Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and do not claim to. This story is merely for entertainment uses only.
It is said that a single event, no matter how small and insignificant, can bring about amazing change. These changes could result in great and wonderful things… or consume everything in an evil and terrible fire. Regardless, a small change begets a drastic outcome… a small thread that unravels a massive cloth.
Naruto Uzumaki tapped his foot in annoyance as he leaned against the massive stone walls of Konohagakure. He was supposed to have left with Ero-Sennin almost an hour ago, but the perverted sage had yet to show up. He grit his teeth as the annoyance quickly became anger. He expected this from Kakashi-Sensei, but he was not going to spend the next three years waiting around while his new teacher was out peeping at women.
He pushed himself off the wall and kicked the dirt. Why did he always get the lazy and perverted senseis? It would be nice to just once get someone as focused and dependable as Gai… well maybe not quite that much. He went to kick the dirt again, but froze as a large shadow covered him. He spun around and looked up at Jiraiya's smiling face. Naruto scowled and sucked in a massive lungful of air as he prepared to let the sage know just how ticked he was.
"You really have no talent do you?" Jiraiya said.
The insult died right on Naruto's lips. He sputtered for a moment before he regained his composure and pointed an accusing finger at the old man.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Naruto asked.
"I've been watching you for almost an hour. You never noticed me, even though I did little to hide my presence. You didn't notice the cute little Hyuga girl staring at you from behind the corner." A soft eep was heard followed by the crashing of trash bins and screeching cats. "And instead of putting in an hour of training, you sat here stewing about me being late."
"What's your point?" Naruto blinked in confusion. He always waited for Kakashi so why did he have to do anything different now?
Jiraiya sighed in defeat and scratched the back of his head with a small frown. He walked past his young charge and started down the path.
"Just try to use your time wisely gaki, come on let's go."
Hinata sprinted through Konoha's back alleys as her heart pounded against her chest. She had been caught! Oh God, Naruto must have thought she was some kind of stalker. She dove into the bushes that lined the Hyuga compound and crawled into a small hole that went under the wall. It was her own private way of getting around without being noticed. She knew she didn't need it, but she always felt uneasy when she walked out the front. It was like everyone was scrutinizing her. Where was she going? Why was she going? Why didn't she walk right? Who was she going to meet?
It was maddening.
She crept through the backyard and hopped up onto the deck silently. She had memorized every floorboard and knew which ones creaked and groaned. Over the years, she had mapped out the entire compound and knew where to step and how much weight to put down. Even in a place full of Byakugan users, she was fairly confident she could move about undetected. It was at least easier than having to face any of them.
She darted into a dark corner as she heard muffled voices coming from the other side of the door. She recognized the voices immediately. It was her father, and her grandfather the Elder. Her heartbeat started to race again. When they talked, it never bode well for her.
"You must stop stalling, Hiashi. You have already determined that Hanabi is the more suitable heir, so why do you still let the other one roam about unsealed?" The Elder questioned.
Hinata's heart sank into her gut. Her grandfather couldn't even refer to her by name. She was the other one… the trash that was supposed to be taken out. It was bad enough that he wanted her sealed, but to ignore their relation… that hurt far worse.
"Father, Hinata is showing signs of growth. It would be foolish to stifle it."
"She can still improve with the Caged Bird Seal."
"And be unable to truly benefit the clan like Neji?"
"Neji is where he should be. Besides, Hinata is a different case entirely. Hinata is… dangerous."
Hinata herself perked up at this and found herself leaning in closer. The tone her father used was that of retrained surprise. It was a tone she had never heard before.
"She seeks to change the traditions and practices that the clan has upheld for generations. Regardless of how well she has tried to hide it, I know this is her ultimate goal."
"So you give my child a death sentence instead of compromise? We both know the survival rate for anyone after the age of ten is poor at best."
"Your child? Hiashi, you are the head of this clan! Your responsibility is to us first and your own personal attachments second. Your child, as you put it, will bring about the destruction of our clan! The seal is the merciful way of dealing with someone who promotes the equivalent of treason."
Hinata almost passed out as a massive wave of killing intent flooded out from the room. She steadied herself and fought back the tears threatening to spill out of her eyes. They wanted her dead. It wasn't so much terrifying as it was painful. They hated her so much they wanted her to disappear. She forced herself to stay even as the majority of her wanted to run away and hide in some dark corner. But, she refused to move an inch even as her father's already immense anger increased.
"Elder, you had best choose your words carefully. I respect your consult and I will do what is necessary for this clan, but no one will touch my daughter and even thinking about it will bring down all of my fury."
"Calm yourself Hiashi."
"No, I calmed myself when the woman I loved passed away. I calmed myself when I sacrificed my brother. I will not with Hinata. I am the head of this clan. I will decide what is best. As dictated by our traditions, the strongest of the main branch will lead the clan. I still have three years before the final decision is made. It will not be made until that time. Am I clear?"
The murderous intent died down and Hinata could breathe again. She didn't need to hear anymore. Her father had closed the issue for the time being. She slipped away towards her room as her head swam with all that she had heard. Yet, she found herself sporting a small smile. Her father had fought for her, and the conservative side of the clan was afraid of her. The implication that she was a threat helped boost her confidence. She had to be careful and bide her time, but it seemed to her she needed to catch them by surprise. She needed to be unpredictable and she knew who to emulate to do that.
Rock Lee panted heavily as he punched the splintering tree yet again. His muscles ached and the frown he had been sporting for the last six hours had given him a headache, but he would not stop. His limits had been made painfully clear to him over the past few months. What had taken him years to learn took the genius Sharingan user a month. The Uchiha had taken his hard work and copied it like a monkey, and then used it on his fellow nin. He had been both beaten and rescued by Gaara of the Sand. In the end, he had been only a diversion to hold off the strange bone user. If he was honest with himself, he had been far from the outstanding shinobi he had set out to be.
