Hey. I'm Memorium Activity (got it from a Captcha thing), and some day I'll be the greatest novelist in the world!...lol, just stating my goals the way Naruto would. I'm gonna write a variety of genres – science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, etc – but here I'm putting up my first fanfic in…certainly a while, at least. It's been three years since I gave up fanfiction because of time constraints and personal issues, but I'm back now – older, wiser, and probably a bunch taller than I was when I used to write fanfic. (I'd like to say I got taught better writing techniques by a pervy old hermit, but that's not quite the case :). )
This is my first Naruto fanfic; I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it so far. It could be quite long, or it might trail off in the middle, but hopefully I'll stick with it and see where it goes. It's slightly AU at the moment but not to a great extent. Things'll branch off from canon more at a specific point in the Chunin Exams, but for now, it's mostly canon from a different perspective.
But how much does the two-day waiting period for finally putting up your story suck? I mean, here I am, away from this game for three years and keen to start over again, and is like: "No, MA, you have to wait." It's like a waiting period for a gun, except I want to shoot fanfics out instead of bullets.
Wow, that'd be weird. The US Constitution promises Americans' inalienable right to bear fanfiction. Suddenly corpses are getting identified by the bloodstained SasuNaru fics found inside of them, people in Compton hold their Star Trek AUs sideways when they participate in drive-by kink memes, and Bruce Wayne becomes Batman because his parents were killed with a printed-out copy of Team Eight.
But I digress! Now is the time for the fic.
Chapter One: First Day
Hinata Hyuga was always early for school.
When Hinata had first started at the Academy, the shy, violet-eyed girl would always bound through Konoha's streets with great speed to reach the Academy on time. On the very first day, her minders had somewhat carelessly permitted her to simply walk from the Hyuga compound to the Academy, expecting that she would either find it eventually or just go back to them if she couldn't.
These minders had sorely underestimated exactly how shy Hinata Hyuga was, even at that young age. They were punished once her father Hiashi found out about their incompetence, but that was precious little comfort to Hinata on the morning of the first day itself. Clutching her bag, the girl looked out onto the vast sea of faces before her and expressed her feelings quietly: not with a curse, but a whimper.
Taking her first steps forward, Hinata then immediately leapt out of the way of a messenger-ninja and breathed in deeply, carefully ducking past people in an attempt to move up the road. It was a bad idea to begin with; although Hinata had no idea at the time, this was one of Konoha's main roads. It was slow work moving forward, and the noise and the crowds made the girl shrink even further into herself.
"E-excuse me," she said quietly as she passed a man carrying a few dogs, then had to stop again to let a ninja dressed in robes pass. "Uh, does a-anyone..."
It's no use, Hinata thought. Nobody seems to notice me. Although I suppose I am shorter than most of them, so I guess it's because they don't look down for me.
It was no use. It'd been at least five minutes, and she'd only gone a few metres up from where she first got onto the road. Stuck in a small niche in front of a closed door, Hinata worriedly looked out from left to right, wondering how she'd get out.
They said it would only take ten minutes to get there! Hinata worried. Father will be angry if I don't get to school on time for the first day.
Hinata thought worriedly of her father's stern gaze whenever she failed, and resolved to get to school on time, even if she had to run faster than she ever had before.
Of course, she thought, a place this crowded isn't very good for running.
Suddenly, an opening in the crowd behind her brought Hinata, lost in thought, crashing from her worries and down onto the ground, knocked over by a tall woman with short hair.
Uh? thought Hinata.
She stood up and looked at the woman more closely. She was in her late teens with light brown eyes and dark hair worn shorter than Hinata's, done up in what looked to be a ponytail. She was wearing a very short jacket; not only that, but she was wearing a top short enough for her bellybutton to show! Hinata marvelled at anybody being allowed to wear clothes as this woman did. Looking up further, Hinata also noticed that the woman was wearing a forehead protector.
A kunoichi! Hinata mentally gasped. I mustn't offend her, she might tell the people at the school and then they'll think I'm hopeless!
The ninja spoke.
"Ya okay there, kid?" she asked, smiling further and closing her eyes. "I kinda ran into you there."
"S-sorry, sensei!" Hinata bowed slightly. "I shouldn't have been standing around like that. I'm wasting your time."
