A/N: As promised, here is one of my pre-New Year updates. I hope to have at least one or two others before the year is out, no promises, but do keep your fingers crossed. Enjoy the long awaited update of Ultimate Hokage: Master of Magnetism.
Chapter Two: Traitors and Teams
Naruto was perched on up on a high tower overlooking Konohagakure no Sato. He was idly scanning the horizon waiting for his mission to begin. Naruto frowned as he thought about the visit he had received earlier.
"Naruto-kun..." said a rather monotone voice from behind Naruto just after he entered his apartment. The blonde had to squash his first instinct to defend himself, cursing himself for not sensing his potential adversary before he entered the room.
A shinobi that did not keep their guard up was a dead shinobi. This was doubly true for him, ESPECIALLY in his home village.
"Sai," Naruto replied, keeping his voice controlled. It wouldn't due for him to take out his annoyed frustration out on one of the few people he considered a friend, even if the boy wouldn't give two shits about his reaction.
"I have brought you a missive from Danzou-sama..." Sai said formally.
Naruto couldn't help but mentally sigh. Despite his best efforts, Sai was every bit of what Danzou had wanted him to be. A tool, a weapon, finely honed and perfected for the single-minded purpose of serving Danzou and the "defunct" Ne. He was nothing more than a mindless, emotionless drone.
As much as he wanted to at times, Naruto didn't have the power or ability to stand up to Danzou or reform Konoha to the changes so desperately needed that the Sandaime was too hesitant to implement and that Danzou was too ambitious and power hungry to let happen.
Naruto took the sealed scroll from his associate, breaking the wax insignia, he slowly unfurled it.
"I know he's a bit... But a traitor?" Naruto asked Sai questioningly.
"I do not know the details, Naruto-kun, I am merely the messenger sent to deliver the scroll," Sai told him. "I was not informed of any supplemental details or the contents of the missive itself."
Yep, a mindless, emotionless drone conditioned to receive and carry out orders without question. Still, Naruto could hardly argue with the results, Sai was far more capable then even some of the more exceptional Chuunin he had met. However, Sai's conditioning left little to no room for instinct or improvision, as every last task was carried out with single minded efficiency.
Almost like an insect drone, with Sai- and those like him- as a hivemind collective with Danzou being the very nerve center of it all, with one person doing the thinking and feeling of dozens, perhaps almost a hundred.
Not for the first time did he mentally thank Sarutobi for saving him from that fate, even if the alternative was his current life.
"Tell Danzou-sama I accept," Naruto informed Sai. The Ne Operative nodded and teleported away.
Despite the slightly sour bitterness the mission left him, he couldn't help but feel excited. It was his first mission. He would finally gain the one thing that set him apart from the others under Danzou's shadowed tutelage.
Naruto knew it was the one area, other than Genjutsu and Chakra Control, which he was sorely lacking. Despite being one of the most capable operatives trained by Danzou and his associates, he had not been set on a single task or mission as many others before him had.
This was mostly on the account that the Sandaime had expressly forbidden it. In return, Danzou had received near complete autonomy over Naruto's training. Because of this, Danzou had never tried to circumvent the Sandaime's order to not give Naruto any supplemental missions. That is, until this very evening. Sarutobi had expressly forbidden Danzou from doing anything of the sort until Naruto had become an official Konoha shinobi, and while Naruto hadn't received the final test from his sensei as of yet, he was still a Konoha Genin. Even if whatever team he was placed on didn't pass, Naruto was positive Danzou would push for his ascension to the rank of Genin.
He was too valuable a weapon after all.
Naruto spent the rest of the afternoon waiting for his impending mission, letting his mind wander time and again. He watched disdainfully as families across Konoha celebrated their child's ascended status to Shinobi (or Kunoichi).
He couldn't help but scoff at them.
None of them realized the full weight of their coming destinies as of yet. It hadn't quite set in yet that those... Children... could not possibly remain the sheltered, innocent kids they had been these last couple years, under the protective nurturing care of their parents. It would be understandable of the families with no prior shinobi lineage, or even ones that had a single, non-clan, shinobi parent, but the others had no excuse.
Inuzuka Kiba was a prime example. For all his talk, he was far from ready to see actual combat and his clan had done little to prepare him from the dangers of the outside world. He was loud, brash, and exceedingly over-confident. Hopefully, if he was lucky, we wouldn't get one of his teammates killed.
Of all of his classmates, Naruto was sure that the Nara and Aburame Heirs were the most ready for the coming experiences of Shinobi life.
While he was lazy, Shikamaru was far, FAR more intelligent than he let on. Naruto was pretty sure that the Nara was even smarter than him and was possibly the most intelligent person he knew.
Definitely much smarter than his status as the class dobe let on.
Nara Shikamaru was a fascinating mental challenge to Naruto, as whenever they played strategy games like Shogi and Go, the Nara heir always seemed to be at least 10 moves ahead of him. Though Naruto had little doubt he would be the victor in an actual fight, and that he could easily crush Shikamaru if he decided to go all out from the beginning, he wondered just how long the Nara would be able to last against him- especially if he had been given time to strategize, taking in all factors of his own abilities, those known of his opponents and the landscape.
