# Author's Note/Warning: Crack, crack, crack, crackity crack! Not entirely unbelievable, though, because I'm trying to keep it within certain canon boundaries – at least somewhat. I hope. Anyway! It is set six years or so before the beginning of the series, a year after the Kyuubi's attack on Konoha – when the children that lived through it were rather traumatised and horrified at all the violence and death and wanted no part of it at all ever again . . . and they were still insane enough to actually become shinobi.
Yes, that means we're introducing: six-year-old Uchiha Itachi the Pacifist Genius Kid With Serious Emotional Constipation, Shin (Sai's self-proclaimed brother), who shall play the role of Cheery Orphan That Talks Too Much For His Own Good, Inuzuka Hana and the three Haimaru pups as the Accidents Waiting To Happen, and a cast of OCs that include an old and senile Nara schoolteacher and a clan bloodline that causes their children to spontaneously combust. Neat, huh?
. . . Anyway, I'm not here to write Author's Notes. Onward!
# Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Shikamaru, who tricked Kisimoto into signing a ten-year no-release contract. Sasuke is trying to buy it back, but I'm not actually sure if he's confusing Naruto the show with Naruto the person and Shikamaru for a pimp.
.:How (Not) To Make Friends:.
Rule Number One concerning the difference between civilian and shinobi children: while civilian six-year-olds eat mud pies, shinobi-in-training will try to eat each other. It is a teacher's unfortunate obligation to prevent this.
This isn't so difficult if you're a Nara, as their hereditary Shadow jutsus are extremely useful when dealing with kids – and Nara Shikaro was most definitely proud of his heritage. But unfortunately for Shikaro, his Shadow Possession jutsu was faulty. Keep-out-of-reach-of-children-or-something-will explode kind of faulty. He was also old, chubby and mostly senile, so maybe retirement would be a better option for him than teaching underaged children which end of the knife goes in the enemy. The next major screw-up would be the undoing of his career, he was sure of it . . .
Unfortunately, the dawn of a new year at the Academy would, with it, spawn the strangest and most interesting assortment of students he would ever have the misfortune of supervising.
Rule Number Two concerns a child's ability to make friends. For any civilian six-year-old, this is painfully easy to do when you say the right things. ("Hi, I like you. Let's be best friends." "Okie-dokie!") But a shinobi six-year-old has the potential to screw over their social life at such an early age in ways that are much, much worse than a simple "That's mean, butthead!"
Tsukeru Sarah is a prime example of this. Her overeagerness to befriend everyone and everything, inanimate or otherwise, combined with her unique bloodline, allow her to think in her pretty little head that she is the most awesome fleshling to have ever walked the planet. She discarded her backpack and marched right into the centre of a group of young girls, ensuring she had their undivided attention.
"Lookie what I can do!" The red-haired girl scrunched her face up and braced her arms, looking for all the world like her organs were slowly dying inside her. The children look on, confused and mildly disgusted. Then a black substance spurted from her sleeves, collar, pant legs, and began running down her face from her scalp. This began a chain reaction of guttural sickey-noises as her entire crowd of would-be friends squealed and scattered.
Sarah's face fell. "Wait, wait, 'm not done yet! Please come back, I . . . Aw." She looked down. They obviously weren't her friends.
"Ew. Um, neat. Kinda. What is it?"
The curious voice startled Sarah out of her temporary misery. She looked over to see someone she guessed was a classmate that hadn't run away (maybe a potential friend!). A girl – probably, it was difficult to tell as she was very stocky, but the long hair at least hinted at femininity (though she was too young and naïve to have realised that often males in Konoha had long hair as well, something she will find out soon enough) – with messy brown hair and red triangles on her cheeks, flanked by a small green . . . lamb-looking . . . uh, thing.
Upon closer inspection the lamb creature was just a puppy and the green due to the shade of the trees over its muck-grey fur. Sarah was a little disappointed. A pet lamb would have been cool.
The person, on the other hand . . . She looked kind of iffy. Those triangles weren't normal. (The six-year-old completely ignored the fact that she was covered head-to-toe in black muck that she herself had secreted).
"Are you a disease?" Sarah asked, poking the girl's tattooed cheek and ignoring her question.
