Disclaimer: The characters of Naruto belong to Kishimoto Masashi. This story is written without permission, for fan purposes only.
Thanks: I want to give my thanks to fan-fiction author Shawny Wong, for giving me the idea for this story. It was born from her story 'One Small Step', and I highly recommend it for all NaruHina fans. She is, unlike me, able to tell a story in just the right way, with all the fluffy goodness the couple deserve. I also want to thank her for looking over this story and point out important flaws in the plot that I'd made in the drafts I sent her. This story would be a lot worse without her. Thank you!
The large man that Naruto had labelled 'Ero-Sennin' leaned over the large railing that separated the road from the drop down to the sheltered town.
It was a common thing in the more wind exposed places in the Land of Fire. Naruto wasn't tall enough to peer over it, so he had to do with a limited view for the coming lesson that he was about to receive.
"You know, it's probably healthy for you to learn how to relax a bit more Naruto," the Ero-Sennin began. They had travelled far and trained a lot lately, but Naruto had only really appreciated the training, and then he'd gone out of his way to be a bit of a pest when they didn't.
"You need to learn how to take a moment and observe your situation. That ability will serve you well as a shinobi…if you'll manage to use it," he then paused to let Naruto digest his words for a bit. Not to mention, to see how problematic it would be for the little gaki to learn the meaning of the word 'patience'.
As the moment dragged on, Naruto frowned. The old man had made it a habit of not elaborating, but Naruto was already impatient and in no mood for games. "Hey! Hey, Ero-Sennin! What do you mean!?"
Jiraiya scowled as his apprentice did the exact opposite of what he had just told him to do. "I mean that you must learn to have patience, and not just go rushing into any given situation. It wouldn't hurt you to try and think a little now and then either."
It was a painfully slow task to teach someone like Naruto that to act first and think later didn't always work…Fun but slow.
Jiraiya continued to stare over the railing as Naruto tried to dig out the meaning of Jiraiya's plainly spoken words. He wasn't stupid, but it took some work to get him to accept a new idea. After a few minutes, he decided that he would try to do what the old pervert had suggested.
He turned his back to the railing and tried to relax. His mind however was nagging at how this would help him as a shinobi.
"Ne, Ero-Sennin! How can this help me as an awesome ninja?"
Jiraiya huffed, he didn't really want to give a long lecture, but with a student like Naruto you had to answer when asked. "Well, who would you say is the most successful shinobi out of your class?"
Jiraiya chuckled at the answer. Naruto had an ego the size of Konohagakure no Sato at times. "No, not you…Who else can you think of?"
Naruto pouted, "Is it Sakura? She's the apprentice of Baa-chan."
Jiraiya shook his head.
Naruto's face took on an expression that suggested pain; he was thinking.
"It is not Sasuke either," Jiraiya added after a little while. The boy's fixation on his former team-mate was both a blessing and a curse in his training. It made him work harder, but it also narrowed the teaching methods that could be used.
After a while Naruto shook his head and huffed in defeat. "I don't know."
Jiraiya smiled. "It is the Nara boy."
"Shikamaru?" Naruto asked in disbelief.
"Is it because he's a chuunin?"
"Partly, but not exactly," Jiraiya was secretly getting his hopes up. Naruto was closing in on the point.
Naruto paused, then after a while he seemed to realize something. "I get it! I know why he's the most successful!"
Jiraiya smiled, it would seem that Naruto had learned a little bit about seeing underneath the underneath after all.
"It's because he's lazy, right?"
Well maybe not…
"Naruto, how is being lazy the same as being successful?" Jiraiya asked disappointedly.
Naruto pouted at the question. "Hey! You just said I needed to relax to be a good ninja!" Naruto practically shouted.
With a decisively firm voice Jiraiya told him to calm down. It wouldn't do any good if he started shouting. With a sigh he tried again, "Naruto, I told you to calm down so you could figure out why he is so successful. Think about how he fights, how he acts. Why is he the only one that became chuunin?"
Naruto crossed his arms and looked at the sky. "He fights slowly; he acts lazy and thinks everything is troublesome…," after some thought he continued, "and he lost his battle in the chuunin exam."
Naruto shook his head, the only logical thing he could come up with was that he was made chuunin because he lost, and he knew that wasn't the answer the old pervert wanted. "I don't know why he's the only one that made chuunin."
Jiraiya sighed. The mystery seemed to be a bit too much for Naruto. "It's because he fights as a shinobi should fight," he told the boy with a knowing smile.
Naruto tilted his head to the side, "Nani? Should shinobi fight slowly?" now he was really confused.
"No, shinobi only fight slowly when they must," Jiraiya informed him. "Shinobi often fight fast to conceal their techniques and to get the upper hand over their opponents using speed, but what makes a truly good shinobi is the ability to keep their own secrets while at the same time puzzle out what their opponents are hiding."
Jiraiya looked down at his student. He had his full attention now, and it was important for him to learn this early on.
It had been a shock to see how neglected Naruto had been with the basics of the shinobi ways. That's why he focused a lot of their training on the more elementary things a shinobi needed to know.
"In his battle with the Suna girl, he controlled the fight by just dragging it out," Jiraiya continued, hoping that an example would drive the point home. "By using the information he gathered from her attacks, he controlled her battle options by distracting her with pieces of information that he selected. Nearly everything he did was to distract her from his true plan."
"Nani? I though he used the whole fight to figure out how to capture her." Naruto was truly baffled. He knew Shikamaru was smart, the mission to rescue Sasuke had shown him that much, but this was amazing.
"No, he was calm and centred. I know that you have your moments," Naruto perked up at that, "But compared to the Nara boy, you're about as insightful as a dango stick."
"Now," Jiraiya continued, ignoring the outburst, "if you took your time and actually tried to think ahead, you may just become an effective shinobi after all." After that, Jiraiya stayed silent and peered down towards the town.
Naruto did has his teacher had said and took his time to think about what he had just learned. It was true that he had won several victories by tricking his opponents. He had in fact always managed to surprise his opponents when he won fights. He tricked Kiba several times before the fight got serious. He had let Kabuto stab his hand to keep him from moving. It was the trick at the end of his chuunin exam fight that enabled him to get inside Neji's guard.
