The next morning Sasuke and Naruto got seats by each other in class. Most of the students had moved next to their friends, so the teachers didn't mind.
" Hey, after school today can you show me how to throw those weapons things?" Naruto asked before the lesson began.
" Sorry, my dads going to be training me tonight." Sasuke apologized. " I think we'll be doing it in class though."
" Alright!" said Iruka, drawing the classes attention. " Today we are going to learn the first and most important ninjutsu you will ever know."
" Does it blow stuff up?" asked Kiba excitedly.
" No." sighed Iruka. " It's the Henge technique. It allows you to disguise yourself as something else."
" Really?" Naruto blurted. " How? How?" A number of people looked confused at Naruto's interest.
" Why do you want to learn a useless jutsu like that?" asked Kiba. " It's not like looking like some else would help you win a fight."
"B-but I could disguise myself so nobody knows who I am!" Naruto said loudly, forgetting himself. " That way I could go buy groceries whenever I wanted 'cause they wouldn't know it was me! And I could hide a lot easier! Hey, hey, sensei, can the jutsu make you look like a rock or something? I heard this ninja guy talking about how he hid as a rock to escape someone and I thought that'd be a awesome trick!"
Iruka looked dumbfounded. Here, the one student he didn't seem to like was the most eager to be taught.
" It can." he sighed. " The Henge jutsu uses chakra to alter your form, allowing you to become something else for a short time. It lasts as long as you have chakra to keep the transformation going and the focus to maintain the change. It is the lowest form of genjutsu."
" So why are you teaching us something so weak?" asked Ino.
" Because it's one of a ninja's most vital techniques." said Sasuke, speaking up. " My brother taught me that any ninja needs to have taijutsu, stealth, and the three basic ninjutsu, which are the Henge jutsu, the Replacement jutsu, and the Clone jutsu."
" Well said." said Iruka nodding to him. " By the time you become a genin you will have all of those skills, which are the requirements. Everything past that you choose to learn."
" So can we start?" asked Naruto, practically vibrating in his seat.
Iruka showed them the hand seals and instructed them on the basics of chakra manipulation. Sasuke and some of the others already knew a little of that, but most didn't have any experience so Iruka began by teaching them that. He placed a leaf on each of their foreheads and told them how to focus a little bit of chakra to make the leaf float.
After a half hour, the only Hinata, Sasuke, and Sakura had accomplished anything. Hinata's clan uses chakra projection with their taijutsu. thought Sasuke. It makes sense she'd be good at it. Most of the others, however, were only able to make the leaf fly off or curl up. Sasuke had done the exercise before, so it was only a matter of how long he could keep the leaf floating.
" It will take a long time for you to master these techniques." said Iruka as they returned to their seats. " Until you have the chakra control necessary to perform the jutsu, continue to practice the hand seals every day."
" Hey, sensei…." said Naruto. He seemed to have more courage today. " What is chakra anyways?"
" It's a mixture of spiritual energy and your bodies energy." Iruka explained. " It's always there, flowing through your body. A ninja uses it as a weapon and tool. Sorry to do this, but it's now time for our history and geography."
The students collectively groaned.
Must….stay awake. thought Sasuke, eyes drooping as Iruka moved on to the history of the Hokage's tower. They were learning the landmarks of the village an why they were important historical places. The Valley of the End seemed interesting, but most places…not so much.
He looked to the side. Naruto had been the third to fall asleep in class, since Shikamaru didn't even try to stay awake and Kiba didn't have to attention span. The girls were all awake and taking copious notes. Sasuke knew he should be too….but young boys don't really care that much.
" Iruka boring you all?" interrupted Mizuki, leaning through the door.
" Yeah." replied Choji as Shikamaru began to snore.
" Well, it's time to run around. Come on!" he said, opening the door and gesturing to them. Iruka sighed and marked his place in the history book as the students began to wake up and leave. Sasuke turned tp say something to Naruto and noticed that his friend had gone pale, as if something was scaring him.
" What's wrong?" he asked.
" S-sensei?" Naruto asked Iruka. " I-I kinda need to…stay in."
" You need to do the exercises." said Iruka with a frown.
" J-just give me a moment until everyone leaves." said Naruto quietly as he squirmed in his seat. Sasuke notice he seemed to be trying to hide something.
He fell asleep. thought Sasuke, eyes widening. The tail grows when he's asleep.
" Naruto, just get…"
" Sensei." said Sasuke, cutting Iruka off. " Just wait a minute." Iruka sighed and closed the door once all the other students were gone. He looked confused when Naruto began to edge out of his seat, hiding the bulge in the back of his pants as best he could.
