Chapter Five: Training

The trio quickly became the most hated genin squad in the entire village. Anko told them that practicing their skills privately wasn't enough; they had to learn how to apply them in live combat. Of course, that wasn't going to happen anytime soon, unless Iwa suddenly decided to launch a surprise attack on the village, so they did the next best thing. They practiced on the other genin squads.

Unfortunately for Team Seven, they were the target for their "practice" more often than not.

So this particular morning found the three members of Team Nine crouched in the trees studying the three genin of Team Seven. Tenten, Naruto and Hinata wore a mic attached to a band on their throat, with a cord running up to the ear bud. Naruto pressed a finger to his mic and made a humming noise into it. There was one thing that differentiated these mics from most others. They were special issue mics given to ANBU and shinobi sent on high priority stealth missions. As such, the mic was much more sensitive, and could pick up a greater range of sound than normal mics.

"'Deadeye', 'Oracle', 'Trickster' singing, 'Librarian' scoped?."

"'Trickster, 'Deadeye' singing, absent 'Librarian'."

"'Oracle' singing, absent 'Librarian' doubled."

"'Deadeye', 'Oracle', acknowledged." At this point, they shifted over to normal speech, as their private code was good for relaying orders and such, but it did not carry normal communication well. "I know that ' Librarian' is well known for his tardiness, but being three hours late to train his team is something else."

For this mission, they were using a language that Naruto had been developing, with the assistance from his two teammates and Anko. It was rather rudimentary, and really wasn't that difficult to decode if one knew how it worked. There were no set grammar, which was simultaneously its greatest strength and weakness. There was no encryption, in the classic sense of the word. The code was idiomatic, using otherwise innocuous phrases, head words and symbols to express intent. Its strength was in the versatility of the code, for if you knew how it worked, there was nothing that wasn't translatable.

On the other hand, while it could be broken, if someone else tried to use it and impersonate one of the members of Team Nine, it would be plenty obvious, because each person phrased their communication in a unique and uncopyable way, because each person would phrase the same idea in a different way.

The genin element of Team Nine had been waiting for the tardy jounin for over an hour now, and they were all starting to get annoyed. Anko had given them their first "mission" and none of them wanted to fail it. Their mission had two objectives. Completion of either objective would constitute a successful completion. The first objective was to unmask the Hatake prodigy, codenamed 'Librarian', and get a picture of his face. Hinata, codenamed 'Oracle', had a small spycam for this purpose. The second objective was to steal the orange book that Kakashi always had his nose buried in. Naruto, designated 'Trickster' was going to take Kakashi on and Tenten, using the handle 'Deadeye', was to run interference with Team Seven with Hinata.

Hinata had suggested earlier that they could perhaps enlist the help of Kakashi's students in getting revenge on the cyclopean ninja, but Naruto had shot that idea down immediately, much to Hinata's shame. Naruto absolutely refused to work with the Uchiha heir. So instead, Naruto entertained himself with a game of flip. An hour later, their target entered the clearing. Naruto grinned with malicious glee. He had originally planned to just disable the man and complete the mission, but he was really annoyed now, and was going to make the bastard suffer.

Naruto signaled his two cohorts to ready themselves, and then gave the signal to attack. He waited a moment for Tenten to unseal one of her ranged scrolls, and leaped at the masked jounin before any of the targets could figure out what was going on. Tenten and Hinata followed quickly, facing Sakura, Kiba and Sasuke.

Sakura and Kiba looked extremely surprised at the intruders, and Sasuke and Kakashi just looked bored. In fact, Kakashi didn't even look up from his book.

"What do you three losers want," Sasuke asked, looking annoyed at the intrusion.

Tenten bristled at the boy's tone, giving them the same kind of attention as one would a particularly annoying gnat. "We are here on a mission from our sensei, and you three are not allowed to interfere." It had been agreed beforehand that Naruto would take Kakashi himself, while the two kunoichi would handle his subordinates. Now, however, Tenten really wanted to take out Sasuke. She leaned over and whispered to Hinata, "Can you handle Sakura and Kiba yourself if I take the Uchiha asshole?"

Not taking her eyes off her assigned targets she nodded. Grinning Tenten took two kunai and launched herself at Sasuke. She soon realized why he had been labeled the rookie of the year. His taijutsu was superb, able to keep up with her with only a little effort, much to her ire. But then again, her only objective here was to keep him from interfering in Naruto and Kakashi's fight. Tenten winced when Sakura shrieked at her for daring to attack her precious Sasuke-kun.

