Title: What could've been
Genre: Action, Romance and a little bit of comedy.
Rated: M for Language, violence, and sexual content.
Disclaimer: All Naruto characters and stuff belongs to Masashi Kishimoto and therefor can only make make believe stories about them and dream about them being real. Sigh.
Authors Note: Many people probably came up with this idea before, so what can I say to them? Great minds think alike I guess, all the situations and other such stuff was completely from my imagination so I hope you enjoy my fabulous story. (Snort, fabulous my hind end!)
Without further ado here you go!
"You called for me Hokage-sama?" Iruka stuck his head through the door to see the Hokage himself standing behind his desk staring out over Konoha. The predawn light casting just enough light to see.
"Ahhh Iruka come in, come in," The old man said turning to greet the academy teacher, he motioned him in with a flick of his wrist. "You're just the man I needed to see."
"What do you mean Hokage-sama?" Iruka asked walking into the room, he was a little curious as to why the Hokage summoned him just an hour before the academy starts.
"Today is the genin team assignments am I correct?" The third asked even though he already knew. He mentioned Iruka to sit down and sat down himself.
"Yes, and I am very confident in the students this year." Iruka replied, happily sitting down. "They display a lot of hidden talent and some have the highest scores we've ever seen."
"That is why I called you here today." The third said, his face going serious. "Due to the events that took place last night..." Iruka flinched, not wanting to remember that particular incident. "And due to Naruto finding out about 'you know who' I have made some changes in the team assignments." he rifled through the stack papers on his desk until he found the one he wanted. "Ahhh here it is, these are the new genin teams, I have already sent the Jounin instructors the revised lists." He held the paper out to Iruka.
When Iruka looked at the changes his eyes widened in shock and his jaw dropped. "Is this a joke? Please tell me I am hallucinating and not seeing what I think I am seeing."
"Yes what you are seeing is right, this is how the teams are going to be now." He looked at Iruka and chuckled when he saw the teacher with his mouth hanging open.
Iruka's jaw moved up and down, trying to form words. He looked like a fish out of water, that fact wasn't lost on the Hokage who was mentally laughing at the poor chunin. When he was finally able to speak and form words into a coherent sentence he looked at the old man with a look of uncertainly. "Are you sure this is wise Hokage-sama?"
"My decision is final," the Hokage said organizing the papers he just messed up looking for that one page. "Who do you ask? Are you questioning my orders?"
"N-n-no sir!" Iruka stammered out, afraid that he had offended the Hokage with his question. "It's just that..." Iruka struggled for a reply.
"Calm down Iuka I was only kidding," The old man laughed at Iruka's obvious distress, his pipe moving up and down. "Now what do you see wrong with the changes?"
"It just doesn't seem logical sir." Iruka said, relieved that he didn't just piss off the strongest man in the leaf village. "And I'm sure a lot of people are going to disapprove of this change."
"Too bad for them because my decision is final." The Hokage said, his face set in grim lines. He knew a certain clan that is going to balk at what is going to happen, but as Hokage he has to do what is good for the village not one clan alone.
Iruka looked up at the clock and was shocked at what time it was. "Um Hokage-sama? The academy starts in about 45 minutes and it takes about 10 minutes to get to the academy. I have to get there early so I can set up for today."
The Hokage nodded and dismissed him, he stood up and bowed before turning to leave. "By the way Iruka how is your back faring today?" He saw Iruka's back stiffen as he froze in mid step.
"Good," Iruka lied, he was confused on how the Hokage knew that his back was bothering him today. "We do have one of the best medical facilities in fire country."
"That's true but you walk as though your back is still in pain," the Hokage said matter of factly. "You may be able to lie to me but your posture says something different."
Iruka bowed his head after being caught in his own lie, he should have known that the Hokage would be able to see something like that. "I'll be ok, trust me it doesn't hurt as much as you think."
"You had a giant shurikan embedded in your back," the old man stared at him suspiciously. "Not even the best healer in the world can fix all the damage you received yesterday, and trust me I trained the best healer in the world."
"I'll be fine," Iruka said. "The pain is bearable and I'll be back to normal in a few days." He flinched when the Hokage stared at him with that all knowing look.
"Very well, off with you before you arrive after your students and we wouldn't want that." The Hokage dismissed him for the second time that morning.