Nara had the makings of a master strategist in his 12 year old mind and would be an invaluable ally in the future.
The Aburame Heir was the more dangerous of the two. The Aburame Clan, in general, were cold, calculating and level headed at all times seeing everything from the perspective of the hivemind, thinking through things in a detached, clinical, logical manner. They also carried barely any ninja tools, often relying on their bugs and the standard amount of kunai and shuriken. The average Aburame could easily make most of Naruto's attacks useless and Shino was anything but average- no matter what his academy dossier said.
Much like himself and Nara Shikamaru, Aburame Shino hid the majority of his abilities from his classmates. Also like Shikamaru, Shino had potential to be a master tactician, though his overall intelligence was closer to Naruto's own than the Nara's. His practical abilities, however, were definitely superior to his own, possibly rivaling that of the last loyal Uchiha.
His thoughts drifted towards one of the more gifted shinobi of his own generation, Uchiha Sasuke, a boy considered a prodigy in the ninja arts- despite the fact that he far from measured up to his own elder brother Itachi at that same age.
He was the Rookie of the Year of Naruto's class, the last loyal Uchiha to Konoha and the heir to the nearly defunct Uchiha Clan, as well as having the honor of being the current village teen heartthrob. He was also the only other freshly made Genin of Naruto's class not celebrating his recent academy graduation in any way, opting to train well into the night.
In Naruto's mind he also held the distinction of being one of Konoha's biggest failures.
The boy had a single goal. He was driven, ambitious and worked with a single-mindedness that only matched those like Danzou, and in some ways, Naruto himself.
Naruto didn't know all the details, nor did he really care to. It just wasn't important to him.
However, to Naruto, Uchiha Sasuke was a potential threat to his dream, his ambition. The hell he put his body through, the lengths he was willing to go through to achieve the power for his "holy crusade of vengeance", was troublesome. He had little doubt the Uchiha would go to whatever lengths necessary to get the power he needed to achieve his life's ambition. Nothing would stop the Uchiha from his quest at attaining the strength, power and ability to avenge his clan, not even such frivolities like companionship, happiness or loyalty.
Naruto was more than willing to wager that Uchiha Sasuke would even go as far as to betray Konoha if it meant he was even one step closer to his goal. THAT was something Naruto could NOT allow. But so long as Sasuke remained loyal to the village, Naruto didn't particularly care if he achieved his dream of being the one who finally strikes down Uchiha Itachi.
Contrary to the belief of many others, Naruto knew that of all the rookie genin of his class, Uchiha Sasuke was the least combat ready of the whole lot. However, it wasn't a matter of skill or having the right mind set, as the Uchiha was not likely to freeze up at the first sign of combat a genin was likely to face. No, his single minded, lone wolf attitude was just as likely to get his teammates killed, as a person who froze at the first sign of combat.
As long as the Uchiha fought enemies of equal or lower skill and strength than him, he would more than likely easily defeat his opponents, but Naruto doubted the Uchiha would keep his head at the sight of a stronger opponent who was truly serious about either maiming or killing the boy.
Naruto shook himself of his musings. The sun was receding below the horizon signaling the start of not only sunset, but his introductory mission into the Shinobi Force.
If there was one thing that Danzou, and by extension Naruto, hated, it was a traitor.
While Danzou may have wanted the Hokage-ship when the Nidaime handed it to Sarutobi, while he had been furious the Sandaime had been re-instated instead of him being allowed to take up the mantle of Godaime, while he hated what the village had become as it stagnated under the Sandaime's rule, Danzou loved the village.
HIS village. The village he had been born in. The village he would die in. The village he fought for and the village he would eventually rule.
If any one word could be used to describe Danzou in regards to Konoha- Genius, Mad man, Obsessive and many others come to mind, but not ever would you find the words Traitor, Disloyal or the like. If anything, Danzou was zealously loyal to Konoha and his dream to shape the Hidden Village into his own image of it. He would always act in the best interests of the village, at least in his own mind. Whether others agreed with him or not, he did not care as he felt they did not truly understand the difficult choices that had to be made on a day to day basis.
Though he was loathe to admit it, Naruto was more like Danzou than he cared to admit. Despite the village's biased hatred against him, the village was the only home he had ever known and he would fight tooth and nail to protect it from threats, both foreign and domestic.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, Naruto was more like Sarutobi than Danzou liked and eventually their conflicting views on how the village should be developed would eventually come to a head. Naruto would be the irresistible force to Danzou's immovable object with Konoha not only being the prize, but also caught in the crossfire.
Naruto watched as the silhouette of a figure crept into the Hokage Tower. The man had more skill than he, and possibly anyone else, was lead to believe. Clearly either his dossier hadn't been updated in sometime or the man was cleverly concealing the various skills he had acquired over the years.
It didn't matter though. The man would likely be dead soon. It wasn't too long before the man left the Hokage's Tower, with Naruto in silent pursuit.