Hinata had activated her Byakugan and set herself into a defensive Jyuuken stance, only to be almost completely ignored. "H-hey, aren't you t-two going to attack me?" she asked the two teammates.

"Nah," Kiba replied. "Fighting you right now would be troublesome. Besides, Kakashi-sensei deserves to be beaten up a little, seeing as how he is a perennially late pervert." Looking at Sakura, he shrugged.

"Hey, I got no beef with you." The word were directed calmly enough at Hinata while glaring kunai at Tenten.

"But my team mate is attacking your sensei..." Hinata said.

Sakura snorted. "After all the shit we have to put up with, he deserves whatever he has coming." Having said her piece, Sakura turned completely away from Hinata to focus on Tenten and Sasuke.

Hinata shifted her gaze from a reclining Kiba to a tensing Sakura. Kiba didn't look like he was going to interfere with either fight at the moment, so Hinata turned to focus her attention on the bubblegum haired girl. Sure enough, Hinata was forced to intercept a brace of shuriken flung Tenten's way once the brunette kunoichi started to outfight Sasuke. Now, Hinata knew that she was far from the best of kunoichi, hovering around the middle bottom, but she was surprised at the ease of which she was able to fend of the increasingly irritated fangirl. Sakura was ranked among the top of their class in terms of academics but only average in terms of physicality.

Hinata found it almost unsettlingly easy to keep their fight at a stalemate, her sub par Jyuuken negating Sakura's textbook perfect taijutsu and weapon skills. The longer they fought, the more certain she became that Sakura was not fighting at her true potential. So, determined to get Sakura to fight for real, Hinata upped the ante, increasing the speed of her strikes.

Sakura drew a trio of shuriken from her pouch and gripped them between her knuckles before flinging them at the object preventing her from helping Sasuke-kun. Hinata nimbly danced out of the projectiles path before intercepting a right hook with her left palm before closing her fist and whirling Sakura around, twisting her arm behind her. Hinata then tapped a handful of the other girl's tenketsu and dropping her, Sakura's body locked up. Her face turned an impressive shade of red while alternating between berating Kiba from not helping her and demanding that Hinata release her. Kiba just chuckled in amusement and Hinata ignored her, blush rising.

Naruto on the other hand, had his hands full. He had forced Kakashi to put away his book, but he was being fended off easily. He really didn't want to have to use his bastardized taijutsu on the man, as he wanted to keep his knowledge of it as secret as he could, and use it as an ace, but if he didn't there was no way he would be able to complete his mission.

Kakashi sighed. He figured that the trio had been sent by Anko to harass him, but couldn't she send someone that would be a challenge to him. However, just as the thought that (and looking away from Naruto for a split second,) he felt a tug at his kunai pouch here he had stored the precious and whirled around. There was Naruto, clutching his kunai pouch and waving the precious in the other hand. Kakashi looked behind him and saw a second Naruto, who exploded in a puff of smoke. He blinked in surprise, which from anyone other than Hatake Kakashi equated one's jaw hanging open. Who would have guessed that the dobe of the Academy knew Shadow Clone Technique, when he couldn't even perform a standard dust clone?

Before he could do anything, Naruto shouted that he had completed the mission and ran off, soon followed by Hinata and Tenten. Kakashi quickly rounded on the two boys and one girl, to find two of them laying down apparently cloud watching, and the third writhing upside down, bound head to foot in ninja wire, suspended from a tree branch. Damn, who would have figured that Anko was such a good teacher? There was more to Naruto and his team than met the eye apparently.

OoOoO

Over the last two years, Naruto's apprenticeship with the Hokage had expanded his duties greatly. Now, he was trusted with approving missions, delivering messages, and running other errands for the Hokage, many of which were often chunin-level duties. Sarutobi often thought that taking Naruto on to groom him as the next Hokage was probably one of the best decisions that he had ever made, if only for the fact that paperwork that used to take him all day to work through was often completed in less than a third of that time. Naruto was an extremely efficient secretary, much better than the chunin sitting at the desk outside the office. Naruto had an absolutely mind boggling memory for the most minor of details, often being able to recall D-rank mission details, such as the chore assigned and the team assigned to it, client and speed of completion weeks afterward. He could usually remember B- and A-rank mission details for months because for one, they were rarer and two, they often dealt with foreign affairs and village security, and therefor that much more memorable.

