Chapter 2: Haru no Saisho no Hi (First Day Of Spring)

Hatake Kakashi was a busy, busy man. He was also a pervert and one of Konoha's strongest jounin, a candidate for Hokage even!

So why the hell was he saddled with three brats again? Damn, being a jounin-sensei would really mess up his time.

Not like the brats were anything special anyway.

Just Uchiha Sasuke, the top student of the year and last Uchiha. Haruno Sakura, civilian-born girl with the highest theoretical rankings achieved in years. Uzumaki Naruto, the idiot and dead-last of the class, somehow also a jinchuuriki.

Of course, nobody said that Sasuke had a stick the size of a bridge shoved up his ass or that Sakura was a raving fangirl or that Uzumaki Naruto considered 'jutsu making' a hobby.

Well alright, maybe the brats were a bit special, hopefully not in the bad way. He'd have to do something about that, wouldn't he?

But that would have to wait after they passed, if they passed, the test he was currently giving them. And they didn't look like they were going to make it; he had already beaten them all in their respective 'specialties'.

What more could a bunch of 13 year olds do to him? A hundred times zero is still zero...

Hatake Kakashi would find it out the hard way.

Because Naruto was sick and tired of it. Kakashi underestimated him like everyone did! Nobody believed in him! So, he decided that if loud and brash didn't work, he'd use loud and brash with a side of sneaky in it. He wasn't Konoha's Prankster King for nothing; he could be pretty darn sneaky when he wanted to.

First order of business; get Sasuke, Sakura-chan, for all her beauty and smarts, would be useless in a fight. Even he could tell that.

"So, how's it going there, feeling nice and cozy there, teme?" Snarked Naruto once he saw Sasuke burried deep into the ground, only the head protruding.

"At least no pedophile shoved anything of his up my ass, dobe." Was the expected snark back and Naruto chuckled, shrugging his shoulders.

"Touche I guess. So, what are we gonna do?"

"Isn't it obvious? I'm getting out of this hole and then going after Kakashi-sensei. I touched the bells before, this time I'm getting them."

Even against his will Naruto whistled; that was pretty impressive, he didn't even get close to them before. "Maaan, wish I could say the same, but you saw how I got my ass kicked. But, way I see it, it's gonna take you too long to get out of there and time's running out already. I could get you out a bit faster, since, you know, I can actually move," he poked fun at the Uchiha. "but then you'd help me back. I can't get the bell, and now that he knows how good you are, he won't be surprised as easy. Only choice is to surprise him again, but without getting surprised ourselves. Only way to do that is by cooperating. You know, divide and conquer and all that crap, never too good with it." Naruto shrugged.

Sasuke was surprised. Was that really the dead last? Was that a genjutsu or something because Naruto sounded like he had a lot of common sense right then. And common sense was rather uncommon lately.

But the blonde was right, he needed help and it was true that he had surprised his teacher. Now that the jounin knew how good he really was, he wouldn't even let him get close.

"How do you know I won't cheat you out of your bell?" He asked, though mostly to check Naruto's reply.

All that he got was a chuckle and Naruto's helping hand. "You may be a teme, but you got honor, I know you do, you know you do. Besides, what would you do with an extra bell, give it to Sakura? No way, she's even weaker than me and you can't handle weakness. You're allergic to it."

A grunt later, both from the exertion of getting out of the damn hole and from acquiescing to Naruto's words and Sasuke sighed. Better Naruto than Sakura; even he was less likely to draw enemy attention, and that was considering his loud personality and orange colors.

Speaking of loud personality,the blonde wasn't anywhere near as loud, obnoxious or arrogant as he was the month prior (and calling someone arrogant was a high insult if it came from Sasuke). In fact, even his clothing seemed to be subdued a bit,what the hell had happened?

'Rules of Shinobi Conduct', 'Stealth Guide' and 'Tactical Stratagem Guide' had happened. Good books those ones. Naruto had stumbled across them (read; the librarian snuck them into his reading table) and read them for fun.

If people didn't look at him with his orange ensemble (whoah, nice word that, he noted), then he'd make them notice him with his 'kick-ass skills'! Which meant getting these skills in the first place.

First you get the skillz, then you get the recognition, then... then you get the HAT!

Or something like that.

But for now, he had something else to focus on.

"So, any other bright ideas, dobe? He's a jounin, he'll see us coming a forest away."

Naruto grinned a grin that was entirely too much like his 'pranking planning mode' for Sasuke to be entirely comfortable with. "Well, what if an entire forest is in his face? Leave cover to me, just focus on getting the bells. I'll be busy though, to keep the cover up, so I'll only be able to supply a few clones, that alright with you? I can still change them into things, like kunai or shuriken, that you can throw and catch him by surprise."

"Hnnn... That might work, he wouldn't expect a shuriken to change to a human, should get him by surprise. But what's our cover?"

"Weeell... you know what I said yesterday about 'making jutsu' is my hobby? Let's just say I took 'leaf-style shinobi' to a more... literal level!" Then he laughed, conspiratorily and evilly.

It was contagious and Sasuke grinned back. Time to get back at their damned sensei.

