29 days till the chunin exam finals
The sky was the color of his eyes, which were observing his surroundings; there were numerous broken trees and upturned chunks of soil, ah, it seems like this place was a secret training area for the closet pervert. He dug his feet into the soil, which was soft and pliable, not suitable for a typical training area. Eyes closed, he took a deep breath, letting his awareness fall for a few moments; he enjoyed the bird's songs simply for the beauty of the songs, and not the henged ninja, biding his time in the shadows, sharpening his kunai, waiting for the right moment to strike...
Eyes snapped open and frantically tried to sense foreign chakra signatures. Nothing, no one is there. It's ok, force the heart rate down and take deep breaths. That's why he hates being bored. Only in Konoha does his paranoia rise up to the height of the Hokage Mountain if he ever contemplates on life, and friends, and past fights, trivial stuff. Looks around nervously, his paranoia comes at the most random moments, and when it hits, it hurts.
There are ways to prevent this from happening, he needs to be busy, and he can't ever not be. The brain always needs to work on something, looking for something, thinking things through, making strategies and plans, creating scenarios, memorizing scrolls, or else he'll start imaging those mysterious figures in the corners of his sight with red eyes observing him silently… He pivots on his foot and spun around, "Whose there?!" His voice directed towards the shadow of the trees before he could stop himself. Only birds chirping. Damn it, he let it get to him! A hand raked swept across his hair. He refuses to try and stop his panic attacks from getting into him. What if he's hanging out with Team Seven intra-village missions and it comes? He needs to get used to it, and suppress it, he can endure! If he can endure all of life's poisons, he can endure this!
Where the hell was the closet pervert? Yesterday, his sensei took him to a pond near the abandoned Uchiha Clan district so he could practice his once again, horrible chakra control. Stupid Ebisu-sensei had observed him silently for a full five hours, just standing there, face unreadable and his eyes hidden behind his dark glasses, as he failed, again and again to walk on water, before deciding to ask why he hadn't improve his chakra control over the months, which were about as good as a first year academy student's, since he was a genin.
Well fuck you and your god damn mother, Hebi-teme.
That was yesterday, now was today and closet pervert was LATE, which was weird because the guy acted like there was a foot long stick shoved up his ass and that not following The Schedule was blasphemy. He worshipped his timetable and probably has an altar or shrine dedicated to the point of being prompt in his bedroom.
Just how did Konohamaru tolerate his teacher? Oh right, the gaki didn't and showed his impatience by constantly putting poor Ebisu-sensei under the Oiroke no Jutsu. The sense of pride filled him, that's his Konohamaru! Disabling perverted tokubetsu jounins left and right! Heh heh.
He strolled around the area, inspecting the damage done to the air and the little details due to heavy training. How high was the blow? What was the angle the foot was at as it aimed and kicked? How deep did the foot sink in? A fleeting vision came to him of the man jumping into the air and side kicked the tree trunk, sending splinter flying, a really nice combination of technique and power.
He grudgingly admitted that Ebisu had earned some of his respect, after meeting up with that overly confident bastard before he officially became a genin, the tokubetsu jounin had acknowledged his abilities and the fact that he, Naruto Uzumaki, was not a child-eating, blood-lusting, demon. Ebisu even agreed with Kakashi-sensei to train him, and that was shock in itself. He can imagine Kakashi-sensei standing up in the middle of the jounin lounge, lazy eye inspecting all the potential candidates and asking if anyone was willing to take the Uzumaki kid off his hands as he, the famed Copy Ninja, trained the Uchiha prodigy. The rest of the ninjas would cast an uneasy glance between them, either they had their hands full with their own genin to train for the chunin exams or they were reluctant to associate themselves with the jinchuuriki, and would one by one, give their excuses as to why, "I'm sorry, but I'm too busy this month," or "How can you even suggest this horrible idea?" and they can't make it. And then… he imagined Ebisu standing up and pushing his glasses up his nose with his index finger and accepting the challenge, like a hero taking leadership, like a proper shinobi.
Well, maybe his vision of the scenario was way too extreme, he winced, so Kakashi-sensei isn't that horrible, or rude, after all, Sasuke-teme will be facing a killer. He's just really, really, inconsiderate. But Ebisu had guts to take the Konoha demon under his wing. And Ebisu was LATE.
He rubbed a dirty hand over his face, trying to wipe away any signs of weariness from his face when he felt people coming. He scanned the vicinity and saw two figures in the distance, their scent still slightly too faint to be identifiable, and he promptly tensed up, his right foot shifted forward and his left arm coming up to his shoulder, like he was about to scratch an itch when actually, he had some shurikens hidden in his jacket.
Kami, he hadn't had assassins since he was eight when Sadaime-jiji executed (maimed, mutilated) that jounin. But the paranoia was there, and the hostility, the hostility that asphyxiated him. Years and years of hate that he will never get used to had always smothered him. The paranoia was always there, and without his jounin sensei, well, he never feels safe. Outwardly, he scratched his shoulder, inwardly, he was fingering his shurikens.
Never to kill though, that wasn't allowed as said by the precious, wise, and old council; he could only distract and flee, which has worked splendidly. That was the original purpose for the Oiroke no Jutsu, despite how brash and uncouth it can be, it gets its point across and works absolutely splendidly, even managing to temporarily disable some ANBU.
Still, there is always a thought in him that whispered, one day; you will get tortured by them in Konoha and not just left alone (for dead)... When you aren't looking, they will attack and poke holes into you for hours, days on end. You will feel pain beyond your wildest imaginations, and they will love it.
The two figures got closer and closer. He gazed at them and forced down his flight or fight instinct. Friend or Foe? Friend or Foe? Friend or Fo- Oh, it was only Jiji and his temporary sensei. He discretely sniffed the air, tobacco smoke and that soon to become familiar scent of pine. His stance relaxed, his biggest grin was plastered over his face, and arm and hand were waving energetically. He greeted his sensei and looked curiously toward the Hokage, "Sadaime-jiji! Are you finishing up your rounds around the village?"
The old man smiled warmly and waved back, "Naruto-kun, I'm here to observe your training for the chunin exams since Ebisu told me about your problem." Naruto shifted his gaze to the sunglasses wearing man who make an 'hmph' noise and said no more. He gave a foxy grin, so closet pervert was pretty worried about his progress.
"Naruto-kun," He shifted his attention back to his grandfatherly figure, which was smoking on his pipe and mulling over an assessment. "What did Orochimaru specifically do to you?"
Jacket wrapped around his lower hips, he lifted up his black t-shirt, revealing the most intricate seal design ever in all of the five shinobi nations. Even Ebisu-sensei couldn't help but look interested. He watched the Hokage stare at his stomach and shifted his weight nervously, "You can fix it right?" It would be really bad if there was no way, he might have to start from scratch and redevelop his chakra control.