Hiruzen couldn't remember the last time his office had been so neat. Not to say that it was messy, but with Naruto managing the office every paper was in its spot, able to be withdrawn and perused at a moment's notice. His chunin secretary, which was rotated every week, all began to love Naruto. In fact, where before managing the Hokage's office had been the mission one earned when a person had ticked off one of the Mission Hall personnel it had now become regarded as a paid vacation, almost.

Naruto had always professed his dream to become Hokage, but was learning exactly how dreary the job could really be. He had always imagined the Hokage lounging around his office all day, smoking his pipe or running super-secret S-rank missions on a daily basis. Now he knew better. In the two years that he had become the Hokage's assistant, the closest thing to actual combat he had seen was the ambassador from Cloud that had visited eight months ago. Although, to tell the truth, negotiations had been really thick and by and large over his head, watching the ambassador's guards had been an interesting exercise.

Sarutobi had told Naruto that his job during the meeting was to watch the Cloud-nin and then tell him what he thought about them. So Naruto had sat on the right side of the table, staring across the highly polished maple to the jounin seated across from him. The man had been in his early thirties, a full head of hair, hitai-aite across his forehead, flack jacket cinched with a sash over the waist, a scroll pouch over his left breast. Overall, he had been wholly unremarkable. The man had been annoyingly still throughout the negotiations, not even a flicker of an eyelid to betray his thoughts.

Afterwards when the Hokage was debriefing him, he asked what Naruto thought about the Cloud escort. Naruto told him how he had barely batted an eye the entire time and how plain he seemed. The Hokage congratulated him on that observation. Guards, Sarutobi said, were supposed to be ordinary, so that they could easily blend into the local population in the case that an infiltration was necessitated. Sarutobi sent him home early that day as a reward for doing so well during the negotiations.

OoOoO

Tenten was tired. No, scratch that, she was freaking exhausted. She was in her room, splayed across her bed. It had always been her dream, ever since she had entered the Academy, to prove that kunoichi could serve just as ably as ninja as male shinobi. But to be honest, she hadn't ever expected it to be this hard. They were training ten hour days, from ten am to eight pm, with a short half hour break in the early afternoon for lunch.

Thinking over her team, she concluded that they had to be some of the strangest people she had ever met. Anko was completely unpredictable, both in her moods, and in her training methods. She had thought that the woman could possibly have some sort of disorder, like bipolarism, but now she was certain of it. Tenten could never predict what would set the purple haired woman off, as sometimes something that she had shrugged off the previous day would make her set them to the most grueling training exercises she could think up.

Hinata was something of a surprise. Everyone knew of the Hyuuga's legendary taijutsu style, the Jyuuken. She had also heard of Hinata's reputation among her clan as a near complete failure as a kunoichi. Hinata wasn't a bad ninja, by any means, but her father seemed to have set extraordinarily high expectations from a young age. Her repeated inability to match those goals, set mostly by generations of Hyuuga prodigies, had led her father to label her as a failure had turned her into a self-fulfilling prophecy, her failures sapping her confidence, which in turn made her fail again.

She had known the girl slightly during the Academy, and she had always been a shy introverted girl, even more so in Naruto's presence. What surprised Tenten the most was that she found herself genuinely befriending the Hyuuga heiress. Tenten didn't really have many friends, as she wasn't a fan girl, so she didn't fit in with that clique. She was only a genin, so she didn't know any of the older kunoichi, and she trained harder than probably any kunoichi her age, so that alienated her from just about all the rest. She considered herself to be a serious ninja, and considered such frivolous things as her figure as virtually unimportant. She figured if she trained hard enough, her body would take care of itself, and that differentiated her from all the girls in her class, no matter what clique it seemed. Hinata seemed to understand that, to a degree, although her social rank probably had something to do with that. Hinata had no fear remaining single her whole life, because her status as clan heiress demanded that she marry one day.