Not long after that he came to a clearing in the forest. It was then Uzumaki Naruto decided it was time to make his move. Unsealing a single kunai from his wrist, he tossed it at the traitor. It did as intended and diverted the traitor's attention from his chosen path.
"Nice night for a stroll isn't it... Mizuki-Sensei," said Naruto emerging from the shadows.
Mizuki reacted instantly, flinging a barrage of kunai at Naruto. The Magnetic Nin merely kept strolling towards Mizuki casually, the kunai seemingly bending around him.
"How!?" asked a wide-eyed Mizuki.
Naruto chuckled, "I suppose I am far more than I appear."
"What do you mean?"
"You seriously never noticed? The strange things that would happen around me, my special training with Danzou... The fact I still hit my targets, despite your interference during final exams earlier today?" asked Naruto, "Tell me, what did you hope to accomplish by my failure?"
"Even if you are 'special', what I planned before doesn't matter now because you're here," said Mizuki. "I have the perfect cover, once I kill you and hide the scroll, I merely have to tell the ANBU that you stole the Forbidden Scroll of Seals, and I tried to stop you. Even IF the Sandaime and the Elders don't believe me, many others will and there will be nothing they can do about it."
"And the scroll? It would be awfully suspicious if you turned up with a dead body and no evidence to back up your claim," Naruto pointed out.
"Collateral damage from our fight," said Mizuki, "After all, it's not like anyone would look too far into the evidence, who knows what sort of powers you're hiding?"
Naruto narrowed his eyes. "You know something."
"Of course I know something. You'll be hard pressed to find anyone under the age of 18 who didn't know about you and your secret. Information so secret, you aren't supposed to know and anyone even mentioning it can be killed on sight for treason." Mizuki said gleefully.
"Then I will happily be your executioner," said Naruto unsealing another kunai from his right wrist.
"Go ahead, kill me. I won't stop you. But if you kill me, you'll never learn your secret, the secret of why you're so hated. Why Danzou-sama wanted to train you from birth, only to be denied by the Sandaime," taunted Mizuki, "Your secret, along with the law that the Hokage passed on the night of your birth, are both 'S'-Class secrets. Everybody knows, yet no one talks about it in the open. They merely whisper as you walk by, talking to each other in the shadows as you remain oblivious to it all."
Naruto's grip on his kunai tightened, but he made no move. Mizuki smirked; Naruto's hesitation was precisely what he needed.
"It's ironic that the person you respect most is the Yondaime Hokage, for his skills and power as a shinobi," Mizuki continued. "But then it makes sense. After all, he did defeat you."
"What do you mean?" asked Naruto glaringly.
"Not even the Yondaime, the greatest shinobi in history, could kill a being of power incarnate as the Kyuubi no Youko," announced Mizuki, "So at the cost of his own life, he defeated it by sealing it in child form and blocking its' memories!"
"But..." said Naruto reeling.
"YOU are the Kyuubi no Youko!" said Mizuki, "The beast that ravaged half of Fire Country and decimated the village you CLAIM to love. The people hate you because of all the deaths you caused that night. Hundreds were dead or dying when it was all over."
"You're lying!" Naruto shouted, his voice dripping with malice.
"Am I?" asked Mizuki, "Danzou-sama requested from the Sandaime that you be turned over to him, so you could be harnessed as a weapon. You with your infinite power you would have been the Konoha no Tsurugi, the ultimate weapon that would have guaranteed Konoha's supremacy over the other shinobi villages!"
"Sarutobi-sama denied his request, thinking that you could atone for you sins by living as a 'human' child," Mizuki continued, "But then you're powers became more and more uncontrollable and the Sandaime had no choice but to turn you over to Danzou before you destroyed half the village on accident."
'My entire life... Is a lie...' thought Naruto in a daze.
"When this is all over, I'll be hailed as a hero for finally doing what this pathetic village has always wanted to do, but never had the guts to actually pull off," stated Mizuki, "I will dispose of the Kyuubi no Youko once and for all!"
As he shouted the last part, he pulled a giant shuriken from his back and launched it at Naruto. Naruto merely looked up at it with wide eyes, unable to react. He was saved when a kunai intercepted the shuriken and knocked it off its path.
A boy dressed in grey and black with ebony hair emerged from the shadows. His head bore a Konoha hitai-ite and in his arms was a calligraphy brush and a sketch book.
"Who the hell are you?" demanded Mizuki furiously.
"I have no name," said the boy emotionlessly. "I am merely a tool forged to serve Danzou in defense of Konoha. But if you must refer to me by a title, call me 'Sai'. Unlike Naruto-kun, I WAS trained to be a weapon. Nothing more, nothing less."
"Even if you are a part of Ne, you're no match for me!" declared Mizuki.
"Is that so..." said Naruto, his voice dripping with anger. He thrust his arm forward, with two fingers pointing at the traitor. Mizuki's head snapped back and he fell to the ground. He was dead before he even began his descent.
"Sai... Did you know?"
