Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Nuked the introductory bit. Feel free to read this story now if you want to, although it is in the process of being entirely rewritten. 11.16.2014
A cloaked man with an orange mask stood tall overlooking the war torn battlefield before him. Scattered before him were the bodies of shinobi from all of the elemental nations. The grounds were scorched in every direction, some black flames still burning without fuel. He could see every single shinobi he had defeated in the battle before him.
The Raikage, he was strong, and fast. However he was no match for the masked man who would simply allow the bulky man to faze right through him. The action would only prompt him to turn around and send a well placed fireball right at the man while his back was turned. He had no time to react. He was obviously enraged by the fact that he had killed his brother earlier in the war... but the eight tails had to be harvested. It was all for his master plan after all.
Hatake Kakashi laid in a puddle off to the side. The silver haired lazy jounin put up quite a fight, much to the masked man's surprise. Of course... the difference in skill between the two of them was drastic. He was able to put up "Quite a fight" by normal standards. However in the cloaked man's eyes, it was almost as if an insignificant little child came running at him with a chirping hand, hoping for the best. He did surprise him though with his sharingan capabilities. Unluckily for him, it was nothing that the man hadn't foreseen.
Madara took a deep breath of air, and removed his mask for the first time in years. His timeless body had sense lost any need for food or water. It was as if he was a god trapped in a human's body.
He looked down with a scowl at the fallen blue haired woman whom leaned up against the tree. Konan... her eyes were lifeless, but regardless of her situation, even in death she held a peaceful smile that almost seemed out of place on her mysterious features. She had since forsaken her Akatsuki cloak, and betrayed him. Of course, he could rationalize that she was never his to begin with. Since Nagato's death, she had returned to Ame and locked the city down and went into hiding. She became "The Angel" that took over Ame after the fall of their "God". She had only come out after being asked by that insolent Blonde...
Madara grit his teeth as he thought about the blonde shinobi. There was no way that child would ever be able to compete with him! The boy had the audacity to call himself the man's equal? He had been ruining his plans ever since he came into this world. Starting first off with Uchiha Sasuke. People all thought their friendship was deep? Deeper than anything that the world had ever seen! Well they thought wrong. The two fought each other to the death, and the blond after all of his growth as a shinobi had come out on top... again. He should of suspected as much though... ever since what happened at The Valley of the End.
He wanted to blame someone, and if anyone that used to oppose him were alive, I'm sure they would of had fun guessing.
Perhaps it was the pink haired girl, whom always beat the boy down. Her actions perhaps made the blonde stronger? Perhaps they taught him to never give up? That at the end of the road, through all of that adversity, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger? No... it wasn't her.
Perhaps it was the former fifth Hokage. The closest thing the boy had to a mother in real life? The big sister like figure that was always there for him and would look out for him? The one he could go to in order to talk about anything! No... it wasn't her either.
Perhaps! It was the filthy white haired pervert. The greatest of the legendary trio! The man whose sealing skills were only rivaled by one man! One man that was forever locked away, never to return to this world. The man that had taken the blond on a trip and taught him how to live. Not for others, but for himself. He taught him about the Kyuubi's chakra. One of the key stepping stone towards becoming His Equ... no... attempting to become his equal. Yet... it wasn't him...
Was it the young blue haired Hyuuga. The first girl to ever admit her love for the boy? The one that would willing jump in front of danger for the boy? The one whom always believed in him, and was always there for him? No...
All of those people were the obvious choices... but they were all deceived. No the one person was one that had already defied him before even meeting the boy. Had he known her reach had extended so far earlier... he would have dealt with her. For once in a long time, his eyes, eyes that could see everything... he was deceived.
Mei Terumi, the Fifth Mizukage. Who would have thought? Who would of thought something like that would have every happened! She turned the boy into something that the world had never seen in decades! Ever since that fateful day they had crossed paths, had he known that the moment would turn the boy into his rival in ninjutsu... That she would turn into the sole factor in the boys life that would forever make him a threat? That her presence alone could change everything? What she had done was so simple... and yet so drastic.
She gave the boy... Hope...
Thus was why Madara could only look down and scowl at her fallen form. That, and the young man who had since come and crouched over her fallen form. It never had to come to this. The boy just had to surrender peacefully, and then a new era would have started.