So they hung out in their free time, having lunch together on the weekends, and having friendly spars when they got bored. In this way Tenten was able to help her friend's confidence, which was really the only thing holding her back as a ninja, Tenten thought. Hinata would thrash her mercilessly when they sparred, her natural limberness and skill with the Jyuuken almost impossible to overcome for the weapons mistress. When she got a dirt nap for the fifth time in an hour during their first spar, she vowed to get Anko to work on her taijutsu outside of the official team practices. While she specialized in long-range combat, she recognized the need to hone her melee work, in the all-too-likely eventuality that she would have to go toe-to-toe with an opponent where her ranged weapons would be rendered ineffective. Hinata's crush on the blond orphan was also something of a legend among the students of the Academy, the Hyuuga princess that had fallen for the plebeian pariah.

That thought inevitably lead her to think of her other teammate. Naruto hadn't earned his moniker as the village's number one most surprising ninja for nothing. Almost overnight, his pranks had ceased, and he had thrown himself into his training with almost disturbing fervor. She knew for a fact that Anko got him up several hours earlier than herself or Hinata, to train him, and occasionally kept him after. One morning about a month and a half after graduation, she had gotten up with Hinata and gone to the training field two hours earlier than normal, to exactly what kind of remedial training he was receiving. Remembering their first spar with their jounin-sensei, she concluded with was probably taijutsu training.

The sight that greeted their peeping eyes was not one that they had expected. A shirtless Naruto and his mother was there, doing what looked like some heavy calisthenics. Naruto was upside down on his hands, fingers buried in the packed dirt to the second knuckle, feet in the air on which Anko balanced, long pants cinched closed by his greaves. As they watched, Naruto bent his arms, lowering his head to the ground, forehead brushing the sparse grass before straightening. Simultaneously, Tenten and Hinata sprouted tiny nosebleeds. The Naruto in front of them was looking extremely good. The sharply sculpted muscles on his naked torso stood out in sharp relief, contours traced by the many beads of sweat dripping off him. There didn't appear to be an ounce of fat on his entire body. His arms looked stone-hard, veins showing on his forearms. His chest was a maiden's dream of manliness. His tanned flesh glistened in the early morning light, nipples hardening in the occasional breeze. The tendons in his neck stood out sharply, and his stomach was washboard flat, a happy trail going down the middle of his six-pack. Hinata stealthily activated her Byakugan and focused on the grey bands at Naruto's wrists and ankles. She put a hand over her mouth in shock. Tenten looked at her teammate.

"Tenten-san, those bands he has on his wrists and ankles are chakra weights." Tenten looked surprised. There weren't many who used chakra weights. The only other people who she could think of that used chakra weights were Maito Gai and his miniaturized clone, Rock Lee. Basically, chakra weights were weights inscribed with seal that, when a certain amount of chakra was channeled into them, increased in weight without increasing in size, the seal changing to reflect how heavy they were at any given moment. The main reason why they were not used much was because they were only used in increments over fifty pounds, and most shinobi who trained with weights didn't need to go over that.

"How heavy are they?"

"A hundred pounds each." This time Tenten's eyes grew as big as saucers. But before she could absorb that fact, they heard him grunt, sounding like 'two hundred' as he straightened his arms again. Anko hopped off his feet and Naruto smoothly bent his legs backwards over his head, transferring his weight from his hand to his feet. Their nosebleeds thickened slightly at this display of virile agility. It was then that they realized that he had done two hundred vertical push ups with four hundred pounds of weights on, not including his mom sitting on his feet, which had to have added a good bit of difficulty balancing her, and neither saw him sway once. Clearly, there was a discrepancy between his performance in the Academy, and his true abilities.

She had been correct in her assumption, but it had not been the standard taijutsu that all nin were taught, before selecting a more specialized branch. This particular brand of taijutsu was all about speed it seemed. Once Naruto finished with his calisthenics, he created a large group of clones and set them to fighting each other. Tenten winced several times as none of the clones held back at all. Whatever style they were using, it was brutal, with clones often punching clear through one another before they died.

The real Naruto didn't sit back and watch though. Settling into an aggressive stance, he stood with his chest to them, legs spread apart and in line with his body, knees bent. His hands were curled into tight fists, the tendons in his wrist standing out strongly. Both his arms were almost at full extension while his left out from his body, his right across his body. Anko, on the other hand, seemed completely at ease. Neither son or mother moved for almost a minute. The more time that passed without Anko attacking, the more tense and more jittery he seemed to grow. Suddenly Naruto seemed to, well, explode seemed to be the best adjective that Tenten or Hinata could think of.