"Huh?" The ninja looked confused. "Uh, you're not wasting my time. Besides, I'm the one who ran into you. Sorry." She scratched the back of her head and smiled further.
Hinata looked down at her feet, and nodded.
"I'm not a sensei," said the ninja. "I'm Anko. Anko Mitarashi. What's your name?"
"Mm!" nodded Anko. "Hyuga. That explains the eyes. You should look up more, I think they're cool!"
Hinata tried to look up at Anko, but years of training overtook Anko's suggestion and the girl looked back down again.
"So what's a Hyuga kid doing out here with us mortals?" asked Anko.
"Oh!" said Anko, and her eyes widened. "Uh, you're kind of going the wrong way, then. The Academy's over there."
She pointed behind her and nodded.
! thought Hinata, hanging her head. I can't find anywhere! I'll never be any good at being a ninja.
"Please don't tell the school," said Hinata. "If they find out I'm late they...might..."
"Might what?" asked Anko in confusion.
This kid has a lot to learn. Who knew Hyuga were so sheltered?
Anko stopped laughing when she realised that the little girl was quietly sobbing. She crouched down and looked into Hinata's eyes.
"I didn't mean it like that, c'mon," she said. "Nobody's gonna fail you just for being late, kid. Some people are late all the time, even chunin and jonin!"
Anko's smiling proved infectious. For the first time that day, Hinata stopped worrying, if only briefly.
"Come on," said Anko. "I'll get you through this crowd of maggots!"
Eww! Hinata privately thought, but she quietly nodded and accepted Anko's hand anyway.
Hand in hand, the two stepped back into the crowd. This time it was not a struggle for right of way – people moved for Anko in a way that amazed Hinata – it was more a struggle to keep hold on Anko's hand. As they walked, Hinata felt Anko's hand and her eyes widened. It was scarred and calloused, far from the smooth hands of her minders. How could anyone's hands be so rough? Even though her knowledge of a ninja's work was much, much higher than the average six year old's, adults had always remained tight-lipped around her about what exactly a ninja mission entailed.
Anko must be a very powerful kunoichi, thought Hinata. And she's so much older! She must be eighteen at least!
Finally passing a man pushing cabbages in a wheelbarrow, Anko and Hinata reached the edge of the main road, some way away from Hinata's starting point. This was good. She'd moved ahead.
"Well, we're here now," said Anko, stepping off the main road and onto another street.
"But we haven't reached the school yet," said Hinata.
"You can get there!" said Anko. "It's easy. Just follow this street 'til it ends, then turn left."
Hinata looked down the street. It was quite a long stretch, but much thinner and less bustling than the main road. In fact, there was nobody there at all.
The violet-eyed girl fretted. "But what if I need your-"
Anko was gone.
Hinata sighed. It made sense that Anko would have other things to do, but she still would've liked to have stayed with her a bit longer. She was like a big sister, almost.
I hope I can be the same for Hanabi, she thought, thinking of her baby sister. Well, except I'll keep my bellybutton covered.
Hinata's navel gazing was interrupted once again by a distant, repetitive noise increasing in sound. She stopped to focus on it as it grew louder and louder, until she was sure the source was very, very close.
It sounded like "Wheeeee!"
Turning around, Hinata Hyuga found the source of the noise. Perhaps three feet above her and flying through the air was a blue-eyed boy about her age, hair the colour of the sun, wearing a white t-shirt with a red spiral on it, leaping through the air and grinning wildly.
Wow, thought Hinata.
The source of the noise landed with utmost confidence and poise a foot in front of Hinata, then lost balance and fell forward to the ground, pushing her down with him.
Lying on the ground for the second time that day, Hinata focused on the boy, although it would have been hard not to as his face was only a few inches from hers, smiling away as he pushed himself up with his hands slightly.
"Hi!" said the boy, not moving. "Sorry, I like jumping around and I didn't see you 'til it was too late. You're not hurt, are you?"
"You're nice!" he said. "Most girls punch me if I land on them. But I guess you want me to get off now, right?"
Hinata trembled, and she quickly said "No!"
"Huh?" the boy said.
Hinata suddenly felt her cheeks go bright red.
