Author's note - This is my first story. No need to be kind. Just offer constructive criticism. I know I'm having problems with making this story flow smoothly. Unfortunately, I think I just need to practice writing before this improves, although, if you have specific suggestions, please feel free to offer them. If you notice egregious spelling and grammar errors, please let me know, and I'll attempt to correct them.
Naruto does not belong to me. Peanut butter is yummy.
This chapter was originally published 5/31/10.
Edited on 8/11/10 to fix grammar and spelling issues (although, I'm sure I still left some mistakes in it).
Edited on 8/31/10 to fix some issues that were pointed out in Deritine's review.
Naruto had been staring out the windows at the clouds, trying to figure out what that Shikamaru kid always found so interesting about them. Unfortunately, the clouds were as boring as the lecture Iruka was giving. Naruto could feel himself getting sleepier by the second.
'Man, Iruka-sensei should make this into a jutsu. Boring no Jutsu - S class jutsu capable of stopping hordes of enemies-"
"Naruto! Are you paying attention?"
"Wha? I was paying attention sensei, " said Naruto as he scratched the back of his head with his right hand.
"Then, maybe you can tell me one of the uses of Fuuinjutsu, Naruto."
"Um…heh, heh. I, uh, forget."
"Can you even tell me what fuuinjutsu is, Naruto?" Iruka yelled at Naruto while using his famous big head jutsu.
"Well, I guess that means you need some additional homework to learn what you just missed in class, Naruto. See me after class, Naruto."
"Naruto, you really have to start paying attention in class. You're barely passing - in fact, you're last in class."
"Ah, Iruka-sensei. Class is so boring. Can't you just teach us some awesome jutsu?"
Iruka sighed at at this. It was hard to get any of the kids to want to learn about the fundamentals, they always wanted to move onto the flashy techniques, whether or not they were ready to learn them. "Naruto, you have to be well grounded in the basics before you can move onto the advanced stuff. In fact, the basic techniques and knowledge will be far more useful on a regular basis."
"But -", Naruto started, but was interrupted by Iruka.
"However, I may be willing to help you with some advanced techniques."
"Really?" Iruka could hear the excitement in Naruto's voice. It had just come to Iruka. It was brilliant, he could get Naruto to study and keep him too busy to pull pranks for some time.
"Yes. I could help you learn about Fuuinjutsu," said Iruka. Naruto simply gave his sensei a look of confusion.
"The art of sealing, Naruto. Which you would know if you paid attention in class."
"Um. Okay," said Naruto in a decidedly unexcited voice.
"Pay attention this time, Naruto. Fuuinjutsu - the art of sealing, is the practice of creating seals to create or aid in various ninjutsu. Fuuinjutsu, is, itself, considered an advanced technique that only the most advanced ninja master, although the lowest levels of it are certainly achievable by students."
"So what can you do with it, Iruka-sensei?"
"Well, Naruto, I, myself, am familiar with only the basics of sealing. But from what I understand, what can be done is really only limited by the skill and knowledge of the user. As for examples you would be familiar with, fuuinjutsu is used to create storage scrolls and explosive tags."
"That sounds cools, but anybody can use a storage scroll or explosive tag. But, how come I haven't heard of any powerful ninja that really use fuuinjutsu, besides stuff already made from other fuuinjutsu users?"
"Actually, you have Naruto. The Yondaime, and his sensei, Jiraiya of the Sannin, were both fuuinjutsu masters. You don't hear much about the fuuinjutsu part because they were both excellent all-around ninja. In reality, though, a master of just fuuinjutsu would be so powerful that any ninja, even a kage-level ninja, would consider them a serious threat."
"Wow! And you're going to help me master fuuinjutsu, Iruka-sensei?"
"As I said, I know only the basics, but I can teach you what I know, which is more than even most jonin know." While it was technically the truth, it was still slightly dishonest. Iruka did know more about fuuinjutsu that most jonin. Of course, most jonin knew little to nothing about fuuinjutsu.
"Yes, watch out old man. I'm coming for your job. Academy student today, Hokage tomorrow!" Iruka smiled at Naruto's enthusiasm.
"Of course, you haven't been a very serious student, so perhaps I should find someone else. After all, a person could hurt themselves or someone else with the power of fuuinjutsu, if they didn't take it seriously-"
"I can be serious, Iruka-sensei. Just give me a chance. Please," pleaded Naruto.