" Do y-you have a kunai I could use?" Naruto asked.
" Naruto, what is…going…" Iruka trailed off as he noticed the tip of the tail sticking out of the leg of Naruto's shorts. There was a look of panic in his eyes.
" Here." said Sasuke, drawing his. He kept the required number of weapons on him at all times so he'd get used to them.
" What's going on?" asked Iruka, leaning against his desk for support.
" You can't tell anyone." said Sasuke as Naruto ran into the bathroom. " When he falls asleep he grows a tail."
" Is…is the…" he began to ask something, but trailed off and shook his head. " No, the Hokage told me it wasn't."
" Do you know what's going on?" asked Sasuke as a cry of pain came from the bathroom.
" Not as well as I thought." said Iruka as Naruto returned to the room with the tail.
" I need to throw this away." said Naruto quietly.
" I'll put it in the incinerator." said Iruka, holding the trash can out for Naruto. He seemed nervous as Naruto put the tail into the bag. " Are…you…okay?" he asked, not seeming as angry with Naruto as usual.
" Yeah. The cut heals pretty quick." said Naruto, looking down. " I won't fall asleep again."
" You two should go join the others." said Iruka, opening the door. Sasuke and Naruto left wordlessly, leaving the teacher alone.
They had only missed ten laps, so they joined right in. After the exhausting run they did the stretches and recapped the basic form drill from the day before. However, Mizuki added a lesson on how to throw shuriken, going over the proper wrist movements and how to direct the weapon.
" You should practice with weapons on your own time." said Mizuki as they threw the blades at the targets. Sasuke scored his third bullseye as he walked past. " Though, it seems some of you already have. Good shot, Sasuke."
" Thanks." he replied, letting the next one fly.
" This is really hard." said Naruto as his shuriken bounced off the log.
" You need to let it go with more of a flick." said Sakura, who as beside them with her friend Ino. The two girls always seemed to be near Sasuke. " Like this." She threw the blade which sailed twenty feet and thudded into the wood, just a inch left of the center.
" Thanks!" said Naruto with a smile. He tried again and though he hit the edge of the target, he at least got it to stick in.
" Your pretty good." Sasuke said to Sakura. " Did you already learn this stuff?"
" N-no." said Sakura, blushing. " I read about it."
" Wow." said Sasuke, blinking. " And the leaf exercise?"
" That too." said Sakura with a nod. " I'm good at learning from books."
" It's because she's got a big brain behind that forehead." Ino teased. Sakura barked back a taunt of her own and the girls began to squabble. A drop of sweat rolled down Sasuke's cheek as he returned to his practice.
" All right, that's enough." said Mizuki, ending the practice. " We're going to hold a little competition now to see who can hit the target the most. Whoever wins is excused from the extra ten laps were going to do because Naruto was late."
" Sasuke was late too." said Shikamaru with a sigh. " And since he's the best, he's going to win. Why are you doing something so troublesome?"
" When you compete with others, you can do better that usual." said Mizuki, annoyed that Shikamaru had pointed out his favoritism. " Having a rival to practice against is one of the best ways for a ninja to grow stronger."
" Fine." sighed the lazy boy. " But Sasuke's going to win."
And, after four rounds, Sasuke did indeed win.
" All right, you can take a rest." said Mizuki. " Everyone else, ten laps!"
Sasuke got a lot of odd looks as he began the run with everyone else.
" You won." panted Choji. The pudgy boy was not very past. " You can sit out."
" I need to keep practicing." said the determined Uchiha. " If I don't, I won't get stronger."
" Then you should have let someone else win." grumbled Kiba. " I'd like a break."
" Hey, Sasuke." interrupted Naruto. " That last throw, how'd you get the shuriken curve like that?"
" My brother showed me how to arc them. It's pretty easy." said Sasuke. " Don't throw them flat and they turn as they fly."
" Cool." said Naruto. Sasuke got the feeling his friend was going to be practicing the trick tonight.
After then laps they were dismissed, so Sasuke raced home as fast as his tired body would let him. Panting and gasping, the aching puddle of muscles that was Sasuke crawled into his house and took a seat in the kitchen, where his mother gave him a glass of water.
" So, I heard you have a new friend." said his mother with a smile. " I was talking with Ms. Yamanaka at the flower shop today and she says her daughter saw you talking with a boy named Naruto."
" Yeah." Sasuke replied, gulping down the water.
" That's good." she said, giving him a smile. " He doesn't have many people there for him, does he?"
" No." he said, putting down the glass.
