A/N: I'll be updating the rewritten chapters with the next one, so before you guys can actually read that, you'll need to re-read the first. I'll be putting this message on the next chapter, as well.
"Jutsu/Demon speech/Soul Conjunction techniques"
'He must really think I'm a moron.' Naruto idly commented as he ran through the forest towards Mizuki's designated meeting point. He went to the Sandaime about the Chuunin instructors 'secret test' and the old man was understandably indignant and furious, but at the mere thought of a traitor, and Mizuki's underestimation of Naruto's intelligence. Giving the blonde an A rank 'mission' to bring the traitor in, Hiruzen gave him a convincing look-a-like of the Forbidden Scroll of Seals and sent him on his way, also promising to graduate him as a genin when this was done. When Naruto asked about the clone technique, Hiruzen just smiled knowingly.
Naruto landed in the clearing near an abandoned shed and sat against a tree, waiting for the traitor to show up. On a whim, he decided to look through the scroll to see if it held anything; maybe a 'fuck you' to Mizuki if he got his hands on it. Rolling the scroll open, Naruto found... a note to him.
I heard you have problems with the Bunshin no Jutsu. You should've come to me for help, but I understand if it was a pride thing. I believe this technique will be perfect for you; it was the perfect technique for the Uzumaki clan to learn in place of our requirements, as they had too much chakra.
Kage Bunshin no Jutsu
'...Oh you clever, clever old fart. Thanks, jii-san.' Naruto slightly teared up at his thoughtfulness, and starting training in the technique, getting it down in half an hour thanks to 'built-in' hardcore approach to learning any techniques, finding his vast reserves could let him make over 100! That's definitely going to come in handy to beat Mizuki's ass if he didn't feel like using any of his Kekkei Genkai-related techniques. He was tempted to use this opportunity to get Hono-chan a soul, but he figured jii-san probably wanted the guy alive for interrogation, so there went that idea.
Another half hour later, Naruto heard the rustle of leaves, thinking that was Mizuki showing up; bastard sure took his time. Getting to his feet, Naruto found Iruka standing before him. "Oh, hey Iruka-sensei, did jii-san send you to help me?" He asked, figuring that would be the reason he was here.
"Naruto, what are you talking about?! Why did you steal the Forbidden Scroll?!" Iruka demanded.
Raising a brow, Naruto wondered why Iruka didn't seem to know about the situation. "It's possible your jii-san sent shinobi out as if you truly stole it to keep up appearances, to not raise suspicion if Mizuki notices no one is scrambling for the Scroll. Plus, do you honestly believe these people would accept he gave you a mission of this importance?" Hono theorized.
Naruto mentally sighed. 'I guess you're right. Better play the part, then. Oh this is going to hurt...' He lamented as he engaged 'dumbass mode,' complete with a big, dopey grin. "Oh hey Iruka-sensei! Are you here to give me my test instead of Mizuki-sensei? I learned a technique, just like he asked! Does that mean I can become a genin?" He acted perfectly, if Iruka's face was anything to go by.
"What? Mizuki? Technique? Naruto, what's going on?" Iruka questioned, not understanding what this implied; was Mizuki, his best friend, a traitor?
The sudden whistling of flying blades reached his ear, and he pulled Naruto with him to dodge the kunai that would have struck them both. Turning to face the perpetrator, Iruka, regrettably, found the sneering face of Mizuki, bearing a pair of giant shuriken on his back.
"A pity; I missed. I shall amend that." Mizuki 'promised,' brandishing two fistfuls of kunai.
"Mizuki... this can't be true! Why are doing this?!" Iruka demanded.
"Because he's a fucking traitor and a moron." Naruto interrupted the Chuunin's answer, getting up and frowning.
"What was that, demon?" Mizuki asked, eyes narrowed dangerously.
"You heard me! Do you honestly think an Academy student could steal the Forbidden Scroll of Seals from under the Hokage's nose, even if he's close to him? That's just stupid. That's why I went straight to jii-san and told him about you; this scroll?" Naruto opened up the fake, having erased the Kage Bunshin after learning it. "It's a fake. Worth about as much as you, right now. But I did learn a new technique; wanna see, Mizuki-sensei?" He asked with a wide, slightly scary grin, before bringing his hands together into a cross-shaped seal. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu." He said plainly, the entire field and surrounding forest filling with smoke before it was swept away with several pulses of spiritual energy, not that either of them could tell, revealing 100 black-clad blondes, all of them grinning dangerously at the Chuunin. "Boys... fuck 'im up!" The original signaled, having his clones charge.
Mizuki paled something fierce in the face of the oncoming tide of pain. "Wait wait wait! Don't you want to know a secret having to do with you?! Why everyone hates you?!" He tried to save him, shaking his hands forward as if that would stop them.
"Kyuubi, I know, now shut up and take your beating like a man. Or a baby, I don't care. Just take solace in the fact you'll come out of this alive. Though you'll be taken away for interrogation, which may or may not include torture, so that may not mean much." Naruto responded, smirking when the Chuunin gaped in shock, giving the closest clone the chance to break his teeth, each doppelganger getting in a single punch before dispelling, so as not to do too much damage.
There was something to be said about the feeling Naruto got at looking at the pile of pain formerly known as Mizuki at his hand. It was good. Making sure he was still alive, Naruto flared his chakra until an ANBU appeared, following jii-san's directions after incapacitating the Chuunin. When a cat-masked one appeared and thanked him, carting the Chuunin away, Naruto turned around to Iruka. "Mission success! Come on, Iruka-sensei, let's get back to jii-san." He said, heading towards the Hokage Tower after picking up the scroll; fake or not, jii-san would probably want it back for future use.
"O...kay..." Was all Iruka was able to say in the face of... that, opting to walk like a zombie towards the tower.
"Congratulations, Naruto-kun, on a successful A rank mission." Hiruzen congratulated the blonde once Iruka showed up a couple minutes after him. He reached into his desk and pulled out a slightly beat up hitai-ate; the cloth was new, but the plate had a few scratches, as if it saw many a battle. "With this mission, and the successful implementation of a clone technique, I can wholeheartedly graduate you as a genin of Konoha." He announced, giving the blonde the headband.
Nodding and grinning in thanks, Naruto took it and tied it around his forehead. "Thanks jii-san! Hey, why's it look a bit old, though?" He asked idly.
"That hitai-ate, Naruto-kun, is my headband that I received when I became a genin; I believe you deserve to carry it through into a new generation." Hiruzen explained with a warm smile.