"No. I was merely sent to shadow you in case anything went wrong," Sai told him honestly.
Naruto nodded. "Let's get out of here. No doubt the ANBU have already been dispatched to find the Forbidden Scroll. If even a fraction of what Mizuki said was accurate, I'm the last person who needs to be discovered with that scroll."
Sai carried the Forbidden Scroll while Naruto levitated the body of Mizuki behind them as they made their way to the rendezvous point to meet with Danzou.
The two boys soon came across a forest clearing. Sai immediately bowed to his superior, Naruto, however, did not.
"I am happy to see the mission was a success," said Danzou.
"It was not without complications, Danzou-sama," said Sai evenly.
"Oh?" asked Danzou, as his gaze shifted from Sai to an angry Naruto. "What happened?"
"I want to know EVERYTHING about the Sandaime's law regarding the Kyuubi Incident," demanded Naruto.
"So you know," it was a statement, not a question. Danzou merely met Naruto's stare, his expression a mask of perfect calm. "I thought that might happen, which is why I sent Sai to shadow you, just in case."
"Just in case of what? I decide to set my sights on the village," asked Naruto angrily, "If the Yondaime couldn't kill the Kyuubi before, what makes you think Sai would be strong enough to kill me? Or did you not want to lose your precious WEAPON in case he went into shock in finding out he is a DEMON."
"You are not a demon, Naruto-kun," said Danzou. "You, like all of your classmates, had a mother and a father who were both, in fact, quite human. Do not let Mizuki's words trouble you. Even though I wanted to turn you into the ultimate weapon, never once did I think of you as the bijuu contained within your naval."
"Why wasn't I told? Had I not found out tonight, would you have ever have told me?" asked Naruto.
"Eventually, yes, you would have been told. The fact that you are going to be sent out on regular missions for the village soon demanded as much," Danzou informed him, "However, Sarutobi-dono and myself, as well as Homura and Koharu, have been uncertain as to how to broach the subject. After all, Mizuki revealed your secret, and he ended up with his hitai-ite imbedded into his skull."
That statement deflated much of Naruto's anger.
"You are more than a mere weapon, Naruto-kun," said Danzou, "Sai, is a weapon. A tool, that is effective, yet disposable. You are far more than that. I was not lying when I told you that you would be a god amongst men one day. Your abilities demand nothing less. Think no further on this, Naruto-kun. Rest, you have much to do in the coming days."
"Hai, Danzou-sama," said Naruto as he slightly bowed and left to his apartment. Danzou, meanwhile, dismissed Sai and headed to where he knew the Sandaime was waiting, the Forbidden Scroll of Seals cradled in his arms.
"Sarutobi-dono, I believe you were missing this?" asked Danzou as he strolled onto the grounds of the Hokage Tower. "The traitor has been taken care of."
"Who was it?" asked Sarutobi as he signaled to a nearby ANBU to stand down from the emergency.
"Mizuki." replied Danzou.
"He was such a promising Shinobi," said Sarutobi sadly, "The best in his class, even took Iruka under his wing for a time. I can't imagine why he would betray the village."
"I have evidence that he has ties to Orochimaru," Danzou informed him.
The Sandaime's eyes narrowed. "And why did you not see fit to inform me sooner?"
"It was circumstantial. There was nothing solid to indicate that he was working for your former student," Danzou answered, "However, we had our suspicions. Unfortunately, there was an altercation between Mizuki and the operative I assigned to trail him tonight that resulted in Mizuki's death."
"Who was the operative?" asked Sandaime as he sighed tiredly.
"Uzumaki Naruto," Danzou answered without hesitation.
"Danzou..." Sarutobi threatened.
"He is a Konoha shinobi. Even if his jounin sensei doesn't pass his team, he WILL be one, even if it is through unconventional means." said Danzou, "The boy has too much potential to let go to waste."
"That discussion isn't over. Insubordination aside, how did Naruto take it?" asked the Sandaime concernedly.
'Sentimental fool...' Danzou had to keep himself from rolling his remaining eye. "As well as can be expected, the ramifications haven't hit him as of yet. I have ANBU watching him to make sure nothing happens."
The Sandaime nodded in acknowledgment. "Less than ideal circumstances, but then again, killing, let alone the first one, never is. But I suppose it's a necessary evil at times..."
"He knows." When Danzou said those two words, time seemed to freeze. "Mizuki revealed it to him and tried to take advantage of his shock. It would have worked if I hadn't sent another operative in to help Naruto-kun in the event that such a situation was to take place."
"I suppose I should free up my schedule. No doubt he's going to be demanding some sort of answers tomorrow," said Sandaime.
"Any specific team he's going to be on?" asked Danzou curiously, changing the subject.
"Some, though the teams have yet to be finalized," said Sarutobi. "The Uchiha is going to be placed under Hatake Kakashi, and Yuuhi Kurenai has specifically requested the Hyuuga Heiress to put together a recon team."
"The dobe was the Nara boy, is he going to be placed with the Uchiha?" asked Danzou.