Kakashi got a strange feeling, like he had just been 'had', but ignored it, his read was more important than that anyway. What could a bunch of brats do to him?

"Hello Kakashi-sensei. Care for a rematch?" It was Naruto, the annoying blonde, but something was strange about him.

Oh year, he wasn't rushing like an idiot.

"Sure, Mr-dead-last. I didn't know you liked the Sennin Goroshi so much." He tried to get a reaction out of the blonde and let's say he was honestly surprised when he didn't.

He should have been worried instead.

"Oh I didn't like it, not at all you damn pedophile. I bet that's how you get your kicks, molesting young boys, what, women are actually too much for you?"

"I don't want to hear about it from a boy who hasn't even jerked off properly."

"Well, just so you know, this 'boy' is a legal adult you know. Old enough to kill, old enough to drink and... do other things as well."

Now that was cause for alarm, and surprise. Looking over at the blonde, all Kakashi got was a vicious grin. Before he could speak, the blonde continued.

"Oh, and by the way, gotcha!" He said, hands already in a weird position. Both hands were in half-ram position, but while one was placed before his chest, as is the proper place, the other one was over his head.

"Kirigakure no Jutsu? How could he-"

"Konoha Ninpou: Konohagakure no Jutsu! (Leaf Ninja Art: Hidden In The Leaves Technique)"

"W-what?" Kakashi chocked out, but there was not much else he could do as suddenly leaves from all the trees around him picked up, buffeting him forcefully.

On their own, no leaf actually hurt him, but it seemed like it was a single mass slamming on him, like a thick pea-soup. Even if he could move freely, it messed up almost all of his senses! Touch was out of the window thanks to all these leaves slamming onto him, sound was off thanks to all the leaves and sight was gone as well!

So he ran, hoping that the jutsu had a small area of effect. No such luck; it seemed to not be targeted on him either, more like emitted all around Naruto!

How much chakra did the brat have? He thought he only possessed just a bit above average, judging on how long his clones had lasted, but this was on a whole other level!

So it was very surprising when he was forced to dodge to the side to avoid a thrown kunai and then lean to the other, lest a kick caught his head.

Funny, in the short glimpses of sight the fluttering leaves allowed him, he made out a completely different kind of leg than Naruto's...

Uchiha Sasuke?

But they were supposed to be mortal enemies, they would turn into rivals only after he had worked them to the bone and bonded them through various demeaning chores!

They weren't supposed to cooperate!

And Sasuke was definitely not supposed to throw kunai quite that liberally either!

Something was wrong and Kakashi wasn't in on the plan. He hated when he wasn't in on the plan!

And just how was Sasuke able to find him in all this fluttering-leaf mess? Could Naruto be able to control the density of this damn jutsu of his? If so, he was either better than the files said or he had practiced for way longer than he had thought possible.

It was both, even though Kakashi himself didn't know it.

Then, he heard a weird popping sound, his trained ears managed to distinguish it as a cancelled Henge, even with all this mess around him.

Kakashi had only one moment to curse his luck and still-virgin life before being swarmed by clones he never even knew existed.

Half an hour later, the prospective Team7 was back at the three stumps that served as their meeting point. Kakashi had made to tie up Sakura, since she hadn't gotten a bell, but Naruto emphatically refused.

More like threw in several remarks on bondage, pedophilia and whipped cream, but he got the point across. Or rather, Sakura got her slap across Kakashi's face.

Really, no child should read 'Sexual Remarks; Make or Break Relationships and Enemies!'...

"So, to recap. Sakura you were useless. Naruto you were less than useless. Sasuke you managed to do something, just a bit above useless. But somehow," He wasn't about to reveal that Naruto's remarks had managed their goal of ruining his calm and unsettling him. "You two managed to pass. So, what am I gonna do with you?" He sighed. "You two made a good enough plan, but you completely forgot Sakura. And Sakura, you did nothing to help Naruto while he fought near you, instead you just ran off to Sasuke..."

"But, but, Sakura-chan knew I would most likely fail to get a bell, so she bid her time, she saw your strategy and probably thought of a plan to share with Sasuke, right Sakura-chan?" Naruto exclaimed, throwing a sharp glance at the girl to let her know of his plan. "They're the top two of the class, they knew nothing about my brand-new Konohagakure no Jutsu. So, you can't blame her for it!"

"Y-yeah, Naruto's right! I didn't know anything about it!" She followed up close, regardless of the blonde idiot's plan, it would be better than being called a traitor, she thought.

"Besides, as for me and Sasuke excluding Sakura-chan, well, she's more a support type ninja right? I bet she's gonna be great with traps and such, but we needed combat. If she was included, you could have used her as a hostage and that would be bad, right?"

"Is that so?" Glared Kakashi. He knew the blonde was lieing, but why was he? The same thing passed Sasuke's mind. "Alright then, I'll be back after you eat your lunch, but don't share any with Sakura or you will fail instantly!"

Then he was gone.

Naruto had but a second to sigh in relief before being picked up by the scruff by an annoyed Sasuke. "You dobe!" He shouted. "What were you thinking? Why are you including her? Want him to fail us? I agreed to your plan because it would give me a better partner than her" He spat. "but what you're doing will get us failed!"

