"Well that was... how can I put it?" Naruto looked at his three fresh 'Genin', and he used the term loosely, with an emotionless mask, despite the myriad of thoughts running through his mind. Two of them were tied to nearby trees while Sasuke sat rather solemnly between them, glaring at the man who he now thought would be sending him back to the academy. Ami and Sakura seemed likewise disappointed but he couldn't tell if it was in themselves or something else.
"I had expected a lot more from you three." At that Ami looked up, some of the previous sadness gone, replaced by annoyance; a fairly common reaction in the face of defeat.
"How? You don't know anything about us!" Naruto just gave a cold smile before pulling their three files out of seemingly nowhere; something that Anko often remarked he had a strange knack for.
"On the contrary; I know more about you than you think, but apparently not as much as I had guessed. I knew better than to blindly trust academy reports but I still had at least somewhat high hopes for you three." He turned to Sasuke who heatedly returned the other man's cool, indifferent gaze. "You were supposed to be Rookie of the year yet when you attacked me you let your emotions get the better of you. Not only that but you fell for a simple trap; you lacked the concern for your teammate to spot the simple inaccuracies in my henge." Sasuke looked away at that, grunting his disapproval but he couldn't meet the older redhead's gaze anymore so he turned to Sakura.
"Likewise, you were the Kunoichi of the year with the best grades and you fell for a relatively simple Genjutsu. You were concerned for your teammate, yet you let that cloud your judgement." He made sure to capture her gaze as he continued to speak so that the full force of his words were clear "In a real mission that would not only get you killed, but them as well." Like Sasuke before her she looked away, obviously ashamed at her own performance. "I honestly expected a lot better from you, especially considering who your parents are." The Pinkette looked up at that, obvious confusion marring her features.
"You know my parents?" Naruto raised a brow in confusion, a small smirk adorning his amused face.
"Of course, your old man was my father's main competition for the Hokage seat along with Orochimaru of the Sannin." The small grimace at having to say that man's name was lost on the three Genin before him; obviously more concerned with their own problems. However the meaning behind the words wasn't lost on any of them as they took in their sensei in a whole different light.
"You're the son of the Fourth Hokage?" Naruto nodded idly as he turned to the last of his three Genin hopefuls; he was too used to the village treating differently due to his parents, he didn't need it from his potential students.
"And you are Yugao Uzuki's sister, right?" The purple-haired girl nodded timidly; she had already seen her two teammates get chewed out and was dreading her sensei's words already.
"You know Yugao-nee?" The redhead nodded again, this time a more melancholic smile on his face. Yugao was one of his best friends along with Hana and a few others in the ANBU; he had plenty of good memories with the purple-haired sword-mistress.
"Of course, your sister was the one to properly teach me Kenjutsu; still can't beat her in a straight match." Ami smiled for a moment at the praise to her sister before Naruto's gaze became sterner. "Yet I didn't see much of that in the way you performed..." he looked at her confusedly for a moment "...don't you have a sword?" Ami quickly shook her head; a sad look in her eyes as she refused to meet Naruto's gaze.
"They never taught it in the academy and, well, Yugao-nee's always so busy with her work in the ANBU, I just don't want to disturb her." Naruto's gaze softened momentarily before it swept back around to take in the whole group.
"Well in any case; your performance as a team was really poor; your individual skills are just barely passable as Genin, even if Sasuke's Taijutsu is above average, there is no way I should pass you three." This time all three Genin hung their heads in defeat, even the Uchiha; at least until Naruto sighed loudly enough to catch their attention and ran a hand through his mop of hair. "Luckily for you guys, or maybe unfortunately, I see potential in all three of you." Their heads immediately perked up with hopeful expressions in their eyes; except for Sasuke who seemed to have the emotional flexibility of a teaspoon.
"I expect you three to be here at this training ground at eight in the morning." He stared at them intently for a moment "I dislike people who are late" He mumbled something else under his breath but they missed it; however the words 'Taichou' and 'sulk' were fairly audible. With that he got up, gave them a friendly wave and turned around, at least until Sakura's shrill voice cut through the peaceful afternoon.
