AN: This started as an exercise in writing because I've read many fics where Naruto was trained by someone other than Jiraiya in the month after the first rounds and conclusion of the Chunin Exams. So I started casting around for some people who would make a truly interesting sensei in the month, and with a little inspiration from Kenchi618, I do believe I have it. This may be a longer fic in the future. I do not own Naruto, and I hope you all enjoy.
Prologue: Rectifying An Unfortunate Mistake
Danzo slammed his hand on his fine polished desk, glaring at the report he had just been given once more. Incredible. Simply incredible. What in the name of Kami was that man thinking? Sighing, he threw the worthless paper into the discard pile on his desk.
Kakashi. Hatake Kakashi. Moron. Complete and utter fool. It was no wonder that Sarutobi liked him and put up with his nonsense. And this…! He actually signed off on this? Fools. They were all fools.
It was a practice from the early days of the village to occasionally request permission to train one particular student- even if several had passed- for the final round of the chunin exam. It was always combat; a show of force, to show that with time, training, and preparation to take down specified and unspecified targets, it could actually be done by the prospective chunin. There were many reasons such a practice was instituted; problem students, problem sensei's, a ninja not being well-versed in a student's arts, and of course, petty reasons like a desire to focus on one particular- possibly favorite- student had been the underlying reason in the past. But why? Why now?
Why would Kakashi request permission to train Sasuke Uchiha for the month? Yes, Sasuke was a genius from his records, yes Orochimaru had apparently attacked him, and yes, he had a tough match-up. But what of Naruto Uzumaki?
Danzo had read the reports and make-up of the Uchihas teammate… and had been extremely disappointed. Loudmouth… moron… paid no attention… useless Shinobi. His only redeeming value by this point had been the horde of Kage Bunshin that could materialize at his whim. This proved his thinking in regards to the Kyuubi, in that it could be used to fashion a nigh unbeatable weapon for the village.
His Root had long since delivered him reports on Killer Bee, Yugito Nii, he knew of Han and Roshi from personal experience, and of course he had data on the Mizukage and the Nanbi Jinchuuriki filed away. He also knew of another Jinchuuriki, within the confines of these walls. A sadistic, threatening Ichibi container. And yet the village chose not to match the threat of a rampant Jinchuuriki with another?
Damn the chunin exams. Take them out of the equation. Their own demon container was by far the weakest. This unbridled weapon of mass destruction, and the Leaf had apparently lost the arms race. Unacceptable. The village could not be secure without a strong demon container, a strong weapon of sheer destruction, to ward away the aggressions of other villages.
But Hatake Kakashi was to train Sasuke Uchiha. And from his agent's reports, Uzumaki was unimpressive. He had apparently made it this far with an army of clones, the help of his teammates, and sheer willpower. But it was the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki; how could Hatake Kakashi fail in training it so?
If he had the chakra to create a literal army of Kage Bunshin, why had Kakashi not put the demon container to work using them to train, to fix all the deficiencies in his education? And there were many, many hints that the boy's progress had been sabotaged. After all, what sane ninja would want what appeared to be a demon trapped in a boy's body to gain power? He wasn't a demon, though. The Third may have been a fool, but he was not quite that foolish and blind. He truly believed, time and time again when he'd confronted the Hokage, that all was well with the Jinchuuriki. Despite his many short comings, the Sandaime would not gamble with his beloved village and his beloved Will of Fire so. Which meant the Kyuubi was properly sealed within the boy, which the Hokage must have known of course, and the evidence seemed to readily support this conclusion.
But to fail in training a ninja with such potential? With the power of the Kyuubi No Yoko and the Mass Shadow Clone technique? Because truly, it seemed that all Kakashi had done in his time as his jounin sensei was improve his Taijutsu- his admittedly dreadful Taijutsu. If he had the power to create so many Kage Bunshin, why had Kakashi, the proclaimed ninja of a thousand jutsus, not taken the time to make him into a ninja using that massive chakra to annihilate any ninja he came across? Why was the boy, who could have used such a technique to recover from the Academy sabotage, still, by all accounts, a moronic loudmouth?
And here he was, requesting and being granted approval to train the last Uchiha. Of course Konoha needed the clan well-placed and prominent once more. No question. But the beauty of his tool, his doujutsu, was that all that mattered was the time and effort he put into his training. He was self-sufficient, and needed no aid to become a more powerful ninja. But Uzumaki… an already weak ninja left in the lurch with no training just as unfriendly forces encircled the village. Timing; these people clearly did not have it.
