Chapter One: Soru!
Disclaimer: All things that appear below are the property of their legal owners. Having noted this, it applies to both those things published respectably and those things directly stolen off of other fanfictions and fanfiction authors. Thank you. (By to by, it's flattery, not theft.)
Author's Note: For those of you who don't know, Kumadori is from One Piece, as is the Rokushiki, which is extended into the Kyushiki to better fit the ninja world. Also, a lot of this is about irony and wordplay, more so than... well, plot I guess.
#An Extremely Brief Prologue#
There once was a very large fox, which happened to have nine long, somewhat dangerous tails. This fox was exploring the woods one day when suddenly, and for no apparent reason a very large swarm of tiny, tiny humans attacked it. Naturally, the fox of unusual size killed them all before continuing on its way. More humans appeared, again and again, with the apparent intent of pissing off the fox.
Then a very large toad appeared. Now, everyone knows that foxes eat toads, so what happened next, which involved biting and lots of jumping, shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone. No, what should have been surprising was that the toad not only survived, but also that one of the tiny, tiny humans defeated the rather large fox.
And so, everyone in the hidden village, which had in fact been completely concealed from the giant fox, who had simply been wandering around, resolved to torment the baby that had played an as of yet unmentioned but vital role in saving their ungrateful asses. This led to the boy having to scavenge through trash at a young age in order to survive. And it just so happens that in the trash one day, there was an interesting book, entitled "The Tales Of Kumadori The Lion".
So the much despised child took the book home and struggled to read it every so often, never quite realizing that Kumadori wasn't actually a lion, but a sennin or that none of the skills listed in it had ever actually been designed to work in the real world. In fact, despite the fantasy qualities it had, the book eventually became the main source of technique knowledge for the child, as nobody really bothered to pay enough attention to teach him anything, let alone tell him that what he was trying to do shouldn't work.
Had they noticed in time, our story would never have happened.
Chapter 1: Soru
A blond boy, who incidentally happened to be the child from the prologue, yawned. This prompted an annoyed grunt from a raven haired boy nearby and a beratement by a pink haired girl.
The children, Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno respectively, had been sitting around a red and white bridge awaiting their new sensei, one Kakashi Hatake. They had been there for almost four hours, and it was almost nine now. Yes, nine in the morning, cause it wouldn't make much sense for ninja classes to run at night when sneaking around would be so much easier, but then again these ninja wear identifying headbands that shouted to everyone that see them: "I come from this village and am a viable threat", so they are perhaps not the best ninja to expect ninja-like behavior from. Anyways, for those who don't know much math, this means they had been up since five. Yes, AM. Yes, that is quite early.
Not only that, due to the instructions of their somewhat dubious instructor, none of them had bothered to eat breakfast, so they were all grouchy too. And then there was the fact that to some degree they all hated one of the others at this point and loved the one who happened to hate them. Hopefully what this means is fully understood from just that implication and doesn't need to be stated explicitly. And for those of you new to the genre, Naruto has a crush on Sakura. ...A moment should perhaps also be taken to explain that Sasuke's examples of love included a father who ignored him for being weak, a mother who was absent on missions more often than not and a brother that murdered every other member of his family, extended or close, before burning the memory into his little brother's head repeatedly as a parting gift... so his view of how to get and express affection was somewhat... skewed.
But as this is once again getting off track and also somewhat creepy to speculate about as it makes disturbing sense in favor of those crappy yoai authors being canon-ish, especially when one considers how Naruto might view affection after the way he was raised before adding in his odd affection for Sakura, who hits him regularly, and that breaking an arm is Itachi's way of saying "nice to see you again brother", Kakashi appeared in a poof of smoke and leaves.
He produced two bells, two bentos and a long winded explanation that amounted to jack as he was, number one: lying, number two: never going to back up the lesson with repetition if they got through it the first time anyways and number three: ordered by the council to let them pass. The gist of it was simple, get a bell by noon or go back to the academy. There was a slight problem, however. He, a jounin, would be defending the bells. For a lot of ninja this would be a problem, for brand-new, not even genin yet? Well, it should be pretty easy to see where this is going.
But enough with this digressive chapter introduction.
Kakashi was relaxed. While the genin were in a do or die moment, this was his idea of just another day at the office. He watched two of the potential genin scamper off for cover and manage to conceal themselves pretty well, for genin. The third one though, just stood there, looking like he was struggling to think. The strange, business suit-like outfit that appeared to have been made from an orange jumpsuit, combined with the enormous mane of blonde hair and downright bizarre white and red face paint made him look like two thing, an idiot and Jiraiya. Okay, maybe that was one thing.