"Wait sensei if you were going to pass us, why did you tie us to these trees?" Naruto just gave another cheeky smile before vanishing in a bright flash of red, leaving three very confused and grumbling Genin.
Naruto couldn't help the slight sigh that escaped his lips as he slumped into a comfortable chair in his father's office. Then again the room could barely be called that anymore as the redheaded teen had long ago moved out most of his father's notes and effects save for the flame-patterned Haori hung on a wall hook and a few seal designs the Yondiame had left half-completed. Nowadays it was mostly filled with hurried sketches and scribbles from his younger self, along with a neat layer of dust that hadn't been so much as disturbed for a good few months. As he looked over the various sheets he had left strewn over the old wooden desk Naruto slightly regretted that he had somewhat let his fuuinjutsu stagnate while in the ANBU.
Absently he reached for the nearest sheet, almost coughing as he managed to send a small plume of dust floating into the air which he quickly waved away. A small smile passed along his lips as he traced the small, intricate design that was only half-complete. He was just reaching for a fine ink brush when a voice called out from the doorway.
"I remember that one; the Kunoichi seal right?" The redhead looked up to see Anko staring at him with a lopsided, bemused grin from the doorway.
"Yeah, I was going to update Jiriaya's pregnancy seal for Kunoichi out in the field, his was too tough to remove on short notice, even for someone who knew how to deactivate it." Anko chuckled, slinking across the room and wrapping her arms around the back of the chair and across Naruto's chest.
"Still is, you know." She lightly patted her side where underneath her tan skirt a small oval squiggle sat on her right hip. At that Naruto frowned, leaning back more on the chair to kiss his girlfriend on the neck before staring back at the half-finished seal.
"Why did I stop working on it?" Anko's expression sobered at that as she slipped around the chair, nestling into his lap and leaning her back against the side of the desk.
"You left on short notice for a mission in the Land of Water, you didn't come back for three weeks. When you did you threw yourself into training your Taijutsu, I haven't seen you even come in here since then." Naruto's frown just deepened; he had lost a teammate on that mission, a recruit to the ANBU, his mask was still shiny and his uniform pressed and clean. It had been Naruto's job as the captain to watch over him and make sure he got back safe, but he wasn't fast enough, he couldn't be everywhere at once no matter how hard he tried.
"Maybe I should start working on it again?" It wasn't really a question to be answered but Anko chose to all the same, playfully slapping him on the chest.
"Never mind that though, how'd it go with the Gakis?" At that, Naruto's frown twisted into a look of exasperation that only made Anko's grin wider and a little more towards that sadistic side that made her so infamous around the village. "That bad huh?" Naruto just groaned as he ran a hand through his hair.
"I wouldn't call them bad just…. Urgh." His groans only made Anko snicker as she shuffled about on his lap, trying to get comfortable. "Why couldn't I get Genin that are more, you know…" Anko raised an eyebrow, poking Naruto lightly in the forehead as he failed to come up with an answer.
"More like your team?" Naruto didn't accept her accusation, but he didn't deny it either.
"I mean come on, at their age I was leading people twice my age on A-ranked missions, Itachi had mastered his Sharingan beyond anything the Uchiha had seen since Madara and Shisui had managed to master the Shunshin to the point he got a moniker because of it." Anko sighed thoughtfully, a rare expression on her usually playful features.
"Naruto, you can't have your expectations so high; when we were Genin Konoha was still recovering from both the war and the Kyuubi attack. We were fast tracked through our education and immediately thrown out into the field. These kids aren't us, I mean come on, you've seen Kakashi; child prodigies don't tend to come out the most well-adjusted of people." This time it was Naruto's turn to raise a bemused eyebrow.
"So I'm not well adjusted?" Anko just snorted in that cute manner of hers, staring at the redhead incredulously.
"You mean beside that massive hero complex of yours, your obsession with your father and your innate fear of women?" Naruto blinked and silence reigned in the small study for a few moments.
"I'm not afraid of women." At that Anko couldn't help it and burst out laughing, nearly falling off Naruto's lap in her exuberance; even Naruto was sporting a grin.
