A/N:- Welcome to my first fanfiction. I hope you like it. Constructive reviews massively appreciated.
/ Konoha Academy \
"Settle down," Iruka yelled as the people already named to their teams joined together and conversed excitedly. To be honest he couldn't blame them, since they had no idea that they'd only passed the first stage of their Genin test. The next stage was the all important one which would see them either as Genin, returned to the academy for remedial training or on the recommendation of the Jounin sensei forced to quit attempting to become ninja because they were deemed unsuitable to the rigours of the lifestyle. As the noise dropped to an acceptable level he started reading from the list he'd been given once more.
"Team seven, Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura Haruno," he ignored the scream of joy, honestly what were the selectors thinking? "and finally, Naruto Uzumaki." Iruka smirked as Sakura's joy turned sour at the addition of Naruto, and the fact that Naruto looked exactly the same because he was on a team with Sasuke whom he hated and Sakura whom he had a crush on was only cause for more mirth. The only one who didn't seem to have a reaction to the names of his team-mates was Sasuke and that wasn't surprising really as the boy had better control than nearly anyone else in the academy. Wanting to get things finished he moved on to the next team.
"Team eight, Hinata Hyuuga, Shino Aburame and…"
"I quit!" The voice stalled the instructor's next announcement as he wondered just what the hell was going on.
"I beg your pardon?" he turned back to the instigator of the remark.
"I said it very clearly instructor Iruka. I quit." Sasuke stood up and began making his way towards the door ignoring the murmuring voices of his class-mates.
"Sit back down this instant!" Iruka yelled at the Genin and admitted to himself that it was only the fact that the boy had been following his instructions for six years that had him follow them now. "Before you do anything you'd better have an explanation for me. Well do you?"
The dark haired boy glared at him from his seat aware that he was the centre of attention. Sakura the kunoichi on his team was staring at him with her mouth opening and closing in shock as she tried to form words of, well whatever she was trying to say he had no real interest in knowing. She wasn't the type of person who interested him.
"I won't be on the same team as the dead last!" he stated clearly.
"Oi!" Naruto yelled as he jumped out of his seat ready to launch himself at his rival for Sakura.
"Naruto sit down!" he could feel a massive headache coming on and he didn't need a physical altercation to add to his report. That and he knew in all honesty that while Naruto had stamina and strength and tenacity on his side, it simply wouldn't be enough if the Uchiha decided to go all out on him, and from the expression on the boys face he had every intention of planting the blonde boy if he attacked.
"While that is edifying Uchiha, I need more to take to my superiors if you're seriously thinking to force a change. So, why don't we start with your reasons, other than he's the 'dead last'?"
"I understand the reason for putting the top students with the dead last. We're supposed to sacrifice our training to bring him up to speed. The problem is I won't. I would need to see something worth redeeming for me to do that and…he's nothing. He never will be anything so I don't see any reason to waste valuable time away from my own training. Haruno might be the weakest kunoichi in this year, she might not have chakra reserves or high skill at taijutsu," he ignored the pained whimper from the pinkette as he continued, "But, she has something that he," and he pointed at Naruto, "Will never have. She has intelligence, and she has near perfect chakra control. Everything else she can gain through hard work. The Dobe has nothing; he's stupid, disrespectful of the training not even turning up for lessons. He lacks knowledge that everyone should know, geography, tactics, survival techniques, politics…the list of things he doesn't know is endless. His taijutsu is the worst in the academy; I've seen better first years. His weapons accuracy is pathetic, he has no knowledge of ninjutsu or genjutsu and I doubt he has the ability to learn anything. The only thing he's good for is getting his team-mates killed. If that's my only option I quit. I'd rather attempt to rebuild my clan than march to my assured death because of that idiot."
Iruka along with the rest of the class observed the diatribe in stunned silence and not because it was the most any of them could ever remember the Uchiha speak in one sitting either. It was the fact that his opinions were brutally delivered to both of his prospective team-mates and while the instructor agreed with his assessment of the Haruno girl, she spent more time pursuing the last Uchiha than training for her proposed career. There were extenuating circumstances where Naruto was concerned though, with instructors here at the academy actively sabotaging his education, no family to learn from outside and no mentors willing to tutor him and yet still he was here a newly made Genin despite the worst that had been done to him.
The trouble was that the Uchiha didn't seem like he'd be reasonable about this, and there was little to nothing that Iruka could do if the boy decided to truly quit. Not that he believed the boy wanted to quit in any way shape or form, it didn't fit his profile. He was what the academy profilers termed an Avenger, he had stated numerous times that his goal was to face his brother Itachi and bring him to justice.
One thing Iruka was sure of was that neither the ninja clans nor the civilian council would stand for the last Uchiha walking away from being a ninja and they would bring considerable force to bear on the issue if they found out.
