Chapter 6: New Beginnings

Posted: September 24, 2013

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto


"An interesting mission you most certainly had," addressed the Hokage to Team 7. "I still think you should have returned to the village, but in the end, everything worked out for the best. Gato is dead, Nami no Kuni is freed from a tyrant, and your team has appeared to have grown much stronger as a result of the experience."

"I agree, Hokage-sama. Even though the mission never should have happened in the first place, I feel as if it was a good way to introduce my team to the true nature of the shinobi world," said Kakashi.

"And it appears as if you've brought a guest back with you," said the Sandaime as he turned his attention towards Haku. "And who may this be?"

"Hello, Hokage-sama," Haku bowed. "I'm Yuki Haku."

"Ah yes, the apprentice of Momoichi Zabuza, Demon of the Hidden Mist," spoke Hiruzen. "And if you don't mind me asking, what are your intentions in this village?"

"I came here looking for a new beginning and, I was hoping, to join your village's shinobi ranks," said Haku.

"Well, I don't see that being much of a problem, so long as those are your true intentions," questioned Hiruzen.

"What are you talking about Jiji? Haku's a good person! She wouldn't mean to harm the village," Naruto defended his newest friend.

"Naruto…" hushed Kakashi.

"While that may be, realize this is still a shinobi village. Haku here may not have any records as a shinobi and as such she has a clean slate amongst the villages; however, I am not going to be blindly extending an open arm to anyone," said Hiruzen.

"What is it you ask of me to prove my loyalty?" requested Haku.

"Simply submit to a mental evaluation. That should clear up any grey areas regarding your intentions to join the village. If everything passes, then I see no problems with allowing you to apply for citizenship and to join our ranks," said Hiruzen. "Do you agree to my terms?"

"If it means being able to start a new life with my friends, then yes," said Haku.

"Excellent," smiled the Hokage before motioning to an ANBU in the room. A cat-masked ANBU appeared in front of Hiruzen's desk. "Neko, please escort Miss Yuki to Yamanaka Santa in the interrogation department."

Neko turned to Haku with an intrigued look. "Please follow me, and don't try anything."

Haku nodded and remained on guard as she followed the purple-haired ANBU.

"Kakashi-sensei, why does it seem like they're treating Haku-chan like a…" Naruto struggled to find the words.

"Like a foreigner?" finished Kakashi. "Because she is. This is how a shinobi village operates."

"Naruto," spoke Hiruzen. "I know what you're thinking. While we welcome the addition of new talent to the village, it is also my job as Hokage to be on the lookout for any spies that may try and steal our secrets or sabotage our operations."

"But Haku-chan's not a spy!" returned Naruto.

"I'm not saying she is. But as Hokage, it is my duty to help keep the village safe, both from outside threats and those inside. I'm just being cautious," said the Hokage.

"If you think she's true Naruto, then just wait a few hours for the evaluation to conclude. If everything checks out, she'll be free and allowed to join the village in no time," said Kakashi.

"I should have the results in about three hours if any of you want to stop by later," said Hiruzen. "Now, I would like a word with Kakashi. Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, you are dismissed."

"Why don't you three go to Ichiraku. I'll be there shortly," said Kakashi.

"ALRIGHT! Kakashi-sensei's treating us to ramen!" exclaimed Naruto.

"Really? Thanks Kakashi-sensei," chirped Sakura.

Kakashi simply waved them off, however he could feel the money drain out of his wallet and into that bottomless pit of a stomach Naruto had.

"Now Kakashi, is it true? Does she have the Hyoton bloodline?" asked Hiruzen with great interest.

"It is sir," confirmed Kakashi.

"I see. Then let us hope everything goes well. The last of the true ice-users would certainly be a great boon for this village," said Hiruzen. "Now, even I believe that everything will check out for our young friend. In that case, I would like to ask something of you."

"You want me to take her on my team," said Kakashi, receiving a nod from Hiruzen. "But I already have three students to train."

"I am aware of that, and while normal teams consist of no more than four squad members, it is not unknown to have a team of five," said Hiruzen. "Besides, I feel that since your team is already acquainted with Yuki-san, I believe that is where she would be the most comfortable."

Kakashi sighed. "Sadly I do agree with you, and I must be honest, she has taken a liking towards Naruto."

"Oh, did someone mention something about my godson and a girl?"

"Sigh…can't you use the door, Jiraiya?" sighed Hiruzen as Konoha's one and thankfully only super pervert hopped into the office.

"Well I would have if you hadn't demanded I get back here ASAP. I was almost done with my next book when I received your summons!" argued Jiraiya. "It truly is going to be the next literary masterpiece."

"I apologize Jiraiya, but what I summoned you here for is more important than Icha Icha." Both Kakashi and Jiraiya looked at the aging Hokage like he had just sprouted a second head.

Jiraiya then sighed. "Alright sensei, what do you have this time?"

"Do you remember that bloodline that we were hoping would awaken in Minato when he was still young?" asked Sarutobi.

