Naruto Thousand Hands (Mokuton Naruto AU)

#26
I'll have to go back and reread the whole story to get full context, but I liked the changes made to the scene.
 
Extra: Information on the characters

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#27
Some information on how I see the characters from my notes (barely edited, sorry), though with the long time since I wrote the original versions of the chapters, there might be inconsistencies. Mainly for my reference, so not necessary to read them; they aren't vital to understanding the story.

I also edited pretty much everything in the past chapters.
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(Naruto's main flaw (other than his insecurity of sometimes) is opposite to a canon trait – he is quite vindictive and doesn't forgive easily. Other flaws include his unapologetic nosiness (more recent thing), to a level worse than Ino sometimes; his hatred for apologizing; his mostly hard-working -almost workaholic- nature is sometimes marred because he is used to mastering things quickly, though Tsunade is working on that.)

(Biwako's flaws are her disregard for her own safety (not to the point of suicidal stupidity; at least not anymore); her tendency toward being rude to those she doesn't care about and disregarding them (Naruto is really vindictive toward his perceived enemies. Biwako is somewhat ruthless toward even 'extras', as Bakugo from MHA would say).... She also is literally almost completely unable to cry, no matter what her emotions.)

(They both have the tendency of nearly overworking themselves, a certain bent towards violence and anger (especially Naruto) and love of the high of battle (especially Biwako). Biwako isn't as revenge-driven nowadays and Naruto is getting worse, so Naruto might be the one to need pacification by his Uchiha friend rather than the canon other way around. They can both be a bit hypocritical.)

Naruto's favorite food is ramen and fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables in almost any form (except lemon!), though he really dislikes strongly sour things like most yoghurts and wines, putting more than minimal vinegar and putting most any amount of lemon at all on or in foods. He is indifferent to practically all tea despite the fact it has herbs in it, though he is quite good at brewing it. He doesn't like mushrooms, in a soup or not, very unlike Hashirama. Terrible at baking sweets for some reason, so he has to talk Biwako into making him some.

Biwako's favorite foods are medium rare steak (more generally, non-overcooked meat of all sorts) and tomatoes, which are one of the few sour things both Naruto and Biwako like. She also used to like rice balls a lot, but she has fallen out of eating them more recently. She likes tea, but is bad at brewing it. She hates eating most fermented things, despises anything sweet (though she is good at baking) and doesn't much like milk.

Naruto's hobbies are reading manga (and sometimes books), training and gardening (though it's both a hobby and a job, considering he makes money out of selling parts of some of his plants); also pranking, though he is a 'filthy casual' prankster according to Mito.

He dislikes arrogant pricks (other than himself, being a bit arrogant himself. Hypocrite), those who see him as the Kyuubi, those who see him as a bully, actual bullies, liars, being called stupid and those who mess with others' minds for no good reason (especially Yamanaka Maifa*)

Uzumaki (soon Senju) Naruto:
Gender: Male
Birth Date: October 10
Age: 10~11
Height: ~145 cm
Weight: ~47 Kg
Blood Type: B-
Appearance: Golden blond short hair, blue eyes with a hint of green, large like Kushina's and similarly shaped; three whisker marks on each cheek, less prominent than Mito's
Handedness: R
Classification: Sensor Type, (future?) Medical Nin, Jinchuuriki (Ichibi)
Affiliation: Shikkotsu Forest (canon home of the Slugs)
Ninja Rank: Academy Student; soon to be Genin
Element used: Water, Earth (affinities); Wind (affinity
), Yang
Greatest Strengths: Stamina Regeneration, Self-healing, Chakra Control, sense of hearing, memory, Chakra Sensing
Greatest Weaknesses: Yin Style, Hand-Seals, Fire Style, somewhat; can be countered by anyone who can hide their Chakra and the noise they make near-flawlessly (Tobirama and Muu mainly; also Hashirama when in Sage Mode. The Second Mizukage relies too much upon Genjutsu to be a good counter to an adult Naruto. As for people among the living... Orochimaru and probably Hiruzen. Jiraiya maybe, especially likely if he enters Sage Mode beforehand.) (In spite of his excellent memory, Naruto is terrible at anything to do with painting, even copying. On the other hand, Biwako can copy something for obvious reasons, but the results, according to many, have no soul.)
Most hated thing(s): Those who lie to get him in trouble, being called a freak or monster


Biwako's hobbies: she likes training and taking walks, especially in the moonlight. Also reading books and manga, though she doesn't often admit she likes manga, nor does Naruto admit he also likes reading books (to a point; he doesn't count books as a hobby; 'too much like schoolwork'.) Her final, lesser known hobby is, well- you will see in the next chapter singing.