"Ah, a five point seal over the eight point seal." The kage took a deep breath and lifted his right hand; all of his fingers had glowing blue characters on each tip, metal, wood, fire, water and earth, "Gogyo Kaiin!" He yelled as he slammed his hand onto the seal.
His breath escaped him, and he was thrown a couple meters back by the sheer power of the anti-sealing method. He skidded to a stop, jumped back to his feet and assessed the damage. That skin was feeling tender right now, but no matter, it would disappear quickly thanks to the Kitsune's chakra. He closed his eyes and concentrated, yes, his chakra was closer to him now. He heard them two converse, Jiji didn't bother lowering his voice, knowing that he would hear anyways with his sensitive ears, "-Should be fine, though he won't be able to manipulate elemental chakra until a few days after the finals. You can restart his training immediately." The elder man walked away in a flurry of robes after the younger bowed respectfully in thanks.
Unfortunately, nobody ever talked to him about proper respect when he was little. "Arigato Sadaime-jiji!!" He yelled.
After that, chakra exercises were a piece of cake. Walking on water? No sweat. Sparring with Ebisu-sensei on water? Easy. It was only a matter of time before his chakra control was perfected and honed as sharp as an ANBU's katana, or so he hopes, Ebisu upped his training.
27 days till the chunin exam finals
Ebisu's way of teaching was entirely unconventional, he realized. Normal jounins would teach their genin students their own jutsus or the village jutsus and simply leave their legacy, so to speak, to the younger generation. Other genins learned secret jutsus passed down through their family line. What Ebisu did was teach him the special moves for only taijutsus, how to kick and punch properly and gave him hints on how to shift from position to position, "Try and place the foot you're standing to point inwards before you do a back kick for more momentum." It was a 'here-are-the-basics-now-I'm-going-to-step-back-and-watch-you-and-help-you-adjust' type of mentoring. There was no characteristic fighting style like Fuzzy Eyebrow's Strong Fist or the Hyuuga's Jyuuken, which was good, he supposed, because he felt like copying other people's hard work is cheating to a degree.
That's why he disliked Sasuke and his Sharingan that can copy any jutsu that another ninja had worked so hard on creating. A true ninja perfects and masters everything he utilizes at his knowledge, but not the Uchiha. The Sharingan steals techniques and Sasuke seemed to have no problem taking techniques even from his own leaf comrades; Exhibit A would be Sasuke's bastardized version of the Omote Renge called Shishi Rendan. Teme.
Such a way of teaching that Ebisu has had left so many choices to choose from. Every style has the same base, but it was up to him to choose which way to go. The realization of this certain freedom made him grin widely. Try different ways and find one that suits you, not a problem. He kissed the ground after the man did a sweeping kick that caused him to loose his balance. Get back up, dust the legs, what he needs is a strong core and a center balance. That means more pushups and sit-ups at night.
The fight resumed. Teeth clenched, limbs flew. The bandana wearing shinobi was not trying his hardest. They both knew that, as evident by the smirk on his face. He'll just have to try harder. Deciding to try something new, he aimed a flying side-kick toward his sparring partner. He landed a hit, but a second later found himself on his back staring up at the sun. A black figure appeared in his vision and blocked the sun, casting a black shadow, "Your rate of improvement is astounding." The shadow said, a hint of a smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
Blue eyes blinked in surprise. The Closet Pervert never ever compliments his students, as in truly compliments them, according to Konohamaru. Apparently, he believed that being modest, humble, and determined was the way to truly become better and that a big head full of hot air would only impede on one's abilities. He inwardly snorted, he would never become arrogant of his skills, and years of enduring abuse had changed his mindset making conceitedness as impossible as Kakashi burning all his Icha Icha Paradaisu books. No, there was no way he can ever become what Ebisu feared.
A hand grasped his wrist and he was pulled to his feet. Sensei pushed his glasses up his nose, "Unfortunately, you need to use common sense when switching stances and forms. This time, you did not have to worry about over extending or being off balance but thinking ahead of your opponent." His head cocked to his right in thought. What? "Don't jump in the air so high. When you attack, aim and finish quickly. Don't be open to any attack and don't waste energy. I mean, Naruto, that in the air, you stay in the air, unable to dodge an incoming attack automatically like you would on the ground, unless your chakra control is so good that you can walk on wind."
Eyes lit up. "Walk on wind?!! Sugoi… You can do that?!" He yelled out before his teacher whacked him over the head. "Itai!"
"Pay attention." The man continued as if uninterrupted and ignored the grumblings, "You must think ahead, plan different scenarios. If you're opponent attacks on the left side, right side, above, below, behind, where would you go from there? And your mind must make up more scenarios as you fight. This is the basics of ninja tactics, a key to becoming a chunin."
26 days till the chunin exam finals
They were at Ichiraku's Ramen Bar and both were eating a miso ramen bowl. Ebisu had learned, through trial-and-error that long lectures, though intelligent as they were, would never get through his head. Ebisu now had to shorten the speeches and try to make them as interesting as possible, (sometimes, he still won't listen) "Now Naruto," He began, "Besides ninja tactics, there are also strategies."
A pause in mid-chew. "Neh? What's the difference sensei?"
"In my point of view, tactics is thinking a few steps ahead of your opponent while; strategies are your basic goal. How to defeat your opponent? Would you tire him out? Render him unable to fight? Kill him?" Swallow, he put on his horrified face, the one where his eyes go big and his mouth drops to the floor in a comical fashion, "Don't give me that look Naruto, this reality will come to you as you ascend the ninja ranks. Every shinobi and kunoichi has to kill, its part of the job. Back to strategies, there's a certain feeling of satisfaction you get watching your hard work and plans come together to form a cohesive whole."
Wonder if he's a hard work that's satisfying, he absorbed the information and pondered over the geniuses of Konoha and white eyes, and hands that can kill without force. A small tap.
Just a small tap and loads of arrogance.
He noticed his sensei's posture and the way he holds himself, the guy was beyond tired and looked like he was about to drop off his stool in exhaustion from a whole day of sparring with him in non-stop taijutsu, only taking two breaks to talk about the finer points of handseals. He, on the other hand, felt like he had just taken a very long run that left him winded. A wide grin, skilled or not, smart or not, his stamina lasts forever.
Ebisu stepped off the stool and thanked Teuchi and Ayame before turning to him, "We will continue to discuss about ninja strategy tomorrow. Continue tonight on your chakra and physical exercises and study on the hand seals. Practice your hand seals and your chakra manipulation and amount of chakra and show me any promising results. Tomorrow, we'll be taking a break, I'll be bringing along Konohamaru and his friends."
