Preface: This is a fanfiction. I do not own any part of the Naruto franchise, nor am I profiting from it in any way. This, I'm certain, is quite obvious to everyone reading this story, however I'm mentioning because of fanfiction dot net tradition.

My profile has been dedicated to an as-yet incomplete list of jutsu, ninja tools, and character stats as presented in this story. A TV Tropes page is available in a similar incomplete state.

Looking back from having just finished Chapter 75, I wince occasionally at the content of the first ten chapters or so. The usual Naruto fanfiction cliches are in place, ie Naruto receiving inheritance from his parents not present in canon, and the civilians of Konoha hating Naruto more openly than they did in canon. Even from the start I wanted to spin these tropes in new directions, ie the civilians chasing Naruto around on his birthday but not actually being able to catch him because he is, in fact, a ninja. But they're still there, and a few are rather in-your-face about it.

Really, the first arc uniformly suggests that the story is on track to become the same predictable Mary-Sue "Badass!Naruto" fic you've encountered a million times by now. When I tell you that isn't the case, that things change drastically in the Forest of Death, that is not something I say lightly.

I think it's best if I just catalogue the fanon cliches in the first arc right here, so you know what you'll be cringing at if you still decide to keep reading. Beware of spoilers, if comparatively minor ones: Naruto receives an inheritance from Kushina, tries on Minato's haori, goes on a date with Hinata, awakens the Rinnegan, meets the Kyuubi under better circumstances than canon, and takes up a sword since he's garbage at taijutsu in this continuity. That's all rushed into seven chapters and only four are set in Wave; I didn't want to do a drawn-out Wave Arc that would sit at 20 chapters before it died.

Anyway, at the start of the Chuunin Exams Naruto briefly fights Orochimaru. But to be fair on that last point, he gets completely owned and knocked out with a Cursed Seal, which also doesn't lead to any of the plotlines that likely come to mind when you see Naruto with a Cursed Seal, trust me on this.

I will not tell you that this thing I wrote is an amazing piece of literature and you should totally read it. That's not for me to decide. But what I will tell you is that this story isn't what you're expecting, that the opening chapters are misleading. I can tell you that Naruto having a Rinnegan is not the extent of the changes I made, that I powered up some villains too because I've been specifically trying to avoid Badass!Naruto. And I can tell you that I'm very proud of the rest of the story, just as I'm ashamed of its dismal start. But that's all coming from me, the author, and I'm obviously biased when it comes to my own work.

If you're a reasonably fast reader, it should take you no more than an hour to get through the cliche crap. But it's entirely your choice whether you want to give up that hour of your life, knowing that you're probably gonna spend that time groaning and rolling your eyes in annoyance.

Thank you for reading.

X

Once upon a time, a boy named Naruto Uzumaki crawled out of bed a bit late. It was October 10, his birthday, and he wasn't particularly excited.

He sat up, yawned, and stretched, alone in an apartment donated to him by the Third Hokage. He had never once celebrated this day, since everyone else in the world known to him thought of this day as the day the Fourth Hokage died. There were even a few of them who believed that it was Naruto's fault. Naruto was no genius, but he had been able to piece it together. They thought he was the Nine-Tails itself, hiding in human form until its power returned and it could destroy Konoha.

So, once a year, when their sorrow and hatred from that night ten years ago proved too much for the Hokage to keep in check, they sought out the whiskered boy and attacked him.

Or tried to, at least. In reality, they just ended up halfheartedly tailing him for a few minutes each year before the boy escaped. It might've been comical if it wasn't so sad. Young though he was, Naruto was a ninja in training, and he had more than enough speed and agility to evade the civilians who sought him out. They never actually caught him, so Naruto never actually found out whether they were prepared to do anything to him. Maybe they wouldn't really lay a finger on him, but it was unlikely that Naruto would ever find out, one way or another. Civilians just couldn't jump along rooftops and through trees, so they just couldn't catch him.

He never once blamed them. If someone killed the Third Hokage, Naruto wouldn't easily forgive them. But he knew talking about it would solve nothing, so he spent his tenth birthday, as with the years prior, in hiding. He was in no hurry to test his theory.

Specifically, he hid in Training Ground Forty-Two, a field of shattered granite slabs that had been destroyed by the Kyuubi approaching Konoha. Here was where he practiced all day, every birthday, every October 10, trying desperately to learn the Clone Jutsu. On other days he'd practice with kunai or taijutsu, but learning the Clone Jutsu, thereby becoming a Genin, would be the perfect birthday gift.