...The first time Biwako saw Naruto eat broccoli without putting anything other than a bit of salt on it, she called him a freak of nature. His haunted reaction to her calling him that affected her enough to keep her from uttering anything like that ever again.

Uchiha Biwako
Gender: Female
Birth Date: July 23
Age: 10~11
Height: ~152 cm
Weight: ~47 Kg
Blood Type: B-
Handedness: L (mainly, because she is partially ambidextrous)
Appearance: Very tall for her age; black hair cut short but growing once again (she used to put it in a ponytail like her brother that man) ; black eyes.
Classification: None (for now)
Affiliation: Great Sky Plateau (home of the Hawks, non-canon location, but presumably existent in canon)
Ninja Rank: Academy Student; soon to be Genin
Elements Used: Lightning, Fire (Affinities); Earth, Yin
Greatest Strengths: Elemental ninjutsu, Speed, Sense of smell (Fugaku has some Inuzuka in his ancestry; it was likely a clusterfuck that happened generations before), planning ahead (though she hasn't refined that. Need to write carefully in the future in order to not make it an informed attribute.)
Greatest Weaknesses: underestimating anyone not named Naruto or Uchiha too easily, inside battles and outside of them; losing her head in the enjoyment of fights with anyone called Naruto; too careless with her well-being; Yang Style
Most hated thing(s): feeling helpless


Stats (as compared to Sasuke in canon at the same age)
Ninjutsu: way ahead
Taijutsu: moderately ahead
Genjutsu: significantly ahead
Intelligence: a bit ahead
Strength: ahead for now. Endgame: likely between 60% and 90% of Sasuke's strength in the upper body. (Lower body: she might be stronger than Sasuke, even as adults)
Speed: slightly better than Sasuke
Stamina: way, way higher reserves than Sasuke
Hand Seals: Equal to Sasuke

Overall fighting style: a bit behind canon Sasuke in that she is too quick to resort to ninjutsu, unlike Sasuke, who was a lot more efficient and conservative.

Weapons: way ahead due to naturally higher manual dexterity, though manual dexterity will likely not quite reach Itachi levels, ever.
Stealth: the same as Sasuke
Traps: the same or slightly better
Sealing: way ahead of Sasuke
Stam. Regen: same as canon Sasuke
Seal-less: far ahead
Chakra Control: significantly ahead

On her flexibility: women, on average, are much more flexible than men. The same way Biwako's upper body strength is going to be very much lower than Sasuke's, her bones are going to be (already are) more flexible than Sasuke's. By a wide margin.

Her Sharingan helps her much more when it comes to instinctive spatial calculations and much less in discerning colors than canon-Sasuke's does, but it evens out.

I will come back with Mito's characteristics later.

Edit:

Mito likes standing in -and looking at- the rain, swimming, her twin brother Naruto, Ino (?), studying for Fuuinjutsu (the art of Sealing). She also likes eating Ramen (her favorite is Seafood Ramen), Red Bean Soup and cooked fish and other seafood (not Sushi!). She likes Jiraiya (the Pervy Sage) in small doses, and when he is focused on her training.

She dislikes her height and verbal tic (Dattebara) being mocked, any activity that has her in the sun for prolonged periods (she burns really easily), studying for anything other than Fuuinjutsu, and Ino (?). She can't stand any meat or fish that is raw or undercooked; she also dislikes raw vegetables, but after Naruto got her a steam cooker as a gift, she often eats them steamed. She is indifferent to perversity (and used to it), unless someone gets handsy, in which case, she pummels the offender.

Her hobbies are swimming in the river (she only recently was deemed strong enough to do it without adult supervision), reading Manga (Naruto recently got her into the habit; she is more of a casual reader, though) and pranks.