His world seemed brighter. He gets to play with the little brats tomorrow! It was a break from his cycle of training with Ebisu and eating at Ichiraku's which seemed to go non-stop, day after day after day after day. A whoop of happiness, a wave goodbye to his sensei; he jumped from roof to roof towards his apartment.
Konohakagure had big boundaries that can never expand and adjust for the changing times. When the population rose, instead of growing outward, the buildings went up. It was obvious the way some houses and structures, especially in the second market district, looked like a layered cake. Roads were built, destroyed, and rebuilt to try and accommodate the reconstruction of some buildings. It was like a playground for some ninjas like him, leaping from building to building and swinging around some lamp.
Konohakagure can also be likened to a maze, he thought as he landed nimbly onto another roof. The villagers can attest to that, as the village was full of winding paths, some barely letting a man squeeze through, and many dead ends, which he could attest to, as he always managed to bump into them whenever the drunken, raged, citizens decide that they're doing everybody a favor by killing him, usually around the time of his birthday. They were loud and slurring their words of hate as they stumble toward him, always drunk on some alcoholic beverage and their rage. There was nowhere to run, he felt helpless as they fell upon him like vultures tearing at…
No. He shut his eyes. No more bloody memories, he already has enough in his dreams. A sigh and a quick glance around as his right hand rubbed his cheek. Darkness was only interrupted by a couple of streetlamps. There were some ninjas that also decided to take to the roof and some that were walking among the normal people.
Memories of his past rose behind his eyes. He remembered sitting on a roof, a year before he entered the Academy, idly swinging his legs to and fro, examining the little people underneath him, and playing a game where he tries to distinguish the normal people from the professional killers. Later, when he started pranking the dwellers of the village, he realized that he had an above ninety percent accuracy.
He appeared next in front of his window and placed his hand on the right side of the ledge. Looked around again, make sure that there aren't anyone spying on him. A hidden seal, created by glue and salt, gave a soft glow and the window creaked open. He jumped inside and looked around, and smiled. After his idea at a tender age of seven of sealing all his doors shut and putting up reinforcement seals on the ceiling, walls, floor, everything save for a single window, there was no more looting and no more amateur, drunken, assassination attempts.
All of his possessions were in a shabby condition. Eyes scanned the single couch, and the single table, and the single chair, eyes closed, he concentrated his chakra out, "Kai." Still nothing, nothing was out of place, good, and no traps.
He closed his eyes and loosened up. Shoes always come off first, weapons always come off last, but his jacket, along with the hidden shurikens, never leaves his body. Plopped onto his sofa where all the elemental chakra jutsu theory scrolls were, he opened up one on doton techniques and compared it to one on suiton techniques that was on the armrest and the scroll that speculated on the Hyuuga style Jyuuken. An idea had come to him; after all other previous ideas had come to him and failed, while Ebisu-sensei was trying to talk ninja strategy, on a way to beat Neji-teme…
It was simple: tire the Hyuuga out. How to tire him out? Make him waste chakra. He thought it was a good idea, his reserves were limitless. And so far, the only technique he knows that wastes chakra like how Icha Icha Paradaisu was wasting paper was…
He rubbed his eyes, and thought of ways to achieve this idea. His opponent was a revered genius, and most likely his opponent would still probably kick his ass even with the simple strategy. He'd seen the Jyuuken and the stuff it can do to a body with a soft touch, a brush of fingers: blood and pain. He had seen the look on Hinata-chan's face, poor girl; she was trying to hold it in. It's never easy. He can't let Neji-teme touch him; OK, easy to say, how to accomplish that idea?
He'll ponder on that idea later, solutions always come to him when they feel like it, better not to try and force it out. Do the exercises that Ebisu-sensei instructed him to do, and then eat dinner, and then take a quick shower. It'll come to him later when it's not asked to come, it always does.
He places the majority of his confidence on a belief that no matter what shit he goes through, things always fall into place at the end. So far, it has not failed him. So far, it seems like with those two words (so far…) failure of this belief will be inevitable.
Apprehensively, he dug a hand into his jacket pocket, and took out a small ball that was the size of an eyeball; he concentrated his chakra into it, willing thin blanket of illusion to surround the ball, making it glow in the semi-darkness. He stared at the little ball, wondering whether he should grow the ball back into its original size. The ball emits a purple color, the combination of bright blue and evil red. The touch of the cool item to his skin calms him down considerably. Slowly bringing it to his lips, he feels himself drifting to sleep.
He'll continue with his routine after a quick nap.
25 days till the chunin exam finals
He looked down at the young girl staring defiantly up at him. "Hanabi-chan, it's the chunin exams, I won't allow you to be punished by your clan elders. I'm sorry, but you can't spar with me." He ruffled the girl's hair. "Trust me, they will know. They already tolerate the fact that you are with me, better not push it eh?"
Her eyes narrowed, "I want to help!" She declared, hugging his orange jacket in protest which he had lent to her as a makeshift blanket and falling back unto the ground in a 'humph' and a pout. Ah, the joys of being eight years old, innocent, eager.
He chuckled to himself leaned back against the hill. "But Hanabi-chan, if you helped me, then I would never be able to truly convince myself that I've defended your sister."
"Your sense of honor is weird Naruto-kun."
"Nii-san is being weird again Hanabi-chan. Don't worry about it, he always pull though at the end," Sarutobi Konohamaru agreed from his spot to the right of the young Hyuuga, aww, that was such a touching declaration, "Ebisu-sensei told us about the preliminaries." He wrinkled his nose, "Hanabi, your cousin has some sort of big, huge, grudge on your whole clan. I mean, he almost killed Hinata-san if it wasn't for the jounins."
She nodded, "I know." She said solemnly, and turning around to bury her head into the jacket, "Neji-san is angry about this accident where his dad had to be sacrificed for the sake of the clan, I don't know the details, but I think it had something to do with a kumo ninja kidnapping oneesan some years ago." Both he and Konohamaru raised an eyebrow: that would explain some things. "The Hyuuga-clan is well known for their ruthlessness in fight, and I know that the elders will get mad." She pouted again, "But I want to help Naruto-kun." The clan is well known for their stubbornness too, he examined some strands of his yellow hair in boredom. Hand reached over to ruffle her hair again, and she mock glared at him.
He sighed and stretched out his limbs, feeling some pops in his shoulders and scanned the training grounds, spotting Ebisu-sensei helping Moegi and Udon use chakra to walk up a tree, Konohamaru did not join them, having already mastered the technique with his grandpa.
It was just after lunch when the tokubetsu jounin suggested an hour long break for him before they restart their training on Taijutsu. Not being able to learn how to manipulate elemental chakra really blows, he grumbled to himself. All that was left was jutsus that used pure chakra manipulation and Taijutsu, both of which he was severely lacking in, even in the basics. (Ebisu-sensei had taken him aside one day and told him to just forget about genjutsus for now. He confided back to the man that he can control illusions without chakra.)
