Disclaimer: I do not in any way own Naruto or any of the characters or terms used by said Anime/Manga.
I got quite a bit more reviews, my guess as to the reason being more people are noticing this the more I work on it. So far it seems well received and I've received kudo's to my original idea... well, Original in its own merit as a few others have left the Sound Trio alive in their own works. I've been given note about my Grammar and such, so if anyone out there can let me know exactly what I need to work on I would greatly appreciate it so I can become a better writer.
Thanks to SaiyanWarrior200, Wolka, Kyukon, Loiosh311, SSJ3 Kyuubi Gohan, RamenKnight, jyubi10, ichigo1508, and Midvalley to your reviews. I have been told that apparently responding to reviews via the story itself as I have been doing is not allowed on , can someone let me know if this is true as I don't wanna get in trouble.
Enough of that, let's move onto a chapter filled with training and growing friendship!
Apparently they had only been in there a year... a single year spent fighting tooth and nail to live against other children their age, some even younger in order to prove useful to Orochimaru's goals. Unlike the others however, it was because Dosu, Kin, and Zaku had worked together in order to survive that they in fact they had made it out. Dosu was sure he would have made it without the other two well enough, but having them backing him up had its uses in the long run he had discovered. While Zaku was a moron, when it came to battle he would do as Dosu instructed and the modifications the boy's arms had been given were a boon when dealing with a large group of enemies. Kin, whose modifications apparently had never taken hold, would more than likely have died without her two companions helping her along. She had since grown quite skilled in the use of her senbon, having learned quickly out of need most likely. Other than that she seemed to have some knowledge of First-Aid as she was able to tend to her own wounds along with her roommates, going as far as to help Dosu bandage his face to a point... though he had never let her or Zaku see exactly what was under said bandages.
The year was up and they were now being led away from their cell, all three apparently proving they had what it took to be Otogakure shinobi. What this meant was they were given a room to share, better food, new clothing, a bathroom, and of course the head bands they had just been presented by one of their former jailers.
"Wear these proudly, but be warned should you screw up even once you'll wish you never step foot outside of that pit", The Jailer informed them smugly, before handing over a large scroll to each of them", in each of your scrolls you will find the technique's and Jutsu Orochimaru-sama has deemed you all fit to know and learn... you will study and implement each one within three months' time or else be punished accordingly".
"Fuck", Zaku stated simply, ignoring the glare the jailer was giving him as he looked over the first exercise they would need to do", Where are we supposed to find a tree?".
"Use the wall", the jailer shot back simply", Now if you'll excuse me, I have to start watching over the next batch of brats... try not to screw up and end up dead", He parted with before leaving the three alone.
"Well, I for one will NOT be missing that ass", Kin muttered, her hair having grown since she stopped keeping it short, though it only reached just above her neck at the moment. She had been quite happy to have a bathroom, the first thing she had done was give herself a much needed bath, trim her hair so it at least looked okay, clipped the random white hairs that has suddenly began showing, and of course put on her new clothes", and why the heck does my scroll have bells with it?".
"Read and find out", Dosu shot back bluntly, his single eye quickly memorizing the instructions of his Melody Arm", Hm... Didn't think it could do that", He muttered, surprised at what his weapon could do to the water inside a person's body... THAT would have been helpful over the last year.
"Water Walking!?" Zaku read off, before groaning as he dropped onto his behind to sit", At WHAT point are we going to need to learn to walk on water!?".
"... And that's why you need to learn to walk on water", Zaku finished explaining with a large grin aimed at the soaking wet Naruto", Really ANY competent ninja would know this".
"WHY are you even here?" Naruto demanded, glaring at Zaku who had been sitting comfortably nearby in the same spot for the last few days or so", Why don't you go bother Dosu or Kin-Chan!?".
"Because Dosu is off training for the final exam and Kin is taking a dip in the Hot springs and after the first three times I am NOT going to risk the loss of my junk just to peek", Zaku explained... before regaining his grin", and it's fun watching Shades hurl fireballs at you".
It had only been three days since Naruto's training under Jiraiya and Ebisu began, the blonde having spammed the hell out of his Kage Bunshin in order to soak up what he was being taught like a sponge. Even so, when it came to learning to actually fight on top of the water, Ebisu thought it best that Naruto learn it himself... though allowed Naruto's Bunshin to begin their training in Naruto's element during this. It had been the First day of official training that Jiraiya had brought in the special Chakra paper that showed one's Elemental affinity, having even gone as far as to bring extra's to test out the Oto trio's own elements. Naruto had Wind, which Zaku of course had as well, while Dosu ended up with Earth, and Kin strangely enough Fire. Do to this Dosu had asked for admittance into the Konoha library to look up any Doton jutsu that would work with his Melody Arm style of fighting. Kin didn't care much of this, though had been given permission to use the Library as well along with Zaku... the latter of which didn't see the point until he could actually try anything out while the former preferred the use of senbon and Genjutsu. Luckily though his less damaged arm had healed enough to let him make use of it, though he'd been told to refrain from trying to use it for training purposes.
Of course the moment he got a moment alone with his team he had Kin knock him out before following the instructions he had on fixing the tube in his arm. It still would take some time before he could use it as well, but at least his weapon wasn't lost to him. Now he just had to make sure to never allow it to get plugged up again and he'd be good.
