Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
"Team 7, Uzumaki Naruto, Haruno Sakura, and Uchiha Sasuke, your Jounin Sensei is Hatake Kakashi," read Iruka blatantly ignoring his students reactions as he read the assignments. "Team 8 . . ."
"Excuse me Iruka-Sensei," he was interrupted by a female voice from the door.
"Yes Shiho-san," he greeted the young Chuunin woman.
"Forgive the interruption, Hokage-sama asked me to retrieve Team 7 and bring them to him," she said nervously.
"Well, you heard her," he said looking back to his students.
"What's Jiji want?" asked Naruto impatiently.
"Forgive me Uzumaki-san, I am not aware," she said slightly downtrodden.
"Baka," shouted Sakura bopping him on the head, "Don't call Hokage-sama that, it's disrespectful."
"Sakura, that's enough," said Iruka putting an end to the bickering, "she's following orders and that's all that matters. Now all three of you get a move on, this is not up for discussion."
The group walked mostly in silence through the village.
"Ah," shouted Naruto, "Now I remember you, you sat next to me last year when I took the graduation exam."
"That is correct Uzumaki-san, I'm sorry you did not pass as you had hoped," she said still nervous.
"But I made it finally so it's all good, besides, it was totally worth it. I learned something awesome this time," boasted Naruto excited. "So you work for Jiji now?"
"Not really," she said, "I was ordered to his office and told to collect you three first."
"So what's it like?" asked Naruto, "Have you done all kinds of cool missions and stuff?"
"Not really, I failed the second exam. I was reassigned to a research team where my skills were better used. I've already been promoted to Chuunin because of it."
"Wow, really?" asked Naruto excitedly, "Wait, what second test?"
This also peaked Sakura and Sasuke's interests.
"Well, the academy exam is just the first test to see if you have potential to become a shinobi. Each Jounin Sensei then give a second personal exam where they look for a specific trait they want to see. My Sensei wanted to see if we could follow orders on a written test, my two teammates failed and so did I because of it. It was a silly trick really but I think it worked out for the best."
"Really?" asked Sakura surprised, "What happened to your teammates?"
"One went back to the academy for remedial training, I think he's gone to the standard shinobi corps. The other I think went to work for his family in the Capital."
"So if you passed your Jounin's test why did you still fail?" asked Sasuke calmly.
"Genin teams are made of three Genin and one Jounin, always and without exception," explained Shiho, "If one fails, you all fail."
"Sounds like something Jiji would want," said Naruto smiling, "He's always telling me about the 'Will of Fire' and what makes you really strong."
Without notice the group arrived outside the Hokage's office.
"Hello Haruka-nechan" greeted Naruto of the secretary.
"Hello Naruto-kun, Hokage-sama will be with you shortly," she said with a smile for the boy, "Have a seat." She then went into the Hokage's office with a stack of folders.
"How well do you know the Hokage, Uzumaki-san?" asked Shiho.
"Jiji and I go way back, he took me for my first bowl of Ramen," said Naruto proudly.
"Interesting," said Shiho thoughtfully before glancing at Naruto's stomach, "It must be because of . . . "
"That's quite enough Shiho-chan, why don't you four come inside," said the aging Hokage interrupting whatever Shiho was about to say.
"What's up Jiji?" asked Naruto nonchalantly taking his usual seat in front of the Hokage's desk.
"Same as always Naruto, paperwork and more paperwork," said the old man with a chuckle.
"Boo, can't you get someone to do it for you?" asked Naruto, "When I'm Hokage I'll forbid all paperwork."
The Hokage gave a full laugh at that, "If only Naruto-kun, if only."
"So what did you want us for anyway? You decide to give me the hat early?"
"Not quite yet Naruto-kun," said the elderly man, "This is about your team Jounin. I had an urgent mission come up that required me to send out your sensei on. He will be gone for at least a week and up to three weeks."