"What's a disease?" the girl, Inuzuka Hana, asked back. She frowned and rubbed the violated cheek.
Sarah looked startled by the action. "You're disease! Getawayfromme," she whined, shaking her hand like the red tattoo would infect her.
Hana's scowl deepened. "My name is Hana," she corrected angrily. Obviously, Hana thought "disease" was a name. Ah, kids are so cute.
"I dun care, you're a disease!" Sarah wailed.
Hana was aghast. "You butthead, I'm Hana!" She barked something and suddenly the dog beside her stood to attention. Two more furry bodies tackled Sarah from behind, however, knocking her to the ground and sticking their wet noses in her ear.
Sarah squealed and dug herself out of the furry mess, then ran for her life. The would-be attack puppies followed excitedly, hot on her heels.
Retsukuma Xara dragged her bare feet across the lawn, hoping tiredly that getting up before sunrise to tie herself to the gate was worth it. Her parents were so unreasonable!
. . . "No! I'm gonna be a ninja!"
"That's okay, Xara! Now please untie the ropes-"
"I'm not taking no for an answer, Daddy. I am a ninja! Ninjas don't hafta follow rules!"
"That's not actually true, but if you want to be a kunoichi then that's okay with me. Now where did you leave your shoes this time?"
"Daddy, I will be a ninja and you're not gonna stop me!"
"I already said you could! Ninjas are awesome, but you're going to be late if you keep this up." . . .
It had gone something like that for twenty minutes before Xara decided her point was well and truly across. Being a ninja would be amazing, and today was just the first step . . . !
But, as if fate were taunting her, the girl's foot caught on something that had been lying obtrusively on the lawn. Naturally, she fell in a brilliant faceplant.
Xara blinked a few times, her gaze landing on an open blue backpack. She glanced around, trying to determine if it was truly abandoned or not, and then frowned at the offending object.
"Don't you mock me," she hissed, standing up quickly to maintain the little dignity she never had.
The backpack would have laughed if it had feelings.
"I would advise you to leave me now, or I will have to use force."
The backpack stood still in defiance.
"You're making me do this," she warned as she marched up to the object. With a final few seconds hesitation – will this hideous bag of dookie-crap relent? – Xara began laughing merrily and emptied its innards onto the grass. Revenge was sweet. Her manic laughing ceased, however, when something caught her eye. A small plastic bottle that seemed to contain a strange pastel-brown liquid. The brunette gasped.
"Mystery milk!" she screeched, dropping the pack and lunging for the bottle. And Xara, not yet having learned to refrain from consuming suspicious drinks she had found in stranger's belongings, opened the green lid and began gulping the lukewarm liquid down.
She spluttered and coughed at the horrible taste, wheezing as if it had sucked the life out of her.
Then she paused, staring at the liquid, and sculled the not-so-iced coffee as if her life depended on it.
Suddenly the girl was barrelled over by a ball of fur, and another child followed soon after. Xara's coffee went flying.
Something snapped in the girl's mind in that moment.
As she watched the sacred liquid escape its confines in a graceful airborne arc, Xara realised that without it she was nothing. Xara was nothing without her coffee. Coffee was nothing without its Xara. The two were perfect for each other, and so they would be forever more. Adrenaline pumped through her veins, and in a split second Xara had decided that coffee was her life and she could never, ever lose it.
Xara dived after her dreams, screaming a dramatic "NO!"
She undershot and landed with a dull thud, and watched her coffee – her coffee! – fall in front of her, just out of reach (in reality it was about six feet, but Xara didn't know that as she was mildly delirious at the time). All she could do was watch as it leaked its lifeblood into the cold, unfeeling earth . . .
In the back of her mind, a place that is not yet tainted by the addictive properties of caffeine, nodded proudly at how dramatic Xara could make a relatively unimportant moment.
Her conscious stream of thought, however, was more along the lines of sobbing "Coffee coffee my coffee why need more coffee chicken why coffee need more coffee europe coffee my coffee coffee . . ."
Uchiha Itachi, in all his six-year-old glory, never asked questions. He demanded answers to his statements, and the young heir always got them. Always.
