Shadow and Wind: New legends
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Disclaimer: Everything that isn't Kishimoto's is mine. There's not a lot left, now is there? -_-'
Many thanks to Zanros for Beta-reading.
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50. New Legends: Obsidian
Sakura managed to take Naruto and Shikamaru on a date! Let's hope a certain redhead never hears of this…
Tsunade Senju, one of the Legendary Three Ninja and now Fifth Hokage, was currently glaring at two beat up Chunin. The two teens were the main instigators of what many had called the craziest street fight that year. It was a miracle the property damage was only half of what she had expected.
The two shinobi in question were ignoring her in favor of trying to kill each other with their imaginary Eye Techniques. Seeing that her glare and killing intent had almost no effect on the teens Tsunade sighed and rubbed her forehead. "Anything to say for yourselves?"
Naruto thought about the answer for two seconds before shrugging. "It was fun."
Shikamaru kicked Naruto in the shin. Naruto buckled, evading Tsunade's thrown statuette. The door behind them exploded into splinters. Maybe that wasn't the best way to put it.
"Huh, I meant it was fun at the beginning, I really don't know what came over me, Aunty." He dodged the second projectile. Somewhere in the building, someone screamed. Oh yeah, she didn't like being called Aunty. "Really, it wasn't my fault – Shikamaru messed with my ramen."
The sad thing was the brawl truly did start because of ramen. Naruto was still leading by three points, the score now being 16 – 13. However points now meant nothing as the feud had quickly escalated between the two friends.
After Shikamaru used Sakura against him, Naruto had decided to mess with the Nara deer herd. That particular prank needed days to fix. In retaliation, Shikamaru had written to Naruto's fan club – more than two dozen fangirls had asked the blond out in the matter of days. Naruto had crossed the ultimate line by ratting out one of Shikamaru's hiding spots to his mother, and so Shikamaru had put wasabi in his ramen. Naruto had been pissed. The prank war turned into a fight then and there.
The Hokage looked at Shikamaru with a raised eyebrow. "Apparently spiking his ramen is a really bad idea," was his only answer.
The Hokage smiled ominously. "So, you want to play games with me, huh?" Naruto and Shikamaru exchanged an uncertain glance. "Well I'll play games with you. But right now I want you two out of my sight for the next week, so here's your next mission. Dismissed."
The duo left the building and took a look at the scroll, their animosity somehow forgotten. They had received a guarding assignment out one of the Fire Country outposts. In fact, it was the same one they had visited while they had fled Akatsuki.
Naruto had been jubilant. "Awesome! Training, Training, Training! Don't forget to bring your books on Fuinjutsu, Shikamaru!"
"Naruto we'll be keeping watch," his friend reminded.
"Come on! My clones can do that. Anyway since I can't find the old pervert, you'll be helping me start on Sealing Techniques." Shikamaru gave him a look. "I know you're training with something dangerous. But this takes priority, you know. Other missions are too hectic for training."
Shikamaru sighed. "Fine. We still have to keep watch though. Anyway, how do you want to do this?"
They settled on good rotation, and went home to prepare for an extended routine mission – for Team Oblivion, that is.
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Danzo Shimura slowly walked toward his destination. Aided by his cane, with a bandaged arm and face, he was still one of the most feared and respected shinobi in Konoha, never mind his position as an elder. So when he simply entered the Hokage's office, not even the ANBU tried to stop him.
Tsunade was in the middle of looking for her stashed bottle of liquor when she noticed him. She visibly relaxed, before her face hardened when she recognized her visitor. Apparently, the Fifth Hokage was more afraid of her assistant then Danzo.
The old man greeted his leader with a bow. "Tsunade, it's a pleasure to finally get the time to speak with you,"
"What do you want, Danzo?"
Danzo's grin did not reach his calculating eyes. "Come now. Surely you must have wondered about my support even after your… abysmal behaviour for the past 15 years." Tsunade remained quiet – her eyes were quite eloquent. Danzo went on. "It is simple – to have a strong shadow, one needs a strong light. The reason we were attacked, and that Suna dared to oppose us, was because Sarutobi had become weak. He paid for it with his life. I hope you will not make the same mistakes he did."
His message was perfectly clear. He did not like the Third's methods.
"That is something we both agree on," said Tsunade. It was a thing to be said when none of the Third's pupils had a great opinion of his actions. "Though, at least when Sarutobi died, he died fighting. So one has to wonder… where were you during this invasion?"
Danzo's eyes narrowed dangerously. "I was doing what was best for Konoha."
"You mean, waiting to take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately the seeds the Third had sown bore fruit, and with that, you were confined in the shadows once again." The old War Hawk became downright menacing, but so did Tsunade. "Sarutobi might have been weak, Danzo, but he was no fool. He knew about you – and your friends. Maybe he also thought that shadows were a necessity. Right now I'm far from impressed. You might think you're untouchable because of your support, but I don't have this sentimental love for the village my mentor had. I still remember that Dan died because of people like you. So please, make a move – it'll be my pleasure to uproot you and even half the village if I have to."