Sasuke's tirade came less from the potential of failure however, and more from the feeling of betrayal.

"No it won't Sasuke. How do you think I learned to do jutsu, try every handseal combination and hope for the best? Come on, I'm not that stupid! I went to the Library, darned place that it is. But you see, I found some nice books there, tactics and such. One of them said that 'excluding special circumstances, no Konoha cell functions with less than four members; a leader and three subordinates.' In short, Kakashi is our leader and he needs three partners. The plan was us two getting the bells, but if we completely cut off Sakura-chan, we'd fail. It's true that Sakura-chan's weak in battle, but I'm sure that she's gonna make an excellent support, know what I mean? Even the Sannin had three members and one of them was a medic-nin! Not all battles are won with fireballs, Sasuke, or nobody will be there to patch you up after!"

"Ugh, whatever. Don't think I've forgiven you for lieing to me though." Still the raven let the blonde go and turned around to huff. Naruto was right, Sasuke knew as much, but that didn't make it any easier to swallow.

"Oh, come on, Sasuke-teme, we need Sakura-chan to pass the test!"

Meanwhile poor Sakura stood dumbstruck, mostly because the ropes kept her from falling to her knees. Sasuke-kun thought she was worthless? He didn't want her on his team? He'd rather have Naruto than her? Who-what-why?

Tears began streaking down her face and she sobbed quietly while Naruto tried to salvage the team.

"Anyway, Sasuke, you can't always get what you want. Hell, I'd rather have been in Hinata's team than with you or Sakura, she and Shino dislike me much less than either of you, but here I am. For now, we have to cooperate, or Kakashi-sensei will rip us apart next round. Dunno about you, but I'm not failing. Look, all I want to say is, well, is it that bad to work together? You saw what we did, we took down a jounin. I mean, if instead of taking bells we had attacked with a kunai? Think about it man, us, two newly-minted gennin, managed to beat a freaking jounin! If that doesn't mean that teamwork's important, then I don't know what is."

"Yeah, but you still lied to me!" Sasuke countered, forcing Naruto to sigh. Ever since Itachi's betrayal, the raven had had a serious problem with liars.

"No, I said we should exclude Sakura-chan from that fight. After that, we had to include her because that's what Kakashi-sensei wanted to hear. I didn't lie to you; I tricked you. Come on man, forgive me alright? Now we got a second chance to do this, right this time! And since Sakura-chan knows I'm not as pathetic as I used to be any more, maybe this time she can help us. Besides, don't you get it? There has to be the three of us that pass; the bells are just a distraction!"

"Ugh... When did you get all that smart anyway, dobe..." It wasn't a question per se, but Naruto answered it with the saddest, loneliest look one could imagine in his eyes.

"Since I actually sat down and read something. Nobody ever taught me anything really, you know..."

Even Sasuke's grunt seemed to stutter for a second as he realized that Naruto never had a family to begin with, but Sasuke got over it quickly enough; they had both gotten over their respective lots in life, at least in part. For now, something else beckoned. "H-Hnnn... Fine, we'll cooperate, but I'll still be watching you, Uzumaki. You might have had reason to trick me, but I still don't like it. So Sakura, any ideas? Hey, Sakura! Why's she crying?"

He called her name twice because the pink-haired girl seemed to stare into infinity, her mind unable to cope with the stress of rejection. In all her time knowing Sasuke, she had never once thought possible that he didn't like her, that he didn't believe in her at all, that he didn't want her near him even more than Naruto. That he hated her. For 'her' Sasuke to reject her so completely, the little girl's world seemed to collapse. Her tears had stopped coming out, instead she dry heaved and chocked on her own.

"Sasuke, you're even more of an inconsiderate, anti-social idiot than me, and that's saying a lot." Naruto sighed and got a small napkin off from his bento box, cleaning up an unresponsive Sakura's face. "Come on Sakura-chan, the teme didn't mean it like that, he was probably just pissed off at me and lashed out everywhere around him." He tried to soothe the girl. "Besides, you're the smartest of us three right? So, right now, we need you, because there's no way we're getting Kakakashi caught by surprise again. We need a new plan and only you can give us one." A not-so-subtle and neither 'gentle' elbow burried itself into Sasuke's ribs, forcing the boy to speak up.

"Ugh, yeah, whatever, sorry, we need you."

It was like life seeped back into Sakura, after Sasuke said 'sorry' and that he 'needed her'. Then that meant he didn't hate her, he didn't reject her! That meant she could help him, she had to help him! Hope shone almost like stars from her eyes and it was all Sasuke could do not to step back and away from her. And that was only because she was tied up securely.

"A'right! Meetin' time!" Declared Naruto as he opened both bento boxes between the three and cut Sakura's ropes.

He hadn't had time to do anything more as Kakashi appeared, lightning flashing in the background and an unearthly wind blowing.

It would be so cool if it wasn't so scary!

An hour later, and a confirmed success on finally becoming a team after a tear-inducing speech about their budding teamwork, Naruto sat on a stone, getting interrogated by Kakashi, and Sasuke of course.

"Now, my cute little gennin, how did you get a technique like the Konohagakure, or whatever you called it?"