"Yeah. It's probably the biggest reason why you worked your ass off to get the last remnants of the Namikaze clan here in Konoha. While being able to see into the future is nice, I don't see the point of going to such lengths to obtain a bloodline that only appears once a millennia, even if now is around the time is should be manifesting itself," said Jiriaya.

"It doesn't only grant the wielder to see into the future," corrected Kakashi. "It also allows the user the ability to manipulate time itself. Such as freeze time."

"Hold on. No offence Kakashi, but why are you here?" asked Jiraiya. "I thought the existence of the Jikaton bloodline was to remain top secret with sensei and myself being the only two aware of it."

"That was the case, until MY student just so happened to awaken that bloodline," said Kakashi.

Jiraiya's eyes widened in disbelief. "No shit. Naruto has the Jikaton?"

"He does," replied Sarutobi.


"Naruto! Slow down. You're going to get sick!" warned Sakura as Naruto just finished inhaling his sixth bowl of ramen while Sakura and Sasuke were barely half way done with their first.

"But its ramen," mumbled Naruto with a mouthful of noodles. Sakura just sighed in defeat.

"Yo!"

Everyone turned to see Kakashi enter the ramen stand and the first thing the one-eyed jonin saw was the stack of bowls by Naruto. He could already feel his wallet strangling him to death.

"Kakashi-sensei, what did the Hokage want with you?" asked Sakura.

"Oh, he just wanted to know a few more details about the mission and such," said Kakashi.

"Speaking of which, is there any word about Haku-chan?" asked Naruto.

"Naruto, it hasn't even been 30 minutes," said Kakashi.

"But can't they speed it up already?!" blurted out Naruto.

Kakashi merely sighed. "Why don't we go and train for a bit. There's something I want to start to work on with Sakura and both you and Sasuke could use the practice fighting with your eyes. Besides, it'll help pass time." "And save what's left of my paycheck."

Minutes later, Team 7 found themselves at their regular training ground. "Right. Now Naruto, you and Sasuke I want to spar while using your eyes. It'll help both of you get used to the predictive abilities associated with both of your eyes," said Kakashi as Naruto and Sasuke both nodded and went off to a separate area of the training ground to spar. "Now as for you, Sakura, I have something special in mind."

"Naruto and Sasuke both have you bested in terms of stamina and chakra reserves," said Kakashi. Sakura actually seemed a bit deflated by this. "However, your smaller reserves have resulted in a much greater degree of chakra control, so much so that you were able to pass the water-walking and tree-climbing exercises within the first five minutes of beginning the exercise, something not seen since Tsunade Senju. This leads me to believe that there are two different fields that you can excel at, genjutsu and medical ninjutsu. I have little to no knowledge in medical jutsus, although I can get you a book on that if you want, but I can teach you the basics of genjutsu."

"Wow, really?" exclaimed Sakura, excited by the prospect of genjutsu. "But umm, what about Sasuke-kun? Or Naruto?"

"Don't worry that. I'll train them as well, but right now I need to get them more accustom to using their dojutsus in battle. That is why I'm having the two of them spar each other, although…" Kakashi glanced over towards Naruto and Sasuke. Naruto, already able to see Sasuke's moves with his Shoraigan, wasn't finding it hard to predict Sasuke's attacks, however he was starting to get a bit frustrated with Sasuke being able to read his own attacks and react accordingly. With Sasuke's recent acquisition of the Sharingan, the advantage Naruto had in a taijutsu spar was severely dampened.

"Damnit Teme! Let me hit you!" shouted Naruto, causing Kakashi to sweat drop.

"What's the matter Dobe? Now that you're up against someone who can read moves just as well as you can foresee them…and I thought there was more to that so called fabled bloodline of yours," taunted Sasuke. Sasuke's taunt got through to Naruto and Sasuke received a swift kick to the gut, compliments of Naruto. The blonde had been standing at least 5 meters away from Sasuke and had disappeared from his original position and immediately reappeared with his foot in Sasuke's gut.

"Bet your Sharingan didn't see that coming, Teme!" retorted Naruto.

"Damnit Dobe! This is supposed to be taijutsu only!" shouted Sasuke. "Last I checked, that time-freezing jutsu was considered NINJUTSU!"

Kakashi and Sakura just decided it would be best to ignore their teammates antics.

"I really do need to teach Naruto how to use that jutsu properly. If that was a real battle against an enemy ninja, Naruto could have been able to kill his opponent right there," thought Kakashi. However, when it came down to it, Naruto really wasn't the killer-type. Now that he thought about it, he should have had his team make their first kill against some of Gato's thugs. While he didn't enjoy killing himself, Kakashi knew it was a necessity in the ninja world to kill your enemies and those who threaten everything precious to you. This was one lesson he'd have to teach his team sooner or later. And if Kakashi's suspicions were correct, he'd have two months to prepare them for the realities of the ninja world before it was truly required of them.