But then again, Jiraiya was a very dangerous idiot, so Kakashi didn't lower his guard completely.
"Um, sensei, how are we suppose to do that?"
That is, until the idiot spoke. Kakashi sighed as he leaned back against a tree and pulled out a copy of Icha Icha Soldier to pass the time. "Just try your hardest, I'm sure you'll do fine." The jounin lied.
"Uh, okay. Soru." The idiot spoke again, disappearing from one end of the clearing and reappearing on the opposite side of the unsuspecting jounin.
Kakashi was many things, most of which could be used to insult others if talking to reasonable people or most women, but he was also a good ninja. As a good ninja, a certain part of his mind was always running on a paranoid, 'don't ever let anything get behind you' instinct while he was conscious. This allowed him to whirl and perform an open palm strike in less than a single second. An open palm strike aimed at the level of another adult's head or throat, well above most of Naruto's hair. Most of it.
This also caused his mind to fault, taking a split second to realize what just happened and another split second to attach that speed to something similar. Then about four or five instances were spent freaking out over someone else using the Hiraishin and another twelve moments on panicking over how the pariah could have learned that ability. Within that time, a bell was taken, a flurry of weapons were hurled and a pink haired girl blinked in confusion. Then time resumed.
Poof. Went Kakashi in a puff of smoke as various shurikens and kunai impaled his body, which turned into a log.
"Damn." Muttered Sasuke as he tried to flee.
"Yo-yo-yo." Laughed Naruto, pocketing the bell.
"Baka." Murmured Sakura, forgetting what she just saw.
Kakashi considered his options. The Hiraishin being used by anyone needed to be reported to the Hokage immediately, but if he acted like anything was wrong it would draw attention to his students and someone else might find out Naruto was able to do that. Besides he was in the middle of a test. "Alright Naruto, you got a bell, so take a seat and we'll see if you're going to have any teammates or not." This was not going according to plan. The first clue should probably have been when Naruto included reindeer demons and rubber men as some of his dislikes. Pirates were to be expected in a list of dislikes from any self-respecting ninja, though it was odd for a mere genin to bring up that old rivalry. Oh well.
A quick shunshin and he was leaning casually against a tree as Sasuke ran towards it. "Going somewhere?" He could practically hear the Uchiha's thoughts as the genin's stance shifted around. Noting the prodigy had finalized on direct confrontation, he flipped a page as a cue.
The young shinobi leapt forward, throwing a small brace of kunai ahead of him to try and force the jounin to dodge in a certain direction.
Kakashi sidestepped out of the way and into the path of his charging would-be apprentice. With a casual air he blocked and parried a series of attacks with a narrow metal plate on the back of one glove, while still apparently reading and flipping pages. Finally the boy got frustrated and launched a massive fireball, catching the jounin off guard and managing to brush his fingers against the one remaining bell briefly. Right before the jounin countered and blasted him away with a single punch.
"Very good. Just what I'd expect from the rookie of the year. I'm surprised you could manage to pull off a grand fireball at your age." Kakashi shamelessly pandered to the last Uchiha. "But you should know that I'm a jounin for a reason."
Sasuke righted himself and stood defiant. "If the dobe could get a bell, then there's no way I'm going to lose." He charged again, with less forethought this time. The jounin dodged around before sinking the genin into the ground, up to his neck.
"Naruto is... special. His life has been very rough from a young age, it's expected for him to have a certain... power. Think of it as a kekkei genkai." The jounin tried to placate what was sure to be his prized student.
Said student glared back. "The dobe doesn't have a clan, how can he have a kekkei genkai?"
Kakashi paused before thinking of a way to explain it that would satisfy the boy's demands without saying too much. "We believe Naruto's family was completely destroyed when the Kyuubi attacked. No one really knows who his mother or father was, other than the fact that after he was born there was no one to claim him. For all we know, Naruto might be the last of his bloodline. His family might not even have been from Konoha, but simply gotten stuck when the Kyuubi appeared. Given that, he could be part of almost any clan in the Elemental countries or even part of a lost bloodline believed to be destroyed."
There, entirely truthful from his limited knowledge of the boy, yet also evasive enough to explain any unusual skills away as a kekkei genkai instead of as a result of the fox. Besides, if the boy's lineage was of any concern, the Hokage would have told him before putting the jinchuriki on his team. Come to think of it, Naruto was probably put here because the Hokage mistakenly believed Kakashi felt somehow responsible for what his sensei had been forced to do to the boy and would try to make it up to him. Hmph, sensei's debt was sensei's debt, much as he owed the man, his own debt to Obito would have to come first.