"Probably not, the selection board is pushing for the next Ino-Shika-Chou formation, as it has been a long standing tradition since the founding of the village. Not to mention their abilities perfectly mesh with one another," said Sarutobi, "Well enough that even as fresh Genin, they would be one of the more formidable teams on the active roster."
"We have a promising group of Genin this year," noted Danzou.
"Some of the finest yet," agreed Sarutobi. "Though, Naruto-kun came to me with an odd request..."
"Oh?" responded Danzou.
"Yes, he requested who he'd like to have as his sensei," replied Sarutobi. "Apparently, he got a hold of their dossiers and picked the ones he thought would suit him best." The Sandaime's face then took on a more stern expression, "Had it been anyone else, I'd have had you in irons for treason. Information like that is classified for a reason."
"I'm merely attempting to draw out his potential," said Danzou, "He will be a formidable leader."
"Indeed," conceded Sarutobi though he was still more than a little aggravated with Danzou.
"You coddle the boy too much," said Danzou.
"Is it wrong to want him to have some semblance of a childhood?" asked Sarutobi.
"Ideal, perhaps, but the needs of the village come before all," Danzou replied.
"Even at the cost of a child's sanity?" asked the Sandaime.
"If need be," said Danzou. "It's not like you didn't make that decision once already, forbidding Jiraiya to take him."
"Don't twist my intentions Danzou," Sarutobi warned his old friend. "I merely wanted Naruto to have a normal childhood. Had he been out there, traveling with Jiraiya, it would have only been a matter of time before someone guessed at his heritage and then what? Jiraiya-kun is one of our best shinobi but there is only so much that even he can do."
"Instead you kept him here, where he would only gain the ire of those victimized in the aftermath of the Kyuubi's malicious assault," Danzou shot back. "At least with the pervert, he'd have had companionship. Something he was denied until you finally turned him over to me. And you call my methods inhuman."
"Danzou..." Sandaime warned. They had come to a stop. Danzou smirked in victory.
"By your leave, Sarutobi-sama..." he said with a pleased smirk and quickly bowed, limping his way back to his home.
The Sandaime sighed tiredly. "Bastard..."
The next week went rather quietly. Naruto had taken his photo in the experimental armor he had designed, with help from Sai. It was fitted perfectly to him, and was very heavy and cumbersome. Naruto doubted that he'd be able to move in it without his powers. The purpose of the armor was to help him control his powers while they were constantly in use.
They even had a quick release mechanism should he need the extra boost in physical speed and the small fraction of power that was being used to maintain his freedom of movement.
He looked at the armor on its' stand. It wasn't exactly what he asked for, there were weak points in it and resembled that of a samurai guard found in the Daimyo's Palace. Even the helmet, though he could admit it did have a certain amount of intimidation factor to it.
Donning his basic Shinobi attire, his specially designed wristbands and cloak, he headed off to the academy.
It was a day he had been greatly anticipating.
For many, this would be the day they met the people who would be their guide, their companions, their friends and their family.
For Uzumaki Naruto, they would be his followers, his subjects. They would be the first to either follow or fall, he did not care. For now they were comrades, but someday- sooner rather than later, they would be his subordinates. After all, it was how he was trained.
The only hang up was his Jounin Sensei.
Of all of them, only two he had deemed worthy of his time, and even then because both could give him something. One was an experienced ANBU Captain, one of the best in Konoha's history. The other was a rather green Jounin taking on her first team.
As he made his way to the academy, Naruto noticed the village around him.
The guard was lax, Shinobi were jumping about in their day to day errands and the civilian population didn't seem like they had a care in the world, unless they spotted him. Then they reserved that glare for him. That special one because of their illogical fear of him and what he could do.
If they only knew...
He couldn't help but chuckle at the thought. Something that caused a nearby teenage girl, a year or two older than he, to blush. An interesting action to say the least. Perhaps not all were as close minded as he thought. He smirked at her, causing her to turn away from him in a fit of giggles.
That notion ended almost faster than it began as he passed the bickering Yamanaka Ino and Haruno Sakura.
He couldn't help but scoff at them. Of all of the kunoichi in his class, they were the two he was most disappointed in. They had so much potential, and yet the squandered it over petty feuds and rivalries for one who did not appreciate what little they were sacrificing for him.
Pity, that, so much wasted potential.
Class, if it could be called that, was a boring affair as well. Mostly it was a congregation of students waiting to see where they would go and who they would go with.
He really hoped the Sandaime went with his placement recommendation.
"Alright, quiet down class," said Umino Iruka as he entered the class. The man was one of the few instructors Naruto respected. Though they had probably said all of a dozen words to each other the single time Iruka had taken Naruto out to get some Ramen. "If you will all be seated, I will give you your team assignments."
The resulting few moments were met in anticipation, worry, excitement and no small amount of nervousness. After all, this was the first step towards the future.
"Hatake Kakashi..." at the sound of this, Naruto perked up. Despite the man's habits, he was one of the best and was probably the best suited for Naruto's project. "Will be: Uchiha Sasuke, Yamanaka Ino, and Aburame Shino..."