That's...strange, thought Hinata. Is there something wrong with my face? I can't be sick, the compound is very careful about that sort of thing!
"N-no, I'm not hurt."
Fortunately, she had landed on her backpack, so she hadn't hit her head, but even if she had, it didn't really matter to her. The only question on her mind was: who was this boy, and what was happening to her face?
To her regret, the boy pushed himself further up and stood up in front of her. He held out a hand and she took it, pulling herself up and almost into his arms.
"Uh, so you're okay now?" asked the boy.
Hinata nodded, then suddenly remembered why she was here and shook her head.
"School! I have to get to school on time!"
The boy shuffled his feet.
"Uh, sorry, but I'm pretty sure you can't do that now. School already started five minutes before I left."
"W-when you left?" asked Hinata. "Where do you live?"
"About twenty minutes' walk, five minutes' hop," said the boy, grinning.
Hinata brushed herself off, and resolved to learn more about how to get around faster in the future – jumping as high as this boy could would definitely mean no more crowd-trouble. But right now, there was no time.
"Ten minutes late! If Hiashi discovers I'm late for school, I don't know what punishment he'll give me!"
The boy (who had been determinedly counting on his fingers to confirm to himself that five plus five was indeed ten) suddenly forgot his arithmetic and looked concerned, angry and resolved, all at once.
"Who's Hiashi? If he's hurting you, take me to him and I'll fight him for you!"
Hinata shook her head rapidly and grabbed the boy's arm (partly for fear, partly for other, rapidly developing reasons).
"No, you mustn't! He's a very powerful ninja!"
The boy grinned.
"So am I!"
"W-what?! You're not even older than me!"
The blond, far from angered at this statement, simply pointed to the heavens and said, half for Hinata's benefit and half for his own:
"I'll get stronger! Some day I'll be a great ninja! I'll be the Hokage!"
Hinata privately wondered what exactly he was pointing at, but his determination was still very impressive.
She rubbed the side of her neck in shyness.
"Um...I don't want to be rude, but...who are you?"
Now it was his turn to be perplexed.
She doesn't know who I am? I thought everybody knew!
"Uh, I'm Naruto. Naruto Uzumaki?"
Naruto winced in expectation of the standard response – repulsion, widened eyes, and even spitting were not uncommon – but was surprised to see the girl before him smile, bow slightly and say:
"I am Hinata of the Clan Hyuga. I am pleased to meet you, Naruto Uzumaki."
Naruto laughed, and scratched the back of his head.
"Well, we'd better go quickly. Can't miss any more school!"
With this, Naruto began to stride forward, and Hinata quickly fell in behind him, feeling much happier than she had been.
He's so...determined! I've never seen anyone so open about how strong they are. He'll be the best ninja in the class!
Smiling, Hinata Hyuga walked to her first day of school.
Iruka Umino stared up at the group of children in front of him and suppressed an urge to sigh. Parents were always going on about how perfect, cute and polite their children were, but this unruly group was going to be difficult. It was only his second year of dealing with such a class, and he'd have them all for the full six years. He suddenly realized why Asuma had taken up smoking – stress relief – and briefly considered it himself, before realizing that he coughed excessively if he so much as sat near a heater.
There were the usual assortment of ninja from the clans, of course. An Inuzuka, wrapped in a fur coat, strange eyes looking around in excitement and grinning from ear to ear. Iruka didn't expect too much of that kid at first – Inuzukas didn't usually get their dog partners until they were about ten, as he recalled – but he wondered if the boy was planning on wearing fur all year round. Konoha got warm in the summer months.
Then there was an Aburame, seated a few rows behind the Inuzuka and stoic as ever. Iruka didn't know the Aburame clan's special technique, but he had heard vague rumours that it had something to do with mind-controlling bugs. Resolving to find out eventually, Iruka moved on.
Ah! Two thirds of the classic team were already friends! A Nara and an Akimichi were in the row second from the back, one sitting slouched and the other eating chips. Both were talking about something or other, a game of sorts that they seemed to play, although the Nara didn't look like the type to play sports. Iruka then focused on the third part of the Ino-Shika-Cho team – a blonde Yamanaka girl who was apparently trying to convince everyone she was much older than she actually was.
