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 wanted 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. "These are all zeros."

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

/

"Quit as ninja's?!" Naruto yelled, flailing his legs around. Hinata had to scoot several feet away just 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?

Hinata stared at Kakashi in shock. Sure, she 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?!"

Hinata 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?" Hinata leaned forward. "W-what does th-that mean?"

"I find it hilariously ironic that Hinata is the one asking that question." 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 them responded because none of them had any clue what he was talking about. Kakashi 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," Kakashi 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 again, 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." Hinata blushed and stared at the dirt, recalling the conversation with clarity. "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 she 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!" Hinata could once again feel the vibrations of his voice in her 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 Hinata 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 her guiltily and stared at the dirt in shock. Sasuke remained quiet on the matter. She 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 Hinata 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?" Hinata asked, confused.

"It's punishment for trying to eat by yourself. If anyone gives him any food, they will fail immediately. He paused, suddenly glowering at them. Hinata felt her 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 sat on one side of Naruto while Hinata sat on the other, both quietly eating silently lunches. It was quiet aside from the sounds of the wind, the birds, and Naruto's stomach.

Groooooowl…

Hinata had barely touched her own food. She felt a bit bad for Naruto because he was obviously starving and she had already eaten. She was too scared to disobey Kakashi though.

Groooooowl…

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

"b-but Kakashi just said-"

"Don't worry, Hyuuga." She blushed at hearing him say her 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 her as he explained his reasoning, but he did glance up as she shook my head.

"Then N-naruto can have m-mine. I already ate this m-morning." She stared down at the dirt as she held her own food out 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."

Hinata could feel the Uchiha staring at her, but she refused to look up from the ground to meet his gaze.

"Thanks…"

W-what?

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

Suddenly there was a huge explosion in front of us. Hinata braced herself on one of the training poles. She saw Kakashi before the others did and knew that he had been watching them.

"YOU GUYS," She 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 they all took in what he said.

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