Nodding, he wandered off to find and torment the last genin on his team. He had to pass them obviously, the council wouldn't allow the last Uchiha to fail. Hey, maybe that was why the Kyuubi kid was on his team, with anyone else they'd fail the whole team to shoot him down. Yeah, that made sense.
One quick lesson in genjutsu later, he wondered if the kunoichi was placed on this team for a similar reason, there was no way she could become a genin otherwise.
And so it was that he came to pass out the bentos to Naruto and Sasuke, leaving the pink haired girl tied to a log. He had wanted to tie up the Kyuubi kid a little, but felt he should at least keep this part of his word about the bells until he could find an excuse to pass them all with. Hmm... "I'm going to get some lunch, you are not to feed Sakura while I'm gone. If you do, you all fail"
There. Now all he had to do was wait in a tree for them to give some of their food to the girl. Naruto was considering it. He kind of presented it to her... Sasuke starts trying to talk him out of it. It looks like they were about to start a fight. Sakura says something, Naruto looks crestfallen. Then he laughs and scratches the back of his head before he starts eating again.
Figures he'd be the only one willing to disobey a direct order. Getting these three to work together was going to be harder than expected, a little over half the teams he'd rejected could have passed on that technicality, if he had wanted them to.
What to do, what to do?
This was far more difficult than he had thought it'd be, shouldn't the Uchiha heir be a shining example of Konoha's teamwork? And shouldn't the Kyuubi child be the epitome of cold and unfeeling towards others? The pink hair girl was at least the abysmal fangirl he had expected. Maybe that's what he needed to use.
No, this was probably as close to teamwork as they were going to actually get. Best to wrap it up and call it a day. He poofed back in front of them, a look of sheer rage in his eyes.
"You all... you all... Pass." Ah, the look on their faces. He was actually going to enjoy this job.
"But, Kakashi-sensei, what about the bells?" The pinkette just had to be difficult, didn't she.
"This was all an exercise to see if you had the teamwork and concern necessary to work together. Teams are assigned in groups of three, you work as a group, you train as a group and you live as a group. If you could pass the qualifying test you have the skills necessary to become a genin, from there you have to have the ability to become part of a team. 'Those who break the rules are trash but those who abandon there friends are worse than trash.'" There, now everything was taken care of and he could blow off a few hours before reporting that his team passed.
"Sensei, I don't-" Honestly, wasn't this girl suppose to be a genius? The other two accepted this at face value, so why wouldn't she?
"Meet me tomorrow at nine for our first mission." Kakashi declared, popping off with another shunshin.
Sasuke smirked to himself and turned away, Naruto looked thoughtful and pulled the bell out of his pocket as he left and Sakura...
"Hey, Sasuke-kun..." Whined at the raven-haired boy's retreating back. "Wait, Sasuke-kun don't go! Please, cut me down first!"
"Don't worry Sakura-chan. I'll help you." The blonde told her, turning back around.
The pinkette sighed, it might not be her Sasuke-kun, but at least she wouldn't be tied to a log. "Alright, but be careful, I don't want any rope burns or..."
"No problem, Sakura-chan! Rankyaku!"
One of the blonde's legs lashed out in a blur that a jounin would be hard pressed to follow, creating a visible bluish ripple in the air that flew at the pinkette at an incredible speed. The pink haired girl froze, terrified beyond her capacity to comprehend. The distortion narrowly passed her right arm, cleanly slicing the rope, log and a distant tree trunk in two. Actually the rope was in more than two pieces if you think about it. In fact, so was the log, since it had once been part of a larger log that got cut into sections. The tree though, it had been in one piece before, so it actually was just two pieces now.
Inner-Sakura sighed as she realized Outer-Sakura had locked herself in again, leaving their body defenseless and vulnerable. Fortunately, Naruto-kun was there to protect them. She gave a second, contented sigh at that thought before she forced herself to deal with Outer-Sakura again.
"One of these days I'm going to figure out how to take control and we're jumping him." She muttered to herself, making the sobbing ball of red clothes and pink hair squirm and cry harder. "Alright, come on. Hand it over."
"But why? Why is-" Outer-Sakura uncurled slightly, facing her inner self. She was silenced as her inner self slipped one hand into her chest and started feeling around.
Inner-Sakura sighed again. "Because you decided on Sasuke and decided you wouldn't lose to Ino, no matter what. Because you refuse to work through it on your own and always end up here. Because I can't just take over the body and go after the one that really makes us happy. Because Naruto-kun really is everything you wanted to believe Sasuke was. Because survival and happiness aren't the same thing and my survival hinges on you and you refuse to face reality whenever something your views disagree with pops up. Now shut up and let me work."