"Clone Jutsu!" A pale, shriveled, and dead-eyed parody of a blond ten-year-old popped into existence with a cloud of white smoke. Naruto groaned, and dispelled the clone. "Clone Jutsu!" This time, nothing at all emerged from the smoke. "Come on, come on! I know I can do this! If I can't learn the Clone Jutsu, what kinda Hokage would I be? CLONE JUTSU!"

This time the cloud of smoke was massive, and through it, Naruto glimpsed an upright figure. Did I do it? The smoke cleared, revealing another garbage clone and Hinata Hyuuga.

"Gah!" Naruto stepped back. Immediately, his instincts connected someone's looking at me and it's my birthday, with the result being run!

"N-Naruto-kun?" Hinata, as per usual, was avoiding eye contact, staring at her index fingers as she played with them.

The blond ninja recognized her and calmed down, though he was still a little shaky from the adrenaline coursing through his body. He sighed in relief. "Hey, Hinata-chan. What're you doing all the way out here?"

"I-I... I c-came to see you, Naruto-kun. You're always out here, t-training alone all day, whenever your b-birthday comes around. That must b-be sad..." She took a deep breath, and reached into a pocket on her grey coat. "I c-came to give you this!" she declared in a desperate, panicked voice, but whatever she tried to pull out of her pocket got stuck, and she blushed deeper than usual, trying to free the item as though her life depended on it.

"Hinata, relax, it's okay." Naruto said this quietly, unsure if it would make any difference, but continued, "You're gonna be a Genin in a couple of years, a kunoichi, believe it! So just calm down. Whatever's always got you so freaked out, I'm sure you can handle it, easy!"

Hinata was silent at this. She had managed to free the green scroll from her pocket, and was now staring at it, not sure what to do. Then she blinked and held out the scroll shakily. "T-this is for you, Naruto-kun. H-happy birthday." He took the scroll, speechless at the thought of an actual birthday present, and opened it.

It was a step-by-step instruction for a perfect execution of the Clone Jutsu, with far more detail than the lessons at the Academy.

"Hinata-chan... this is the best birthday ever!" He screeched gleefully, and hugged her, dropping the scroll in the process.

Must not faint must not faint must not faint

Hinata blushed a darker red than she ever had in her life, but managed to stay conscious. She heard what sounded like sobbing on her shoulder. Naruto-kun can't possibly be... crying... right?

"N-Naruto-kun... are you alright?"

"Yeah, I-I'm fine, it's just this is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me!" Naruto interrupted himself to weep loudly. "Hinata-chan, you're the b-best! And now I'm finally gonna learn the Clone Jutsu, and I got my first birthday present ever, and I..." he sobbed again, still with his head on her shoulder. "I'm gonna make it up to you, Hinata-chan, b-believe it!"

As he released her from the embrace, Hinata stammered, "N-Naruto-kun... t-that really isn't... you d-don't have to..."

"I'll start by showing you this great ramen place! It's the best in town and I live on the stuff! All you can eat, on me, Hinata-chan!" Naruto was still sniffling, but as abruptly as his crying had begun, it had stopped. He beamed at her, blue eyes wide with joy despite the tears dripping down his cheeks.

A date? Did Naruto just ask me on a... date?

Thus began a beautiful friendship that would shape the rest of their lives, and change Konoha forever.

X

"Come on, Hinata-chan, dig in!" Naruto slurped back a huge mouthful of pork ramen. Teuchi and Ayame glanced at each other, wide-eyed. Both of them were wondering how Naruto had managed to bring the princess of the Hyuuga Clan into Ichiraku Ramen, and make it look suspciciously like a date.

Hinata shook free of her stupor with a gasp, turning to face Naruto. "Lots of people say it's disgusting and unhealthy, but take my word for it, it's great!" He slurped more noodles to accentuate the point.

Hinata nodded, and snapped apart a pair of chopsticks. She sank the tips into the golden broth, taking up a sizable bundle of noodles. She glanced at Naruto, who had turned back to his bowl and was shoveling the stuff back. She brought the ramen to her lips, tasted it, and found it was no less delicious than Naruto had claimed. She slurped the noodles with increasing speed until she was on par with Naruto.

While Ayame was bringing him a second bowl, Naruto turned to watch Hinata, hunched over her bowl with a proud smile showing through the noodles that dangled from her mouth. Wow...I've never seen anyone eat ramen that fast... she finished the noodles, and drank the bowl of broth in mere seconds.