Naruto was shocked into silence at that, before returning the smile with one of his own. "Thanks jii-san. I'll wear it proudly, and carry the Will of Fire you always tell me about." He promised.
"I believe you will be able to do just that, Naruto-kun. Thank you again for this mission; you'll receive your pay in the morning. I trust you'll show up at the Academy for team assignments?" Sarutobi asked, receiving an exuberant nod. "Then you may leave." He said, watching as the blonde left.
Once Naruto left, Iruka finally spoke up. "Hokage-sama... can you please explain what just happened?" He nearly begged, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
Hiruzen chuckled. "Of course, Iruka-kun; please have a seat."
Naruto merrily walked inside, constantly futzing with his new hitai-ate as if to make sure it was real. Once the door was locked behind him, he noticed his zanpakutou was pulsing, as if to a heartbeat, and Naruto's head filled with static.
'Hono-chan, are you doing that?' He asked to make sure.
"I... ot... m... I... on't... kn... wh..." Hono's voice barely pervaded the static, only parts coming in, though Naruto got the feeling she was trying to say it wasn't her.
"Will... of... Fire..."
That was a new voice, decidedly masculine. It had a tone as if whoever it was just woke up, speaking in a daze. Unsheathing the sword and looking at it, Naruto only had a moment to notice a silhouette replacing his reflection before he fell onto the couch, unconscious, the blade safely to the side so it wouldn't cut him.
Naruto suddenly found himself in a place that didn't look like the seal, which was what he expected. There was no discernible floor, though he was definitely standing on something, and the entire place seemed to be filled with fog, though it wasn't near him; it was a weird experience and visual to describe.
In front of him was... himself. But the Naruto in front of him had an uncomprehending frown, and a hazy look in his eyes. "Who... am I? Am I you? Your chakra made me; your life essence." He asked, before he suddenly changed. He was now a genderless figure with snow-white skin and no face save mouths where the eyes should be, breathing out smoke. "But I am Asauchi. A blank slate, your being imprinted on me. Complete the final step: insert the sword into my chest." The figure asked of the blonde.
Before Naruto could even question what sword, he found a familiar weight suddenly in his hand, finding his zanpakutou in it. This thing must be his zanpakutou spirit in its Asauchi state, something Toushirou onii-san mentioned while they were training him in zanjutsu. He said everyone had a different experience when their spirits manifested. Saying nothing, Naruto approached the Asauchi and granted his wish, stabbing the sword in its chest. A light shown from the wound, and Naruto pushed it further, finding it didn't exit his back, and kept pushing until the entire thing sank in, and he backed away.
The Asauchi began to twitch and spasm as it formed cracks on its body that burst with light. It was consumed by the light, causing Naruto to cover his eyes. When he lowered them, an entirely different person stood before him.
Hair as blonde as Naruto's, but reaching between his shoulder blades with bangs reaching his pectorals, blood-red eyes surrounded by tear-like markings that reached his chin, the zanpakutou spirit was completely shirtless, revealing intricate tattoos on his chest, arms, and probably upper back like a skeleton, the markings, as well as the one son his face, glowing and roiling as if they were made of fire. Around his waist, over the black baggy pants, he wore red samurai armor that reminded Naruto of pictures he saw of the Shodaime, the front plate bearing the Konohagakure symbol, all over a pair of red geta.
"I... am Hi no Ishi." He 'introduced' himself, voice still in a daze.
Slowly, a grin formed on Naruto's face at the name of his zanpaktou; the very thing the Sandaime learned from him, and it was the name of his zanpakutou. It was both hilarious and a bit heart-warming. "Hello Hi no Ishi. I'm sure you know I'm Naruto?" He asked just to make sure, receiving a slow nod. "Are you okay? You seem... out of it." He asked in concern.
"Yes... I am... acclimating to this new existence. There was... a trigger... and I woke up. I've been asleep in nonexistence, but there were words... and I was awake. What do those words mean?" Hi no Ishi asked with a tilt of the head.
Naruto blinked in surprise. "You don't know what your own name means?" He asked.
"Does it... mean something? I don't know." Hi no Ishi responded slowly.
"Well... It means 'Will of Fire', the philosophy everyone in Konoha follows; at the end of the day, in the midst of battle, whether shinobi or civilian-born, we should fight for each other. Everyone in the village is one giant family, where we all love, believe in, cherish, and fight to protect our family and the village, just as those before us have. It is what gives us the strength to continue fighting against all odds, building willpower and strength of character. It represents the hopes and dreams of the previous generation being passed to the next. Jii-san said it was the philosophy of the Shodaime Hokage, his teacher, and subsequently became his own, and now it's mine." Naruto explained with a smile.
"I see... this... Will of Fire... it sounds nice. These shinobi... there are clans, yes?" Hi no Ishi asked.
"Uh yeah, there are the Nara, Akimichi, Yamanaka, Hyuuga, Uchiha, Senju, Kurama, Aburame, Inuzuka, and Sarutobi clans. Why?" Naruto asked.
"My power... your power... is their power. Learn and grow. Remember: burst forth with your burning soul..." Hi no Ishi said, a hand reaching out and touching Naruto's chest, suddenly pushing him out of his zanpakutou's little world.
Still feeling like he was pushed, Naruto ended up falling off the couch. "...Ow. Was the necessary?" He asked rhetorically, staring at his sword, receiving no answer; it was probably too much to ask that he would receive a mental connection with Hi no Ishi like he did Hono-chan.
"Naruto-kun, what happened? Our connection was suddenly cut, and I could sense your presence. It was a tad scary since it felt like I was where I obviously was." Hono's voice suddenly called out.
"Oh, Hono-chan! It's okay, I just met my zanpakutou and learned his name." Naruto explained, getting up and heading out to witness his shikai so he could begin training in it.
"Oh, that's amazing! What brought this on, why did it show up now?" Hono asked.
"Apparently hearing jii-san talk about the Will of Fire woke him up." Naruto explained, locking his door behind him and heading for his secret training ground.
Hono merely hummed at this answer; Toushirou never really went into detail about meeting ones zanpaktuou spirit, as it was different for everyone, but it made sense for this to be the trigger, as it was something close to Naruto, and thus would affect the zanpakutou.