Danzo blinked. "Interesting – I seemed to have underestimated you, Lady Hokage. I will endeavour to not do so in the future. After all, we have a shared interest in the future of Konoha. Let us work together then."
With that the Old War Hawk exited the office under the watchful eye of the Hokage. On his way to the exit he was assaulted by a focused killing intent. He faced the one responsible and stifled a sigh. "Such raw animosity, so much power and charisma – it is a true shame you refused the position of Hokage, Jiraiya."
"Danzo." The Sannin looked angry. "I don't know what you're planning, if but harm comes to but one hair of Naruto… Root or not, Konoha or not, I will come for your head."
Apparently the ANBU weren't the only ones to hear Danzo and Tsunade's little discussion and Jiraiya had clearly understood his little word game.
"I won't let Naruto fall into your hands Danzo. And you know damn well why."
"For once we are in agreement Jiraiya. We both think Naruto has the potential to bring this elusive peace Hirashima sought all this time. The only thing we differ in is in what way he shall bring this peace."
Jiraiya let him go after that. Danzo smiled. For once, it seemed he had the strong light he needed to work in the shadows. Now there was only one thing he needed…
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Naruto and Shikamaru were working on their own devices. Naruto had his clones reading up on sealing theory and perfecting his penmanship, while he was still working out with his two sets of weights. Meanwhile Shikamaru was meditating when he wasn't working on a fire Jutsu – nothing too extravagant, nothing they hadn't worked on before. This mission was rapidly turning out to be boring so Naruto went to fetch Shikamaru.
Unfortunately for his friend, Naruto wasn't taking no for an answer. He ended up dragging Shikamaru out of his 'meditation' and into the field right next to the outpost. A moment later the spar started in earnest, but neither was serious. Naruto dodged a swipe from Shikamaru's kunai and backed away.
"Ready for round two?"
As Naruto dashed forward, Shikamaru started his Shadow Sewing Technique. Naruto stopped just in time – instead an intruder crashed right in front of them. Shikamaru's Shadow wrapped around the shinobi only for the intruder to melt into a dark liquid. The duo exchanged a glance before Naruto's head snapped to the right where the forest began. Not losing a second the two Chunin launched in pursuit. Naruto made sure to leave some clones behind, just in case.
Further ahead Shikamaru heard the sound of struggling – apparently, their little spy had finally succumbed to Naruto's numbers. They arrived at the foot of a rather large oak tree. There, pinned under four clones was the young man they had seen earlier.
The teen looked their age. The distinct thing about him was his smile. No way that smile was natural – even Gaara's psycho smile was better than that. "Nice job, Dickless. I didn't think you and your Asshole lover would be able to detect me, let alone capture me."
Naruto and Shikamaru were too surprised to react immediately. When they finally registered the insults the two reacted differently. Shikamaru muttered about people's unhealthy obsession with his sexual orientation. Naruto was outraged. "What the hell is your problem, man? Who the hell would go call people names like that?"
Shikamaru gave Naruto a look before he turned to their captive. "And who might you be?"
"Neither an asshole or dickless."
The Chunin sighed. "Fine – have it your way. All I was asking for was a name, but if you insist." Shikamaru's gaze narrowed. "The lack of symbol on your forehead tells me you're from Konoha. Nobody from another powerful hidden village would bother hiding their allegiance, or send a Chunin solo to observe other Chunin. Minor village wouldn't be stupid enough to even try, so yeah... definitely Konoha.
"There's only two people I know that are interested enough in two budding Chunin to spy on us. The first one never did before and frankly, that isn't his style so I'll assume you were sent by Danzo." Naruto was surprised. The spy hadn't reacted – at all. "So, wouldn't it have been better to simply tell us your name?"
Naruto decided to enter the conversation. "Well, since you suck as a spy, maybe you can serve as a messenger instead. You can deliver a verbal message, can you?" There was a twitch. The blond smiled. He always had a way with people. "I'm sure your boss will appreciate it, what with your fake smile and all. Oh, and try to be more stealthy next time. I mean we knew you were there the moment you started to follow us on the first day – that's plain embarrassing."
Once the message was relayed, the Chunin left. Moments later the clones vanished, leaving the young spy with the humiliating task to report his failure.
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Somewhere in Konoha's underground, Danzo was reading various files on the notable events around the elemental nations. There was a knock in a certain pattern on the door to his office. Exactly four seconds later, the door opened and a young man no older than fifteen entered and kneeled. Danzo frowned. Uzumaki's assignment shouldn't have ended already.
"Report," he ordered.
"They are good." Danzo lowered his report to look at his recruit. "I was not able to observe the extent of their abilities since they knew I was there from the beginning. From what they showed me I could probably take on one of them. However I must assume they were downplaying their strength considering how easily they captured me." Danzo's interest grew. "Nara also deduced your implication. I... betrayed nothing and yet he was confident you had been the one to send me and so they relayed a message - 'Though your help is greatly appreciated, we are fine training on our own. Thank you for your concern.'"
Danzo snorted. "The young Nara came up with that message."
"It is as you say, Lord Danzo."