'Damn...' thought Naruto in mild disappointment and a minor headache. 'Did the Yamanaka and Haruno girls have to shriek at each other like that?'
"Team 8, under Yuuhi Kurenai, will be Hyuuga Hinata, Akimichi Chouji and Uzumaki Naruto," Iruka continued. "Team 9, under..."
Naruto smirked as he tuned out Iruka. He had gotten one of the Jounin he had requested, though he'd have preferred Hatake.
Suddenly, a small entourage of Jounin stepped into the room. Hardly any of them were really anything special. With the exception of Hatake and Yuuhi, the only one truly of mention was Sarutobi and he was currently leading out the Nara, Inuzuka and Haruno kids.
As Kurenai led him, the Hyuuga Heiress and the Akimichi boy, Naruto looked back at the remaining students. Many were already gone or meeting their senseis for the first time. The sole exception was Team 7. Hatake hadn't shown up yet and probably wouldn't for several hours.
Perhaps it wasn't so bad that he wasn't put on that team.
Yuuhi Kurenai was quite nervous as she waited outside with the other prospective Jounin senseis. Not only was it her first time doing this, but she had also been specially requested by one of her students.
While it wasn't unusual for a Jounin instructor to request a certain student (Orochimaru had requested Anko; Tsunade, Shizune; Namikaze Minato, Hatake Kakashi; Maito Gai, Rock Lee; and herself, Hyuuga Hinata) it was unheard of for a student to state a preference for a teacher as very few academy students even knew any jounin- the exception being those from clans, but even then it is unlikely they know any of the current jounin instructors looking to take up a team to guide into the lifestyle of a ninja.
The fact that it was the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki that specifically requested both herself or Sharingan Kakashi was unsettling. Kakashi was more understandable as he was practically a living legend. Kurenai, on the other hand, was a green jounin with hardly any sort of reputation.
Then there was also the fact that Naruto had been training under Danzou since he was seven years old. She admittedly didn't know much about the Sandaime's former rival but the things she had heard from some of the other Jounin left her rather unnerved. Her long time friend Anko had a rather strong dislike for the man.
She couldn't help but smile slightly at the fact that she was more unnerved by who he was trained by rather than what he contained. Then again, Danzou was an unknown entity, while Kurenai had the utmost faith in Minato's seal technique; after all he had surpassed even his sensei, the gallant Jiraiya.
Her long time crush on the man had nothing to do with it.
Kurenai stepped into the room with the other Jounin. Gazing around the room she spotted each of her students. The timid and shy Hyuuga Hinata was easily noticed in her beige parka. She was the only one not making moon eyes at the Uchiha scion or glaring at the Yamanaka Heiress. Akimichi Chouji was also rather easy to spot as he was largest pre-teen in the class.
And then there was Uzumaki Naruto. His shocking blonde hair was rather unique in his class, as were his icy sapphire eyes and whisker marks. He had opted for more traditional shinobi garb unlike most of his classmates; however the metal bracers and shin guards as well as the metallic belt were definitely different, as were the storage seals on the bracers, not to mention his cloak with the silvery lining.
'Interesting... What type of ninja are you Uzumaki?' she thought to herself. Just then, his icy blue eyes met her ruby orbs and she could barely repress the shiver that threatened to run through her body. She knew then she had her answer.
'A dangerous one...'
Naruto glanced around at the comfortable, casual setting of Murasaki's restaurant. Judging by the reactions of the service staff, it appeared that Kurenai was a regular customer here and that they were expected. However, many of the staff's eyes widened in surprise at seeing him with the resident genjutsu mistress. He simply narrowed his eyes slightly and they would quickly look away from the small group as they made their way to their table.
"Would you mind not scaring the staff, Naruto-san," Kurenai casually chided him. Naruto smirked and nodded. "This is my favorite restaurant and I would like to come back."
"But Kurenai-sensei," Naruto replied innocently, "I don't know what you're talking about; I haven't released the slightest bit of killing intent."
"Naruto," said Kurenai in a warning tone as she gave him a stern look, but it was easily noticeable that she too was slightly amused given the look in her eyes.
"Very well," was his simple reply as he let out a small chuckle.
Hyuuga Hinata was looking wide-eyed between their new sensei and the boy she admired. They hadn't known each other but for a few minutes and the repertoire between them was almost as if they had been friends for years. It was almost as if they were friends or comrades, not student and teacher.
Hinata wasn't so sure she could be so bold with their sensei yet and she had known the woman since she had been a simple chuunin escorting her to school each morning. Her admiration of Naruto grew a bit more and also some of her earlier fears about their new sensei were alleviated. Perhaps things wouldn't be so bad and they might help her become stronger.
Hinata gulped. She hoped beyond hope that she didn't disappoint either Kurenai-sensei or Naruto-kun. She wasn't sure she could handle the rejection from them if they saw the same weakness within her that her father did.