Finally appearing in his personal field, Naruto was almost too giddy to get started. Problem was... "How do I do this?" He asked no one in particular. Toushirou-nii-san said that entering ones shikai required a phrase, but Hi no Ishi didn't provide one. Or did he? "...Burst forth with your burning soul, Hi no Ishi!" Naruto yelled, his entire form going up in a flash of spiritual energy, before strange rings formed around his arms, eight in all, each with a gem embedded in them. Perhaps these had to do with an ability each? Wait, why did he ask about the clans? Maybe... "Nara?" He guessed, and watched as the ring around his right bicep shattered like glass, and his shadow caught on fire, expanding into a complete circle around him to about five feet. "Whoa!" He jumped at the suddenness of it, but was thankful he was unaffected by it as it was connected to his feet. "Okay, that's... that's pretty cool. So..." Decided to try something, Naruto created a couple clones outside of the circle. "Okay, one of you step closer!" He commanded.
"Fuck that! We're not stopping into the fire!" One of his clones denied, all of them stepping away.
"Come on, stop being a bunch of babies!" Naruto insulted.
"Fuck you, boss! We're clones of you, so you'd say the same thing!" The clone reasoned.
"...Shut up. Now get in the fire!"
"That's it! If you're not coming here, I'm going over there!" Naruto charged his clones, causing them all to scream like little girls and run away.
When Naruto got close to one of them, its shadow overlapping with the circle around him, it screamed and immediately dispelled, the sensation he received from its memories telling him that it hurt quite a bit. However, he remembered reading about the Nara's abilities, as was common knowledge to everyone; their shadows weren't circles around them, and they could freely manipulate them. The circle was probably a consequence of this being part of his shikai instead of a technique. He'd probably have to work on manipulating it like the clansmen... if he could. It's probably best to move on to the other clans he probably had the powers of. "Akimichi!" The flaming shadow disappeared, and reverted to a normal one cast in the moons light, the ring around his right elbow shattering while a small part of what he now dubbed the 'Nara ring' reformed at his bicep, slowly reforming; it appeared his abilities were on a timer before he could use them again. There were no other changes. Before he could start complaining, he thought about what the Akimichi techniques could actually do: enlarge their limbs and entire form. Throwing caution to the wind, and a punch, Naruto was excited to see a giant, flaming echo of his fist form with the attack, dissipating seconds later. Throwing a kick, the same thing happened. "Question is... how to do that rolling technique." Naruto wondered. With a shrug, he moved to the next one to get through these all before heading to bed. "Yamanaka!" The third ring shattered, the Akimichi ring slowly reform like the Nara, which appeared about a quarter rebuilt after playing around with the Akimichi ability. This time something notable: a 'clone' of himself made out of fire formed beside him.
It was also floating, and moving around a bit slowly. He read the Yamanaka could invade the minds of friend and foe alike, so... With a thought, he commanded his 'clone' to head towards one of his Kage Bunshin, watching as it freaked out as a mass of fire moved towards it, but found itself unhurt, eventually being possessed and nodding to him. "Okay, so it can control my enemies, but it's pretty slow. Plus, just yelling out the name would tip the enemy off, so they'd keep moving around to dodge what they think would be the Shintenshin no Jutsu, so there's that. Probably have to lure or trap them in... Thank Kami it doesn't knock me out by using it, though. Well, that's probably all of the Yamanaka part, so I can just move on to the others. Uchiha!" The final ring on his right arm, at his wrist, shattered, the Yamanaka ring reforming, the Nara nearly done by now and the Akimichi about halfway, and the controlled clone spasmed before dispelling - cool, guess undoing the Yamanaka ability can take out whoever it's controlling - and Naruto noticed everything began to slow down. This may be worrying... "Hey, one of you, do I have the Sharingan or something?" He asked his clones.
"Uh... nope, your eyes are still normal, boss. Guess you just get the effects?" The closest, and most observant, clone answered.
"It appears so, thank Kami. Don't want Sasuke to raise a stink if I suddenly have the Sharingan. Wonder if this lets me copy stuff; I doubt it would do it for jutsu since it probably wouldn't recognize it. This whole 'from another dimension' thing is confusing, sometimes..." Naruto groaned. It was like Tessenka was giving him another lecture again. "Let's just move on. Hyuuga!" The ring at his left bicep shattered, the Nara one finally done, putting the time limit at five minutes before they would probably finish and he could use them again, and the clones' movements returned to normal, but now he could see the chakra they were made of, and really far all around him. It was highly disorienting. "Okay, stopping! Stopping!" He yelled to escape the strain, his vision returning to normal. "Ugh... never again..." He said, rubbing his temples.
"Didn't you just tell us to stop being babies, and now you're being one?" One of his more asshole-ish clones asked.
"...Shut up. I'll train more in it when I have some sleep. Next up, Senju!" Sixth ring shattering, his vision thankfully didn't go fucking nuts, but like some of his other abilities, nothing immediately happened. "Well... now that I think about it, what can the Senju do?" He wondered. The books said the Senju clan didn't have something special they excelled in, like the Nara with their shadows, or the Akimichi with their body expansion; they were just very good at pretty much everything, thus was 'The clan with a thousand skills.' So... was he just good at everything right now?
"Maybe it means the Shodaime specifically? He had Wood Release." One of the clones offered.
"...Naaahhh, that'd be crazy. It's not like I just put my hands together like Shodiame-sama did for most of his techniques and HOOOOOOOLY SHIIIIIIT!" On a whim, Naruto clapped his hands together in the Mi seal, and flames in the vague shape of trees burst from the ground for a second. "Holy fuck. I have, like, flaming Mokuton! This is awesome! Oh, nothing else could match up to it, but damned if I'm not going to appreciate it." He admitted, before moving on to test out the rest of the abilities he may or may not have, a ring shattering for each one. Immediately disappointing was the Kurama ability, or lack thereof; apparently one can't really work flames into illusions without being a real one-trick pony, but it was understandable. Aburame, on the other hand, was relatively interesting, as it let him create tiny fireballs floating around him like the clans Kikaichu; he could either let them shoot forward like bullets, land on and sear into the enemy, or explode. Explosions are always fun. Inuzuka conjured a fireball that worked alongside him much like a ninken, able to use the Inuzuka's oft-used Gatsuuga. Finally was the Sarutobi clan, which, much like the Kurama clan, did nothing, but this made more sense; as the Will of Fire, his abilities already dealt with fire manipulation, so it'd be sort of pointless.
After all the rings reformed, Naruto noticed the gems in each one had tiiiiny kanji for the clans he had the abilities of now. Tonight was productive, so it was time for sleep. So... "How do I shut this off?" He wondered flatly, before slapping his forehead at the possible simplicity. With a simple thought, Hi no Ishi thankfully resealed itself. "Awesome; now, to sleep!" Naruto said as if he were going off the battle, heading inside and flopping onto his bed, falling asleep almost instantly.