Her forearm drifted around and across Outer-Sakura's body for a few minutes before drawing out half a dozen clear sphere with images playing inside them. "Let's see... The bastard wouldn't share with us, lost to sensei and just walked off when everything was over, leaving us tied up. Yeah, I can see why these were bothering you. And Naruto-kun's. Hmm... Cha! He got a bell! I knew he could do it! Ah, and he offered us his bento... Wow! What was that? That... that..." Inner-Sakura composed herself and wiped the blood off her upper lip. "And no doubt you were frightened by it. Hmph, he'd never hurt us and you know it." Inner-Sakura pressed the spheres against her own chest, letting them sink in through her skin. "Ah, almost like I was the one out there now."
She giggled slightly as she rounded on her outer self. Outer-Sakura looked somewhat better now, though she was still a little shaky. "Can't you suppress them more? They're still there and-"
Inner-Sakura shook her head. "There are too many for that. You need to either get through to your precious Sasuke soon or..."
Outer-Sakura snorted. "Or scrap up the bottom of the barrel."
Inner-Sakura thrust one hand at her, a collection of clear spheres flowing out of her palm. "You want your memories of Sasuke and Ino back?" Outer-Sakura blanched and backpedaled away. "I thought not. You should at least admit defeat with Sasuke before some harpy recognizes Naruto-kun's potential and snatches him up for herself."
"That'd never hap-"
"But she wouldn't-"
"We were lucky there. If she had been a proper, spoiled Hyuga princess she had already made him her own. As it is I think the bitch was peeking on him during class and we know she's stalking him at odd times. But if we've realized it and she's realized it, it's only a matter of time until a more proactive girl realizes and if we don't have him by then, he's as good as hers."
Inner-Sakura gave Outer-Sakura a flat look. "I have yet to be able to take over our body. Therefore, at the least, I have to share him with you. Though kami knows that with how much training you do we'll never have the stamina to keep up."
Outer-Sakura glared back, her cheeks pink from the implied message. "No, 'we' are going after Sasuke-kun."
"For now." Inner-Sakura muttered back darkly as her outer aspect faded from the empty green field that represented their mind.
Sakura found herself laying down with her head resting on something vaguely soft. She took a few moments to register in all of her other senses before opening her eyes. Thankfully, Naruto wasn't leaning over her with a worried look on his face, as she had expected. She sat up.
"Oh, Sakura-chan! You should have said something if you were so hungry you were gonna faint. Here you go."
Sakura turned to find Naruto, sans his orange suit-jacket, offering her what was left of a bento with a cup of steaming instant ramen. Somewhat grateful for the idiot's thoughtfulness, she accepted both. "Thanks Naruto."
"Yeah. Sorry about your dress." The idiot replied absently as he picked up his jacket and unfolded from where she'd been using it as a pillow.
Sakura froze. "My dress?"
"Yeah, I guess I was a little too close huh? B,but I'm sure it's not a big deal to fix, yo-yo-yo." He laughed awkwardly, one hand behind his head.
Sakura turned to look at her right sleeve. There was a rather narrow vertical slit that allowed her arm to show all the way up to her shoulder. She growled. "Na-ru-to! This was my favorite outfit!"
"Team 7 passes." Kakashi said plainly as he walked casually into the Hokage's office, a copy of Icha Icha Muyo in hand. "However, I think there's something you need to know about Naruto's skills..."
The Sandaime sighed. There were times he wished he was the one who had been smart enough to seal the Kyuubi and escape all this damn paperwork. "And that would be?" Kakashi eyed the window cautiously, making the elder ninja sigh again. With a few hand-signs he created a privacy barrier. "You may speak freely Kakashi."
"He used something greatly resembling the Hiraishin. At first I thought it was the actual jutsu until I noticed that he didn't use a seal to target me. It's obvious the Kyuubi has influenced..." The jounin trailed off as the Hokage laughed quietly.
"You have his file don't you, Kakashi? All his known and projected skills are listed there."
"Hokage-sama, I fail to see how his skills can be projected when I've never trained a genin team before. Also, there was almost nothing listed under current skills except for a few basic academy skills and some nonsense abilities I've never heard of before. For instance, what exactly is a sexy jutsu?"
Sarutobi coughed into his hand nervously at the memory of that particularly dangerous ability. "Never mind that jutsu, I have told him expressly that it's forbidden and is not to be used under any circumstances what-so-ever. As for the rest..." The elder opened a drawer in his desk and extracted a weather-beaten book that he quickly handed to Kakashi. "He is self-taught, using this as a guide."
"'The Tales Of Kumadori The Lion'?"