Naruto sighed, he knew it was coming. "Well... you know how everybody, except Sakura-chan, belongs to a clan right? And Sakura-chan is waaay smarter than me. What do I have? I have nothing, well, got my Kage Bunshin a month or so ago, but that was a fluke gone right, really. And I still can't do the regular bunshin, Iruka-sensei says I use too much chakra and blow it up. So, I thought, if I can't use an already existing jutsu, I'd have to make my own. Besides, I plan to start an Uzumaki clan someday and that means leaving behind family jutsu!"

Uzumaki clan? Kakashi had a veeery bad feeling about this.

"I mean, there was one Uzumaki clan before, but they died and jii-san said I got their name in honor of one of them, like an adopted child or something. I'm still no less of an orphan though, but I have a name to live up to at least. Since I have no idea what the original Uzumaki were all about, I have to make do with my ideas, you know? So I went to the Library, I mean, how did our techniques get made anyway? Somebody had to make them, maybe I could make my own, right? So I found this great book and started reading. I decided to start small, don't wanna blow myself up with a Katon or something, that's teme's line of work." A glare and a grunt came Naruto's way and he chuckled. "So anyway, I thought, what theme should my jutsu have? Like what should it be? All the elements and such are overused, I'm no good at Genjutsu, know nothing of Taijutsu or Fuinjutsu and Iryo-jutsu need waaaay too much studying, not my style."

He took a breath as he picked up a small tree's leaf and made it hover and spin over his palm. "So, I took 'leaf-style shinobi' to a new level. Called myself that the day Mizuki... Well, Mizuke went rogue and I had to fight him with Iruka-sensei. He asked me who I was and I said I was 'Leaf-Style shinobi Uzumaki Naruto-dattebayo!'" He even added his original catchphrase. "So, I took it to another level, I mean, if you can use water and earth, why not leaves? And we're in a forest and there's lots of forests all around! Using a medium for my jutsu means I need less control, so it's easier for me to learn. So, anyway, I took the book and some others I'd found," Though, he really stole it from the Library, he just didn't know he had to register it first. "and went out to practice. Turns out I have this weird 'wind affinity' thing. Makes it easier to use fuuton, though I can't find any around, so it's not like I can learn any. But at least, it makes it easier for me to mix my chakra with wind and spin it around. So I use that to make my Konohagakure no Jutsu. I guess it could work with sand or even a bit of water to make a Sunagakure or Suigakure no Jutsu, but I haven't seen any of that around so I don't know..."

While Naruto took a breath from his rant, Kakashi, Sakura and Sasuke gaped. Well, Kakashi more than the others because the brat had just managed to find out the trick behind the Mizugakure no Jutsu, one of Mist's hidden techniques!

What the hell, when did the brat turn into a genius anyway?

Then, he remembered who the child's parents were; from the moment he was born...

"W-Wow..." Stuttered Sakura, without wanting to. She was officially impressed.

"H-Hnnn" So was Sasuke, but anything more would be way too expressive for him.

"So, any more ideas you have Naruto?" Came Kakashi's happy responce, making the other two gennin stare at him. "What? It was a nice idea, right?"

Naruto nodded happily. "Well, of course I do! I mean, wind chakra's good for cutting stuff right? So what if I could make leaves into shuriken? I can already make them somewhat stiff and resistant to damage, but I can't make them into blades yet. I also want to reduce my Konohagakure no Jutsu, I mean, it takes out a lot of chakra to use, so it's probably way too much for anyone else. Maybe I need to add a handseal or something. And then..." Now his grin was evil. "Then I have my ougi! And that's a secret!"

"Baka, samurai use ougi..." Grunted Sasuke, getting nods from Sakura. "Ninja have hissatsu waza." Now poor Sakura was torn between sweat-dropping and face-faulting, but she chose gape.

Kakashi instead chuckled, these brats could be fun after all.

Chapter 3: Saisho no Hana Saku (First Bloom)

As days passed and Team Seven performed more and more missions, though to their chagrin none of them were more than a glorified chore, all members save Naruto noticed something strange about the blonde.

No, it wasn't how he didn't act like a complete retard, or that he had gotten over his crush on Sakura (which he hadn't, he was simply too deep into thinking about his jutsu to really think about her).

It was how quick he was at growing stronger and stronger.

It was as if every day he became visibly more skilled.

Normally, that would delight a teacher, especially one as bored and inactive as Kakashi. After all, if his student grew so fast on his own, that left more time for Icha Icha, right?

But Naruto was anything but normal.

He had been worse than an idiot, he had been the most retarded student in the whole damn Academy! And now you expect Kakashi to not be worried when the boy suddenly seemed to gain insight and power that he shouldn't have?

Preposterous! He cared for each and every one of his students! He knew everything there was to know about them!

Well, not really, he knew far less than he'd like to admit, but he still cared for his brats. They were his brats. Until they made Chuunin anyway, where he could just dump them to someone else or something.

Icha Icha comes first. Always.

