Alexei: Just so you know, the more reviews I get nagging me, the more likely I am to write. TROLOLOLOLOLOL.

On a more serious note, this IS a rather short chapter, but I wanted to leave the last one at a sort-of cliffhanger (though we ALL know what's going to happen (If you don't, get out))

I AM ALREADY WORKING ON THE NEXT CHAPTER!

Disclaimer: And on the Eighth Day, the Lord made a backup copy.

Chapter 4 - "That's Why You're Failures"

This Chapter Follows: Chapter 8 of the manga

/

"All three of you should quit as ninja."

/

"What is it that you want to ask so badly that you'd invite me to lunch," The elderly Hokage asked, knowing all too well that Iruka had a motive for doing so and likely what the motive was as well.

"The Jounin for Naruto's team," the academy teacher began, chewing on his food thoughtfully. "What kind of sensei is he? Is he strict?" He had heard of Hatake, Kakashi and his exploits, but he had only met him a *couple of times.

"You're worried." The older gentleman chuckled at the chuunin, then pulled out a record book that he had conveniently took with him from his office, keeping this particular meeting in mind as he did so. "Here's a list of Kakashi's past students and their records."

Iruka took the small notebook and let his gaze wander over the different names and outcomes. It wasn't long before his brow crinkled in confusion. He flipped through the pages more fervently, skimming over in a quick double check.

At last he looked up at the Hokage, shocked at what he had just read.

"n-no way…"

"Kakashi's test might be a little bit too difficult," The Hokage mused. "Since children are obedient."

"Yeah but this is…" Iruka swallowed. "This is all zeros."

"Yup, Kakashi has never passed anyone. They've all failed."

/

"Quit as ninja's?!" Naruto yelled, flailing his legs around. I had to scoot away to avoid getting hit in the face with his well worn sandal. He may have still been tied to the post, but it didn't look like that post was going to stay upright very long with how he was swinging on it.

"What's that supposed to mean?! Sure we couldn't get the bells, but why do we have to quit?!"

"Actually," Kakashi began. "Hinata over there seems to have gotten a bell."

What?

I stared at Kakashi in shock. Sure, I technically had the bell now, but he knew full well that it was Sasuke who actually grabbed it from him. He knew that perfectly well.

"What-" Naruto was cut off as Kakashi began again.

"Even so, all of you are just punks who don't deserve to be ninja."

Sasuke was on his feet in an instant, running at Kakashi with anger in his eyes.

"Ah?!"

"S-sasuke?!"

I couldn't even see the movement, but Sasuke was suddenly face first in the dirt with the silver haired man sitting comfortably on his back.

"That's why you're a punk," Kakashi explained. He had one of Sasuke's arms tightly bound by his much larger hands and rested a foot on the raven-haired boy's head. "Are you guys underestimating ninjas? Huh? Why do you think you were divided into teams and doing this training?"

"h-huh?" I leaned forward. "W-what does th-that mean?"

"It's funny that Hinata is the one asking." Kakashi shook his head, a disappointed expression crossing his covered face. "Basically, you guys are not understanding the answer to the test."

"Answer?" Naruto asked.

"Yes, the answer that helps you pass this test." There was a silence as his words sunk in. None of us responded because none of us had any clue what he was talking about. He sighed. "It's teamwork. The three of you working together may have gotten both of the bells."

"What do you mean by teamwork?!" Naruto burst out, flailing his limbs again. "There are only two bells! Even if we work together and get the bells, one of us will still fail! What teamwork is that?! That just makes us fight with each other!"

"Of course," our teacher nodded, agreeing. "This test is purposely set up to make you fight amongst yourselves."

"H-huh?"

"The purpose is to see whether you can forget about your own interests and successfully work together under these designed circumstances." He paused, sighing. "Yet, you guys… Naruto, you were just running around by yourself. Sasuke, you just assumed the others would get in your way and tried to do everything by yourself. The only one who get even close was Hinata, who created a diversion long enough for Sasuke to grab one of the bells, which he passed on to her anyway because he 'didn't need some stupid girl's help' if I recall correctly." I blushed and stared at the dirt, recalling the conversation. "The duties are done by the team. Of course, superior individual ability is important to be a ninja, but what's even more important is teamwork.

"Individual plays that disrupt the team can put your comrades in danger, and even get you killed. For example…" He crouched down, pulling out one of Sasuke's arms in an awkward position and pressing his lower-arm against his neck. "Hinata! Kill Naruto, or Sasuke dies!"

"What?!" Naruto yelled, looking around frantically for an escape, like he actually thought I was going to harm him.