"It was written by a civilian during the second great age of piracy. The sennin it chronicles is ridiculous, the training methods listed are ludicrous and many of the characters have fanciful kekkei genkai, but otherwise it is an entertaining story about duties, dreams and regrets. Naruto's copy is much more heavily damaged and some of the pages are completely illegible. Yet..." The Hokage lit his pipe and puffed a few times, trying to relax. "Yet he has already mastered four of the skills listed, despite the book never once mentioning chakra, hand-signs or any real jutsu. The most realistic ability in the book is the power to walk on any surface, which is recommended to be learned after mastering how to 'kick off of air'. And as we both know how much chakra control it takes to 'air-walk' for even an instant... Check the index for Soru."
Shrugging, the shinobi did just that, flipping through the book to the end. "'Soru: a technique in which the user moves at incredibly high speeds in brief bursts to avoid attacks and to attack enemies. The main principle behind Soru is being able to kick off from the ground a minimum of ten times in the blink of an eye. The most fundamental of all Kyushiki, it can be trained by throwing a kunai at a target at least twenty feet away and then outrunning it to catch or deflect it before it hits the target.' ...With all due respect, Hokage-sama, I doubt any ninja is capable of that."
Sarutobi puffed on his pipe a few more times before answering. "No ninja should be, certainly. But the teachers at the academy were not the kindest to Naruto and never bothered to teach him anything. By the time I found out he was relying on this as a training guide, he had already learned the basics of two of the skills listed in it. At present he has mastered four and knows imperfect versions of the other two. Seeing as no one was willing to teach him, I felt it best to let him continue if only for his own protection. To my shame, I didn't bother to learn what the style entailed until later on and now I fear I may have allowed him to forge himself into a far worse weapon than Danzo ever could."
Kakashi flipped through a few more pages of the slightly damaged tome. "If I may, Hokage-sama?"
"Of course. He is going to be your student after all. Just keep in mind that they seem to work at least slightly differently than actually listed." The old man sighed yet again as the jounin vanished in a whirl of leaves, disrupting a few loose papers from their stacks.
Time passed despairingly slowly for the newly instated team 7. Outside of a few tasks, such as capturing abused cats and getting groceries, there weren't many places ninja skills could be used on a D-ranked mission. And anything above the most basic of basic skills was never needed, period. Topping this, Kakashi had then told them to limit themselves from even those and slacked his way out of training them.
As Sakura was still a love-struck, useless fangirl at this point, Inner-Sakura screaming out obscenities at her to train herself before she's left behind notwithstanding, and Naruto had an ancient, decrepit tome to follow the instructions of, become less legible with each new day, only Sasuke languished in this instance, having already mastered his clan's archive. Or at least what was left of his clan's archive.
Okay fine, he mastered the beginner's scroll to impress his classmates with his superiority and then accidentally left the rest of the archive out in the open to review only for it to rain later that day. It was his best kept secret, which was actually not the sort of thing that needed or even should be kept a secret. Had he asked, there were copies that could easily be made from the Hokage's tower as it had a record of every technique in the village hidden away.
But that would be admitting he made a mistake.
Besides, learning solely from text was hard and involved a lot of inferences and critical thinking, repeating the same exercises over and over again in mind-numbing tedium actually gave him a way to feel useful and stronger while he brooded, learning something new would interfere with that. It wasn't like he knew where his brother was and since he was easily the most powerful from his graduating class, why bother doing anything but resting on his laurels? He'd earned it. There wasn't a stronger genin in all the world, except maybe Naruto.
Dobe, definitely, idiot, absolutely, but he was still strong. There wasn't much proof, since they couldn't use their skills often, but he could feel it. Sense it. Taste it. The soft, gentle and alluring call of power, the feel of it radiated from his blond rival. Not only that, he was growing stronger at a rate that surpassed Sasuke's, rather paltry, own and that couldn't be allowed. So...
"I need a harder mission." The last Uchiha announced without preamble. "Give us a C-rank."
"Oh, and just why is that, Sasuke?" The Sandaime in the warm, congeal tone he often used in diplomatic meetings before having the other diplomats quietly assassinated by ANBU in disguise as foreign ninja. Of course, the genin didn't know or realize that the warm and friendly tone was solely to veil malice.
But surely the Hokage was above petty anger at a child for costing him one of his most valuable, capable, powerful and loyal shinobi in exchange for his pathetic, arrogant brother's life, right? Then again, being made a ninja in any capacity had promptly made the boy an adult, hadn't it? To think he'd let his would-be successor become a missing-nin for this... Still, the least he could do was make sure the younger brother was far too weak to kill the older and maybe someday, with Sasuke having died on a mission, Itachi could return to the village.