Kakashi continued on, giving Sakura a general run-down on genjutsu and even provided her with a scroll on a basic genjutsu, Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu (Demonic Illusion: False Surroundings Technique). He instructed her to work on it during her own time; however, the prospect of training on her own was something Sakura sadly was reluctant to do. She'd rather spend the time daydreaming over Sasuke.

Later that afternoon, finally the time had come to hear the verdict on Haku's evaluation. After an entire four hours of rigorous sparring with Sasuke, the rest of Team 7 couldn't help but just stare as the blonde darted towards the Hokage's Tower. How he had that much energy left in him was a mystery…well Kakashi had a pretty good idea.

"Jiji!" shouted Naruto as he burst through the door, only to find three ANBU on the left side of the room with Haku bound in shackles and the mood of the room was entirely grim. "What's going on? Jiji, why is Haku-chan in chains?"

"I'm sorry Naruto-kun," sighed Haku as she lowered her head.

"Something came up during the investigation Naruto. We have discovered that Haku here is in reality an assassin sent to infiltrate the village and assassinate me," said the Hokage. "As such, Haku will be imprisoned until such time that she will be executed." Naruto looked at the Hokage, who had the most serious look on his face anyone present had ever seen, hoping for some respite. There was no way Haku could be an assassin.

Naruto just froze, at a complete loss of words before chuckling was heard behind one of the ANBU masks.

"I'm sorry Hokage-sama, but I can't hold it any longer," said the tiger masked male ANBU with short brown hair before he and the remainder of the ANBU burst out into laughter.

"Huh?" asked a very confused Naruto as he noticed both the Hokage and Haku were laughing as well.

"Oh you should have seen the look on your face," laughed one of the ANBU.

"That's what you get for putting itching powder in our pants and gluing our kunai to our hands," smirked another ANBU underneath their mask. That was not a pretty day at all the ANBU had the strong urge to scratch the itch in their crotch regions, however the kunais stuck to their hands forced them to suffer though the entire day without being able to relieve the itch. That was defiantly not a pretty day at all.

"Hokage-sama," bowed Kakashi as the rest of Team 7 entered into the office, just in time to catch the end of the ANBU's prank.

It took another 10 minutes for Naruto to break from his stupor. "So Haku-chan is…"

"Everything looks good for Haku," smiled the Hokage as the shackles were released on the ice-wielding kunoichi. "Now, about the matter of Haku joining the village ranks. Unfortunately, because you have no formal shinobi training, the best I am able to do is grant you the rank of genin. Furthermore, all the current teams are filled, so I have decided to add you as a fifth member to a team that is already in existence."

"I understand, Hokage-sama. If I may ask, who is my team?" Haku bowed.

"They are actually in this room," said Hiruzen. Haku turned to see Kakashi waving and a surprised look upon Naruto's, Sakura's, and Sasuke's (well, as surprised as Sasuke could get) faces. "I have already discussed this with Kakashi and he has agreed to take you on as a fourth student. This goes against norms, but I feel as if Team Kakashi is the best place for you, young lady."

"Now, I'll leave you all to get acquainted with one another," said the Hokage. "In fact, I've got something I wish to discuss with Kakashi. Why don't you call it a day and give Haku a tour of the village. Haku, please stop by later this evening and I'll have some form of living arrangement made up for you."

"So Sasuke-kun, do you want to…um perhaps we could go and get something to eat," asked Sakura.

"No. I've gotta go train. Later," waved Sasuke as he walked away to go and do Sasuke stuff. A dejected Sakura slumped off, tempted to follow her crush.

"Hey wait! I thought we were going to show Haku around the village?!" shouted Naruto. There was no response as his teammates went their separate ways. "Well, it looks like it's just us, Haku…huh?"

"Yo, Naruto!" waved Chouji with the rest of his team following closely behind. It wasn't too hard for Naruto to figure out where they were going as Barbe-Q was in the direction Team 10 was walking.

"Huh? Who's your friend?" asked Shikamaru curiously.

"Oh hey guys. This is Haku. She just recently became a ninja of the village and was put on my team," said Naruto, introducing his new friend. The mentioning of Haku being added to Sasuke's team immediately fanned Ino's fire and the blonde kunochi shot Haku a glare that could freeze even the ice-user. There was no way she was going to have one more girl competing for Sasuke's attention.

"Well why don't the two of you join us then at Barbe-Q?" offered Asuma. "I think it'd be a great way to welcome Haku here to the village."

As Naruto, Haku, and Team 10 cheered and walked towards Barbe-Q, a pair of pale lavender eyes peered out of a nearby alleyway.

"Who is Naruto-kun's new friend? And why is Naruto-kun so happy to be around her? Oh no…she couldn't be…" Hinata immediately jumped to the worst-case scenario…that Haku was somehow Naruto's girlfriend, although the blonde was simply just being friendly and even more oblivious than a rock when it came to love, romance, relationships, and anything having to deal with the fairer sex.


