Summary: Sarutobi has an epiphany the day Itachi leaves Konoha. He is busy thinking of who could manage to defeat the crazed owner of the Sharingan. When all of a sudden... It hits him. The last being that could halt shinobi in their tracks? Kyuubi. He felt satisfied, knowing that he could entrust the future Hokage the job of annihilating the most dangerous criminal Konoha has ever seen. He lifts Naruto's file from the Academy Records. He changes them. And by doing so, he creates the strongest user of Genjutsu that Konoha will ever see.
Disclaimer: If I said I owned Naruto, would you believe me? Well, maybe if Sasuke used some of his Mind-Hax on you. I don't own it.
Authors Note: Well, this fic received the most votes in my poll so far. Enough responses will form a fully-fledged fic. I'm keener on the first runner-up in the poll anyway. If you haven't already, please vote on the poll in my profile. Then review my latest creation.
The Third Hokage was an old man. Over the years, he had weakened gradually in physical prowess, but his mental state had hardened into a wisened and intricate trap. Such a brain was beneficial to the Ninja Village known as the Leaf; and it was most definitely beneficial to one: Uzumaki Naruto. The host of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox.
Of course, being a "host" to a demon fox wasn't as pleasant as it sounds. "Host" is a glamorised way of being called a tool. Which is a Ninja's primary job. Naruto's effectiveness as being the warden to the prisoner known as the Nine-Tailed Fox was great. He had been a sharp tool. His effectiveness was so great, in fact that the Third Hokage had thus far not interfered with Naruto's life.
He had let the boy continue to be a bumbling, clumsy mess of a Ninja.
Of course, this was set to change today.
The Third Hokage was currently occupying the space in front of the file cabinet within the Academy. Checking Naruto's records, he could see that the boy held little promise as a Ninja. The little bundle of sun kissed joy was the Dead last of the class by far, showing only grandeur in his Demon-influenced stamina. Of course, the Demon had affected Naruto's control of his chakra. This led the boy to fail at an immense amount tasks within the Academy. But Naruto is never one to help himself. The boy is lazy. He doesn't work.
This would have to change today.
Hours ago, the Hokage had set up the assassination of the entire Uchiha clan. Itachi, the heir to that very clan had delivered in his role as a tool. But now, Itachi was stuck deep within the dastardly deeds of the Akatsuki: A group of Ninja, each at the level of Kage. The Third Hokage, Sarutobi knew he would be pushed to defeat a single one of them at this age, but he would die trying if he had to.
After all, they were targeting that "little bundle of sun kissed joy".
"Neh, Old-man! I'm gonna take the mantle of Hokage. Just you wait!"
Well… Sun kissed joy was being kind to the tenacious and brash Ninja-in-training. But even so, Sarutobi felt that Naruto so-deserved the mantle of Hokage after all of the child's suffering. The boy had been rudely ignored by the village that he had vowed to serve and love, and it was a bitter price to pay for keeping the village safe from a beast such as the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox.
And this… Would change today.
He let his hands trace the page of Naruto's report.
NARUTO UZUMAKI TO BE ENTERED AS A GENIN. CLASSIFIED AS BERSERKER.
A Berserker Ninja? Clever. The Academy Instructors would like it if Naruto was left as a Berserker. After all, they were always the first Ninja to make a mistake. The first Ninja to die, to be left headless in a bloody heap.
The Hokage had other plans. Naruto would use his head. Naruto would think ahead. Naruto would become Hokage.
But how to do this? Sarutobi let his mind wander to tactics and war. Their newest and oldest enemy was Madara Uchiha. The same man that Itachi was currently "serving" under. Sarutobi would do his best to try to bring Itachi back. He would do his best to stop Madara from taking Naruto.
But the Uchiha was another well equipped tool. His Sharingan could create a forceful illusion technique to render the enemy insane. His Sharingan could copy each and every technique. His Sharingan could predict movements. There was also the rumour that the man could become incorporeal at will.
If the Hokage wanted Naruto to be able to protect himself, he needed to be able to do more than physical damage. He needed Naruto to be proficient in illusionary techniques.