Still, it was worrying for the Copy Ninja, and the rest of the team as well. Even though Sasuke would never admit it, he was curious, and so was Sakura. The latter was more along the lines of annoyance, since she kind of missed the old Naruto (and his constant work at keeping her happy), but let's just say she cared. In some convoluted, incomprehensible way that tsundere girls do.

Kakashi was more worried about the source of the intellect. Or more like how furry that source was.

Could it be the Kyuubi? Could the demon have broken free? Could it be twisting the boy into an omnicidal maniac with a fetish for slaughter?

All joking aside, he was worried. So, he did the logical thing…

No, not stalk, who stalks people anyway (far away, one certain Hyuuga sneezed and promptly fainted from embarassement)? No, he acted like a logical adult (one of the few times so far in his life) and decided to ask Naruto.

"Say, Naruto… You've been improving rather fast lately. Care to share the secret to success?" He asked kindly, or as kindly as a man can ask with seventy-five percent of their face covered.

"Uhh… I guess I shower lots?" Cue blinking. "No wait, that's the other line, I guess it's 'cause I like, work out a lot and then eat a lot and then sleep and then work out a lot. I do this all day, so it's really good for me."

Kakashi sighed and sat down next to the boy. It wasn't about physical growth he was worried, anybody could work on that, it was the mental growth he cared for. "Not that. I mean, you are smarter now, you don't shout as much and you actually make sense. It's not a bad thing, I'm just curious, that's all."

"Well, I don't shout that much 'cause my head hurts most of the time from the training, if I shouted as well, it would be killing me, sensei. But, I guess it's because I started reading for a change. Hell, I'm still reading right now."

Kakashi, and the other two members of the team, blinked. "Naruto, you're not reading right now. You don't have a book in front of you to read from." He drawled out slowly, trying to make sense of the blonde.

"Sure I am! Wait, no, I'm not. Well, I am, but it's not I, it's me and… well…" He stopped ranting and took a look at Sakura's face, she was almost the most expressive of them, seeing as how she lacked a stick up her bum and had more than fifty-percent of her face revealed. "You think I'm crazy, right? Well, I'm not! I'm not crazy! I really am reading! It's about the Second Hokage and various fungi indigenous in Rai no Kuni!" He shouted, getting up suddenly and almost sending Kakashi rolling away.

"What does the Hokage have to do with fungi?" Sakura's question came, along with a 'I think you should see the nice people in the white coats' look.

One has to wonder how so many words can be transferred with a look and why language was made if looks could say so much, but I digress.

"It doesn't. They are completely unrelated. If it was the First Hokage, I'd wonder, but the second had nothing to do with it, he never even went in Rai no Kuni!" Naruto kept on going crazy. "Don't you see?" There was a frantic look in his eyes now and Kakashi was slowly, calmly moving closer to the blonde. The boy needed help…

"Easy Naruto, calm down and talk about it calmly. I'm sure we can all resolve it peacefully…" Well, even Kakashi had learned a bit of psychology.

"Calmly? CALMLY? You think I'm crazy! You all think I'm crazy don't you?" Naruto backed away. "But you are the crazy ones! Who the hell reads about the Second Hokage and various fungi indigenous in Rai no Kuni anyway?"

Sasuke decided to end this with his characteristic, one-word way. "You."

"What? No! They are completely unrelated things! I'm reading on the Second Hokage and on various fungi, but it's not I who's reading!"

At that moment, Kakashi wondered if Naruto had taken a 'hands on' attempt to research mushrooms and ate a few of them. Pretty-pretty colors and all that nice things.

Giggle. No bad Kakashi, think about the wonders of psychotropic flora while in huge orgies another time! Your student needs you!

"Naruto… How can you be reading books when you don't have one on you?" He tried to bring the discussion back to normalcy.

"I can't, of course. How could I?" Naruto deadpanned. "But I'm not reading, me is, or was. Guess me ran out of chakra and popped. Damn, wanted to know what happened next…"

Wheels began to turn in Kakashi's mind as he took in that last sentence. "Naruto… who exactly is the I that was studying?"

"Eh? A Kage Bunshin of mine, what, who did you think it was? It's just so confusing to name them so I just call them 'Me'. Do you know how hard it is to name one thousand 'yous' every time you summon? One name is enough."

The crow that flew over the stunned team sounded awfully like cawing 'Idiot, idiot', but Kakashi tried to ignore it in favour of sighing.

"Oh, you were using the Kage Bunshin's secret, the ability to transfer memories when the clone dispels… I was worried there for a second. Still, how did you realize it so early? It usually takes much longer to find that little trick…" It was a legitimate question. Mostly due to the fact that it took Kakashi several months to realize it, how could an idiot find it out in less than sixty days?

Instead of an answer however, Kakashi was presented with a nasty, dirty glare.

"You… kicked me in the 'gnads." Naruto stated, hostility evident in his voice. "Even though I never attacked you personally, in the test, you kicked a clone in the 'gnads. It was kind of hard to miss that particular memory Kakashi-sensei…"

Feeling the sweat-drop growing on his head, Kakashi decided to let the matter drop, he didn't want to be pranked any time soon, if ever. "A-ah… I see… Well, I'm really sorry…"

"If you're sorry about it then do something!" Naruto yelled suddenly, giving the clear image of him being bipolar. "As penance for giving me phantom pains for a week,… YOU BETTER TEACH ME SOMETHIN'! Got it?"