"Well, I guess this one time I can give you a chance."
"All right. Yes!" exclaimed Naruto as he pumped his right fist.
"However, if you slack off just once, I'm done helping you. That means no pranking while I'm helping you, Naruto - if you have time to prank, you have time to study. Do you understand, Naruto?"
"Good. Then take this book and read the first five chapters. When you're done with that we can see about starting off on a simple storage scroll."
Iruka handed Naruto the book, 'Introduction to the Theory and Application of Fuuinjutsu'. Naruto gulped when he saw the book but didn't say anything.
"Now, Naruto, this may just be an introductory book, but it's still pretty advanced for an academy student, so I'm willing to answer any questions that you have. However, so that you can get more immediate help, you may want to study at the library. The librarians can help you and point you to additional materials to read to help you."
"What? Even more reading?"
"Is there a problem Naruto? If this is too difficult, perhaps I can find somebody else to teach this to."
"No, no. I was just, uh, surprised. That's all. I guess I'll just go and, um, start reading then."
Iruka rubbed his hands together in glee. He didn't really expect Naruto to learn much about fuuinjutsu; even most jonin found it difficult. However, he thought he could use it to better Naruto's study habits and, if nothing else, he could quit worrying about Naruto's pranks for awhile.
"Here you go, young man. This is a dictionary. You can look up the definition of any word in this book. All of the words are listed in alphabetical order so that you can quickly find them. The shelf over here", she pointed to a shelf of similar looking books that shared the same kind of binding, "contains an encyclopedia set. These books contains articles that offer explanations on various topics. The topics in them are also in alphabetical order."
"Heh, heh. Sorry for bugging you so much." Naruto didn't want to annoy the librarian with too many questions. After all, Naruto had been happy to find adults that were willing to just talk to him, let alone help him. It had actually been somewhat of a shock to him, when on the first day, one of the librarians had seem him struggling and started helping him of his own accord. And the librarian had even seemed happy that he had helped Naruto.
"No problem, young man. Feel free to ask for more help. These books, however, can give you more definitive answers."
Naruto went back to studying the book on fuuinjutsu.
Iruka wasn't sure what to think. A couple months had passed but Naruto hadn't come to see him about creating a storage scroll, nor had Naruto asked him for any help. When he asked Naruto about his studies, Naruto simply said he needed more time. However, Naruto did seem to be paying attention in class and his grades had improved somewhat. Additionally, Naruto still hadn't committed any pranks.
Iruka was happy about the improvements in Naruto's study habits and he was definitely happy about the pranks stopping, but he worried that Naruto was simply stuck in his studies on fuuinjutsu. He didn't want Naruto to get frustrated in his studies and then think learning was a waste of time.
"Naruto, I'm happy about your efforts in the classroom, but you haven't seen me about your studies into fuuinjutsu. Have you given up on it? It's a difficult subject, don't feel bad if you need help."
"No, Iruka-sensei. I just need more time." That was all Naruto would ever say.
"Ok, Naruto. Just remember, perseverance is a fine quality, but so is knowing when to ask for help."
"Thanks, sensei. I just need more time." Naruto really wanted to tell Iruka that he already created a storage scroll; he had been too impatient to wait for Iruka's help. But Naruto really wanted to impress Iruka. He figured that once he finished the book, he could pull off some really impressive seal. Maybe Iruka would be so impressed that he would just promote Naruto to genin.
Explosive tags were surprisingly expensive, and as an academy student he couldn't even buy very powerful ones.
'Sorry about the diet, Gama-chan,' Naruto thought as he frowned at his wallet. It was a necessary evil. He didn't want anybody to know that he was experimenting with explosive tags, so he needed these to explain the source of explosions as he experimented with his own explosive tags.
Finally, school had let out for the summer. Naruto knew the civilian schools let out for the summer, but had wondered why the ninja academy did also. Research had revealed that clans had pushed for it so that they had more time to instruct the children in their clan techniques.
Research. At one point, Naruto never would have thought he would be the type to research something, at least, not voluntarily. But he found learning about things was interesting - at least when he could control what he learned.