Naruto's clone's had been off trying to split a leaf as his training to better make use of his Fuuton element while the real one continued to fight Ebisu on top of water to fine tune his control. Dosu himself had found his own private training field while being protected/spied on by an ANBU in case any Oto ninja tried anything. Zaku mostly stuck by to watch Naruto get his ass kicked while Kin would move in between Naruto's training and Dosu's just to make sure her teammate while also making use of the Training field Dosu had been given to practice her senbon throwing and read the Genjutsu scrolls she had taken from the library.
It was strange to the Oto three, being able to freely take scrolls containing jutsu and make use of them as Orochimaru would only let them learn what he wanted them to learn, keeping all the Jutsu he himself had listed stored away in a secret place only he and a special few could access. Dosu was making use of it, planning on learning more than some Doton jutsu as he was planning on training to the point he could one day pay Orochimaru back for his betrayal.
Naruto was a little worried in that regard, as whenever he did see Dosu during the last few days the guy seemed to have exhausted himself to the point he was falling asleep the moment he hit his own bed. Speaking of, with Naruto's Kage Bunshin helping the Oto Trio were now quite happy with their room... more so now that they had power and water. Naruto ended up having his Bunshin bring down the wall to room next to his own as well, giving him much more space just as his three tenants had.
"HEY!", One of the Bunshin suddenly cried out, all eyes moving onto him as he held up a leaf with a light cut in it", I got it!".
"Disperse!", Naruto called out with a large grin, glad to finally be getting somewhere as the large amount of clone's poofed out of existence... quickly replaced by more that took over the training exercise, ALL aware of how to at least tear the leaf now", Ah, I'm SO awesome".
"I wouldn't get cocky Uzumaki", Ebisu spoke up with a grin of his own, enjoying the fact his student's jump in abilities would be because of HIM, the Kage Bunshin tip having been something Naruto really should have been told of though", While it's true your advancement is incredible, overconfidence can be used against you".
"Plus that Hyuuga seems to have enough confidence for everyone that'll be in the stadium", Zaku added helpfully, Naruto and Ebisu having to nod in agreement at that", Of course you can just use that against him".
"... How so?", Naruto asked curiously, stepping off of the water to take a break with Zaku, Ebisu allowing it while curious as to what Zaku might have to offer Naruto. While the Special Jonin still wasn't sure on the three Ex-Oto ninja's loyalty, so far they seemed surprisingly helpful to Naruto in their own ways.
"Quite simple", Zaku began with a smirk, as he had dealt with many a people like Neji back in Oto", Tell me something Blondie... what do you know of the fine art of trash talking?"
Orochimaru was not a happy snake, his serpent eyes currently narrowed at the two fresh bodies he was being forced to use since the loss of the three Genin. When Kabuto had reported the event he hadn't thought much of it as the three Genin only knew so much about his invasion plans as he was quite aware they might have ended up captured after their attempt on Sasuke and interrogated. It was why he kept them in the dark over the fact they were allied with Suna for the invasion, along with just how they were going to pull said invasion off during the finals. He however had NOT expected the three Genin to resist his plans for them and go to the Hokage with what they knew! It also didn't help he realized those three were aware of his Sound Five and the abilities of each one AND of the Cursed seals that each of his bodyguards bore! Because of this he'd had to replace Zaku and Kin with the two pawns Kabuto had been forced to work along with... Kabuto being more than happy to deal with both in order to make it so.
Still, Orochimaru was quite aware how muddled his plans were becoming, as the old fool of a Kage knew more than Orochimaru felt comfortable letting him know... all because of three GENIN!
"Orochimaru-sama... are you feeling alright?" Kabuto asked plainly, a bit nervous at how fierce Orochimaru seemed at the moment, the Snake Sannin obviously unhappy over the recent events.
"... I'm fine Kabuto-kun", Orochimaru replied, his voice sounding only lightly strained as he took a seat in a nearby throne like chair, leaning into it as he tried to think of a way to turn the odds back more into his favor. He'd need an edge, one he had been sure he'd have with Kimimaro by his side beforehand, only to have his would be future body suddenly hit by an illness even Kabuto couldn't heal him of. If only he could have Kimimaro healed or even had someone of equal stren-
Orochimaru's eyes widened just a bit"... Kukukuku", He began to laugh lowly, the vileness in his tone enough to make even Kabuto shiver in response", Kabuto-kun... I have something important I need you to do for me, something that will require speed as I'll need it done before the end of the month".
"Um, of course Orochimaru-sama", Kabuto replied, blinking in confusion while wondering what his master was planning", what do you need me to do?"
"First of all, I need you to get me something to write with", Orochimaru informed him, never losing his snake like smirk"; I think it's time Guren was put to use..."
Dosu frowned, feeling something was off... before pushing it to the side for now as he thought over his current problem. He had finally become aware of his Elemental affinity, to no surprise it was Earth like most people from his former country. The problem with this however was this gave him no edge over Sasuke as like most Uchiha he had a Fire affinity. Also Dosu realized the few Jutsu he realized he could learn within the month would help him in no way deal with Orochimaru... though he also realized he'd have to leave that to the Sandaime.