"What?" shouted Naruto, "You mean I have to wait a week or three to start showing how awesome I am? That's not fair."
"Calm down Naruto-kun, calm down, do you really think I'd leave you hanging like that?" asked the Hokage smiling with mirth dancing in his eyes at his pseudo grandson.
Naruto narrowed his eyes at the old man, "This is because I gave you a nose bleed when I painted the monument isn't it?"
The Hokage gave a hearty laugh at that, "Trust me Naruto-kun, when I pay you back for that you'll know it."
"Bring it old man," shouted Naruto, "And when you lose I get the hat."
"Anyway," said the Hokage having relaxed considerably from bantering with Naruto, "With your sensei missing for the next few weeks I'm going to give you all a little gift."
"Ooh, is it awesome Jutsu?" asked Naruto eagerly, "I bet it is. Is it something that can destroy an entire army or something, right?"
"Not this time Naruto," said the Hokage chuckling once again.
Meanwhile as this byplay was going on the remaining three onlookers were completely dumbfounded, even the last Uchiha scion though it may have been annoyance.
"So what you got for me Jiji?" asked Naruto.
"Shiho-chan," said the Hokage looking to the young Chuunin, "Would you mind explaining SIPA?"
"Of course Hokage-sama," said the young Chuunin, "I work for the Shinobi Institute of Performance Analysis or S.I.P.A. We were established to provide a full analysis of any shinobi, both current standing and future potential. We do so through a very extensive battery of tests designed to explore all aspects of an individual shinobi's skills and potentials."
"A very nice answer Shiho-chan," said the Hokage taking control before Shiho went off the rails with an overly detailed explanation. "You see, a long time ago one of my students wanted to change that way we evaluate talent and potential in our shinobi. He designed a series of tests that provide extraordinary insight into developing a shinobi's skills. It was very promising until . . . . well that's a story for another time. A few years ago his research was handed over to our R&D group to see if anything could be salvaged and retooled. The end result is SIPA. Unfortunately SIPA's tests are very cost prohibitive for any shinobi to really pay for themselves. In order for the village to supplement the cost of these tests we'd have to be able to set a precedent for it to be viable."
"Prece-what?" asked Naruto confused.
"We need to prove that the benefit outweighs the cost," said the old man patiently, "That's where you three come in. Due to the unique situation of your sensei being absent for such a prolonged period of time I'm willing to give you three the chance to be their first analysis project."
"Is that good or bad?" asked Naruto unsure.
"It could be good or bad, Uzumaki-san," said Shiho, "This analysis is going to be brutally honest. It will tell you weaknesses, strengths and give recommendations to your further training. These results will be given to you, the Hokage and your Jounin sensei to use as they see fit. If we make the recommendation to have you removed from the shinobi corps entirely then you have to be prepared for that to possibly happen. But again that is at the discretion of Hokage-sama."
"Do we have to do this?" asked Sakura afraid of what may happen.
The Hokage smiled at the girl in appreciation of her giving thought to the situation, "It is an order this time. I'm not giving any of you the choice. As such I expect your full cooperation with all of the members of the SIPA team. Shiho-chan, I leave them in your care."
Shiho bowed deeply to the old man, "By your will Hokage-sama, follow me you three."
Naruto though hesitated for a moment, "Umm, Jiji, can I talk to you first for a minute?"
The Hokage looked to see something he'd rarely seen on Naruto's face. "He'll join you in the hall momentarily Shiho-chan."
Shiho, Sakura, and Sasuke stepped out closing the door behind them.
"So Naruto-kun, why so hesitant?"
"It's just . . . what if it's like Mizuki-sensei? I'm sure they know about . . . it."
The Hokage frowned slightly before giving Naruto a caring smile. He then took a sheet of paper from the folder that was currently open on his desk handing it to Naruto. "I want you to read that letter Naruto-kun. It's from the head of SIPA."