His hand traced the page of Naruto's report again. A soft glimmer left his finger as Sarutobi used chakra to move the ink. He gave a satisfied grin. Naruto would hopefully be alright.
NARUTO UZUMAKI TO BE ENTERED AS A GENIN. CLASSIFIED AS ILLUSION SPECIALIST.
And Sarutobi knew just the teacher which Naruto should receive.
"Hmm? There seems to be a change in the Teams. Class, would you wait for a moment? I need to go and see the Hokage." Iruka, the Academy Professor said, amid the din of the classroom. He stood at average height with his brown hair tied back in a ponytail, with a long scar that crept horizontally above his nose.
The resident brainiac Sakura, a pretty pink-haired girl with a penchant for both knowledge and gossip shared a look with her rival, another girl named Ino who matched Sakura in beauty and in skill as a Ninja every step of the way. The bubblegum Ninja-in-training hated this, but gossiped with her peer anyway.
"Did you see Iruka's face? Something bad must have happened to cause an unbalance in the teams!" She said in a voice that managed to carry all around the classroom.
"Ohh. You think so? I wonder what it could be." Ino responded with bewilderment. Her father had told her what to expect of today's event. This wasn't what he had prepared her for.
The class of Ninja were waiting to be assigned their Genin teams. They were a class of thirty, which would be split into ten equal teams of three. These teams would be equal in number, but also power and skill.
"You know what? The only thing I could think of is Naruto's presence today! He didn't pass yesterday's exam after all, and he came in with his forehead protector." Sakura pieced together carefully. She shot Naruto a look of wonder before she glanced back at Ino. "I wonder what the Dead last could do to unbalance a team."
"Maybe he just graduated, but still sucks so much that they need to put him on the team with the strongest two in the class? That could unbalance the teams." Ino sniped with glee. Naruto was the class's punching bag. Rudeness and bullying when related to him were not uncommon. The two tittered for a moment.
"Maybe. But wouldn't that mean he'd be with Sasuke-kun?" Sakura wailed, "If we want to be teamed with Sasuke, we'll have to be teamed with him. Naruto."
"Hm, I wouldn't mind. After all, it's not me that Naruto has an epic crush on." Ino said with the grin of a Cheshire cat.
Sakura slammed her head on the table with a loud 'clunk' in a sulk.
Iruka took two steps at a time as he ran up the circular building known as Hokage Tower. The Hokage's office was, as logically it would be, at the very top.
He rapped on the door with his knuckles urgently, and was given the order to "enter."
He shot into the room like a rocket, before composing himself.
"Hokage-sama, why do you have Naruto on Kurenai Yuuhi's team? You know hers' is a team meant to be for tracking and identification." Iruka interrogated, his mother-hen nature obvious to Sarutobi.
The Third withheld a grin, he was happy that Iruka cared so much for Naruto. "I understand your concern, but there is no mistake. I intend him to be trained by Kurenai. She will be good for him."
"Oh? And the legendary Kakashi Hatake would not be able to teach Naruto to your satisfaction?" Iruka challenged, his expression hardening.
"Iruka? Is this an accusation that I don't want what is best for Naruto?" The Third responded dangerously. "You shouldn't forget your place, Chunin."
"Just because I am of low rank, does not mean that my point is valid, honourable Hokage-sama." Iruka persisted, being sure to show the right amount of respect for a man as feared as the 'God of all Ninja.'
"That is true Iruka. I commend you on your logic." The Hokage said with a nod before resting his chin on his interlocked hands. "I believe that Naruto, while not showing promise in illusions or tracking, would be a perfect illusionary specialist."
"But if he shows no promise…"
"Naruto shows promise in nothing." The Hokage stopped Iruka in his tracks. "He is seemingly capable of using Forbidden techniques to great success. I plan to train him in those arts, and in sealing later on myself."
Iruka nodded dumbly. "So you will be prepping him to become Hokage? Just as Naruto says he wants to be?"
"That is correct. Naruto has endured many hardships, and if he is prepared to work hard I will work him to the bone if I have to. He will become Hokage." Sarutobi trailed off suddenly, remembering another factor of the boy's training. "And if I am to pass away, then I would like for one of my students to continue training him in this manner."