(The next day, Academy)
Walking into the classroom, Naruto ignored the weird looks he got because he showed up, as the more observant ones immediately noticed his hitai-ate, beaten as it was.
"Hey Naruto, what're you doin' here?" Kiba asked, waving him over.
"Passed a secret test the Hokage gave me, so I graduated." Naruto lied easily.
"Oh, that's pretty cool. Why's your headband look so worn, though?" The Inuzuka heir asked.
"Jii-san gave me his from when he became a genin." Naruto answered, adjusting it fondly.
"Oh that's awesome; you guys must be pretty close. You got any idea who's going with who into teams?" Kiba asked, always the one with the short attention span.
"Hmm... that's pretty tough this time around. Normally, the dobe would obviously go with the Rookie and Kunoichi of the Year, but that'd be Shikamaru, but they'll probably want to keep Ino-Shika-Cho going, so there's a problem." Naruto reasoned.
With his conscious effort to make himself appear entirely average, Shikamaru became the dobe, and thus the problem he brought up was formed.
"Well, they might just try to mix things up this year; tryin' to make Ino-Shika-Cho again will just give enemies the opportunity to exploit the same tactics that have been made famous over the years." Kba, of all people, theorized.
Naruto stiffened and turned to him mechanically.
"...What?" Kiba asked, unnerved by the flat stare.
"Who are you, and what've you done with Kiba?" Naruto asked accusatorially.
"Shut up! My mom was bitching again about this tactic, so I'm just saying what she did." Kiba admitted with a light blush of embarrassment.
"Good to know you're still the same person." Naruto said with a hearty laugh.
"And what's that supposed to mean?!" Kiba asked heatedly.
"Someone who doesn't waste his time thinking about things that don't pertain to him; as an Inuzuka, you'd be put onto a tracker team, something that, in the end, has nothing to do with the Ino-Shika-Cho formation." Naruto deflected and defused the situation quickly.
"Hmph, I guess you're right. What team do you think you'll go on?" Kiba turned the question on the blonde.
"Hmm... to answer that, we'd need to look at each graduate as a shinobi, and their characteristics. Starting with me, I'm a front-line fighter, and only that, so I'd be good on a primarily front-line team, or perhaps a multi-purpose team as the front-line fighter; I have no propensity, or desire to learn, genjutsu, tracking, or anything other than taijutsu, kenjutsu, and ninjutsu. Putting me as anything else would be a waste. Let's use you as an example; you're a tracking/front-line fighter hybrid, and thus would go best on a tracker team while doubling as its front-line fighter, or a multi-purpose team as both. The Ino-Shika-Cho formation is a combination of front-line, capture, and interrogation. Like me, Sasuke would be a front-line fighter, possibly dabbling in genjutsu for capture, interrogation, or even torture. Sakura is up in the air, as she is woefully lacking in all fields." Naruto theorized bluntly, the tactical and academic mind Toushirou and Rangiku cultivated coming to the forefront. "Going with the most-probable result of putting you on a tracker team, your teammates would be Shino and Hinata-chan, so let's look at them. Shino would be a tracker/supplementary fighter hybrid, while Hinata, were she anyone else, could be a tracker/front-line fighter, but given her personality, she might not be able to do the second part. In terms of my score putting me on a certain team, I'm not sure; probably one with my teammates who are just as average as I am." He finished, continuing the mask of adequacy he maintained for four years.
"...What the fuck, man? I ask a question and you give me a lecture." Kiba responded flatly. "I'm-a just take that all as 'I don't know' for the sake of my sanity." He decided.
"Pretty much, yeah." Naruto agreed with a chuckle and a shrug.
"So what's with the mask?" Kiba suddenly asked, ever the one with a short attention span.
Naruto shrugged. "Thought it'd be cool, and to hide my identity whenever my team goes outside the village. Whether I become famous or not, the less people that know my face, the better." He reasoned, skirting around the issue of his Kekkei Genkai; telling that to Kiba would be a surefire way of everyone finding out, lovable oaf as he was.
"...I'll admit, it is pretty cool." Kiba said. "Though I guess you have a point." He admitted.
With a chuckle, they fell into silence, waiting as everyone else and Iruka-sensei walked in for team assignments.
"It warms my heart to see you all graduate to become respectable shinobi of Konoha, for in each and every one of you, I see the Will of Fire burning brightly. I will not announce team assignments." Iruka announced, looking at a paper to do just that.
Naruto let his mind wander while keeping a lookout for his name, thinking about the abilities unlocking Hi no Ishi gifted him; between finishing breakfast and coming here, he dabbled more in his zanpakutou, and found a couple more things his sleep-addled mind didn't get to the night before. For one thing, he could only use one ability at a time, and he also had a time limit for using the abilities, five minutes like the 'cooldown' to use them again; he didn't figure out the finer parts of some of his techniques, though, so there's that. Also, Hi no Ishi mentioned something about his zanpakutou having something to do with his Hollow powers, but didn't elaborate. After that, Naruto just kept thinking of what he meant, drawing nothing but blanks. Asking Hono-chan revealed nothing, and neither did communing with the sword; and yet, when he simply looked at the sword, he felt like... a part of him with missing. He didn't completely understand it, and it annoyed him that there was still some facet of his abilities he didn't have access to, but until then, he couldn't do anything about it.
"...and Uzumaki Naruto." Iruka finished, catching his attention. "Your Jounin sensei will be Sarutobi Asuma. Again, I'm proud of all of you, and I look forward to seeing you go out into the world, carrying your own Wills of Fire." Iruka finished his speech.
"Shit. Kiba, who are my teammates?" Naruto asked, not having paid attention.
"You got Ino and Choji. I was put on that tracker team you mentioned, so Shikamaru got shacked with Sasuke and Sakura." Kiba answered.
"Poor bastard..." Naruto muttered, feeling legitimately sorry for Shikamaru. "Well at least we got people we can stand. Good luck with your team." He said, bumping fists with Kiba when he got up to sit with his teammates, making room for Ino and Choji when Shikamaru got up to, with great indignation and dread, sit near his teammates.
"Poor Shikamaru, huh?" Ino attempted to converse.
"Yeah, though what's more surprising is the fact he isn't teamed up with you two for your fathers' formation; granted, I'm not exactly saying I want to be paired with Sakura and Sasuke, but you know what I mean." Naruto responded.