/ Hokage tower \
Anko Mitarashi wasn't sure just what she was doing in the office of the Hokage. Scratch that, she was in a line of prospective Jounin sensei and since she was at most a Special Jounin that would mean that she was very out of place here. Not that she wasn't enjoying herself as she watched the interactions of the others around her.
Kakashi Hatake had been absolutely hilarious when he'd turned up three minutes after the meeting was due to start and she hadn't been the only one amused.
If there was one thing that Kakashi was notorious for, other than stealing other people's jutsu was his tardiness. In fact not many people could remember him before the death of his team-mate Obito had changed his demeanour. Before he'd been punctual and if he wasn't there was a reason that would be outside of his control. With the death of Obito though he'd become the absolute opposite. Now it was normal to expect him to turn up three hours late to meeting such as this unless it was stipulated something was time critical. The excuses that were offered for his tardiness were often so lame that he might as well just of stated the truth that he really didn't care.
So to find out that his habitual tardiness had been factored in and the eight' o'clock meeting he'd been told to attend actually started at eleven came as a shock and the lame excuse he'd been about to use died on his lips.
"Ah, Kakashi so good of you to join us, and on time I might add," Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Hokage of Konoha smiled at the Jounin before the light bled out of his eyes, "We'll talk about this after the meeting," he stated, "Now join the others as we discuss the teams. Sameki Jurio, you will take team one…"
Anko tuned out the proceedings as she really didn't have any part in them. Maybe she'd been called to see how things were done, or a meeting after this one. It didn't make any sense as far as she was concerned. She was pulled from her ruminations by the grumbling of the Jounin around her and started paying full attention as she heard the Hokage say…
"There's a perfectly good reason that Hatake will tutor the last Uchiha…Unless one of you happens to have an activated Sharingan that I don't know about. He is the only one suited to train the boy, as he will understand the best use for the Sharingan while most of you only have conjecture to aid you. The rest of his team will consist of Sakura Haruno and Naruto Uzumaki," the announcement of the other team members silenced those who'd been inclined to continue protesting even though the old man had stated his opinion clearly and none of them could really refute it. The fact that Kakashi would also be lumbered with a no name first generation kunoichi and the Demon Fox removed any envy from those who'd thought that the Hokage was creating another clan team such as the Ino-Shika-Cho trio. In fact that was a likely team to happen as there were three members of those families currently in the graduating class, and since there were ten teams and fifteen Jounin present and a Special Jounin there was a good chance that any one of the unassigned Jounin would get them.
Anko noted that team eight would be a tracking team while team nine, the expected Ino-Shika-Cho team would be combat oriented. There was a slight grumble that Asuma Sarutobi got that assignment, as they deemed it to be nepotism but the Hokage continued with a quelling look. The final team was another first and second generation team that in all honesty weren't anything spectacular if their parents were anything to go by.
Just as she thought, these proceeding had nothing to do with her. It was a relief that she knew her presence was unlikely to be anything disciplinary as she hadn't failed a mission objective or done anything within the village that would gain her censure. Though it did serve to fire her curiosity further.
"That having been covered, after lunch you shall move to the academy to meet your teams. First off though we shall watch the team assignments at the academy," he finished as he removed the cover over his crystal ball. With years of experience he focused chakra into the sphere and waited for the image to resolve. The Jounin waited restlessly as they already knew their assignments and wanted to take a little time to prepare themselves for the coming meeting and test.
The first teams were announced with the expected quiet congratulations amongst team members until the noise built up enough for Iruka to silence them all, amusingly enough it silenced the Jounin in the Hokage's office as well. He definitely has his command voice down Anko mused as she watched the scarred instructor. Like many of the people in the room she had a great deal of respect for the Chounin instructor since he'd been dealing with these children and ones just like them for close to ten years. His records spoke well of him if what she'd seen was any indication, not that she'd seen his full files, only the Hokage had access to those.
He announced team seven, with some unusual reactions amongst the Genin that the seasoned ninja could read like an open book. The girl had a crush on Uchiha, while Naruto had a crush on the girl and Sasuke…wasn't as open a book as they'd at first thought. He remained stoic and they could tell he was thinking about something but that was the extent of what they could read. Iruka was too busy to notice and continued onto to team eight when the last Uchiha announced that he quit. To say that pandemonium ensued would be like saying the sun was a little bright. The Hokage's office looked like an ants nest that had been poked with a stick. Except for the Hokage who released a sigh before forming a hand seal that produced a loud thunderclap in the confined space. Anko was the only one who saw what was coming and covered her ears as she was an interested observer more than a participant.
Silence followed the sound almost as quickly as the Hokage's ANBU squad appeared in the room looking for the threat to the Hokage. The four man team vanished as quickly as they came when they saw the hand-sign from their leader that all was well.