Danzo paused to collect his thoughts, then his gaze return to the young man in front of him. "Frustrating, isn't it?"
There was a slight moment of hesitation before the boy replied. "It simply means my training isn't up to par."
"Sai, you may think that you are keeping secrets from me, but I know about everything that happens in my base – for example the little sketch book you keep on yourself at all times." The only sign that Sai understood how much trouble he was in was a slight amount of sweat. "Knowing your emotional training ended in failure I could have you re-do it. I could simply have you… disposed of, yet I still kept you. Do you know why?"
Sai answered without hesitation. "Because I am still useful."
"Exactly. Now humor me. I doubt Uzumaki stayed quiet during that conversation – what did he say?" Hearing the answer, the Leader of Root let out a small grin "He is right." He decided "You will serve as liaison between those teens and myself. Dismissed."
The young man bowed and disappeared in a Body Flicker. Danzo turned to his subordinate. "What do you think, Torune?"
"There is a risk Sai will become compromised. His reconditioning isn't perfect and Uzumaki is known to have charisma."
Danzo nodded. "Indeed. It would be disappointing if it weren't so. Let us see if the fish takes the bait."
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"Man that was awesome! Never thought keeping post could be so much fun," chirped Naruto.
Shikamaru sighed. "Only you would think that fun happens when something goes wrong."
Shikamaru and Naruto had just come back in the village looking refreshed for the most part. Besides the odd bandit trying to get into the country, there was a group of rogue nin that tried to take the outpost, probably to use as a undercover route. Luckily few of them were Chunin level in combat. Needless to say Naruto had fun.
After that they had been relieved by Izumo and Kotetsu, The meeting had been interesting to say the least. They went back to Konoha within the day and used the rooftops to get to the Hokage' office, not really eager to interact with the villagers, for Naruto's part, or the other Genin for Shikamaru's. The debriefing was short and sweet, unfortunately, the Hokage wanted to see them.
"Uzumaki, Nara, I think this has been put out long enough. I need a functional team – ASAP."
And by that she meant a team of four? Was that what she meant when she mention forming Team Oblivion? Well that wasn't fair. Kotetsu and Izumo were always a team of two, to be grouped with other shinobi when the mission required it. Why couldn't they have a team like that?
"Well, it's not like this is an easy thing to do," Shikamaru answered in order to stall. "The only other Chunin we know is Uchiha, and Naruto refuses to recruit him."
"You mean I refuse to be recruited." Countered Naruto, before muttering, "Arrogant Bastard…"
Tsunade looked unimpressed. "I don't mind if you seek Genin for your team. As long as you realize you'll be sent on B-Rank to A-Rank missions all the same. If all goes well, they might be promoted early as well." Shikamaru smirked. That made things drastically easy. The Hokage wasn't done however. "You're on a deadline boys. If you don't start soon, I'll be making your team. In fact, I made sure you have the proper… motivation to get it done."
Well that didn't bode well. The Chunin exited the building and headed to Ichiraku's, discussing about the matter on the way there. So far, the only things Team Oblivion knew was they needed two new members, and who they – and by 'they', he meant Naruto – certainly did not want on their team.
"How about Neji?" Shikamaru suggested.
His friend looked skeptical. "Is he still an arrogant jackass?" Shikamaru shook his head. The guy still was arrogant, but not in the way Naruto had meant it. "Nah, I'll pass. I'd rather have Hinata on my team. At least her I know can get along with, plus she has a cool new Gentle Fist Style! Isn't it awesome?"
Ah, well, He could work with that. Hinata was only troublesome around Naruto, and since the two of them would be together all the time, he would probably be left out of it… who was he kidding? The only reason this thing looked the least be interesting would be because he would be able to laugh it off with the last member of their team.
"So, Choji and Hinata?" Shikamaru concluded.
His partner nodded. "…Sounds about right."
They'd probably make a good strike team, and with their abilities, they'd be balanced for other kinds of missions as well. Plus he'd be with Choji. Still, Ino was less troublesome than before, so if Hinata wasn't somehow available he could always count on her as back up.
Choji was already at Ichiraku's, eating his fifth bowl. Naruto greeted their friend and ordered a bowl for himself. Shikamaru thought about doing the same but something was off about Choji. The Nara and Akimichi heirs knew each other like the back of their hands, so he could tell his best friend was doing his best to hide something… but what, and why?
He shrugged it off. He should start by recruiting Choji first.
"Oi, Choji, the Hokage asked us to make Team Oblivion a team of four – you in?"
"Nope, sorry." Naruto and Shikamaru were both badly startled. Seeing their faces, Choji smiled. "Don't be like that Shikamaru. It's nothing you did. I just think Team Ten is good enough for me at the moment."
Shikamaru was clearly upset. "Why? I don't get it! We're great as a team – we have near perfect synergy." Seriously, the three members of Team Ten them had nowhere near the abilities of the other rookie teams in the beginning, but their teamwork was flawless. Asuma had often told them that if any of the teams were closest to be able to effectively get a Jonin serious, it would be them.