He still found learning in school somewhat boring. The explanations tend to be superficial, and even with the shallow explanations, the class moved through the material at a glacial pace. So he read in advance and then he read materials besides the books assigned in class. In truth, he didn't really pay much attention in class, but Iruka thought he was since he could answer any questions on any of the topics Iruka grilled him on.
Now that it was summer, he had three whole months to do nothing but study and he intended to do just that. He had actually grown to like learning so much that he actually just forgot about his plan to impress Iruka with his knowledge of fuuinjutsu.
"Damn it. My chakra control sucks, " Naruto muttered to himself. He found that he talked to himself a lot whenever he was trying to think through a problem. He supposed it was a bad trait in a future ninja, since it interfered with the whole stealth thing. He also supposed wearing orange was a bad trait in a ninja, but damn it, he liked orange.
Chakra control exercises helped, but he still didn't have enough control to create a basic clone. He had already mastered using chakra to walk up trees and and walk on water this past spring, but he was still no closer to successfully executing the Bushin no Jutsu - his first goal for the summer.
Naruto was sure that his only problem was that couldn't hold chakra steady long enough. He had even tried creating as many clones as possible, so that each clone would get less chakra. All that had happened was that he had created thousands of deformed clones that filled the forest just outside the village where he had been training.
'Why can't ninjutsu work like fuuinjutsu - just precisely state how much chakra to use, if you want.'
Naruto smacked himself in the head. He would have to think about the seal would work, and it would probably require some experimentation. He thought he could figure out the seal - he already had a rough idea of how he thought it should work and the experimentation to perfect it shouldn't be a problem. He had learned how to create temporary inks for temporary seals so he wouldn't have an issue with accidentally creating a permanent malfunctioning seal.
Iruka had been enjoying working the front desk this summer at the Hokage's office, but today he had grown increasingly frustrated as villagers continued interrupting him.
"Yes, I'm sure there is no mutant zombie invasion. No, I'm sure you don't have to be worried about your brain being eaten."
'I'm sure any zombie choosing to eat at that particular establishment would find themselves going hungry,' thought Iruka.
Most of the summer had passed and Naruto was still working on the seal to aid his chakra control. He was weary of immediately attempting a chakra modification seal on himself - a person needed chakra to live after all, and he still had a lot of plans to accomplish.
Not that Naruto hadn't accomplished other things in the mean time. He had figured out how to store chakra in a storage seal. And then he had had figured out how to power a jutsu from the storage scroll. By using the chakra storage scroll, he could indirectly execute the Bushin no Jutsu or any other jutsu which the chakra storage scroll had enough chakra stored for. This particular seal could have been used for Naruto's purpose - just place the storage seal on himself and then store chakra in it and run the jutsu off it, but he wanted something a bit more direct. Using the chakra storage seal world be a bit slower than the more direct seal he planned, not that it would matter in most cases, but the real reason was that he saw the more direct version as a puzzle he wanted to solve.
As first the puzzle had been somewhat frustrating. He had originally though that he could find some preexisting design for a seal that would do what he wanted and just compare it to the plan he had come up with for his own seal. He done that with other seals. He liked the challenge of solving the puzzle of creating a seal and seeing how his solutions compared to pre-existing seals. Oddly, his seals often differed significantly. At first, he thought it was due to his inexperience and lack of knowledge. But the more he studied, the more different his seals grew. Still, he found it instructive to look at preexisting seals so that he could see different ways of approaching a problem, even if he found many of the pre-existing seals somewhat convoluted.
He had gone through several books on sealing at the library but nothing was close to what he had been looking for. He found this highly surprising. He knew few ninja had perfect chakra control so it should be a highly useful seal. Also, he found that most books on sealing were like recipe books. You just needed to know the applicable theory and language and you could follow the recipes laid out in the book.
Naruto suspected that many of the authors weren't truly experts and had simply memorized many of the most useful seal combinations and had just experimented with combinations until they achieved the results they wanted. He found that he could simplify the designs considerably in many of the books. Still, if they worked, they worked, and they gave him something to check against.