"You will remain silent," he stated as he met each of their eyes in turn until he read acceptance in them and then moved on.
"Obviously the Uchiha cannot be allowed to quit the program, the fallout would be too cumbersome to circumvent and I'd probably be forced to disband the civilian council plus quell riots in the streets. It is also obvious that the boy has no intention of leaving; he is using this to get something he wants knowing that he has a certain latitude due to his clans' prominence. On the surface his reasons seem sound, but I have other information that negates much of what he said about Uzumaki. The problem is that even though we can force the issue, their team-work would be set back by years…If it could ever recover from such a declaration." The Hokage settled back into his seat and closed his eyes.
"This situation was not unforseen. I have already prepared an alternate team schedule. Team leaders one through six and nine and ten may leave and prepare for their team meeting…"
"I assume you're going to break my team apart to assuage the Uchiha's request?" Kurenai Yuhi asked, "Can I ask which of my team you'll be replacing with Naruto?"
"You may indeed. I've decided that Kiba Inuzaki will take Naruto's place. While you had a specialized tracking team with Kiba filling a back up role of heavy combat nin in the case of them getting into trouble. That very ability to enter combat suits him to team seven as well, it will also add a tracking ability to what will primarily be a combat team," he paused for a second to let that information sink in.
"And what will my team do now in a combat situation? He might have been arrogant and cruel but the Uchiha did raise several pertinent points…"
"Firstly, they are not your Genin! They are the villages Genin; you are responsible for them as I am responsible for you and the village."
Kurenai flushed in embarrassment at being reprimanded and squirmed a little under the Hokage's scrutiny.
"Good, you understand. The second point I'd like to raise with you is that while Naruto is currently not," he paused to seek a word that described Naruto adequately, "Competent. There is a very good reason for that. I have reason to believe that there will be more than the normal amount of failures to pass the final Genin test this year. In fact I believe that only three teams stood a chance, and with the breaking and reforming of team seven I'm not sure of their passing now either.
This is no fault of their own and I have had Iruka attempting to repair the situation. He has had limited results due to certain elements seeking to actively sabotage Naruto Uzumaki's training. In doing so they compromised the training of most of the first and second generation ninja. The situation didn't become apparent until the start of this year when they entered their final year. He had neither the time nor the assistance he should as his partner Mizuki was also attempting to make sure that Uzumaki didn't pass his final exams." Sarutobi stopped and took a sip of his water before continuing.
"Six academy instructors have had their employment terminated since the problem became apparent," he didn't state it clearly but the word terminated in the context he'd used it had a few different meanings. He could have fired them, or had them killed for what he believed to be an utter betrayal of the village. Which ever it was he wasn't going to alleviate their curiosity, they'd have to do that themselves at a later time.
"The thing that surprises me is that no one else has noted Naruto Uzumaki's potential. A boy that constantly has managed to prank a ninja village and lead the ANBU on a merry chase for hours at a time. A student not even graduated from the academy evaded capture by experienced ANBU…" he let that sink in for a moment, "He has also pranked the Inuzuka and Hyuuga clans and escaped completely. There aren't many who could escape the notice of either of those clans and yet he has. Another thing to look at is his tenacity, he could have quit many times over the years and yet he's still there. Everyone laughs when they hear him announce that he will be Hokage. Well I'm not laughing…
I see such potential in him and I will see it realized or there will be consequences. We each say that we value team-work, we value loyalty and yet when given a prime example we shun him. I have seen that boy insulted, attacked by villagers and ninja together and separately. He is constantly rorted by shopkeepers when buying goods, either selling him out of date produce or low quality goods while charging him three and four times what they would be worth if they were of the highest quality. He has every reason to hate this village, he has been given every reason to just give up and release the Kyuubi upon us all and yet…and yet he still thinks this place is worth saving, worth protecting. I cannot fathom such loyalty.
I would not see him punished for his loyalty as I have seen others punished," he turned to Anko and for the first time acknowledged her presence.
"For too long I have given in to the voice of the village. I have failed you all; I had forgotten my place, and that of those on the council. This shall change. But first…
Anko Mitarashi, you will take command of team eight. Kurenai Yuhi, you will be second in command and advisor to Anko as she takes on her first team…"
"But I'm only a Special Jounin," Anko whispered hoarsely.
"Oh? That's correct. Then that would mean that you are no longer a Special Jounin. Welcome to the ranks Jounin Mitarashi," Sarutobi smiled for the first time in half an hour.