"Is that so?" Iruka stammered, thrown off his balance. 'Naruto is to be trained by the infamous Sasuke Sarutobi and one of the Three Great Ninja?'
"It is so. Now I believe you are required to continue assigning the Teams?" Sarutobi intoned lightly, while handing Iruka a note. The tanned man accepted it with shaking hands.
Iruka had returned to the classroom in moments through the use of a teleportation technique. "Class be quiet." He said loudly in a voice that offered no excuse. The room of children hushed in a moment, and he read the note carefully.
YOU ARE TO TRAIN NARUTO IN BASIC TECHNIQUES THAT HE SHOULD HAVE LEARNT WITHIN THE ACADEMY. YOU WILL BE REMOVED AS THE ACADEMY INSTRUCTOR WHILE YOU DO THIS, AND YOU WILL RECEIVE TRIPLE YOUR SALARY. INFORM BOTH NARUTO AND KURENAI OF THIS. YOU WILL MEET WITH HIM EVERY MORNING BEFORE HIS TEAM MEETING.
Iruka nodded once he had read the note over, and he lifted the Team assignment sheet to eye level.
"I will start with Team One. Naruto Uzumaki, Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha. You will be trained under Illusionary Specialist: Kurenai Yuuhi."
Naruto's soft blue eyes widened. 'I'm with Sakura-chan!'
Sakura's gleeful green eyes widened. 'I'm with Sasuke-kun!'
Sasuke's harsh onyx eyes widened. 'I'm with two losers!'
Iruka stifled a laugh at Sasuke's annoyance, and continued on. "You are to meet Kurenai within ten minutes at the top of the Hokage Monument. Go. She hates tardiness."
Naruto leapt out of his chair with a salute. "We'll seeya later Iruka-sensei! Let's go Sakura-chan, Sasuke!" He sprinted from the room, while the other two in his team gave each other a look of pure annoyance. They trailed out after him at a slower pace, fully aware that it would take only a few minutes to reach the monument.
"Team Two will be Shikamaru Nara, Chouji Akimichi and Ino Yamanaka." The two boys mentioned first grinned at each other, happy with their placement. They had been best friends for years after all. The blond girl on their team however was furious, and already beginning a tirade.
"Iruka-sensei!" The girl screeched, almost foaming at the mouth "how could you put me with the lazy idiot and the fatass?!"
The tanned man felt waves of sympathy for the girl, but put on his stern voice. "Ino, calm down. Apologise to your new teammates as they did not deserve such comments. You three will have to try your best to progress as Ninja."
Ino bowed her head in a moment of shame, and Iruka continued.
"The three of you will be trained under the Ninja technique Specialist: Kakashi Hatake, he will meet you here soon enough." Iruka said, before beginning on the next Team so there was no room for argument. "Team Three will consist of Kiba Inuzuka, Shino Aburame and Hinata Hyuuga. You will be led by the Combat Specialist Gai Maito."
The three ninja mentioned each checked the others' expression curiously, each of them unfamiliar with the other.
"Team Four will be made up of…" Iruka continued on with slightly less enthusiasm. The rest of the teams would never make it to Genin. This much he knew.
Naruto leapt up the rocky terrain of the dirt-path that led up to Hokage Mountain. Upon this mountain, each of the past Hokage had their faces carved into its' jagged surface to gaze upon the village of Konoha forever. Naruto could see a faint figure standing near the edge of the mountain with it's back turned.
"Hey, Kurenai-sensei?!" He called out with gusto, hoping to catch her attention before the intelligent Sakura, and the talented Sasuke. He was sure that his orange coloured clothes would catch her eye first.
The figure turned to face him, and he could tell that it held a grin upon their face. As he approached with his sprint slowing to a steady jog, Naruto recognised the figure as a beautiful woman. She stood before him with superior height, pale skin and ebony hair that was kept at an unruly shoulder length. She appeared to be wearing a dress that was seemingly made up of medical gauze around her chest, which faded into a deep red that matched her blazing crimson eyes.