"Same here, though my dad didn't seem that pissed about it last night; apparently they already had a meeting about it." Choji spoke up, sharing chips with Naruto.
"Lucky you; my dad was practically sulking all night. He had the stupidest face." Ino giggled at the memory of her father, a grown man, pouting like a petulant child, her soon-to-be teammates sharing a chuckle at the image. "So Naruto, what's the story on your whole... change? We noticed you around the village a year before everyone started at the Academy, and one day you were suddenly different. Your clothes, the sword, the mask, everything; think you can tell us as your teammates?" Ino eventually asked, ever-curious as the Gossip Queen, though she swore to not spread this information.
"Hmm... I guess that's fair. The sword and mask are manifestations of my Kekkei Genkai, each representative of half of my soul. The sword represents my Yang, all the good in me, and the mask is my Yin, all the negative parts of me. When I was five, I met two people that taught me everything I know, including kenjutsu, leading me to unlock my Kekkei Genkai, and they left when I was seven." Naruto gave an altered summary of his Kekkei Genkai, not truly trusting them with the finer details yet.
"Whoa, that sounds cool! Though, you? Negative side? I can hardly believe that." Ino commented.
"We all have our dark side; I'm no exception. I've grown up alone and afraid, with no one there to tell me it'll be alright, or to teach me right from wrong. You're damn right I have a bit of a dark side; it's a miracle the Sandaime was there for me. If he wasn't, I'd be... well, I might just be Sasuke. Or maybe worse." Naruto explained gravely, smothering Ino's amusement before it could get a word in.
"Geez... I'm sorry, Naruto, I didn't know." Ino apologized.
"It's alright, I'm not that broken up about it. Like you said, you didn't know, and I didn't tell you that to guilt you into anything, just to explain something you didn't understand. Just as my Kekkei Genkai made me confront my dark side, acknowledging and accepting yours may help you in the future." Naruto advised.
His teammates merely nodded, silent in thought.
"So, do these parts of you have a name, or something?" Choji asked to get back to the original topic.
"The sword does; as it is my light half, it represents all the good in me, my heart. It's name is Hi no Ishi." Naruto answered with a fond smile.
Ino giggled. "The Will of Fire, huh? Makes sense, considering how close you are to Hokage-sama. What about the mask?" She asked.
"Hmm... no, not a name for itself. I'm not sure it even has a name for it, but it has a name." Naruto responded, taking the mask off his head and turning it to be face-to-mask. "Hollow."
"Geez, hell of a name. Guess it makes sense, being your dark side." Ino commented with a grimace. She reached for it, before meeting Naruto's eyes and waiting for the okay. Receiving a shrug, she picked the mask up and looked at it more closely. "So... why's it a fox mask?" She asked.
Straightening quickly, Naruto took only a second to force his body to relax, before quickly thinking of a viable answer. "I don't know. The scroll my mother left to me said each holders mask is different and represents an intrinsic part of them; normally, other clansmen would help them understand what the image meant, but obviously, I don't have that option." He explained.
His teammates went silent and frowned.
"Right... Sorry." Ino said, giving him his mask.
"It's okay; I've made my peace." Was all Naruto said as he put the mask back on the side of his head.
"Team 8/10?" A pair of voices, male and female, said from the doorway, alerting the genin-to-be to their presence.
"I'm Yuuhi Kurenai; meet me at Training Ground 8."
"I'm Sarutobi Asuma; meet me at Akimichi's Barbecue."
The Jounin disappeared before the genin could say anything.
"...That was weird." Ino commented after a few seconds.
"I guess we should go." Naruto said after that, a bit confused at their behavior, but shrugging it off.
Choji was really the only one who seemed giddy about this, though it was to be expected; it was his family's restaurant, after all.
Thus, Team 10, and Team 8 once they noticed, left the Academy for their destinations.
"So, let's get straight into introductions; I'll start so you know how to do it." Asuma said after they sat down at a table. "I'm Sarutobi Asuma; my likes are practicing my fuuton-empowered bukijutsu, Shogi, and Go. I don't really have any dislikes. My hobbies are the same as my likes, and I haven't really thought of a dream. You next, Naruto." Asuma introduced himself, gesturing for the female blonde to go next.
"I'm Yamanka Ino. I like training in my clan techniques and hanging out with my friends. I dislike... arrogant people, I guess. My hobbies are working in my parents flower shop, and my dream is to be a respectable kunoichi, kind of like Tsunade of the Sannin." Ino said, gesturing for her fellow blonde to go next.
"I'm Uzumaki Naruto. I like ramen and practicing in my Kekkei Genkai. My dislikes are idiots who can't tell the difference between a container and the thing it holds, manipulative assholes, traitors, and rapists. My hobbies are... pretty much just training, and my dream is to become a shinobi people acknowledge and respect; becoming Hokage is just one of many routes towards that." Naruto pointed out, knowing that was what they expected.
"You have a Kekkei Genkai?" Asuma asked, bewildered; he wasn't told about this. "What's it do?"
"You'll find out eventually." Naruto responded curtly, hopefully conveying his desire to not divulge information about his Kekkei Genkai.
Frowning, but understanding about it, Asuma decided he could just find out about it from his father. With that, he turned to Choji beside him.
Catching the look sent his way, Choji acquiesced. "I'm Akimichi Choji. I like food and trying new kinds. I dislike anything inedible, really, and lizards. My hobbies are trying new food, and my dream is to become the respected Akimichi clan head I'm expected to be." Choji said, ignoring the exasperated sigh from Ino on his fixation on food.
Asuma, on the other hand, was only amused by that same thing, and pat the boy on the back. "Well, with introductions out of the way, I can say this: none of you are officially genin yet." He dropped the bomb on them.
"What?!" Naruto and Ino yelled together, ignoring the dirty looks they got from other customers in the restaurant.
"The Graduation Exam is to weed out those who might be able to become genin from those who aren't ready. It's up to the Jounin sensei to administer a second test to see if they are truly ready for the world of the shinobi." Asuma explained seriously, letting the outburst slide.
"So if we pass the test, we'll officially be genin?" Naruto asked.
"Yep. But don't get too excited; I'll be riding a colleague of mines coattails and use his test, which has a 66% failure rate." Asuma told them ahead of time, stern as their faces paled.
"Well I'm not gonna let that stop me; we're gonna pass one way or another!" Naruto declared resolutely, slowly improving Ino and Choji's confidence in themselves against this test.
