A/N: this story is one of my first fics ever.

It's one in the Naruto world where I find that ninjas are more like spiritual warriors than assassins. Of course, the over-reaching arc of the Naruto series is about morals in the first place, but then that detracts from being a mindless, soulless, emotionless killing machine that so many sub-par genre fics so far try to make Naruto out to be.

In this fic, we explore two simple facets of being a ninja. Unarmed combat, and armed combat. My aim for this fic is simple. It's a very straightforward open and close case of 'Naruto + competent teacher + hard work = win'

Seriously, does it get any simpler?

Chapter One

Failure.

Uzumaki Naruto punched the wooden post for the three hundredth and tenth time.

He had failed. Despite his overwhelmingly larger chakra capacity, despite his strength of mind, body, and soul, despite his promise, he'd failed to bring back Uchiha Sasuke.

Uchiha Sasuke.

The wayward ninja. He was smart. He was strong, quick and agile on his feet while infinitely faster with his mind. He had all the attention, the love, and the prestige being the last surviving loyal Uchiha could give him from the village.

He had everything Naruto wanted. Yet he'd simply severed the bonds of friendship, camaraderie that the village and his genin teammates and comrades offered and instead left to join the ranks of a man who'd committed the vilest crimes known to Konoha.

Weak.

He could not progress. He knew that. He ate, drank, slept ninjutsu, taijutsu and genjutsu twelve hours a day, seven days a week, 4 weeks a month, and every fucking month of the year since he'd been but eight and repeating the last year of the Academy for the second time.

Yet he found that while his comrades progressed by leaps and bounds, he was so achingly far behind that it would be a miracle he'd ever catch up to Sasuke's level.

His weakness was his inability to move forward, to think faster, react quicker, hit harder than his opponents.

It was because he was tired of his weaknesses that Uzumaki Naruto had made the decision to talk to Senju Tsunade instead of accepting a perverted lecher's offer.

He may be a sannin, but Naruto honestly could not envision himself growing stronger under a slacking mentor.

"I'm afraid I might have heard wrongly. You want me to do what?"

Calmly, methodically, he gave his answer. He wanted this. Badly.

"Teach me."

The Fifth Hokage sighed then hung her head back, massaging the bridge of her nose with one hand much like the Old Man Sarutobi had done.

"Naruto. It's not that I don't want to train you, but that I am not the optimal person to look for in regards to tutelage for someone like you."

"But-"

"Don't interrupt me," she cut him off with a wave of her hand.

"You possess a frighteningly massive amount of chakra but lack the control to use it properly. You are strong and robust, yet lack the finesse to dodge quicker, faster opponents. You possess little to nothing in terms of knowledge and rely on brute force strategy and on the fly tactics to take a win over your opponent. Your main advantage in a fight is that you have surprise on your side, and that your opponents often underestimate you. If it weren't for the Kyuubi's high rate of regeneration and the many times that damn thing's chakra has come to your aid, you would have been dead. Dead, Naruto, do you understand me? You are alive because of luck. Without the Kyuubi's chakra, you would have died in Wave. Without the Kyuubi's chakra, you would have died facing Gaara. Without the Kyuubi's chakra, you would most likely have lost to Hyuuga Neji. Without the Kyuubi's regeneration, you would not have survived even the Chuunin Exam's second phase!"

Here, the Sannin paused to take a breath. She loved him, like a son, like the brother she'd lost, and had she been ten years younger, she would probably have been head over heels in love with his undying devotion, loyalty, and the terrifying amount of strength he had the potential to wield – yet to wield. But he was asking for the impossible.

She had to let him know now instead of giving a misdirecting answer to get his hopes up.

"My fighting style is largely reliant on precision, surgical strikes, and operates off the basis that the user has an agile mind, Naruto. Do you understand?"

For a while, Uzumaki Naruto said nothing. And then he visibly steeled himself before addressing her.

"Hokage-sama," he said, face straight and all traces of humor gone. The Sannin belatedly realized that she might perhaps have gone too far in perforating her young charge's hopes – but then the next words he spoke changed her mind.

"I am the jailor of the Kyuubi. For me to use its chakra in my time of need is normal. For me to draw on its strength is common sense. I carry the village's burden everyday and suffer the knowledge of knowing that there are a bunch of S-class nuke-nins out there willing to slaughter entire villages to get to what lies within me. I outran an entire ANBU contingent at the age of ten. I defiled the under attires of a house full of three hundred and sixty degree, x-ray vision wielding ninjas with the ability to turn my heart to mush with but a stab of their fingers. And I did it in broad daylight. Can you now say that I do not possess the finesse to learn under you? Perhaps you could – even if the only reason it is so is because no one has taught me how. I'm not exactly the sharpest kunai in the shed but I'm not exactly brain dead either. I use on the fly tactics and brute force strategies because no one has taught me a damn thing. In the Academy, no matter what answers I wrote, I was marked wrong. No matter what I did, I was given a failing grade. No matter how hard I tried, no one showed me how. Yet I've progressed this far on my own. I need someone to help me go further. I decided it would be you."

Tsunade took but a moment's consideration before replying. He'd matured considerably after the failed mission to bring Uchiha Sasuke back in.

Perhaps it was for the better.

"Fine. Have it your way. Meet me at training ground six, seven in the morning sharp. If you're late, or tardy or even anything other than stretched and ready to fight for your life, I will stop training you effectively, and you will leave with Jiraiya immediately."

He looked rather fetching when he was determined, Tsunade decided. He'd turned down Jiraiya's offer of apprenticeship to learn under her. A small part of her danced in joy while a larger part of her wavered in uncertainty. Could he stand up to the challenge?

"One last thing; as my apprentice, you will learn all of my knowledge, and have my full support. I do not expect you to share them with your friends, much less strangers. And, to learn under me is to learn my art in its entirety. You will not pick and choose. To learn from me one aspect of my skills, is to learn from me every aspect."

This was it – the deal breaker. She took in a much needed breath and forged on.

"By the time I am done with you, you will possess the reputation of an up and coming medic-nin and up to date knowledge on tactics, strategy, and intricate details of certain ways to deal with certain situations in every facet of your life. You will know how to reattach limbs, turn off pain receptors, stop a person's heart or short-circuit a person's nervous system. If you so much as fall under my expectations at the end of each lesson, I will cease to teach you. Do you accept my terms?"

Uzumaki Naruto agreed with a wide shit eating grin on his face.

"Hell yeah, Baa-chan!"

End of chapter One.

C & C welcome.