And we're back in business! Yes I'm still alive and so are my stories. Do I have an excuse for not updating? Well no, not really. I kept getting distracted by the Xbox, other stories and Youtube. Anyway I'm back now and will be trying to update as many of my stories as possible before the new year. So if you read any of my other stories you're in luck. If not you'll have to wait I'm afraid. Hopefully it won't be as long till I update this again though.
As usual my thanks got to my sister NamiNavigator for beta'ing this chapter (Minus the author notes.) And I claim no ownership of anything that is not mine.
Anyway on with the story.
The newly formed Team 7 sat in the training ground of the same number awaiting the arrival of their perpetually late sensei as had happened the day previously.
However, the scene was a little different this time around. For starters, only Sakura was reading. The resident pinkette had a large medical text spread out in front of her that she was studying intently. Everyone else was doing their own thing. Naruto, practicing calligraphy for his seals, Hamano, meditating and Sasuke, brooding.
A sudden and rather loud growling from the raven-haired member of the team distracted the others and caused them to share knowing smiles as they thought back to the day before.
The introduction with Kakashi had been great fun. Though he'd hid it well, it was clear that their real selves had caught their sensei off guard, particularly because they had walked up the wall to get to the roof. The announcement of the survival test had surprised them but they were confident enough in their abilities that it shouldn't be a problem.
When Kakashi had left with his parting words of telling them not to eat, they had huddled up and quickly decided to ignore the Jõnin's words.
Sasuke had already left by this point, apparently believing there was nothing they could offer him. So the trio decided that if the self-centred heir was going to make his bed in such a manner, they'd let him sleep in it.
That led to now with the Uchiha's stomach grumbling away, while the others sat with no such issues. However, none of them had noticed they were being watched.
Hatake Kakashi was not a man easily caught off guard. Yet three of the Genin on his new team had managed to pull it off without much apparent effort. When he first met them, only the Uchiha had acted like the academy had told him to expect. Because of that he'd actually gone and asked the Hokage if he had any idea what was going on.
The old man had only smiled at him and said, "So the masks are finally off."
The silver-haired Jõnin realised that the Sandaime knew about the situation, implying that three members of his team had each managed to put up acts to hide their real selves well enough to fool the entire academy. The very idea of it was most impressive.
As he watched them from his hiding place at the edge of training ground 7, Kakashi thought back to the civilian council orders concerning his team.
"As your team has 4 members, one will be sent back to the academy, even if they pass." Though no names were mentioned, it was clear they intended either Hamano or Naruto to be the ones to fail, while Sasuke had to be passed. The fact that no one had been specifically mentioned told Kakashi that the council believed that there was no way that Sasuke could fail.
The son of the White Fang allowed himself a smile beneath his mask. It seemed that those three had even managed to fool the council.
Watching his four potential students now, he had a feeling he would be following the councils orders word for word, just not necessarily in the way they intended. He held up his hands in a quick hand sign before disappearing in a swirl of leaves.
He reappeared by his team a moment later. Instantly Hamano, Naruto and Sakura were on their feet kunai drawn, only to lower the blades a moment later upon identifying him.
"Sensei. You're late as expected." Commented Sakura dryly, as she spun her kunai back into her waist pouch. The action was mimicked by the two other teammates who had also drawn their weapons.
The Jõnin shrugged. "A black cat crossed my path, so I had to take the long way round to let my luck settle." He explained.
All 4 Genin could only sweat drop in response.
Ignoring their reaction, Kakashi pulled out a timer and a pair of bells then turned to the young teens.
"Here's the test." He said, placing the timer down between a pair of large stumps.
"I have here two bells. All you have to do is get a bell from me before the timer goes off and you pass."
Sasuke barely reacted to the news, while the remaining trio glanced at each other then back to the grey haired man.
"Why are there only 2 bells then sensei?" Asked Sakura.
Kakashi, for the lack of a better term, eye smiled at them.
"I'm glad you asked. There are only two bells because only two of you will pass. The others will be tied to a post and watch me eat your lunches before being sent back to the academy."
The reactions were mixed this time. Sasuke smirked, while Naruto seemed to panic, until he realised Hamano and Sakura were looking at the Jõnin with expressions that said, "You expect us to buy this?"
Apparently not noticing or ignoring the very apparent disbelief of those two, Kakashi continued.
"The timer is set to go off at midday, so you have 3 hours to get the bells. Ready." All the teens tensed. "You may… Begin."
The son of the White Fang watched as the four teens vanished into the surrounding foliage, three in one direction and one in another. This would be most interesting.