"Oh please! I swear you still shudder every time we walk past that red-haired baker in the market street; just what the hell did your mother do to you anyway?" Naruto grumbled something under his breath before rounding on his girlfriend.
"Well what about you?" Anko managed to quickly gather herself together and look at Naruto with false superiority.
"What about me? I'm the picture of a well-adjusted Kunoichi." To emphasise her point she cupped her chin with both hands and gave Naruto a heart-warming smile; luckily the redhead had years to grow an immunity to such tactics.
"What about that exhibitionist streak of yours?" Anko blinked at that, looking down at the clothes she was wearing which, admittedly, was just a sheer top and her underwear. "I swear if I wasn't here to tone you down you'd be walking around in a mesh shirt and little else." Anko pouted and crossed her arms under her substantial bust, not exactly helping her point.
"I'm not that bad." Naruto snorted and poked her just above her heart making her uncross her arms to bat his finger away.
"And you're obsessed with Dango." At that Anko bristled, a vicious gleam entering her eye.
"You're obsessed with Ramen!" Naruto grinned and leaned in closer.
"You pick your teeth with Senbon!" Anko rose to the challenge, bringing her face so close their noses were almost touching.
"You don't know how to use a damn door!" There was another pregnant pause as the two Shinobi gazed balefully into each other's eyes, daring the other to say anything. Suddenly, and neither knew who instigated it afterwards, the two slammed their lips together aggressively as hands began to quickly wander across clothing, shucking it where possible. The chair groaned beneath them as they lost themselves in their passion.
Almost an hour later and the two found themselves naked, sweaty and panting atop the office desk, more than just dust having been disturbed during their bout of lovemaking as Anko found when she peeled off a rather intricate seal drawing from where it had been stuck to her left ass cheek for the better part of the last half hour. Naruto was smiling happily next to her, an arm snaked around her waist while the other held his father's cloak across their lower halves, trying to conserve what modesty they had left.
"What were we talking about again?" Anko chuckled humorously at the laboured question, Naruto had after all been rather starved of oxygen for the past few minutes.
"Oh you know; just how you have serious mommy issues while I'm just an all-round awesome person." She finished with a bright grin that only had Naruto flop his head back, chuckling breathlessly. Soon enough though he groaned and levered himself up onto his arms before turning and pulling himself up off the table. Anko made her dissatisfaction known when two slender arms snaked their way around his waist in an attempt to pull him back in.
"Come on Anko, I have to report to the Hokage that I passed my team." Anko murmered her dissent but let him go nevertheless, sighing as she got up, completely uncaring that she was completely naked, having let the Yondaime's Haori float uselessly to the ground.
"I suppose; you can't keep grumbling about how late Kakashi is all the time only to do it yourself." Naruto frowned as he went about collecting up his clothes, throwing Anko's bra out in to the hallway in his own childish retribution for the comment.
"I don't always grumble about Kakashi." Anko simply chuckled as she slipped by him, making sure to press her assets against his chest as she did so and not even bothering to collect her clothes as she stalked off towards the shower.
"Sure sure, just add it to the list." Naruto simply sighed as he too moved out of the office, however it didn't take long before a smile snuck back onto his features.
A few minutes later and Naruto was dressed and suitably freshened for a meeting with the Hokage; he had decided to take a more scenic route so elected not to simply flash to a Hiraishin tag he had in the waiting room and actually left through his home's front door, if for no other reason than to prove to Anko that he could. However not even two minutes out of his house and the young Jounin was forced to suddenly duck to one side, allowing a flash of steel to pass over his head with barely an inch of clearance, causing the air to hum menacingly.
He quickly ran up a wall, drawing the tanto off his back that was standard issue for all ANBU in a flash to meet his assailant's next swing. Luckily she was a Kunoichi so he managed to overpower her, forcing her to flip back onto an adjacent roof, allowing her long purple hair to fan out distractingly. Normally in this situation Naruto would have immediately made some attempt to alert the village there was an infiltrator but this time he simply sighed before running a hand through his hair, giving the Kunoichi a moment to speak up.
"Why didn't you tell me?" The redhead carefully slid the Tanto back into its sheath on his lower back, hopping back down into the street as his attacker did the same.