The Hokage's Office,

"What is it you wanted to talk about, Hokage-sama?" asked Kakashi.

"Kakashi, as you are probably aware, the chunin exams will be coming to Konoha in two months," said Hiruzen.

"But Hokage-sama, they've only been a team for no more than two months already, and with the addition of Haku…" responded Kakashi.

"I am aware of that. However, with your report from your most recent mission, it appears as if your team is coming together rather well. And besides, all of them are rather fond of our newest kunoichi," said Hiruzen. "I do not think you will find a problem with the balance of the team."

"That's not the issue, Sir. I'm worried that they aren't ready for something like the chunin exams," said Kakashi. "They're too…soft."

"Well, it's your job as their sensei to teach them the ninja ways, even the darker side of the profession," said Hiruzen. "Ultimately, the choice as to whether or not they will enter is yours, but I would like you to take an honest try at readying them. Much of the village is excited to see the Uchiha's skill and I would also imagine the revelation that this village has gained a new and powerful bloodline will certainly entice clients to choose our services."

"New and powerful bloodline? Are you talking about Naruto or Haku?" asked Kakashi.

Hiruzen thought for a moment. "Well, both I guess. Although I would still prefer to remain quiet on the resurgence of the Jikaton. I'll give you and your team a light mission load over the next few weeks, giving you plenty of time to train them appropriately. I also understand the other jonin are interesting in their teams participating. This would be the first time in five years that rookies are in the chunin exams, wouldn't that be interesting?"

"It would, but…"

"Now Kakashi, I know what you may be feeling about them rushing into the exams, but didn't you make the rank of chunin at the age of 6? Only half the age that your team is?" said Hiruzen. "Again, the choice is entirely yours, but the expectations on this most recent group of genin are high and I would certainly like to see if any of them can rise to the occasion."


Over five weeks had passed since Kakashi's meeting with the Hokage regarding the upcoming chunin exams and the Hokage had strongly suggested to Kakashi that his team take the chunin exams. It had also been two weeks since Team 7 became a 5-man squad with the addition of Haku. The ice-user had been quickly integrated into the team, seeing as everyone had a chance to get to know the girl back in the wave. Over those two weeks, Kakashi had taken the time refining what his team already knew. He was able to complete the training he begun with Naruto and Sasuke and both were able to use the full version of the Shunshin no Jutsu. They still weren't quite proficient with it in combat, but they had the basis of using chakra to enhance their movements down. With enough coaxing, Kakashi had managed to get Sakura to progress on her genjutsu training, having mastered the jutsu he had given her. Given Sakura's chakra control and keen mind, it was actually rather easy for her, but the hardest part was motivating her to do something other than fawn over Uchiha teammate.

Both Naruto and Sasuke had become more accustom to using their eyes in combat and Sasuke had even gained the second tomoe on both of his eyes thanks to the continuous usage of them. Just one more tomoe and Sasuke's Sharingan would have matured fully and Kakashi could train his student how to use the hypnotic effect to influence his opponent's moves, giving Sasuke a pseudo-foresight.

Speaking of foresight, Naruto found that he still wasn't quite able to see more than a few hours into the future as it appeared the flow of time was still trying to reestablish itself; however, the fact that he could actually see into the future outside of his combat foresight told him that it wouldn't be much longer before he had the full abilities of the Shoraigan back.

Other than that, most of that time was spent refining what his team knew and improving their physical condition. He was beginning to see that in his students as both Naruto and Sasuke were beginning to show a little more muscle tone.

As of now, Kakashi was with his team once again for their morning training session. He had not even mentioned the chunin exams yet and to the rest of his team, they just thought these workouts were their normal routine. Of course, they were nowhere near as strenuous as those of a certain green beast, but still…

For the past few nights, Kakashi had been seriously debating whether or not to begin his students on elemental manipulation, considering both Haku and Sasuke were both familiar with the subject. He knew the road to mastering their own respective elements would take time; much more time than he had until the start of the exams, but that didn't mean he couldn't give them each a simple elemental jutsu to start out with.

Kakashi went over the explanation on how to discover what your main element was and handed each of his students a piece of chakra paper. Naruto went first, his paper splitting into two.

"Well it looks like you have wind, Naruto," smiled Kakashi. Sasuke raised an eyebrow at this. He knew how wind complimented fire and the fact that Naruto could use wind intrigued him greatly. "Just like Sensei."

"Wind?" asked Naruto, hoping for a little more explanation.

"It's actually a good element for you. Wind is one of the most effective elements for a close range offensive as it acts like an extremely sharp blade. It's a rare element in Hi no Kuni, but extremely powerful once mastered," explained Kakashi.

"Wow! I'm going to be so awesome!" exclaimed Naruto.

Kakashi just chuckled at the blonde's enthusiasm. "Alright Sasuke, you're next," said Kakashi.

"But I already know my element's fire," responded Sasuke.