Naruto wasn't considered Konoha's most unpredictable shinobi for nothing; he's the only gennin that would threaten a jounin… without any substantial blackmail material to boot either!

Still, his declaration had the wanted effect of appearing so hilarious that it brought the entire team (sans a confused Naruto) to laughter.

"Oi, why are you laughing? Oi!" He tried to get it but… Smarter he might have become, but also he had become more insane.

But that did not prevent him from working on his new 'leaf jutsu', maybe he should call it 'haton (leaf release)' instead of Konoha Ninpo? Would certain types of leaves work better? Maybe if he could infuse leaves with his chakra, in a raw form, and then withdraw it or shape it after? Then again, he had so much chakra it would be pointless to do so.

So, for now, he worked on making his Konohagakure smaller so he could control it easier. Wouldn't do to blind his team while trying to do it to his enemy, right? But for now… "Hey, Kakashi-sensei, I saw you Kawarimi at the test when Sasuke threw some kunai at you, but you didn't use any handseals! How did you do it?" It was a necessary part for his new technique, or collaboration jutsu as it were.

"Hm? Oh that, it's simple really. Once you use a technique enough, you can start removing handseals from it until you don't need them anymore. Don't expect to do it any time soon, you'd have to do it hundreds of times." Kakashi tried to squash Naruto's hopes.

It didn't work; the blonde just grinned and thanked his sensei, his crazy mind already working on iy. Hundreds of times? No problem; he was hundreds of people!

"Speaking of Naruto… how did you know where I was in that mess, Sasuke?" Asked Kakashi, he was still curious.

The raven-haired boy nodded grimly. "Seems the dobe has better control than we thought; he made them converge on you mostly. Not to say it was much better for me, but you looked like they had completely covered you…"

While Kakashi hummed, Naruto instead had his eyes glaze. Covered by leaves, sticking on him… Stiff leaves, hard as leather or almost steel, an armor that wouldn't be near as cumbersome since he could control it with his chakra.

A small, giggle-like chuckle escaped his lips.

JUTSU WERE AWESOME! More! More jutsu! More ideas hopping around in his head like rabbits on speed!

It was safe to say that every member of Team Seven wisely backed away from the less-than-sane blonde.

"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" Several dozen clones appeared, once again astounding poor Kakashi with the amount of chakra the boy had, before running off, identical crazed smiles on their faces.

Admittedly, seeing so many crazed blondes running with a purpose towards some unknown objective… It made most of Konoha write their last wills; the boy had finally snapped!

But the truth was that he was sane, for the most part anyway. Simply, he had more and more ideas on how to use leaves.

Still, he had to finish his early projects first. Amusingly enough, his ougi (he still refused to go by Sasuke's suggestion of hissatsu waza) would probably be harder to make, if much harder to actually execute.

Which meant he had to use the Kawarimi no Jutsu thousands of times first to cut off the handseals required for its use. And then he'd have to do the same with his Konohagakure. Of course, the second jutsu was more in order to master his ougi, rather than to create it in the first place, but still it was a necessary part.

Back in his home, another clone read a book on wind manipulation. Having swiped it from a retired chuunin's garbage bin, he was deep into it. After all, he had found out that he had a wind affinity, which made Konohagakure no Jutsu possible to make in the first place, but he still had to get better if he wanted to perform the rest of his techniques.

"Wind is an element that is all around us, we breathe it with every breath we take, we feel it on our skin and we need it for our very survival. However, wind-users, not merely those knowing wind jutsu, but those who can use it freely, are by far the rarest in the shinobi community. They are at their most common in Kaze no Kuni, but even there they are few compared to Katon users."

"Many have speculated why that is so, why it is that an element so common and so in touch with everything is so hard to manipulate. Could it be some countermeasure to its great power? Could it be that we lack understanding of that force?"

"No. It is neither. The reason stems from the physicality and yet ethereal nature of wind. Despite it having a physical representation, it is still treated as an energy much like fire or lightning. It is this dual nature that makes it so hard to understand and use."

"As a widely accepted belief, the first step to learning to use wind chakra is to try to cut a leaf in half. However, that is merely a primer on its combat uses, a 'quick and dirty' way to quickly learn to use wind chakra for combat. True wind manipulation on the other hand uses the power of the wind for more things."

"As every element has its niche, something that it is inherently good at, Wind's most common ability is 'cutting'. It is easy to create and launch a blade of wind, an invisible edge that cuts through all in its path, be it wood, stone or steel. One can easily reinforce a weapon with wind chakra, making them much sharper and increasing the cutting edge, more experienced ninja can cut an enemy several feet away. However, it need not be a solid blade, once a certain level of mastery is reached, one can create a 'vacuum', a place with no wind pressure that, for lack of better words, 'implodes' the target area outwards."

"However, that is not all the wind can do. With proper manipulation, one can enhance their speed, reduce falling speed, even deflect incoming projectiles and techniques."