"Hello to you too Yugao." The Kunoichi removed the blue-marked cat mask she was wearing revealing piecing black eyes and a sharp but petite nose.
"Taichou." Naruto sighed; her clipped tone told him just how irritated she was.
"I'm not your Taichou anymore Yugao." Yugao simply clicked her tongue, stopping the in the street and placing her hand on her hip.
"That's funny, you never told me anything." Naruto supressed another groan but couldn't stop his hand running through his hair; today was just turning out to be a rollercoaster for his mood.
"It was short notice, Hokage's orders and you were out on a mission at the time." Yugao's eyes narrowed at that as she exhaled derisively.
"And you couldn't have told me when I came back two days ago? I had to hear it from Hayate of all people and he's not even in the corp!" Naruto sighed and just kept walking down the street in the general direction of the Hokage tower.
"I've been busy, Hokage-sama made me a Jounin Sensei." Yugao followed after him, arms crossed across her chest armour.
"I know, Ami told me that she got the Naruto Namikaze for a sensei." At that Naruto had to chuckle and even Yugao had to suppress a flicker of a grin at the corner of her lips.
"She didn't even know who I was earlier today." Yugao shrugged and Naruto could see a little of the tension leave her shoulders; he had once been told he was a hard man to stay angry at… but then again that was Anko, and they had just had sex, so it may have been a biased argument.
"What can I say, she's impressionable." Naruto looked away sheepishly at that, remembering how the two 'Kunoichi' on his team acted around Itachi's brother.
"Yeah… I noticed." Yugao looked like she was about to comment when she suddenly looked up, noticing a hawk that began to circle over their position, calling her away to the ANBU headquarters. Quickly she replaced her mask and turned to leave, but not before suddenly flashing around, katana held up and at Naruto's neck, only held at bay by the Tanto he had managed to bring up to deflect it.
"We're not done here Taichou, you better take good care of my sister or I'm coming for you." And with that she sheathed her weapon in one smooth motion before vanishing in the leaf's trademark Shunshin. Naruto continued walking on as if he hadn't just been threatened but internally he was groaning, suddenly knowing how Kakashi felt every time he still called the man Taichou. Briefly he wondered if this was how Ensui-sensei had felt when he first took on him, Itachi and Shisui as a team before unintentionally quoting the man under his breath.
"Come on girls, just five more." Naruto watched with amusement as Sakura and Ami both doggedly forced their bodies to keep moving as they ran back and forth across the clearing. They were panting heavily and their arms had long ago lost their ability to move in any kind of coordination with their legs but they were still going, so Naruto had to hand them that. There was also the small fact that every time they tried to walk Naruto just added on five more lengths.
"Sensei… why… are we… just… running?" Ami rasped out as she finally completed her set, instantly collapsing to the floor as she desperately tried to force air into her lungs and sate the burning in her limbs. A few moments later and Sakura joined her, a light sheen of sweat covering both their bodies.
"Yeah… shouldn't we… be doing… team… exercises or something?" Naruto let his body fall backwards only to hook his legs around the tree branch he had been sitting on and flip to his feet, a grin on his face as he watched both girls recover from the stamina work out he had both on.
"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and right now, in this team, it's you two." Ami winced at the brutally honest summation of their skills while Sakura couldn't find the energy to give a reaction, simply making a note to glare at her sensei as soon as she had control of her facial muscles again. "That's why Sasuke isn't doing the stamina exercises, he's already far ahead of you on that front." The redhead motioned with a sweeping gesture to the other side of the clearing where Sasuke was sparring against a shadow clone of Naruto.
"B-But Sasuke-kun's the Rookie of the year!" Naruto simply cocked an eyebrow at that, noticing Ami seemed to have recovered enough to speak normally; it seemed she was the more physically fit of the two Kunoichi.