Asuma kept a stern frown for the longest time, meeting Naruto's determined expression, before it broke into a smirk. "That's what I like to hear. Show up at Training Ground 10 tomorrow at 8. For the rest of today, let's just have lunch." He said, to nods all around.
(The next morning)
Naruto stared at himself in the mirror, thinking about this 66% failure rate test Asuma had that was apparently from a colleague of his, so that meant one of the other teams was going to go through this.
While he said that they would pass one way or another, the realist hammered into him by Toushirou told him there was a very real possibility that they would fail today and be sent back to the Academy for another year. Of course, being Naruto, he would not stand for that unless literally everything he could throw at this test didn't work; only then would he accept the fact that he wasn't ready to be a shinobi.
He snorted, knowing Toushirou would reprimand him for being hardheaded in the face of a possibly insurmountable challenge, but he didn't care. Though, that made him think; would 'everything he could throw at this test' include revealing his Kekkei Genkai to the others? Obviously yes, so was that something he wanted? Obviously no, but he would eventually be put into a situation where he had no choice. So, if push came to shove, he'd be forced to reveal his abilities. Then the problem would come when he started spouting off clan names and using abilities similar to theirs...
'Screw it; we'll burn that bridge when we get to it!' Naruto mentally declared, throwing his arms up. With that, he headed towards Training Ground 10 for the test, taking a quick rundown of his abilities before finally leaving his home; Kage Bunshin, Henge, Kawarimi, and each part of his Tamashii Totomoni. All but one part were formed on him, and just partially manifesting Brazo Derecha de Gigante was easy enough. After that, he left, ignoring the glares and whispers of the people as he zeroed in on their designated field.
An almost imperceptible yellow glow formed on him, starting from his back and engulfing a majority of his upper body, Naruto feeling the now-familiar sensation of Hono's human form pressed against him from behind in an embrace, her cheek against his. Over the years, Naruto took advantage of the more insane people that would actually attack him and harvested their souls, increasing Hono-chan's Doll forms power, and thus she was able to partially manifest herself without his command, but this was the extent of that ability; she mostly used it for situations like these, to console him or for her own desire for affection and physical contact in her human form, as she explained that she felt him just as he felt her when she did this. It was also just enough to cause her Doll form to 'evolve', sprouting a second tail.
"You can do this, Naruto-kun; I believe in you and your friends." Hono said from within the seal, though her voice sounded like it was right at his ear when she did this.
'Thank you, Hono-chan. I know we can.' Naruto said with a small smile, ignoring the increase in hatred around him when he did, and stepped into the field as the glow faded, finding he was the last to arrive, apart from Asuma. Before it left, he saw it was 7:50, so they still had ten minutes. "Hey guys." He greeted them.
"Hey Naruto." Ino and Choji returned with a wave each.
"You guys ready for the test?" Naruto asked.
"Oh hell no." Ino responded bluntly, causing her teammates to nearly facefault before laughing.
"E-eh, not really, but no choice, right?" Choji countered once he got himself under control.
"I guess; if you wanna be a shinobi, this is really the only way, right? Well, the way that won't get hunter-nin on your ass until the day you die." Naruto responded bluntly.
"...You suck at motivational talking, Naruto." Ino commented.
The blonde merely shrugged. "Well it's the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts." He said, unsheathing his sword and spending the last five minutes going through the kata Toushirou and Rangiku trained him in, having mastered and built upon them over the years since they were gone into a style of his own, the Aka Senpuu (Red Whirlwind), named so after the rotations he ended up putting into it, and of course the blood that would be spilled from his enemies, having used it when a rather tenacious group of shinobi came for him. Though, more than once he wondered if it was in memory of his mothers hair, which was the very first thing he saw whenever he remembered the image Hono showed him.
Ino and Choji just watched their teammate go through motions they would never expect of someone like Naruto, but they remembered the blonde shattered every notion they could expect of him, so it might not be surprising. Either way, it was quite interesting to watch, a bit scary when he felled a tree, though he looked just as surprised as they did.
'Huh... so that's what happens when I channel chakra into the sword. Cool. I'll try this more often.' Naruto decided before returning to his kata, only for a fourth presence to stop him.
"Sorry I'm late; had a... thing to deal with. So, how is- what happened to that tree?" Asuma asked as he appeared in a blur of speed.
Ino and Choji pointed at Naruto like they were five and telling on him.
"...Screw you guys." Naruto said flatly.
"Naruto, what did you do?" Asuma asked, disbelieving.
"I was practicing my kenjutsu and decided to try channeling chakra through my sword. Then that happened." Naruto explained simply with a shrug.
"Just chakra? You didn't feel it was different or anything?" Asuma asked, already suspecting the truth of the matter.
"Well... a bit, but I didn't think it was any different from whenever I channel chakra. Why?" Naruto asked, intrigued.
"I'll tell you if you guys pass this test." Asuma answered teasingly.
"Oh hell no! Now we're definitely passing!" Naruto proclaimed as his nostrils flared indignantly.
Asuma chuckled. "We'll see. Guess that means we can get down to business." He dipped into his pocket and retrieved a pair of bells and a little clock. "All you have to do is get these bells from me before the timer goes off. Come at me with the intent to kill, because anything less won't get you the bells. Begin!" Asuma tapped the clock to get it started, and his students-to-be immediately shot for the shrubbery.
Naruto had taken to hiding in a tree. 'Okay, so this test is forcing us to work against each other. But... despite all my training, I know I'm not strong enough to take on a Jounin, and Choji and Ino aren't either, so how does he expect us to do it? Maybe there's something I'm missing. Even if two of us somehow get the bells, that would create a three-man cell, and there has never been one in Konoha; always four-man. So maybe... maybe it's misdirection! He's forcing us to go against each other, when Konoha always stands on the basis of teamwork. Forcing us to not work together to force us to work together!' Naruto realized.
"...That last part hurt my head." Hono commented within the seal as she observed Naruto do his test.
'It still stands; he's making us think we have to do this single-handedly when we really have to work together.' Naruto explained before getting down from his tree and heading towards Choji, who was the closest and easiest person to convince.
Choji was hiding behind a tree, for once not snacking, as he was fretting over the idea of going against a Jounin for this test.
"Choji!" Naruto whispered once he got close, causing the Akimichi heir to jump slightly.
"Naruto? What're you doing here?" Choji asked, keeping his voice low.
"Choji, it's a trick. When have you ever seen a three-man cell in Konoha?" Naruto asked to get him thinking.
"...Never. There's always been four. But what does that mean for this test?" Choji asked.