"Uzumaki Naruto... The last Jinchuriki?" Madara gave a pause as he got the boy's attention seeing as how he looked to face the man, "Come to die?" he asked is a tired voice.
Naruto stood and looked up towards the man who had caused chaos and invoked terror across the shinobi nations. He reached into his shinobi pouch and pulled out a single scroll. This action caused Madara to narrow his eyes, and quickly launch several fireballs at the boy without the use of seals.
His scowl could only deepen though as the boy's unique technique came to life, the one that made him revered as his equal. The ability to pull water out of this air. It blocked the fireballs with ease as they fizzled out against an equally large mass of water.
Naruto tossed the scroll in mid air as Madara spoke, "Boy, only I can live forever."
Naruto appeared completely unfazed by the statement, and Madara asked the one question that had been forever plaguing his mind. "Why do you live?" he said in a condescending tone.
Naruto looked up and for the first time since he arrived on the scene, thinking about all of the families and friends he had in the world, he knew his answer and it was obvious. "Because I have something worth living for."
The scroll unsealed.
Naruto kicked a pebble repeatedly as he walked down the street. He had just asked his sensei, Kakashi, if he could train him for the upcoming chunin exam. However the man had declined. Much to Naruto's displeasure. He had told him that Sasuke was going to need all the help he could get against Gaara, and that he had already promised he would train Sasuke. This wouldn't have bothered Naruto much considering it was a promise. Naruto knew more then anyone how important it was to keep a promise. The problem was, he knew his sensei was lying.
He at least tried to line up another sensei to take his place, which was... thoughtful of him. That was until Naruto met the sensei that was supposed to train him. He had defeated the poor bastard with a jutsu designed for perverts, the man had literally passed out. Naruto couldn't rely on anyone that would pass out for hours at a time over a single jutsu that was designed for perverts. So here was his problem. Sure Sasuke was going to have trouble with his fight against Gaara without a doubt. Yet... Naruto was going to have trouble with his fight too, it wasn't like the rookie of the year Hyuuga was going to be any easier. At least Sasuke had a few useful techniques under his belt that could possibly stand a chance against Gaara. There was no way for Naruto to even hope to beat Neji unless he was able to pull some win out of his ass.
So when he arrived at his favorite training ground, and saw a woman in ragged dark blue clothing there walking on water. He was instantly mesmerized, and had already begun making his way over there. Naruto's situation in the village being the Kyuubi's vessel certainly did not make him the greatest candidate for the "Best Dressed" title. He owned very little, and the few things he did own were rather beat up. For example his complete wardrobe consisted of two 2nd hand orange jumpsuits that have been stitched and patched up several times. Then naturally a couple pairs of underwear and a couple black shirts. That and some overalls that no longer fit him, but kept them for sentimental value. To be blunt, he looked homeless.
Naruto sat down on a rock nearby the lake. The woman had since begun going through what appeared to be several different fluidly moving taijutsu stances. He could of swore he saw the water boil and bubble beneath her feet, but he didn't know for certain. He didn't even know if the woman had known of his arrival and the fact that he was watching her. The woman was young and slender, she couldn't be a day older than twenty-five. She had ankle length auburn hair with several bangs, one that continually covered her eye at all times. She had on dark blue nail polish and lipstick, which surprised Naruto slightly. It was... an exotic look in his opinion, at least the color choices. Perhaps it was because of the area where his apartment was located, he was just used to all women wearing ruby red lipstick, high heels, and fishnet clothing with miniskirts. The proctor of the 2nd part of the chunin exam only solidified that opinion since the only other female kunoichi he had seen besides her was one that instead of fishnet, used bandages to cover her body... frankly not much better.
She continued twisting and turning through various movements, it looked like a dance the way she was performing. Then all at once, she stopped and turned into water falling into the lake. The action thoroughly confused Naruto until he felt a hand on his shoulder, and someone lift themselves quickly over the stone to plop down and sit next Naruto.
"I usually charge for lessons you know." she said with a smile as she turned her head to look at Naruto. Naruto nearly flinched when she sat down next to him, but her smile calmed him down considerably. He stayed silent for a moment as he looked out over the lake to where "she" was formerly.
"So how were you doing all of that? Like walking on water." Naruto asked genuinely curious as he turned back to face the woman.