He turned to leave again and proceeded to the door. As he prepared to open the door his hand froze over the door knob. "One more thing Hokage-sama..."
"Yes Iruka?" The third looked back up at the teacher who was still facing the door.
"What about his sensei?" Iruka's shoulders hunched slightly. "Do they believe the same as the rest of the village about Naruto and his 'guest'?"
"Iruka, I know you care deeply for Naruto and I would never put him with someone who would hate him." The third said reassuringly, hopping to comfort Iruka some. "But he also needs a sensei who won't go easy on him and will train him like any other student."
"I know, just the fact that he won't be mistreated is enough to satisfy me." Iruka said quietly and pulled the door open. Even quieter he muttered, "I don't want another 'Mizuki incident' to happen."
As Iruka left the Hokage nodded knowingly, no one wanted a repeat of yesterdays events. He turned and looked at the Hokage Monument the fourths head to be specific.
"What would you do Minato if you found out what was happening to Naruto," he chuckled sadly. "I already know what Kushina would do, Naruto's too much like her for his own good." He smiled sadly as he thought back to the day of Naruto's birth. Only if he was born a day later, this may never of happened.
He sat down and got working on the paperwork for the day, he was expecting someone and knew it wouldn't take long for them to arrive.
Iruka sighed as he stared at the group of youths before him, eagerness literally coming off them in waves. He was tired, his back hurt and all he wanted to do is go to bed, but luck was against him today as he stared at the students before him.
He looked up to see Naruto staring into space with a brooding face, if he didn't know better he'd say Naruto was depressed or something. Iruka turned to pick up the paper off his desk he flinched and hissed a little from pain, he turned to suddenly for his back to be comfortable. Hoping that none of his students noticed, he turned around with no expression on his face. When he turned back he saw Naruto looking more depressed then just minutes before, evidently he still blamed himself for what happened yesterday.
He was surprised though to see more than just Naruto noticing his pain. The Hyuga girl looked at him with slight concern shining in her eyes, Shino's eyebrow was raised and Sasuke suddenly frowned thoughtfully. Kiba whispered something to the puppy on his head and Akamaru wined back, and for the first time this year Shikamaru was awake and staring at him intently. Yes this year of genin is very talented.
"Iruka-sensei?" Shikamaru asked ignoring the commotion around him, everyone was whispering amongst themselves about how it's alive. (Shikamaru is the it) It is the first time that he's been awake and aware this year.
"Yes Shikamaru?" He was really hoping that the boy wouldn't ask what he was sure he was going to ask, but luck was against him today when the lazy boy spoke up again.
"Is your back hurting you today?" The boy asked. "Because it looked as though you were in pain as you turned around." The entire class looked at him expectantly.
"Why yes..." He almost flinched when he saw Naruto flinch. "I slept wrong last night and I am feeling it today, so you don't have anything to worry about." The lie rolled off his tongue easily, and they believed him. The entire class looked dissatisfied that he didn't get it from a mission in which he actually did. They were all hoping it was a super cool mission that they could tell them about. Shikamaru shrugged and laid back down to take another nap. He mentally sighed, lying was an essential thing to ninja's and he learned it at a young age.
"To get back to the topic at hand," He said hoping to distract the little geniuses. "As most of you know today is the genin team assignments day." He sighed again as he saw most of the girls in the class turned to stare at the Uchiha boy with hope shining in their eyes. "And your teams have already been preselected..." As soon as that was said the entire class all booed and his eardrums rang at the shouts. He put his finger in his ear as though it would get rid of the ringing.
"Do you mean we don't get to choose our team mates?!" The blond girl interrupted him, her shrill voice grating on his already painful eardrums.
"No Ino, the teams have been selected according to your strengths and weaknesses." He saw Sasuke smirk at that, he could practically hear the young mans thoughts.
"Iruka-sensei? I have a question." He looked to the pink haired girl who addressed him, she was the smartest girl of her age and if she could ever get over that obsession with Sasuke she could be one of the strongest kunoichi of her time.
"Yes Sakura?" He wasn't surprised when she looked at Sasuke out of the corner of her eye, "What is it you wanted to ask me?" He said snapping her out of her thoughts that was obviously about the Uchiha.