Well, it was clear what he had to do. There was no question about that part. He could not allow the Kyuubi container to remain weak and useless, not when the rampant Ichibi container resided in the village, and not when it was also apparently under siege from Orochimaru. The stakes were too high for whatever petty political concerns had motivated this to hold sway and potentially endanger the village's future. The Kyuubi container would have to be trained, and seeing as there was an apparent shortage of volunteers, he would have to arrange the training.
It wouldn't be difficult. With the position of the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki, he should be willing to accept any form of aid or assistance in training up for the Chunin exams. And he had a month to work; none would look in that closely on his training. Probably. Hopefully, his month of brutal training- it would be brutal, no doubt about that- would be enough to fashion an at least clumsy weapon better suited to defending the village than what it had now. With his path set, Danzo dispatched his Root agents to "retrieve" Uzumaki.
This guy? Seriously? This guy? The closet pervert? Kakashi wanted to hand him off to this guy for his month of training? Damn it! He needed cool jutsus to fight Neji, not a closet pervert who had hinted that he'd lost a bet, to train him. And Kakashi seemed to see no problem in devoting all his time to the teme and leaving him like this? "Thanks but no thanks! I'll find my own way to beat Neji, Dattebayo!" And with that, he turned and walked away. Kakashi shouted that the closet pervert would be over later when he changed his mind. Naruto resolved to vacate his home for the next few hours.
This… sucked. He had no one to train him. A line around the Hokage tower formed to train Sasuke, but no one could spare him a glance. Just like it had been back when he was at the Academy. Well, if they wouldn't help him, he'd just have to find his own way to defeat Neji… believe it.
"Hello Uzumaki-san," He turned abruptly. Wow, was he really that lost in his own thoughts? Or was this guy that good at- "I am a messenger." The masked Anbu handed him a scroll. "Danzo-sama has heard of your problem with finding a sensei. He would like to offer his services to train you."
Really? Really. Well, if that was the case… this sucked, why couldn't Ramen just fall from the sky? Nope, nothing. Aw well. Danzo…? He didn't remember that name. Who was this guy? And why did he feel so generous when others didn't?
"Thanks, but no thanks," Naruto replied, deciding that, just like Mizuki and the Academy, this was an offer too good to be true. "I can beat Neji on my own."
The masked Anbu shrugged. "Suit yourself. An address is scribbled if you change your mind, and Danzo-sama has also written out and listed some training techniques for you. Use them at your discretion." And then he was gone.
Well, that was weird. Curious, Naruto opened the scroll, which seemed rather small. At the top was a simple warning that only he could read the contents of the scroll… how could this guy do that? Could he teach him tha- no, no. Didn't know the guy. And he'd already had pretty bad luck with sensei's today.
Underneath was the address the Anbu had mentioned. And below it… Really! Seriously! Was this supposed to be a fucking joke! "Shadow Clone Technique. The User gains all the clones memories." And much more written below that on the technique. And the various ways it could be used to train. And there was also… chakra control- no duh, that had actually come in handy- basic Taijutsu, useful jutsu, how to start elemental training- whatever that was- references for beginner books on fūinjutsu- you know what? This guy apparently cared! He had learned more in five minutes of reading than he had from Kakashi. Always Taijutsu and teamwork drills. And tree climbing that one time. He looked at the address he had been given once again. Well, if Kakashi wouldn't train him, and the closet pervert would be useless, then maybe it was time to take up the only offer on the table for him.
"Good afternoon, Uzumaki-san," The weathered old man with the bandaged eye and forehead greeted him as he was led into his quarters. Okay, he didn't look like much. But on the other hand, he didn't have any better options than the frail old man who sat in front of him.
Remembering his manners, especially seeing as this guy had done something to demand courtesy, Naruto bowed slightly. "Good afternoon." He pointed at the Anbu who had greeted him, who had also been the one to hand the message to him earlier. "I was told that you were willing to train me. Why?"
Danzo stared at him shrewdly. "You are the container of the Kyuubi No Yoko. I have always acted in this village's interest, trying to enhance its security. But the threats outside our walls mount, and our forces within dwindle. In training you, I am not merely helping you to settle a petty grudge, but serving to protect and strengthen this village against those threats," Danzo explained passionately.
Though Naruto had been lost with half of what he said, he at least took note of the similar passion this guy and Jiji used when they spoke about protecting the village. "I want to be Hokage!" He declared proudly… and loudly.
