Mizuki!" said the Hokage, face lighting up as the white haired man joined them. Sasuke knew the man well. There were few non-Uchiha that his father considered ideal ninja, but Mizuki was one. According to his father Mizuki put the mission first, about the lives of him and his comrades, like a proper ninja should. Sasuke was rather excited at the prospect of being taught by him.
" Hokage-sama." Mizuki said with a bow. " Don't worry. I'll make sure Iruka doesn't mess up."
" He always does." said Iruka with a laugh. " Sorry, but it's time for class to start. Everyone inside!" he said, opening the classroom door. Sasuke raced inside eagerly as his father departed with the other parents.
" Welcome to the academy." said Iruka, beginning the class. He was standing in the front of the classroom. " First, I'd like to ask you something. You are here to train to be a genin. Why? I want you each to tell the class your name and reason for becoming a ninja."
" My name is Sasuke Uchiha." said Sasuke eagerly. " I'm here because I want to become as strong as my brother Itachi." There were a few murmurs and whispers, as Itachi was quite famous.
The other students quickly followed, with reasons such as " to live the good life" from the Nara and incomprehensible stuttering from the Hyuuga. Finally, it came to the last student, Naruto, who Sasuke was rather curious about.
" Naruto Uzamaki." said the blonde, trying to sink in his seat. He didn't seem to like the attention the class was giving him. " I-I'm here because ojiisan told me to come."
Sasuke's eyes bugged. The Hokage is his grandfather?
" Right." said Iruka, a hint of hidden anger in his voice. " By ojiisan do you mean the Hokage?"
" Y-yes, sensei." said Naruto, looking afraid.
" He is not your grandfather." said Iruka. " Do not lie about something like that."
" I-I didn't…" Naruto began, but then he sunk in his chair so that Sasuke could barely see him. What is he so scared of? wondered Sasuke, turning his attention back forwards. It was only then that he noticed Iruka had a scowl on his face and Mizuki's compassionate smile had vanished. It was readily apparent they did not like Naruto, but Sasuke hadn't even the faintest clue why.
The teachers then continued the lesson, giving them the overview of what they would be learning and their introductions. Iruka would be teaching history, tactics, and ninjutsu, while Mizuki would run them though physical exercises and taijutsu. After the lesson they were taken outside by Mizuki to their classes training ground.
" Normally, we'd do laps and stretches for at least a hour." said Mizuki once they were assembled on the grass field. " Then taijutsu forms and sparing practice. But today I'm going to assess you so I know what skills you already have. Most students have already done training with their families, but if you haven't, just tell me. It's not a problem. Who wants to go first?"
" I do." said Sasuke, walking forwards with his hands in his pockets, a pose he'd always thought looked cool. Mizuki nodded and looked to the other students.
" Who else?" he asked. No answer came, so he began to look though the crowd. " Naruto." he said, his eyes falling on the boy who had been hiding in the back.
" I-I don't…"
" I'm sure you'll be a natural." said Mizuki with a smile, cutting Naruto off. Sasuke thought he detected sarcasm in the teachers voice. Naruto walked over and faced Sasuke, and for the first time Sasuke realized the boy was very small.
" Begin." said Mizuki, writing on a clipboard. Sasuke lunged forward, racing towards Naruto. To his surprise, Naruto turned and ran. It seemed strange to retreat since there was nowhere on the field to go, but Sasuke guessed Naruto had some plan. He put on a extra burst of speed and caught up with the fast boy, swinging a kick at his legs. Naruto leapt over nimbly and skidded to a halt.
He's agile. thought Sasuke, facing Naruto and sinking into a stance that would be good for attack and defense. Naruto stood facing him, and by the position of his feet Sasuke could tell he was planning to dodge. Wanting to press the attack if he could, the Uchiha swung a punch forwards….
….only for Naruto lean backwards and evade.
He's just too fast. thought Sasuke, swinging another punch which Naruto ducked before rolling behind Sasuke. And he's got a huge amount of practice dodging attacks. I have to make him block and get him in a hold.
Sasuke leapt backwards in a twirling kick, making Naruto dodge again. However, he landed in a crouch and began his attack. He forced Naruto to leap over a sweep kick, then swung a fist upwards. In the air Naruto couldn't dodge as well, but managed to roll out of the way of the fist and right into the path of Sasuke's second kick. Since he was already moving in air there was no way to dodge and Sasuke waited for him to put his arms up to shield himself.
With a jolt Sasuke realized that his foot had connected directly with Naruto's face, knocking the boy to the ground. He stood stunned as the boy struggled to his knees, clutching his nose.
No way. Sasuke thought, dumbstruck. He was more than fast enough to block that! Why didn't he?