Maybe the old pervert had a point after all. With that in mind, Naruto promised that he would try and look underneath the underneath a little more in the future.
Even so, standing still and relax was not much fun when you had nothing to look at. The Ero-Sennin had a view at least, looking over the railing. It would seem that he was looking at something interesting, if one were to judge by his stare.
With little difficulty Naruto jumped up on the railing, only to see that his teacher had a clear view into a bath house that was definitively placed on the wrong location. This was probably why he wanted Naruto to stand still and think. This was why he got mad when Naruto raised his voice. It was all an excuse! He really should have been able to see underneath this situation.
The women at the bath were suddenly alerted by the shouting of a boy and the frantic hushing of an older male.
The scene was disrupted by a truly dreadful noise.
Naruto slammed his hand onto the infernal device that had taken up residence on the table by his bed. Slowly he got up in a sitting position, trying, with a limited success to get a grasp on reality. It was always hard to start the day, especially when you had something to do, like ninja registration.
It had been a few days since he was told about the Kyuubi, and just like that, life had gone on as normal. Well, mostly.
The Hokage had made sure that Naruto attended some counselling sessions after the incident, but there had not been much need. The old Hokage had taken time off to talk with him several times the past few days, more then he usually did. That had done more good then any amount of counselling would ever do.
Iruka-sensei had taken him out to dinner at Ichiraku's several times as well, and if anything cured the soul, it was Ichiraku's ramen. So in between the Hokage, Iruka-sensei, Old man Ichiraku and his daughter Ayame…and the ramen, Naruto's life was better then ever.
Now however Naruto found himself sluggishly awake with a mild headache and heavy eyelids that did not seem too eager to open. It had been a strange dream, about the old perverted white-haired man. It was not often that dreams were this easy to remember, neither were they as realistic as this one had been.
No Hokage hat, no flying ramen, no Sakura clinging to his arm, begging him to save her from some danger. It had just been him and the old man called Ero-Sennin. It had been a nice dream though.
With a heavy sigh he returned his attention to reality. This was after all a big day for his career. It was time to deliver his shinobi registration papers, as a still heavily bandaged, Iruka-sensei had told him about last night.
As he got out of bed his thoughts drifted back to the old pervert in the dream. It was a strange sensation to miss an imaginary figure so much after waking up. The Ero-Sennin had a grandfatherly air about him, a cool grandfather that took the time to teach him stuff. Even so, it was only a dream.
After all, Shikamaru smart? No way.
After a quick visit to the bathroom, he started preparing his breakfast. It wasn't much, just some cereal and milk that tasted a little funny. A worried glance into the bowl revealed nothing 'green', praise the gods.
As he ate, he thought back on what the imaginary old man had said. Thinking while fighting? That sounded complicated. Even so, Naruto could not deny that it made a little bit sense. A ninja was supposed to trick and deceive. He had heard the same at the academy once. The one day that he had done really good.
Maybe he should try it out some time. It couldn't hurt really, not now that he was able to create so many more hands to work with. That thought brought a smile to his face. He was in fact able to use Kage Bunshin no Jutsu. A Jônin-level technique that not even Iruka-sensei knew. Who needed to think when you knew such an awesome move, right? Well, maybe….
After finishing eating and placing his dishes in the sink for later, it was time to dress. It did not take long to find his clothes from last night, but the overall picture in the mirror disagreed with him. Naruto couldn't really put his finger on it, but it just felt… wrong somehow.
The orange and blue jumpsuit was his trademark; no one else used clothing like this. He studied the mirror closer. It was not the orange; it could never be the orange. No, it was the blue. The blue did not feel right at all. With some hesitation he took his jacket off and tossed it onto the dirty clothes pile by the door. It was no good; his t-shirt was blue as well.
He quickly found an oversized t-shirt among his somewhat cleaner clothes. It was the colour that told him it was the right choice. It was plain black, complete with an uneven-looking orange swirl on both the front and back. It was a little too big for him though. It was however the only thing black, so the size would just have to do. He hated to think of himself as small; it was an issue because he was among the shortest in class.
When he put it on, the swirl looked even more uneven, almost hand-drawn. It was somewhat cool like that, probably the only reason that he bought it in the first place. Even so, black and orange was the only thing that felt right. It had to be that one.
When he put on his goggles, he noticed his new hitai-ite. It would be better to wear that today wouldn't it? He lowered the goggles so they hung around his neck. Just as he was about to try it on, he noticed the clock. It was much later then he had first thought, and that meant that so was he.
Muttering curses under his breath, he dashed into the bathroom. He brushed his teeth quicker than what would have been recommended, and hurried out the door. The only thought that bothered him was that he did not have time to apply the 'cool' makeup he had planed to wear.
His hitai-ite was completely forgotten by the mirror.
"What have you dug up today Naruto?" asked the small red, white haired toad seated on the Hokage's head. Naruto had dragged him away from the old sage's side at Myobokuzan to show him a new jutsu that he was working on. The blond man chuckled when the toad shifted his weight to get a better view of the scroll the blond man was unfolding.
"Oh, you're going to love this Ero-Sennin," replied Naruto. "I found a new way to use the concept of the Hiraishin."
The toad looked thoughtful for a minute, and then a perverted grin plastered itself on its face. "You've discovered how useful it is to get in and out of the women's bathhouse?"
Even as a toad, Jiraiya was still a pervert, and he knew that his godson had taken up his habit of sneaking a peek now and then, even if he only did so when his soon-to-be-wife, little Hinata-chan was there. Deep down he admired his blond student for being in such a loving relationship, and for being so adept at stealth that he only spied when that particular Hyuuga-soon-to-be-Uzumaki was present (Not to mention that she was a recon specialist).
Naruto chuckled at his sensei's remark. He would never change. Now however, he wanted to show him something important. "It's about the way Hiraishin moves you from one place to another." Naruto said in a light tone. Jiraiya got more interested at that. As a seal master himself, he was always interested in new ways to deploy the art, and in the use of sealing techniques, no one could match Uzumaki Naruto.