"I have heard of your dreams, Uzumaki. It is not for me to say that it is impossible," Really! Someone who was actually giving him the benefit of the doubt, "But that it is a long road to walk and it will take a great deal of hard work."
Okay, this guy seemed legit… more legit than many other people he'd met. "So you'd train me?" Naruto clarified.
"I will, if you want us to. I will warn you that the training will be hard and brutal. Blood, injuries, mental exhaustion… it will be difficult. I will not pull my punches or hold back. We only have one month to get you in shape, and I intend to make the most of it," Danzo explained. "But… the Hokage can never know." That aroused Naruto's suspicions. "He and I do not see eye to eye on many things, this organization being one, the running of the village another, and what is to be done in regards to you a third. He would not be… pleased, to hear that I have trained you."
"You don't like the way Jiji is running the village?" Naruto asked accusingly. Forget it. This guy was-
"As I said, the Hokage and I do not see eye to eye on many issues. He has my respect for being a Shinobi of such regard, but it does not change my opinion on his running of the village," Danzo interrupted. "For instance, your sensei could never have devoted a month to training your teammate without his approval." Naruto's mouth dropped at that revelation. Danzo passed over a file. "Yes, it was a practice dating back to the founding of the village. The Hokage had to sign off on his doing so. And he did." Danzo was right. There, at the bottom was Jiji's signature. Definitely his signature, as much as he didn't want to believe it.
Why? How could Jiji do such a thing? He knew how much he wanted to be a ninja, to be Hokage. When he was young, Jiji was his only encouragement, all he had driving him forward. But he… His face hardened. No. Like the rest of the village Jij- the Hokage had decided to fawn over the teme. Screw them. "When do we start training?' Naruto asked coldly.
Danzo shrugged, internally pleased with this turn of events. "Immediately."
"Where the hell is he, Kakashi!" Jiraiya roared, stomping into the clearing he and Sasuke were using to train.
Kakashi stopped what he was doing, seeing how incensed his superior was. "Where is who, Jiraiya-sama?" He asked politely, and with a hint of curiosity.
"You know damn well who! You told me Ebisu would-" Ah, Naruto. Yes, the handoff arrangement.
"He didn't go with Ebisu?" Kakashi interrupted. "We were both certain that he would have changed his mind and gone training with him. And that was when he would have been introduced to you," Kakashi explained casually.
Jiraiya slammed his fist into a nearby tree, resulting in an explosion of woodchips. "Well he's not there!"
Kakashi shrugged. "He said he'd stay away from his apartment for as long as he thought Ebisu would be there. Maybe if you hang around a while-"
"We will be having words about this, Kakashi!" Jiraiya growled as he stomped away.
Could this day get any weirder? What was Jiraiya of the Sannin doing sitting outside his apartment. Not that he would have known that particular tidbit before his session with Danzo, but with the threat of Orochimaru, the man thought it prudent to give him a basic summary of all of the Sannin.
"Um, what are you doing here?" Naruto asked curiously as he approached his apartment. The man's eyes lit up at his voice. Weird, weird, weird.
"Hey kid. I heard about you and your training problems, and I thought I'd lend a hand," He remarked casually.
"Is this a joke?" Naruto asked incredulously. "You're Jiraiya of the Sannin, aren't you! And you want to train me?" He shook his head. "Joke. Must be it."
Jiraiya got a tick mark over his head. "This is not a joke! Ebisu was supposed to introduce you to me. I've been waiting and waiting, and-"
"Oh. Well, that explains it. I won't train with the closet pervert," Naruto declared promptly. "I didn't want to be part of Kakashi's half-assed back-up plan."
"Nah kid. I called in a debt. I want to train you. He was too busy," Jiraiya explained. "Trust me kid. I can teach you a lot. Like chakra control-"
"-Um, I've already finished the water-walking exercise and have moved on the multiple floating leaf exercise," Naruto interrupted.
"-Well, I can also teach you Taijutsu and-"
"Look old man. I've been focusing on Taijutsu with Kakashi-sensei. I've been doing so for a while now. And I still feel like I'm getting nowhere. Probably because he sucks as a sensei," Naruto groused.
Jiraiya's mouth fell open. "Kid, he's Hatake Kakashi. He's the-"
"Yeah, I know. Copy-cat ninja, or whatever his nickname of the month is. Doesn't mean he's a good sensei," Naruto countered. Jiraiya opened his mouth to argue. "All right, let me prove it. You know that Shadow Clone Technique." He nodded. "I only learned today, by accident, that I gained clone memories after they dispelled. I could have been using that to train for the past six months!" He shouted angrily. "All this time, I was worried about doing more for my team, and falling behind and not doing my best for them, and he couldn't even pull me aside for five measly minutes and tell me about this great training technique!" Naruto asked rhetorically.