But it was a resting phase now, and he could now direct his attention to all the stuff most people take for granted. He admired the way the dark shade of blue of the sky contrasted against the different shapes of clouds that were painted across of, all which ranged from pure white to dark gray. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, the air smelled fresh. It felt like a lazy day. Don't think about training for now. Don't think about training for now. Enjoy life. Enjoy life even if you never had much to begin with.
Someone gently shook his shoulder and he startled. He saw sunglasses and with some disbelief, realized that he had taken a small nap. Ebisu looked down on him, "Naruto? Break time's over, let's continue our training shall we?"
If he didn't have a life to begin with, he was building up one now. A warm feeling filled his stomach as he realized that he rather enjoyed his new life, with Konohamaru, and Moegi-chan, and Udon-kun, and Hanabi-chan, and Ebisu-sensei.
22 days till the chunin exam finals
The Sadaime has been a constant in his life, always there whenever he is needed, no matter how high the paperwork load gets. He can't remember a time without Sadaime-jiji comforting him whenever the villagers become… too much. He was there during his time in the orphanage, during his time in the Ninja Academy, during his time as a genin and now there during his time of the chunin exams.
He tries his best to pay back the kindness by helping him with the daily hokage duties, which is what he is doing now while narrating the exchange between Ebisu-sensei and Hanabi-chan.
"And then the closet pervert took her by the back of her shirt and took her to the Hyuuga compound and dropped her there. She got so mad that she activated her Byakugan and the closet pervert had to dodge her when she tried to Jyuuken his ass!" He laughed as he alphabetized some recently created regulations on civilian trade while sitting on a low cabinet behind the official hokage desk, "The Konohamaru corps and I were laughing on the ground."
Hiruzen Sarutobi smiled back as he continued to stamp some bills into law and veto others. "I heard that she has more attention from the clan elders than even her older sister."
He sighed, "That's exactly the problem. She's only eight years old such a cute little kid. You can't force pressure like that onto her."
The office was dark save for the glowing ball of fire the size of a street light in his hand and the desk lamp, and there weren't many noises coming from the sleepy village.
The window showed more and more lights from the different districts of the village. Citizens of Konohakagure were waking up. He always comes here at random days of the week. The sun was peaking over the mountains on the east side of the village, and the sunlight basked the Hokage office in a warm glow.
"She's a candidate for the Hyuuga clan head, Naruto-kun. One would not be wise to anger a very influential clan."
"She's only eight years old!" He repeated heatedly, his voice rising slightly, "Oji-san, she doesn't really care so much about clan politics right now, she's only listening to her father. She wants to jump in puddles and play with kids her age, but she's training in the Jyuuken and…" He stared down toward the papers in his hands, biting his lower lip in agitation. "Hey Sadaime-jiji," A topic change, "I think we should veto this bill on using funds to hire construction companies to fix trade routes." He winced at his mistake. Conversations with experienced people proved to be too troublesome in the world of intrigue. Despite pretending to shift interest onto something more important, the change in subject was simply too quick.
The hokage gave him a knowing look but decided to let it go and pondered the decision. "And why would you think that way?"
Feeling relieved, he stared into the elderly man's eyes and snorted. Figures, that the Sadaime was just testing him on village decisions. "Because we still have a federal debt and are in danger of a trade deficit since the council was wary of Suna and their Kazekage and decided to put a tax on all imports, leading a low…" He struggled for the word, trying to remember the economic terms, "trade all in all. Besides, the construction companies the council hires are all corrupted." It was stupid to repeat something back to the Sadaime who already knew the information from his own squad of village reconnaissance.
The old man raised his eyebrows and took his smoking pipe out of his mouth, "Oh? And how would you know that?" putting emphasis on the 'you'.
A foxy grin stretched across his face as he bent his head down in a stage whisper, using the glow from the fire ball under his chin to create shadows on his face, "I used to roam around when I was little. I'd spy on the citizens and I hear things. I still do sometimes, and things haven't changed much." Don't reveal all your secrets of course, just be vague.
Thee pipe was back into the mouth, and then out again. "So that might explain what you do whenever I'm not checking up on you using my Tomegane no Jutsu and how you managed to prank ANBU so often. You didn't think to tell me this until now because…?" The words trailed away like the small string of smoke that rose to the ceiling. Questioning stare, ah, the stuff that was communicated between them that was not said aloud, it's all political intrigue. He still couldn't get rid of the silly grin plastered on his face.
"It was a hobby," came the reply, accompanied by a nonchalant shrug. It was a hobby that he selfishly kept to himself. He wanted something that was solely his, a secret that he can be proud of. His skill of being unnoticed was one that he cherished greatly, after all, who would suspect? Ha, people underestimate the power of him in orange. "So I was suspecting that since Konoha won't be hurt financially by not hiring that company, why don't we have ninjas do the work? As a D-mission or something, you know, to let them get a feel for the outside of the village. Maybe if you're worried about safety, we can always attach an extra chunin to the mission. The back breaking labor can be punishment for a disobeying chunin or can be a requirement for the chunin. It's also more interesting than chasing Tora the cat and weeding gardens." He thought that his plan would work splendidly.
"Interesting, I shall look into your suggestion." Sarutobi-jiji shook his head and chuckled to himself. Observing the sun, he said, "Naruto, you best be on your way to Ebisu now, your training starts in less than five minutes."
Alarm showed on his face, "Eh? Wah!" Scrambling off from his perch, he went over and dumped three piles of papers onto the front of the desk. "Ok! So this pile is the ones which I've looked over that I suggest you don't accept." He moved his attention from the right pile to the middle, "This pile is the one which I've made tabs at, for further research. And that last pile is full of stupid suggestions that the civilian council members make, I suggest you burn with a small katon jutsu, or turn it into origami."
He stretched his arms a bit and complained, "Jeez, Ebisu-sensei was running me ragged yesterday. He managed to get some weights for my wrists but none for my ankles. And then, he made me spar with him using only Taijutsu. I haven't used Kage Bunshin at all yesterday."
"But you're happy with the new training."
"Uh huh, it just sucks that the only other ninjutsu I can use is the Shunshin, Henge, and Kawarimi," He adjusted his hitai-ate and rushed towards the door. Before exiting he waved, "Bye Oji-san, bye Neko-chan, bye Ushi-kun! Maybe you two can visit me tomorrow!" The two ANBU guards that were hidden in the corners of the office bowed their heads slightly. The hokage waved back cheerfully.
And he was gone.
22 days till the chunin exam finals
Slash marks were decorated all over his body. His jacket resembled a tattered beggar cloak, well; at least his black t-shirt was still in one piece, barely. The glare aimed at Ebisu-teme was murderous. Dumbass, he's milking this for all it's worth.