"You said the teams balance the strong and weak, does that mean Naruto might be on my team?" Iruka almost groaned in anguish, not this again. Why do every one of his student have to make fun of the blond boy? "After all he is dead last and I'm one of the smartest, I still don't see how he even became a genin when he couldn't even perform the basic jutsus required by ninja." After her remark everyone laughed at poor Naruto. He looked at the blond to see him unusually quiet, normally he would burst out with a remark but Naruto just sat there seemingly deep in thought.
"Are you done with trying to embarrass me?" Naruto turned to her, his voice was low and sounded distracted. Sakura flushed in embarrassment and sat back down quietly, evidently she thought he would yell and embarrass himself more but she didn't expect him to react the way he did.
To say the least Iruka was shocked, since when did Naruto talked quietly? Evidently he wasn't the only one who noticed because some of the students looked at the blond with a worried expression especially a certain pale eyed girl.
"Moving on," Iruka called attention to himself again, hoping to resolve the issue. "Your teams will consist of 3 members, 2 boys and a girl or 3 boys is the usual in a team. But under certain circumstances there could be 2 girls to a team. But it is very rare, only 1 team was made like that in the last 50 years so don't get your hopes up." He looked at the girls of the Uchiha fan club with a stern look.
"What team was that?" Ino asked, everyone looked at him expectantly.
"Actually it is a team that was formed today in one of the other classes, this is the first one in 50 years and the only reason it happened like that was their unusual abilities meshed and they had too many girls." Iruka said, wondering how they manage to get him off topic.
"Now back to what we gathered here for today," He said loudly gaining everyone's attention. "As I call off your names and the number of your team your jounin instructor will come in and get you."
"Team 7 will consist of Uchiha Sasuke," Sasuke gave an 'Hn' in acknowledgement. "Haruno Sakura," At that she stood up and cheered while Ino seem to deflate. Sasuke just rolled his eyes. "And Inuzuka Kiba." Kiba himself groaned at being put on the team with the Uchiha prodigy and pinky. "Your Jounin instructor has not arrived yet so you are to wait until he comes, His name is Hatake Kakashi and by what I was told he will probably be late."
"Team 8 will consist of Aburame Shino," Shino nodded in affermination. "Hyuga Hinata," The shy girl blushed and nodded. "And Uzamaki Naruto. "Naruto's head perked up at hearing his name, Hinata's face turned bright red and he was sure she would faint, and Shino looked surprised as much as he can look surprised. "And your Jounin instructor will be Yuhi Kurenai..."
30 minutes ago
The Hokage raised his head as someone knocked on his door, he looked at the clock and smiled. Just on time. "Come in." He wasn't surprised when the door opened and Kurenai poked her head in. "Please come in." She walked in closing the door and approached his desk.
"Hokage-sama, do you have a few minutes?" Kurenai stood in front of the desk, nervously shifting her weigh from foot to foot. "There is something I would like to discuss with you dealing with the genin team assignments."
"Ah yes, I've been expecting you Kurenai." He sat the papers down on his desk and rested his hands on top, locking his fingers loosely. "I'm guessing this has to do with Uzamaki Naruto being on your genin team am I correct?"
"Yes actually," Kurenai said obviously surprised that the third knew what she was thinking. "I want to know why you changed them? I think they were much more..." She paused fighting for the word. "Fitting before they were changed."
"I changed them because I saw it fit to. After yesterdays incident, I'm sure you were informed about what happened yesterday am I correct?"
She nodded. "The Kyu... I mean Uzamaki boy stole the scroll because he was tricked by an academy teacher, and in doing so stopped him, but in the process learned about what he is."
"Correct and it will be a very bad idea to put him on team 7 like he was originally planned, him and the Uchiha boy will clash and add in the Haruno girl and it'll blow up in our faces. And besides the Inuzuka kid can have a chance to learn about fighting with dogs in battle with Kakashi due to his summons."
"So, why did you put him on my team?" Kurenai planted her hands on his desk, "Why not switch him with one of the others?"
"As it is common knowledge that the genin teams are assigned due to abilities and their strengths and weaknesses." She nodded again. "The only other team that has any chance of passing other than 7 and 8 is 10 and they are one of the most evened out team. Even their fathers were on the same team, the Ino-Shika-Cho formation. And breaking them up is one of the most stupidest things we could do."
"Then why didn't you just put him on a team that didn't have a chance of passing then? That boy shouldn't be a ninja anyway!" As soon as she said it she knew she made a mistake, the Hokage's face went dead serious and his eye's narrowed to slits.