He listened as Naruto explained about light, energy, how to move that energy, complete with examples based on ramen flavours and the use of some specially sealed shadow clones as the test subjects.
It was strange to see how Naruto finally channelled his energy into creative thinking. That was one thing he wished he had thought of back when Naruto was his apprentice. Then again, the Sasuke problem usually got in the way of creative thought on Naruto's part back in those days.
What caught Jiraiya's attention from Naruto's explanation was the seal he intended to use on the clones. The blond said it was meant to block out something that Jiraiya missed.
"What is the seal for again? I missed it…" he asked after unsuccessfully trying to puzzle out the meaning by himself.
Naruto moved his head from side to side, unknowingly making it harder for Jiraiya to hold on. "Well, the technique will require us to use senjutsu, to break out of this reality. To get through the natural energies so to speak…." Naruto paused for a bit. "Well, the side-effect can be carried over on the original, right? The seal is only a precaution, to avoid anything serious from happening."
The toad chuckled. There was a time when Naruto would have laughed at these security measures, but Jiraiya knew that not even the mighty Hokage could argue with the pleading eyes of a loved one. Not to mention, Hinata-chan could be rather scary when she wanted to be.
It was strange to think that the shy little girl had grown into such a beautiful and opinionated woman. Of course, she still appeared to be shy and timid, but just like Naruto, she was so much more then what she appeared to be.
"Just senjutsu?" he inquired, just to reassure Naruto that he was paying attention.
Naruto looked a little embarrassed, "Well, they must be able to materialize in another dimension without being cancelled...It's a little complicated, but the point is that I would really want to get to the intended location alive."
Jiraiya could hardly comment on that logic….
As Naruto was about to explain the proper design of the activated seal, the scene drifted into a hazy white, then suddenly into the black shadows of the room at the inn.
With a mutter of surprise Jiraiya jerked out of the pleasant slumber he had enjoyed. Something was not as it should be, and it seemed to take the Sannin a few minutes to get his thoughts on track. It was no ordinary dream that was for sure. He had memories, new memories of things that had not happened, people he hardly knew.
"Is this genjutsu?" He silently asked himself. No, no this wasn't an illusion. He was awake, with a blinding headache that didn't come from alcohol, and knew more now than he did when he went to sleep.
It was more than a little concerning to realize that he now knew about people that he had only heard rumours of the day before, without anyone telling him. He knew about techniques and Jutsu that had yet to be invented, and most importantly, he knew what his godson was one day going to be.
His face changed from that of confusion to determination and he made a decision.
Without wasting time he got dressed and left the comfort of the futon behind. He was far from figuring it all out, but he knew for certain that he needed to get to Konoha. Things had to be done, prevented...confirmed. Not to mention that he had a responsibility that he had neglected far too long.
At the hidden Myobokuzan Mountains, a gigantic old toad moved his head to the side, as it noticed a change in the course of fate and destiny. Visions seemed to overlap, and merge into new path's until they were one.
The Sage knew only that the child of destiny was ultimately responsible for the changes in his own life, and thus in so many other lives that it would touch on its path.
It was not bad changes that had been done, things would just happen differently then what would have happened a few minutes ago. With a smile the toad forgot what he had seen, only to see it again at a later time. Thus, repeating the entire experience again.
Later that day, after he had once more seen the future, he requested the company of the unequalled pervert, so he could share his, then forgotten, knowledge with him.
The Sandaime Hokage of Konohagakure no Sato was looking at a picture of Uzumaki Naruto. The boy was wearing a black t-shirt with an orange swirl on the front, but not the orange jacket that was usually the preferred attire on the blond troublemaker. Another difference from his usual look was that his goggles were hanging loosely around his neck, and not fastened around his forehead like they used to.
The lack of any hitai-ite would have been the usual concern when taking registration identification picture, but the fact that the lack of anything to hold his hair away from his forehead made him look much more like a miniature model of the Yondaime Hokage than he already did, was a bit more alarming. If the picture hanging in the Hokage's study had been smiling, it would no doubt be even more alike.
Uzumaki Naruto was the secret child of the late Namikaze Minato, but that was a secret that had to be kept at all cost. The Forth had too many enemies, and they would love nothing more than to seek out vengeance. Even so, Sarutobi would never ask Naruto to take a new photo now, as he had done nothing wrong.
With a smile he looked up at the boy seated in front of him. Sarutobi did wonder where the boy's hitai-ite was though. "This is a good picture Naruto-kun, but where is your hitai-ite?" he asked with a grandfatherly voice.
Naruto rubbed the back of his head, as he usually did when he was embarrassed, "Anou…I want to wait until the team assignment Oyaji."
Even though his lack of respect was present, the boy was acting uncharacteristically uncertain, something Sarutobi found a little worrying. Was the event with Mizuki having a bigger effect on the boy than he had first thought?
Sarutobi had taken time to eat and talk with the boy a lot more than usual in the time after the incident. He had also assigned him to counselling sessions, just in case there were something Naruto felt uncomfortable telling him. Naruto had shown every sign of recovery, even happier now that he knew why people didn't like him.
The prank he had pulled on his last session was just further proof that he was back to his old self. Sarutobi had to mentally stop himself from chuckling at the thought of the counsellor that had been glued to his own chair.
With a nod to the attendant, and a faint smile, he signalled that it was all in order. The attendant started collecting the necessary papers that Naruto needed to have as the Hokage cleared his throat before he spoke. "Congratulations Naruto, you're…" he began, but was interrupted.
The door burst open, and with a battle cry worthy of a nine year old, a little boy came charging towards the Hokage, intent on using a blunted practise shuriken (that looked like it was made from cardboard) in his assassination.
He wore a yellow t-shirt and a long white scarf that trailed behind him. Not to mention some sort of weird helmet, that let his hair stick out in the back.
"GET READY TO FIGHT OYAJI!" he screamed, right before crashing face first onto the floor. The rest of the room looked on in silence as the boy collected himself. "Nani? Where!? A trap!?" he shouted as he looked around for the nonexistent offending object.
In that moment a tall man in dark glasses, like his classmate Shino had, appeared in the doorway. He was dressed in navy blue like most Konoha shinobi, with a dark cloth that covered his hair.