"I know, it's just…" Choji looked conflicted. "You wouldn't believe how strong Ino and I became because you weren't there." Shikamaru wilted. Choji frowned. "It's not your fault, Shikamaru!" he yelled vehemently. "You're a great strategist, and the best friend I could ever ask for, but we're too good as a team!" Shikamaru gave his friend an incredulous look but then his face cleared in understanding. This was Kiba and Akamaru all over again. He couldn't believe he didn't see it.
"Because we didn't have full Team Ten most of the time each one of us improved by leaps and bounds." Shikamaru's scowl worsened. He wanted to argue back, but he knew his friend was right. "I'm not saying I don't want to be your teammate Shikamaru," he said to console his friend. "I'm just saying we need to be stronger first."
Shikamaru snorted, dejected. "So you and Ino can get stronger together, but only without me, is that it?"
Choji patted his teammate. "It's not like that. We're just the ones lagging behind. Besides, we're still Team Ten, right?"
Naruto huffed. "Well that's great for Shikamaru, but it's alright for me to be excluded? Some friend you are."
Shikamaru smiled and Choji groaned. "Fine! How about I become an honorary member of Team Oblivion?"
This seemed to soften Naruto a bit. Shikamaru was disappointed, but he understood where his friend came from – the real reason at any rate. "The Chunin exams are coming soon and you're already Chunin material – you just want an easy ride to the Chunin promotion."
Choji choked on his food. Naruto gave the big boned boy a second look, half-amused, half-disappointed. "The Chunin exams are already here?" he asked sneakily.
The boy nodded. No use to try to deny it - Shikamaru had always been able to tell when he was lying. "Yep, since Sakura is the only Genin left in Team Seven, she'll be in our team.
Naruto looked surprised, but then he shrugged. "Then I'm counting on you to take care of her for me, you know?"
Choji put up his thumb. "No problem Naruto."
This was all good and all, but Choji was still hiding something, and Shikamaru had a feeling he wouldn't like it. "So Choji," he prodded, "what's up with you?"
His friend grinned. "Me? I'm just waiting for the show to start."
Shikamaru stiffened. Behind his kind exterior, Choji had a mean sense of humor. This was the reason he had agreed to prank most of the other Rookies. Whatever show he was talking about couldn't be good. Moments later Neji appeared and slammed a poster right between the two Chunin. "Uzumaki, Nara, what's this?"
'This' contained a photo of Naruto and Shikamaru that was clearly bogus – they had never taken a picture together. Under the image in bold letters 'Uzumaki and Nara's Team – Now recruiting!' That… that woman! Naruto was quite more expressive in his language but the sentiment was the same. Their Hokage needed to pay for that, one way or another.
The Hyuga was clearly upset. "Why wasn't I informed of this team?"
"Because we weren't informed of this team?" Yeah, he'd have to remember to apologize to Naruto for even bringing up the Hyuga's name as a potential teammate. The nerve of that guy – thinking he was somehow entitled to… everything, really.
"Aunty sent us away for a week," Naruto added, "and then when we come back she suddenly tells us we're now a team and we need two new members. When do you think we had time to do that?"
Neji relented. "Fine. I want to be part of this team."
"Okay." Not going to happen. "We'll contact you."
Neji actually looked surprised. "…What?"
Naruto decided to intervene. "What, did you think you were the only one to ask? Just now we were interviewing Choji for a spot in the team." Both Naruto and Shikamaru sent Choji a look daring him to say otherwise.
"Yep. They told me the same thing," he said, looking almost scared.
"Nara! You have to pick me, sir! You see, my teammates caught this flu and…"
Oh great, the floodgates had been opened. "Shut it, Matsuda! I'm not going to recruit you."
The older Genin deflated. Neji smirked. He probably thought he had a good chance since he hadn't been flat out rejected. As for Chain-Sickle guy, he hadn't given up yet. "Come on! You told me I improved a lot!"
"Boss! Pick me, pick me!"
Now it was Naruto to groan. "Konohamaru, you're not even a Genin yet! You could get killed in the kind of missions I go through."
"I'd be also interested to join," interrupted Shino.
Shikamaru took a deep breath. "Didn't I tell you to come back when you were a Chunin?"
The Aburame adjusted his glasses. "The situation has changed, don't you think?"
Kiba joined in as well. "Oi, if Shino can, than I definitely can as well! I want a shot at the spot."
"Yosh! Such a splendid—"
"Alright stop!" Apparently, Naruto had drawn the line at Rock Lee, because he looked quite annoyed. He probably wanted this to end before Sasuke dropped in – He'd probably murder someone if that were to happen. "This getting ridiculous, you know?" the little group of candidates quieted down. "You can't expect us to hear out each you at the same time? Just... give us a moment here."
Naruto looked at Shikamaru and he nodded. The two friends grabbed Choji by the collar and withdrew far enough to be covered by the ambient chatter of the civilians, but still in sight of the other boys.
"Hey, my meal is still there!" whined Choji. "Why did you drag me with you guys? I'm not part of the team, remember?"