His talk with the Hokage had been a long one, Dosu listed off the abilities of the Sound Four as Kimimaro was indisposed back in Otogakure. After that he had informed him of the few locations of Orochimaru's bases he and his team had gone to, the Hokage already planning on sending ANBU to those locations in order to raid them for information and to put a dent in Orochimaru's strength. Finally Dosu had admitted to his most recent gain in knowledge... the Edo Tensei jutsu Orochimaru had been planning on using with Kin and Zaku. This had surprised the old Hokage, who once more realized how truly low his former student had fallen.
After this Dosu had requested assistance in his training for the month, the Hokage only then having allowed Dosu and his team access to part of the Library that Genin of Konoha had access to. When Dosu then mentioned assistance for Zaku's still damaged arm, The Hokage had been thoughtful before saying he'd work on something. With that the meeting had finished, Dosu leaving after the Hokage thanked him... which had been weird. Unlike Orochimaru, speaking with the Hokage was something he found himself looking forward to, the old man being easy to talk to and able to put Dosu at ease. Still, Dosu couldn't help but wonder if it was all an act, something to make him and his team trust the old man further so they wouldn't think of betrayal. He and his team had no plans to do that, quite fine with staying in Konoha so long as they were safe and become strong Shinobi... but because of that he just couldn't trust the old Kage.
"Dosu!", The familiar sound of Naruto called out, Dosu turning to see the blonde rushing over... only to realize it was a Kage Bunshin as there wasn't a drop of water on him", Boss wants you to come over for lunch with the rest of us, Ero-Sennin says you'll wanna be here for today's lesson".
Dosu blinked at this, having noticed the Toad Sage had been surprisingly curious about the three former pawns of his ex-teammate. Though he seemed to get along with Zaku, having introduced the punk to Icha Icha, and he was at odds with Kin, who grew annoyed with his perversions even though Dosu was aware she had a few of the Sannin's book hidden away under her bed, Dosu himself didn't trust him. It was simply for the fact the Sannin was much too interested in Naruto's progress, which struck Dosu as odd. Why Naruto was so close to the Hokage and why was it Jiraiya of the Sannin would train him, as he'd only trained the Yondaime before. Naruto was a no name orphan, the blonde having said as much beforehand. More than that the people of the village loathed him, not outright attacking him but glaring and speaking to him as if he was lower than dirt.
"I shall... be there shortly", Dosu informed the clone, who nodded before dismissing itself. Dosu rose to his feet, leaving the demolished training ground behind him, making sure to be careful as he stepped out of the crater he'd made as he made his way to the Hot Springs.
He'd have to make a stop by the Konoha library beforehand though, surely the name Uzumaki would lead him to the blonde's family right? It did after all sound familiar to him, Dosu just wasn't sure why...
"... and then when he starts getting all pissy, throw the balloon at him", Zaku finished instructed with a serious look on his face.
"Ah! Of course!" Naruto agreed, shocked he hadn't thought of it before hand.
"You two are morons", Kin bluntly stated, before picking her Ramen cup to eat from.
Kin had finished her Spa treatment the moment she had realized it was almost time for lunch... which meant that Jiraiya would soon be arriving to take over for his half of the day of training. Kin wasn't as anti-pervert as most girls in Konoha seemed to be, so long as they weren't perving over HER, she didn't care. Well, unless she knew and liked the girl in question, then she'd castrate the pervert who'd peek. Luckily for Jiraiya though as Kin didn't like anyone in the village she was now living with... outside of her team and Naruto, though she wouldn't admit to such and none of them was female. The point was she had gotten the hell out of the Hot springs before the old pervert decided to make her a character in his next book... which might have been flattering if she trusted him not to make said character like most girls in his books.
Kin had left the springs, only to find Naruto and Zaku having a meeting over how best to piss Neji Hyuuga off and make the cocky asshole lose his cool. It was a weird thing to bond over, but Kin found the two boys apparently were quite creative in ways to pull such a thing off. She knew from experience that Zaku knew just what to say to anger someone, while Naruto apparently was an annoying prankster. Combined? Kin was quite sure would lead to an enjoyable first round fight.
"You're just jealous that I and Zaku are awesome", Naruto shot back with a grin, Zaku nodding in agreement with his blonde... acquaintance. Before Naruto could continue, he spotted Dosu walking up, the energetic blonde jumping to his feet to call out to the boy", Dosu! Hurry up and have lunch before Ero-Sennin shows up!"
"AND Naruto eats all the damn Ramen!", Zaku added, ignoring the annoyed glare the blonde was now sending him as he returned to his meal", I still say we should have eaten at Ichiraku's...".
"JUST because you want to stalk Ichiraku-san", Dosu pointed out, taking a seat besides Naruto as he usually did before grabbing his own untouched Ramen cup. As he moved his mouth to move his bandages aside, he noticed Naruto staring intently at him"... What?"
"Well... I was wondering why you wear those things actually..." Naruto admitted, having held himself back from asking as he was sure there was a reason Dosu did, but he didn't want to push him.
Kin and Zaku looked to Dosu, quite aware how he was when it came to his bandages. It had only been an accident that they themselves had seen why he did so... and it had taken him six month after to actually talk about it. The story behind it was yet another reason the three had the comradeship they did, though they wouldn't admit to it so not as to be seen as weak. Being Weak in Otogakure meant death after all. The point of this was, they were unsure how Dosu would respond to Naruto's curiosity, their mummy of a teammate having grown quickly close to the blonde and it was obvious they were friends in all but actually admitting to it. It was the same for them however, the FOUR orphans each having too much in common not to grow attached. It was only doing to their lives in Oto that left three of said orphans unwilling to take the next step, though the moment one did it might just be enough to make the other two follow.