"Honourable grandson! Are you alright!? I am sorry, but there is no trap here!" the tall man said in a rush; as he pushed his glasses further up on his nose. He immediately started to apologise to the Hokage as the boy now known as 'the honourable grandson' fixed a stare at the only other minor in the room.
The boy got to his feet and pointed an accusing finger at a still silent Naruto and declared in a loud voice, "It was you that tripped me! Admit it!"
Naruto, who had been silently wondering what was happening up until then, got up and yanked the younger boy off his feet by the front of his shirt. "No way! You fell all on your own, baka!"
It might not have been the most graceful thing to do, but Naruto didn't like to be accused of things he didn't do. It was bad enough to be blamed for what he did.
The tall shinobi that had entered after the boy was shocked to see the grandson of the village leader treated in such a way, and he immediately started to protest.
"Naruto! Are you mad!? Let go of him this instant! Don't you know who he is?! That is the honourable grandson of Hokage-sama!" The shinobi was pointing and waving his arms around, as if he didn't know what to do with them.
The ageing Hokage, whom had been silently observing the turn of events, was a bit worried about the man's blood pressure.
The 'honourable grandson', whom hated to be called 'honourable grandson', was silently staring at Naruto. Finally 'honourable grandson' challenged Naruto to hit him if he dared, a childish thing to do, but when you are eight that wasn't much of a problem.
Of all the things the boy had expected, it wasn't to have his challenge answered. Everyone was careful with him because of who his grandfather was, so never before had anyone dared raised a hand against him.
Naruto however hit him over the head with little ceremony, much to the tall shinobi's horror and the Hokage's mild interest, and shouted that he didn't care who the boy was or who he was related to.
In all the apologizing to the Hokage, done by the tall shinobi, Naruto took his leave with the necessary papers. He could have sworn that the apologising man didn't even see him collect them right in front of him. As ninja's went, that one did not seem to be very observant.
After Naruto had left, he became aware of someone following him.
In retrospect, it was hard not to see it, as the boy was horrible at hiding. Rocks weren't square shaped and certainly didn't have spy holes, fences made up of vertical boards didn't have smaller patches of horizontal boards flapping in the wind. By shinobi standards, Naruto should have noticed the boy sooner then he actually did.
With his patience reaching its limit, Naruto quickly turned around, as 'honourable grandson' once again hid himself, holding his wooden-fence-camouflage the wrong way up, again.
"Stop following me! Don't you think I can see you, baka?!" Naruto shouted, pointing an accusing finger on the badly concealed offender.
Strangely enough the boy didn't seem very upset or even that surprised that he'd been spotted as he calmly stepped out of hiding with a smug smile on his face. "You noticed me. It's true what they say about your abilities," The boy stated with what he probably though was a dramatic tone.
Naruto was suddenly intrigued, someone else had seen his skills for what they were (No mater that it was from a boy that was probably two or three years younger than him) and was impressed.
Just as Naruto was about to ask the boy what he meant, 'honourable grandson' pointed a finger at him and made his demand, "Let me become your apprentice!"
That rocked Naruto on his feet. He'd just become a genin, and now people wanted to be his apprentice? Even his ego had a bit of trouble to understand that logic, so he was glad when 'honourable grandson' felt the need to elaborate. "Teach me the jutsu you used to defeat the Hokage! Please sensei!" he begged.
Naruto had no idea who could have told 'honourable grandson' about that. The old man had caught him entering the tower, and he had used his 'Oiroke no jutsu' to defeat him before his escape (something that said a lot about the supposedly strongest shinobi in the village).
Little did he know that it was the 'honourable grandson' who had found the elderly Hokage on the floor and managed to wake him up, using a bucket of ice cold water.
Naruto didn't hesitate for long before deciding to teach the younger kid the Hokage defeating technique, and thus took on his role as sensei for his first apprentice.
After the day was nearly over, 'honourable grandson' (Naruto still didn't know his name) finally managed to get the perverted technique right and they took a well deserved break.
They were sitting on a log, eating a late lunch when Naruto finally got curious over why 'honourable grandson' was so set on defeating the old man.
"What's the deal with you and the old man anyway?" He asked casually, noticing how the question affected the boy.
'Honourable grandson' suddenly got very serious and it took a moment before he answered.
"My Ojiisan named me Konohamaru, after the village," he started, mentioning his name for the first time. "It's supposed to be for luck, but no one ever calls me by that name. It's always 'Honourable Grandson' or something like that, never Konohamaru. You would think that it would be easy to remember, as I'm named after the village."
The boy frowned before he continued, "They just don't see me…they only see my grandfather, but never me. That's why I want to become Hokage as fast as possible! I want to be respected for me, not for whom I'm related to!"
Naruto was shocked to hear how similar their reasons were. Naruto also wanted to become Hokage, so people had to acknowledge him and would be unable to ignore him. Konohamaru wanted to be Hokage so people would see him and not just his clan or as the grandson of someone else.
Another thing that struck Naruto was how pathetic it all sounded. It sounded selfish and childish now that someone else said it out loud. There was much more to the title of Hokage than just the honour and respect that came with it.
"Baka, no one is going to respect that," he said quietly, as much to himself as to his student.
Konohamaru however took Naruto's statement as a personal insult, "What did you say!?"
"I said that no one is going to respect you for wanting to be Hokage just so you can be seen," Naruto snapped back. "To be Hokage is the same as to be respected by every ninja in the village! No one would respect you as a Hokage just because you want them to."
Konohamaru was stunned at the seriousness in Naruto's voice. Naruto ignored it and just continued, "The Hokage is the strongest shinobi in the village, and no matter how hard you train, it will always take a lot of work. There are no shortcuts to become the Hokage, and for you to become Hokage…," he paused and locked eyes with Konohamaru. "You'll have to win over me, because my dream is also to become Hokage."
Konohamaru didn't respond, but his face betrayed him. He was intimidated by the prospect for fighting Naruto.
Before anything more was said, they were both startled by a shout coming from the trees behind them. "There you are!"