The woman looked amused and replied, "I'm Mei Terumi, nice to meet you too!" she said in an overly cheerful voice that held hints of sarcasm which indeed got Naruto to flinch and look slightly ashamed.
"Sorry..." he said in embarrassment, "I'm Naruto, Uzumaki Naruto." he said slowly, hoping she wasn't like most whom after learning of his name often make excuses to leave. However to his surprise the woman just chuckled in amusement.
"Uzumaki Naruto eh?" She closed her eyes and leaned back with both hands on the rock as she gently began swinging her feet back and forth. She looked quite relax, "I've heard quite a bit about you around town." She followed her question by opening her right eye to peer at Naruto to gauge his reaction.
Naruto scowled a bit at the mention of his reputation, but said nothing. So the woman continued.
"They say that you are a demon and can't be trusted." she finished her statement slowly, making sure to say every word. Naruto's expression turned sour once she said that. "That you are a real handful?" She sent him a questioning glance. The boy looked as if he was ready to just get up and leave. Yet her steady hand that she put on the boy's shoulder kept him in place, "Good thing for you, I don't always believe what I hear." she said with a grin as she leaned forward to get in Naruto's view.
Naruto on the other hand was going through a range of emotions with his encounter with this "Mei Terumi". He wasn't a complete idiot, unlike what most people thought about him. He knew this woman must have been someone from another village that was just visiting for the chunin exams. However it was surprising to say the least. He had met plenty of people from other village, and frankly they were the only people that would ever give him the time of day in the village. However if they had already heard about his reputation from the villagers, and they usually do. Most of them find it wise just to avoid him, and that was rather easy to do considering all they have to say is "Avoid the blonde haired blue eyed boy" and they would be fine since he was the only one whom existed in the village.
"I also saw the poster, you are going to be in the upcoming chunin exam right?" she said giving the boy a questioning glance.
Naruto got his emotions back under control, but still didn't trust his voice to broadcast what he was feeling, so he resigned to merely nodding at the woman's question.
She now sat up, and in the process got in quite close proximity with the boy, as she rested her hand on his leg while picking up a few pebbles of the ground and lobbing them into the lake for amusement. "So then why aren't you training with your sensei? I hear that the Hyuuga are rather dangerous opponents, if I was in your shoes I would be training constantly with my sensei."
Naruto clenched his fists at the thought of his sensei. Sasuke was probably out there with Kakashi now, learning all sorts of cool jutsus that would just leave him in the dust when he got back. Then he would get praised even more than he does when he beats Gaara. Sakura will be fawning over him even more than she usually does, and he would never get the time of day. He would just be told to work on chakra control or the basics...
Naruto ran a hand through his hair and tried to remain calm, "My sensei..." he said the word sensei with a bitter taste with a pause before continuing, "Kakashi is going to go train my teammate Sasuke for the month."
If Naruto was looking at the woman, he would have seen the slightest unnerving glint in her eyes when he said that. "He left you here? Unsupervised? Forsaking you for another teammate? Something tells me this isn't the first time Naruto-kun." she said slowly, with hints of worry in her voice.
Naruto scowled, for some reason the woman who was sitting next to him always knew the correct choice of words to say to get under his skin. He prided himself on having a metaphorical mask that he could keep up at all times. A mask he could hide behind to pretend that things didn't bother him when they actually did. Yet here was this woman speaking to him as if there was no mask at all, or as if she knew exactly what to say to just slip under the mask for a mere moment to get her point across.
Naruto stood up and got ready to leave, no longer wanting to continue this... conversation any longer. Yet once he made his stand the woman proposed an offer that he couldn't refuse.
"Well then Naruto-kun how about I teach you? I am from the Hidden Mist village, but I can see that you have a lot of untapped potential and it would be a pleasure to help you reach your potential over this next month. I believe I could teach you quite a bit of things that you would find useful."
Naruto turned to face the woman and gave her a questioning glance. "Like? How do I even know you are qualified to teach?"
The woman turned to Naruto and cocked an eyebrow at him, "Well Naruto. You don't. You just need to trust me. What other options do you have?"
Naruto said nothing, for some reason he knew the woman's statement was that of a rhetorical question. "I am going to have to decline. I have had some bad experiences in the past with teachers deceiving me."