His eyes then flitted around the room randomly. A pink-haired girl. A ponytailed boy. A boy with dark, straight hair.
Hmm, looks quite like his brother.
The door opened to reveal two more students. One was a short girl, a Hyuga, blinking shyly through the dark hair that fell in front of her face and clutching her books nervously. The other Iruka knew only too well – Naruto Uzumaki.
"Hey, Iruka," waved Naruto. "We're not too late, are we?"
Iruka put the roll down. They weren't late; the class had been so long in getting organised and in their seats that nothing had been accomplished yet anyway. However, he still needed to lay the law down, now.
"Naruto, if you're planning on coming to school every day, you'll need to get here the same time as everybody else. And you'll address me as Iruka-sensei in school time."
There was a pause, and Iruka coughed.
The class snickered. Iruka nodded to Naruto, and turned his attention to the girl.
"That goes for you too, miss..."
"H-Hyuga," the girl stuttered.
The Nara boy rolled his eyes.
"Uh, pretty sure we guessed that," he said. "Not many other people have weird eyes like the Hyuga."
The Inuzuka stood up in anger, fist clenched.
"You got a problem with people with weird eyes, punk?!" he shouted.
Iruka leaned forward.
"Enough of that! You're here to learn! Sit down..."
Iruka flipped through the roll and found the Inuzuka's name.
Kiba scowled at this, but complied, and the Nara boy slouched further, muttering "what a drag".
Iruka turned back to the two newcomers. "Anyway, Naruto, you should get up earlier if you want to make it without running."
"I didn't run! I jumped here! Believe it! I left home at eight twenty and I got here at eight thirty!"
"When'd you get up?"
"That's not even possible," said the Nara boy. "If you got up a minute before you left, you wouldn't have time to eat breakfast or brush your teeth or change your clothes or anything."
"Nope!" said Naruto.
"Eww!" said the class in general.
One pink-haired girl tauntingly said:
"If you just left immediately, why aren't you in pyjamas?"
The students all laughed at this, but Naruto's resolve was only strengthened.
"When you're a great ninja, there's no time for pyjamas! And I'll be the greatest ninja of them all! Believe it!"
"We believe it," said Iruka. "Now you and..."
"Her name's Hinata!" said Naruto.
Iruka tried very hard not to throw chalk at him, and barely succeeded.
"...Hinata can sit down in the front row. And..."
What's the Nara boy's name? Iruka hazarded a guess.
"Shikamaru," said the boy.
"Shikamaru, you're not to say anything unless you've got your hand up."
Shikamaru considered this for a moment, held his right hand up, then continued talking to the Akimichi beside him.
Iruka resigned himself to a very long day.
Kiba Inuzuka sat on a chair outside the head office of the Ninja Academy and tried to not appear too happy at his state of affairs. He had several bruises, his foot hurt, he was bleeding in two places and there was mud on his coat. His mother would kill him.
She'd paid a lot of money for that coat.
Wiping the mud from his face and pulling the hood up further, Kiba sat back and imagined what his punishment would be. He was, admittedly, a little scared, but whatever it was, it was nothing compared to the glory that such a schoolyard battle would bring to him; people would definitely remember him now.
He felt no ill will towards his opponent, of course. Despite a general consensus between adults (which was agreed to by their children) that Naruto was weird and annoying, Kiba resolved that if he did beat Naruto up (and that was not unlikely, considering how easy it was to provoke him), it was for his own good. It would make him tougher, or at least teach him to pick his battles better. Or at all.
A door nearby opened, and the student in question was frogmarched forward and plonked onto the chair next to Kiba, then left to his own devices. He had an equality of blood and mud all over him, but unlike Kiba his blood was mostly from scars that had already healed. Kiba had noticed directly after the fight that one of Naruto's wounds, a scratch on his arm, was already healing, even as Iruka-sensei was lifting him up to take him inside quickly.
For a moment, the two boys simply stared forward, both breathing calmly.
"...worth it?" asked Naruto, slightly numb from the tooth that the medical ninja had just regrown for him.
Kiba thought about this.
Their mutual appreciation for the fight was broken by the sound of Iruka's door opening. Nodding to each other, they both walked into Iruka's office and sat down.
Iruka remained silent, the clock ticking with every second.