It was the tall shinobi with the dark glasses from the Hokage tower. He had finally noticed that Konohamaru had gone missing and had tracked them down. Now he was standing on a branch, looking at Naruto with all too familiar eyes, cold and loathsome.
"Honourable grandson! Now we should return home." He said as he jumped to the ground, ignoring Naruto as if he didn't exist.
As Konohamaru shouted his protests, Naruto realised that the tall shinobi actually looked a bit familiar. Not in the way that he'd done something cruel to him or such, but rather a sneaking feeling that he should know him for some reason.
His musings over why he should recognise the shinobi made him miss most of the lecture the shinobi in question had started, and only Konohamaru's attempt of his newly learnt jutsu brought his attention back to the situation at hand.
"Oiroke no Jutsu!" shouted Konohamaru at the top of his lungs as he weaved the necessary seals.
The chakura gathered and in a puff of smoke the form of the noisy little brat disappeared, only to be replaced by the form of a naked young woman, with nothing but drifting smoke to concealing the more unfamiliar parts of her female anatomy.
It was the form that Naruto had drilled into him for the better part of the day, and if he were to be honest, a damn good Henge.
While the technique didn't work as well with this adult, it did have a noticeable effect. Nearly hyperventilating and in an obvious state of embarrassed shock, the tall shinobi started to protest and criticise Naruto's invention.
"Wha…Wha…What a vulgar display! Not fir for a gentleman's eyes! And I will not fall for it!" The man was talking so loud and so fast that it was clear how close Konohamaru had come in his attempt to defeat him.
With that insight, Naruto gathered his own chakura to use his new favourite technique.
The tall shinobi was busy battling a resisting Konohamaru, by pulling his scarf, so he was unaware of Naruto who was about to shout "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" to launch his own attack, but a thought stopped him.
Maybe attacking the shinobi was the wrong approach…? Then, what can I do? Maybe it's not what I can do but….
"Konohamaru!" he called out. Both the boy and the tall shinobi stopped what they were doing and looked towards Naruto. "Use a Henge and transform into the Hokage!" Naruto yelled to his apprentice.
The frown on Konohamaru's face bothered Naruto just a little bit, "WHY!? THAT WON'T DO ANYTHING!" Konohamaru shouted back, still angry that his new attack didn't work.
The shinobi however raised an eyebrow and adopted a questioning expression which was not lost on Naruto.
"Just do it, Baka!" Naruto shouted back. If he were correct, this would change the tune of that arrogant bastard...both of them.
Konohamaru was still frowning but he obeyed. The boy made the correct seals and shouted "Henge!" and was replaced by a picture perfect image of the third Hokage of Konoha.
The shinobi observed the transformation with an unreadable expression. Without a word he pushed his glasses up on his nose before he……smiled.
Naruto had been correct. All the training he and Konohamaru had done was far form a lost cause. When he first started to teach the brat, Konohamaru hadn't been able to do a simple Henge properly, now he stood there as his grandfather, fully clothed in his robes, smoking his pipe. It was picture perfect.
The shinobi looked from Konohamaru to Naruto with badly concealed approval. "It would seem that your time was not wasted Honourable-Grandson," proclaimed the shinobi. "Even so, it's late and you have to start early tomorrow. We still have a lot of ground to cover for you to become Hokage!"
Turning his attention to Naruto, the shinobi continued "I would like to talk to you after I have walked the grandson home, if that is possible?"
Naruto became a bit apprehensive of the sudden, friendly tone the shinobi used. The memories of his conversation with Mizuki was still fresh so to have a stranger wanting to talk to him, after dropping off the only other person there, made him immediately suspicious.
Still, the old goat had assured him that if anyone asked him to do something he was unsure of, he should let him know. He also recommended that such conversations should happen in front of witnesses, so…
"I'll be at 'Ichiraku's Ramen'," he told the shinobi. If there were any reliable witnesses in Konoha, it was Teuchi and Ayame.
The shinobi just nodded in response before turning back to Konohamaru, "It's getting late and you have made some impressive progress today. I think its best you stop for today, to rest and recuperate. In the morning, we'll see how much you have improved, but remember to say good night before we go."
Konohamaru had been observing the interaction and looked a little suspicious, but eventually he walked over to Naruto. "Hey, Hey. Nisan," he whispered. "What was that? Why did he change his mind?"
"I think he's impressed by your 'Henge'," he whispered back, not too sure of the shinobi himself.
Konohamaru frowned, "Why? A Henge does no damage at all! It is a weak jutsu!" he almost shouted in frustration.
Before his last year at the academy, when he finally got it right, Naruto would have agreed with Konohamaru's logic. However, he'd used the jutsu in so many pranks that his perspective of the technique was much more colourful now.
"It's a very useful jutsu for other things than fighting, and you sucked at it when we started earlier today," he said honestly, if not a bit irritably.
Konohamaru, as Naruto, didn't like to hear that he sucked at anything, even if he didn't anymore, but he grudgingly agreed. "Hey niisan, can you teach me anything more tomorrow?"
Naruto shock his head, "Tomorrow I'll be assigned to a team, so I won't have much spare time. Just continue to work hard ok. We can play again when I have some free time, ok?"
That seemed to hit a few buttons with Konohamaru, and his face instantly flushed in anger. "DO YOU THINK WE'RE PLAYING?! I'M TRAINING TO BE THE NEXT HOKAGE!"
Naruto patted the boy on the head playfully, but that only served to enrage the boy further.
"THAT'S IT! You are no longer my sensei!" Konohamaru stopped his raging speech and pointed at Naruto for dramatic effect, "FROM NOW ON WE ARE RIVALS!"
Even though Konohamaru's words were hostile, Naruto knew they weren't meant to be hurtful. Konohamaru saw him as a worthy rival. They shared the same ambition, to be Hokage. In other words, Konohamaru saw him as someone that could become Hokage. He believed in him.
It felt truly good to have someone believing in him, but Konohamaru's display called for a real classy exit. Now to pull it off.
The turned himself halfway around, showing that he was about to leave, "Well then we're rivals, it's too bad that I am far ahead of you. One day though, we'll fight for the title of Hokage!"