"Wow, you're even faster than me! That's amazing!" Naruto beamed, flipping a thumbs-up. For a moment Hinata forgot her shyness and smiled back, but then she blushed sharply and looked down. "Hey, Hinata-chan, can I ask you something?"

"Y-yes?"

"Why are you so shy all the time? You keep looking down and blushing and doing this thing with your fingers..." he imitated the gesture. "You've got so much to be proud of! You're the princess of the Hyuuga, you can use the Byakugan, you're one of the best students in the academy, and-" he cut himself off when he noticed the fresh bowl of ramen in front of him, sucking back a huge mouthful of noodles. "-and you're really pretty too!"

Hinata flushed so deeply and suddenly, it actually hurt. "P-pretty?" she stammered.

"Believe it! I mean, what do I know? I'm ten. I'm still supposed to think girls are icky." He said this through a mouthful of ramen, shrugging.

"T-then why are you a-always asking S-Sakura on a date?" her blush darkened tenfold, but it couldn't be unsaid.

Naruto shrugged. "She was the first pretty girl I saw in the Academy; I like seeing her smile; She's obsessed with Sasuke and I wanna snap her out of it... Lots of little reasons."

A second bowl was set in front of Hinata then, and she turned to face it shakily. "I had no idea..." she mused aloud. "Naruto-kun... I guess I'm so shy because... I really admire you."

"Huh?" Naruto blinked as he turned to face her, with the ramen noodles in his mouth now dripping broth onto his pants. "You admire me? Why?"

"E-everyone ignores you or bully you, and you s-still smile. You're all alone but you're happy. You don't resent anyone for bullying you, and you come to school every day saying you'll be Hokage, and they'll all have to respect you then. That's why. You're so strong, Naruto-kun, strong like a Hokage."

"Wow... that's gotta be the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me... so, aren't you concerned with what they all say about me? How I'm some kind of demon and all that?" Like, not just a delinquent or something. They have to be all melodramatic about it and pretend I'm the freakin' Kyuubi. Stupid civilians, he sulked silently.

"No way!" That was the strongest voice he'd ever heard her use. "You're not a demon, Naruto-kun. I don't care who says what about you. You'll be Hokage one day, I never doubted it."

"Thanks, Hinata-chan. I'm sure you'll get really strong too."

X

Two Years Later

"Clone Jutsu."

A perfect illusory copy of Naruto appeared in a puff of smoke, grinning proudly and flipping a thumbs up to Iruka. This. the result of two years' worth of chakra control training, shocked everyone in the classroom except Hinata, who beamed. And now we'll be Genin together, Naruto!

Iruka blinked. Naruto blinked back, still grinning. "You pass, Naruto. Next!"

He sighed in relief and took his seat next to Hinata. "You did it, Naruto!"

"Yeah!" Naruto shouted, throwing a fist in the air. This got the attention of every student in the class. "That headband's gonna look great on me, believe it!" He took the pair of goggles off his forehead and shook his spiky blond hair vigorously.

Mizuki scowled at the back of the room. Time for plan B. Steal the Hokage's Scroll myself.

X

Naruto smirked mischievously, as he placed the chalk eraser atop the door in anticipation of his new sensei's arrival.

"Every year, the graduating prodigy, deadlast, and most promising genjutsu specialist are placed together on a team. Upholding that tradition, this year's first Genin team will consist of the top student Sasuke Uchiha, the weakest student Rock Lee, and the student with the greatest potential for genjutsu, Sakura Haruno. Team Seven, your sensei will be Kakashi Hatake."

"Our next team, I'm proud to announce, was assembled by the Hokage himself! Allow me to introduce Team Eight: taijutsu specialist Hinata Hyuga, ninjutsu specialist Naruto Uzumaki, and tracking specialist Kiba Inuzuka. Your sensei will be the son of the Hokage himself, Asuma Sarutobi!"

"Isn't Kakashi the one who's late for everything?" Kiba groaned, once again. Said Jounin had showed up and whisked away the only other remaining team, mere minutes ago. "It's been three freakin' hours... Naruto, what are you doing?"

"I'm pranking the son of the Hokage!" he set the eraser in place and returned to his seat.

"No Jounin is ever gonna fall for a stupid prank like that!"

Hinata spoke up. "Asuma-sensei's coming. I can see him with my Byakugan... he doesn't suspect a thing."

"Hinata, you're helping him with this?"

Her only reply was to shush Kiba, who groaned again.

The door opened, and the eraser landed with a puff of chalky dust on Asuma's head.