He watched in smug satisfaction as the katana he threw embed itself into the ground, after missing the man's crotch by two inches. Heh heh.
He walked away. Don't turn around; it'll ruin all the melodrama and his sulky attitude. Feet padded softly over the dirt road that leads to places where people tend to avoid, abandoned housing and the like. He kicked a stone; he really wanted to learn kenjutsu like Neko-chan and Ushi-kun… They were the coolest ANBU members around, because back when he just got kicked out of the orphanage and was living alone in his apartment, the Hokage sent ANBU members to baby-sit him. All of the face-mask people were silent and weren't fun at all and they wouldn't talk to him even if he tried to converse.
All but Neko-chan and Ushi-kun would play with him and cook him food and help him with daily to daily business. They even taught him how to speak and read properly before he entered himself into the Ninja Academy. And sooner or later, the bond strengthened and he felt like he had true elder siblings. They used to teach him stealth techniques that fueled his prankings.
He used to have no idea who they are, and was content at the fact that he called two of his closest precious persons, well, animals. But now, he was sure who they were, well… no, at least he was positive who Ushi-kun was, where at the chunin exam preliminaries, the cough gave it away and the way Ushi-kun, or Gekko Hayate, stared at him a second too long and smiling slightly before explaining to the rest of the chunin hopefuls about the rules of the tournament. Now it was only Neko-chan who remained anonymous.
That's ok though, nothing bad changed between the three of them. Neko-chan just teased her partner for a little while the day after the preliminaries before all three started to play Dai Hin Min. Everybody took it all in stride. Due to habit, he still keeps their animal names, no matter what, Ushi-kun would always be affectionately known as Ushi-kun as Neko-chan would be Neko-chan.
They were his big brother and big sister and when they were off on missions, he would wait by his window every night until they would come to his dwelling late at night; sometime days, or weeks, later, and all of them would just sit on the couch and talk about Ichiraku's, about forests, about weapons. Though those discussions, he figured that they both specialized in kenjutsu, and so he too, really wants to learn how to expertly wield a katana. He only saw the two ANBU train with their swords once a week though, but the beauty of the attacks that they execute against each other- there was rhythm and grace like water ripples. Depending on the type of formations, the two ANBU ninjas can go against each other like berserk animals in total fury or almost like lovers, where the final dance is a slit across the throat.
He kicked another stone on the road, damn it, he was not cut out for it at all, though.
A distant voice grumble, "So you're pathetic at kenjutsu. No need to get so overworked about it. It takes years to master the art," he pivoted on his right foot, recognizing the voice; he grinned when he saw two familiar ninjas on both of his sides. Ushi-kun coughed, "It'll come with time, and you just need to be patient. You're already showing lots of improvement."
"Ushi-kun! Neko-chan! How are you guys doing?" He hugged both of them.
"Naruto-kun." Neko nodded, reaching out to ruffle yellow locks.
The grin got wider, "Come on! I got some really cool scrolls at home that you can probably help me with! I have some chai tea at my house that I bought from this really nice lady two streets over. We can make some!" He tugged on Ushi-kun's arm. "How was your day?" The three companions walked off toward his place. Used to the secrecy of an ANBU's personal life, he kept talking excitedly. "My day was so hard! Ebisu-sensei had me try kenjutsu, and he's trying to teach me certain stances and he keeps lecturing on transitions and relating transitions with water and…" He chattered on, much to the two chuckling ANBU's amusement.
They walked slowly, savoring the sunset, as they moved toward the apartments.
21 days till the chunin exam finals
It was nearing midnight. Two mini fox lanterns were floating above his head, illuminating what he was reading.
Poring over the new scrolls, his eyes devoured everything written down. Fuuinjutsu was a rarely ventured topic studied by ninjas, seals were rarely used during battle and most people didn't feel like slaving over this branch off from normal ninja jutsus which was almost all theoretical to begin with. Most of the time, seals were used in exploding tags, which would mean big explosions, which of course, was always invited in a battle.
That doesn't mean that what he learned he got: sealing scrolls store and set off explosions, all triggered by a chakra spike; sealing scrolls can alter space-time. They are based on all sorts of mathematical equations and theories on hows and what-nots of matrixes. There were weird symbols that had substituted other equations that were in other equations. There were graphs, derivatives, geometries, more graphs, and other calculus stuff that make heads spin. Damn it, he was not making sense of it at all.
It sounds almost like kitsune yokai metaphysical techniques... And to think that Ebisu told him that this was only the basics…
His respect for that Tenten girl on Neji-teme's team grew ten-fold. She should be promoted in rank if mastering sealing scrolls was only what a high chunin, low jounin can accomplish. If only she had fought somebody other than a wind chakra user. Life just wasn't fair sometimes.
At least he was getting used to the idea of kenjutsu. Sure he can do some whacks and slashes but dances? He was trying, honest; he was trying to create his own dances. He can be swift, he can be agile, and he was just starting to be graceful and starting step in beat with the katana. "A katana is an extension of your body, Naruto," he muttered, imitating his sensei's voice, "its imperative that you feel that katana with you, be fluidity, be grace, speed alone is not the answer." Ushi-kun would also try and add in some tid-bits, but he could tell that the ANBU was also very amused by his awkward movements and he was trying to hide his laugh under his coughs. (Neko-chan just wouldn't stop shaking silently, and somehow, that makes him want to yell in irritation.)
Sword dances were a combination of illusions: tricks of the mind, and fluidity, filled with deadly attacks. He looked up from the scrolls that he was staring through. What if he added his fire and wind elements to his dances… He scratched his cheek in thought and shook his head after a minute- no point in getting off task.
Back to reading.
Seals piqued his interest. Having a sealed scroll instead of lugging around camping equipment sounded very nice. He wondered if one can seal, instead of a potential explosion, but a jutsu, into a tag. That'll be awesome, he snickered, think of all the pranks that he can try with the new techniques.
He imagined himself throwing out two mini-tags, and having his enemies duck and dodge, thinking that it's a series of explosions. And then… "Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu! Rai Bunshin no Jutsu!" And watch the magic as water conducts electricity… Pretty.
With a flick of a wrist, he brought a fox lantern in front of him to look more carefully at the seal design. Uzumaki, a spiral, one that spins off into nothing-ness, it was as much practical as it was symbolic. The eyes are automatically drawn toward the center of the spiral, and it's hard to look elsewhere. It is the same for a seal; the spiral is used to trap an object, or a demon per say, into a separate space within the region between chakra and metaphysical realm. For the Yondaime to achieve this… it's incredible.
