"Iruka! Iruka!" a voice came through the door.

"What," he grumbled from his bed.

"Open—open up! 'S me!" the voice continued, sounding vaguely similar to Mizuki's voice.

Iruka stood from the bed and yanked his door open. "Mizuki-san?"

Mizuki nodded. "Correct! We gotta go! The kid… the demon kid 'as got the Scroll."

Trying not to gag on the smell of Mizuki's breath, Iruka asked, "Naruto? He took what scroll?"

"Ya know!" Mizuki demanded. "The one in the vault!"

Iruka paled. "He took the Scroll of Sealing?"

"Scroll of Stealing! Thassit!" Triumphant at his ability to articulate, Mizuki promptly collapsed on the ground and blacked out. Yet again.

Iruka left Mizuki on the door step, taking off immediately to find his pupil or inform the Hokage of the situation. The poor boy couldn't possibly have any idea of what he was getting himself into. That Scroll was sealed for a reason, and breaking into the Hokage's Vault was a serious offence. He just couldn't see what kind of motive Naruto would have.

Creeping out from the bushes as soon as Iruka left, Sakura stealthily flipped her former teacher's body over and poured a vial of liquid down his throat, working it to make sure he swallowed properly. Nodding at the hedges, she waited for Ino, Hinata, Tenten, and Sai to each grab a limb and they carried their teacher to their estimated meeting place of Naruto. Setting him down gently (i.e. carelessly dropping him when they realized their twelve year old forms just weren't as strong as the bodies they were used to), Sakura placed him under a heavy genjutsu that basically aggravated his sense of irritation and hatred for Naruto. In other words, despite his drunkenness—soon to be countered by that potion—Mizuki would attack Naruto and most likely give a depressing speech about how he believed Naruto to be a monster and other such nonsense.

Moving back to the bushes, the girls and boy lay in wait for the show that was sure to come.

Mizuki couldn't help but feel as though he shouldn't be able to think right now. I mean, he must've consumed, like, what? Six bottles of sake? Eighteen? Eh, close enough. He rolled his eyes at himself, and carefully stood. His feet remained firmly planted in the ground, as a shinobi's should be. He nodded, pleased with this result. Now, it felt like he had a mission… a mission of what? Of hatred. Yes, he hated someone. Who…?

"Kage bunshin no jutsu!" a voice yelled.

Oh kami, that voice. How he hated it. How it grated on his nerves, how every fiber of his being revolted and wanted to vomit at the mere sound of it. His feet moved forward of their own volition, toward the voice. He realized the Uzumaki brat was just out of his sight, and with his giant shuriken, he could kill the thing.

Grinning to himself, Mizuki slunk forward and reached for his weapon, startled to find it wasn't there. In fact, all he had with him was a spatula, for some reason. Shrugging, he continued his quest. This was important, and besides, ninja were always meant to improvise. He was positive Ibiki-san would have no qualms about using a spatula as a weapon.

The boy was right there, in fact, he was everywhere. Huh. That didn't seem quite normal.

Some of the boys disappeared, and the others groaned in frustration. "Stupid clone techniques!" they yelled, sounding aggravated. Mizuki didn't care. He found them aggravating. He kept sneaking, bringing the spatula up in preparation.

To the girls waiting in the bushes, he looked more than a little ridiculous, as he was still about a mile away from Naruto. Sakura just thought it would be funny if he thought Naruto was always right in front of him. Still, it was impressive how good her genjutsu skills were, even in this old body, as Mizuki had been walking into the same tree for a good five minutes.

"We should really help him," Tenten said, feeling kind of bad for him.

"No," Sakura and Hinata said in unison.

"They may be enjoying this a bit too much," Ino whispered to the other kunoichi.

Anko triumphantly led Tsunade, Shizune, Tonton, and Iwana on a parade through the gambling resort town, their mission successful.

"The old man isn't trying to make me hokage, is he?" Tsunade suddenly asked, voice full of suspicion even as she continued to follow Anko down the street.

Iwana and Anko exchanged a glance and a chuckle. "Hah, he said you'd say that. But no," Anko assured her. "We actually need you there as a medic and because someone killed Danzou."

"Anko! We weren't supposed to mention Danzou-sama unless they resist!" Iwana complained.

Tsunade snorted. "Please, it's about time that old coot died. Who popped him?" she asked, slightly unprofessionally. Shizune gasped in horror at her teacher's mannerisms.

Anko was about to answer before realizing she couldn't just rat Sakura out like that. Instead she said, "We have no idea. On an unrelated note, there's this really great girl who wants to become a medic. She takes her genin test tomorrow. You'll love her."

"Just what I need; another student. No thanks. I just want to see Kushina-chan's baby and be on my way."