"So," began Iruka, "You both decided it would be a good idea to start brawling in the middle of the playground."
More silence followed, until Naruto spoke.
"We were..." Naruto looked around for inspiration, saw a book in Iruka's bookcase, and said:
"Practicing taijutsu! Yep! That's what we were doing!"
Iruka raised an eyebrow.
"Taijutsu is an art in which a ninja uses carefully calculated strikes against an enemy using their arms and legs. What you did, Naruto, was more of a no-holds-barred brawl using every body part available against a fellow student."
"Hmm," said Naruto, "Kiba wasn't my enemy, though. Kiba was just my opponent. Shikamaru was my enemy."
"Shikamaru Nara?" asked Iruka. "Why? What'd he do?"
"Well," said Naruto, "I was going to sit near that tree with the swing, except Ino and her friend were already sitting there and they wouldn't move, so I left when Shikamaru called me a sissy for lettin' a girl tell me what to do, so I said I'd fight him. Besides, you heard how he talked to Hinata when we first got into the classroom, Iruka-sensei! He's just a jerk, plain and simple."
"Mm-hmm," said Iruka. "So you were planning on fighting Shikamaru for a lady's honour."
"Uhhh..." Naruto thought out loud.
He hadn't really thought of Hinata as a girl until this point, but he supposed it was true; she was a lady and he was technically fighting for her honour.
"Sure! Yeah, that's what happened! Believe it!"
"And then what happened?" asked Iruka.
"Well," Naruto continued, "then Shikamaru said that he couldn't fight me so Choji would have to fight me for him, but Choji's too fat, so we were gonna get Shino to do it but he wasn't around, so the only other guy around was Kiba."
Iruka turned to Kiba, scratching caked-on mud off his coat.
"Kiba, is this true?"
"Yeah," said Kiba nonchalantly.
"And you fought him?" asked Iruka.
Iruka said: "Didn't Shikamaru insult you earlier today?"
Kiba thought on this.
"Well, yeah," he said, "But we had a bet on this fight, Iruka-sensei. Whoever won it got to kiss Sakura Haruno."
Iruka remained stern, although he thought internally: That was quick. It took a few months before boys starting fighting over any girl with last year's group.
"Did Sakura know about this?"
"Uh, no," said Kiba. "We had the fight after school, so I think she went home before it started."
"I don't know about you," he said, addressing Naruto, "but I was planning to kiss her tomorrow if I won."
"Yeah," said Naruto, conferring, "That makes sense. I'd do that."
Iruka leaned forward.
"Well, first of all, you can't treat girls as trophies you win. That's not what they're for."
"Then what are they for?" he asked.
"Yeah," said Kiba, interested. "What are girls for?"
Oh gods, thought Iruka. They're too young for this. Maybe I'm too young for this!
"I'll tell you later," he said vaguely. "Next year sometime. But right now, both of you aren't to fight each other, or anyone else, again. Am I clear?"
The boys both nodded.
"It's Sasuke's fault anyway," said Naruto.
"Sasuke Uchiha? Why?" asked Iruka.
"'Cos all the girls are soooo obsessed with him!" said Naruto.
He flapped his arms. "Ooh! Look at me! I'm Sasuke! My hair flips around and my clan is powerful! Big deal! I don't see him fighting anyone for a lady's honour, right Iruka?...sensei?"
"Nevertheless," said Iruka, "No more fighting from either of you. If you're so keen to learn taijutsu, we start classes on it in a few weeks. You can train there. Now, are you both okay to walk? Naruto, has your tooth healed?"
"Mm-hmm," nodded the boy.
"Alright, you can both go."
As they trudged out of the classroom, Naruto commented:
"I say the only decent girl anywhere is Hinata. And maybe Ayame."
"Who's Ayame?" asked Kiba.
"She works at the Ichiraku Ramen Bar!" said Naruto.
The two reached the end of the corridor.
"Well," said Naruto, "See you tomorrow."
"Yeah, bye," said Kiba.
"Hey, who won?" he asked. "I was kinda too out of it to ask Shikamaru."
"I think he said we were both losers, and the whole thing was just 'troublesome'."
The first two chapters'll be set when the Rookie 9 are about 6 years old, but we'll timeskip to the start of the series proper in Chapter Three.