20 days till the chunin exam finals
It was dark; a young blond boy was tossing and turning on his bed. Whimpers escaped between his lips. He was crying. He dreamed nightmares, of people he didn't know being torn, ripped, and chewed into. Screams were music to the ears, the smell of burnt human flesh made him salivate and he raised his head to howl in triumph. Looking through the eyes of a demon, of a slayer, of a killer, a howl erupted from his chest, along with it was fire that burned the homes ahead of him. A dome building was sitting under a mountain that held four faces of man.
The whole scene seemed like an enticing work of art, truly romantic; he would never get tired of it. Mouth opened, revealing a row of sharp teeth, a long chain of fire was aimed at a large wooden compound. Burn in hell, and smoke rose toward the heavens. He laughed, and hoped that Inari was watching, the fool can't do anything right now as he was doing his duty as fulfilling a summoner's wish. He was going to Konoha to wreak destruction. He was pure chakra and fire. No one can stop a mighty being such as him.
He was Kyuubi.
The dream shifted, the humans under him were people that he, as a person, recognized from the day to day happenings. He saw them everyday, and they watch him now with frightened gazes, with a hint of betrayal. They all scream silently, how can you do this to me?
How? Suck it up; the blood lust is clouding his mind as the voice in his head commands him to kill the pitiful ninjas were trying to stop him, he only viewed them as fleas. Nine tails fanned out behind him, a show that he was at the height of his power, each tail disrupting nature, creating firestorms, creating earthquakes, creating tsunamis. Crush everybody and everything till the village is destroyed leaving only the flattened roads and rubble and enjoy it.
It smells… beautiful.
His soul splits. One is convincing the other half that this was meant to happen, we, he said, are serving the destiny and fate that rule this village. The other is shaking his head, powerless to stop his path of chaos, powerless to stop staring. Eyes glued to the screen, the pictures, sounds, scent, taste, and touch were embedded into his memory.
The right half says, why are you denying your pleasure? Let it go and enjoy: it is what demons do.
The left half denies claims of being a demon. We are human, we do not enjoy murder.
The right half gets angry. I will make sure to kill everyone you care about, he threatens. I will kill, and eat, and drink them in front of you and your open eyes.
The right half screams a scream that shatters glass. Insolence! You will obey me! I am the great Kyuubi, I demand submission! It hurts the ears. His eyes turn from blue to purple to blood red.
And the red eyes are coming to kill…
The realm breaks, and he wakes up in cold sweat. He finds himself in his bed, within tangled covers, breathing heavily, pulse beating madly. He calms himself and reaches over to his nightstand where two bottles stood, one with blue pills and one with white. He pops a bottle and swallows three white pills, no water, and he coughs.
Outside, it's dark as dark can be. He closes his eyes, nobody wakes up. It's so peaceful during the night. Back to sleep, back to the dreams and hopefully, maybe, they'll be better this time around. He can't keep living like this.
18 days till the chunin exam finals
There was a hill. On that hill were three kids. The heir of the Nara clan stared at his opponent. "How the hell…" He heard from his opponent who just sat there, gaping at the play in front of him. A tick mark began to form, "You cheated! How the hell could you do that?" A yell as he pointed toward the boy across from him.
"Naruto-kun," Hanabi piped up from behind him, chin resting on head, "Don't be angry. It's not his fault that you can't play decent shogi."
He ran his hands over his hair and pinched the girl's cheek, "Yeah you little brat? You want to say that again?"
"Mmmph!" She managed to stick out her tongue at him.
Shikamaru closed his eyes and crossed his arms, "Mendokuse," He muttered. "Just make your move, Naruto." Teeth nibbled on the lower lip as blue eyes narrowed in thought, what to do? What to do? Ebisu-sensei told him to use tactics and strategy; this can be applied to shogi right? Observe the board and analyze every single possible move. Damn, he scratched the back of his head; he could barely sit still now. He looked up.
Shikamaru was observing him again; but he didn't want to meet dark brown eyes though. Honest to Kami, he had no idea why the shadow user suddenly saw it fit, three days ago, to come up to him during lunch and invite him to play shogi. He would've thought that the Nara wouldn't even bother him after the chunin exam preliminaries simply because he was too bothersome, but apparently not. He wasn't exactly sure what prompted the other boy's new friendship, but a part of him was happy to be hanging out with somebody from his graduating class.
But what if…
Narrow blue eyes met brown. The possibility can't be ruled out, after all, the guy in front of him was a genius right? He might have figured out that something was off about him, but from what case? Was he just a curiosity to the shadow user? Or did the Nara suspect that somehow, the Kyuubi was involved. It wouldn't be hard for someone like Shikamaru to just make the connection between the day of the attack and his birthday.
Hanabi shifted against his back. Eyes flickered downward, oh right, the game. Blue eyes glanced back up; he can only hope that if the Nara finds out, or if he had already found out, that he would accept him for who he was, a human, not a demon, and that he would keep the secret safe and not tell anybody. Does he trust the boy? Huh, trust, such a simple word.
A deep breath, well, there isn't much of a choice. Turn attention back to the game, a grin appeared on his face, slightly distorting his whisker marks as his hand came forward and moved his knight to capture the rook, clack, "Well, what you think about that, Shika-kun?" He bragged.
The other genin's eyebrows rose ever so slowly in surprise. Oh goody, that has to be compliment, and his heart swelled up. "Very good," The dark haired genin muttered, but then, a smirk appeared on his lips. A double-take, well, his smirk almost resembles that of the Uchiha. Almost, thank god, it wasn't arrogance that was shown through the smirk, but a confidence of one that was in one's own element. "But unfortunately, not good enough."
His bishop moved to capture his knight who also placed his king in a, Clack, bah, damn it, precarious position. Hanabi made an "oooohhhhh," sound. He smacked his hand against his forehead and let it drag down slowly, pulling his face down and gave a groan. Head drooped forward as a sigh escaped him, and he heard a chuckle, and looked up. Shikamaru was also leaning forward, grinning through his hand as he tried to contain his own laughter.
The two boys looked at each other for three seconds before simultaneously bursting out in laughter: a type that was carefree and what two thirteen year old kids were suppose to experience. The little Hyuuga muttered disdainfully, "boys."
The shadow user patted him on the shoulder. "You are getting better though."
Sulk and a grumble. "That's what everybody has been telling me lately." Ebisu-sensei, Ushi-kun, the Konohamaru corps, Hanabi, and now Shikamaru. "But I'm not seeing it."
"They're telling the truth." Startled, blue eyes looked up again searchingly. Shikamaru had said it with conviction. His face turned into a full blown grin as he lunged across the board to hug his new friend. The heir of the Nara clan stiffened up in surprise but relaxed soon afterwards.