He started walking away and shouted back over his shoulder, "Remember, there are no shortcuts. You better train hard to catch up, Konohamaru!"
Naruto didn't see it, but Konohamaru was deeply touched by his words. Mostly it was because he called him by name.
Later that day, the shinobi found Naruto at Ichiraku's. He seated himself so quietly, that Naruto didn't even notice him until he placed his order.
"One bowl, miso-Ramen please."
The sound of his voice, even though it was both calm and civil, and not really directed at him, startled Naruto so much that he nearly spat out the broth he'd been drinking. Luckily he didn't; miso was his favourite flavour after all.
"Damn! You scared me!" Naruto snapped at the tall shinobi, not really thinking of how his accusation reflected more badly on himself than it did on the one he was accusing.
The shinobi just smiled at him, "I apologize," he said, as Teuchi started preparing is meal. "Let me introduce myself properly. My name is Ebisu, I'm an elite trainer of shinobi, the personal trainer for the grandson of our beloved Hokage," Ebisu seemed rather proud of that fact, even Naruto had no trouble seeing it.
There was something that needed to be fixed though. "His name is Konohamaru," Naruto injected before Ebisu had time to continue his explanation.
Ebisu was a little confused over why Naruto would tell him what his charge's name was, but understood that it meant something. What had been said after he arrived where the two boys were eating had told him that something meaningful had transpired.
He wouldn't be much of a Jônin if he couldn't read the expressions on children's faces, after all. So he just smiled and pushed his glasses up on his nose before answering, "You're correct of course, I'm the personal trainer of Konohamaru-san, the grandson of Hokage-sama. That's why I wanted to talk to you."
Naruto glanced suspiciously over at Ebisu. There was no hint of impatience, but then again, Mizuki had been the same when he tricked him into stealing the scroll.
"I must say that I was most impressed by how well you taught him the 'Henge'. And it only took you one day to do it," Ebisu continued, not noticing Naruto's questioning look.
Ignore the compliments! Must not be careless just because he's saying I'm awesome! Naruto furiously thought to himself. His ego was one of his own worst enemies. He caught Ayame's smile, as she placed Ebisu's order. It was all the reassurance he needed. He wasn't alone here.
"But to do it is such a manner…is unworthy of him," Ebisu finished sharply, after politely thanking Ayame.
Naruto found the last sentence familiar in some way. It wasn't the words, as such, more the tone that he used. He had heard the same disappointed tone being used in the academy…by Iruka-sensei…
"I thank you for your words of wisdom that you shared with Konohamaru-san," Ebisu continued. "He must learn what it takes to be a Hokage if he is to ever become one. But why did you teach him…such a…disgraceful use of the technique?"
Naruto realized something from how Ebisu bit of his words, trying his best not to think of the 'Oiroke no Jutsu'. Ebisu really cared for Konohamaru, he really wanted what was best for the little gaki, and not just because he was his trainer.
It reminded him of how Iruka-sensei would talk, whenever he tried to discourage his pranks by commenting on his abuse of his ninja skills. He would scold him for causing trouble and wasting people's time, but sometimes he would say something or have a look in his eye that told Naruto that he was actually impressed by how he used what he'd been taught in class.
It was the same with Ebisu, he seemed impressed that Naruto had managed to drill the Henge into Konohamaru, but he was not happy over the use they had found for the technique. The comparison effectively crushed any doubts about Ebisu's intentions; even it was hardly proof of anything.
"He asked me to teach him the technique I used to defeat the Hokage!" Naruto said happily, all previous doubts forgotten.
Ebisu's reaction was comical to say the least. The second Naruto finished his sentence, ramen broth shot out of the elite teacher's nose.
Even Teuchi and his daughter Ayame couldn't hold back a chuckle at the sight. Naruto was laughing so hard that he had trouble staying in his seat.
Both Teuchi and Ayame were paying close attention to the conversation, as Naruto had begged them to do so. They were among the few people that Naruto truly trusted in the world. To Naruto, Teuchi was like a friendly old uncle, and his daughter Ayame was like a fun older cousin, that always had time to spare while they worked.
It shamed him that he'd often forgot about them when he felt lonely or down after failing something at the academy. It was probably because they weren't ninjas, but it still felt as something of a betrayal to not think of them as someone that he could talk to.
"Wh-What!?" Ebisu stuttered between coughs. "I a-asked you, 'cough', how you taught him the 'Henge'!" he added when he had cleaned his shirt a little with the back of his hand and blown the remains of the broth out of his air pipe. "The Hokage would never fall for such a trick, not in a million years!"
Naruto had finished laughing and smiled at the shinobi. "How about, if you teach me about a jutsu, then I'll tell you how I taught him the Henge, ok?"
Naruto knew it was blackmail, but Ebisu had said he was an elite teacher of shinobi, he probably knew something cool. Not to mention, how often did you get the chance to have one-on-one lessons with a Jônin?
Ebisu thought it over for a minute before he nodded. "That is acceptable, but I won't teach you anything destructive, is that clear?"
Naruto pouted, but nodded anyway. He was a Genin now, a ninja. He needed to expand his arsenal…even if it didn't cause things to explode.
"Don't make it a habit of bribing older shinobi, Naruto-kun," Ayame interrupted in a playful voice.
Naruto gave her his trademark smile, "Of course not Ayame-Oneesan."
"We'll be looking forward to hear about the new Jutsu tomorrow Naruto," Teuchi added as they made to leave.
"Gochisousama! Ok, I'll tell you everything about it Ojisan! Bye Ayame-Oneesan"
Ebisu gave his own, not so loud "Gochisousama," and followed Naruto as he left.
Naruto didn't know why they suddenly took an active role at the end of the conversation, but he would later try to see underneath the underneath, and come to realize that the ramen chef and his daughter understood much more than they let on.
Probably thinking that Naruto was still worried about something happening, they had made their presence apparent to the shinobi, just to show the shinobi that they now expected Naruto the next day, marking themselves as witnesses of the conversation.
It was probably more for Naruto's benefit than anything else, but if Naruto hadn't already been convinced of Ebisu's good intentions, it would have been the most reassuring thing they could have done.