"... Naruto", Dosu began, using the blonde's name for the first time much to the other three Ninja's surprise", I am... willing to remove my bandage's and explain what they hide... if you're willing to explain why it is the villagers glare and speak to you as they do".
An awkward silence followed, Naruto's eyes widening at Dosu's words as he found himself unsure how to respond. It had been only a few days... but he had quickly grown close to the three former Oto ninja as he hoped they did to him. Most of all he was finding in Dosu the kind of friendship he'd always wanted, like Shikamaru and Chouji had... though obviously different in its own way as he was quite sure Dosu didn't trust anyone really. Why was that? It couldn't be just because of Orochimaru could it? Naruto wanted to know... but he didn't want to risk losing his newfound friends because of it.
"I..." Naruto began, still frowning as he thought it over, about to put it off before he locked eyes with Dosu. There was a look he hadn't yet seen in Dosu's black eye, it was as if... he was testing Naruto? For what reason though... unless this was Dosu's way of extending his trust to him, Dosu was willing to trust Naruto if Naruto trusted him?" O-okay... but not till later".
Dosu stared for a moment, before nodding, inwardly finding himself surprised his offer had worked as it did. Dosu was quite used to secrets being kept from him, such as with Orochimaru for an example. With Naruto... the blonde's eyes gave away EVERYTHING, which for a Shinobi would be seen as liability. Yet because of this Dosu knew what Naruto was really thinking or how he felt about something, Dosu quite good at reading other people. The problem of course was the fact Naruto openly expressed his true feelings and reasons, the blonde being the most honest person Dosu had ever met in his life. It was because of this... he knew Naruto would tell him later just as he said and the mystery of Naruto Uzumaki would come to a close.
"Oi! You better have some for me!"
The group was pulled from the conversation, finding Jiraiya walking over with a large grin on his face", Your early!", Naruto noted in surprise... before quickly looking back to Dosu, only to just find him fixing his bandage's back over his lips, his Ramen cup empty", Dammit! Just like Kakashi-sensei!"
"Why is it you have requested us all here Jiraiya-san?" Dosu asked, ignoring Naruto's glare of annoyance at being ignored", I have my own training to go attend to so this better be worth my time".
"And the less time I have to spend around your perverted ass the better", Kin followed with, glaring lightly at the now frowning Sannin.
"And... I just don't care", Zaku added as to not be left out, shrugging lightly as he used his good arm to continue eating from his own Ramen cup.
"I really hate you all", Jiraiya grumbled, right eye twitching with anger as he wondered what ever happened to respecting your elders", The point of calling you all here is simple... I've decided to let the Gaki here sign the Toad summoning scroll!"
"Why would I want to summon a bunch of Toads!?" Naruto shot back, earning a glare from Jiraiya and looks of disbelief from the ex-oto nin",... I'm guessing I said something stupid again?"
"At least your learning", Kin mused, the trio having been helping Naruto out from time to time with his lack of knowledge when it came to Ninja facts", Being able to sign a summoning scroll is a big deal Naruto, it's rare for any ninja to even get their hands on one to sign".
"And even WE know that the Last Hokage summoned Toads", Zaku added, inwardly smirking as Naruto instantly looked excited at the idea of summoning the same sort of animals the Yondaime had. It hadn't taken long for the three to pick up on Naruto's fan boy nature for the Fourth Hokage, merely mentioning how the man would have done something was enough to get Naruto to do it himself. Of course they only used it to make him train harder... and a few times when it was funny to see him do some stupid shit... though that was mostly Zaku.
"Gimmie! Gimmie! GIMMIE!" Naruto instantly repeated, jumping to his feet as Jiraiya gave him a weird look, not having expected the change in opinion.
"Yeah, calm down you little nut", Jiraiya laughed, quite happy that Naruto was all for signing with the toads... because Toads are awesome and everyone should know it. Jiraiya lightly bit into his right thumb, just enough to get some blood for the technique", Now, all of you watch carefully to learn the seals for this", Jiraiya instructed, earning confused looks for the Oto three", While I'm only letting Naruto sign the scroll, it's good to learn the seals should you ever sign one yourselves".
"... What happens if you use it without signing a contract?", Dosu asked curiously, thinking over Orochimaru's own snake summons while mentally copying the seals Jiraiya was slowly running through.
"Well, when I did it I ended up at Mount Myōboku where I met the Toads", Jiraiya said with a shrug as he finished, before slamming his hands onto the ground", Kuchiyose no Jutsu!", Jiraiya called out, a set of seals appearing on the ground where his palm had hit, before a large dust cloud filled the area. Once it died down the four Genin found themselves before a Large Toad, Jiraiya sitting cockily on its back", so... what do you think?"
"Awesome Dattebayo!" Naruto replied before any of the other three could make a crack about the Yondaime's summon being bigger", I gotta get me some of that!".
"Right, right", Jiraiya laughed lightly, motioning to the toad he was sitting on as it suddenly let its tongue roll from its mouth, dropping a large scroll onto the ground before Naruto", just open it up and sign your name in blood".