"I know, but it wouldn't hurt now, would it?" replied Kakashi. Sasuke just shrugged and took the paper. Sasuke once again raised his eyebrow at the paper's reaction. He was an Uchiha so he had expected it to burst into flames, not crinkle. Even Kakashi was surprised by this.

"Well, it appears as if our Uchiha may not be an Uchiha at all," joked Kakashi. Sasuke shot Kakashi a glare and was answered with an eye smile. "Just kidding. But lightning, that certainly is interesting. Coincidentally, lightning's my primary element." At least this was good news to Sasuke. If Kakashi was a lightning-user, that meant that he would have some pretty powerful lightning jutsus that Sasuke could ask for later. All in all, this was actually a pleasant surprise for Sasuke as this meant that he would have a fair amount of skill in not one, but two elements already.

"Hey Kakashi-sensei, so you mentioned the 5 elements were fire, lightning, wind, water, and earth. But what about Haku?" asked Naruto. "Where does ice fit into elemental jutsus?"

"Glad you asked. Ice is actually considered a sub-element, a perfect mixture of two or more elements to form a completely separate third element," Kakashi explained. "If I'm correct, ice would be water and wind." Haku nodded at Kakashi's assumption. Kakashi handed Haku a piece of paper and Haku channeled her chakra through it. As Kakashi had predicted, Haku's paper had split in two, while becoming soaked at the same time, but not before freezing into two separate shards of ice. "I've always wondered what would happen when someone with a sub-element would do that."

"Okay Sakura, your turn," said Kakashi. Sakura did the same and watched as her paper crumbled to dust. "You have earth."

Kakashi then turned to his team. "Okay, I think we'll call it a day. Meet here tomorrow and I'll have a simple jutsu for each of your pertaining to your element. Haku, sadly the village doesn't have any ice techniques, but are you familiar with the Suiton: Suiben? (Water-style: Water Whip)"

Haku shook her head. "Okay, I'll give you that one. I've already got a theory on how you can make that jutsu work for you," said Kakashi. While a village wouldn't just go around handing out jutsus to new ninja, especially ones who have trained under an A rank missing-nin, the water whip was a fairly simple jutsu that Konoha had acquired from Kiri, meaning that it was practically common knowledge now and Haku wouldn't have a problem learning it.

As Kakashi slowly began walking away, he eyed the pile of dirt on the ground that was Sakura's paper. Bending down to examine the dirt, he felt a sort of cool moisture. "It's wet," he thought as he looked up towards his team who was walking away.

The next day, Kakashi appeared, a few hours late as always, carrying four scrolls for his students. He gave Haku the scroll on the Suiton: Suiben (Water whip) like he had said and also an idea or two on adding her ice chakra to the jutsu. Naruto was given Futon: Daitoppa (Great Breakthrough), a basic wind jutsu. Sasuke was given Raiton: Jibashi (Electromagnetic Murder). Sakura was given Doton: Doryuheki (Earth-style wall). Kakashi also gave them a few scrolls on basic elemental manipulation and told them to work on it during training, on their own, and while they waited for him in the morning. However, now they had a mission that they would have to accomplish, one which Kakashi knew would change his team.


At the Konoha gates,

"Alright! Another C rank mission!" exclaimed Naruto, happy to be back in action and no longer doing those stupid chores (aka. D ranks). They were currently waiting on Kakashi, which really wasn't anything out of the ordinary, including the fact that he had still managed to be an hour late to the gate.

"So what is it this time Kakashi-sensei?" asked Naruto excitedly. "Are we saving a princess or freeing another country?"

Everyone sweat dropped at their blonde teammate's usual enthusiasm.

"No, it's nothing like our previous C rank mission," said Kakashi. "There's a bandit camp about half-a-day west of Konoha that's been disrupting trade routes, robbing merchants, along with other things."

"So we are just going to arrest a couple of thugs?" asked Sakura. "Well I guess that won't be too bad."

"Well, I never said anything about arresting them," said Kakashi.

"Then what? Are we just going to tell them to leave?" asked Sakura.

"Sigh…so innocent," thought Kakashi. "Our orders are to eliminate the bandits causing problems along the road."

"Eliminate? But how?" asked Naruto.

"How else? By killing them of course," replied Kakashi. Everyone just froze at Kakashi's statement. Sasuke and Haku remained rather neutral on the subject, but Naruto and Sakura, both whom Kakashi would consider innocent in the shinobi world, looked mortified. Their sensei was actually asking them to kill someone?

"We are ninja. I know Haku is already familiar with this and Sasuke's no stranger to the shinobi world. We are not 'good guys' nor are we 'bad guys'. We are ninja and as such there are times when we may have to kill in order to accomplish our objectives. However, even I know killing someone is no easy task, but there are times when it has to be done. I'll warn you now, a shinobi's first kill is never taken lightly. Most shinobi break down after their first kill, which is why it is my job as your sensei to provide you with the most controlled environment possible when it comes to your first kill," said Kakashi. That still didn't help to calm Naruto and Sakura down.