On their way to training-ground sixteen, Ebisu told him about something called tree walking. It was a simple thing that most ninjas should know, as it was more an exercise than anything else.
"So, all I have to do is apply chakura to my feet then I can walk on any surface?" Naruto asked excitedly.
Ebisu pushed his glasses further up on his nose, and shook his head. "No, it's not just to apply chakura to your feet. You must apply just the right amount to generate a magnetic pull between your feet and the surface that you wish to walk upon," Ebisu had just demonstrated how it was done once, and Naruto had been very impressed. You didn't see a person walk upside down under a branch every day.
His own attempt on the exercise however was met with failure every time. Even so, Ebisu had assured him that if he kept practicing, he would soon be able to walk up trees like any other shinobi.
Ebisu had conveniently left out that the spot under your feet was the hardest place to manipulate chakura, figuring that Naruto was more of a 'hands on' learner, and that too much theory would probably just be a hindrance than anything else.
"Now that I've kept my part, could you tell me how you managed to teach Konohamaru-san the 'Henge'?" Ebisu asked after the quick overview of the tree-walking exercise.
Naruto nodded happily, but he had a nagging feeling that the simplicity of how he'd done it would be an issue. "It's rather simple really. I just told him what he was doing wrong when he did the transformation."
Ebisu nodded, much like a child taking in a new concept. Or like an adult that was patiently waiting for a child to say what it wanted to say, even though they already knew about what they were being told.
"It helps when someone tells you what you are doing wrong if you fail at doing something," Naruto paused for a bit before he continued, "Just like when the academy instructors adjust your finger position when you are learning the hand-seals at the academy."
Ebisu tilted his head to the side. "Helping step by step you mean?" he inquired.
Naruto nodded. "That, and to show him what he should look like," he answered.
Ebisu adopted a questioning look. "Like… a demonstration?" he asked in a shaky voice. He didn't show it, too much, but his mind was filled with pictures of Naruto using that…disgraceful jutsu in front of Konohamaru, over and over. Corrupting his students innocent mind with naked and sensual poses.
It was a disturbing thought.
Naruto looked thoughtful for a minute. "You know, that would have saved us a lot of time."
Ebisu was sighing inwardly when his fears proved to be unfounded. To think, what kids would do today…
Then Naruto's words hit him. That would have, saved time? "What do you mean, saved time?" he asked, almost fearfully.
Naruto didn't register the fear in Ebisu's voice and continued in a cheerful voice, "I took him to the hot springs!"
"What!?" shouted the elite teacher. "You took the honourable-grandson too the hot springs t-to s-show him w-what he should l-look like!?"
The outrage on Ebisu's face was all too apparent. He was sweating again and his eyebrow was twitching. He also seemed on the verge of having a nosebleed.
"What? I had to show him how he should look! You would have screamed if you'd seen what he transformed into on his first tries!" Naruto shouted back. They were loud, but the initial hostility that Ebisu had shown was not to be seen. It was more like he was shouting out of principle.
"W-What is t-this behaviour!?" Ebisu continued, "S-such behaviour is in-indecent! I will not forgive it! How rude! K-Kids have no right to look through the hole in the fence at the second level, above the entrance of the women's bath house!"
Naruto's face went blank. Ebisu was a pervert, a closet-pervert, since he was in denial. He'd just admitted to know about the frequently used spy-hole for Konohagakure's peeping population (which was a rather large amount of the inhabitants).
"You know about the hole too," Naruto informed the panicking shinobi.
"I-I do not know w-what you're talking about! Aha ha-ha-ha! No, no, kids today! Not knowing their place! Yes, yes that's it! Heh, imagine me looking at n-naked women! How absurd! How rude!" Ebisu continued, all the time smiling like a mad-man.
This time, Naruto didn't think twice about summoning over twenty clones to his side. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" he shouted, filling the clearing with Narutos.
Ebisu seemed to calm down a bit. He almost seemed relieved to get his mind off what he had just heard. "So, you want to fight me now, eh?" he taunted. "I warn you, I am a Jônin, not a Chuunin, like the traitor Mizuki. I will not go down easy."
Ebisu's tone was light, almost relieved. Naruto didn't even think about his own smile, and how it gave a clear message that he had no serious intention of harming Ebisu.
Naruto didn't answer the taunt either; he and his clones just weaved the necessary hand-seal and cried out "Henge!" in union to a baffled opponent.
With several puffs of smoke not one Naruto was left to bee seen. In their stead were over twenty young blond girls with thin lines of smoke covering up their more personal areas.
If that wasn't enough, all the girls suddenly started swarming the baffled shinobi that was now sweating like a pig, with a stupid expression on his face.
They latched onto arms and legs, caressed his chin and kept making exited noises, all in the effort to break this closet-pervert once and for all.
With a final twitch of his eyebrow, the shinobi shot backwards, off his feet, propelled by a stream of blood shooting out of his nose.
"I call that my Haremu no Jutsu!" Naruto stated excitedly to, the now unconscious, Ebisu. He figured that the smile on the pervert's face was an indication of him not being seriously harmed.
At least this pervert was no longer in denial.
The effectiveness of the technique was astounding. Not only had its predecessor defeated the village's strongest ninja, now this new variation had defeated a Jônin.
If he kept this up, he might be able to create techniques strong enough to defeat an entire village like this. A thought of Sasuke's face with the expression Ebisu had after his defeated entered his mind's eye.
The mental image was enough to make Naruto bark out in laughter, and he didn't stop laughing before he was well home.
When he finally opened the door, it was about eleven o'clock. He was tired but happy with how the day had played out. The prank at the end was just a bonus, a joyful change from the highlight it once had been.
He'd gotten a student, a rival and respect for his ability as a teacher. Not to mention that he had learned something cool. At least how to do something that was cool, once he got it right however, it would be really cool. All in all, it had been a great day.
As he walked by the mirror, he paused. He looked different without his jacket on. His goggles hung around his neck also did something to the overall picture.
He looked carefree, more relaxed. Maybe he should continue to just use a t-shirt? Kami knew that some days could get unbearably hot in the jacket.