Naruto nodded... only to frown at he looked up at Jiraiya", Blood? Summons are morbid aren't they?", He asked, Jiraiya just rolling his eyes in response as Naruto lightly bit into his finger to sign his name under a "Minato Namikaze".
"Hmph, Snakes are the worst", Dosu spoke up, earning two nods of agreement from Kin and Zaku as they themselves had seen what Manda would do with his victims when summoned.
"There!" Naruto said proudly, looking over his name before rolling the scroll back up", Now what?".
"Just go through the seals I showed you, shove a bunch of chakra into the technique, and your good", Jiraiya explained with a shrug, as he'd learned quickly dumbing things down made it easier for Naruto to get.
"Alright then!" Naruto stated loudly, dusting his hands off as he got ready to show off", Watch and be amazed as I, Uzumaki Naruto, Summoning a Toad bigger then Ero-Sennin's!".
The Four other Ninja rolled their eyes at this... or Eye in Dosu's case, though they each waited to see Naruto summon for the first time ever. Naruto took a calming breath, biting his other thumb this time as the other had healed up already, before running through the seals as quickly as he could. When finished he slammed his hand into the ground as Jiraiya had", Kuchiyose no Jutsu!"
"Yo!" The small Orange toad greeted to the shocked face of Uzumaki Naruto", I'm Gamakichi... give me candy!".
"N-NANI!?" Naruto yelped in surprise, unable to comprehend how HE of all people would end up summoning something THAT small and pathetic", W-what is this!? Where's my gigantic amazing Toad summon!?"
"Wow, Amazing there Gaki!" Zaku laughed out loudly in response, earning him a glare from Naruto AND Gamakichi", The Loser summons a Loser Toad! AHAHAHA!"
Jiraiya meanwhile was smiling proudly, as while it may not look it, Naruto's ability to summon an actual Toad instead of a Tadpole was impressive. Hell, Jiraiya himself had to practice a month before he could summon a Toad of any worth. The Sannin couldn't help but wonder if it was because of all the training they'd gone through the last few days that had something to do with it. Naruto had picked up his Wind Element quickly with help of his Kage Bunshin and Jiraiya was positive it wouldn't be long until he completed the exercise Ebisu had given him. Jiraiya himself had been helping Naruto's Taijutsu out, though he had made Naruto not to use his Bunshin in their spars, though they were allowed to watch. He wanted Naruto to get good on his own, for the better the blonde was without the clones, the better he would be with them in response. Once Naruto was well enough in his Taijutsu he'd get the brat some weights to help his strength and speed out, knowing if Naruto was going to have any chance at all at not only beating Neji but being of any help with the Orochimaru situation that Naruto needed to get as strong as possible within the upcoming month. It would be a week from now that Jiraiya decided he would show Naruto how to use the Kyuubi's chakra... because he was quite positive Naruto would need it, more so once all the Orochimaru business was done with and the REAL problems starting coming along.
Jiraiya quickly cooled his face, having caught Dosu's gaze on him. The kid had a good eye, Jiraiya had to admit and even though he was still a bit unsure about Dosu or the other two they were growing on him just for the fact Naruto seemed happy with them around. Since Jiraiya had been in the village he'd not seen Naruto spend time with any other kids his age, not even his own teammates. Of course Sasuke had been smuggled off to who knows where with Kakashi, but Naruto should have at least some friends to hand out with... and he did have them, in three unlikely choices at that. It was because of this he had been willing to share the Summoning Jutsu with the three, figuring if they ever wanted to have their own summons someday he might as well give them a shot at it.
"... bet you could NEVER get as cool summons as I have!", Naruto's yelled, drawing Jiraiya from his thoughts, finding at some point Naruto and Gamakichi had teamed up to berate Zaku", At least I have Kichi here, YOU don't have anything but a busted arm!".
"Oh yeah!?", Zaku shot back with a glare, flinching in pain as he forced his wounded arm up to form a seal", I'll show you, ya retarded ass Gaki!".
"Oh shit!" Jiraiya managed to get out a moment too late, only then realizing what the moronic Genin was doing", Don't finish that Ju-!".
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" Zaku called out... before simply poofing away in a cloud of smoke, leaving a group of very confused people.
"... Did he die?" Naruto asked innocently, lightly moving his hand around where Zaku had been as if to make sure he was really gone.
"Zaku... you idiot", Dosu sighed loudly, quite sure wherever Zaku had done would lead to much trouble for himself in the future.
"Well, with his busted arm he'll most likely die wherever he ended up", Kin reasoned, before frowning at a thought", though knowing him he'll survive and come back just to piss us off again".
Jiraiya was both amused and confused at the three Genin's reactions from the loss of Zaku... though he was mostly just worried at what the Hokage would do when he found out he had anything to do with this.
"Well that sucked!", Naruto said loudly, quite annoyed that the training for the day had been cancelled so Jiraiya could have time to come up with an excuse that would save him from his sensei's wrath", What am I supposed to do now!?".
"You ARE doing something!" Kin pointed out with a light glare towards the loud blonde, pointing across the training field at where his Kage Bunshin were still working on the Leaf exercise.
"No, my Clones are doing something", Naruto pointed out, using a mocking tone Zaku had helped him come up with earlier that morning", I am just sitting here, on my ass, with nothing to do... so there".
