Somewhere, in a tavern, a man sat at a bar, loudly telling his story for everyone to hear. Because he was such a prominent figure in his community, there was a crowd around him as he drunkenly told his tale, the way he had seen it. The crowd was enraptured and quite a few people were in awe as they learned the story behind the naming of the country's new bridge.
There were also a few ninja in that tavern. And when the story was finished, they raced back to their village with news of a brightly-clothed boy who somehow talked a man into his death.
*Quite A Few Weeks Later; At Konoha's Chunin Exams*
Naruto squinted at the silver-haired genin, a little bit jealous of Gaara's reputation. Technically, the same could be said about him, right? He came back from every mission without a scratch, too! So what if he had freaky healing abilities thanks to the Kyuubi? It still counted. He was just as awesome as Gaara of the Sand.
"Hey!" The blond ninja loudly exclaimed. Everyone's attention, even those not in the Rookie Nine plus Kabuto, turned to him. Naruto grinned. "My turn. I want to see my record!"
Sakura growled and raised a fist. "No one cares, you idiot!"
The poor boy only turned pleading eyes on her. "Please, Sakura-chan? I'll shut up, I swear!"
Shocked by his promise and the sudden brightness of his blue eyes, Sakura's fist stopped in mid-air, suspended as if it were being held by some unseen force. Ino raised an eyebrow when the pink-haired girl let her hand drop to her side. Since when did Forehead not hit the Blond Idiot when he did something stupid?
Kabuto nervously glanced at the genin behind him, taking in the growing irritation and killer intent that was beginning to permeate the air. He sighed. His plan could do with some tweaks and changes. "What's your full name?" he reluctantly asked, even though he already knew quite well what it was.
Naruto flashed him a million-ryo smile. "My name is Uzumaki Naruto, believe it!"
'Don't worry, I do,' Kabuto wryly thought to himself, then he paused. 'Wait a minute...'
"Uzumaki Naruto is in this exam?!"
The Rookie Nine plus Kabuto turned to stare at an older boy with a Mist headband. He and his teammates were looking back at Naruto with barely disguised wariness and a hint of awe. Confusion and apprehension replaced the killer intent in the air as Naruto blinked and scratched his chin.
"Yeah..." Naruto said, unsure. "I am!"
"That's not fair! He shouldn't even count as a genin!" the older boy exclaimed.
"Hey!" Naruto shouted back, growing angry. What the hell was he saying that for? "You can't say that! I have a headband just like you do!"
Sasuke smirked at his teammate. "Even the other villages have heard of the Dobe of Konoha," he taunted.
"You shut up!" Naruto angrily said, getting in Sasuke's face. "Alright so I failed the graduation exam three times, but I earned my forehead protector!"
Shikamaru furrowed his brows. He'd always been curious about that. Iruka-sensei couldn't possibly have favored him so much that he'd relent and give Naruto a free pass. That's wasn't fair to others and to Naruto, himself. "How? You couldn't do the clone technique." the lazy genin pointed out.
"I beat Mizuki fair and square," Naruto hissed and leaned away from Sasuke, clutching his forehead protector with both his hands as if someone would rip it away from him then and there. "And I learned a better clone technique. Mine are solid. Ha!"
Kabuto raised his eyebrows, genuinely surprised. "Solid clones? How did you learn a Forbidden technique?"
Kiba growled, irritated by the hype Naruto was creating. "So what? He's still the dead-last. Read his card- that's all the proof you'll need!"
When the room's attention turned on him, Kabuto nodded in acquiescence, especially when his disguised master gave him an amused nod. It wouldn't hurt to give out the information. He, himself, had grown curious as well. "Very well, then," he said before drawing a different blank card and channeling a bit of chakra into it. "Uzumaki Naruto. Genin of Konoha. Genjutsu is nonexistent. Ninjutsu is nonexistent. Taijutsu is average..."
Naruto flushed under the mocking stares of his teammates and former peers, but stared resolutely at Kabuto. So he couldn't do any genjutsu - who cared? They never worked on him for some whacked-out reason so why would he learn? Genjutsu was too sneaky anyway. He was a shinobi, not a dirty fighter. And Kage Bunshin was so a ninjutsu! He didn't need any other since solid clones were beyond awesome! And taijutsu... okay, he'd concede that one. Kakashi-sensei totally had him during that bell test.
"...and one unofficial mission. Jounin level stamina. Unimaginable amounts of chakra. A-class nin in Kiri for the death of Momochi Zabuza and Gato, founder of the Gato Company. Heir to Wave Country..."
Naruto stared at Kabuto, wide-eyed and disbelieving. What the hell was written on that card? Who the hell had written it? Kami, he sounded awesome!
Sakura, on the other hand, was twitching. "He's the what of what?" she asked, sounding incredulous, only really catching the 'Heir of Wave' epithet.
Kabuto raised an eyebrow, suddenly uncertain and suspicious. He read the card over twice before he looked up to face Sasuke and Sakura. "It says here that he's known in the Mist and Wave as the Pied Piper of Konoha. He wears brightly colored clothing..." Kabuto paused to look Naruto over one more time, eyes widening before he continued, "And, he took down Zabuza by talking him into his death. You two are his teammates - weren't you there?"
Sasuke was about to harshly deny that Naruto had done all those things until he realized that he honestly wouldn't know since he'd been unconscious until everything was all over. He turned dark eyes towards Sakura who was rapidly paling. She subconsciously took a half-step back.
"Well, I mean, he did hand Zabuza that kunai," Sakura slowly said, furrowing her brows as she tried to recall everything that had happened that day. "I couldn't hear what they were saying. They were too far away and Gato's thugs were making so much noise. Next thing I know, Zabuza is charging into a mob of armed rogues...with nothing but a kunai in his mouth...just to kill...Gato..."
Naruto opened his mouth to tell the real story, how Zabuza had asked him for the kunai, but then he saw the looks of awe, surprise and fear on some people in the room, the wariness on Kabuto's face, and the disbelief on Sasuke's. It was Kiba, though, that made up his mind for him. That and the way Sakura was staring at him as if she had never seen him before.
"This idiot?! No way in hell! He could never do something amazing like that! He was the dead-last of the whole entire freaking Academy!" Kiba loudly shouted, his arms waving limply in the air. "Look at him! They got the bright clothes right, but -!"
Sasuke pushed the brash Inuzuka out of his breathing space and grabbed Naruto by the lapels of his jacket. "Dobe, it did not happen that way," he stated. However, it still came out sounding like a question.
Naruto would have responded, but then Ibiki had entered the room.
A/N: LOOOOOOOL, this came to me during a class one day and I have to admit, the idea was too funny to pass up. I'm not sure if I'll continue this; I only wanted to put this out there to see if anyone else would be as amused as I currently am.
I love Kiba, in case you couldn't tell.