"Ok, could one of you please tell me what I'm missing?" Asked a slightly exasperated Naruto once they landed in the bushes.
"Deception and Misdirection." Stated Hamano bluntly while keeping a close eye on their sensei.
Sakura nodded. "The bells are a distraction. A means to get us to fight separately rather than as a team." She elaborated for her boyfriend.
The blond smiled at her. "I get it now. So, to pass the test we have to work as a team."
The pinkette smiled back giving him a warmly returned hug. "You're getting better at using your head. Baka."
Their moment was quickly interrupted by the sound of the third person present clearing his throat.
"This is cute and all, but we do have a task to do." Commented the Kazanari with an amused smirk.
The young couple promptly blushed and jumped apart muttering apologies.
Focusing back on their potential sensei, Hamano spoke again.
"Getting back on focus. I know we don't have an issue working together but what about Sasuke?"
That caused a short silence to descend over the trio.
"Getting him to work with us will be hard." Agreed Naruto sombrely, only for Sakura to speak up.
"We don't necessarily have to get Sasuke's help." She said immediately, snapping both males' attentions to her.
"Genin teams are normally 4 person cells. Right now Team 7 is a 5 person cell. Kakashi-Sensei could actually send one of us back to the academy and still have a full team." She finished.
Hamano's eyes widened in realization. "That's why he has only two bells. If he had three then a team could pass by forcing one out which is completely against the teamwork he wants' to promote."
The pinkette of the team nodded. "Exactly."
Naruto then interjected. "So we don't have to worry if Sasuke doesn't work with us."
The swordsman of the group nodded. "Though that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. He may be an ass but he deserves a chance at least."
Sudden commotion from the clearing caught the trio's attention.
"Speak of the Devil." Quipped Sakura as the Uchiha heir faced off against their sensei.
Hamano drew a quick outline of the training ground in the dirt.
"Any ideas?" He asked.
Naruto looked at the diagram for a moment. "I think so." He said.
As the three friends discussed plans, the fight in the middle of the training ground continued. The roar of a fireball and the hiss of thrown kunai sounded as the younger combatant kept up his offensive, only for the older participant to dodge and block through the attacks.
A sudden lunge for the bells forced the Jõnin to twist away, leaving the Uchiha with only a brief touch of the objective.
Undeterred, the teen followed up with a spread of Kunai, which struck perfectly, ripping through the flesh of a perfectly positioned… log.
Suddenly alone on the training ground, Sasuke's eyes darted around searching for his sensei. Left, right, behind, above.
The Raven-haired teen barely had a moment to react to the voice before he vanished into the ground up to his neck.
"Doton: Shinjū Zanshu no Jutsu."
A moment later Kakashi rose out of the ground in front of the teen, his single visible eye upturned in his trademark eye smile.
"Not bad, but still bad enough." Taunted the Jõnin. However, that was all the silver-haired Jõnin got to say as a spread of Kunai forced him to dodge. He landed softly, only to look up and see a wave of 10 Narutos charging at him.
He considered getting his book out when he had to dodge again, this time with an incredulous expression, as one of the Naruto's slung one of the other clones straight at him.
Letting the Clone projectile dispel on the ground, Kakashi engaged the rest.
He dispelled two with a quick punch, kick combo, then a third with a follow up elbow strike.
The next blow however, was evaded, as the blond clone jumped back onto one of it's compatriots, who caught the Naruto and launched said doppelganger right back at the silver-haired Jõnin, arm outreached for the bells.
Reacting quickly, Kakashi span away while dispelling the clone with his knee. He then jumped back to create some distance between him and the wild blond. Naruto's completely unorthodox and unpredictable style had caught him off guard. This was definitely not the same blond Genin that was in the report he had received for Team 7.
Sensing movement to his left, Kakashi pulled a Kawarimi and promptly felt relief for his instincts as the log that took his place was broken into several pieces under the fist of a certain pinkette, who winked at the blond clones with a smile.
The Jönin sweatdropped. So far, 2 of his 4 Genin had shown that they were not just on completely different ability levels from their academy profiles but to a degree that hadn't even thought possible. And he suspected that the last one would be as well.
Speaking of Hamano he saw the scarred boy drop down next to Sasuke, who was now some distance away thanks to the attacks of two Genin.
As Sakura and the 5 Remaining Naruto's attacked again, Kakashi couldn't help but smile. It seems someone finally got it.
With Sasuke and Hamano
"What do you want?" Snapped the Uchiha heir as the last Kazanari landed in front of him. Hamano raised an eyebrow as he looked down at the clearly angry head.