He could perhaps have a short-sleeved mesh-shirt underneath, like Shikamaru used under his open jacket.
With a nod he decided to try it out. He needed to place the Uzumaki symbol on his new uniform though. He hated working with needle and thread, but it would probably be worth it.
His goggles were usually placed on his forehead, keeping his hair out of his eyes. Now they hung rather loosely around his neck, looking much more carefree. He also saw that if the goggles had been his hitai-ite, it would be perfect protection for his throat. 'People always say that I'm a knucklehead anyway…'
He took off his goggles and placed them by his hitai-ite, before picking up the official sign of Konoha and tied it around his neck. He thought it looked good, so he decided that he would try wearing it like that the next day. Maybe people would notice.
Later as he got ready for bed, he thought back on the large Ero-Sennin that he'd dreamt about the night before. It had been a great dream, and he had actually learned something from it.
Not many could say that they learned important lessons from dreams. He hoped that he would dream about the old man again, maybe he would teach him a cool jutsu next, that would be really cool.
With that final thought, he went to sleep.
Jiraiya wasn't even halfway finished with his goal for the day. There was so much new information to acknowledge. Threats, events, jutsus and detailed mission data that had yet to play itself out. He had started to write things down, just in case he would loose the memories as fast as he gained them.
At first he had thought it was the works of a genjutsu, but after a reverse summoning to the great sage's side, he had been convinced. Naruto had actually found a way to either travel in time, or the more likely alternative, found a parallel dimension, which was this one.
The funny part was that Naruto had flunked out with minor calculations and not with the big ones. He had been so preoccupied with the danger to the original through use of Kage Bunshin that he had focused entirely on the security aspect of the jutsu. He had completely forgotten about where the memories would go after they dispelled.
The memories, which should return to the original, didn't return to the other dimension, as there were a couple of sources of chakura that was indistinguishable from their sources nearer to them in this dimension. So, as energies goes, they sought out their sources counterpart, which was the same but much closer.
So here was Jiraiya, not the one that was a toad sitting atop of the Hokage's head, but a younger version on the same individual, with a nation's worth of information.
The old shinobi was thankful to the dimensional counterpart of his godson for not only arming Konoha with enough knowledge to fight off several invasions and terrorist attacks, but enough to prevent all out shinobi world war.
With that though came sobering realizations. His godson would probably be in the same situation as he himself was in. More knowledge than what was healthy. He would have to send word to Konoha about how important he would be, so they wouldn't think him crazy or worse.
Naruto, the little boy that he'd named. He'd completely forgotten about that fact until this morning. He knew who he was of course, but he didn't know the boy. He'd seen him a few times over the years, but hadn't talked to him since he was three years old. Too busy keeping an eye on Orochimaru's whereabouts and now the Akatsuki organisation.
It was important work, and there were few others that could do it, but it still saddened him to think about how lonely Naruto had been growing up.
With the memories, there also came the knowledge and impression he'd gotten through conversation with Naruto throughout his other life. Naruto had been safer, but that wasn't enough for a child. Even though it had shaped and formed a person out of legend (which Jiraiya himself had created), and brought peace and prosperity to the shinobi world.
He felt both apprehensive and happy to finally meet Naruto. It was no telling how he'd act now that he too knew what…could have transpired in the future. Would he be angry, happy? Only time would tell.
With a sigh he continued his recording work. There was so much to be done.
End of chapter 1.
Finally, I've figured out how to replace chapters on . Yes, I am an idiot. Updated: 09/12/09 (Updated again 10/15/09)
Hiraishin (Lightning rod) was the Yondaime's signature jutsu (as if you didn't know that). We all know that it was used with a special kunai, with seals decorating the handle. That's why I think it's fair to call it a sealing technique and the reason why no one else have been able to copy it (except maybe Madara). As its name implies, the seals work as a lightning rod, drawing the user too the seal in the blink of an eye. I believe that it is a teleportation technique that moves the user with the speed of light, and solid material cannot move at that speed, only energy (Or the particles that light is made of). That's my guess on how Madara managed to escape from Shino, as light wouldn't have made the bugs move at all. Anyway, the theory of Naruto's use of the jutsu in this chapter, is that he was able to shoot the energy that Hiraishin transform the user into, into another, almost identical, dimension. An 'AU' if you will. Either that, or he accidentally created a dimension on his own…anyway, that is where this story is placed. In an identical, alternative universe.
Jiraiya did die in the other universe (the sender universe), but as Orochimaru, he found a way back. He is now, then, reborn a Toad, as he found the afterlife a dull place to be. He plans to play a cruel prank on Tsunade in the future, tricking her into kissing him, saying that only a kiss from his true love will turn him into a human again. In the sender universe, this has yet to play itself out fully. It is however not important to the story, so I won't go further into it.
Naruto doesn't have the memories because he is so young. He receives the memories, through dreams and feelings. Jiraiya is older and a much more experienced information gatherer, as the professional shinobi he is, he is able to remember what 'his' clone left behind. There is nothing else that caused the difference between Naruto and Jiraiya's situation (except the different severity of their headaches).
(This is nothing but speculations on my part, gathered from conversations with friends, nothing scientifically proven or researched): I know this is almost like a time-travel-story, and in that regard, it was supposed to be. However, I was struck by the thought that even if one was to go back in time to change things, the place you left would still exist, without you and without change. Either that or just not exist at all. In short, you would have left everyone you love behind (or killed them outright). Even if you start changing things for the better, where you are going, it's not the same place as from where you came from. That's why I settled on Kage Bunshin, and memory transfer across parallel dimensions. It seemed much more fair to both Narutos (the grown one in the dreams, and the young one in the story), and everyone that loves him.
Naruto won't get things right away, but he will get more jutsu, and learn faster then he does in canon. The tree-walking was not planned, I just needed something that was easy to learn, and not destructive. I want the story to be based more around shinobi ways (trickery and deception), and not so much about the jutsu involved (No fear, he will have several good jutsu as well).
My greatest fear is making Naruto too mature. I want Naruto to be a kid, but a little more thoughtful when he focuses (and that shouldn't be too often either). That, and making him too 'OOC'