"Oh, we know," said Naruto with a manic grin. "We also know that you knew about that poster and waited for it to blow up in our faces," Choji looked like the definition of innocence, but they weren't fooled. "So now you're going to help us."
The Akimichi snorted. "Why should I do that?"
Shikamaru decided he should do the threatening, since he was the best friend and all. "Easy, I'm a Chunin, and you're a Genin – if we simply pick you and Ino to be part of Team Oblivion you won't get to refuse." Choji's eyes widened. "Oh, and I'll stop paying for your weekly stop at Yakiniku Q."
The brunet was now in full panic. "N-now, now Shikamaru... no need be drastic here... I'm sure we'll come up a solution."
Naruto patted his friend jovially. "That's the spirit Choji."
In the end they decided to make an application box. Naruto asked Teuchi if he could leave it at his counter since this was the place everyone had sought them out. They decided to stay away from that place for the next day or so for that same reason. On the second day they came in the afternoon to collect the box.
Thankfully the only shinobi around was Hinata. She had a determined look on her face. At first Shikamaru thought it was about Team Oblivion. That would have made things much easier. Unfortunately, Hinata wouldn't have needed to look so serious if that was the case. Shikamaru let out a frustrated sighed.
"Hinata, I think this is a really, really bad idea," He told her upfront, stepping in between her and Naruto.
The Hyuga heir simply looked at Shikamaru. But that stare sent shivers down Naruto's spine – and he was the third party here! The pineapple-haired Chunin briefly wondered if Naruto felt something similar when he faced the Kyubi. Just now he noticed Ayame was hiding behind the counter, shivering. Apparently she had tried to dissuade Hinata as well.
Shikamaru found the whole situation troublesome, but he kind of liked Hinata, because she was the least troublesome woman he knew besides Shizune. The usually lazy Chunin made a supreme effort and tried again to warn her only for her stare to become more threatening. Shikamaru did the sensible thing and gave up. What ever happened next, he had tried.
"Naruto." The blond jumped and faced his sparring partner. She didn't look as murderous now, only determined. "I have something to tell you." Naruto looked nervous, ready for anything. Shikamaru could only imagine his expression when Hinata shyly said, "I… I like you. Please go out with me," while cutely poking her fingers.
In hindsight, Shikamaru should have known things would've turned out this way. Naruto's luck with girls had been too bad lately, and he had to admit the little prank he had pulled with the help of Sakura hadn't helped at all. Hinata must have seen them together, or must have noticed the many confessions Naruto had received in the span of days, and panicked. Still, this was Hinata's fault – he might have said something like taking a page out of the fangirl's handbook, but there was such a thing as timing.
So he didn't blink when Naruto's face turned into one of pure despair, before the blond turned around and left without even replying to Hinata's question – like he had done for Ami and all the other fangirls that had followed.
Hinata remained frozen on the spot. The only sign that told Shikamaru she had registered Naruto's answer – or lack thereof – was the expression of shock on her face. The Chunin shook his head before he pushed Hinata towards the ramen stand and made her sit.
"Take care of her," he said to Ayame. The waitress looked horrified. Well, served her right. She wanted to mettle in his women problems? She'd get to deal with Naruto's as well. As much as he felt bad for Hinata, Shikamaru had a more annoying issue to deal with.
Now they needed two more members for their little team.
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Back at his apartment, Naruto still couldn't believe what had just happened. Many conflicting emotions were going through him, the top two being fear and disappointment. He had trouble accepting that Hinata, his friend and sparring partner, would have turned to be a fangirl. Could she still be a good sparring partner then? Who else could get affected? Sakura would be all right – she was already Sasuke's fangirl after all, but what about the others? What about Ayame?
Shikamaru came to his place later with the perfect way to get his mind of things – The fact they had no one they particularly wanted to recruit. Oh they had lots of people that they didn't want to ask, like Sasuke, self-explanatory – Neji, for similar reasons – Lee, because unfortunately Shikamaru did not need another exuberant idiot to deal with – Hinata, for obvious reasons – Kiba, boring… Matsuda and some other Genin Shikamaru had the fortunate displeasure to meet were also part of the discarded pile for a number of reasons. That being said they were no closer to finding the two people they needed, so Naruto and Shikamaru decided to leave it to fate.
They were about twenty applications left of the hundred or so they had received – most of them Chunin they didn't know, but hey, at least they were Chunin. They spread these on the floor. Naruto took out an armful of kunai threw it up haphazardly – the two of them had decided to chose their members based by the applications pinned by a kunai. Five of them fitted the bill. Shikamaru made a face – he didn't particularly like these five people. On the other hand Naruto had qualms with none of these five people so the final result suited Naruto, whatever it was. Shikamaru on the other hand…
"Well, don't look so sad, Shikamaru" said Naruto with a semi-straight face, "at least you don't have anything against me right? And, they're not idiots."
Shikamaru glared half-heartedly before he sighed. "Man, I almost whished we had let Tsunade deal with this and be done with it."