Akimichi Chouji was also studying everything that was going on. Sure he wasn't the smartest or most observant shinobi in his class- those titles were reserved for people like Shikamaru, Naruto, Sasuke or Shino. However, one didn't spend any amount of time around Nara Shikamaru, and by extension Uzumaki Naruto, without picking up a thing or two.
Seeing Naruto's interaction with Kurenai-sensei was like seeing a different person. Naruto was usually more reserved in his interactions with people. Other than a select few of the Academy instructors, the only people Naruto often associated himself with were himself, Shikamaru, Shino and maybe one or two others and Chouji knew that if it wasn't for their mutual friendship with Shikamaru that the two boys would never have interacted with one another while at the academy.
It wasn't the fact that neither of them liked the other, just the opposite actually, they were just too different. Chouji was generally a nice, warm, outgoing person. He generally made friends with everyone. Naruto, on the other hand, was cold and reserved and did not approach anyone not in his immediate circle without a purpose. While Chouji was generally approachable and trusting, Naruto seemed to have a thick wall between himself and everyone else- even with those who could say they were closest to him, he was always on guard.
Hinata was not someone Chouji could say he knew anything about. She was always quiet and didn't seem to have very many close friends, though she was polite and nice enough to those she did interact with. She was also a very gentle and soft spoken person and preferred to remain hidden in the background.
Still, there wasn't anything about Hinata that seemed to standout- other than her famed Byakugan, except for two things.
The first was the fact that she never seemed to look twice at Uchiha Sasuke, unlike most of the girls their age. Even his childhood friend Yamanaka Ino, generally a person who was rather demanding and headstrong, turned into a whimpering fangirl begging for even the slightest bit of attention from the last Uchiha. This was odd, because anyone who knew Ino also knew that she never begged for anything, she demanded it and got what she wanted right then or else there would be hell to pay.
The second thing was her reactions to Naruto.
Some in the class were afraid of him; others simply disliked him for some reason or another, though most were indifferent to him. Hinata, on the other hand, seemed nervous around him all the time. Not afraid, simply nervous. Chouji couldn't fathom why and chalked it up to another "girl thing" and left it at that.
His musings finally came to Kurenai-sensei. First thing he thought was that she was probably the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Her ruby red eyes held warmth in them that one rarely saw in a ninja. The second thing was that she was also a rather nice outgoing person.
One of Chouji's worries was that he wouldn't fit in with his team. After all, Shikamaru was probably his one true friend, though he got along with Naruto well enough. Though he was generally nice and friendly with everyone, not many people actually went out of their way to seek his friendship. In fact, the only one who had was Shikamaru. Naruto only associated with him because of Shikamaru and Ino only because their dads (hers, his and Shikamaru's) had all been close friends since they had graduated from the academy.
While he didn't know the others all that well, he knew that despite the fact that he wasn't with Shikamaru, he would be okay and that maybe one day he would form a close friendship with them like his dad had with both Ino and Shikamaru's fathers.
After they all ordered and the drinks were served, Kurenai began the purpose of the meeting.
"It's a long standing tradition that once the Team placements are made that the newly promoted Genin and their Jounin sensei get to know each other," Kurenai informed them getting straight to the point. "This is different for each team, as it is up to the prospective Jounin sensei on how he or she wants to get to know their respective teams."
"Now, since it's only polite to introduce myself first before asking each of you to do the same, I shall start," Kurenai continued. "As Iruka-san told you, my name is Yuuhi Kurenai. I like studying new genjutsu and Murasaki's restaurant- my favorite dish is their onigiri. I dislike those who discount or underestimate kunoichi just because of the fact that they are women and perverts. My dreams are to become the foremost expert in Genjutsu that Konoha has ever seen and to help you succeed in your own endeavors. So, who would like to go next?"
Kurenai gazed at her three students, wondering which one would take the initiative, who would be her team leader. She wasn't surprised at who spoke up.
"My name is Uzumaki Naruto. I like the Sandaime Hokage, miso ramen and improving my abilities," Naruto told them, "I dislike those disloyal to Konoha and those resistant to change. My goal is to become Hokage and bring about an age of enlightenment that has never been seen before."
'Different from what I expected, but it's almost as if he expects a war to happen...' Kurenai mentally noted. She looked to the other two and as she expected the Akimichi Heir was the next to speak up.
"Err... I'm Akimichi Chouji. I like training with my dad, hanging out with Shikamaru and barbeque. I... uh... I dislike those who can't see people for themselves. My dream is to become a great shinobi and make my father proud."
'Just as I expected… Open-minded and easy going with a drive to succeed,' Kurenai appraised the largest of her new prospective charges. She then turned her gaze towards her sole female charge.
Hinata visibly gulped, a heavy blush on her face now that she was the center of attention. She looked down for a bit and then fidgeted with her fingers for a moment. Hinata then took a calming breath before she began her own introduction.