Anko stopped walking. Turning very slowly, she gave Tsunade a hard stare. "I don't think you quite understand. The village needs you. The people there, they also need you. Naruto-kun most importantly, sure, but the rest of the citizens also rely on you. And while I understand the pain you've gone through, it's time for you to suck it up and be a kunoichi and medic again. And if you don't like hearing this from me, I'll make Naruto-kun say it all over again." She took a deep breath before turning back to Iwana. "We should make contact with Tenzou. Hopefully, he's found Jiraiya-sama."

Iwana nodded before performing some weird ANBU jutsu that allowed him to contact Yamato and Akio.

"Iruka! Iruka-san!" a voice called behind him.

Iruka turned around as soon as he had safely landed on the building in front of him. "Yes?" he asked the ANBU who had been doing the yelling.

"The Hokage has called a meeting for the shinobi of the village. There's been a break-in in the Tower's Vault!"

Iruka nodded. "I know, Mizuki-san informed me," he said, uncertain as to whether this man knew it was Naruto's doing or not. He turned to keep running so he could come to his pupil's aid, but the ANBU wasn't done.

"We all have to be at that meeting," he said impatiently.

Iruka growled under his breath but agreed to delay his rescue for a few moments. The Hokage didn't tolerate insubordination.

"This," the Hokage said in a voice that was largely resigned, but, even the most gracious of his shinobi had to admit, also slightly whiney, "is ridiculous."

Some of the ninja flinched back from his unforgiving tone. "Hokage-sama, we're trying, but the kid is so—"

"I'm not talking about Uzumaki," he growled. "I mean everything. We cannot tolerate having the Elder Council murdered! Something is going on that is unacceptable. Whatever Mizuki-kun has decided to do with Naruto may or may not be relevant, but we also need to look at the fact that Root is wandering the streets without their commander, the Sannin are yet to be found, and Hatake Kakashi has been on time to every meeting he's had to attend all day long." With that, the Hokage turned his glare upon the guilty shinobi, the other ninja in the room shuffling to avoid eye contact.

Kakashi, for his part, just chuckled sheepishly, and rubbed the back of his head, somehow getting the feeling that Anko would be… displeased if he were to place the blame for this on her.

The Hokage continued to glare at him for a few moments before realizing he had a point to get across and his shinobi were not the most patient in all the Five Great Nations. Sighing, Sarutobi carefully laid his pipe on his desk and put his hands together in an effort to prevent them from spontaneously forming seals and destroying things. "The point is," he said to the collected group of elite ninja, "that we have issues that must be resolved. I am calling the Jounin Council to a formal meeting immediately as we need to have some sort of council in place. Iruka, I leave the issue of Naruto-kun to you, as you know him best. We can't spare anyone else and honestly, I don't think I want to know how he got in here or why."

"Hokage-sama, I don't think—" Iruka started to say, but dropped the sentence as he wilted under the village's leader's glare. "Yes, sir," he said meekly.

Kakashi gave him a sympathetic glance as he slipped from the room, deciding he would help the guy out. After all, Naruto was about to become his student and he might as well see what the kid was really capable of. The Academy files only revealed so much. "Hokage-sama, if I may I offer my assistance to Iruka-san?" he asked.

His comrades stared at him in shock while the Hokage replaced the pipe to his lips and nodded his agreement. "Okay, Kakashi-san, go with Iruka; intervene only if it becomes necessary."

Kakashi nodded, before a handseal took him from the room.

"The rest of you," Sarutobi said darkly, "are on guard duty for the Root ninja. Round them up and keep them on lock down in the Root Hideout."

"Ugh," Raidou groaned. "I hate guarding the Root ninja. They bite," he complained.

Sarutobi merely glared him into silent retreat.

The Sand Squad continued through the town, Baki set on reaching Konoha tonight or else, and Temari perfectly happy to acquiesce—she'd already used the lavatory, after all. Kankuro trekked behind them, his ongoing mantra playing in his head as he tried desperately to take in the scenery and ignore all the weirdness going on around him. He felt positive he would not make it to the end of this mission with his sanity intact, and he knew it was Temari's fault. It was Temari's fault because blaming Gaara most certainly meant death—or at least, it should—and he didn't really know enough about this brat Naruto to blame him. Not just yet, anyway.

Gaara followed Temari because, honestly, what else did he have to do, and he could not deny the growing curiosity he felt about this Naruto fellow. He just hoped Naruto was the miracle worker his sister seemed to believe in so firmly.

Baki frowned as he realized there was another procession in front of them, seemingly causing a bit of a ruckus. He put on his best Official Shinobi Business face and marched forward. "Excuse me, what seems to be the pr—you again?" he practically shrieked. Temari's well-tuned ear for trouble, mayhem, and pain to her sensei picked up on this new panic and she thought one thing. Interesting…

Gaara's eyebrow skin rose yet again as his sister pushed into the crowd to see who had managed to drive Baki up such a panicked wall, and he sighed as he made his way to follow her. He stopped after a second to grab Kankuro's arm, and drag him with him.