It was perplexing, then, when he found that both his parents kept dancing around this particular statement like it would turn around and bite them in the butt. Statements couldn't do that.
But here he was, looking up to his mother who was sweating profusely and forcing a grin onto her face.
"Okaa-san, where do babies come from." he asked for the umpteenth time.
"Babies," Sasuke repeated. Since he had learned to walk he had clung to Itachi's leg constantly, and now he repeats everything Itachi says like a trained parrot. The favouritism made Mikoto a little jealous, but she would do the mature thing and say "good for them." Plotting revenge against your own sons, even mentally, wasn't an easy thing for a mother to do after all. (That wouldn't stop her from constantly trying to win Sasuke's affection with candy and playtime, though.)
"S-Santa Clause!" Mikoto squeaked. Then she mentally facepalmed. She had been stressed beyond belief by her sons this morning; she was at her wit's end. Idiot! Stupid, stupid, stupid! They'll never let me live that down!
Itachi wasn't satisfied with this. Not at all.
"I do not believe you, Okaa-san. The fat man only gives people presents at Christmas, and neither Sasuke or I was born then."
"Fat man," Sasuke repeated dutifully.
A distraction, he needs a distraction, the woman thought frantically. Mikoto giggled nervously (though it may have come out as a strangled snort) and asked through her teeth, "S-sweetie, how would you like to go to the Konoha Ninja Academy today? They teach you all kinds of stuff there! Here, Shisui'll take you."
The older Uchiha seemed happy to oblige as he was shoved none too ceremoniously towards his cousin. Shisui took Itachi's hand, nodded absently to Mikoto and then marched off.
Itachi resigned inwardly. Resistance was futile; he would have to wait until he was more accomplished at extracting information before he attempted this particular venture again.
In the meantime, the Academy seemed like a good way to gain the skills necessary to make his mother talk.
Sarah trudged along the dirt road, covered in Goo and completely lost after being chased out of the Academy by two happy canines. One of the Haimaru puppies had abandoned them a while ago to pee on a noodle bar, leaving the other to follow Sarah.
Take that, Ramen!
Inanimate Objects: 0
The other followed Sarah, licking her leg constantly as it seems to have found a taste in her goo. Whether it would kill the dog in the long run remains to be seen.
They continued like this for a while, until Sarah spied sweet relief up ahead. She sped up.
"Hey," Sarah greeted a bench. "How's your morning been?"
The bench didn't answer.
She collapsed on the wood, tired. "You too, huh? Yeah, today has been horrible."
The bench agreed silently.
"It'll get better though, you just have to keep telling yourself that."
The bench might have rolled its eyes.
"Don't think like that! It's bad for your health," Sarah informed.
The bench despaired silently, ignoring her.
Sarah gasped. "You can't be serious! Life isn't really that bad, we just need to make you some friends! Please think this over."
The bench might have growled.
"Well I'm your friend, aren't I? Isn't that enough for now?"
The bench almost sighed.
Sarah yawned heavily. "Yeah. Don't worry though, we'll get through this."
She then curled up and fell asleep, promptly falling off and sliding to the middle of the road on a waterfall of goo.
The bench seemed ready to take a flying leap off a bridge. Unfortunately it was both inanimate and nailed to the ground, so it suffered in silence.
Inanimate Objects: -1
Lesser Branch member Hyuuga Kimi began her first day at the Konoha Ninja Academy with all the grace and poise of a turkey on steroids.
. . . As you can probably guess, turkeys don't react to drugs as well as humans do. This child has a bad little habit of vomiting when put in an uncomfortable situation.
She was uncomfortable around crazy people, to put it bluntly. Too bad the majority of Konoha's ninja population was, in many ways, insane. The stronger the shinobi, the lighter their grip on reality. Kimi's nerves never failed to make her stomach churn until she threw up at extremely inopportune moments, often leading to embarrassing and awkward situations. This actually became apparent when she received the Caged Bird Seal from the Main house, as her trigger-happy stomach chose to empty itself on the shoes of her second cousin's uncle – the head of the Main family, Hyuuga Hiashi himself.
This definitely counted as one of such situations. Kimi was going to destroy her nerves if she ever got the chance.