"Are we ready?" Kakashi's voice called out over the radio.

"Ready," called out Haku over the radio.

"I'm in position," replied Sasuke.

"…I'm…ready," said Naruto slightly hesitantly.

"…"

"Sakura?"

"Huh? Oh…I'm ready…I guess," said Sakura, even more hesitant than Naruto.

Looking down over the small bandit camp, there weren't many people, six at most, present. There were three tents that surrounded a central fire. Two of the bandits were behind the tents, keeping a look out, while two more sat around the fire. Their intel had said that there were six bandits, so the remaining two had to be inside the tents. These were nothing more than common thugs armed with swords or clubs or anything they could get their hands on. Their chakra levels were low. If any of them had any sort of shinobi training, it wasn't beyond the first or second year at the Academy.

"Okay. On my mark. Go!" ordered Kakashi. Sasuke was the first to make a move, activating his Sharingan and silently jumping down behind one of the bandits that were patrolling the back of their camp. As the bandit turned around to see what had just landed behind him, all he felt was cold steel slash across his neck and his world go dark.

The other bandit turned to see what the ruckus was, after hearing a second thud as his partner dropped to the ground dead. Just as he saw Sasuke and the corpse of his partner, he felt two sharp pricks hit him in the neck and he two dropped dead as Haku's senbon were spot on, piercing the carotid artery in his neck.

From his outpost in the trees, Kakashi could see that Sasuke, despite jumping in and making his kill first, was phased as he just stared at the dead body of his victim. This was as expected. Haku however, despite looking saddened, showed no other signs that this was the first time she had killed. Of course, being trained by Momoichi Zabuza, Kakashi had expected that she had killed at some point.

He looked over towards Naruto and Sakura, who still had yet to make a move on the two bandits by the fire. He was about to say something before he witnessed Naruto steel himself and make his move, activating his Shoraigan and jumping down behind one of the tents.

Kakashi looked on, waiting for Naruto to do something before the bandits were onto them. But then he realized what Naruto had done as the kunai that was in the blonde's hand suddenly disappeared and reappeared in the side of one of the bandit's head.

Over the past weeks, Kakashi had worked with Naruto on how to effectively use his newest bloodline technique. He had Naruto freeze time and make the attack then, during the five second interval where his enemy would have absolutely no way to defend against his strike. It appears as if Naruto had decided to test it out for real instead of just on a dummy or Sasuke during a spar.

Kakashi looked over towards Sakura, who was still situated in the tree. She should have gone with Naruto to take out the fourth bandit at the fire, but she had yet to move.

"HEY! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!" shouted the bandit that Kakashi had planned for her to deal with. Kakashi sighed as two more bandits came rushing out of the tents, wielding something sharp and pointy. Kakashi had said he was going to control the situation for his students and now he no longer was willing to send Sakura in with three weapon-wielding thugs.

In one swift motion, Kakashi shunshined behind the three bandits and immediately dug a pair of kunai into the backs of the two on the side before disappearing again. The next thing the remaining bandit knew, he was being dragged underground so that only his head and neck were exposed.

Making a hand signal, Kakashi gathered the rest of his team. He could see that Naruto was already queasy and on the verge of throwing up, an expected reaction to a shinobi's first kill. Sasuke, although not as bad as Naruto, was also showing standard signs on unease. However, Sakura still looked rather mortified. She had just witnessed her own team kill five men.

"The last one's yours, Sakura," said Kakashi.

"Wait…WHAT?! YOU CAN'T KILL ME!" protested the trapped bandit. "Please, I'll give you anything. There's plenty of money in the tents. Go ahead and take it. Just please don't kill me!"

"Kakashi-sensei?" asked Sakura, looking for some form of relieve from this task.

"I'll do it," sighed Sasuke. He was always having to do her part of the mission. It was irritating that all she did was fawn over him rather than pull her own weight.

"No Sasuke. I'm ordering Sakura to do it," said Kakashi in a commanding voice, despite the pleas and protests of the bandit. Kakashi then turned to the screaming head. "You should have thought about that before you and your friends raped our client's wife, kidnapped their daughter, and threatened to sell her off as a slave if they didn't pay your ridiculous price."

This immediately struck a chord within Sakura and she steeled herself to make the kill, driving a kunai straight down into the man's skull. Moments later, she rushed into the woods as the nauseous feeling in her stomach was too much. Naruto soon followed suit.

It took Kakashi about 20 minutes to bring his team back from the aftershock of experiencing their first kill. He hated to do it, but if they were to enter the chunin exams like the Hokage had planned, then this was a needed eye opener for them. Already, Kurenai and Asuma had put their teams through this and they were also talking of entering their teams as well.

"Ka-Kakashi-sensei…was that true what you said?" asked Sakura, being the first to speak.