"It is due to the constant presence and flexibility of wind that its handseal is called 'Dragon', the ever-present force. It also signifies the wisdom needed to wield the element as even a small miscalculation, especially in new jutsu, can damage the user far more than the enemy."

The clone hummed as it read and re-read the passages. It had done so several times, but it couldn't help it. There was something in these lines, some hidden fact, just under the tip of its tongue that it just couldn't voice.

It felt like a large hint, a huge idea, was hitting it on the head and it just couldn't put it to words!

It was aggravating...

"Hmm... reinforce the blade... wait what?" The clone's eyes widened as it read it again and again. Could it mean that Wind-users were good for 'Reinforce' jutsu? But then, almost right above it said about launching blades and such, that's an Emit-type's signature way! "No... No way! No freaking way!" He shouted. "Wind manipulation is so hard because it's using 'Combine' type archetypes!" Then a whoop of joy as it realized he could very well be one of the few destined ones who can actually use, or better yet make, Combine type jutsu! "HELL YEAH! I'm the best dattebayo!"

But for now he had more work to do, he knew what its Boss would want; learn how to use wind chakra!

"Aside from the method noted previously on quickly learning how to use wind chakra for cutting, there are several other excercises to be used for budding Wind masters, those that actually want to use their element to the fullest. The first exercise is melding chakra into the air to feel the various currents and how they change. In actuality, this exercise has no ending, it serves to better understand the ever-changing element of wind. The next exercise is to take small, light items and levitate them off your palm, leaves are the best for beginners. Once it feels comfortable to do so, the aspiring wind user may try to use other parts of the body to levitate leaves from, or levitate multiple items at the same time. The third exercise is cutting a leaf in half is the last exercise, even though it becomes usable in jutsu easier than the others. The last once is taking a small amount of water and lifting up small drops of it by sucking away the air above the liquid's surface."

" These techniques teach how to feel the wind, create pressure, create blades and create vacuums in order. Further exercises and techniques involve combining these aforementioned four and increasing their magnitude, though individual villages may possess secret training techniques not easily available. To access those, a master would be needed, this world's most valuable resource."

"Levitate a leaf huh..." Naruto hummed as he took a small leaf and placed it on his palm. That would be awesome since it would train him to use less chakra with his Konohagakure, maybe even figure out what seals to add to the sequence so it can be easily usable by other Konoha ninja.

Then his ingenious/insane mind had another idea; leaves that could levitate... on their own! Maybe he could make them stay there, in the air, without any chakra spending after using the technique. If he could do that, then he could almost walk on air! It would be awesome!

Of course, that would require extensive planning, maybe even a meld with fuinjutsu, since he would need to 'seal' his chakra into the leaf to sustain the levitation.

Hmmm...

Fuinjutsu...

Ideas, ideas everywhere, raise your voices into the air! Shout them out, make a clatter, fill this mind with endless rattle!

The ensuing 'evil' laugh that issued from the 'Demon's House' was foreboding enough that no civilian would approach it for months.

And so it was that Naruto began unleashing clone after clone in an effort to put his ideas to practice. Of course, he knew he couldn't do everything that came to mind, even he couldn't do that. Instead, he used his clones to write down the best ideas and slowly work them out. So, while some clones worked on wind-chakra control, the better to understand which hand seals they should add to Konohagakure, some of them would break off from the others when inspiration struck, write down their ideas, practice them until they could no longer and, if they had more time left, go back to their original training.

Because making techniques required a great amount of understanding, it also meant learning a lot, which in turn forced Naruto to study even more than he had originally planned. He hadn't started on Fuinjutsu, he thought he should start with at least some Konoha Ninpou jutsu, jutsu that would define him and his style before branching out. He was good with multitasking, Kage Bunshin's the ultimate tool for that, but even he had his limits. Or more like, if he learned things that were too diverse from each other, it gave him headaches that made the worse migrane seem like a pleasant lullaby, not to mention possibly also damage his brain. And considering the brain was a necessary part of jutsu making, not to mention living, he was quite keen on keeping it healthy and happy.

So, for now he was content with his 'Haton' or 'Konoha Ninpo', he still wasn't sure what he should name them.

Still, at the end of the day, all this reading did Naruto a lot of good. It didn't smarten him up, but it did mellow him out, it gave him a way to use his common sense and the street smarts he had gained in his short life as a vagrant

Sasuke actually looked at him as if he were more than an insect under the mud under the sole of his sandals.

Sakura-chan still didn't like him much, but at least she tolerated him. That had to mean something, right? Unfortunately for the blonde, it was much less than he hoped it did.

As for Kakashi? The jounin kept getting more and more impressed every day. The gaki might have the most insane ideas, but somehow he still managed to play them just right to make them work.

Which is why Kakashi had them do several D-rank missions every day now, so he could take his brats out for a C-rank early on. Something simple, like taking an item to a village within a time-limit. Nothing much but just enough to let them know of the world beyond the Gates. Who knows, it may even give the brat some more ideas. Granted most of them were insane and impractical, but skills like the Konohagakure were... they were pure gold at the hands of someone who can use them properly.

So, it is obvious that Kakashi's surprise was great when Naruto called him over while on the job, bouncing up-and-down excitedly.