Kiba gaped in total disbelief. Hinata giggled, blushing and covering her mouth with her hand. Naruto laughed loud enough to be heard throughout the building.

"Okay, first impressions." Asuma took a drag on his cigarette. "I gotta say I'm happy I got you guys instead of Ino-Shika-Chou. Nothing against 'em, but... the thing is, you three don't fit together like puzzle pieces, and that's why it'll be so engaging to train you." He turned. "Follow me, we're going to the roof."

"Asuma-sensei..." Hinata spoke up quietly, as the three freshly minted Genin got up from their seats. "What exactly have you been doing, for three hours?"

"Talking with Kakashi Hatake about your first few lessons." Asuma blew out a smoke ring. "So, Iruka tells me you were all decent students... heirs to three powerful clans. Naruto of the Uzumaki Clan, masters of sealing jutsu. Hinata of the Hyuuga Clan, greatest taijutsu users in the world via the all-seeing Byakugan. Kiba of the Inuzuka Clan, renowned ninja hound trainers and the greatest tracker ninjas in Konoha. You guys look promising." He took another drag on his cigarette. "So, do you guys know your elemental affinities for ninjutsu?"

"N-Naruto-kun..." Ten-year-old Hinata made her way through the crowd of students fleeing the classroom, wading through to Naruto's side. The blond Jinchuriki waited for her, smiling. "I brought some ninjutsu and taijutsu scrolls from the Hyuuga Clan library... anything that wasn't tied to the Hyuuga, since those jutsu require a Byakugan."

"Sounds great, Hinata-chan! Come on, Training Ground Seventeen is good for ninjutsu practice."

"Wait, Naruto-kun. I h-have something else." She held out a small white cardboard box. "T-these are chakra sensing papers, for learning our nature types. They're not expensive, but you can only buy them if you're already a ninja. I had one of my cousins buy us a few, so we'll know which elements to focus our training on."

"Mine's Wind Release," Naruto declared proudly, puffing out his chest.

"'Cause you're full of hot air," Kiba replied, smirking.

"Bite me, Kiba. No, wait..." Naruto paused thoughtfully. "I take that back, 'cause you might actually bite me."

"Like I haven't heard that one a million times. A dog joke, how original."

"I have the Water Release," Hinata interrupted. "I don't know many ninjutsu, but I can use it to fight when I'm out of taijutsu range."

"I never bothered with nature types," Kiba said with a shrug. "Inuzuka Clan jutsu have always been enough for me."

"You might want to look into elemental jutsu, Kiba. Every Kage in history, Hokage or otherwise, has known and used their nature type." Asuma let a puff of smoke through his lips. "We're here," he declared, and opened the door to the roof. "Okay, everybody sit down. Let's talk a little more."

Asuma sat comfortably on the rooftop, and put out his finished cigarette. "My name is Asuma Sarutobi. I like cigarettes and working with my fellow Jounin. I hate..." he paused and sighed, "that moment when you have a cigarette in your mouth and a hand in your pocket, only to find that you left your lighter in your other flak jacket. I hate that. My hobby is shogi, it's my favorite game and I'm rather good at it. My dream, and you speak of this to no one, is to defeat Shikamaru Nara in a game of shogi. Now, tell me a bit about yourselves. We'll start with you, Naruto."

"My name," Naruto announced this loudly and with pride, "is Naruto Uzumaki! I like Hinata-chan and ramen, but best of all I like having ramen with Hinata-chan! I don't particularly hate anything... My hobby is training with Hinata-chan, and my dream is to be the greatest Hokage, and I'll pull it off, believe it!"

Hinata blushed each time Naruto said her name, a fact not lost on Asuma. "Okay, Hinata, your turn."

Her eyes widened. "M-me? Okay... I'm Hinata Hyuuga. I l-like Naruto-kun, Ichiraku Ramen, and making progress with our training... I think the only thing I hate is the Caged Bird Seal. My hobby is training with Naruto, and I have three dreams. First, I want to see Naruto become Hokage. Also, I want to learn the Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms... and my third dream is to end the use of the Caged Bird Seal. Someday when I'm head of the Hyuuga clan, I'll get rid of it forever." She took a deep but quiet breath, and smiled.

"That was interesting, Hinata. Alright, Kiba, you're up."

"I'm Kiba Inuzuka. I like Akamaru, beef jerky, and Inuzuka Clan jutsu. I hate cats. My hobby is doing just about anything with Akamaru, including but limited to chasing cats, learning new jutsu, and peeing on stuff." Kiba giggled. "I don't have any really crucial dreams, but I'd like to track down Akatsuki and capture them. That'd make me the greatest tracker-nin ever! And being Hokage would be nice, but Naruto's got dibs on it."