Team 7 represented one giant gamble on his part, Sasuke with Naruto to keep the squad from inner-village betrayals. Sasuke with Kakashi to keep him untrained, as Naruto fortunately had his own guide. Sakura with Sasuke to provide a distraction and also to prevent the boy from sparring effectively, hoping pride would drive him away from Naruto. Naruto with Kakashi to keep the Yondaime's legacy safe. The combination together to hopefully get Sasuke killed in line of duty one day, Sakura being an acceptable casualty, while leaving Kakashi with a more determined work-ethic in the best case and basically useless in the worst with Naruto emerging more or less unscathed.
Much as he hated treating his ninja as pawns, it was a skill a good kage needed and he was perhaps the best, longest running kage in the world. As in this case, it had its uses.
"I need to get stronger." The impatient child declared in way of explanation. Though honestly, if he wanted to get stronger, taking a potentially fatal, higher ranked mission was not exactly the best way to go. Then again, life and death struggles could substitute months of training if done right.
"Kakashi hasn't been training you?" The kage feigned surprise, already knowing the answer. He sorted through the papers on his desk, seeking a C-ranked mission that he knew the client was lying about.
"I have been teaching them patience, discipline and the importance of following orders." The jounin covered beautifully. If Sarutobi hadn't known him for years, he might have been convinced. "Patience through having to wait each morning, discipline through accomplishing tasks the hard way and..." The jounin's eye rolled in his head slightly, before staring upward, trying to think of how to claim he'd taught them to follow orders.
"Be that as it may, Kakashi, do you feel your team is ready to perform C-ranked missions at this time?"
"Of course, I have every faith in them." Kakashi's answer was as dutiful and prompt as any shinobi's should be.
"I see. And how does the rest of the team feel about it?" It took a lot for the old man not to cackle maniacally, his plan falling together far sooner than he'd thought it would. He might have let Orochimaru live, twice in fact, but this brat was never near or dear to him and he wasn't the idealistic fool he had been. No, the Uchiha would be dead before he had a chance to betray this village. After personally training... no, creating the monster that Orochimaru became, it was easy to see the signs early on.
"Um, well... I, ...If, if Sasuke thinks we can..." The pink-haired genin murmured in way of an answer, her cheeks turning red as she stolen not-so-hidden glances at her raven-haired teammate.
Casualty nothing, if she died, she deserved it.
"Yoyoi." Naruto began, hopping on one foot and going into an exaggerated kabuki pose as a drum mysteriously began to beat in the background and cherry blossom petals started drifting in a breeze that had no right to exist in a closed room, let alone a kage's office. "To a ninja..." The blond bounced off from the one foot and started hopping on the other one. "To a ninja..." He landed on both feet, taking on a dramatic pose as a backdrop of a sunset, clearly painted on something, appeared behind him, his shadow growing tall across it as though there was a spotlight on him. "Neh, to a ninja... there is a road to battle that can never be avoided!" The drums hit a dramatic beat and were accompanied by woodblocks as yet more sakura petals fell from above. And then-
"You idiot, what are you thinking! This is the Hokage's office! Where did you get all these cherry petals from?" Sakura shrieked, pounding the blond on the head and dispelling the genjutsu backdrop and lighting, revealing the petals to be real. She quickly shut out Inner-Sakura as the persona lamented how sweet he was to use sakura petals while they were out of season, clearly a symbol that his love for her never wavered.
So much like Jiraiya, yet so completely different. "Naruto, you know what I told you about reciting lines." The Sandaime admonished, privately amused.
"Hai, hai." The boy sighed and stood up on his own again, giving a thumbs up. "Yoyoi. As with the sunrise, a ninja must always perform their duty."
The Sandaime had a sudden premonition that he must never, ever allow Gai to talk to Naruto.
The boy sighed again and stood pouting. "Fine... Jiji-san, I know we're ready for this!"
The Hokage smiled at that. Even the minuscule choice of words between 'I'm ready' and 'we're ready' was an indication of how well Naruto embodied the ideals that made Konoha so powerful. He truly was fit to be Hokage one day. Of course he was assuming they'd be on an actual C-ranked mission, instead of the mission he was about to give them, so his miscalculation could be forgiven.
If he survived the coming trial, though honestly Sarutobi doubted anything short of an A-rank nin could survive the initial surprise of his fighting style. "Very well. Please send Tazuna in."