"I know what the fox has done to this village but Naruto hasn't done anything to anyone and yet you all treat him like a monster." He didn't shout and yet it carried about as much if not more weight. "None of you have ever tried to get to know the boy that protects us from Kyubi everyday, you all just judge him based on your assumptions."
Kurenai lowered her head in shame, it was true that she never tried to see for herself if the boy was good or not, and only acted the way others had acted.
"If you just give him a change you'll learn that he's not a bad kid," The Hokage stood up and turned to look outside again. "Do you know that the fourths dying words were about Naruto?"
Kurenai looked surprised, no one told her that the previous Hokage knew Naruto personally. She was told he took a child from a couple who had just died from the Kyubi's attack.
"He said and I quote, 'Naruto from this day forth is to be known as the Hero of Konoha for he contains within him what would destroy us all, with him just breathing he protects us all from the Kyubi and it's power.'" He turned around to look at the woman again. "And I trust in his ability to seal the demon away so he may not escape."
Kurenai could scarcely breath, no one has told her about that! If she knew that the forth had said something like that she wouldn't even be here right now. How could she doubt the fourth and his abilities to protect the village?
"Just try to understand him, he grew up with a difficult life," The Hokage sat back down with a sigh. "No family, everyone hating him for no reason, he was even kicked out of the orphanage at the age of 6."
'The age of 6!' Kurenai thought, "Are you serious," She was shocked at the cruelty of the village. She might not like the boy but that didn't mean she would be purposefully mean to him.
"Yes, and I found him a couple months after that hiding in a dumpster barely alive, he was starved to the point of death." A look of pure rage descended on his face. "He also had many bruises and broken bones that were obviously caused by blunt objects."
"You don't mean the villagers..." she broke off in mid sentence, not wanting to complete the thought. A look of horror plastered on her face, 'how could they do that to a child!?'
"Yes, they formed mobs to attack the poor boy. The worst days were the anniversary of Kyuubi's attack, Naruto's birthday." A look of pure shock descended her face. "Yes, he didn't even get to celebrate his birthday ever."
Kurenai withdrew from him and sorted her thoughts, was she wrong about the boy? "Sir, I need to get to the academy to pick up my team. I want to think you for seeing me."
"You are dismissed," She bowed than left, the Hokage smiled knowingly. He picked up another paper off the stack of the days paperwork and got to work, he felt that he won't be questioned about the changes by Kurenai anymore.
"And your Jounin instructor will be Yuhi Kurenai..." When Iruka was done saying that she walked into the room, upon entering she looked to her new students. When she saw the blond boy she was surprised to see him depressed, all other times she saw him he always had a large mistivious smile plastered on his face.
"Members of team 8 please come with me," after saying that the boy with dark glasses and a high collar stood up accompanied by a very shy girl with dark hair and pale eyes and the blond boy himself. They all walked to the front of the room and waited in front of her expectantly. "This way please." She walked out of the room being fallowed by her genin team.
As they walked down the hallway Kurenai thought of an idea. "Uzamaki," She said sternly, the boy looked at her in confusion. "What's wrong?" She asked without turning around.
"Nothing," he said with a slightly somber tone. Both Hinata and Shino looked at him with worry. "Why do you ask sensei?"
"Well it seems that as the 1 hyperactive blond prankster you're being uncharacteristically silent, what's the deal? And don't say nothing because I know its not nothing."
Naruto sighed in defeat, "I was an idiot and got someone close to me injured, it's all my fault that he's hurt." He felt depression descend upon him once again. "He protected me, and because of that he almost died." He whispered.
"You said he protected you right?" She continued without turning around. "So he is the one who chose to do it, don't blame yourself." She was surprised that he was feeling this much guilt over his sensei getting injured, she never really thought that the Kyubi container could feel. To almost all the ninja in the village he was known as a disrespectful prankster who didn't care who he caught in one of his pranks.
"But if he didn't he wouldn't be hurt now!" Naruto shouted to her stopping in the hallway, Hinata and Shino stood there watching in confusion, unable to do anything.
Kurenai turned to the boy with a stern look on her face, "Don't you get it? He protected you because you are important to him. If you blame yourself for his injury than you completely undermining his sacrifice."