"Whoa! Don't talk like that, Shikamaru!" That kind of thought worried Naruto. If they weren't careful Tsunade might just grant his friend's wish. "Who knows what kind of twisted things go through Auntie's head? What if she had us teamed up with Yugao, you know?"
Shikamaru shuddered. "Right, this is better than nothing, I guess."
Naruto grinned. "There you go! Now how about we set up a training trip for our new team?"
Shikamaru didn't like the idea, mainly because of the people he'd be stuck with, but he had to admit this as a reasonable course of action. They had to make sure they could rely on these new members if they had to, and more importantly, if they would be part of Team Oblivion. Naruto sent his clones to gather the two applicants while they went to see the Hokage in order to explain the situation.
"So let me get this straight, you want a week in order to get accustomed to the two members you recruited." Naruto and Shikamaru both nodded. After a pause the Hokage shrugged. "I don't see why not. As long as they are in no permanent damage – this isn't the Chunin Exams."
With that permission, Naruto and Shikamaru left to meet the two candidates at the entrance of Training area 44, A-K-A, The Forest of Death. When he actually saw them, Shikamaru face-palmed. Naruto found it hard to blame him from what Naruto had seen and heard – his friend had a few bad experiences with both candidates. Shikamaru couldn't even find the motivation to do this so he let Naruto do the honors.
Naruto beamed at the two before straightening up. "So, Shino, Tenten, any idea why we're here?"
Shino shrugged. "I figured it would be because we chosen to be part of your team."
Tenten looked at Shino before grinning. "So I got picked, uh? Great! I promise you won't regret it, guys!"
No Bastard-like arrogance! This was already a great start. Shikamaru looked far from impressed. "Well, at any rate you guys were our last pick." Naruto winced. The other two frowned hearing that. While it was true that Choji, Ino and Hinata had been their first choices, he didn't have to put it that way. "Anyway, before we begin we felt like we needed to test you guys before officially recruiting you." Seeing them both tense, Shikamaru waved their worried away. "Don't worry. It's nothing hard – just a couple of questions."
Shikamaru asked the first question. "Alright – why do you want to join this team in particular?"
Shino answered first. "Because nothing with Team Eight came close to be as interesting as our mission with Suna." Naruto chuckled while Shikamaru muttered a few curse words. "Nothing came as close to push me to improve either."
Tenten looked at all three boys. "So you guys worked together before." When the gaze of the two Chunin shifted to her she sighed. "I have two reasons. The first one is I want to work in a normal environment for once." The two Chunin exchanged startled looks and even Shino looked at her strangely.
Naruto cocked his head on the side. "I don't know what you heard about us, but our missions rarely end up being normal."
Tenten shock her head. "I didn't mean it like that." She sighed. "Look I spend most of my time with Neji, Lee and Gai." Naruto and the others winced. When she put it that way, it was a miracle Tenten was normal – well, as normal as a kunoichi could be. "It gets tedious sometimes." Naruto and Shikamaru shared a shrug. They really couldn't blame her for that. "The second reason is because I want to become stronger."
The Chunin exchanged a look. Naruto spoke next. "Now for the most important question." There was a tense silence. "Have either of you watched the Super Ninja Mayhem Series?"
Both candidates looked confused. But eventually Tenten answered. "I think I remember watching the first movie a couple of years ago. It wasn't bad."
Shino shrugged. "I tried watching the whole series. The way shinobi do things in these movies is strange. I don't see the use of wasting my time watching those – as entertaining as they are."
The two Genin were quite surprised to see Shikamaru and Naruto ponder on their answers. Personally, Naruto was all for refusing Shino – he had the gall to call the best series ever created useless! At least Tenten said it was good. Shikamaru reminded Naruto of Shino's other remark when Tenten interrupted their dialogue.
"Wait," Tenten said, with a dumbfounded look. "Are you really going to accept us based on whether or not we like a movie series?"
"Yeah," they both replied instantly. In their tone it was the most natural thing in the world.
Tenten was about to open her mouth, and then closed it. Instead she sighed in resignation – good for her. This was their team, his and Shikamaru's. That meant they got to make the rules. And that one was pretty damn important! They were called Team Oblivion! Their motto: kicking ass and taking names! This team basically drowned in the Super Ninja Mayhem Series.
Naruto sighed. "Well, I guess you guys are in – as long as you found the series decent at least, we would have passed you." Shino twitched. Tenten frowned. "Anyway, on to the real reason we're here. Starting tomorrow we'll be spending a week in the Forest of Death." The other shinobi paled – even Shikamaru, the one who had agreed to the idea. Naruto grinned "Oh, don't be like that. It won't be so bad. You have a night to get ready for whatever might be in there."
Tenten perked up. "You mean we get to bring supplies?"
"Sure, why not? This isn't the Chunin Exams after all."
On that note, the four teens left in order to prepare for their little training trip.
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The next day, Team Obsidian – this would be their official name until further notice – met early and entered the Forest of Death through gate 24. They travelled for about an hour, making sure to stay clear of anything that moved and stopped in what looked out to be a safe spot.