"Kakashi-sensei!Kakashi-sensei! I made a new jutsu! Look, look, look!" He said and showed a leaf floating above his hand.

"You... made a leaf float?" Kakashi deadpanned. He expected more than just a floating leaf but... but... wait, what? There was a distortion on the wind around the leaf? He was lucky he could pick that little detail out, probably because he had something stable to compare it to... "Naruto, what's that technique?" He asked, curious this time.

"Well, well, sometimes, you just run out of shuriken right, or you don't have time to pick them up or something! Or you just want to surprise someone, right? So, I made this! Konoha Ninpo: Konoha Shuriken! I put in my chakra to make it reaaally stiff and then some wind-chakra to give it an edge! Watch this!" Right after, the excited blonde threw the leaf at a tree.

Or rather three inches into the tree.

Kakashi gaped. Imagine an enemy knocking you to the ground. You cower and scramble for help, inconspicuously clawing around for traction. Then you pick up a leaf. As the enemy readies to deliver the final blow... you throw the leaf, straight into their throat! Or any other vital spot for that matter! Instant surprise-counter-killer move!

"Well done Naruto! That's a useful little jutsu, if you can surprise your enemy. Of course, after the first time it's used, no one is going to fall for it of course, but it could help."

Naruto nodded semi-sadly. "I know, but it isn't ready yet..." At Kakashi's inquisitive look, Naruto rubbed the back of his head. "Well, more like, I originally wanted to throw the leaves as well, with my chakra I mean, but I just can't get it right yet. Maybe I need more training, dunno. But I was really thinking about the name, something like 'Konoha Ninpo: Ha-dan (Leaf Ninja Art: Leaf Bullet/Shot)' or something like that... Seems I have to train more..."

Chuckling uncomfortably was all Kakashi could do. It seemed one of the world's most innocent items would soon become something fearsome.

_
A/N: Next chapter's out, enjoy while it's still hot! Next chapter, we are revealing Naruto's Hissatsu Waza/Ougi/Bank- err, scratch that last one.

Yeah, well, anyway, this fic's light hearted and fun so it's easier to write, but it's not going to be more than that. Of course, if anyone wants to take these jutsu, go right ahead. Just send a PM and I'll send you all the jutsu I've made.

Remember; a review is more important to an author than ten or twenty fav's or alerts! So don't hesitate to review!

Oh, and since I forgot, I guess I have to present the jutsu used so far, right? Here we go:

Konoha Ninpo: Konohagakure no Jutsu (Leaf Ninja Art: Hidden In The Leaves Technique)
Cost: C, Control: C, Rank: C
The Konohagakure no Jutsu picks up surrounding leaves and spins them violently around the target, making it very hard to see in an area surrounding him. Said area is dependant on the chakra used. In comparison to the Mizugakure no Jutsu, the Konohagakure can be at times more powerful and less powerful. Not only does it depend on an external medium (while the Mizugakure requires far less, even in water quantities, a large bottle is usually enough) but also it doesn't conceal as completely. However, unlike the Mizugakure, it ruins more than just the sense of sight, but also the sense of touch and the sense of hearing. Leaves used with the Konohagakure no Jutsu are not ruined and may be used with another technique.

Konoha Ninpo: Konoha Shuriken (Leaf Ninja Art: Leaf Shuriken)
Cost: D, Control: D, Rank: D
One of the easiest Konoha Ninpo possible, however it still requires training with wind chakra to eschew more than a handseal (the others are used to create the wind currents that give the leaves their edge, removing them would make the jutsu pointless). By imbuing one or more leaves with wind chakra to create a wind blade around them and then reinforcing them wtih normal chakra to ensure they will fly as expected and withstand initial impact, the user throws innocent-looking leaves that can actually cut better than shuriken. As a technique it is mostly dependant on the user's skill with shuriken, but it can definitely surprise an enemy. Beyond that, it is mostly used as training to learn how Konoha Ninpo are used. Leaves used this way may or may not be destroyed depending on opposition and supplied chakra. At any rate, the jutsu burns itself out in seconds, so even if they survive, the technique would need to be cast again before throwing them once more.

Konoha Ninpo: Ha-dan (Leaf Ninja Art: Leaf Bullet/Shot)
Cost: D, Control C, Rank C
The improved form of Konoha Shuriken, it is only slightly harder than the original when used with the handseals necessary, but quite a bit harder when used without. The user not only reinforces the leaf's hardness and grants it a wind blade around it, but also creates a small explosive core of wind between the leaf and his hand (or from wherever he chooses to launch them). As a result, the leaves gain superior velocity and speed, allowing them to travel much further than the previous technique. Thanks to the increased range and very little sound (most of it negated by the wind around the leaf), it can even double as a sniping jutsu.

Question: Haton (Leaf Release) or Konoha Ninpo (Leaf Ninja Art)? Either way works with me, just having entirely too much fun messing around with one of the world's most innocent items turned into leathal weapons.


Today, on this 9/6/2012, I, Soulblazer87, do hereby leave this site, possibly forever.

I shall not update this, or any other story.

I shall leave them on, however. Should you desire to follow my stories, do so in my new site of residence: www dot yourfanfiction dot com.