"Now, you're being asked to take a raw recruit who has been taught very little. To be honest, his taijutsu, ninjutsu and genjutsu are atrocious. His major problems though, and the ones that will get him killed are his chakra control and lack of discipline. His major advantage and what will allow him to catch and surpass his classmates is his ability to create mass shadow clones. Each of you knows what that means and how much chakra it takes to create even one shadow clone. I tell you this; Naruto can create hundreds of them without being winded. With his level of chakra control he is actually only able to apply fifteen percent of his chakra to the intended purpose. I want you to think on that when you have the time and then ask yourself what he could have been with competent teaching right from the start.
Anko, Kurenai, your team awaits. You are dismissed." He watched the newly minted Jounin as she walked from the room, her spine straighter than he'd seen it in years. Kurenai followed without a word, she knew that while she'd apparently been demoted to second in command that it actually meant little or nothing to her personally. As she'd been reminded her life was the villages and the Hokage deemed this to be the best use for her. It wasn't a punishment since she and everyone else knew that Sarutobi didn't work that way so he had another agenda that in her inexperience she hadn't been able to figure out yet. As the door was closing she heard him dismiss the others…
"Everyone else, you're dismissed also. Kakashi, remain." No one failed to notice the cold tone of their leaders' voice when he spoke to the Copycat Ninja and no one felt particularly sorry for the fact that the old man was probably going to discipline him. Though many of them wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall to see him dressed down. When she caught up with their team leader she found her head bent over the files on her new team members perusing their contents. In fact if the hands' holding the files wasn't trembling almost imperceptibly she might have believed that Anko was merely reading.
"Anko? Are you alright?" Her only answer was a slight nod which she dismissed while reaching over and lifting the new Jounins' chin so that she could meet her eyes. What she found shocked her as tears, actual emotional tears leaked from the silent Jounins' eyes. Her emotions in her eyes were indescribable, they were the eyes of someone who'd seen more than they ever should have and for the first time were acknowledging the horrors, they were the eyes of a child filled with hope and determination, they were the eyes of the hopeless given hope, the weak given strength and the strong with that strength torn away.
Kurenai had never seen Anko stripped of all her masks before and if she had her choice she'd never see something like this again. No one should be forced to experience let alone witness a person in a moment like this. It put steel in her spine to know that one of the people she considered a friend had been holding this inside for all these years and never let anyone see. It made all the problems she'd faced seem trivial in comparison.
One thing she knew was that any physical contact would be unwelcome at this time. Anko was too raw and she was fighting for control and would react violently if she was pushed too far.
"Right…We have a team to meet. You have their files," she nodded to the paperwork in Anko's hands, "We have roughly half an hour to prepare to test them…" she stopped as Anko raised a hand to interrupt her.
"They've already passed their test," Anko stated.
"What do you mean? They've only passed the technical side of things, yet, but they still have to prove that they can work as a team and understand the importance of working together…"
"I never said we wouldn't test them. I meant that I don't believe in the standard test for team-work. The bell test followed by a lecture isn't my idea of teaching them about team-work. It might work for a while but they'll eventually forget the lesson or dismiss it at a later time. I intend to teach them the lesson again and again, test them again and again until it becomes not just a lesson but their very nature. To the point where they won't ever have to question their team-mates as to what they're doing or why because they'll already know without even needing to think…"
Kurenai blinked as she listened to her team-mate and almost swallowed nervously at the level of conviction in Anko's voice. Anything further was interrupted as they heard a loud thud coming from the Hokage's office. Both of them turned to face the door not knowing what to expect; when nothing else happened Anko turned to face Kurenai and shrugged.
"We'd better get going if we want to discuss our team. I'll even buy the dango," Kurenai offered, knowing that the offer of the sweet would lift Ankos' mood like nothing else.
"You're on!" a re-enthused Anko shouted before grabbing the taller woman and dragging her out of the offices.
/ Academy \
Iruka Umino would be the first to admit that he was about to pull his hair out at the current situation within his classroom. The uproar caused by the last Uchiha threatening to quit was worse than any of the times Naruto managed to prank someone in the village.
"The lot of you, sit down and shut up! We'll wait until the Hokage comes to a decision on this," he didn't explain to the curious exactly how the Hokage would know there was something wrong if Iruka hadn't sent a message. It would be years before many of them would find out. He was just glad that the Hokage took such an interest in the Genin graduation as it would save him a lot of stress. Iruka had no way of knowing that the decision had already been made and the ANBU was waiting to see if the Hokage had been correct before informing the hapless instructor of the final team deliberations.
Only two people failed to note the entrance of the ANBU. Naruto who was abnormally depressed. It was normal that people put him down, it'd been happening all his life so it should have been a surprise that the words of Sasuke Uchiha could wound him so deeply. Maybe it was because he'd always deemed the dark haired boy as a rival, someone to measure up to and surpass if he could. To find out that same boy considered him less than the lowest bug was a crushing blow to both his ego and his aspirations.