"You're early, Naruto Uzumaki-kun." She said playfully, humour clear in her voice. "Where are your teammates?"
"They're bringing up the rear, Kurenai-sensei!" The boy said with a salute.
"That's fine. I can feel them approaching at a slow pace. But this gives me a chance to talk to you anyway. I'm glad." She said sincerely, sitting on the mountain's edge. "You painted this very monument a few days ago didn't you?"
"Yup Kurenai-sensei. I decided that the mountain didn't have enough colour! It needed much more!" He said with a happy nod.
"Naruto, you need to understand something." Kurenai said her tone clearly reluctant. "As my pupil, you are not to behave in the manner of an Academy student. You are to act as a Ninja. Do you know the expectations of a Ninja?" She asked him.
"Expectations… of… Ninja… Oh! You mean how Ninja should never shed tears and junk like that?" The boy said distastefully.
"Partly. I mean that you must act professionally and proudly as a Ninja of the Leaf village." She said patiently, "look upon your teammates as examples of this. Behave courteously, kindly and patiently. I will make sure to give you a scroll that details what I mean, but I recognised that writing it down would not be as clear as to verbalise it."
Naruto's eyes showed confusion, but Kurenai paid it no mind. She let him absorb the information and she understood enough to wait in silence. After a minute or so, Naruto seemed to have understood, and he told her as much: "I get it Kurenai-sensei."
"I am glad, Naruto-kun." She said with a nod to him, "ah, your team approaches. Naruto, you should stand and go to meet them. Apologise for racing off without them, and introduce me as Kurenai Yuuhi."
Naruto blinked in bewilderment. "Why should I do that?"
"You should apologise because as a Team you are meant to take assignments such as this: Meeting your teacher; together. You should have all ran here, or all walked." Kurenai chided him lightly. "And you should introduce me, as you are the only person that knows each of us."
Naruto nodded, and he bounced off to speak to his Sakura-chan and Sasuke. Kurenai watched from a distance as Naruto stopped directly in front of the two, and spoke loudly with dreadful motions of his hand. 'No matter, that is what makes Naruto, Naruto. He can behave as he likes socially as long as it does not reflect badly upon the Leaf. He's definitely an intriguing boy.'
Naruto dragged the two over to her by their wrists and Kurenai watched him wearily.
"This is Kurenai-sensei! Kurenai-sensei, meet Sakura-chan and Sasuke!" Naruto spoke grandly, gesturing wildly.
"Pleased to meet you." Kurenai said with an inclination of her head, as the two said the same.
"We all make up Team One!" Naruto yelled, "Yeah!"
Sakura's patience was running short. Sasuke was being rewarded with a headache.
"I must ask you two to apologise to Naruto now that you have arrived, then to apologise to me." Kurenai said politely, taking a seat once more.
"Why should we apologise?" Sasuke asked rebelliously. "We've not done anything wrong yet."
"You both walked without Naruto. While he may have shot off without you, you should have followed him to ensure he arrived with you. I will not speak to you individually, and the sooner you behave as a team, the sooner you can begin to work as a Solo-Ninja." Kurenai said carefully, knowing of Sasuke's short fuse.
"Fine. We apologise." Sasuke said coldly.
"But Kurenai-sensei, only an idiot couldn't have found you here. Why should we have to baby-sit him?" Sakura demanded as Naruto looked slightly crestfallen at the words used.
"Naruto is the Dead last, correct?" Kurenai said with mirth causing Naruto to squint at her in anger. "According to the Academy, he is an idiot." Sakura giggled at this, while Sasuke smirked. "-But the grades from the Academy mean nothing here. I know that you will all work hard, and that one day you could call each other friends and work well together." Naruto smiled slightly, knowing that Kurenai was willing to help him progress to become Hokage.
"Right!" The three children said, determined.
"Oh, Naruto? You have a note tagged to your arm." Kurenai pointed out, seeing a yellow slip of paper pinned to his jumpsuit.
"Ah?" Naruto unfolded said note, and read it before passing it to Kurenai. After it had been read through, she nodded to Naruto and looked upon the three as a whole.