"Alright!" started Naruto, "Training week is about to officially begin today. But before that, we have a couple of things that need to be done. Since we're all from different teams, I think introductions are in order." With that said Naruto went first. His intro was pretty much the same it had always been, and so was Shikamaru's. After a moment, Tenten decided to go third.
I'm Tenten, just Tenten. I'm an orphan, so I don't have a family name. I like weapons, training, results and recognition. I hate nonsense, idiots, jerks and green spandex. My hobbies are training, my part-time job at Tetsu's Iron Wares and hanging with my friends. My dream is to one day become as powerful and respected as Lady Tsunade, the Fifth Hokage.
Her declaration was met with two derisive snorts. The kunoichi frowned. "Something wrong with what I said?"
"Naruto shook his head. Good dream – wrong role model." Tenten gave him a look. "Trust me you don't want to take after any of the Sannin. Those three are all messed up." Tenten didn't believe him. "Seriously, Aunty is best of the lot I guess, she's a drunk and a bad gambler. The old pervert is just that, he even writes porn books, you know! And the Snake Bastard has an unhealthy obsession in beautiful young men."
The kunoichi looked at both Chunin in disbelief. "You guys are serious?" when she saw the two remain absolutely serious she shook her head in disappointment.
"No doubt the Fifth Hokage is strong," Shikamaru added. "Apparently the stronger shinobi are the more messed up they become."
Shino went last. "Shino Arabume. I like a few things apart of my bugs, and I dislike spiders in particular. I also dislike being underestimated. My hobbies are taking care of my insects and reading. I'm aiming for a spot in the ANBU division or the Hunter division, since my clan usually make a name for themselves in those areas."
Shikamaru nodded. "I guess that everyone is suitably acquainted – on to the next part." He then pointed at the Genin. "You two are going to have a spar here. You have five minutes to prepare in whatever way you chose. I'll be the referee. You can be as serious as you want. My only rule is no permanent damage."
The spar was interesting. Shino's bug kunai had a hard time getting passed Tenten's projectiles, meaning he had to dodge them. This was much harder than it looked considering Tenten marksmanship. On the other hand Tenten had to fend off the Destruction Bugs once they broke out of their transformation. Her staff made the job possible, but switching from melee to projectile weapons on the fly was slow and tiring. The insect sometimes came from her blind spots making things stressful.
Seeing his long-range tactics had no effect, Shino closed in for a melee-oriented battle – which was technically his forte. Tenten kept her distance, knowing full well the danger of fighting an Aburame at close range. Shikamaru stopped the fight when he sensed that both were about to use their trump card.
The Chunin scratched his head for a moment, wondering how he would break them the news. In the end he decided to be blunt. "You guys aren't bad. From what I can see, you're about to reach Chunin level in terms of battle ability. If this was a normal Chunin team you'd be fine, but at this rate you guys are going to get yourselves killed. You'd have more luck with the Chunin exam coming soon."
Tenten frowned, but Shino, having experienced firsthand what Shikamaru was talking about asked, "You are saying this because your missions got worse?"
Shikamaru snorted. "You have no idea." To illustrate his point he described a bit of their last big mission to the Genin.
Tenten blinked. "You've met all three of the Sannin? And you saw them fight? Together?"
Naruto grinned. "We saw Snake Bastard and the Sage Pervert fight, and then Aunty joined in. It was pretty awesome."
Tenten's mouth moved, but no sound could come out. Finally she said "So… jealous."
"Don't be." Shikamaru shuddered. "It's not like we simply watched the fight. There was Kabuto and that bone guy as well. If Sasuke hadn't been there we would have died. Even then Naruto and I nearly died a couple of times."
Tenten was not convinced. "But this was the Sannin. I don't think you'll have the chance of meeting Orochimaru, or anyone near that power so soon."
For sole answer Shikamaru glared at Naruto, who glared right back. The Nara Chunin noted with interest that Shino was also giving Naruto a skeptic glance.
The blond coughed. "Anyway, this is why we have this training trip," Naruto cut in. "We'll all be off doing our own thing, and we'll meet in five days to start working on teamwork." The Genin looked towards Shikamaru for confirmation only to find that he was gone. The Chunin had taken advantage of Naruto's talk to hide behind some trees. Naruto went on. "If you need help with your training, you can always come to us – if you can find us, that is. See ya!" With that, Naruto turned into smoke, revealing to Shino and Tenten that it was a clone and that they were now alone in the middle of the most dangerous place in Konoha.
Tenten blinked. "They simply ditched us, didn't they?"
Shino looked around. "I think they did."
Shikamaru silently chuckled, before activating his sneaking technique and slipping away.
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Somewhere hidden in the depths of the Rice country, a certain legendary shinobi was starting to feel the effects of the injection his subordinate just administered. The pain he had started to feel two days ago was receding gradually. Once it was gone, the Snake Sannin, tried to perform a simple jutsu. Kabuto was relieved to see that he effortlessly succeeded.
"Well, my dear Kabuto, it seems that you have yet to outlive your usefulness. I must admit that when you proposed to make a serum out the Senju cells you collected from Tsunade I was thinking you were simply trying to buy time."