"I don't want anyone to sacrifice themselves for me! I'm not worth it!" Naruto shouted, holding back tears that threatened to spill.
"Quit being stupid, as a human being you deserve it just as much as anyone else." She looked at him, her eyes telling him everything. "Look at it this way, you have someone who cares enough to put his life on the line. If I were you I'd cherish it not feel guilty."
Naruto looked as though some big truth was suddenly reveled to him, and he nodded and smiled that big annoying grin of his. He wiped the tears away that manage to get past his guard.
"Now lets be on our way!" They took off again, Naruto was practically skipping and his poor teammates followed behind, clueless as to what just happened.
As they proceeded to the meeting spot she was surprised to see the 1 hyperactive blond was being calm and not running around like always. When they arrived they all sat down, her three new students sat in front of her.
"Okay, I think the first thing that is to be done is introductions." She looked at the three in front of her. "Now I'll introduce myself and you guys will go next." She waited till they all nodded than proceeded. "My name is Kurenai Yuhi, my likes are training and reading. I dislike smug people and my hobbies include well training and reading. And my goal in life is to become the best genjutsu user in the world."
"So is that all we do Kurenai-sansei?" Naruto spoke up, he evidently expected more than that. "Well that'll be easy to do right?"
"Okay we'll start at the left with Naruto and go right until everyone has had their turn, and don't worry you won't be judged here."
"Okay!" Kurenai was relieved to see Naruto back to his happy self. "My name is Naruto Uzamaki! My likes are ramen and training, I dislike the time it takes to prepare my instant ramen..."
'What's with this kid and ramen? Is that all that he eats?' Kurenai thought hoping here ears will stop ringing. "...and my hobbies include training and trying to beat my record of eaten bowls of ramen in a row! I am currently at 24 bowls! And when I get older I will become the Hokage, so everyone will have to acknowledge and accept me!"
Kurenai was surprised at what he said, if she was in his position she'd hate the entire village. She'd probably try to kill them all if they did to her what they did to him and yet all he wants is acceptance from people who hated him and showed him that they did in every way they could. She looked over to see the young Hyuga staring at him with something akin to hero worship, she sighed this was going to be a long and difficult year.
"Thank you Naruto," She said her finger in her ear hoping to dull some of the noise. "Next up is you," She said pointing to the Hinata, she remembered when Hinata was a young girl so quiet and shy. Before Hinata was sent to the Academy she was trained in the Hyuga dojo and Kurenai was one of the young girls teachers.
Hinata blushed at being acknowledged and when Naruto turned to stare at her expectantly she became even redder, "W-well m-my name is Hinata Hyuga and m-my likes are..." She paused looking at the blond out of the corner of her eye, Kurenai ahhed in her head it looked like the young heiress had a crush. "...m-my little sister Hanabi, a-and cinnamon rolls. I dislike m-mean people, and m-my hobbies include writing a-and drawing. M-my -goal is to be a-able to lead m-my c-clan when I-I'm older." After that being said the girl shrank back into herself and hid as deep in her coat as physically possible.
"Hinata that's really cool!" Naruto said, excited. "You get to lead your clan when you get older?" He was trying get her to speak up, but the poor girl just hid deeper into herself.
"Yes Naruto, Hinata is the heiress to the Hyuga clan, and I am sure she will be a good leader when her time comes." Kurenai said hoping to help Hinata. "Now lets continue, next is you." She pointed to Shino.
"My name is Shino Aburame. I like bugs. I dislike people who squish bugs for fun. My hobbies include discovering new bugs. And in the future I want to discover new breeds of bugs that will help my clan."
"You're kidding me right?" Naruto asked, obviously disbelieving that anyone can be like that. "Is that all you do? I learned more about Hinata than you!"
"Calm down Naruto, he didn't judge you." And she was surprised when he did, she blinked at his sudden silence. "Now I want you all to met me at training ground 14 tomorrow at 6 o'clock in the morning. You still have one more test to go through before you are considered genin..."
She glared at Naruto before he interrupted, who sat back down quietly. "And I'd advise you not to eat anything because you might get sick." She looked at their shocked faces and smiled inwardly. 'Just as Kakashi said they would react, I am glad he talked me into this little test.' "Now you are dismissed! Oh and guys don't be late, or else." And with that she disappeared leaving behind 3 confused genin.