"We are to meet every morning at nine in order to train. We will be training hard in order to progress as both a team and a ninja, while taking low-class missions to earn money. Depending on our progress you will take the Chunin exams within a year. These exams, upon passing, will enable you to take higher ranked missions and expand your horizons as Ninja." Kurenai said with a speech Sakura was sure the woman had practiced.
"Other teams would be doing an initiation exam to make sure they have the potential to be great Ninja. However I can tell you are destined for great things." She smiled at them all again. "We will meet everyday right here. You are dismissed, but I suggest that the three of you go out to eat together and then take part in a training session in order to help your teamwork to grow."
Naruto stood up eagerly at this, and saluted her: "Right, Kurenai-sensei! So would the two of you like to go to Ichiraku's Ramen Shop?"
Sasuke gave the boy a withering look, and then turned away from the group. "I'll pass on the meal. And on the training. It's better to train alone, when you're training to kill." He left the area in a flurry of leaves as Naruto turned to Sakura.
The girl gave him a strained smile, "As Sasuke's not going, it'd be a waste of time. We should all go out together. Maybe tomorrow?"
Naruto forced a smile, disappointed. "Right." The girl left without another word, chasing after Sasuke. Kurenai watched as Naruto's shoulders slumped, and he left to eat alone.
"Naruto, after you've eaten I still suggest that you train. Maybe on your own, or possibly with Iruka, and if you like I could train with you." Kurenai said, with soft eyes. She had seen him grow up alone, she couldn't let this continue.
"Right, Kurenai-sensei! Where could I find you?" He replied with delight, finally granted acknowledgement.
"Here is my address," she said handing him a slip of paper "I trust you won't take long. I will prepare a pack for the two of us to train this evening."
"Thank you Kurenai-sensei!"
'Being with a team like this… Will this really help me to achieve my goal? Will this really help me to kill Itachi?'
"Sasuke-kun!" He heard Sakura's voice from across the clearing. Sasuke turned to face her; with the same withering look he gave Naruto.
"I was wondering if you would get something to eat with me?" The girl stammered nervously with a blush that could only match her hair.
"If you have time for fraternisation, then you have time to practise your Ninja techniques. I won't date a weak girl Sakura; you should know that to recreate the Uchiha clan, I will need a strong woman who can bear my children." Sasuke voiced bitterly, "You are not strong. As Ninja, we need to work hard. If you don't get stronger, you will hold me back. We could all die."
"Then I'll get stronger for you, Sasuke-kun." She replied happily. "You know I would do anything for you."
Sasuke eyed her lightly, and she blushed. "You shouldn't say such things. You never know when someone will take you up on your naive offers."
Sakura nodded, and left him. She left considering a training schedule and what she should train first.
'Maybe I'll take Naruto up on his offer...' She thought playfully, 'I don't think it could hurt. Unless he talks.'
Kurenai sat on a floor cushion in front of her tea-table. She had prepared a third pack as she sensed Sakura moving towards Naruto's chakra signature. The boy had already been progressing towards Kurenai's humble abode, and she had written up the scroll she had promised him.
She glanced at the last line she had written.
WHILE A NINJA SHOULD SHED NO TEARS, THEY ARE NOT TO BEHAVE WITHOUT EMOTION. EMOTIONS CARRY A NINJA'S POWER. PASSION, ANGER AND LOVE CAN BE USED AS A TOOL.
She smiled lightly, and wrote the last phrase she had planned, before embellishing the scroll with her signature.
SERVE, PROTECT AND LOVE YOUR VILLAGE.
She wrapped it with a fine red ribbon, before setting it inside a hard container. She had read how clumsy the boy was, and she planned to carve him into a diamond. He would be hard and durable.
"Kurenai-sensei!" She heard the boy call, knocking on her door like he wanted to punch a hole through it.
"Shut up Naruto! You might embarrass her! Her neighbours can hear you, loudmouth!" Sakura's reprimand rang through her apartment. Kurenai felt herself smile. These kids would be good for her, and there was no doubt that they would go far.