"I have a wonderful idea", Dosu spoke up from where he was leaning against a tree, a rock in hand that he was using for his own exercise, which was simply to turn the whole rock into dirt", Why don't you both go away so I can concentrate in peace? Unlike you Naruto, I have to do this all on my own".
"Wait! If your already practicing jutsu, why is it your still doing the exercise!?" Naruto demanded, as he hadn't been taught anything until he could finish the leaf cutting exercise.
"Because, while one can use a jutsu without this sort of training, you have better skill with your element if your able to complete the basic exercise like this", Dosu explained, guessing his own trouble's with controlling his Earth element were due to skipping the step he was now going through. While he'd rather move through this all as fast as he could, in this case he had no choice but to take the slow path in order to gain the strength needed against Orochimaru.
"Oh... I think I get it", Naruto said after a moment, nodding lightly before looking to Kin", so... where aren't you training?"
"For one I won't be in the exam finals", Kin replied with a shrug, before motioning to the scrolls by her side", and do to my specialty being Genjutsu, my training involves more mental work then physical".
"Sounds boring", Naruto mused with a frown, warning a glare that quickly made him flinch back", I-I mean, uh, sounds hard!"
"... A little", Kin replied with a light grin, glad she'd found a male easy enough to scare right off the bat... she had to train Zaku to get that reaction and she doubted she'd ever get Dosu to cower to her.
"Kin", Dosu suddenly spoke up, trying to keep the annoyance from his voice as their conversation was REALLY making it hard to focus on his task", perhaps you can show Naruto the Sound reading exercise?"
"Ah! That might actually be a good idea", Kin mused, acting as if she wasn't aware of how annoyed Dosu was getting. It wasn't often Kin and Zaku could push their team leaders buttons like this, yet somehow having Naruto around made it much easier... which was yet another reason Kin and Zaku had grown fond of the blonde.
"Sound Reading?" Naruto repeated, frowning at the name of it", How do you read sound?".
"It's not that kind of reading", Kin began to explain, slipping into an instructive tone", It's a technique where you use your own chakra to enhance your hearing to the point of being able to pick up even the lightest of noise... it's something all Oto ninja learn the moment their counted as a ninja".
"What will hearing things better do to help me?", Naruto asked with a frown, not getting the use of the ability as enhancing hearing wouldn't help him beat Neji.
"Let me give you an example then", Kin replied, before looking over to Dosu", Hey Dosu! Don't you think…?", Kin asked, though half way in she only seemed to move her lips, confusing Naruto greatly while Dosu just nodded yes to her question, making her smirk in response.
"B-but... you didn't say anything!" Naruto whined, as he hadn't heard a single word leave her mouth.
"Nope, but the smacking of my lips and movements of my tongue gave away what I was trying to say, the sounds of which Dosu over there has memorized to realize what words I would have been saying", Kin explained with a grin, before shrugging", Lip reading would do the same I suppose, but this is just an example as there's much more use for it".
"... So what did you ask?" Naruto wondered, second guessing his thoughts on the skill being offered to him.
"If I thought Zaku was a moron... which he is", Dosu replied simply, Kin quite pleased to see Naruto laughing in response to her example" To think he'd let you drive him into using that technique... I only hope wherever he ended up he won't be back for a long time".
"Y-yeah, or that at least he brings back some gifts", Naruto said as he recovered, still smiling playfully though", Alright Kin-Chan, tell me how to do this thing".
"Alright, here's how you do it..."
It had been three days since then and there was still no sign with Zaku... which was actually making the three Genin a bit worried... though only Naruto himself would voice this as the other two knew better. The moment either said anything about actually caring about Zaku, the other would never let them live it down and Zaku would return and hear all about it from the other party, and then HE would never let said person live it down. It was a strange system, but it had happened a few times over the years and they had learned not to let it happen ever again.
The Hokage had given Jiraiya an ear full, as the Sannin should have warned the Genin from using the technique until they were skilled enough to survive whatever tests the summons might put them through. After hearing this Naruto of course asked what tests Hiruzen meant, which led to the Hokage having MORE to yell at Jiraiya about as he should have at least told Naruto about what he had to do to become a true summoner of the Toads. Once he calmed down the Hokage explained that once Zaku failed whatever test he was given he would most likely just be sent back... unless his summons were like the Snake summons... then he'd most likely end up dead.
Zaku would be missed... as no one could see him pulling off whatever test do to his busted arm and the fact everyone knew he was... well weak without his Air-cannons.
It was another day of training for Naruto, the blonde having only just completed the Leaf cutting exercise the day before, so today was all about learning some Fuuton Jutsu from Ebisu. Naruto of course was bouncing up and down on his heels as he waited for Ebisu to begin the lesson.
"Alright Uzumaki, listen closely as I will now teach you the first Wind element technique you'll need to learn", Ebisu began his instruction, enjoying as always how eager Naruto seemed to listen to him", This technique however does not involve hand seals, merely using your Fuuton element and chakra to pull off", Ebisu explained, before pointing to a nearby rock but ten feet away", Now Uzumaki, I myself cannot do this but I've seen it done by another Fuuton user in the village, so use what you learned through your exercise fire it off from you palm".
"Um... alright then", Naruto replied, looking a bit unsure as he aimed his right palm just as he'd seen Zaku do with his own weapons. Naruto then recalled the way he used his chakra to cut through the leaf perfectly, molding his chakra in the same way... before releasing it from his hand. Similar to Zaku's own attack, a burst of wind hit the rock, leaving a fist sized indent into the stone, an inch deep", Alright! I'm the greatest!"