It was a dry summer's day when team 7 and their temporary charge left the village, which through sheer size should be considered at least a town by now, hidden in the leaves. They traveled bravely forth, towards Wave Country, each not knowing when or even if they would ever see their beloved village again. Except none of them were thinking anything along those lines, being more concerned and annoyed with their client's drinking habits and rabbling, so the mood was decided less tense and more apathetic than one might would expect from the preceding sentence.
They walked down the road in a simple triangle formation, Sasuke on point looking bored and broody and trying to ignore Sakura's babbling and Tazuna's rabbling.
Sakura, to the right trying hopelessly to say something meaningful and important to Sasuke about this being their first time outside the village while hoping desperately that she didn't sound stupid or unnatural, leading to a nervousness that would not allow her to stop speaking as her crush didn't seem to notice her and shutting up would be far too sensible, making her words pour out in long, semi-coherent forms, much like this very sentence.
Tazuna, in the middle of them, taking swigs of some unidentified substance in a clay bottle and muttering to himself in an attempt to not feel bad about leading these children to their deaths.
Naruto, on the left, fiddling with a staff with interlocked iron loops at the top while trying to decipher his own handwritten notes as bring his book along was far, far too dangerous.
And finally Kakashi, outside the formation, walking just barely on the edge of the road ahead of Sakura, reading an orange book and giggling perversely every few seconds.
Yes, this intrepid group was having the time of their lives, keeping a cautious eye open for any danger and truly taking their first C-ranked mission with the wariness it warranted. In other words they were bored out of their skulls and not paying any attention to their surroundings... Except Kakashi, who, as we've already covered, is a good ninja and therefore too paranoid to not systematically observe and register what was going on nearby, though he honestly was as relaxed as he ever could be. Kind of makes you wonder, since he was a ninja from the moment he could walk for all intents and purposes, how he hadn't suffered a nervous breakdown by now. But that wasn't really important, the important thing was that his inability to feel safe prompted him to notice, categorize, analyze and then dismiss the two chunin hiding in a fake puddle the moment they were within three-hundred yards of him.
Dismiss, of course, because he wanted to see what his team was capable of in a potentially fatal conflict. A potentially fatal conflict that thanks to his lack of training and the amount of time since the group had last used their ninja skills, theoretically, was several level more dangerous than it should be, even for freshly graduated genin. He did this for one reason and one reason only, the Sharingan needed a belief that death was about to occur, that it's user was about to be killed, to activate and he lacked the will to try convince Sasuke he was trying to kill him himself.
And if the other two got hurt, well, these things happen. Letting them die would be bad, naturally, but wasn't the Sharingan more important in the long run?
A spiked chain coiled suddenly around Kakashi's body. Honestly, chain-users? One raiton and they were goners, this was pathetic. He was almost tempted to escape on principle, but unfortunately Sasuke truly needed this. So he let the chain pull apart the shards of drift wood he replace himself with.
"Soru!" The first action of the fight, aside from the jounin's apparent slaying, was for both blond and drunk to disappear.
The assailants took offense to this and screamed an obscenity only to have it turn into a dismayed squawk when a kunai caught part of their chain and embedded it into a tree. They were briefly thrashed by an Uchiha, but as it was Sasuke Uchiha, their thrashing will not be described in detail to keep any amount of coolness from being attributed to said Uchiha. In fact, beating on some helpless, startled and confused nuke-nin chunin who were so very weak and vulnerable to sudden chain-based handicaps was a cruel and highly abusive thing to do. Naturally the Uchiha smirked arrogantly while savagely performing merciless taijutsu moves against them.
Fortunately the chunin you should by now feel very, very sorry for managed to gather their wits despite being attacked in the most painful, but surprisingly least damaging ways possible. Merely another facet of the Uchiha's sadism, clearly. Or perhaps incompetence.
They quickly released said chain and remarkably, despite what had to be aggravating injuries, matched their vicious attacker in a one-on-one stale-mate of parries and evasions. But as it was one-on-one and at a supposed chunin level it also won't be detailed here as a certain raven-haired individual is still involved while a mere genin, thereby implying he is skilled.
Instead we shall look to the left out twin who, upon seeing only one target left and knowing the sacred ninja vow of dueling by heart, decided that he'd rather not sit and watch his brother beat-up a stupid kid who fought like a rabid dog, except less intelligently. He dove at the pink-haired, flat-chested kunoichi, claw extended and roaring to get her to stop staring at her demented, abusive teammate.
Her reaction made him reconsider that she could be some kind of civilian as the moment she saw him she froze. But it didn't really matter, he was already flying forward and no force in this world was going to stop him from tearing out her heart now. Shame she was only an A-cup, but not everyone you ripped the heart out of was going to have a set of Ds. On the bright side he was at least sure this one was female.