" Good, Sasuke." said Mizuki, walking over. Sasuke and the teacher noticed the blood pouring for Naruto's hands a second later. " Broken nose?" asked Mizuki, walking over. There was a muffled reply that sounded like a "No.", so Mizuki walked back over to the other students. Sasuke didn't know what to do. He'd won…but he hadn't thought he was going to hurt Naruto. The blonde moved his hands around for a moment and there was a popping crunch like bones being put back into place. He stood slowly and walked to the back of the crowd, which was watching him and Sasuke in shock.
Sasuke only caught a glimpse of the tears streaming from Naruto's eyes as he went and re-took his place in line.
The rest of the assessment went much better, with no further real injuries. The Hyuuga girl, Hinata, seemed pretty good at hand to hand, and Sasuke thought Kiba seemed tough too. The students had to go up three times each, and Sasuke won each time. Naruto, on the other hand, got odder in the next two fights. Though his nose was no longer bleeding he was still dazed and had a tougher time dodging. Sasuke was also surprised Naruto seemed to focus more on running away than attacking, and didn't seem to have any hand to hand skills at all.
Considering his skill at evasion, that was pretty strange.
When the lesson was over Kiba and Akamaru were the first to leave, racing away and leaving their backpack behind. The other students all left, chatting with their friends of racing home to see their parents. Sasuke noticed Naruto slinking away alone and decided to apologize.
" Hey." he said, walking over. The boy winced as he turned and saw Sasuke. " I'm sorry."
" W-what?" asked the blonde, looking bewildered.
" I thought you were going to block that kick." Sasuke said, feeling embarrassed. " You were so good at dodging I figured you'd be fast enough to."
" Oh." said Naruto, looking to the ground. " Sorry."
" Why are you apologizing?" Sasuke asked, becoming confused himself. " You didn't do anything wrong."
The look Naruto gave him was unique. It was thankful and joyous, with the same layer of fear. It made Sasuke uneasy, like there was something he should have known.
" I have to go." he said, excusing himself. " See you tomorrow." Naruto waved goodbye as a smile cracked on his face.
Sasuke made his way home quickly, putting Naruto out of his mind. He was eager to tell his mother how impressed his teacher had been with him, and if he could, his father. He was greeted by the old man and woman who ran one of the restaurants in the Uchiha complex, but he didn't have time to stop and talk so he just waved. He threw the door open and took off his shoes and backpack and made his way into the kitchen, where his mother was usually making something or talking with a friend.
Mikoto was cutting carrots for a stew when he entered. She seemed to sense his excitement and asked him how things had gone, listening with a smile as he rattled though every compliment Mizuki had give him. When his father arrived home early his heart skipped a beat as he dared to hope that his father would ask how things had gone.
" Sasuke." said Fugaku, entering the kitchen. " Please come up to my study. I would like to talk."
Sasuke knew either his heart was going to stop or rip out of his chest. When there was a mission for their clan for Itachi, his father always asked him to come up to the study, exactly as he had just been asked. Not hesitating a second he raced upstairs behind his father, taking a seat as the door shut.
" It is unlikely you didn't notice Naruto Uzamaki today." said his father, taking a seat and facing Sasuke.
" Y-yeah." Sasuke said shakily. " I accidentally hurt him while we were sparing."
" How?" asked Fugaku, a slight smile playing on his lips.
" I think I broke his nose with a kick." said Sasuke tenderly. " But he did something and it sounded like he fixed the bone a few seconds later."
" Indeed." said his father with a nod. Sasuke couldn't believe it, but it seemed like his father…approved…of him hurting his classmate. " Oddly, our discussion is about him. Tell me, what all have you noticed about him?"
" Well…." said Sasuke, thinking. " He's really fast, good at dodging, the teachers hate him, he calls the Hokage ojiisan, and he seems like he's really scared of everyone."
" I am impressed." his father said in a honest tone. " I hadn't hoped you would be so attentive. I would like you to continue keeping an eye on him."
" Why?" Sasuke asked his father.
" The reasons are complicated." said his father, sounding like he did not wish to restrain his words. " And I cannot tell you. However, this is your first mission for the clan."
Sasuke's eyes bugged. A mission…?
" Naruto is a interesting….element in Kohona. He has the Hokage's eye always watching over him, making it impossible for anyone to gather the information I require on him." continued his father. " But as a child his age, you would not be stopped. I want you to continue to observe, and if possible, befriend the boy and try to learn the boys personality. Anything you can find out about him is important."
" I will do so, father." said Sasuke, bowing.
" I wish I would tell you why this is necessary." sighed Fugaku. " But half of it you are too young for and would not understand….and the other half is protected by the death penalty."
Sasuke was glad he was facing downwards so his father didn't see his surprise.
" Keep this in mind." said his father, finishing. " Nobody can know of this but us and this mission is as important as anything your brother and I have ever done…and perhaps more. Now go." he said, dismissing Sasuke. With another bow Sasuke left the room, but out of the corner of his eye he saw…on his fathers face…approval.
I don't know why this is necessary and I don't care. thought Sasuke. A good ninja is not concerned with they why, only the how of a mission. I won't fail dad.