"Shika-kun is so nice." He chirped happily. He had a new, true companion, not like the ones from his Team 7, but a true friend that had sought after him after the chunin preliminaries to hang out with him. Companionship was one that he desired and found with Jiji, Iruka-sensei, Teuchi-san, Ayame-chan, Ebisu-sensei, Ushi-kun, Neko-chan, Konohamaru-kun, Moegi-chan, Udon-kun, Hanabi-chan, and now Shika-kun. Nobody else from the now named Rookie Nine had looked for him. Gratitude had filled him when he realized that Shikamaru was a new, true precious person.
"Get off of me."
15 days till the chunin exam finals
Ushi-kun was watching him from a tree, and unfortunately, he couldn't detect the ANBU's exact location. Oh well, it would've have been quite worrisome if he did manage to pinpoint where the swordsman was. He had a wooden bokken in his hands, trying to do repetitive exercises to help his muscle memory.
Step forward, pivot, turn, jump, slash, twist, land, bring down the sword. He felt confident with the series of movements that he made up, after perfecting the movements for days under the guidance of his two ANBU guards, he had to get used to the rhythm and pattern. He added his own twist of illusions into the form. Step forward, pivot, turn, jump, slash, twist, land, bring down the sword. The ANBU coughed. Faster. Step forward, pivot, turn, jump, slash, twist, land, bring down the sword. Faster. Step forward, pivot, turn, jump, slash, twist, land, bring down the sword. And Faster. Step forward, pivot, turn, jump, slash, twist, land, bring down the sword.
He grinned, "Check it out Ushi-kun!" He yelled excitably toward the trees, "I think I'm getting this!" It was like having an imaginary sensei but no imaginary- just not there. He could feel the swordsman grinning at his progress.
Step forward, pivot, turn, jump, slash, twist, land, bring down the sword.
'Some no mai,' he thought.
14 days till the chunin exam finals
It was evening and he was sitting on his favorite hill with Shikamaru, Konohamaru, and Hanabi, eating warm take-out from Chouji's BBQ. Shogi pieces littered the hill that overlooked the lively parts of the village, the hanging lanterns and the small sparklers that were going off one by one. There was music and laughter, and he looked on, longingly, knowing that he could never hope to be a part of the bliss and happiness.
He took a bite from his sandwich and pondered on the unfairness of life. Shikamaru had created a pillow from his arms and was gazing up at the stars. He gave a sideways glance at the Nara, wondering why he decided to hang around with him and his rag-tag group of kids. They had hanged out together when they were Academy students, and had an understanding between them the moment Iruka-sensei had whacked them across the backs of their heads for sleeping during class. Other than that, they weren't that close. He sighed, never try and figure out somebody like Shika-kun. Weird guy, pretty sure he has his reasons.
He looked the other way and saw that Hanabi and Konohamaru had brought forth a large, gift-wrapped box. "Meh? What are you two doing?"
"It's a gift from sensei." Konohamaru said, making a gesture, "Open it."
He grinned as he tore through the gift-wrap and opened up the container delicately and peered in. It was a new set of clothes. A long sleeve mesh shirt, a new pair of dark blue pants, ninja sandals, and a sort of dark orange cloak that he found out to his delight when he put it on, reached his knees and was snug and comfortable like his torn and worn out orange jacket. He looked inside the cloak and was delighted to see pockets and scroll holders, and kunai holders and shuriken packs.
There was a note attached, 'I can't afford to have you training with me half clothed. At least be decent. These clothes should provide some defense against sword and other sharp objects.-Ebisu and co.' He thrust a fist into the air.
His precious people cared for him as well. They took the time to give him clothes! Nobody ever did that before. His days of wearing a plain black t-shirt was over! No more days of people staring at him with disgust, at least there was a little amount of amusement when he wore the eye-catching color. They replaced his tattered jumpsuit with a new wardrobe. So it settles it, Uzumaki Naruto was back in orange! He couldn't keep the ear splitting grin off of his face as he looked at his friends… his friends who gave him this excellent present.
"Yatta! This is awesome!" He whooped aloud and proceeded to do a weird victory dance around the camp area.
"Arigato! Thank you so much!"
11 days till the chunin exam finals
"-is of the essence. It takes a complete understanding of how the mind and chakra coils react when somebody is trying to master chakra control. But it's conditioned, meaning that once you learn it, it's very, very hard to forget." His hands glowed bluer and bluer as he concentrated chakra into them. Ebisu-sensei was lecturing over him about chakra manipulation and how quickly he would have to pull out his energy when facing with a Hyuuga.
He wasn't listening, as always; preoccupied with the ball of chakra he had in his hand. Naruto Uzumaki means Spiraling Maelstrom, so he wonders and he wonders... Keep adding more chakra to his hands until the chakra managed to form a clear spherical shape… and he keeps wondering, turning his new creation this way and that, inspecting it, cautiously poking it. Will it detonate, or is it nothing more than a pretty art piece? After much experimenting for long hours, he found that he can absorb the chakra back into his body; he can also let it stay in his hand, holding it like his shrunken kitsune ball.
Uzumaki means spiral. Will it work? It takes a few minutes and it required all the skill he had in his head to control chakra. He squeezed his eyes in concentration and tries to make his chakra spin around in a circular shape in the ball but the ball managed to only flatten out into the shape of a pancake. He looked up: Ebisu-sensei had stopped talking and was examining his work closely.
He shrugged, it was only an experiment. A mere what-if thought that had occurred in him, it reminded him of all the times when he would swirl the ramen in his bowl to cool it down to a manageable heat level. He looked down on his right hand again, after he let his chakra spin the ball into a flattened disk, he still needed to control his chakra to keep it from disappearing, from slowing down the spinning speed. Interesting, so very interesting, just where are the laws of aerodynamics? He tried to apply more speed to the spin, but the disk of chakra only got flatter. Huh. He let the speed of the spin go; for fear that the disk will backfire back onto his own body and just stared at it go, round and round. He looked upwards toward his sensei.
Ebisu adjusted his sunglasses, "Throw it," the suggestion came. Why not?
The disk flew through the trees like a shuriken and veered toward the right, out of sight, and both student and teacher stared at its trail of blue chakra. Then.
Crack, crack… Boom!
There was a sound of an explosion and both ninjas could feel the small backlash. There was a shocked and amazed silence at the power that the explosion created. That was going to attract some ANBU since they weren't in the training grounds. Wow, how did, how did that… Wow. They did a double-take before rushing off to see the damage…oh boy. They followed the faint trail of visible, blue chakra that had swung off to the side.
They turned around the corner and stared, mother of all chakra, he let out an appreciated whistle, seeing the three destroyed trees, all in a line, each felled at the suppose path where the chakra disk the size of his palm. There was a brown road where the splinters were gathered. A leaf flew past his face. This… "Ebisu-sensei?" He inquired. This…
The tokubetsu jounin swallowed, "Yes Naruto?"