"To make a deal, assuming you can take the stick out of your ass long enough to listen." Replied Hamano bluntly. An intensification of the glare he was receiving from Sasuke was the only response.
The swordsman continued, ignoring the stare.
"I don't know if you noticed, but the three of us all ate this morning."
"Hn." He'd take that a no.
"We brought some extra with us and are willing to share with you, and I will help you out of your… predicament. In return, we would like you to work with us in getting the bells."
The raven-haired teens' face twisted even more in rage. "I don't need your pity or your help. I'm an Uchiha, I can get the bells without your food or assistance!"
The scarred blond looked down at the seething clan heir blankly.
"You know." Said Hamano. "When I gave you the scroll to borrow and you accepted without question, I thought there was hope for you. Seems I was wrong." He finished
"I allowed you to distract me. It won't happen again. Especially because of a loser and his pathetic friends." Sasuke sneered.
The blue-eyed Genin looked down at him for a moment then drew one of his swords.
The Uchiha's eyes went wide for a moment until Hamano stabbed the blade into the ground next to him, the point angled in. The swordsman then proceeded to cut around the arrogant teen. The Kazanari Chakra Steel cut through the solid earth with ease as Hamano ignored Sasuke's curses and threats, the buried teen realizing what the other boy was doing.
Having cut a full circle, Hamano withdrew his blade slightly then started using it as a lever repeatedly. Until, 'CRACK'. The cutoff cone of earth broke free. However, he didn't lever it out. Sheathing his sword, the blond stepped up to Sasuke and grabbed his ears. He then proceeded to pull him and the piece of earth that still encased him out, the raven-haired teen screaming all the way.
Once Sasuke was out, Hamano dropped him and kicked the rock that held him hard. The conical shape span round, leaving the Uchiha rolling in circles as the blond walked a short distance before using Shunshin to join the fight with Kakashi. In the trees a short distance away, a clone of Kakashi who had been watching the whole thing lightly chuckled to himself.
Back with the others.
Kakashi quickly palmed away a kick from a Naruto, back flipped to evade a kunai from another, hastily blocked Sakura's punch from behind then push her back to gain some distance for a Shunshin. Disappearing in a swirl of leaves, the masked Jõnin reappeared on one of the trees at the edge of the training ground, leaning against it for a moment to catch his breath.
Only two of Naruto's clones remained, but the coordination between them, him and Sakura had suddenly become closer, leaving him almost permanently on the defensive. Granted, he wasn't using his Sharingan, but it was still impressive.
A slight hiss caused the silver haired Jõnin to tense then flip out of the tree, just before a sword blade flashed through where he had been and removed the top of the tree almost without resistance.
Landing, the White Fang' son rolled and span, flicking out a kunai and bringing it up to meet the next swing with a resounding clang.
Kakashi raised his one visible eyebrow at the scarred boy he was now crossing blades with.
"I thought you understood the point of this test along with your two friends. Seems I was mistaken."
Hamano smirked, reaching up for the hilt of his second blade over his left shoulder.
"Are you completely sure about that?" He replied. Sakura and the 3 Naruto's landed behind the Jõnin a moment later.
Now the Copy Nin knew he was in trouble. He'd had trouble before and now there was another variable in the mix.
Seizing the moment, he dived to the side, evading Hamano's almost seamless draw and slash.
However, Sakura was ready for him, and he was forced to block another strong punch, only for one of the Naruto's to land on his back, latching on around his arms.
Kakashi immediately head butted the blond haired boy, but the Naruto didn't dispel like he'd expected it to.
Kakashi tried to use one arm to fend off Sakura while he removed Naruto with the other, but both of Naruto's clones intervened, and only a second later there was a swoosh of a blade followed by the tinkle of a pair of bells.
Suddenly Naruto was no longer on Kakashi's back and Sakura's next punch stopped coming.
"We did it dattebayo!" Yelled the teams' knucklehead.
Team 7's Jõnin let out a sigh both in defeat and amusement. They had beaten him.
Relaxing, he turned to the now high fiving trio.
As he watched them celebrate he smiled. This was a team that had formed long before today. Almost the entire village was underestimating these three, and he would love to see their faces when they realized how wrong they were.
Sakura voice broke the silver haired man out of his thoughts. "So are you going to send one of us back to the academy, Kakashi sensei?" Asked the pinkette jokingly from her new position leaning against Naruto, hand intertwined with the blonds.
Kakashi brought a hand up to his mask as if in thought.