The other person who, though she didn't miss the appearance of, simply didn't care about the ANBU's entrance was Hinata Hyuuga who was totally focused on Naruto. She'd never seen him like this before and for the first time in her life she thought she might be able to actually hurt someone without any thought to what she was doing to them. The Uchiha might be the strongest ninja but that wouldn't help him against the 'Gentle Fist'. She was about to move when the ANBU spoke…
"By order of the Hokage team seven will reform, Naruto Uzumaki will be replaced by Kiba Inuzuka. Naruto will move to team eight," the man paused here as the Hyuuga heiress who'd been about to attack Sasuke Uchiha feinted dead away with a startled 'eep!'
Iruka smiled for the first time in the last ten minutes as he thought about how interesting this years graduation was going to be. He had no real idea…
"If there are no more objections?" he raised an eyebrow in enquiry towards Sasuke who shook his head slightly, "Then we'll break for lunch. Be back here in an hour to meet your Jounin-sensei. I suggest you have lunch with your team to get to know each other before you have to work together," Iruka finished with the broadest hint that he could about the coming test. He didn't know that it was so much wasted breath since the Hokage had changed the rules for this years graduating class.
He watched in satisfaction as the Genin began to filter out of the room. The only team that didn't make a move towards the door was team eight who were forming around the still form of Naruto Uzumaki as he sat slumped in his chair. Iruka hoped they could rouse Naruto before their Jounin-sensei came to collect them. As he left the room he looked back to see Hinata approach the blonde hesitantly.
/ Team seven \
Sasuke stalked out of the class ahead of the main rush, moving at a fast clip he was attempting to avoid his fan club whom he hated with only slightly less zeal than he hated his big brother. Did none of them actually know him? Rhetorical question really, he thought. Of course they didn't know him. They actually thought that primping would gain his notice when what he needed was someone strong enough to become the next Uchiha matriarch. None of the girls from his class fit the bill.
Certainly several of them were smart enough, but they were weak willed and bodied.
"Shit!" he muttered as he caught sight of pink out of the corner of his eye. It seemed that he hadn't been quick enough to escape his team-mate. Knowing just how tenacious she could be he quickly took a step to the left and stopped abruptly causing the girl to run into his back she reacted so slowly. Kami she was weak, and had the reactions of a slug, in fact he'd have to say a slug had her beat in reflexes. Noting how she crumpled to the ground he added her balance to the list of her faults.
"What do you want Haruno?"
"Um," Sakura paused now that she was looking directly into the cold black eyes of the class heart-throb, "Um…"
"Spit it out already, I've only got an hour for lunch and don't want to waste it," he snapped at her.
"Um, would you like to share a lunch and get to know one another better?" she asked hopefully. It'd never worked before but now they were on the same team. Surely he'd have to take note of her now. She was completely unaware that he'd always taken note of her and all the other kunoichi that lusted after him and he found them all lacking.
"No," he said as coldly as he'd ever spoken to her before and had the satisfaction of watching her flinch away from him. Surprisingly she didn't run off to lick her wounds but stood her ground once she got over the initial shock of his tone.
"Iruka-sensei says we should take the hour to get to know one another since we're on the same team…" she trailed off as she realized that for the first time Sasuke was looking at her. She shivered as his eyes swept from her head down to her feet and back up to her face.
"I already know everything I need to know about you," his tone remained neutral but she could tell that he didn't find many redeeming features. The fact that he'd already told her what he thought of her when he'd dressed Naruto down. She'd been trying to dismiss his words with the knowledge that he thought she was smart and had good chakra control, but the expression on his face left no doubt that those qualities didn't negate the negatives in her.
The fact that she hadn't collapsed under his scrutiny gave him a little pause as he thought things through.
"Come with me," he didn't wait for her to acknowledge his demand, he turned and walked away at a fast pace towards the lockers. The first thing he pulled out of his locker was his bento which gave her some hope that he was actually going to eat with her. The next item he pulled out was a bundle of leather which he handed to her.
"As you are, you're almost as bad as the Dobe," he said crushingly, "Take these and get strong enough and maybe you'll be worth being on my team. Until then…don't waste my time." Sasuke turned and walked away from the stunned kunoichi.
Kiba was following his team-mates at a discreet distance and listened in to see what they were all about. By the time Sasuke left Sakura standing by the lockers he was snarling.
"Who does that teme think he is?" he demanded of Akamaru. He couldn't understand the kind of attitude the Uchiha had. He was from a family that raised their children to think of the team as their pack and so far this bastard had bitten two potential pack-mates. The puppy he'd been given to raise whimpered in response to communicate his own confusion about their team.
/ Hokage's tower \
Kakashi waited till the Jounin were out of the room before he turned his attention fully onto the Hokage.