Kakashi turned around before entering one of the tents and emerging shortly after with a young girl, maybe 6 years old at the most, and bound in ropes. "It was. Our client hired us to rescue his daughter after they were attacked and this girl, Mira, was taken from them," said Kakashi. He then turned to the girl, who was shivering as Kakashi removed the bonds. "It's okay Mira-chan. We're friends of your father and are going to bring you back to him." The girl's face instantly lit up at hearing she was going to be reunited with her dad.

"Like I said before. This is the shinobi world. Sometimes you are forced to kill to accomplish your mission objective," said Kakashi. "This is just something you will all have to deal with. However, it doesn't mean you have to like killing. We're humans, not monsters. Even I don't enjoy killing, but I know when it's necessary in order to protect those I hold dear. You will encounter numerous enemies as you all grow older and those enemies will threaten to take away everything you hold dear; your family, your friends, your comrades, and even the very village you live in. As a shinobi, we fight and kill to protect that which is precious to us. The hardships we endure make us stronger and drive us forward; because that's what a shinobi is…one who endures and moves forward. The four of you killed to protect this little girl and to save her from scum that would willingly sell her off. So long as you only kill to protect that which is precious, you'll keep the morals that make us human."

"I was getting a little worried there, but all of you have passed this important lesson," said Kakashi. "The shinobi world isn't just about catching cats and weeding gardens. One day, you guys will have more important duties where failure could mean the death of someone close to you…" Kakashi trailed off.

It took a few moments of silence before Kakashi began speaking again. "Anyways, I think I'm going to let you three in on a little secret. The Chunin Exams will be coming to Konoha in a few weeks and the Hokage sees great potential in your generation. I've been thinking about recommending your four for the exam."

"REALLY?!" exclaimed Naruto. "Wait…what are the chunin exams?"

Kakashi nearly faulted. "Well, based on the name, I'd guess they're the exams we take to become chunin," said Sakura.

"Correct," said Kakashi. "However, the chunin exams are very difficult and extremely dangerous. Should you fail, there is a chance you could die; however, do well and it will bring rewards not only for you, but the village as well."


Two more weeks had passed and the chunin exams were now only about a week away. During that time, Team 7 had each managed to complete their first elemental jutsu and Kakashi was having them complete the first phase in elemental training.

Just after coming back from their C-rank mission to eliminate the bandits, Naruto had regained the full use of his eyes and now found he was able to see 2 days ahead (before the wave, it was only a day and it will increase as time goes on).

With the chunin exams fast approaching, Kakashi saw this as a good opportunity to give Sasuke some private training (like he did with Sakura's genjutsu and Naruto's timing of the Jikan no Teishi) in the Sharingan. Seeing as Sasuke's eyes had two tomoe each, he would be able to copy jutsus without much of a problem. Once Sasuke got the third tomoe in his eyes, then Kakashi would be able to teach the young Uchiha about the hypnotic effects of the Sharingan. To help Sasuke learn how to copy jutsus, Kakashi gave Sasuke a few simple jutsus. The only catch? He had to copy them from the Copy Ninja himself.

Immediately upon establishing herself in Konoha, Haku could see just how welcoming they could be to someone like her. She had never expected them to look so warmly upon someone like her. However, slowly she did begin to notice one thing that troubled her and that was the way the villagers looked at Naruto. Sure he could be a little loud and energetic at times, but that didn't warrant some of the hate–filled looks he was receiving from the villagers. To her, Naruto was one of the kindest people she knew and she just couldn't understand why the villagers looked at him like she was looked at back in Kiri. Even still, after seeing the way Naruto pushes forward with that smile on his face despite the villager's attitude towards him only made her admire the blonde more.

And then there was Sakura. Kakashi was glad that she was starting to move, if only slightly, out of her fan girl phase. After that mission where she was forced to kill one of the bandits, Sakura actually did begin taking her shinobi training a little more seriously. She still fawned over Sasuke like he was the only male human in the world, but it helped that she was starting to actually train more and more. She had surprised Kakashi by nearly mastering the Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu (Demonic Illusion: False Surroundings Technique) and Kakashi figured he might as well move her onto something a little more challenging. However, what was still confusing him was her chakra affinity testing. At first, he only noticed the earth aspect of the paper, but after feeling it, the dirt was rather wet, indicating a potential water element.

As it was, Team 7 was waiting on the bridge oh so patiently for their sensei to show, who was now running on two-and-a-half hours late. It was then that a square 'rock' came slinking nearby and everyone just stared.

"Oh come on Konohamaru! What kind of rock is perfectly square with eye holes?!" shouted Naruto.

"That's what I'd expect from the man viewed as my rival!" exclaimed Konohamaru as he, Moegi, and Udon crawled out from under the box.

"Hey, what's with the goggles?" asked Naruto.

"We're copying the old you, Naruto-niichan!" exclaimed Konohamaru.

"Pft. Why would anyone want to copy that Dobe," snuffed Sasuke.

"What's with him?" asked Konohamaru.

"Eh, we've been trying to figure that out for ages," replied Naruto. Sasuke's eye twitched as he went back to minding his own business.