"M-my name is H-Hyuuga Hinata. I… I like cinnamon rolls a-and fl-flower pressing…" she looked as if she wanted to say more than thought better of it. "I… I dislike the Caged Bird Seal that d-divides my clan… My… My d-dream… Is to be someone m-my father and o-others can be proud of…"
Kurenai raised an eyebrow at Hinata's introduction. It was both expected, yet unexpected at the same time. The girl's confidence issues were well known to the Rookie Jounin and she hardly expected the soft spoken girl to condone the practice of the Caged Bird Seal within the Hyuuga Clan. What was unexpected was when she mentioned her dream her eyes for the briefest moment focused on the blonde Jinchuuriki next to her.
'At the very least, she admires the boy,' Kurenai thought to herself. 'Perhaps I can use that to bring out per potential in ways her father couldn't…' Looking over her team once more, her gaze settled once more on Naruto. 'Such an open-minded and accepting team… I doubt they wouldn't accept him once they inevitably find out about his condition. If anything, they are likely to become more loyal to him. But whose intention was that… Sandaime-sama's or Danzou's…'
Kurenai shook herself from her thoughts. She was exceptionally adept at looking 'Underneath the Underneath' as Kakashi put it, but she was sure she was reading too deep into things, though she couldn't help but wonder…
"Very well," Kurenai said with a smile, "Now that introductions have been done, there is only one thing left to inform you of."
Once more she appraised her students. Naruto was calm and impassive, yet attentive. He had a military bearing that rivaled an experienced Chuunin or Jounin and it was hard for even Kurenai to read him. Hinata, as expected, was a fidgeting bundle of nerves. Chouji, on the other hand, was somewhere in between the two- both nervous and attentive. However, he hid his nervousness better than Hinata, however he was merely listening to her and not looking for hidden meanings in her words, gestures and body language like Naruto was no doubt doing.
"Before you can be officially named Genin of Konoha, there is one final test for you to take," Kurenai informed them. Naruto seemed unsurprised by this, though Hinata had become even more visibly nervous and even Chouji was looking a bit more unsettled. "The test you took at the academy last week was merely a tool to see which of the prospective Ninja possessed the potential it takes to become Genin."
"Th-Then K-Kurenai-sensei… What is the nature and p-purpose of this test?" asked Hinata.
"Survival Training to access that you actually possess the skills, not just the potential, to become a full-fledged Ninja," answered Kurenai. "And it is not easy. There is a sixty-six percent failure rate, meaning only a third accessed tomorrow will actually be promoted."
"I see…" said Naruto, obviously thinking things over. "And where shall we be doing this training."
"I have Training Ground Thirteen reserved for tomorrow's assessment," replied Konoha's resident Genjutsu Specialist. "And I would recommend against eating breakfast tomorrow, as you might throw-up."
Only Chouji reacted to the last bit of information with an audible groan.
"Now, if none of you have any questions for me, I will see you all tomorrow at Training Ground Thirteen, at 9 a.m." when none of the spoke up, Kurenai rose from their table and paid the tab before exiting the restaurant, leaving the prospective Genin to their own musings.
"Make sure to eat breakfast tomorrow morning," Naruto's voice cut through the silence.
"B-but Naruto-kun, K-Kurenai-sensei…" Hinata began to protest before being cut off by Naruto.
"Suggested we not eat breakfast. I'm not saying to ignore her warning completely; however, it would be unwise to enter into an unknown situation while being distracted by hunger. This is even truer for Chouji since he's an Akimichi and their clan techniques heavily rely on the calories they consume," Naruto explained. "I don't doubt that the training she has in mind for us tomorrow might be as intense as she says it is, so while I don't recommend not having breakfasted tomorrow, I'm saying make sure you have if you have breakfast tomorrow, make sure it's a light breakfast. Your concentration will remain sharp as it is undistracted by hunger and you will be less likely to throw up if the training is more intense than what you're used to."
After a moment of thinking it over, both Chouji and Hinata agreed with his reasoning. After a few moments of conjecture on what Kurenai's test may or may not consist of, the three Genin went their separate ways to best prepare themselves for the trials that awaited them the following morning.
A/N: As with Ultimate Experiment: Weapon-X there will be a few dossiers for each major character in the story at the end of each chapter.
Name: Uzumaki Naruto
Aliases: Master of Magnetism
Affiliations: Konohagakure, Ne ANBU
Special Abilities: Jinchuuriki, Control over metal/magnetism, Accelerated Healing Factor
Specialties: Magnetic, Raiton and Doton Jutsu, Tactics
Bijuu Status: Sealed, Self-Suppressed (by Kyuubi)
Elemental Affinities: Lightning, Earth, Fire, Metal
Aliases: The Warhawk, Danzou-sama
Affiliations: Konohagakure, Ne ANBU
Rank: ANBU Supreme Commander (ret)/Councilman
Special Abilities: None
Specialties: Tactics, Strategy, Politics, Information Gathering, Assassination, Espionage
Elemental Affinities: Fire, Earth
Name: Sarutobi Hiruzen
Aliases: The Professor, Saru, Sandaime Hokage
Special Abilities: Saru Contract
Specialties: Ninjutsu, Strategy, Politics, Fuinjutsu
Elemental Affinities: Fire, Water, Lightning, Earth, Wind