"You wanted to talk to me sir?" For ever after he'd swear that the Hokage hadn't moved from behind his desk, nevertheless he was slammed back into the wall behind him with Hiruzen Sarutobi standing directly in front of him. The old mans palm held him pinned against the unyielding stone. He wasn't even straining as he held the Jounin off of the floor.
"Why yes," Sarutobi said calmly, "Do I have your undivided attention?"
"Y-yes sir," Kakashi answered shakily. He'd never seen the Hokage in this kind of mood before. If he'd thought Sasuke's eyes were cold, he felt he should be seeing glaciers in the dark grey eyes of the Hokage.
"Good. I've been meaning to speak to you for some time about your tardiness, and pardon the pun, but the time never seemed to be right," the cold expression intensified and Kakashi couldn't restrain the shiver that made it's way down his spine. He was a strong ninja by any nations standards and he knew it, but he also knew that Hiruzen Sarutobi wasn't a legendary ninja for nothing and to be honest the thought that the man was this pissed at him had him terrified.
"I always allow my ninja a certain, latitude with their eccentricities. The life of a ninja is hard and a few vices here and there are a small compensation for that life. While you have never been late for a mission and your record of success is exemplary I am no longer content to sit back and watch your disrespect for your fellow ninja of this village. You have been so focused on the small teams that you have forgotten that the entire village is a team, one that you have failed repeatedly over the years. You are thirty years old Kakashi, your team was killed fifteen years ago, it's time to lay them to rest. Your vices are your own," he said gesturing towards the pocket he was known to keep his 'book' in, "Your tardiness however ends here. Do we have an understanding?"
Kakashi nodded furiously. For years he'd been able to do as he pleased, feigning ignorance of the reproving looks that the Hokage had given him about his poor time-keeping, he'd even assured the man on occasion that he would do better when he'd been given a gentle verbal reminder that he was a responsible member of the elite of the village and should lead by example. He'd taken those admonishments lightly and the Hokage seemed to have been satisfied so he'd chosen to ignore them. Going by his current actions he'd have to say he'd been a fool to ignore those earlier warnings as now things had become serious enough that he simply couldn't ignore the Hokage further. The Hokage's next words would prove to be like a bucket of ice cold water to a sleeping man, a sharp shock followed by lots of involuntary shivering
"Good, I'd hate to have to kill you for betraying your team," Hiruzen released his hold on the grey haired Jounin. Kakashi dropped several centimetres and almost kept going as his weakened knees almost failed to hold him up.
"Sit!" Sarutobi ordered as he pointed towards the chair in front of his desk. "We have much to discuss about your new team. And no, I'm not giving you an option, this team will pass your test, even if they fail. You will make it clear that they have failed and why. You will explain that they have only been allowed to become Genin because of a change in rules for this years graduating class.
I can see the question so I'll save some time and answer it. I've already explained that the instructors at the academy have sabotaged Naruto Uzumaki's training. That had a kick on effect on other peoples training. Going by paperwork only two of the current teams will pass if I hold to the old rules. In any other year there would be eight teams in total who would pass with the others returning to the academy or being failed from the course in the instance that the Jounin-sensei saw no saving grace in the prospective Genin.
We need the eight teams to replace those retiring, injured or promoted. That being said there are rules for the failing teams to follow. Even though seven or eight teams will be passed, those that are deemed too weak or untrainable by the Jounin will be failed completely. Those who can be trained up will go with a Jounin-sensei for more direct training, one on three. The teams that fail outright and are retained for retraining will not be allowed to be nominated for the Chounin exams for at least two years, even if they come up to scratch in a reasonable time.
With the teams that fail I expect them to do two D rank missions in the afternoon. They will be given short easy team building missions. Their mornings from seven til lunchtime will be taken up with intense training, when they've finished their two missions they will return to the training grounds for more training. For the first six months I expect them to crawl from the training grounds each day. I expect their Jounin-sensei to tear them down to the ground and rebuild them as what they should have been." Sarutobi paused to pull his pipe from his robes and light it. He was giving Kakashi time to process everything he'd been told so far.
Having calmed down slightly Kakashi asked a question that hadn't been answered yet, "Sir, you keep saying things that make me think you doubt my team will pass the test. Can I ask why?"
"Certainly. Let me spell it out for you. The team has changed and that will alter their entire team dynamic. With Naruto there was a chance, a very good chance that they would learn the lesson you were trying to teach them. His very loyalty to his team, no matter how they treated him would have been a deciding factor. His willpower would have driven the others onwards. With him out of the team you don't have his drive. You also have Sasuke who believes in no one but himself, Sakura Haruno who believes in no one not even herself but Sasuke and Kiba who is an Inuzuka and while he'll try to make the team work, he will ultimately fail because he will not be able to understand Sasuke's apparent lack of loyalty. There's also the fact that he is an alpha type character and will not back down. You will have to keep them separated until there is a clear leader or else I fear all out war in your team and it will be Sasuke and Sakura against Kiba and Akamaru.