He's touching me he's touching me he's touching me he's touching me he's touching me—makeup cupcakes flowers face paint puppets makeup cupcakes flowers face paint puppets, he internally yelled.

"Anko!" Temari chirped when she saw who had caused Baki to activate his harried mother mode.

The purple haired snake charmer turned her head. "Oh, hey there," she answered casually.

"Hoka—I mean, how have you been?" Temari quickly recovered, hoping no one noticed her slip up. Anko grinned slyly at her. "We're heading to Konoha to see Naruto! And give a scroll to the Hokage," she said, hoping to move on with the conversation.

Baki smacked her. How could his smartest student forget the number one lesson? Tell the enemy nothing!

"What was that for? I thought we were going for peace," the annoying blonde said emphatically.

Glowering huffily, Baki turned on his heel and continued stalking forward to the Leaf Village. Uncertainly, the nameless ninja standing near Anko, Tsunade, the crazy pig lady whose name Temari could never remember, and the pig whose name was merely unimportant, trotted after him. "We've contacted Jiraiyama-sama," he told Baki.

Baki threw his hands up in frustration. "Does no one get it?" he cried to the heavens. Temari could only assume he was having another Ninja Rant to himself.

"Well, we're heading that way ourselves," Anko finally answered Temari about five minutes later when everything was getting a little awkward and Baki and Iwana were surely past the "hi, nice to meet you" stage and onto the "funny thing is, we were going to invade your village hahahaha" part of their conversation. "Wanna walk with us?" she offered benevolently. "We plan to meet up with Yamato and his Nameless Ninja and Jiraiya at some point."

Temari shrugged. "Sure. This is Anko," she told Gaara and Kankuro, who had finally decided Gaara was not planning to secretly devour him. Or squash him in a Desert Coffin Technique. In fact, he seemed to be clinging to Gaara's arm as if Gaara was his lifeline. Gaara looked surprisingly chill about this, considering it was Kankuro attached to his arm. I mean, raging demon sealed in your stomach aside, Gaara just didn't seem like the type of guy who would be okay with someone clutching his body that way. Especially not his makeup loving brother. And then images entered Temari's brain that she really wished she hadn't accidentally planted there herself. "I need brain bleach, and I need it now," she announced calmly.

Ignoring her request, Anko introduced Shizune, Tonton, and Tsunade, being careful to say nothing of the latter's future Kage status. The group continued their journey at a leisurely pace—for ninja, that is—figuring Baki and Iwana would eventually get tired and wait for them.

And so, the first day of the past turned to evening, Uzumaki Naruto busy beating up his Academy teacher for fun—I mean plot. Yes, plot—and four girls and one boy ensuring that everything went according to plan. Though, whose plan, the world may never know. Actually, we know. It's their plan.

Meanwhile, two of the three greatest shinobi from the Village Hidden in the Leaf were retrieved by their comrades to help their noble village deal with a mysterious Old People Killer. Sasuke discovered a lust for Sakura, Kakashi finally found his precious, precious book, and Kankuro convinced himself that his sister was a fraud.

Tune in at some point to hear someone say "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAT."


This was my alternative for Mizuki convincing Naruto to steal the scroll. I think I wrote it far before I reached that chapter, and then lost the Word document in the bowels of my computer. Oh well. :P

Mizuki struggled to remember his speech as he sat with Naruto atop the Hokage Monument and gazed over the village. Or rather, he leaned heavily on his student and drunkenly giggled at the blurry scenery below.

"SO," he started. "There… is… a Scroll! Of, of, of Sealing! And you," he said, emphasizing the 'you' as he pointed at Naruto, "you gotta steal it!"

Naruto looked at him, aghast.

"Ya see," he said in a confidential tone, breathing booze breath all over his pupil, "if ya steal it, Iruka, Iruka will be, like, so proud of your ninja-bilities, that he won't be able to deny you your genninship and so you'll hafta pass!" he announced proudly. He was fairly certain that was what he had meant to say, anyway. He was really having difficulty recalling anything at the moment.

The kid looked at him, still shocked at the idea that stealing one of the village's most prized possessions would help him pass the Academy Exam—and even be enough to impress Iruka-sensei, who wouldn't even condone a little prank like painting the very monument they sat on—but then he realized the logic behind it. After all, the Scroll of Sealing, according to rumors and Mizuki-sensei himself, was stored in a vault in the Hokage Tower. If Naruto could somehow pass all the ANBU on guard duty and Sarutobi-sama himself… why, he'd be the best ninja ever!

Naruto smirked. This would be easy. Slipping past ANBU was already a breeze. "Scroll of Stealing," he remarked.

Mizuki tittered. "That's so… punny!" he yelled.

Leaving Mizuki to ramble drunkenly at a rock, Naruto used the Hokage Monument's convenient location to make his way to the Tower, intent on passing his Academy Graduation Exam.