It had made him completely lost and unsure of how to continue. He knew he would improve, but not to the degree that the others would. They would learn new jutsu and use their chakra to access great power. He would have his speed and access to the gates, a technique with such severe consequences it was barely usable. However, no matter how hard he tried, his current path would not allow him to stand on the same field as the geniuses.
He kicked the tree and it groaned from the strain. He sometimes cursed his body. It was a secret he would never share with any one, not even Gai-Sensei. They would not understand, and his teacher would feel a great guilt that his prized student had lost confidence. His beloved sensei would blame himself and after all the man had done for him, Lee would never allow that to happen. He threw another roundhouse kick and the tree shattered. He watched as the splinters danced toward the ground. The tree was like his body in a way. His body would inevitably break down, either by long years of harsh training or releasing the gates.
He turned towards a young sapling that stood maybe three feet tall. It seemed so out of place in a forest filled with giants, but somehow the little tree seemed tall and full of pride. His frown deepened and in a rare moment of anger, he kicked the tree as hard as he could. It bent with his leg and then snapped back and hit him square in the nose. He fell back onto his butt and grabbed his nose as blood started to leak from it. His eyes grew wide and a dumb struck expression appeared on his face. His mind danced over what had just happened and gradually his normally blinding smile returned.
"Yosh!" He jumped up and bowed to the sapling respectfully. "Thank you for re-igniting my flames of youth! I know now how to fan it into a raging storm."
He turned and blasted out of the woods, as a giant cloud of dust was left in his wake.
"For crying out loud Ero-Sennin! Why won't you teach me anything useful?"
Naruto glared at the toad sage sitting under the tree. Jiraiya looked up from his notes as his eye slightly twitched. The old man let out a slow breath and then returned to his notes. Naruto clenched his teeth and stomped up to his teacher. Jiraiya didn't look up and Naruto knocked the papers out across the forest floor. He was shaking in anger as he stood over the older man. Jiraiya sighed and began picking up the scattered parchment.
"I have been teaching you Naruto. I've taught you a great deal in a relatively short amount of time."
"It's been a year you damn pervert and all I've learned is how to break a genjutsu and use my Kage Bunshin's a little better! I haven't learned any new jutsu or anything else. How am I supposed to rescue Sasuke or fight the Akatsuki when I'm not any further ahead then before?"
Jiraiya shoved the papers back into his vest and stood. He took a deep breathe and leaned over so that his face was just a few inches in front of Naruto's.
"I'm not here to hold your hand you little brat!"
"I'm not asking you too. How about just teaching me instead of working on your trashy novels?"
"I am teaching you plenty."
"No you're not! I haven't learned any new jutsu."
"So you win a battle strictly with jutsu?"
"… No, but-."
"So I should just hand you everything because you're throwing a temper tantrum?"
"You should be acting like a teacher!"
"You mean like Kakashi?" The harsh way Jiraiya spoke the question made Naruto step back. "I mean aside from learning how to chase a cat all you learned from him was a basic chakra exercise."
"Don't insult Kakashi-Sensei! This isn't about him its you. I'm your apprentice and I've finally got a teacher focused just on me. I don't want to waste it."
"Fine, then I'll give you a test. If you pass, I'll teach you every last jutsu I know. If you fail, you do as I tell you without complaint."
Jiraiya smirked as Naruto crossed his arms and glared up at him defiantly.
"Alright, your teammate has been captured. Let's say it's that Hyuga girl."
"Yeah her, let's say she's been captured by a group of missing nin. You catch up to them at an abandoned building. You enter to find them surrounding her. She's beaten, bleeding, and possibly raped. What do you do?"
"I'd tear them apart!" Naruto's eyes flickered red for the briefest of seconds. "No one harms one of my friends and gets away with it."
"Congratulations Naruto!" Jiraiya smiled and Naruto beamed triumphantly. "You didn't notice the traps you set off as you charged in. The rest of your team was caught up in them and killed. Also, other ninja ambush you from the shadows. You've killed everyone."
Naruto blinked in surprise as a mix of emotions washed across his face. It finally settled on anger.
"That's not fair! You never said there were traps or teammates! You cheated."
"You never asked!" Jiraiya let his chakra spike slightly to calm his student down. "Just like in a real mission, you let your emotions get ahead of you and jumped in. I admire your determination to protect and save your friends Naruto, but the fact is you are too hot headed. You are oblivious to everything unless it's bright and flashing."
"I am not."
"Really? Then tell me everything you know about your Kage Bunshin technique."
"I've already recited what you've told me a hundred times."
"What about what I haven't told you?"
Naruto scratched his head and scrunched up his face in concentration. What didn't he know about his clones? He made them in various amounts and gave them commands. They were solid and could cause actual damage. There wasn't anything else.
"Stumped aren't you? Tell you what, you figure it out and then we'll talk about teaching you more." Naruto hung his head dejectedly and Jiraiya placed his hand on his shoulder. "You have potential Naruto, but first you must start thinking and acting like a ninja. I'm not telling you to change who you are. You never would anyway, but you must fix some of your flaws. What makes a Hokage respected isn't their strength. It is their wisdom. That is what you must gain."
Naruto nodded sadly and Jiraiya gave a small smile and turned. They started to walk through the woods to the next town. Naruto's eyes never left the ground. His mind on one thought. What didn't he know about Kage Bunshin?
So here it is, my version of Naruto. I will attempt to post every Saturday night in addition to Kloban.
Please Review, I happily accept criticism as long as it is the kind that will help me improve.