" I'm glad you and he are friends." she said as his father entered.
" Are you ready, Sasuke?" Fugaku asked.
" Yeah!" said the young Uchiha, leaping to his feet. His father took him down towards the dock of the Uchiha clans private lake, having Sasuke tell him what had happened that day. The young boy blabbered on, leaving nothing out, as they went. His father nodded and listened until they were at the end of the pier.
" This is where you will practice the Grand Fireball jutsu, or clans signature attack." said his father, looking out onto the lake. " There is nothing that you can damage, so it is the ideal location."
Sasuke blinked in shock. The Grand Fireball jutsu was way beyond his level of skill.
" These are the hand seals." said his father, showing them to Sasuke. "Focus the chakra into your throat and breath out the flames."
Determinedly, Sasuke formed the seals and expelled the largest burst of chakra he could…creating a puff of flame as large as a fist, which quickly snuffed out.
" Continue to practice." said his father, turning and walking away. " And tell me when you have mastered it."
Sasuke had hoped to spend more time with his father but tried to keep his spirits aloft. He continued to try the jutsu but didn't make any progress he could see. When he was too tired to continue he returned home, where he ate dinner quietly. Itachi was gone and his parents talked with each other, so they didn't mind him. After dinner he bathed and plopped down in bed, where he fell asleep instantly.
The next morning at school Sasuke noticed Naruto seemed incredibly proud of himself.
" What's up?" he asked as he took his seat.
" I practiced with shuriken and the Henge jutsu last night." said Naruto, smiling widely. " And I got a lot better."
" Well, I started learning a jutsu that lets me create a giant fireball." said Sasuke competitively.
" Yeah? I can do this! Sexy Jutsu!" cried Naruto, forming a modified Henge jutsu just as Iruka entered. The class gasped as a blast of smoke hid Naruto from view, fading away and revealing…
…a beautiful nude woman in a suggestive pose.
The boys went down with nosebleeds instantly. Sasuke could feel the blush burning on his cheeks as he sat up and Naruto reverted back to normal, laughing uproariously.
" What was that?" said a dark voice behind him. Naruto turned and found the girls of the class standing there, looking angry.
" A joke." said Naruto with a nervous laugh. " I thought it would be funny."
" You pervert!" shouted Sakura, bopping him on the head hard. " Don't do stupid stuff like that!"
" I agree." said Iruka, who had stuffed tissues in his nose to deal with the bleeding. " You shouldn't misuse the Henge jutsu."
" Fine." sighed Naruto. " But do I get points for being able to use the jutsu?"
" Try turning into someone…clothed." said Iruka gingerly. Naruto formed the jutsu again and another puff of smoke revealed a rather poor, discolored imitation of Sasuke.
" Why was your other one better?" asked Sasuke. " I meant it looked more real!" he backpedaled as he realized what he had said.
" I donno." said Naruto, returning to normal. " That one's just easier."
" That was good for such a early attempt." said Iruka, looking a little impressed. " You practiced it?"
" For like five hours." said Naruto with a laugh. " I got Ojiisan with the Sexy jutsu twice."
" You pervert!" shouted on of the girls. Sasuke could only laugh as Naruto dodged a eraser one of them threw in wrath. Girls are scary. he decided.
After that they practiced chakra control. Sasuke could almost get the Henge jutsu to work, but he hadn't practiced. Naruto was leading there, for the moment. As before Iruka launched into the history and geography, and within minutes the class was dozing. Sasuke cringed when he saw Naruto hadn't managed to stay awake. He knew it would be best not to say anything or wake Naruto up, so he kept quiet and listened to the lesson as best he could. Iruka noticed Naruto as well and gave Sasuke a significant look and a nod. All we have to do is do what we did yesterday, thought Sasuke, sitting back.
Then the door slid open.
" Is there a Naruto Uzamaki in here?" asked a woman in a nurses uniform.
" Yeb." said Naruto, sitting up and rubbing drool from his chin. " Wadd…what do you want?"
" There's a inoculation you've missed." said the nurse though a forced smile. " You need to come get it."
" As in needles?" said Naruto gingerly.
" Yes." said the woman with a nod. Naruto sighed and jumped out of his chair, walking across the room towards the door.
" Ha! He crapped himself!" laughed Kiba, pointing to the bulge.
" No he didn't." said Sakura, wide eyed. She, unlike the dog boy, had seen the tail poking out of the bottom of Naruto's shorts. A look of dawning comprehension crossed Naruto's face, then terror.
He gave a little squeak as he put his hand behind him and affirmed the tail was there.