I couldn't do that, even if someone else's life was at risk.

"You see?" Kakashi inquired, relaxing and finally releasing Sasuke. "If a hostage is taken, you will have tough choices and then die. You will be risking your lives in these duties." He wandered off to the side to a large gravestone. "Look at this," he commented. "The numerous names carved on this stone. These are ninja who are recognized as heroes of the village."

Naruto's ears perked up at that. "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!" I could feel the vibrations of his voice in my toes. "I've decided to get my name carved on that stone too! Hero! Hero! That's what I'll become!"

"Um, N-naruto…" He didn't quite understand.

"They aren't just normal heroes," Kakashi explained to the blond.

"Oh yeah?! Then what kind are they?!"

There was a silence as Naruto waited impatiently for an answer. Kakashi didn't seem willing to give one. He wanted Naruto to figure it out, but it didn't seem like that would be happening anytime soon.

"Moron," Sasuke muttered.

"N-naruto…" He whipped his head over to look at me expectantly. "All of those n-names… They belong t-to the shinobi who d-died in *battle."

His eyebrows twitched and slowly the realization dawned on him. He looked away from me and stared at the dirt in shock. Sasuke remained quiet on the matter. I assumed he already knew as much. Several of his former clan members were etched on to that stone.

"This is a memorial," Kakashi concluded, cementing the somber mood. "My best friend's name is also carved here." He turned his head, and I could see the shadow of sadness settle over his eye. "You guys… I'll give you one more chance, but after lunch I'll make it even tougher to get the bells. Those who still wish to challenge can eat lunch, but don't give any to Naruto."

"W-why?" I asked.

"It's punishment for trying to eat by yourself. If anyone gives him any food, they will fail immediately. He paused, suddenly glowering at us. I felt my heart rate speed up in fear. "I am the rules here. Got it?" With his final warning given, Kakashi hopped off.

"Heh! I don't need any food! I'm fine!"

Groooooowl…

/

Sasuke and I sat on either side of Naruto, quietly eating our lunches. It was silence aside from the sounds of the wind, the birds, and Naruto's stomach.

Groooooowl…

I had barely touched my own food. I felt a bit bad for Naruto because he was obviously starving and I had already eaten. I didn't want to disobey Kakashi though.

Groooooowl…

"Here." Iooked over at Sasuke who was holding his container of food out to Naruto.

"b-but Kakashi just said-"

"Don't worry, Hyuuga." I blushed at hearing him say my name so casually."I don't sense him near here. After lunch we'll work together and get the bells."

"B-but-"

"Without food, Naruto will just be in the way, and it will only hurt us in the end." He didn't look at me as he explained his reasoning, but he did glance up as I shook my head.

"Then N-naruto can have m-mine. I already ate this m-morning." I stared at the dirt as I held out my food to Naruto. "I w-would much rather b-be sent back t-to the academy, than let y-you risk your chance to become a genin. You're t-too good to go b-back to school. They w-wouldn't have anything else to t-teach you."

I could feel the Uchiha staring at me, but I refused to look up from the ground.

"Thanks…"

W-what?

"Wow, Hinata," Naruto cut in, making me think I was only imagining Sasuke's gratitude. "That's the most I've ever heard you talk!"

Suddenly there was a huge explosion in front of us. I braced myself on one of the training poles. I saw Kakashi before the others did, and I knew that he had caught us.

"YOU GUYS," I heard him yell over Naruto's screaming. *"Pass 3"

Huh?

Kakashi chuckled behind his mask. "You guys are the first. Everyone else would just do whatever I told them. They were all just morons. A ninja must see underneath the underneath. Those who break the rules and codes of the ninja world are called trash, but you know what? Those who don't take care of their comrades are lower than trash."

There was silence as we all took in what he said.

"That ends the training," Kakashi continued. "All of you pass! Starting tomorrow Team 7 will begin it's duties!"

/

*You know, I actually have no clue what kind of canon relationship Iruka and Kakashi had before the start of the series. If I'm incorrect in my assumption, help me so that I can fix these mistakes early on. On an interesting side note, a friend of mine looked it up for me. she typed in, "were Kakashi and Iruka friends?" and almost the entire first page was fanfiction stories… sigh...

*While writing "in battle" I accidentally typed, "in babble."

*That is exactly how they put in the translation I'm following. Kakashi says "Pass 3" and it was so good I had to include it.

Alexei: Whoot. School is actually quite mellow right now. I have lots of free time, and I spend most of it writing and rewriting, but I think I'm going through a slump (it's funny cause how little I update when I'm NOT in a slump) because I hate everything I put down...