Naruto took the letter and read:
HOKAGE'S EYES ONLY
MEMORANDUM: SIPA TEST SUBJECT REQUEST
FM: ATSUI KONA, SIPA OPERATIONAL CONTROL
REQUESTING INITIAL TESTING TO BEGIN WITH NEW BATCH OF GENIN, SPECIFICALLY RELATED TO UZUMAKI NARUTO, KYUBI JINCHURIKI. MOST JINCHURIKI ARE AWARDED WITH SPECIFIC ABILITIES SIMILAR TO BLOODLINE TRAITS WHERE PRIOR KYUBI HOSTS HAVE SHOWN NO SUCH SIGNS. UNDERSTANDING MUST BE ACQUIRED SHOULD WEAPONIZATION OF JINCHURIKI BE NECESSARY IN FUTURE INCURSION OR WAR. ALSO GIVEN HERITAGE VERSUS CURRENT TREATMENT, FULL POTENTIAL UNKNOWN BUT HYPOTHETICAL SSS-CLASS PROBABLE WITH FULL EVALUATION OF SUBJECT.
"What's a Jinchuriki?"
"It is the term applied to others like you Naruto. People with Biju sealed inside them," explained the Hokage sadly.
"There are others like me?" asked Naruto surprised.
"Yes, and like you they have not generally been treated well," said the old man, "it is sad but true. "
Naruto looked generally upset, "And what's this about weaponination?"
"Weaponization Naruto-kun," said the Hokage with a heavy sigh, "It means turning you into a weapon for the village to use against its enemies."
"But I'm a shinobi, aren't I already a weapon for the village?"
"Yes and no," said the Hokage feeling somewhat proud of Naruto's maturity, "You are a weapon for this village but you are still treated as a person. If we were to truly weaponize you we would strip you of being a person, call it brainwashing if you wish. It is not something I would EVER allow to happen to you Naruto but I won't always be Hokage now will I?"
Naruto looked sad for a moment before a look of determination steeled his face. It reminded Sarutobi so much of Minato it was scary.
"I won't ever be anyone but me," Naruto stated, "And that means I'm gonna become Hokage and the strongest in the village ever, greater that all the other Hokage combined."
"I would expect nothing less. But, after reading that I hope you understand the person in charge wants you in this program more than any other shinobi in our ranks, more than Sasuke-kun, more than any of your other classmates. He will not shortchange you like so many others in the village have."
Naruto nodded once looking back at the letter, "What about this Heritage versus treatment part? What does he mean?"
"Naruto-kun, like I've told you before. Your parents were powerful and important, in order to keep you safe you can't know about them yet. He simply means he believes you have more potential than most because of your parents. He also believes that your treatment in the village may have hidden a lot of your potential."
"So he really will be fair?" asked Naruto just to confirm one last time.
"Yes Naruto-kun, I have absolutely no doubt about that," said Sarutobi, "You will learn this over the next few weeks but scientists are very strict and disciplined. They don't really deal with false information."
"Okay then, I'm off, thanks Jiji," said Naruto once more back to his normal exuberant self.
Not long later the group of four stood in front of a non-descript warehouse awaiting instruction.
"Okay, so this is the entrance to SIPA," said Shiho with a smile, "Uchiha-san, you're scheduled to start your testing in two days, be here by 5:00 AM. Everything will be provided including clothing so just show up on time. Haruno-san, 3 days at 5:00 AM."
Sasuke nodded and walked away without another word. Naturally Sakura chased right after him asking for a date.
"Uzumaki-san, you start tomorrow morning at 5:00 AM but per Hokage-sama's orders you'll be staying here tonight so we can ensure you don't have any issues," explained Shiho, "I would recommend you go and take care of any pressing business and come back this evening after you've eaten dinner. "
"Thanks Shiho-chan," said Naruto with a grin before charging off to get his ramen fix, after all, who knows when he'll next get to enjoy the food of the gods.
Shiho however just entered the building to report in to director Atsui.