Thanks for reading my first ever fanfiction.

A few notes:

I use English terms for most things. The only things I use the Japanese terms for are things I believe lose their nuances when translated or things I don't know the translations for.


Hiruzen Sarutobi released the telescope technique and pulled the cover back over his crystal ball. He took a long breath and let a smile spread across his face; he decided he was proud of Naruto. On one hand the boy should have known better than to fall for Mizuki's rather blatant manipulations. On the other no student should be penalized for listening to their teacher, and Naruto had performed very well. Mastering shadow clone in less than a day was nothing short of extraordinary.

Sarutobi stroked his beard and a guilty thought crossed his mind; for all his treachery Mizuki had done Sarutobi a great favor by telling Naruto about the fox. He had not been looking forward to explaining that particular secret to Naruto. And then there was Iruka. Sarutobi made a mental note to do something nice on Iruka's next paycheck. The man had recovered a priceless national treasure and aiding in capturing a traitor. Maybe an A-rank payment?

Sarutobi's thoughts came to an abrupt halt when he noticed a presence waiting calmly outside his door. He called out, "Enter," and schooled his face into a contemplative mask as Shimura Danzo walked into his office.

The bandaged man nodded his head briefly and said, "Hiruzen."

"Shimura. The forbidden scroll has been recovered; I am afraid that we have no need for ROOT hunter-nin after all."

"And the fox?"

Sarutobi kept the frown off his face, but couldn't help but make a point. "Naruto was actually instrumental to stopping the traitor responsible. For his defeat of the traitor, a Chunin instructor, Naruto has been given a merit promotion to Genin on the authority of Chunin Iruka Umino."

"Do you intend to approve the merit promotion?"

Sarutobi couldn't keep the anger from his voice when he asked, "Do you have a reason I should not?" He made a mental vow, if Shimura said the fox he was going to beat some sense into him, consequences be damned.

"Is he actually ready?"

Sarutobi's thoughts came to an abrupt pause. "He mastered the shadow clone in a single night. I am confidant that his jounin-sensei will be able to correct any holes in his education."

Danzo was quiet a moment, Sarutobi just stared at him across the dark office wondering what the man was thinking. Their was a rapid almost excited tone in his voice when Danzo asked, "Which team do you intend to place Naruto on?"

Sarutobi wondered what Danzo was playing at and replied, "He will be placed on Team 7 with Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno. Their jounin-Sensei will be Kakashi Hatake."

"So your giving Kushina's kid to the scarecrow?"

"His heritage is a S-Class secret."

"No his relation to the fourth is. Being Kushina's son is just a bit obvious, you called him Uzumaki after all."

"Its almost like someone on the council insured that loophole existed so they could complain."

"I cannot confirm or deny such allegations."

The room fell silent. Sarutobi calmly waited for Danzo to work through whatever train of thoughts seemed to be driving him to distraction. "I wish to reapply to the ninja ranks conditional on becoming the jounin-Sensei of the newly founded team 7."

Sarutobi sputtered. Danzo had to force the grin off his face, such a display of emotion was unbecoming of a ninja no matter how much fun it was to screw with his rival. Sarutobi recovered and asked, "What about ROOT?"

"It is at the stage where day to day operations can be handled effectively by my subordinates."

"I see. May I ask your reasons?"

"I have always wanted to defeat you; How could I pass up the opportunity to instruct someone who has accomplished my lifelong goal as a mere academy student." Danzo really enjoyed watching Sarutobi overcome by a sudden bout of coughing. He made a mental note to do something nice for Naruto whether he could become his teacher or not.

Sarutobi ignored the blush that was spreading across his face and asked, "May I ask your real reasons?"

"Kakashi was chosen because of his ability to instruct the last Uchiha in the sharingan correct?"

"Yes, though his teacher was also a factor once Naruto became a genin."

"That sounds suspiciously like you manipulated the whole scroll situation to insure the boy advanced."

A big grin spread over Sarutobi's face and he deadpanned, "I cannot confirm or deny such allegations."

"The last Uchiha has not yet awoken his sharingan, and Kakashi is … unsuited to instructing this group."

"Oh?" Sarutobi gestured for Danzo to go on.

"He is too involved emotionally in this particular group, and the man has demonstrated a distinct lack of interest in teaching in the past."

"So you want to involve Kakashi as a supplementary instructor once Sasuke awakens his sharingan, but why do you want to teach the team?"

"A legacy. The last loyal user of the Sharingan, and the jailor of the kyuubi both will inevitability become powerful ninja. I have spent my life building the roots of Kohona, but as I grow older I find that I want the leaves to remember me as well."

"I noticed you have no interest in Sakura."

"I have every attention of beating her into a useful ninja or driving her from the program, there is no place for fan-girls in the ninja ranks."

"You can't just run her out of the ranks. She's from a civilian family and graduated top kunoichi of her class. Running her out at this point would be a giant slap in the face to the civilian sector."

"Oh the dubious joys of propaganda." Danzo let himself frown a bit, "None the less, I will make her into a proper ninja or see her gone."

Sarutobi's frown returned at the word beating. "I won't allow you to condition them like you do your ROOT."

Danzo let an easy mocking grin spread across his face. "They are rather public figures for that. However, I will not hold back out of some misplaced sympathy." Danzo watched Sarutobi's frown deepen and guessed the source of his agitation. "You did your best to prevent Naruto from becoming a weapon, but he isn't a child anymore, he is a genin of Kohona."

"I will not let you make him a weapon." Sarutobi hadn't raised his voice, but Danzo had the distinct impression that he was seconds away from death. Danzo could feel the pressure of the third Hokage's killing intent beating down on him.

"The time to make him a weapon has passed. I want to make him a solider." The killing intent disappeared. The room fell quiet again and Danzo wondered if Sarutobi was about to call his ANBU.

"Shimura Danzo, I accept you into the ranks of the ninja of the leaf. Do you swear to uphold the ideals of the will of fire and obey the commands of the Hokage?"

"Yes Hokage-sama."

"Very well, jounin Shimura Danzo pick up your team tomorrow." Danzo turned for the door. The Hokage waited for him to open it and said, "Remember Shimura I will be watching."

Danzo allowed a smile to spread across his normally emotionless face, and walked from the office. Sarutobi waited for the door to his office to close and said, "ANBU-san I need to you carry a message to jounin Kakashi. I will be returning to the mansion, you may meet me there."