Jiraiya sighed, making a note to chew out Kakashi later. "Okay, kid. You may have a point. But I still want to train you."
Naruto sighed. Danzo said that they would only train until five every day. "Fine. I'm free after five every day for the next month."
"Five! But-!" He opened and closed his mouth. That was a lot of time to do research. "Five it is. I'll see you tomorrow, gaki." And with that, he was gone.
"Channel your chakra into this paper," Danzo commanded. Naruto did so, and the paper began splitting into shreds. "Congratulations. You are a wind elemental. Luckily, I am as well, and so I can teach you much of the art."
"Wind element?" Naruto asked curiously.
"Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Lightning; the five elemental affinities a ninja can have, though many with Kekkei Genkai could access subgroups. This is all on one of the scrolls I am going to give you," Danzo explained.
Naruto had an image of Sasuke tossing around a fireball and Haku and his ice mirrors. Oh. So that's what that was. "Begin training this by trying to split a leaf with your chakra," Danzo commanded.
"Uh, Danzo… this guy yesterday, Jiraiya," He tensed, "Came up to me and offered to train me after five. Is that a problem or…?" He let the thought die.
Jiraiya of the Sannin. Intersting. He too wanted to train the Kyuubi Jinchuuriki. What a development. Well, such training could only help better defend the village, so what was to be the harm in that? "By all means, train with him. However, I still expect you to keep up on your studies," Danzo commented sternly. "Now then, wind chakra is useful in…"
"Sign here in blood," Jiraiya passed him the scroll the Toad had given him.
Naruto briefly noted the names on the list- the Fourth Hokage!- before he used a kunai to draw some blood and sign. Once done, he passed it back to Jiraiya.
"Well done, gaki. You can now summon toads," He told him. "Okay, so you saw what I did, right?" Naruto nodded. "Well try pouring your chakra into it and…"
By the end of the day, he'd only succeeded in summoning two toads, Gamakichi and Gamatatsu.
One Week Later
"Sorry gaki, it's for your own good," Jiraiya said as he punted him off the cliff. Crazy old pervert!
Naruto closed his eyes and waited for him to become an ugly splotch on the ground. That moment never came. Instead, he was in… what appeared to be a sewer. And there was a pair of demonic eyes staring at him. Oh crap.
"So you have come to an agreement with the Kyuubi?" Danzo mused. "Interesting. Most interesting. Perhaps we should work on attempting to bring it under control. But maybe that should be saved for later. For now… your leaf."
Naruto once again presented him with the leaf that had only the slight cut across it. "Better. Much better. But still not good enough," Danzo criticized. "Tera, take Uzumaki for more wind manipulation training."
End of The Month
"You've come far, gaki," Jiraiya commented as his young godson threw a punch at him. At the beginning of the month, the kid was barely a ninja. Now… well now, he had improved by leaps and bounds. And toads. Oh, though toads apparently loved him. It almost made him feel jealous.
Naruto nodded. "I think I'm ready, Ero-Sannin," He said.
"Good. Before you fight, there is one more jutsu I want to teach you. I know you said your element is Wind, but I have one jutsu, a low class Earth jutsu, that could be really useful," He explained. "It's called, Hiding Like A Mole Jutsu and it allows you to place yourself underground and…"
Danzo carefully passed him the sword. "I know we have not done much work on Kenjutsu, but I feel it could be a useful tool for channeling your wind chakra through. In the right quantity, it could enable you to slip past the Ichibi's sand defense," He explained.
Naruto took the sword and carefully strapped it to his back. "How do you feel about my chances?" He asked concernedly.
"Young Neji Hyūga will meet defeat tomorrow," Danzo predicted confidently. 'And balance is to be restored; the genius falls to the Jinchuuriki.' He paused. "As for the rest of your opponents… only time will tell." 'Will tell if you can defeat the Ichibi container.'
"Thank you for all your help," Naruto replied.
Danzo nodded. "You are welcome. But as you know, you can never tell anyone of my aid. Least of all the Hokage or the Toad Sannin. And now you must leave. Good luck, tomorrow."
Naruto turned and walked out of the Root bunker with a sense of purpose etched on his face.
AN the 2nd: This will not stay a one shot. I just can not give it my full attention at the moment. In a few months, this and my other Naruto fics will be expanded upon.