Yes, yes, the Hyuuga were supposed to be a proud, respectful and all but regal clan . . . but Kimi was still a vengeful six-year-old. She didn't care about image; she only cared about her physical state of being and how many healers it would take to put her skin back on after most of it had been burned off by an insane little redhead this morning.
A kid about her age had just twelve minutes ago run through her house uninvited and on fire, and put both Kimi and her mother in hospital for third-degree burns.
She had never been subjected to a healing before, and now Kimi never wanted to be within fifty feet of a healer ever again. Burn procedures itched like hell – it was difficult to say whether she preferred the searing pain or not. Kimi had ended up vomiting on the nurse.
And, to top it off, she would probably be late for her first day at the Academy.
Shisui and Itachi were on their merry way to the Academy when they came across a young girl passed out on the road and a small dog lying happily on her chest. They both seemed to be covered in black . . . stuff, that trailed from an unobtrusive bench to the puddle they were lying in.
Please don't let it be crap, Shisui pleaded as they approached the mess. Dear god, that's a lot of crap . . .
Itachi wrinkled his nose but said nothing.
Shisui had planned on getting around the mess without incident – isn't that the sane thing to do? – but fate seemed to be after a nice, hearty laugh-at-other's-misfortune session today. Shisui stepped in it big time.
. . . By which I mean he managed to wake Sarah up.
The girl sprang into a sitting position like something risen from the grave, launching the muck-covered dog at Itachi's face. The small heir went flying.
Inanimate Objects: -1
Shisui almost peed himself.
"Ah!" he squeaked as Sarah's round eyes met his. She stood up, never breaking eye contact, and Shisui suddenly felt very awkward.
"Um, we're, uh, going to the A-academy," he said, not really as an offer to help but more along the lines of small talk. "Are you lost?"
Sarah stared at him for a few seconds more, before replying curtly, "I don't talk to strangers."
She then kicked him in the crotch like a good little kunoichi.
The nine-year-old yelped and doubled over.
Itachi had managed to rid himself of the puppy, but now he was angry. He began making hand seals, a static frown plastered to his face. His eyes never left Sarah as he released the fireball.
A small piece of trivia one should know before they decide to fight a Tsukeru:
They are very flammable.
"But I don't wanna be a ninja!"
"Move it kid, you need some discipline."
"But I swear I didn't mean to shoot you guys with paintballs!"
"Because you were aiming for the T&I Department, right?"
". . . Yeah!"
Kondo Takeshi, known as Shin among his peers, was currently holding onto the Academy gate for dear life. Three strange men were trying to force him into going to school! Of-freaking-course he'd resist!
The three men were Jounin of course – Team 9 in a former, less awesome life, in fact. They were going easy on Shin to avoid seriously injuring the boy, but covered in green paint and bruises that were spreading to the size of melons made it a little difficult.
They were Shiranui Genma, Yamashiro Aoba and Namiashi Raidou respectively. The latter had not yet received the horribly disfiguring burn scar on his face just yet, so he looked a lot less like a paedophile. (For the moment, at least.) Aoba, on the other hand, all dark-and-shady with his goggles and tilted headband, both looked and acted the part. But he was pissed, so that means he was allowed to grab Shin by the ankles and try peeling the kid off the gate with force.
"Kondo, you are a little shit. Stop acting your age!" The irritated Jounin scolded.
"My name is Shin," the boy bit back, kicking Aoba in the mouth. "And don't you forget it!"
But despite his proud tone, tears were gathering in the corner of his eyes. "I don't wanna be a ninjaaa~" Shin wailed.
"You're-going-in-side!" Aoba grunted, countering Shin's grip on the gate with twice as much force. Shin wailed some more.
Genma looked kind of worried. "Man, you're starting to look really bad right about now, and not in a good way," he hissed.
"There's-a-good-way?" Aoba asked through gritted teeth, not ceasing his attempt to get Shin away from the gate.
"You look like a paedophile," Raidou explained quietly.
Aoba's grip on Shin's ankles slackened, and the boy thudded to the ground. Aoba went red.
"Quick, get him!" Genma shouted. Raidou picked the boy up around the middle, nodded to his teammates and threw Shin towards the Academy's front yard just as the bell went to signify the beginning of the school day. Shin screamed as he flew in a perfect arc towards the front door.