Naruto disappeared in a flurry of punches and kicks, barely seeming to brush the ground as he assaulted Anko. Anko, for her part gave as good as she got, albeit with yet another taijutsu style. This particular brand of taijutsu was all flowing motion. It was vaguely reminiscent of the Jyuuken that she had seen Hinata use, with much of the same boneless grace that was the Jyuuken's trademark. Naruto's style seemed to rely on bone-crushing punches and kicks, Anko's seemed based on evasion and knife-hand thrusts to his joints, groin (which caused Tenten and Hinata to wince in pity,) head and short ribs.

After observing him train for an hour with their sadistic sensei, she was starting to see a bit of what Hinata saw in him. Anko beat him mercilessly during their sparring session, but Naruto never stayed down for longer than a minute. He was limping quite badly and clearly winded when the pair left, quite battered, probably get breakfast, but when he arrived at the training field with their sensei, he didn't show a hint of exhaustion and none of the limp from earlier.

That was another thing that puzzled her. Where the hell did he get his retardedly huge stamina and chakra pools from? She knew of some real stamina freaks, namely Maito Guy and his protégé, Rock Lee, the Green Beasts of Konoha, who were widely regarded as the best taijutsu practitioners in Konoha, Gai having raised his school of taijutsu to an art, but he got most of that from training, if rumors of his training regimen were to believed. While she would agree that Naruto was training a good bit harder than herself, what she saw of his extra training couldn't possibly account for how he had gotten so strong practically overnight.

She recalled the conversation she had with Hinata earlier in the day. She and Hinata had been taking a breather from one of their sparring sessions while Anko berated Naruto on something or other. "Hey Hinata-san, I have something to confide." The panda-haired girl had leaned in close, whispering. "I think that Anko is teaching Naruto-san something she isn't teaching us."

Hinata had looked back with disbelief. "I don't think Anko-sensei would play favorites Tenten-san." Hinata had been drilled so thoroughly in correct protocol and etiquette that she couldn't help but to add the -sensei suffix in private. "She isn't that kind of person."

"I'm not so sure. Remember when we spied of Naruto and Anko's private training? Well I didn't recognize whatever taijutsu style they were practicing so I went to the Shinobi Archives to see what it was, but the closest thing I could find on Naruto's style was the Strong Fist but not quite. The closest thing I could find on Anko's style was the Jyuuken." Tenten held up a hand to forestall Hinata's objections. "I'm not saying that I think that Anko has somehow learned your family's taijutsu, I'm just saying that they look a lot alike."

Hinata sat there looking thoughtful for a minute before speaking. "You may be right Tenten-san. But I don't think we should be jumping to conclusions."

"Regardless, I am going to confront Anko about it."

"Um... I don't really think that that would be a good idea. Anko-sensei has many years experience as a ninja, so if there is something that she is teaching Naruto-kun that she is not teaching us, there is probably a very good reason for it."

"Whatever the reason is, I want to know it. I want to become a strong shinobi, and I can't do that if my sensei isn't teaching me everything she knows. I had kinda expected something like this of one of the male jounin-sensei, but Anko is a woman also."

So when Anko dismissed them for the evening, Tenten and Hinata waited until Naruto had bid them goodbye before approaching her jounin-sensei. "Anko, may I talk to you for a minute please?"

Anko looked at the shorter kunoichi and frowned. "Sure, but only for a minute. I got things to do."

Steeling her courage, she squared her shoulders and blurted her question out. "Anko, what are you teaching Naruto-san that you are not teaching Hinata-san and me?"

Anko looked at her in surprise. "What makes you think that I am teaching Naruto-kun something that I am not teaching you?"

"We spied on one of your and Naruto-san's early morning sparring sessions a yesterday. We saw you both using a completely foreign taijutsu style, one that I had never seen or read about."

"And do you feel the same Hinata-chan?"

"I-i trust in your judgment A-anko," she replied, stuttering over her name under Anko's fierce gaze. "But I am a bit curious as to what N-naruto-kun is learning." Hinata's head was bowed, bangs obscuring her eyes, fingers poking together.

Looking at the two determined kunoichi, she sighed. "Well, I had hoped to keep it secret for a bit longer." Focusing her gaze and a tiny bit of killing intent, she continued. "I will show you what Naruto-kun is learning as long as you don't mind getting thrown around."