"This technique is the Kazegama no Jutsu", Ebisu explained, moving over to look over the indent Naruto had caused", While it seems effective, realize that it was only because you used more chakra then most people would with this technique you gained this result, as most people would only be able to do the same damage a punch would pull off".
"Hence I'm the greatest", Naruto replied with a shrug, knowing he'd surprise Sasuke with his cool new jutsu, more so because he didn't even need to use hand seals to pull it off so Sasuke couldn't copy it!", What's next Ebisu-sensei? I wanna learn how to make a Tornado!"
"Uzumaki, until you've completely master this technique we won't be moving on", Ebisu replied, earning a look of annoyance from Naruto", Now now, with your Bunshin you should have no problem doing this... besides, once your able to use this technique in a matter of seconds imagine how easy it should be for you to deal with anyone expecting a jutsu involving hand signs? It also will help as the more you train the further away you'll be able to use such a technique".
"Wait, so the closer I use this thing the more damage it does?" Naruto asked, noticing he was ten feet from the thing", So... if I used it on a person up close?".
"Depending on who it is you could very well do... some major damage", Ebisu admitted, quite sure any civilian would die from the strength Naruto was able to flood into what was supposed to be a basic Fuuton jutsu. Asuma had explained it to Ebisu so he could teach it to Naruto, Asuma having used it to increase his range with Fuuton jutsu and would later forgo it as he learned to flood his own Fuuton element into his weapons to make them that much more effective", Now, get to work!".
"Right!" Naruto replied, quickly spamming the area with Clone's as he made them get to work. It was just Naruto and Ebisu today, as Dosu was busy at his own training field, Kin was out buying more senbon to resupply herself, and Zaku of course was who knows where.
So far it was a week into the month, with just three more to go until the Exam finals and Orochimaru made his move. Ebisu found himself a bit worried, unable to push aside the sense of foreboding he was feeling involving the Finals and what it might bring. As he watched Naruto though, he couldn't help but feel more at ease though, as if the blonde continued at this pace he could very well be Jonin level within the year. Ebisu was a bit jealous though, knowing after the exams that Kakashi would once more take over Naruto's training... though he was sure Jiraiya would continue to teach the boy. Ebisu had quickly grown fond of Naruto and by teaching him he now knew how to deal with Konohamaru once the day came he could take the boy as part of his own Genin team.
"Uzumaki Naruto", Ebisu thought to himself with a smile on his face, watching Naruto use his recently learned Jutsu to blast a clone point blank in the face", I was wrong about you... and I can only hope what little I teach you this month will help you let you one day reach the title you're so eager to claim one day".
Ebisu blinked, turning to his right... only to find a face down Zaku groaning on the ground", A-Abumi-kun!", Ebisu yelped in surprise, having heard of what the punk Genin had done so foolishly three days prior.
"Zaku!?" Naruto called out in surprise, before rushing over to check on his recently gained companion/friend", Dude, we thought you were dead... well at least me and Kin-Chan, Dosu said you HAD to be dead".
"I hate you... all three of you!" Zaku groaned from the ground, before pushing himself up, a smirk coming to his lips", and now... NOW I have a way to eventually kick your asses and make you regret ever insulting me!"
"... Zaku, did you just use your arm?" Naruto asked in surprise, looking down to find Zaku's arms, both of them, perfectly healed", B-but... How?"
"It's simple Gaki", Zaku said, looking unsure if he should explain for a moment... before letting out a sigh", Chickens... Fucking Chickens".
AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Zaku with Rooster/Chicken summons, an idea brought to me by my former Co-author MASmaster after he finally got around to reading this thing. While it may seem like a silly summons, MASmaster actually put some thought into this... involving the fact Rooster's crow and that's a sort of sound as part of his explanation, but I admit I found the idea original and fun. Plus it gave me an excuse on how to heal Zaku's arms as Summons just seem to know how to do that sort of thing.
I DO have to give credit to Kenchi618 for the whole using the Summoning Jutsu without being tied to a Summon sends you to the most suited Summons for you thing. I really enjoy his work... even though reading it makes me feel like a failure as a writer in comparison, but what can you do?
This chapter didn't really have much I admit, but I wanted to further show the growing relationships of the Oto trio and Naruto... though I decided to give Zaku some limelight as well as the poor boy really never gets it.
I'm considering skipping over the rest of the month to get to the finals, but am unsure if my readers would prefer seeing more training and bonding time between the four Genin or if I should just skip the month and flashback to any important details? Basically by the end of the month the whole four of them will get to the point of admitting their friendship... at least to each other.
One last thing, I was wondering if anyone out there had any suggestions for Shippuuden outfits for the Oto trio, as I'm a bit lost on what to do. I looked up pictures to see if anyone had, but only found one of the three in what the artist said would be them in Shippuuden... only I didn't like it. So any suggestions would be helpful! Thanks!
And now... for another Omake!
OMAKE: Hero Worship
"He wasn't THAT great".
"Of course he was!", Naruto instantly argued, glaring at the annoyed looking Zaku as the blonde couldn't believe Zaku would speak such blasphemy", The Yondaime was the best Ninja EVER! He defeated the Kyuubi and saved the entire village!"