Raidou gave his team a thumbs up.
Aoba gave him a thumbs up back.
Hyuuga Kimi expected a great many things on the first day of the Academy, but everything that had happened since she woke up this morning was so horribly far from what she had imagined that the sour girl was beginning to wonder if her entire life was a lie.
She had already been burned half to death, she sure as hell didn't need broken bones as well!
But the airborne grey-haired boy that was screaming towards her seemed to think that breaking Kimi's bones was a great idea.
The collision was brutal.
Inanimate Objects: -1
Kimi was sent to hospital for the second time that day for two possible fractures and a bruised kidney, and – the icing on the cake! – she had managed to find the time to vomit on the doormat as well, while Shin walked inside relatively unharmed. At least Kimi had learned one useful thing today: She was an excellent crash mat and shock absorber.
What did I do to deserve this?
Fate must had to be trying really hard to get Kimi to hate the world for the rest of her life.
Xara had heard (imagined) a rumour that there was coffee inside the Academy building, namely in her designated classroom, so she deemed it fit to enter when the bell went.
After all, a place without coffee was no friend of hers.
(She was actually just too scared to break the rules and skip school to find more coffee, so lying to herself was the only rational alternative. Xara was both a good liar and extremely gullible, so this tactic often worked wonders.)
The girl followed the crowd absently, looking around the halls with wide eyes, and then found herself seated at a desk in a nondescript classroom filled with snotty little six-year-olds.
Xara blinked. When did that happen?
O-oh, okay then. Is that what's happening? I'm fine with that. Yeah. Uh, I guess that's okay.
She would believe the sky is yellow right about now.
Discovering the side-effects of excessive amounts of coffee on small bodies is pretty disconcerting. Xara just hoped the temporary loss of bearings was just that – temporary. But unfortunately, as long as she maintains her little addiction, temporary obliviousness will be a very common thing in future.
Her attention was caught quite violently as the classroom door was kicked open.
" 'bout time," a grey-haired kid muttered next to her. "We've been waiting forever!"
Forever is a long time to forget, Xara managed to gather from her sporadic thoughts as her wide eyes turned to the door.
Then it registered that it had been blown off its hinges.
An old man with greying black hair twirled into the room like a dancer that never got the part, followed by another three copies of him. Shadows crept up the walls of the classroom, giving the illusion of night – and scaring some children into hiding under their desks – and strobe lights began swirling around the walls. The entire thing looked like a creepy, otherworldly disco.
The four old men began singing – badly. The style of dance also made it apparent that the old guy had a rather large belly, and the song . . .
"Shikaro-sensei, Shikaro-sensei, from the great Nara clan! Shikaro-sensei, Shikaro-sensei, he is the leading man! Hails from the upstairs spare room, stay away from my bathroom . . ."
Badly rhymed, almost tone-deaf and, frankly, by the end of it most of his would-be students were in a static state of shock and terror.
"Kidney-healings sting," Kimi whimpered, rubbing the aforementioned organ as she trudged into what would be her classroom until she graduated from the junior class.
What she saw almost gave her a heart attack.
Four copies of the same man singing and dancing around the front of the room, the walls dark as night and brightly coloured lights that seemed to be giving the grey-haired boy that had fractured two of her bones a seizure.
The song ended with a flourish, the lights and darkness disappeared, the old man's clones dissipated, and the man himself posed.
Kimi was about to run back home and resolve to never go near ninjas ever again when his eyes locked on her.
The Hyuuga girl found that she was unable to move an inch.
"Care to introduce yourself, kiddo?" he asked jovially.
Kimi went yellow and started sweating profusely. Not here, not now, not in front of all these people . . . !
But alas, her stomach would not take 'no' for an answer, and Kimi keeled over and emptied what was left of her poor, abused guts onto the wooden floor.
The entire class watched in awe and disgust as their positively senile teacher, Shikaro-sensei, did exactly the same thing. They were choking and heaving in perfect sync, tossing their cookies like their lives depended on it, all because of a long, dark shadow that was connecting them.