"So? Do you really think any Shinobi you face will care about that? I'm going to bring you up to the same level as Sasuke so, as a team, you can support one another equally." The Jounin then quickly ran a hand through his hair and added "Or so you can survive long enough to become Chuunin." He smiled down at the girls before his eyebrow twitched as he heard Sasuke snort derisively from across the clearing. The look of irritation quickly turned to one of satisfaction as his clone managed a strong punch on the young Uchiha, making the dark-haired boy fold around his fist before being launched across the clearing. To his credit though, Sasuke managed to flip in the air and land somewhat steadily on the ground a few meters away.
"You think something's funny Sasuke?" The boy just scowled at his sensei, rubbing his stomach before settling back down into his Taijutsu stance. However to his surprise the shadow clone in front of him suddenly burst into smoke without warning and a hand lightly fell across his shoulder. "I hope you weren't belittling my teaching methods." Sasuke leapt away in surprise as Naruto suddenly appeared from behind him in an instant; in his surprise at the man's speed he nearly tripped over his feet.
'Fast!' Sasuke's eyes widened though when he turned around only to see a palm heading for his stomach. It was too fast for him to dodge so he simply moved with it, leaning back to disperse most of the force. It still winded him though, but he stayed on his feet, glaring at where his teacher stood, the man not even bothering to enter a stance of any kind.
"You know Sasuke, when I first saw your profile and saw that I would be teaching Itachi's little brother…" At the mention of that man's name Sasuke's eyes narrowed dangerously and for a second Naruto could have sworn he saw a flicker of red in those black orbs "… I thought you would be a lot like him." Sakura and Ami looked on in confusion from the side of the training ground, worried for the boy they both had a crush on but at the same time too tired to do anything. Sasuke on the other hand didn't want to hear any more and immediately charged the Jounin, launching into a flurry of fast-paced Taijutsu moved the two girls struggled to keep up with.
"But you know Sasuke, I've known you for less than a day and I already know you're nothing like Itachi." He easily swatted aside a spinning kick, diverting the motion so Sasuke flew over his shoulder. "Itachi wasn't as powerful as people made him out to be but he knew how to use what he had and he perfected everything he knew." He grabbed Sasuke's punch in one hand, quickly catching the lead-up kick before spinning and throwing the boy clear across the clearing. "He knew how to keep his head in the most stressful situations, never letting his emotions control him." At this point Naruto wasn't even sure Sasuke was listening as the boy flashed through hand seals that Naruto was all too familiar with.
"Fire release: Grand fireball Jutsu!" Sasuke exhaled an impressive sphere of flames that hurtled across the training ground, scorching the grass as it passed over. However Naruto was no longer in its line of fire.
"Itachi was always aware of his environment." The sudden voice made Sasuke recoil away as Naruto once again appeared behind him, grabbing his shoulder and flipping him forward so he impacted painfully on his back. He tried to pick himself back up only to feel a sandaled foot press him back down, making cracks appear in the ground beneath him from the force. Suddenly the sun was blocked out as Naruto leaned over, making sure to lock eyes with the young Uchiha.
"But Itachi was a traitor, don't become like your brother." Sasuke couldn't help but wince at the pressure on his chest but still managed to grind out between gritted teeth.
"Who are you to tell me that!?" For a moment Naruto's hair fell forward across his forehead protector, shadowing his eyes.
"I was your brother's teammate." Sasuke's eyes widened as it suddenly all clicked into place; he remembered why Naruto's face was so familiar. When Itachi was still in the village a redheaded boy would often come over to eat with them along with his cousin Shisui. Sasuke was still young at the time so he barely remembered but he even recalled that same boy joining him and Itachi, playing Ninja or practising shuriken throwing.
"Tomato head?" Suddenly Naruto's foot was hooked underneath Sasuke's side and with a fluid motion he flicked Sasuke back up onto his feet.
"I hated that stupid nickname, Shisui would always laugh at me whenever you called me it." Sasuke just blinked as he processed the fact that his sensei was the very same boy that would go toe to toe with Itachi and sometimes even win. At this point Sakura and Ami had recovered enough to walk over, sensing that the fight was over.
"Sensei?" While Sakura had immediately gone over to see it Sasuke was okay, who was too shocked to shrug her off as usual, Ami just look towards the Jounin in confusion. He simply smiled at her though, reaching across and ruffling her hair, much to her obvious annoyance.