"He's driving us apart, putting a mindset in us destined to fail. He wants us to put the 'truth' aside and work together, whether the rules say only two of us pass or not. Are you willing to work with me, Choji?" Naruto asked, offering his hand.
Naruto was silent for a minute in thought, putting the pieces together. "...Yeah. Let's do this, Naruto." Choji said, taking his hand and shaking it.
Naruto smiled. "Great. Now to get to Ino." He said, and they went off to find the Yamanaka heiress.
Asuma, still standing in the field, merely stood there, concentrating on sensing the genin-to-be's chakra signatures - sensing Naruto was easy due to his high reserves and this odd feeling to it Asuma couldn't describe - and smiled when he sensed the aforementioned blonde head towards Choji, before they appeared to look for Ino. 'So he's figured it out already? Interesting. Well, can't make this too easy for them.' Reaching a decision, Asuma moved to intercept them, knuckledusters secured to his fists.
Just as Naruto spied Ino hiding in the bushes, Asuma burst into his path from the side. "Let's see how your kenjutsu holds up!" He said, already swinging his bladed fist forward.
Not even cursing in surprise, Naruto immediately retrieved his zanpakutou and blocked Asuma's trench knives. While Naruto held Asuma off, Choji wordlessly moved ahead to Ino.
This did not go unnoticed by Asuma. "Your ally appears quick to abandon you in the face of danger." He mocked, testing how far ahead Naruto thought.
Sadly, Naruto's eyes widened in shock, before he scowled. "Apparently." Was all he said as the shoulder of his right sleeve was torn open as a weird black and magenta protrusion burst from it, what could be seen of his hand turning the same colors, before he buried his fist in Asuma's stomach, sending him tumbling back a few feet.
'Damn! What has this kid been eating?!' Asuma mentally wondered as he cradled his stomach, Naruto appearing before him in what appeared to be a miniature sonic boom at his feet, fist raised to continue his assault. Rolling to the side to dodge the fist - slightly freaking out when the impact created a small crater - Asuma retaliated with a kick to his stomach, sending the boy flying. 'Guess I thought too highly of them; Choji's a bit too soft-hearted to go through with any plan of direct confrontation, and Naruto appears to be flying solo. Guess this team wasn't meant to be, after all; perhaps a consequence of breaking up Ino-Shika-Cho?' Asuma mused as he got to his feet.
His thoughts were caught off by a particularly loud curse as several head-sized orbs of blue energy - definitely not chakra! - came from the direction Naruto was sent. While easy enough to dodge them thanks to his Jounin skills, the question still remained about what they were, as they carried the same feeling Naruto's chakra signature held; it felt like... almost like chakra, but half. The blonde burst from the underbrush, the mask previously on the side of his head now covering his face, his sword back on his back and right hand normal, as he continued shooting the projectiles from his hands. The slightly worrying part, however, was the malicious feeling Asuma got from Naruto was he was now, especially from his transformed eyes under the mask; black sclera with yellow irides.
"I don't need them, anyway; I can take you down myself!" Naruto commented, his voice unnerving Asuma even more. Cutting off his assault, Naruto dipped into his shuriken pouch, discreetly palming Hono's sealed form, and threw them all in a wave of blades.
Retrieving his own kunai - as deflecting projectiles with his trench knives was a dumb idea he learned years ago when he first tried - Asuma easily deflected all but one of the projectiles, plucking the odd man out of the air. His breath hitched when he noticed it looked almost exactly like the Yondaime's Hiraishin kunai, just red, and that moment was all that was needed, as the weapon burst into chakra, a wolf-sized fox with two tails made of yellow chakra with black markings suddenly taking its place, bowling Asuma over.
'What the hell?!' Asuma mentally exclaimed as he kicked the fox off and flipped to his feet, dodging its claw swipes and attempting to get his own hits in, only for the... summon? to dodge him itself, eventually sending him skidding back with a swipe of its tails. 'Guess this is what he meant by me finding out later. He could have at least warned me, though!' Asuma complained, deciding to up the ante, channeling chakra to his trench knives, forming blades from them. Just when he was about retaliate, he noticed Naruto was grinning for some reason.
"Oof!" Asuma was completely run over by Choji's surprise attack. As he attempted to extract himself from the ground, Naruto's 'summon' grabbed him with its suddenly giant hand, causing his ribs to creak dangerously, before it threw him towards Naruto, who had his transformed fist ready. 'Oh hell no!' Asuma refused, reflexively bringing his hands together as he flew and breathing a large fireball towards his enemy, only to immediately regret it when he realized who he just attacked. "Shit; Naruto!" He yelled, but was too late, as Naruto was engulfed by the flames.
Curiously, just before it hit, Naruto was heard. "Ah shit..."
Unfortunately, Asuma was given to reprieve, as he suddenly felt his body move against his will. 'Shit! I forgot about Ino! Can't she see this isn't the time to continue the test?!' Asuma was forced to comment mentally, even as he saw his arm traitorously grab the bells and throw them to Choji, who caught them and went over to Ino, who propped herself against a tree, as she returned to her body. Once he got control over his body back, he was free to unleash his fury on them. "What is wrong with you?! You just saw me very well kill your teammate, and you continue the test?! You don't just fail; I will make sure you never become a shinobi with that kind of mindset!" He yelled, doubly furious when she, and Choji, looked unapologetic.
"Mah mah, clam down Asuma-sensei." A voice he was damn sure should be gone said from within the resultant dust cloud, as the Sarutobi turned around mechanically to face it. Walking from the smoke and dust was a relatively unscathed, save for about 75% of his clothing consumed by the flames, leaving him with convenient shorts and a few rags falling off his back as he walked, catching his sword before it fell. His skin, on the other hand, was completely untouched, save for the hole in his stomach. "It was all part of the plan. I tank your blows and get your attention while Choji gets Ino to work with us, then they pick a moment to strike, and it worked." Naruto explained.
"So... when Choji went off without you?" Asuma asked slowly, transfixed by the hole in his student.
"Acting. He plays the coward and I play the lone wolf biting off more than he can chew. And Asuma-sensei... it's impolite to stare." Naruto chastised jokingly.
"Sorry, but... you have a hole in you. And you survived a giant fireball without a single burn. And you summoned..." The chakra-fox chose this moment to saunter over to Naruto's side, sitting on its haunches and letting him pet its head. "...that. Care to explain?" Asuma demanded.