How is this possible, you ask? Well, a few decades back Nara Shikaro became a Jounin, but his first A-rank mission went awry. He makes up a new story every time the subject is broached, so no one really knows what happened, but suffice to say that he was never the same again. Both his mind and his jutsus were . . . faulty. His Shadow Possession jutsu could only control one's conscious mind. Anything involuntary or out of his target's control affected him as well.
Kimi's spontaneous vomiting was a similarly involuntary act.
The puking episode ceased. A moment dragged by.
From the centre of the front row Shin began applauding their performance, looking around encouragingly as if to invite others to make some noise.
Hana belched loudly from a few seats behind.
Xara fell out of her chair and didn't get up.
The boy's clapping slowed to an uncertain stop.
Finally, finally, Shikaro-sensei stood up straight and cleared his throat.
"Impressive," he commented. "Shikaro thinks the girl's first impression will last longer than his own! This deserves a round of drinks! Oh . . . wait, you're minors. Pfft, you're not allowed to drink. Yes, yes, yes . . . that's the one." He pointed to the two piles of chunky stomach contents and shouted to the class, "Nobody step in these! Shikaro doesn't want to get fired if someone slips and dies."
The few children that had recovered from the trauma that was a song-and-dance introduction were now terrified once again. (If their teacher was speaking gibberish, then what on earth are they going to be learning?) Others looked like they were about to be sick. One of them was.
Shin began clapping enthusiastically again.
"Shikaro thanks you for your good grace, boy, but that is really annoying," Shikaro-sensei said with an irritated, slightly crazed laugh.
Kimi was incredulous. This loony was allowed to teach? Half the kids in the class were going to start talking in third person before they were seven!
"Good, good," the man continued. "As you may or may not have gathered from Shikaro's wonderfully executed dance ensemble-slash-introduction, this one's name is Nara Shikaro. You may call him Shikaro-sensei, as he will be your teacher for however many years it takes for you fleshlings to graduate . . . or however long it tales for Shikaro to bite it and die. You are here to become shinobi of the Leaf Village, yes?"
A few of them nodded, but the vast majority were still trying to get over the trauma of witnessing the vomiting and the dance that preceded it.
Shin raised his hand. It went ignored.
"Well, not all of you are going to make it. In fact, Shikaro guarantees that at least a third of you are going to drop out within the week and take up flower arranging or some other such civilian trade. The rest of you will be trained brutally to fight and die for those that drop out. But such is the way of life, innocent little ducklings!"
. . . Well, he definitely had a unique way of putting things.
Before he could say any more, however, there was an ear-splitting screech.
The class perked up fearfully.
"Whaa? The screams aren't supposed to begin until training," Shikaro commented absently.
Kimi, from her position a the door, was able to see further down the hall than anyone else. What she saw . . . Well, it gave her a flashback that nearly made her faint.
The girl, screeching in joy rather than agony, running down the hallway of the Hyuuga's house . . . on fire . . . there were so many curtains that didn't make it out alive . . . so many . . .
Kimi tried to run, but she only got about three steps before she was barrelled over by an insane little redhead and subsequently trampled by two enraged Uchihas. Shisui seemed to be waddling and his rage was almost tangible, while Itachi just frowned as he was dragged around by the hand. Sarah seemed to be having a lot of fun.
And Kimi was on fire. Again.
The Haimaru that had been following Sarah around trotted up to her and lifted his leg.
"Don't you dare," Kimi growled as her hair began smouldering.
The dog didn't pay her threat any mind.
Inanimate Objects: -1
Shikaro-sensei wasn't able to put out the fire in time, and the entire Academy had to be evacuated for the time being.
So, in essence, school had ended before it began. And Kimi had gone to hospital for the third time in two hours.
Inanimate Objects: -1
Tsukeru Sarah: Over 9000
# Author's Note: Tell me, is the story funny? Worth posting? Most importantly, did you enjoy it? :p I'll almost definitely continue it anyway as both my friend and I are fond of it and it really is fun to write – but if it'll just leave yet another scar of a horrible story on my profile page, then I'd rather not post it. Or I may anyway, considering that Sarah would kill me if I suddenly decided to not let her read it. Either way, updates are guaranteed to be sporadic because I don't write often anyway . . . Let's see how far this story will go, shall we?