"So?", Zaku shot back with a frown on his face", and then he died, meanwhile Orochimaru is alive and well... and no matter how much I hate the Snake-teme now, I think he could take the Fourth in a fight no problem".
"Bull shit!" Naruto instantly shot back, pointing viciously at his opposition", The Yondaime could beat that Orochi whatever guy with one arm tied behind his back! Plus he could do ANYTHING! ANYTHING!"
"Except NOT die apparently", Zaku mused with a mocking grin, which once more earned him the ire of his companion.
They had been at it for an hour, Naruto having been explaining how he wanted to be Hokage and surpass all those before him. Of course as he explained his hero worship of the Yondaime in particular, Zaku being Zaku HAD to give him shit for it. If only he knew what sort of fan boy Naruto was he would have kept his mouth shut. He just hoped Dosu would hurry up and get there so they could end the pointless argument.
"Just you wait though, I'll surpass the Yondaime and become the greatest Hokage EVER!" Naruto claimed in a cocky manner, before giving Zaku a sinister smirk", And then I'll be your boss and make you take a Genin team!".
"Y-you wouldn't!" Zaku shot back with a look of horror, for a moment believing Naruto would become Hokage JUST to make his own life miserable. Oh he had to make the Gaki pay while he still could", Fine, how about we put this to the test shall we?" Zaku asked with a smirk, looking around for some way to pull this off.
"How so?" Naruto asked unsurely, wondering what Zaku had up his sleeve in this case.
"Simple, you do something to prove you have the guts to become Hokage one day, something no one would ever be brave enough to do unless they were Kage material", Zaku explained with a smirk, which only grew when he spotted a female with a Konoha headband on", That girl, the one at the Dango shop with her back to us".
"What about her?" Naruto asked, wondering why the back of the woman's head seemed familiar... something about the Forest of Death and the Second Exam...
"Go over there... and grope her ass"
"NANI!?" Naruto yelped in surprise, looking at Zaku with a look of embarrassment and annoyance", L-like hell I'd do that! Everyone knows a Kunouchi will kill anyone who acts perverted around them! Actually doing THAT will lead to me WISHING I was dead!"
Zaku frowned at this, unsure how to get Naruto to do it... before grinning as he recalled his ultimate weapon", Oh well then... I'm sure the Yondaime could do it no problem...
", He sighed loudly... only to grin as Naruto instantly made his way over to the woman", TOO easy".
"What are you up to Zaku?" Dosu asked, having just arrived as Naruto began walking to the Dango shop",... and why is Naruto going over to the examiner?".
"Because I tri-", Zaku began, only to pause in horror as he realized just who the woman was", OH SHIT!"
"Um... Zaku dared me?"
Kin stared in disbelief at the scene before her, wondering how in the world the three boys before her were even alive at the moment. Besides her Jiraiya was torn between laughing his ass off and wondering if he should free the three boys in question", Anko... you realize you're going to have to let them out soon", Jiraiya spoke to the victim of Zaku and Naruto's actions, whom was sitting nearby munching happily on her Dango.
"Don't worry, Nagah here will let them out soon enough... though I think I'll let them enjoy her hospitality a little bit longer", the sadistic woman replied as she looked over to her summon.
Kin followed her gaze, quite sure she could guess how Naruto and Zaku got involved... but how did Dosu of all people get convinced to go along with whatever had made the Snake lady mad", So... mind explaining this guys?", Kin asked as she walked over to the snake.
"I had NOTHING to do with this", the muffled sound of Dosu replied in an immensely annoyed tone, the bulge in the long snake's stomach shifting a bit", I just happened to be there... and Zaku blamed it on me".
"Only because Naruto blamed me!" The middle bulge shot back, muffled like Dosu had been by the snake's body", So blame him".
"I swear Zaku, I am NEVER letting you convince me to do anything ever again!" Naruto spoke, being the closest to the Snake's mouth",... Ugh, it smells horrible in here! What the hell does this thing eat?"
"Oh, hahaha Kin!" Zaku shot back through the skin, not at all amused by the situation", Why is it no one out there is saving us!? We're going to get digested at some point!"
"Partly because Snake summons can control their digestive fluids, so your safe for now", Jiraiya replied with a grin, deciding on just being amused at the sight of three male Genin inside of a Snake's belly", and you can always use Jutsu to get out of there".
"Why haven't you done that by the way?" Kin asked curiously, as it would be easy to pull off.
"Dosu did it the first time", Naruto pointed out helpfully"... That's why he's the closest to the ass".
"It smells HORRIBLE in here", Dosu growled, from within, shifting a bit", and I think I'm nearing the bowels".
"Ah great! Now I can smell it!" Zaku groaned out.
"So how much longer are you going to leave them in there?" Jiraiya asked Anko curiously, wondering how long he'd have to wait to take over Naruto's training for the day.
"... I'd say in about half an hour... though they'll be out by then anyways if I recall Nagah's bowel movements correctly", Anko replied with a vicious grin, Jiraiya suddenly feeling sick to his stomach as he realized what Anko meant by that.
Kin just stared at Anko in shock... before gaining a star struck look to her face", Teach me oh sensei!"
"Oh shit!" Zaku cursed from inside, having heard Kin's request.
"Not yet we're not", Naruto added with depressed humor.
"I hate you all", Dosu stated firmly, knowing this would not end well.