"Hmm. I haven't decided yet. Perhaps if one of you could tell me the point of this test, it might help me make up my mind." He replied.
"That's easy." Said a particularly exuberant Uzumaki. The trio looked at each other before answering as one. "Teamwork!"
"I thought I said one of you." Growled the Jõnin in a fake angry tone. The teens just grinned back at him.
The masked man let out a sigh. "Then I guess I'll just have to pass all of you."
"Oh yeah!" Cheered the three.
Then a thought struck Naruto. "What about Sasuke?" He asked.
Instead of replying directly, Kakashi looked over to his right drawing everyone's attention to his clone, which proceeded to nod and dispel.
"I created a clone before the test to watch anything of interest that I may be too busy to have seen." Explained the masked Jõnin.
"Good attempt at trying to get Sasuke's cooperation Hamano. I assume that was planned between all of you?"
"I see. Though Hamano, I'm not sure I approve of what you did when he insulted you, Naruto and Sakura. He is a comrade after all. If you remember anything from today, let it be this. Those who abandon the mission are trash, but those who abandon their comrades are less than trash."
"We understand. Kakashi-Sensei." Replied the trio.
"That is why you passed. Sasuke clearly does not have any appreciation for teamwork and so will be sent back to the academy. Is that acceptable to you three?"
The new team 7 smiled and nodded at each other. "Yes Sensei."
Kakashi gave his trademark eye smile back.
"Ok then, let's get our resident Uchiha free and back to the academy." He said, heading back to where the fight had begun.
Grinning widely the three friends followed.
They found Sasuke encased in the earth, still rolling back and forth.
He glared daggers at Hamano as they all approached.
Naruto couldn't help but comment on the clan heir's predicament.
"Wow Sasuke, I always knew you were a stick in the mud, but I never thought you'd make it apply literally."
The blonds quickly descended into giggles at the offhand remark, causing the raven-haired teens glare to intensify.
"Hatake." Growled Sasuke. "I demand you punish Kazanari for his actions against me."
The Jõnin raised his one visible eyebrow. "Do you now? From what I saw he offered you help and you threw it back in his face and then insulted him and his friends. I think he was somewhat justified in his response."
A slight smile became visible through his mask. "And seeing how the three of them worked together as the test intended, even getting both bells, means you're heading back to the academy."
Sasuke's eyes widened. "You can't do this to me. I am an Uchiha! I am worth far more than those losers. They probably only got the bells through tricks and luck." He raged.
Kakashi let out a sigh before cracking the earth that encased the boy with a punch.
"Teamwork isn't a trick Sasuke. And being the last of a powerful clan does not entitle you to special treatment. Not here at least. Now back to the academy with you." He admonished. He grabbed the teens shoulder and vanished with him in a swirl of leaves.
"Alright we did it. Cha!" Yelled Sakura once the leaves had settled.
Naruto immediately wrapped her in another hug. "We're on our way. Dattebayo!"
Hamano watched the couple with amusement. "So back to Kaa-sans to celebrate?" He suggested.
Hokage's office a short time later.
There was a sudden silence as Kakashi entered the room, sans Sasuke, having dropped him at the academy.
"Kakashi!" Greeted the elderly Hokage. "You're here much earlier than expected."
The Jõnin fingered a certain orange book he had in his pouch but didn't take it out. "I'm early because my team passed Hokage-Sama."
Murmurs rolled around the gather Jõnin. Copy Cat Kakashi passed a team?
Sarutobi took a puff from his pipe with smile.
"Excellent. Though I do remember that you had four Genin for the test. Which one are you going to return to the academy?"
The Copy Ninja's reply was immediate. "Uchiha Sasuke. He was the only one who did not understand the test. I have already returned him to the academy."
The murmurs of the other Jõnin exploded in volume.
The last Uchiha failed? Yet the dead last and his friend passed?
"Really now." Said Hiruzen. "The council will not be happy at that." The old man grinned.
Kakashi straightened. "Let them be unhappy. I have a feeling that my team will be one of the most interesting Konoha has ever seen."
Sarutobi nodded. "I see. You are dismissed."
With a nod the masked Ninja turned and left, his perverted orange book out before he even reached the door.
The elderly Hokage watched him go. 'The most interesting team Konoha has ever seen huh. I can't help but agree.'
Doton: Shinjū Zanshu no Jutsu: Earth Release: Double Suicide Decapitation
Kawarimi: Body Replacement (A.K.A. Substitution)
Shunshin: Body Flicker
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. Constructive Reviews are always welcome. Flames... Not so much.
Remember you are wonderful. Ja ne!