Naruto awakens, his mind snapping to alert focus, his excessive training snapping him into reality almost too soon. The consequences of his excess training were slowly dwindling but he could still remember the times he went too far too fast and, quite literally, he nearly killed himself. His shadow clones took his orders to heart and nearly decapitated him for the first few weeks. He had immersed himself in his own private warzone, suffering the horrors of war, his clones transforming themselves into different ninja with different allegiances, forcing him to fight against all the great shinobi villages. As his power developed his clones would use the more specialized ninjutsu of the different villages, or as close as they could get through tedious research, attacking in groups of known alliances and random alliances that his clones could conceive of using. Trial by fire embodied the will of fire in Naruto's mind. This was how he started, and why he stopped. He became paranoid, like a veteran shinobi who had actually survived the wars. He was jumping at shadows, anyone who was nondescript, ninja, civilians, anyone who might be a clone in disguise waiting to end him. Even now he wasn't necessarily sure who was real and who wasn't regardless of the link he seemed to share with his clones. At least now he always woke up somewhere safe and alone. It gave his mind time to assess his surroundings and come down from the battle-ready state he woke up in.
As it was now he could smell breakfast cooking. Meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, breads, it was a veritable feast every time they had a meal together, which was almost every meal. They ate exactly the right formula of nutrients to make sure they grew as quickly as possible, to develop lean, strong, dense muscle and to keep their internal organs flushed of toxins and healthy. Naruto had thoroughly researched dietary requirements and had come up with a specific diet for each of them. He ate almost as much as Chouji did, and that had surprise the others at first, but they quickly became accustomed to the chaotic meals. Food was often served by being thrown through the air, residual chakra sticking it to the plates it was on, or if it could be used as a projectile it was. They had only had a few tame meals when they all came together and hadn't loosened up yet. Now it was pure chaos. Kami forbid anyone else comes to one of their meals without announcing themselves.
Naruto dressed in his combat uniform, gathered his weapons and equipment, and checked his seal storage tattoos that held his mission gear and more equipment. He was always ready for action, just like a good shinobi. The others had opted not to have the tattoos added to their bodies, just to carry the sealing scrolls Naruto had manufactured for them. In this moment he realized how well prepared they all were for anything, all the time. With this thought he headed out to the battlefie…breakfast table.
Chouji was busily preparing breakfast for everyone, knowing the best way to get their approval on an idea was to stuff their hungry maws first and take every grunt they made as acceptance. It had worked for him in the past, and had even been used by Naruto to get Sasuke to agree to their residence in his home. They were all quite happy with the results.
Shikamaru's lazy streak had been brutally stomped from him by Naruto, and he could be found assisting Chouji by setting the table and making sure everything was arranged for optimum food sharing. They sat at a large table, with a large path missing down the middle. It was large enough that Chouji could comfortably walk down it, and that was how they loaded the table with their sustenance. It made it easier than crawling over everyone, especially Kiba, who must have woke up the earliest to bathe every day, also thanks to Naruto, and be at the table, bouncing up and down in his chair excitedly awaiting the feast that would be laid out before him.
Hinata typically arrived at some point during the preparation to help with the final table settings. Her graceful movements allowed her to carry nearly overflowing pitchers of milk and fruit juice to satisfy all her friends. When Naruto had proposed their nutritional requirements she had taken to them passionately, mother-henning over their nutritional needs with Chouji.
Shino sat down, meals always a slight struggle for him with his kikaichu bugs. They could smell the delicious food and wanted to immediately help themselves, but he was able to rein them in now that these meals had become routine to them. There were never any scraps to clean up thanks to his bugs.
Sasuke and Naruto usually seemed to slip in last, but no one was really sure whether they slipped in last or they didn't notice them until the table was set. They were the quietest of the group, Hinata a close third, making no sound as they moved even when fully loaded with ninja gear. It was really something special to watch them walk across a room, not disturbing a thing, making no noise. It was like watching Kami and the Shinigami walk to you, unflappable, silent, and unstoppable. Their aura of power was inspiring to the other members of the group, knowing that Naruto trained Sasuke the hardest to ensure he was ready for his goal.
Now that they had all assembled, the table was loaded, and the glasses filled to the brim, a moment of silence preceded the chaos before the food began flying. Only ninjas could possibly eat like graceful barbarians. As everyone stuffed their faces before the day's warm up, prior to the team meetings Chouji thought now would be the best time to propose his idea.
"Hey guys, I thought of something we could do last night." Chouji began hesitantly. Naruto's eyes looked inquisitively at him over his glass, while the others slowed their eating and gave him their divided attention. "I was thinking, we do these group meals and they've been great for us, so what do you say Saturday when we do group meal day we invite our sensei? Build up camaraderie and what not?"
"What about Ino and Sakura?" Sasuke posed the question, swallowing an abnormally large mouthful of food, causing tears to spring to his eyes.
"We could invite them as well. Maybe it would break their poor dietary habits and make them feel like a part of our group," Hinata commented. The chaos of the initial plate filling had calmed, and aside from how quick they were eating, the table was oddly well mannered.
"We could make a day of it, take supplies to the training grounds, make it a barbeque," Shikamaru added idly.
"Sounds good, let's make it this Saturday, that gives us two days to plan it and get enough food for everyone, I mean think about how much we eat. We'll be inviting a few more ninjas. I'd bet anything no one sees Kakashi's face the entire time," Sasuke remarked.
Naruto stood up from the table, not saying another word, carrying his dishes into the kitchen and slipping out into the back yard. No one noticed him leave, but everyone noticed him being gone and quickly cleaned up, hurrying out into the yard to begin their morning warm up.
The ninjas began to warm up, stretching their muscles, popping their joints and stretching one another's bodies beyond the limit to ensure that they were getting more and more flexible, for that less second dodge, that last little millimeter that would have you dodge a kunai. It was entirely necessary, and many people seemed to neglect training their body in ways to dodge every little thing or pushing their minds to increase their chakra pools. They began working out, lifting weights and jogging around, sparring with clones. There was no training today, just enough to get them off to their teams.
I'm trying to speed up my updates so if no one minds I'd like to make short chapters like movie scenes. So far the constant slew of favorites has kept up my interest in writing this beast and I'm incredibly happy with where it's headed. I've decided to adjust my focus to keep it Naruto-centric and I'll use this team meal mechanic when I can to flashback to what the others did. Thanks, and would you kindly write me a review?