The medic allowed himself a small smile. "Well, in a way, it is mostly as you say, Lord Orochimaru. This serum will not fully cure you. What it will do is keep the healing effect of Lady Tsunade's jutsu from fading, as it would have. You and Kimimaro will have to inject this serum every three days, but since I was able to have the cells reproduce, this won't be a problem. I once again congratulate you on your convalescence, my lord."
Orochimaru chuckled. "Why thank you Kabuto. I am quite happy I haven't killed you after failing me time and time again." Kabuto flinched. "The way you underestimated my old teammate Tsunade, and then the brat Uzumaki has cost me dearly, but you've more than made up for it, especially with the information you've gathered. Now what about the Sound Four…?"
Kabuto adjusted his glasses. "Jiboro managed to shield the others as much as he could, so naturally he died. Sakon succumbed to his burns and wounds, with Ukon joining him soon after. Kidomaru and Tayuya were the least affected by the attacks and have fully recovered."
Orochimaru chuckled. "Very good. I think it's time for the new members of the Four Sounds to meet." He looked at his second in command. "Kabuto, you will take care of this place while I'm gone – the new Sound Four are under your care. It is time to put my next plan into motion."
His right hand man bowed. "As you wish, Lord Orochimaru."
The Sannin got up to leave but stopped as he walked passed his underling. "Oh, and Kabuto," the tone was casual, yet the room was flooded in killing intent – Kabuto couldn't even breathe. The Sannin grinned. "If you fail this simple task, do not bother showing your face in front of me again."
It took several moments after the man left before Kabuto was able to move.
Team Obsidian?! What about Team Oblivion? And what's this? A storm is brewing…
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A/N: Hey folks, how d'you like this chapter? Things are starting to move along now. I can't wait to see what chemistry will happen between these four. I'm hoping some were surprised. And for those interested, I'm sorry but I won't translate french reviews and/or replies. You can PM if you absolutely need one, or you can use a translator. It's more a problem of space really - sorry about that.
I have nothing else to say, really so I'll leave it at that. Don't forget to review.
Rev: Aya, to be honest I was kind of disappointed in her backstory.
SShun: Because she's not an Uzumaki? Uzumaki survivors have been a bit overdone, don't you think? Besides, he already has canon cousins in the manga.
R_: Oh well guess Aya will just have to force Naruto to make her an Uzumaki through other means (Passes Aya some rope, a sack, a club, and a bowl of ramen a.k.a. Naruto bait)
Aya: *grabs the bag with gleaming eyes**sings* Oh Naruto…!
Naru: That's just mean! I'm going to run away now. *runs*
Shika: Yeah I'm not even going a chance on this one *runs*
R_: Will Shikamaru and Sasuke, or whoever joins Team Oblivion, gain summons like Naruto because to me summons are a big thing
SShun: No. I want each member of Team Oblivion to be unique, so their styles will greatly vary – I hope.
Naru: Better that way
Shika: Less troublesome, too.
R_: When creating Teams I would suggest thinking of a specific type of function for team oblivion.
Naru: It'd better be 'kick ass and take names'!
R_: Personally I would love for the third member to be Hinata…
SShun: Well as you can see unfortunately…
Naru: That was just mean…
Shika: Still, I saw it coming like a mile away.
Aya: Well, at least it's not two kunoichi… *grumbles*
R_: I really hope you have Naruto starts to learn sealing soon […] you can have Business Tycoon Shikamaru return
SShun: Oh he'll return, but not due to Naruto.
Shika: Well, it's nice people recognize my business sense.
Naru: You mean, your lazy bastard sense right?
R_: I was wondering if you were going to be giving Naruto a gift due to the kyuubi?
SShun: If you read the manga he already has one – the stretching limbs. And Bee as his squid ink thing and the tail-clones.
Naru: I don't want to spoil anything, but things between me and Kurama are going to work differently.
R_: I actually think Tsunade training Naruto would be not only interesting but actually suitable.
Naru: Don't count on it! I'm fine training on my own!
Shika: With some help.
SShun: Naruto's is going to have multiple tutors.
R_: Can we see Hinata and some other 'guest stars' in your replies to your reviews (takes Hinata, points her towards you, Shikamaru and Naruto, and has her use the puppy dog eyes)
SShun: Sure why not?
Naru & Shika: *looks at Shun suspiciously*
SShun: Just remember puppy dog eyes don't work on me.
R_: Is Aya going to be a Yaoi fan girl?
SShun: I dunno, maybe?
Aya: Personnaly I don't mind, since I kinda want a male harem…
Naru & Shika: *shudders*…
Rev: *A wild date-hungry Hinata appears.*
Aya: Aya seethes.
Shika: Shikamaru yawns. Hey, this is kind of fun.
Hina: Not funny.
Naru: …Screw you guys.
Rev: Poor Hinata...she didn't even get her nude dancing in the waterfall scene for Naruto.
Hina: *faints due to embarrassment*
Naru: *faints due to nosebleed*
Aya: *faints due to jealousy*
Shika: …you invited Hinata just for that, didn't you?
Shika: You're evil.