"So all three of you count training as a hobby? That's a good sign." Asuma nodded with a smile. "Alright, that's it for today. Go home, get some rest, and tomorrow morning, skip breakfast. You'll just end up losing it anyway. I'm gonna have to test you guys, and I won't make it easy. If you pass, you're Genin, and we'll start missions whenever you want. If not, you're headed back to the Academy."

The three twelve-year-olds winced at that statement.

X

Naruto slumped in unconsciousness against one of the three wooden posts that someone had placed in Training Ground Forty-Two. Here he had befriended Hinata, learned the Clone Jutsu, and once a year, took refuge from an angry mob. It seemed ironic and fitting that here was where he would become a true Genin.

He snored. Had he been awake, he would have felt Hinata's head shifting on his shoulder in response to the sudden sound, but both of them were asleep with the rising sun to their backs. She murmured something incoherent in her sleep, then fell silent again.

Kiba scratched Akamaru behind the ears. The white puppy yawned and stretched happily, then barked to greet Asuma, who sat down with a smirk next to Kiba. "How long have they been like that?" The Jounin asked quietly.

Kiba smirked back. "They were like this when Akamaru and I showed up."

"Okay..." Asuma chuckled quietly. "I'll test their reflexes, then." he stood, and took a defensive stance, ready to dodge any attack. "HEY! WAKE UP!"

"Wind Release!"

"Water Release!"

"Collaboration Secret Jutsu! Hurricane Bullet!"

Asuma's eyes widened as the two shot to their feet, performing hand seals in sync as they shouted this. The fearlessness in Hinata's eyes was particularly shocking. Naruto performed the Air Bullet while Hinata performed the Water Bullet, and the two attacks melded together into a mist that somehow looked sharp. Asuma threw himself to the side, dodging the attack with ease. "Not bad, but you just wasted plenty of chakra when you could have just thrown a couple kunai. It wasn't even a particularly strong you jutsu... But now that you're awake, it's time for your exam." Asuma pulled two silver bells out of his pocket and jingled them. "Straight to the point. You three have an hour to get both of these from me. At the end of that hour, whoever's got a bell passes. Anyone without a bell is going back to the Academy, and if that's not enough, these bells are your tickets to lunch. Go without a bell, and you go without food." Asuma tied the bells to his waist, pulled out and lit a cigarette, and took two steps back. "Begin."

Naruto charged forward with a dramatic roar, and was kicked in the gut for his effort. "Ugh..." he crumpled.

"I thought you were the ninjutsu user on this team, Naruto." Hinata stood with concern in her lavender Byakugan eyes, and helped Naruto to a kneeling position.

"Yeah, you're right, Asuma-sensei," he coughed. "I gotta stop getting ahead of myself."

"Asuma-sensei..." Hinata looked up from a kneeling and coughing Naruto to face the Jounin. "I've never seen a Genin team with any less than three Genin, and no more, either."

Kiba's eyes widened as he immediately realized her point. The bells... they aren't the point at all!

Naruto listened to Hinata continue, having not figured it out yet. "But you only have two bells... and that's supposed to turn us against each other, but a shinobi team has to stick together..."

Naruto grinned with sudden comprehension. "We're supposed to take you down together!"

Asuma disappeared, replaced by a breeze and a few leaves. The Body Flicker Jutsu! Hinata settled into a relaxed Gentle Fist taijutsu stance, scanning the area in all directions with her Byakugan. "Kiba, I can't see him... can Akamaru detect his scent?"

Akamaru whined. "Sorry, we got nothing," Kiba replied. "He must be masking his scent. There's a jutsu for that, but it's an A-rank genjutsu. He's taking this seriously."

"Then so will we!" Naruto stood, having recovered from Asuma's kick. "When we find him, I'll use my Air Bullet, and maybe my Wind S-"

"No, Naruto," Hinata interrupted, timid but determined. "An assault like that just won't work. He's too strong and fast..." she blushed, and added, "But if we use that jutsu..."

"Yeah," Naruto replied solemnly. "It doesn't matter how good he is, if we pull that one off, he's done for."

"What jutsu are you guys talking about?" Kiba's voice shook very slightly. "If you think it can take out a fully rested and prepared Jounin... where the hell would you learn a jutsu like that? We've only been Genin for three days!"

"We didn't learn it," Naruto said proudly. "We made it up ourselves! Only we know it, me and Hinata, believe it! So... we should probably just use it as a last resort... you know, keep it between us."

