It was times like this that Uzumaki Naruto couldn't help but stop and reminisce about the past. Where the happenings almost brought on a sense of déjà vu, if not for the obvious change in time or sceneries.
"Sensei!" An annoying low voice of a kid who hadn't yet hit puberty assaulted his ears from the headset he was wearing. He may not have been physically helping with the D-ranked missions his Genin team had been taking on, but he did have involvement on the audio level.
"What is it, Inuzuka?" He asked, thoroughly put-out by these damn low-level missions. They were nostalgic, sure. But Naruto had come to hate nostalgia.
"This sucks! I swear, we've rescued the same cat three times!" Naruto sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, had Sakura, Sasuke and he been this whiny their first time through D-ranked missions?
"Suck it up, brat; it's only been a week." At the beginning of these missions, Naruto had dived right in, being completely active and involved in his team. A week later, not so much. The entire three hours his team had been off doing the missions, he had been sitting under a tree, catching up with his favorite manga series, something he hadn't had time to do in months.
"We've caught the cat.' The calmer voice of the male Hyuuga interrupted whatever Yaken had been about to retort.
"Good, I think that's enough for today, meet me in training field seven." With that, Naruto ripped the headset out of his ear, throwing it in the nearest public trashcan and quite content on never seeing it again.
He poofed away to the designated rendezvous, arriving their much quicker than his three students, as the three Genin had to walk. Or run, whatever they preferred, really. Training ground seven had become Team Eight's unofficial territory, that's always where they met and now that Naruto deemed it time, they're unofficial training spot.
The three Genin arrived at the same time, having gone to the mission center to pick up their flimsy reward. "Naruto-sensei, I'm tired of all these D-rank missions! When do we get to be real ninjas?!" Yaken pouted, looking utterly bored.
Naruto grinned, "don't be so impatient, Kayen."
"Yaken!" He barked at his teacher, looking ready to kill. It had been a week and Naruto still didn't seem to have their names down.
'Whatever." He brushed it off, "I have good news, though."
The three Genin visually perked up, looking at Naruto in renewed interest.
"Okay…" Naruto said, looking slightly taken aback by there eager response to the phrase, "not that good of news, we're just gong to add training now."
Their teacher really didn't seem too eager to start their training, but inside he had been ready to kill Tsunade for never giving them even C-ranked missions. Of course, she did have a point. Naruto had no idea how well or even how they fought and sending them into a mission without knowing their strengths and weaknesses was a bad idea. Even if they did have a Jounin to protect them. Naruto's first C-ranked mission turned out to be A-ranked or more, just going to show that you never know what you could encounter. Especially because of Naruto's 'condition'.
The Akatsuki had been quiet for years after Pein and Konan had showed up in Konoha after Naruto. They had almost been successful too; Naruto had spent a week in the Akatsuki layer, waiting for them to get things set up for the Kyuubi extraction.
Who he hadn't expected to be there was Sasuke. Why was he helping his brother's old organization? When Konoha ninjas had attacked their base to free Naruto, Sasuke had actually turned on the organization. However, he hadn't come back to Konoha either.
The students looked joyful. Training was fun, and did not include rescuing cats and weeding gardens.
"That's awesome!" Yaken yelled, his dog yipping along with him. "Can we start now?"
Naruto shook his head, a smile on his lips, "no, we'll start tomorrow, at six AM. Be here." As he disappear, Yaken and Kaname did and out-of-character high-five.
"Finally!" Yaken exclaimed. "Some real ninja things!"
Even Kodachi looked pleased, "We should celebrate. Dango on me?" She asked, jingling her wallet, now full of her rewards from all their missions.
"You got it, Koda-chan!" Yaken yelled, running off towards the nearest dango stand.
Kodachi blushed at the nickname, turning back towards Kaname. "Are you coming, Kaname-kun?" She asked politely, waiting for him.
Kaname nodded with a smile, the two trailing slowly behind the hyper Inuzuka.
At precisely oh-six-hundred hours the next morning, Uzumaki Naruto rose from his bed with a loud yawn and a stretch, feeling his back crack multiple times. He glanced at the clock nonchalantly, not even taking notice of the late time.
Getting up and grabbing a quick shower, he was out his door with cup ramen only thirty minutes later, dressed in his traditional clothes, his Jounin armor hidden underneath them.
Walking along lazily, he made it to the seventh training grounds, now working on his second cup of ramen that he had hid in a seal to keep hot.
"Hi, guys." He answered, seeing three tired and grumpy faces as he arrived. "I woke up a little late."
The three Genin glared at him.
"Don't worry; you're only forty-five minutes late." Yaken and his dog growled at the same time, and Naruto's face turned to a sheepish one.
"Yeah, sorry, I wasn't about to rush this morning. Being stressed in the morning will cause me to be stressed all day." He said with a simple shrug. "Besides, who wants to train so early, anyway?"
"We do." All three students answered at once, still glaring at their teacher.
"The past is the past." He said with a smile. "Now, Yaky and Kamene, you spar first, Kodachi, you can spar the winner. I wanna assess how each of you fight, got it?" He said, more than asked, ignoring the two growls at the messed-up names.
"How come you know her name?" Kaname asked him with a stronger glare. I think his Byakugan is activated. Naruto thought, worriedly, feeling slightly violated.
"Because, Hyuuga, it'd be rude to mess up a female's name." He replied, giving Kodachi a foxy grin. Kodachi blushed furiously, turning her face away from the handsome blond in an attempt to hide it.
"Now get to it!" Naruto snapped and the three Genin got to work. Naruto sighed. Now he knew why other Jounin were so reluctant to take on the teams. They were such a responsibility. And as many of his friends and peers could tell you; Naruto was not a man known for his excellent sense of responsibility.
A/N: Yeah, not Beta-d. Still looking for a beta. Still only posting chapters to become eligible to be an official beta, yatta, yatta, yatta, etc..
So… Any comments, questions, concerns? Please direct your cursor to that nice crop box to the bottom left and press 'go!'
Special thanks to Andy… Who told me to write…
Love ya, man.