Watch this…" Sarutobi directed as he once again connected to his crystal ball. The scene that played out on the sphere was the scene between Sasuke and Sakura that Kiba had witnessed.
"The villagers and the ninja of this village have given him an inflated opinion of his own worth and ability. You are to crush his pride, you will drive the arrogance out of him. You will push them all to their limits of strength and endurance. You will not blow off their training onto anyone else and you most definitely will not favour ones training over the others. Do I make myself clear?"
/ Konoha Academy \
The lunch hour was possibly the longest torture session that he'd ever faced. He'd left team eight in the hopes that Hinata could raise Narutos' mood at least a little. Walking back into the room the first thing that he noticed was that Naruto hadn't moved…with a bowl of ramen sitting in front of him untouched. It was official, he was now scared for the boy. He was tempted to go over and check for a pulse the lack of appetite was so abnormal, especially as it was ramen. He wasn't the only one concerned either, Hinata was hovering in the seat next to him and there wasn't a blush in sight, in fact she was pale. He was so involved with team eight that he missed the fact that team seven wasn't in the room for several minutes.
"Where's team seven?" he demanded.
"Um, their Jounin-sensei came for them already. They left ten minutes ago sir."
Iruka blinked, then blinked again as he tried to process the information. He knew who was destined to lead team seven since it had the last Uchiha so it had to be Kakashi Hatake, who hadn't been early to a meeting in fifteen years, "Damn!"
"Iruka-sensei, calm yourself. I was informed to tell you that Hokage-sama had words about Hatake's issues with tardiness," the ANBU who'd been waiting for his return informed him. Iruka blinked several times before a massive grin broke out on his face. The panic of having the last Uchiha kidnapped right from under his nose by an imposter wasw gone but the adrenaline was stil rushing through his veins.
"Oh-chuckle-oh, thankyou cat-san," Iruka managed to get out around his laughter, "Oh, kami that is so rich!"
"You're welcome Iruka-sensei. Now if you no longer need me I shall return to my duties."
"Your services shouldn't be needed any longer cat-san but you've been needed twice so far today so I won't discount it." He bowed to the ANBU respectfully before the man shunshinned away.
"Alright, be quiet and team up. Be ready to leave with your Jounin-sensei when they arrive."
It was a good thing he'd returned to his desk as the doors to the class exploded inwards in a gout of flame and smoke, several of the Genin screamed as they scrambled out of the smoke coughing. Iruka didn't move as he watched a shadowy figure somersault through the quickly clearing smoke, he followed one of the two projectiles the figure threw at the walls to its left and right and watched as a banner unfurled revealing a poster proclaiming, "Anko Mitarashi, Team 8's most excellent sensei!!!"
Before Anko even landed she heard a steady thudding sound coming from behind her and turned to see the cute Chounin instructor banging his head steadily against his desk. Shrugging it off since she'd seen stranger and turned back to the Genin who were watching her with wide eyes.
"Alright maggots, which of you lot is team eight?"
Suddenly everyone was very helpful as everyone pointed fingers at the only Genin not paying attention to her. Even Hinata was watching her warily as their Jounin-sensei approached them.
"Is he alive?" she asked casually as she poked the recumbent form of Naruto with the pointy end of a dango skewer. No one answered her so she shrugged again which garnered some attention from the male population of the class as the mesh armour she favoured hugged every curve of her well muscled body.
Behind her the banging stopped as Iruka noticed Kurenai enter the room slowly shaking her head at her partners antics.
Iruka met her penetrating gaze, "Please tell me it isn't true," he gestured at the banners suspended from the rooms walls.
"Sorry, can't do that, it is true…"
"Who's fucking bright idea was that?" Iruka demanded.
"You'd have to speak to the Hokage about that," Kurenai smiled as she watched his eyes widen in disbelief before he turned back to Anko.
"She's had dango hasn't she" he accused.
"Eight sticks," Kurenai confirmed, "You know that's not good for you?" she asked conversationally as Iruka returned to banging his head against his desk.
"It hurts less than trying to wrap my head around…Oh fuck!"
"Language Iruka-sensei!" Kurenai reprimanded, though the humour in her voice softened it somewhat.
"You don't understand, someone put Anko and Naruto on the same team," he said as he pulled his Hitaite off along with a kunai from his weapons pouch.
"What are you doing?"
"I figure it's not too late to go nukenin," he said conversationally. Kurenai was about to collapse in laughter when she realized he wasn't really joking.