Naruto sighed, knowing this was bound to happen, especially since he went through that whole 'throw everything I have at this test to pass' plan. "It's all part of my Kekkei Genkai. The hole goes with the mask; that's why it's called 'Hollow', guys." Naruto said to Ino and Choji. "The hole represents the emptiness of the soul. This part of my Kekkei Genkai also lets me condense my spiritual energy into a layer on my skin, letting me take all kinds of blows and shrug them off, as well as manipulate it into the attacks I used on you. And this..." Naruto pat Hono's Doll form on the head, causing it to rub its head against his hand, getting a chuckle out of him. "...is Hono-chan, my Doll, an extension of my soul and my partner." He explained, keeping up with the half-truth he gave Choji and Ino.
Asuma nodded slowly, having a suspicion of the reason behind 'Hono'chan's' form. "And the fist?" He asked, rubbing his stomach in painful remembrance.
"Right Arm of the Giant, a manifestation of my pride in who I am, solidified in my arm; as you can tell, it increases my strength exponentially." Naruto poked a bit of fun at Asuma's pain.
"How did you figure this stuff out? Did you have a scroll from your parents or something?" Asuma asked, though he knew that neither Minato nor Kushina displayed a Kekkei Genkai of any sort, especially this.
Naruto merely shrugged. "Trial and error for the past seven years. Most of it was an accident, especially the skin thing." He grimaced remembering when one of his clones got through his defense with its sword, only for it to deal to damage beyond his clothes. Speaking of which... "Now I'm gonna need to head home for a fresh set of clothes. "He sighed.
"Of course you'd worry about that..." Asuma sighed himself, burying his head in his hands, relieved all the same that he didn't kill Naruto, though intrigued by this Kekkei Genkai of his. "Well, you guys have the bells now; what're you gonna do?" He asked for the final push.
"You guys can graduate; I'll just fight Asuma until he passes me." Naruto answered for them, unsheathing his sword as Hono took an offensive stance beside him.
"You'd really let your comrades leave you behind?" Asuma asked.
"If it means they can go on, I'll fight to the death for them." Naruto answered, knowing that was what Asuma was really asking, putting this scenario in a mission situation.
Asuma smiled. "Then you all pass. Konoha is built on the concept of teamwork, and this test was made to see if you three could ignore the situation and work together despite the apparent truth of the matter. In a real-life situation, it would show your willingness to sacrifice yourself so your teammates can complete the mission. Just as this test was my colleagues idea, so was the quote that I believe should clear everything up: 'Those who abandon the mission are trash, but those who abandon their friends are lower than trash.' Never forget this. Team 10 officially passes!" Asuma announced with a grin, to cheers all around.
"Great! I was afraid we wouldn't be able to do it, but I sure am glad it did. It was a really good plan, Naruto." Ino praised.
Naruto chuckled sheepishly and scratched the back of his head. "Thanks Ino; I sort of came up with it on the spot." He said.
"Well it paid off. All of you, come here same time tomorrow for team training and missions." Asuma said simply before heading off, returning their farewell waves.
"So Naruto, does that... hole affect anything?" Ino asked tentatively.
"Hmm? Uh, nothing I can tell. Food doesn't fall out, if that's what you're wondering. It's not really a normal hole through me, it's more like... that part of me was erased." Naruto tried to explain, putting his hand through the Hollow hole, tapping the insides and touching only 'physical nothingness.' "It's like I have a ring of... something on the inside, so I don't actually touch my insides." He added.
"Thank Kami; that'd be pretty gross. But why does that hole come with the mask?" Ino asked, her curiosity getting the better of her now.
Sighing, Naruto decided to throw her a bone. "This part of my Kekkei Genkai comes from a creature, a real thing, called Hollows. They are human souls consumed by negative emotions, transforming into monsters that feed on other human souls, and eventually each other, to grow stronger." He explained.
Ino gasped in horror at the thought of such creatures, and the poor souls they consume. "How does no one know about these things?" She asked.
"Normally we'd be able to see them, but other spirits, called Shinigami -not the god - purify them before they kill too many people, and erase the memories of witnesses." Naruto said.
"How do you know all this? Have you faced a Hollow before? Does this Kekkei Genkai mean you have one inside you?" Ino persisted with the questions.
Another bone, then, just to get her to stop. "Because of this." Naruto stabbed his sword into the ground in front of him. "Shinigami use special weapons - zanpakutou, swords with spirits inside them - to purify them. I did not name my sword Hi no Ishi; that is its name." Naruto said with finality. While Ino and Choji were shocked into silence, he took his sword and the kunai Hono turned back into. "No more questions; I'm tired. See you guys tomorrow." He waved at them.
"Are you sure it was wise to tell them that much?" Hono asked, now back in the seal.
'They would have found out eventually.' Naruto reasoned half-heartedly, still annoyed that he had to tell them in order to not destroy the bond they would have because of kept secrets.
"But are you sure that was wise?" Hono pushed.
'...No. I'm not sure. But we'll see what happens, I guess.' Naruto answered.
Taking that, Hono fell quiet, letting Naruto walk home in silence. He stepped inside, locked the door, and headed for his room to put on a set of clothes.
"Hello... Uzumaki Naruto."
There was someone waiting for him.
End Ch. 2
Dun-dun-duuuuunnnn! I've always wanted to do that. Anyway, as I said up top, I'll be releasing the first three chapters together.
As with the first chapter, I'm sure you can notice some changes: obviously, this chapter starts where the original first did, so it went completely differently here. I decided to throw in Naruto having the Sandaime's headband on a whim, and for a bit of sentimentality. Also, Naruto knows his zanpakutou's name much sooner, and unlocked it shortly after. Now, there may be some of you who cry OP at Naruto's Shikai, there are time limits for a reason, plus Naruto doesn't immediately know everything about how to use them, and he won't really be able to use it a lot due to the similarities to major clans of Konoha, thus the threat of politics and bullshit coming down on him. Don't worry about that part; he'll grow some balls in the future and use it in front of people. And finally, Team 10's exercise is the same as Team 7's; I thought it was better than the original version I wrote, and I read this in a different fic. The name escapes me, but I give credit to that author for the idea.
And the mystery person waiting for Naruto is from my old fic no one cared about 'Fallen Blades.' Gonna tell you guys now, it's an OC from an AU Bleach-verse. I wanted to keep the idea alive somewhere, and they can be teachers for Naruto in his Hollow powers, as well as just put names to things. More of them will be sprinkled through the story, so if you don't like OCs, I'm sorry.
Other than that, just tell me what you think, as always. (Do I sound like a Youtuber yet? XD)