"Would this count as a B-rank jutsu?" Although keeping his voice tone innocent, he rubbed his hands together gleefully; this was going to be so cool. This was awesome.
"B-rank?" The elder man choked out, but regained his composure, "Why certainly. And if we concentrate on refining your throwing abilities-"
"I should add more chakra to it and make the whole disk more condensed, ne?" He added in. What would happen if he had increased the amount of spin, the amount of chakra…? There was a shiver of anticipation.
"And also refine your chakra control," Ebisu continued, ignoring the rude interruption, "This will be a truly devastating jutsu, borderline A-rank." The man grinned as he pushed up his sunglasses, "This calls for a celebration. We shall end training early. How would you like some free ramen?"
Eyes widened… Free? As in not paying? Ebisu-sensei must be really proud to offer to fill up his stomach with ramen! "Yay!" He cheered, hugging his teacher around the waist then jumping and running back to the village. "I gotta tell the others about this! Ramen, ramen, ramen!!!!" He ran off toward the village, yelling at the top of his lungs.
He ran past the villagers and their stares of curiosity, and fear, and hatred. He avoided all of that and looked for his friends. "Hey guys! Guys! You would not believe what I just did! I created this awesome new jutsu, you have to check it out!"
9 days till the chunin exam finals
"Naruto! Naruto! Wake up, it's only a dream!" Kunai flashed out in alarm and glinted eerily in the dark. But his wrist was grabbed tightly, and suddenly, a warm body was pressed against his. He suddenly was aware of his surroundings, and the moon, the bright object in the dark, the first thing he saw, was high up, like an orb, or like his fox lantern, up, up, there in the night sky. He blinked, there were two people hugging him.
"Ushi-kun? Neko-chan?" He whispered with a scratchy voice. Somebody handed him a glass of water. After a few discreet sniffs, he drank it greedily. "What happened?" His voice was clearer now.
"You were screaming Naruto in your sleep." The female ANBU said, with a hint of sadness. She hugged him again tightly, "I'm so sorry." She muttered.
"For what?" He asked, but there wasn't an answer. Three ninjas in a room, each contemplating the same event, sat on his bed. He decided to speak, feeling shamed and needing to speak for his actions, "My dream… nightmare, was that I killed everyone."
Cough. "Again?" Ushi-kun asked softly, rubbing small circles on his back. A nod.
"Yeah. It said that if I don't kill everyone, it'll do it for me. And it showed me how it would… so bloody. There was so much blood. It was going to kill all my precious persons, like you two." Blue eyes stared ahead into space. The two ANBU exchanged glances as he continued to explain his dream. His hand groped in the direction of his nightstand, and grabbed a bottle. Three white pills fell onto his hand and he swallowed them.
"The barrier is there, but it seems so close lately, waiting… But it's annoyed because it can't take over my mind, but only keep haunting me, over and over again."
At nights like this, he considers it a miracle to still be sane.
7 days till the chunin exam finals
On the hill again with Shikamaru, except this time he can sense his two ANBU companions with him in the trees, exact location not known. The shadow user could also feel the other ninjas' presences; it was obvious by the way his eyes darted around for a few minutes before settling on looking at him questionably. A wink back and the shadow user shrugged.
Clack, the bishop moved.
Clack, the gold general was captured.
Clack. Clack. Clack.
"Seven days left eh? Feeling nervous?" Clack.
"Aw, come on, Shika-kun! You have to be more excited than that!" Clack.
"Damn Naruto, you're too trouble some." Clack.
"Heh, but you love me for it." Clack.
"May the best become chunin." Clack.
"I agree." Clack, a smug smile. "You loose, again."
5 days till the chunin exam finals.
The sun hasn't risen yet when a frantic chunin rushed into the Hokage office. He remembered looking up from his paperwork and then staring at the Sadaime as the chunin ran in, like a youkai was on his tail. "Sadaime-sama! Sadaime-sama!" He had gasped rushing through the doors, behind him was a secretary, protesting against his actions since the noble and respected Hokage was busy…
The hokage had stood up and held up a hand. The chunin immediately silenced. From his vantage point, he admired the way Jiji could hold up such power with wordless commands, yes, the old man was a true leader. The Sadaime gestured toward the seat in front of the desk and the chunin sat down, still gasping for breath. Hands rested on knees and head bent over. "Found Hayate Gekko's body outside the administration building. We confirmed that it was him, real and all. The ANBU forensics group are still trying to find C.O.D. but-"Here, the man took another breath. "We suspect foul play. Most possibly a wind jutsu."
Found Hayate Gekko's body.
Paperwork fell from limp hands, scattering all over the floor. The chunin jumped slightly at the sound.
The hokage spun around and gestured toward the shadows on each side of the room, the two ANBU guards, Usagi-chan and Karasu-chan, stepped forth and bowed. "Come with me." The elder man ordered in a steely voice. His old eyes met electric blue, "Stay here, Naruto, until Neko comes to get you."
Stay? No need to say that, he doubt he can walk with his shaking body.
The doors shut but he kept staring at them for a few seconds. Some more important paperwork fluttered toward the ground. He looked down, hands were trembling really badly. The shock, he couldn't comprehend what happened. It was going too fast.
Hayate Gekko. Something heavy dropped into his stomach.
Ushi-kun can't die right? He's ANBU, they're indestructible and the awesomest, especially Ushi-kun, who was the coolest swordsman ever. He and Neko-chan were with him since the beginning, they were family.
He was a precious person.
He buried his head into his arms, feeling the prickling feeling in his eyes that hinted to the start of tears. The news was too much. His body started shaking as sobs started to come out. Not sure how long he stayed there crying, but some time afterwards, Neko-chan, came into the office and wrapped her arms around him. Yellow head buried itself in ANBU armor. Racking sobs came out.
The two of them sat there in the comfort of shadows until the sun rose up. It was to be one of the most beautiful sunrises ever, one that was filled with oranges and red that blanketed the entire sky, but they didn't notice.
Hayate Gekko… Ushi-kun.
Where are you
I cannot forgive you as you left us
You will be missed
Rest in Peace
Gogyo Kaiin. Five Elements Unseal.
Omote Renge. Front Lotus.
Shishi Rendan. Lion's Barrage.
Tomegane no Jutsu. Telescope Technique.
Kage Bunshin no Jutsu. Shadow Clone Technique.
Shunshin no Jutsu. Body Flicker Technique.
Henge. Transformation Technique.
Kawarimi. Body-Replacement Technique.
Some no Mai. First Dance.
Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu. Water Release: Water Dragon Projectile Technique.
Rai Bunshin no Jutsu. Lightning Clone Technique.
Author Notes- I don't own Naruto.