Shocked at the apparent seriousness of whatever she was teaching him, both kunoichi pledged their silence. Tenten couldn't say why, but the thought of Naruto being hurt in anyway because of her actions caused a totally unreasonable sense of sadness.

Lightening her expression and withdrawing her killing intent, she grinned. "I will have him show you tomorrow." She turned away, throwing them a wink. "Just don't say I didn't warn you." And with that note, Anko disappeared into the night. Tenten looked to Hinata with a confounded expression. Hinata returned her gaze, similarly disturbed. What kind of jutsu had Naruto been learning, to have their sensei warn them off in such a way?

Tenten turned up at training ground nineteen at precisely ten o'clock the next morning, barely able to restrain her excitement. For her, there was nothing better than learning a new technique or jutsu. Hinata showed up a minute or two after her, and then everything was ready. Tenten looked at Naruto, trying to discern exactly what kind of taijutsu technique he had learned. Anko greeted the trio with a friendly wave. "Are you ready to see what exactly Naruto has been learning this past month and a half?"

Tenten grinned, Hinata blushed, and Naruto was confused. "Mom, I thought you said that no one was to know about my private training?"

"Well, it seems that your two teammates have noticed all the time I have been giving you, and want to see exactly what I have been teaching you."

Grinning, he turned to Tenten and Hinata. "To tell the truth, I have wanted to try this out on someone other than Mom for ages now."

Moving to the center of the clearing, she beckoned all three to come. "Alright you two," she said, pointing at Hinata and Tenten, "you are allowed to use everything to try to hit him, barring lethal force. Everything is in, all taijutsu, ninjutsu and weapons. My bet is that neither of you will be able to touch him though."

Looking to Anko, Hinata said "w-we are fighting him two on o-one? That doesn't s-seem entirely fair to h-him, Anko."

"Oh, it's not him that I am worried about. Just do it. You will see what I mean soon enough."

Shrugging, Tenten and Hinata settled into their respective taijutsu stances, and separated, flanking the blond. When Naruto had settled into a very tight stance, feet apart, arms poised in a vaguely viperish fashion, Tenten went for the first blow. Naruto blocked her attack with one of her own, causing her almost yelp as he almost broke her hand. She released her fist into a knife hand and swung it out in a horizontal chop. Naruto blocked that one too with his forearm. He ducked a Jyuuken palm strike from Hinata behind him. Tenten stepped in close, bringing her fist up near her face, dropping down elbow first to make a quick KO. Instead of Tenten's elbow meeting Naruto's head though, she stumbled as it swept though thin air, and Naruto popped up behind her, having turned his duck into a forward roll between her legs. Tenten turned around and the two kunoichi leaped forward, trying to overwhelm him with the ferocity of their attacks.

Naruto nodded and straightened, bringing his hands up into fists. Almost before either girl knew what was happening, Naruto was in front of them. He halted for a quarter or a second, and then the air was blasted out of Tenten's lungs as Naruto punched her in the solar plexus, flipping her over and leaving her in a crumpled heap behind him. Hinata backpedaled frantically, trying to gain some space so she could set herself into a defensive Jyuuken stance, and strike back. Unfortunately, Naruto didn't seem to want to oblige her, pursuing her relentlessly. The few Jyuuken strikes she did manage to get in he warded away, and then vanished, to reappear a second later two or three feet away.

By now Tenten had recovered, and was angry, drawing a kunai in each hand. She was determined to pay him back for that punch. She was not some weak and girly kunoichi to be knocked out and then forgotten.

But whatever she tried, he either blocked, parried or dodged. In short, whatever style he had been taught, it was absolutely devastating, neatly disposing of both girls inside a minute. Tenten watched in total disbelief as he flowed out of the way of two thrusts of her kunai, and simply plucked them from her grip. He then whirled around and she could feel the razor edges resting against her throat. As soon as the spar was over, Naruto was all over the both of them, apologizing profusely, making sure he hadn't done any lasting harm. From any other male, she was sure that it would have been chauvinistic, but from him it was sweet.

After he had assured himself he hadn't killed them, he sat down between them, content to let Anko explain her style. She could understand why Anko had sworn them to silence before showing them what she was teaching Naruto. It turned out that it was less Anko teaching him anything and more Naruto teaching himself. "I had once tried to teach him my fighting style, but he simply is not built for the acrobatics that are essential for my style. He has been trying to invent his how own fighting style in private."