" What is that?" asked Sakura. She never got a response as Naruto bolted from the room, pushing past the nurse. Iruka yelled for him to stop, but Sasuke acted. The young Uchiha leapt from his seat and dashed after his fleet-footed friend. Naruto was almost out of sight as Sasuke ran though the gate of the academy, but he knew exactly where Naruto was going.
Five minutes later, he stumbled into the wooded clearing, out of breath. He found Naruto sobbing into his hands and leaning against a tree.
" Naruto!" cried Sasuke as he jogged over. " Why'd you run?"
" Everyone saw." replied Naruto weakly. " They saw that stupid tail. Everyone knows I'm a freak now."
" Come on." said Sasuke. " I knew, and I don't think you're a freak."
" Your different!" shouted Naruto. Sasuke noticed his eyes were red again. " Your like old man Hokage! Nobody else is nice to me but you two!"
" Iruka helped you yesterday." said Sasuke as Naruto stopped. " And nobody in the class hates you."
" Yeah they do. I see their eyes." said Naruto, looking downwards. " Like Hinata…she can't even look at me. She gets all scared and looks away."
" I don't think she's scared of you." said Sasuke, sweat dropping.
" Yeah she is." Naruto said stubbornly. " And now that she knows I'm a freak…"
" Naruto! Naruto!"
Iruka's voice rang out though the woods. Naruto looked in the direction it had came from in shock.
" Naruto, if your out here, answer me!" he shouted again. They saw him stumble though the trees near them, getting a relieved look on his face when he saw Naruto. " You can't run off like that." he gasped, walking over and taking a seat.
Sasuke noticed Naruto's eyes shift back to blue.
" Sorry, sensei." Naruto said, a wide smile crossing his face. " You came to look for me?"
" Well, yeah." said Iruka, giving him a nod. " I can' have my prize student running off."
Prize student? thought Sasuke, eyes going wide.
" You're the only one who seems really excited about the ninjutsu I'm teaching, and you're the first to get it to work…in a way." continued Iruka with a sigh. " And the Hokage told me to watch out for you, so I don't want to let him down either."
" So…um….how'd everyone react?" asked Naruto, rubbing the back of his head.
" I left them with Mizuki." said Iruka." They were all talking about the tail and why you left, so I wasn't going to be able to teach them anything else."
" Sorry." said Naruto, looking bashful.
" Not a problem." said Iruka, giving him a forgiving look. He then turned to Sasuke. " You found him pretty quick."
" I knew where he was going." explained Sasuke.
" Good job anyways." said Iruka, standing up. " You two ready to head back to class?"
" One second." said Naruto, drawing a kunai.
" You don't need to cut that off anymore." suggested Sasuke. " You might as well keep it."
" Yeah…." said Naruto, looking unconvinced. " But it doesn't fit."
Five minutes of Iruka showing of exceptional and highly unmanly sewing skills, they returned to the training ground, the bushy fox tail sticking out the back of Naruto's shorts. Naruto waved sheepishly as he and Sasuke walked over to where the rest of the students had gathered.
" Why do you have a tail?" asked Sakura bluntly the moment they were within earshot.
" Is it real?" asked someone.
" I bet it's fake!"
" Your pulling a prank, right?"
" Why else did he run off?"
" Bloodline." said Naruto with a glance to Sasuke. Sasuke had suggested the lie as cover up, and as far as they knew it was true.
" Really?" said Sakura. " Why'd you run off?"
Naruto turned and pointed to the little hole the tail was coming from.
" I didn't have the right pants."
Everyone sweat dropped.
" You ran off for that? How troublesome." moaned Shikamaru. " I thought it was something important."
" A bloodline is important." said Choji, munching down a sandwich. " What's it do?"
" This." said Naruto, pointing to the tail.
" Lame bloodline." said Shikamaru.
At that point, everyone became of Hinata, because she was vibrating like she was going to explode.
" Uh…hey." said Naruto, looking to her.
There was the sound of a sonic boom as "Kawaii!" rung out, Hinata unable to keep it back any longer. As everyone blinked, their ears ringing, Hinata fainted with a little happy smile.
There was an awkward silence.
" What's going on?" asked Mizuki, coming over.
" Hinata just freaked out when she saw Naruto's tail." blabbed Ino. Mizuki's head spun to Naruto, who he gave a fearful look.
" S-shuriken practice!" stammered Mizuki, pointing to the targets. The students all went over, confused by their teacher, who sat down and began to calm down. Hinata woke a few seconds later, sat up, saw Naruto, and fainted again.