"Oh come off it…they can't be that bad…" she trailed off as she saw his incredulous expression.
"You do know Anko don't you?" he waited for Kurenia to nod before stating, "Well Naruto makes her look tame when he gets going." He was quite satisfied as he watched the Jounin go pale.
"Shit! And I've got to ride herd on them?"
"Good luck with that," Iruka commiserated with her though he smirked evilly at the thought as she'd been unconcerned for him just moments before.
"Come on Kurenai, I got what we came for!" Both Iruka and Kurenai turned to watch as Anko picked up the comatose form of Naruto up by his belt giving the Genin a world class wedgie at the same time which had the males in the class crossing their legs while their eyes watered in sympathy. She'd definitely gained Naruto's attention now as he shouted out in pain.
"Ooops!" Anko giggled as she shifted her grip to the back of his jacket and moved him out to arms length as he took a swing at her. "Well you're a runt aren't you? Hey Kurenai, you sure we can't throw him back until he grows up?" she howled at her own humour as she let another fist swing past her face by just a hairsbreadth. No matter how hard he swung he just didn't have the reach to teach her a lesson. Anko had a second to realize what he was doing when he made a ram seal and the room was obscured with white smoke.
Kurenai blinked as the room was suddenly filled with orange clad Genin. She'd been unsure if she believed the Hokage when he'd told them that the boy could produce hundreds of Shadow Clones but as they say, seeing is believing. That wasn't what had her concerned though, it was the feral look on Anko's face that had her ducking behind Iruka's desk.
"Whu?" he managed before the Jounin dragged him behind the desk. Anyone who was paying attention had also hidden behind their desks as Anko launched the real Naruto towards the ceiling. What followed was a massacre as she released hundreds of Dango sticks like senbon taking out every clone before their creator pancaked against the ceiling and began to descend. She deftly caught him by his jacket as he came level with her and avoided his attempt to kick her.
"Great technique, shame about the tactics," Anko mused before she smirked raising him above her head she formed seals with her free hand and everyone who was brave enough watched as she encapsulated herself in a water prison while the hand holding Naruto kept the surface tension while Naruto thrashed around trying to get free. Iruka watched intently as he hadn't known that the technique could be held from the inside and thought that the hand had to be placed to the outside of it.
Shino jumped out of concealment as he felt his kikaichu panic at being immersed in water that they couldn't escape. Hinata also leapt forward and pushed chakra into the water sphere with enough force to push Anko out of the water prison, unfortunately it left the kikaichu behind floating in the sphere. Before they drowned the Jounin released the technique and turned to face the Aburame.
"Your bugs are useful, I'll admit but that could just as easily been held long enough to kill them or I could have used fire in the first place. As for you Hyuuga, nice work…Keep it up." Naruto was still trying to attack her so she launched him once more, this time towards Shino so that his team-mate could make sure he landed properly rather than on his head. She shook hers as she noticed that the blonde had atrocious balance. Something else they'd need to work on once they got to training.
"Right, settle team eight," Anko said as she turned serious in the blink of an eye. Naruto either didn't note her change in attitude or didn't care. Whichever it was he drew a kunai and started to move towards the Jounin once more. Only he suddenly found he couldn't move and his own kunai was being held pointed at his left eye.
"I said settle down team eight. That means you Naruto Uzumaki. It would be a shame to kill you before your Genin career even begins." No one in the room doubted she'd do it if she deemed it necessary and everyone went still, including Iruka who'd never seen Anko like this before.
"Now that team eight has passed its final test lets find somewhere quiet to introduce outselves."
Some brave soul who'd more courage than common sense blurted out, "What final test? We've already passed the final exam!"
Anko was not amused by the interruption and launched Narutos' kunai so fast that only the Chounin and Jounin in the room could track it. The Genin she'd aimed at didn't see it at all as it sped past his face leaving a crimson line along one cheek.
"Why don't you try and figure it out Genin. Try thinking before you open that gaping hole in your head and you won't appear so stupid for the short time you're still alive." Dismissing the boy from her mind she turned back to her team.
"Aburame, you know training ground sixteen?" she waited for his nod, "Alright, team eight, follow bugboy here. You have ten minutes to meet me at training ground sixteen. Coming Kurenai?" she asked just before shunshinning away leaving a shower of leaves swirling to the floor.
/ TBC \
Authors notes – well I'd like to thank everyone who reads this, the first chapter of my first ever story. Please consider reviewing after all it takes a lot longer for me to write this than it takes to review.
Right, enough said about that. I like to think I got everyone's characters down. Other than the few times Anko's seen in the manga she's pretty much someone who can be shown anyway you like. Though I've tried to stay close to what we saw in the manga by showing her perverse sense of humour