As his claw stretched forward unimpeded, a sudden orange mass appeared in front of him, topped by another mass of bright yellow, spiky fluff. Ah dammit, it was the male genin and there was no way to stop the technique. The move was designed to grope women while killing them, dammit, so why couldn't he ever get to actually use it on one?
Behind Naruto Sakura's eyes widened as a gout of blood shot from his chest into the air. One arm grabbed his opponent's and a leg reared back slightly before...
A bluish wave of energy appeared at point blank range, carving into the nuke-nin as it launched him back in an explosive burst. The former mist-nin, and now former demon brother, landed five meters away, a deep gash running diagonally from one thigh to the opposite collar bone, a stream of blood following after his freshly created corpse.
As this distracted the other brother, his petty and dishonorable advisory stabbed a kunai deep into the side of the man's torso, leaving him to slowly drown in his own blood with the typical heartlessness one would expect from a traitor. It was almost a direct contrast to the face-to-face, nigh instantaneous death his brethren had received.
Of course Sakura was in no condition to compare them at that point, having fainted almost immediately after she was saved to get her new memories smothered down by another aspect of herself. Naruto caught her limp body, ignoring the incredibly painful and poisonously slow healing wound he had received defending her in favor of making sure that she was alright.
At that moment their disappointed jounin-sensei reappeared, shaking his head sadly. "Naruto, while protecting the client is important, you shouldn't have abandoned your teammates like that. Not only that, but now we don't have anyone to interrogate since you killed your opponent." He spoke in a nonchalant way, partially impressed but mostly worried that Sasuke would interpret any praise as favoritism to the blond.
Contrary to his expectation, Sasuke managed to figure out that Kakashi was another mindless supporter and reacted as he always did when confronted by them. He brooded. Stupid jackass of a sensei was standing in his way, coddling him. He understood now, Kakashi was just another fangirl-type like the whole freaking village.
You see, Sasuke didn't brood over others being better than him, or over his past... well, maybe a little over his past... Far and away the thing that made him brood most was fangirls and fangirl-ism. Anytime he encountered someone who liked him because he was the last Uchiha and not Sasuke Uchiha, he brooded. And from that simple fact he spent almost all day, everyday brooding.
Being pensive, that is, not incubating.
And by now it was starting to reach a point where he was assuming that anyone who liked him was automatically after the 'Last Uchiha' and not the real him. Naruto was perhaps the only person who honestly offered him friendship at any point and he'd scorned it, believing the boy simply wanted to be friends with the 'Last Uchiha'. Despite regretting it, a bit, pride would not allow him to change stances or apologize, so he let each passing day build more and more resentment towards him rather than being a normal person and admitting any fault.
He was still a broody bastard, just not for the reason most people tended to assume.
To prove this, Kakashi immediately jumped to the conclusion that Sasuke's brooding was not in fact a cry for someone to look past his title as the last of his clan, choosing instead to believe the boy was displeased that his victim had been the second one to die. He quickly devised a way to make Sasuke feel better about it.
"And allowing yourself to get hit simply to land a cleaner reprisal is absolutely unacceptable for a ninja. Where did you learn such an incompetent fighting style?" The boy fidgeted uncomfortably, but Kakashi was willing to concede at that point. Assuming he truly mastered the Kyushiki he would be a perfect weapon for the village and while that unneeded now, there could well come a day he would be required. "Forget it. Get Tazuna, we'll be moving on shortly."
Having seen two chunin get absolutely decimated by two genin that they had ambushed, he had little worry of what might be encountered further down the road.
Indeed, he was so absorbed in picking apart the fight that he hardly noticed Tazuna's return or how Naruto picked up Sakura before they continued on, outside of an off-hand comment that carrying her had better not effect his stamina later in the mission.
I have never seen a fanfic where Sarutobi has recognized the signs that Sasuke will betray the village, despite having trained Orochimaru. Suspected, sure, but out and out known, never. Neither have I seen one where he arranged the teams to the ends he has here. Oh, Sasuke and Naruto together to let him pass, sure. Naruto and Kakashi so Naruto is safe, all to often. But Sasuke with the others so he can't/won't receive proper training as two are useless for training and pride will keep him from working with the dobe? Never. Then again, I don't remember one where the Hokage wanted Sasuke dead from the start.
I also don't believe that I've seen one where he knew Tazuna, or indeed any client, lie about the mission despite being a ninja and therefore, theoretically, being able to tell when some petty civilian lies to him. Hence, instead of being mistakes, the under-ranked missions become a sort of right of passage to see which ninja deserve to advance prior to whatever criteria being met. Keeping your head while in an unexpected life and death situation should be something a ninja has, after all.