"Anyways, so can you come play ninja with us boss?!" shouted an excited Konohamaru.

"Why would a ninja 'play ninja'?" asked Sakura. The kids were starting to get on just about everyone's nerves. Of course they're chronically late sensei didn't help the matter anyways.

"Hey Boss, who's the girl?" asked Konohamaru before putting up his pinky finger. "Oh I see. Is she your…"

"Oh hell no you little brat!" shouted Sakura.

"Yeah, now I see. That forehead on her really is ugly," said Konohamaru mere seconds before he found himself doing the only thing he could at the moment…running for his dear life. Somehow Naruto got dragged into it and was running from Sakura along with Konohamaru and the gang. Sasuke and Haku just sighed as Kakashi finally decided to appear at just that moment.

Konohamaru was running so fast, just intent on getting away from the Pink Fury of Death right on his tail that he didn't notice the man standing in front of him as he slammed into the man's legs.

"OUCH! Watch it you little punk!" shouted a person dressed in what appeared to be cat pajamas wearing make-up - I mean war paint – on his face. "That hurt you little piece of shit!"

"Konohamaru!" shouted Naruto.

The make-up wearing man grabbed Konohamaru by his scarf and lifted the child into the air. "Kankuro, stop! We'll get in trouble!" the girl with blonde hair tied in four pig-tails and wielding a large fan on her back said.

"Oi! Fat Ass! Let him go!" demanded Naruto.

Kankuro just looked at the leaf genin in front of him.

"Foreign ninja in the village? Why are they here? Is it for the chunin exams?" thought Sakura.

"You wanna say that again punk?!" growled Kankuro.

"Kankuro!" shouted the blonde haired girl. "Stop before he shows up."

"It'll only take a moment, Temari," replied Kankuro. "Besides, I hate midgets. Especially rude ones…makes me want to kill them." Kankuro reared his fist back for a punch but before he could clock Konohamaru upside the head, it was caught by a hand. Said hand belonged to the very blonde who was just standing on the other end of the alley.

"I didn't even see him move!" thought an astonished Temari. "H-how could he move so fast?"

"Naruto…you shouldn't be showing off like that," sighed Sakura.

After a moment of trying to contemplate just how Naruto moved so fast, Kankuro dropped Konohamaru and prepared to punch Naruto with his now freed hand. However, before he could even bring his arm back, he felt a sharp pain shoot through his arm as a senbon struck him out of nowhere.

"I don't care if you're here for the chunin exams. You bastards really shouldn't cause any trouble in OUR village," warned Sasuke as he and Haku appeared in a nearby tree.

"Damn…another guy who just pisses me off. Although that girl is pretty cute," thought Kankuro. The Suna ninja prepared to pull the bandaged bundle off his back, but was stopped as another person announced his presence.

"Kankuro, stop!" demanded the voice and immediately a wave of fear shot through the two Suna ninja. Everyone turned to see a boy, no older than Naruto, with a large gourd on his back and the kanji for 'love' tattooed on his forehead standing on the tree next to Sasuke and Haku. "You're an embarrassment to our village."

"When did he…" thought Team 7 in unison.

"Losing control of yourself like that, how pathetic," said the newest participant.

"G-Gaara. Look, they started it…"

"Shut up, or I'll kill you," threatened Gaara before shunshining next to his comrades. "To be able to hit Kankuro like that…and to move that quickly…"

"I'm interested in you," said Gaara. "What are your names?"

"Uchiha Sasuke."

"Yuki Haku."

"Uzumaki Naruto."

"Haruno Sakura."

"I'm also interested in you," grinned Sasuke.

"Sabaku no Gaara," said Gaara. "Are you in the exams?"

Gaara was satisfied with a nod from Sasuke. He turned and walked away with his teammates. This was going to be a most interesting chunin exam.


Jutsu

Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu (Demonic Illusion: False Surroundings Technique)

Suiton: Suiben (Water-style: Water Whip)

Futon: Daitoppa (Wind-stlye: Great Breakthrough)

Raiton: Jibashi (Electromagnetic Murder)

Doton: Doryuheki (Earth-style wall)


Author Notes

Well, here's chapter 6. It was, for the most part, a training montage but I wanted to get to the chunin exams.

I decided to have Kakashi as a reasonable sensei. Despite being late, he still does teach his team stuff. Also, Kakashi just started them on the very basics of elemental manipulation, not like what Naruto did to make the Rasenshuriken. Kakashi also won't be just handing out jutsus left and right, but he'll teach them enough to get them through.

An update on pairings. I will definitely be doing NaruHaku; however, I am still considering the possibility of NaruHakuHina. Naruto's sadly going to remain an oblivious idiot when it comes to girls for some time so he won't be getting together with anyone for awhile (probably not for another 3-4 years in Naruto time). There will also begin a rivalry between the girls for Naruto's attention. Anyways, I'll just let things play out for a bit before making the decision to leave it NaruHaku or add Hinata into the mix.

Let me know how it's going. Please Review!