The woman shrugged her shoulders and stood up and walked to the water, calling at Naruto, "Alright then Naruto. I wish you the best of luck with whomever you hope to train with in the coming month." She said as she took her first step out onto the water as several clones of her began to rise up out of the water.
Naruto carried on looking at the woman for several minutes as he watched her go through several sets of taijutsu. He didn't think much more of it then that until she did only what appeared to be three seals and a giant water dragon appeared out of the water circling her clones. The giant beast gave a roar before flying up and crashing back down, merging once again with the water.
Naruto pursed his lips and thought over what the woman said to him and sighed before saying, "Damnit." and going off towards the lake where the woman was.
Mei Terumi didn't show it but she was barely containing a smile. She had a plan, and the plan was very simple. She wanted to get the boy loyal to her, and she knew that by this point in life it wouldn't take that much. The boy had been ostracized his entire life in his own home. No one bothered to give the boy a chance, and she could tell just by the way they looked at the boy. They gave him condescending stares left and right as if the boy was useless and not worth one's time of day.
Yet that was far from the case, and that was why she was here. The Mist village was formerly a strong nation that had the world's greatest sword wielders in all of the nations. Their power for a time was unrivaled. However now with the long ongoing war that was imposed by the last two Mizukage... that power diminished. Nearly all of the bloodlines in the country had since been purged. If she were to be honest with herself, the best day in the lives of the people whom lived in the water country as of recent was the death of the Fourth Mizukage. He had changed from the young charming boy he once was in a single night, and turned into a ruthless tyrant that followed in the Sandaime's footsteps.
In short, the reason why she was here for Naruto was to obtain the one thing the Mist lacked presently. Power. They were lucky with the fact that at least two of the seven shinobi swordsmen had stayed loyal to the Mist throughout the war. That fact of the matter was that with the loss of five of their strongest shinobi, and the purge of the bloodlines, the Mist was no more powerful than that of the Snow, Waterfall, or Rain villages. Something which needed to be corrected quickly.
When she had received intelligence that Konoha had a jinchuriki that had no ties to the village, and seemingly wanted to become the Hokage with no real reason as to why besides the fact that people would acknowledge him. She had a simple plan. The boy grew up without anyone ever giving him the time of day, or never having time for him in general. She would be the first person that would be there for him. Frankly the plan was simple, manipulative, and effective. Desperate times called for desperate measures. She could only hope that she didn't grow too emotionally attached to the boy, for when she would reveal to him who she is, she could only hope that the boy would side with her and follow her.
She was confident that he would, she just didn't want to become overconfident. She heard a speech that had been passed down from generation to generation in the mist. It was that from some wandering nobody whom was in the art of crafting toy puppets and was said to have a repertoire of a 102 puppets at the time. Yet that wasn't what was important about the man, what was important was what he said.
He said that people tried to coast through life putting forth as little effort as necessary to get by. When left unchecked people rationalize away the reasons they should do their best, or even do at all. He felt that what keeps people in check is judgment of other people they care about. He gave the examples of people wanting their parents to be proud of them, their love interests to notice them, the people they admire to befriend them… and that was why they try. The wise puppeteer said "These connections to other people are strings that constantly tug at you, pulling you in this or that direction. Without these strings to tug at them, people, like puppets, are inclined to do nothing at all."
Truly a wise statement, but nothing ground breaking, of course until Mei continued to listen to the story of this man and analyzed what he had to say.
A young boy whom at the time was listening to the puppeteer could only say that it wasn't right to compare people to puppets, which naturally got the puppeteer talking once again.
"Perhaps." the old man said giving a pause for dramatic effect, "But assuming I'm correct for a moment, what happens when someone becomes disconnected from the strings? When everyone a person cares about dies or leaves, or when they never had anyone to begin with? They are left adrift in an empty world, without ties to other people, and thus very little purpose in their lives."
That was where Naruto came into all of this. The boy was born an orphan, and the only ties to other people that cared about him were weak ones. The Hokage whom was busy running a village and only saw Naruto a few times a year? Or the owners of a ramen bar that he came to become friends with because of his unhealthy addiction and pitiful budget? What reason did the boy honestly have to try hard to become a ninja? With no one to judge him, or to question him for not trying hard enough? His own sensei had cast the boy off to the side in favor of a different student. Naruto was, and still is stuck in a state where he alone had to gauge when he would stop trying. He had no one to tell him that there was a solution to his problems. The boy was a shell of a human, a person that had lost hope.