"Don't worry about it; me and Sasuke just had something to talk about, okay?" Ami looked uncertain but once she looked across and saw the Uchiha looked back to his normal, sullen self she nodded slowly. Naruto just gave her a bright smile and looked back around to the rest of his team, already feeling like he could actually do this now. "Alright! I think I've gathered quite a bit on you all today." All three Genin blinked at that; all the two girls had done was run and Sasuke had merely sparred with the Jounin without even causing the older teen to break a sweat.
"Sakura." The Pink-haired girl jolted to attention at the firm, but warm voice, meeting her Sensei's purple eyes quickly. "You have an excellent grasp on Chakra control and you're obviously the type that prefers thinking before action. Normally I would say that would make you dead set for the cryptanalysis department, but to be honest I think that would be putting your potential to waste; you have the makings for an excellent Genjutsu specialist or even a combat medic with the right training." Sakura seemed surprised by the frank assessment and more than a little pleased internally to be praised.
"However…" Immediately she felt a sense of foreboding come over her "…I suck at all that fine control stuff, so until I can find someone to help you along that path I'll be working on your stamina and increasing your Chakra reserves, considering that is where you're lacking at the moment." Sakura groaned and her shoulders slumped at the thought of more running only to look up in confusion when a thought struck her.
"You got all that from just watching me run Sensei?" However Naruto simply grinned sadistically.
"Nope." Leaving the poor girl confused Naruto turned to his next student. "Sasuke" Hearing his name seemed to snap the boy out of whatever daze his revelations had put him in and he quickly turned to the Jounin. "It's fairly obvious your Taijutsu and Ninjutsu are both strong, with a lot of potential for future growth, but I wouldn't neglect Genjutsu, a lot of Uchiha have become incredibly powerful from that art." Naruto gave Sasuke a meaningful look that was missed by the two Kunoichi and after a moment of silent staring Sasuke begrudgingly nodded.
"For now I'll work you on those areas, but I'll also be working with you to unlock your Sharingan; as far as I'm concerned, you're behind." Sasuke scowled at that but he couldn't exactly refute it; by his clan's standards he was somewhat of a late bloomer in that regard, which infuriated him to no end. "Ami." Finally Naruto turned to the purple haired girl who had been avoiding his gaze up until this point. "Like Sakura you are lacking in both stamina and Chakra reserves, but you are more conditioned for physical combat than her, something that I will be helping you work on, being a specialty of mine." He grinned at the three Genin, standing up straight and nodding appreciatively at them all, not seeing what they were now, but the team they could become.
"Right then, we'll head off to the mission desk and collect our first mission as team seven, okay?" At that, even Sasuke seemed to perk up as all three felt themselves fill with excitement at the prospect of their first real mission as a Shinobi of the Leaf. However as Ami turned to follow her two teammates she felt a hand on her shoulder holding her back; curiously she turned to look up at her sensei who, to her surprise, was holding out a long, thin katana.
"Here, I know what it feels like to stand in the shadow of your family, but the people you look up to are supposed to be surpassed. I'm not telling you to learn Kenjutsu, but you shouldn't rule it out just because your sister uses it. A Shinobi has to use every advantage they have." Ami looked up at the red haired teen for a long few moments before tentatively reaching out and accepting the blade. She had often held her sister's various swords but they were always far too heavy for her, this one felt surprisingly light and just… correct in her hand.
"Th-Thank you sensei." To her surprise and mortification Ami felt a little blood rush to her cheeks as Naruto met her stuttered words with a kind smile. She immediately turned away and ran off after her teammates, clutching the long sword to her chest. Naruto just chuckled as he walked off after her, wondering what the first mission as team seven would be like.
A/N: Well I'm back... (About time!) ... Hey! Exams are stressful okay! But seriously, I'm back on this story, hiatus is officially over! (wohoo) But it gets better! I'm actually going to be writing two other stories in conjunction with this one, so if you like my other work check out 'Plucking Strings' and 'Kusari no Naruto' when I upload them ^.^
Shameless self promotion aside, I'm glad to be back to writing (And more glad that you're done with A-levels and school for the next few months right?) Hell yeah I am!