That fact he thought many of the so-called experts weren't experts initially bothered Naruto. Once Naruto had made some progress through the book that Iruka had given him, he had actually found the theory of fuuinjutsu surprisingly easy. It really seemed like logic and a bunch of common sense. He had actually finished a few books on the theory of sealing and by the last couple had learned nothing new. Once he thought about it, he realized that the truly advanced material on sealing must be considered restricted material that he wouldn't have access to. This eased his mind - he only had access to low level material, which included work by those less than expert in the field - it wasn't the fact the field had so many practitioners that were less than competent.
After getting past his unease of not a having a pre-existing solution to compare his plan against, Naruto grew to enjoy solving the puzzle. Once he had figured out creating the chakra storage scroll and how to power jutsu off it, he had needed to figure out how to destabilize the chakra coming out of the storage scroll so that he could test his chakra stabilization seal on it. He found some simple seals that could destabilize preexisting seals, but he wanted to destabilize the chakra itself and not the seal, so yet again, he had to create an original seal.
Getting the chakra destabilization seal right had taken some work, but in the end, the chakra destabilization seal worked perfectly. He had it randomly vary the mix of the two major components of chakra, physical energy and spiritual energy, and then he randomized the actual strength of the overall chakra. When the chakra destabilization seal was used on top of the chakra storage seal, utilizing the Bushin no Jutsu resulted in clones even more mangled than the ones he created.
These intermediate steps had consumed most of the month. Solving these steps had clarified what Naruto needed to do his stabilization seal and had actually made it seem somewhat trivial by the end. It had worked perfectly the first time on the destabilized chakra emitted from the chakra storage seal. Now he just had to test it on himself.
Naruto painted the necessary seals on his hands. If the test proved successful, he would expand and modify the seals so they would stabilize the chakra from all of the charka emission points, known as tenketsu, over his whole body.
Naruto focused and made the hand signs for Bushin no Jutsu. A picture perfect clone of him appeared in front of Naruto. Success! Naruto immediately started working on seals to stabilize chakra from any tenketsu on his body.
Naruto made his way to the back of the library. He still wasn't sure why they marked the rear room as 'Jonin'. The seal that restricted access through the room's entrance was trivial to bypass. So were the inner seals that hid another entrance and that opened the entrance. Sure, he had to devise seals that could detect other seals, but that wasn't a problem either. He didn't really know what ninja learned as they progressed through the ranks, but he didn't think his sealing skills were beyond that of a genin, so he couldn't see why they bothered marking the room as Jonin and putting such weak protection on it.
There was also the fact that he never saw jonin in the room. In fact, he never saw anybody in the room - until today.
A purple-haired kunoichi was intently studying a book. Naruto sighed when he realized what she was reading.
"Umm. That's really only a so-so book on fuuinjutsu. It really overcomplicates the theory. I suppose it's OK as a recipe book, although many of the seals should be simplified."
Anko looked up from the book and her eyes widened momentarily when she saw him. She recognized the kid, what adult from Konoha wouldn't recognize the Kyuubi's container. She had no idea what Naruto was doing in the jonin section of the library or how he had gotten back here, but, for now, she would go along with whatever game he was playing.
"Oh, really. Jiraiya is considered a master of fuuinjutsu. If not his book, whose book would you recommend?"
"His book isn't bad. It's just not good. Well, I suppose that's not completely fair. He actually seems to understand the material, unlike a lot of authors, but he really does make it a lot harder than it needs to be. If you want a really good book I would read this, " said Naruto as he handed Anko the book 'The Art and Science of Fuuinjutsu by Namikaze Minato'.
"They should call this 'The Idiot's Guide to Fuuinjutsu'," continued Naruto.
"Are you calling, Namikaze Minato, the Yondaime Hokage, an idiot?" growled Anko.
"No, no. He's brilliant. It's just that he makes sealing so simple that even an idiot like me could understand it. It makes me anxious to see what's in the restricted material."
The kid had to be screwing with her. First he acted like Jiraiya was some second rate sealing master. Then he acted like the Yondaime's book was some elementary primer on sealing, when she knew damn well it was complicated as hell - she had tried to make her way through it, but even Jiraiya and the Sandaime were unable to aid her with it, they had said much of the material was even beyond them. And what was this business about restricted material?
"If you're just trying to remove that seal on you're neck, I could take a look at it for you. I'm no expert, but you would surprised at the number of hacks running around creating seals and calling themselves 'Fuuinjutsu masters'."
"That's it, you're done fucking around with me. You're coming with me, punk."