There in was why she was confident. She could change the boy, change him so that he no longer subconsciously doubted himself. So that he no longer thought he was just wasting not just his time by the time of other people. The fact that he would have a mentor, a real teacher, that could tell him that there was a solution to his problems and that it was within his reach. Her actions she knew would not just boost the boy's confidence, but it would give him hope. Her and her alone would be his reason to try hard, to not let her down because she and she alone believed in him and gave him the time of day.
She knew from first glance that Konoha had failed their jinchuriki, and the most obvious part about their failure might as well of been a bright neon sign with great big letters pointing to the boy saying "I'm clingy." The boy was clingy, not by nature, but by a product of his environment. He would cling to her like a lost puppy after a minor gesture of good will. The boy was desperate, and desperation only attracts vultures.
While Mei didn't like to compare herself to that of a vulture, she knew there was not much else left to the situation. She was there to poach their jinchuriki by showing the boy that the grass was in fact greener on the other side. If it came down to her having to put herself in a situation where she would show the boy love for his first time, he would forever be shackled to her at the hip, the boy would never leave her.
So while her situation and what her plans for the boy may be cold, and that she may be that of a vulture. She much rather be the vulture that pecks at the boy's side rather then the den of lions that repeatedly rips the boy to shreds day by day.
Naruto sighed as he stripped himself of his jacket, shirt, and sandals before wading into the lake and calling out to the woman whom was now sitting cross legged on it. He swam out to the center of the lake at a relaxed pace, as he saw the woman open her eyes and take notice of him. He swam right up to her, at which point he was swimming right in front of Mei, whom had since moved from sitting to a crouch on one knee. It became obvious to Naruto that the woman was not going to acknowledge him anymore then just staring at him, before he said anything. Especially since he had blown her off not more then ten minutes ago.
"I'm sorry." Naruto said with a frown, doing his best to avoid the woman's gaze. He was terrible with apologies, not because he didn't feel like apologies were necessary, but because he had never been given the opportunity to really give any. "I do need your help. You are all I got." Naruto said trying his best to sound sincere and not make it seem as if the woman was a last resort.
Mei in turn grinned at the apology. There was no point in trying to give the boy a hard time over it when he said he was sorry, and came back to her. "Alright. Then I want your undivided attention this month Naruto-kun is that understood? I want you to give me everything you got, and if you are not I will just stop training you. Why would I help someone whom isn't trying their hardest?"
Naruto nodded slowly at her statement as he continued to bob up and down in the water as he did his best to stay afloat.
Mei gave a charming smile that did it's best to calm the boy. She reached down into the water and grabbed the boy from under his armpits and hoisted him out of the water, despite his initial protests. She ignored any ramblings the boy was saying about essentially being hoisted in mid air over a lake. She calmly said, "Alright, first lesson shall be dancing..."
Naruto stopped complaining about how he was hoisted up and instantly wondered if training with this woman was a bad idea, until she continued her statement.
"On top of water." She finished with a glint of amusement in her eyes as she watched Naruto's face go through several various emotions. "Anyways this is what I want you to do Naruto..."
Review please and tell me what you think of the first chapter. Usually I post whenever I finish a chapter. However I am in a situation now where I actually finished several chapters before posting. So I am likely just going to post whenever I feel comfortable with the review count for the chapters. Some of you may feel this is selfish and what not, and some may feel "I don't support people fishing for reviews."
However I am genuinely curious about what people think about my stories. If I wasn't, I wouldn't bother sharing them. So it takes five minutes of your time to provide feedback that could possibly turn me into a better writer. Any feedback, good or bad, is greatly appreciated.
Edit: Son of a... this is me reposting the story. I realized from some reviews that were mentioning that there were no scene breaks that fanfiction had screwed up the format of my scene breaks. (They are usually two rows of X's as you see above, but slightly longer. For some reason they didn't go through. So I apologize there. I typically don't have such terrible story format, and didn't even realize that was happening.
Also thank you everyone that reviewed thus far, and the people that pointed out the scene breaks. If you had not pointed them out, I would have surely missed them, and feel like more of a pathetic loser than I already do. I will be sending a pm to everyone that mentioned it as well, so I can salvage what is left of my dignity.