Several minutes later, they found Asuma, who watched them approach over the hills and ditches of shattered rock. "You're gonna need real killing intent if you want to get these bells," the son of the Hokage proclaimed.

"All right! Hinata, are you ready?" Naruto called as he flew through the air.

"Yes!" Hinata replied cheerfully at his side. "Kiba-kun, wait for the signal!"

"No problem!" Akamaru barked as his master said this.

Naruto reached out and clasped Hinata's hand with his own. As always, she blushed at this, but it was crucial for this technique. "Get ready, Asuma-sensei!" Naruto called, as he built up almost all of his Wind Release chakra. Hinata closed her eyes and turned off her Byakugan, focusing her chakra into the Water Release. Their intertwined hands came apart, and they each formed a set of hand seals in sync. "Collaboration Secret Jutsu!" Naruto yelled with a gleeful grin.

"Water Release!"

"Wind Release!"

The sky darkened as the two melted their chakra together, and storm clouds gathered. They called out in stereo, "Snow Release: Snowstorm Battlefield!"

"Whoa," Kiba quietly observed as the snow began to fall. "They altered the weather... is this their awesome jutsu?" Akamaru whined, watching the two confront Asuma.

The Sarutobi Clan Jounin sighed. "Fine, I'll admit it. That's the coolest thing I've ever seen two Genin do, but it's useless. All this is gonna do is give everyone here a cold, and you're just about out of chakra, both of you. Showoffs," he muttered.

Naruto and Hinata slumped forward, panting. "I've still got gas in the tank..." Naruto answered, but his voice sounded weary and tired. "...which is the whole point." He straightened and made six more hand seals. "Wind Release: Wind Scar!" Naruto slammed his hands down on the granite slab he stood on, sending out a wave of wind in Asuma's direction. That jutsu is only a low C-rank... What's he up to? The wind caught the falling snow and carried it, growing in size and breadth. It's too wide! I can't just jump aside... Asuma scowled and spat out his cigarette, using the Body Flicker Jutsu to move clear to the side of the Wind Scar.

Thunder clapped, and the storm disappeared with unnatural speed. Naruto panted, but stood proudly before his sensei, with no more than ten feet of distance between them. "What now, kid? You've got enough chakra left for maybe one D-rank jutsu, and I'm at a proper taijutsu range. Kiba's the only one with any real chakra reserves left."

"Yeah... like I said, we're going somewhere with this..." Naruto laughed weakly, but Asuma took it as a bluff. He clasped his hands together in the Dog hand seal, then Boar, then finally the Ram seal. "Transformation Jutsu!" A plume of smoke surrounded him completely.

Asuma blinked. "Pfft. That's it? A disguise?"

"Water Release: Water Bullet!"

Asuma prepared to dodge, but he turned to look at the attack and saw how weak it was, little more than a splash of azure water. She didn't even have enough chakra to aim it right... It's gonna hit Naruto...

The smoke of the transformation cleared, revealing an older, female, and very attractive version of Naruto, clad in an orange bikini and dripping wet. Asuma's eyes bugged out of his head, and blood trickled out of his nostrils. "So, Asuma-sensei..." 'she' purred, "how do you like my Sexy Jutsu?"

Asuma simply stared, slack-jawed, until Hinata walked up and kicked him in the groin. He shrieked like a little girl from the sudden agony, and the Hyuuga princess named the technique, "Forbidden Taijutsu: Single Strike of Eternal Pain. Kiba, you can take the bells now."

"Hinata," Kiba replied as he plucked the bells from Asuma's belt and tossed one to her, "I never would've guessed you'd be the kind of kunoichi who'd kick her sensei in the balls."

"We're ninjas," she said sweetly and innocently, while Naruto returned to his normal form. "All we're supposed to do is complete the mission within the parameters set for us, and we protect our team above all else. That's as far as chivalry reaches into the life of a ninja."

Kiba whistled. "That's the best nindou I've ever heard." he blanched suddenly, and looked down at Asuma, who was rolling around on the ground in agony. "W-wait... was that the super-awesome jutsu you guys were talking about? A kick in the sack?"

"No way," Naruto said proudly. "Our ultimate jutsu is the Sexy Jutsu! A few more seconds of staring at it, and he'd have passed out anyway, believe it!"

"How the hell does Naruto get you to go along with stuff like this?" Kiba asked, clearly unimpressed.

"I guess... he just wore off on me over the years," she replied with a blush and a smile.

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