That certainly explained a lot to Tenten. She had been wondering in the back of her mind what was with Naruto seeming obsession with his physical conditioning.

After that short demonstration, Anko set Naruto to some more advanced chakra control exercises that the two kunoichi had already mastered. Taking them to the other side of the training field. She sat them down in the dirt and addressed them. "Alright, I bet you want to know why I seem to have been showing some favoritism toward Naruto in regards to helping him with his taijutsu in secret. The first reason is one that I cannot divulge at the moment, because of a law that the Sandaime has put in effect regarding a burden that Naruto was saddled with at birth. If you want to know what it is, I suggest that you try to befriend him, and if he does tell you, please remember that the is a difference between the prisoner and the prison." Tenten and Hinata shared a confused look, wondering at the cryptic warning their sensei had just given them.

"The second reason has a lot to do with the first. You two know of his dream correct?" Tenten and Hinata nodded silently. "Well, as you know, Naruto is not well liked among the civilian and shinobi populations. To become Hokage, he needs to be prepared, and that means giving him special training. But I will be teaching you something slightly different." Tenten looked mollified at that last part, as she had been getting irritated that Naruto would get specialized treatment just because he wanted to become Hokage. Hearing that she and Hinata would be getting special training also negated that jealousy.

"Alright. Well, the taijutsu style that you will be learning doesn't have a name per se, but it was developed for kunoichi. As a kunoichi, you will never be able to develop the physical strength nor the same size chakra pools that you male counterparts will. That does not mean that you cannot be as good or better than a male shinobi, it just means that you have to be smarter about it. As a kunoichi you are naturally more flexible than most shinobi. This taijutsu style takes advantage of that, turning what could be a weakness into a strength." Stepping back, she motioned for them to get up.

"This taijutsu is similar to aikido in many ways, and even has elements of the Jyuuken incorporated in it. Instead of overcoming your opponent with brute force, you defeat him by turning his own strength against him. Many of the kata are reactive, instead of proactive, and focus on conserving energy by getting the maximum effect with the minimum effort. So, attack me."

Pausing a moment, Tenten and Hinata separated and attacked Anko from opposite sides. Neither kunoichi could land a single blow on the elder woman. Anko did not attack at all, instead using their own attacks to tangle themselves up, or redirecting an attack away from her and towards the other kunoichi.

Tenten came in with a left hook, while Hinata dropped to the ground and tried a foot sweep. Anko grabbed Tenten's outstretched fist and deflected it across her body, taking hold of her arm at the same time and twirling them around so that Hinata's foot sweep toppled her partner instead of her sensei. Tenten performed a kip up, and settled back into a defensive stance. Hinata did the same, and the two genin studied their teacher for a moment, before having a whispered debate. A few seconds later, they stopped whispering, having arrived at a battle plan. This time Hinata charged, directing several Jyuuken palm strikes at Anko's body core. Tenten circled around and waited for the right moment to attack. A minute later Tenten attacked with an aerial roundhouse kick as Hinata drew Anko's guard low. However, Anko saw through the ploy and turned, grabbed Tenten by the leg, used her momentum to shift into a spin, and slammed Tenten down hard on Hinata. Anko stepped back and let the stunned and badly winded kunoichi recover.

Once Tenten and Hinata regained their feet, Anko grinned. "Ready to learn?" Tenten scowled at her teacher, but nodded, along with Hinata. Anko rubbed her hands together gleefully. "Alright, the first thing to know is base, angle, and leverage. Those three things are the basis for this entire style." Anko motioned for Tenten to come forward. "Punch at me slowly." Tenten did. Anko spread her feet apart. "The first element, base. You anchor yourself to the ground, giving yourself a large platform to move in." Anko gripped Tenten's arm and twisted it into an odd angle. "Second element, angle. You twist like so," she said demonstrating it again slowly, "so that your opponent cannot retaliate, and setting up for the third step, leverage. Combining the first two elements correctly gives you the leverage to do this." She finished with an emphasis, unbending her and Tenten's arm in a way so that Tenten went flipping around her arm, landing hard on the ground, driving the breath from her lungs again. "See? Easy as pie."

Finally, after two months of almost nonstop training, Anko judged them ready for their first mission.

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