Namikaze Mito
Gender: Female
Birth Date: October 10
Age: 10~11
Height: ~133 cm
Weight: ~31 Kg
Blood Type: AB-
Appearance: Strawberry blond, somewhat long hair (used to be chin-length, but she's growing it for hair-based jutsu); dark blue eyes with a hint of green, smaller irises like Minato; very short; three whisker-like marks on each cheek, a bit more prominent than Naruto's
Handedness: L&R (complete ambidexterity)
Classification: ??? (Jinchuuriki (Kyuubi-Yang)
Affiliation: Konohagakure (Hidden Leaf), Mount Myouboku (canon home of the Toads, obviously)
Ninja Rank: Academy Student, Genin next
Elements Used: Wind (affinity), Fire not too far in the future, Earth at some point
Main talent: Fuuinjutsu (Sealing Arts), combat instincts (already comparable with someone like Madara in that field, in spite of his great natural talent and having grown up in the Warring Clans period. Madara at her age at least. She is only in her preteens! As an adult, her combat sense and intuition will probably be off the charts, surpassing everyone else, including Madara and canon!Naruto, who have shown great feats of brilliance in that field), stealth, Shape Manipulation. Possibly multitasking too.
(In civilian stuff, painting.)
Main weakness: While she is really good at intuitive moves, getting her to plan ahead much in anything but Fuuinjutsu is all but impossible. She tends to get flashes of brilliance, though... when she doesn't make silly mistakes. Also, Hand-seals.


Ninjutsu: far worse than both Naruto and Biwako
Taijutsu: moderately worse
Genjutsu: can counter it, barely
Intelligence: Idiot Savant (?)
Strength: Stronger than Biwako, weaker than Naruto without even his Chakra enhancement jutsu
Speed: Can keep up with them at least
Stamina: Overall much higher Chakra pool than Biwako and especially Naruto, though Naruto has better Chakra Control and knows somewhat better how to be efficient in other ways, too
Hand Seals: Far, far worse than Biwako. About equal to (equally as abysmal as) Naruto

Weapons: Worse than Naruto, far worse than Biwako.
Stealth: (Even) better than both of them.
Traps: Slightly better than Naruto, slightly worse than Biwako
Sealing: Far better than both of them, better than Jiraiya in many ways, almost rivals the current top in the world, Sasori
Stam. Regen: She regenerates Stamina much faster than Biwako, but moderately more slowly than Naruto
Seal-less: She is worse than Biwako at shaving hand-seals off non-Fuuinjutsu. Far worse than Naruto
Chakra Control: Worse than Biwako, much worse than Naruto

Flaws: She's a bit impulsive and reckless, has a foot-in-mouth syndrome, is naive, tends to take way too much guilt on her shoulders. Similar to canon Naruto, whom she's based on of course. Doesn't suppress her negative emotions as much, but it's still something she does. Not to the point of creating another personality, though... probably.

* Hell, Yamanaka Maifa's name literally came from the term 'mindfuck'!)
 
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AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#28
As for themes for the story, I'm thinking:

1)Home is- The elusive search for somewhere to belong, a place worth fighting for; 'home is where the heart is' and so on.
2)The consequences of genocide, and atrocities in general. Especially one done by the state on those meant to be their own, directly or not. Not just the obvious consequences, either.
I also never said it's only non-protagonists who will commit atrocities.
3)Betrayal and its definition Is it when one turns on their country? Is it when said country marginalizes one of its own clans or people, based on hearsay? Is it in the literal dagger in the back? How do you define a metaphorical backstab, though? Is it in the way the higher-ups of Konoha (much less the rest of it) treated Naruto in this AU? Abandonment by one meant to take care of him (Hiruzen)? Is it in the lies Hiruzen told Jiraiya and possibly others who had trusted him? Is it what in Zabuza did when Yagura went insane? Is it in Orochimaru's monstrous deeds? Or maybe Danzo's 'patriotic' actions? Is it (spoilers)?
4)'Two in harmony are better than one in perfection'.
5)Mind control backfires

The first or maybe second arc is about mind control backfiring, mainly.

I also intend to make both Naruto and Biwako somewhat short-sighted in their youth, and Tsunade might be an enabler rather than a good influence.
 
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Story5

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#29
About Naruto’s first clear memory: this is what happens if Sarutobi doesn’t care – he never warned people that anyone caught attacking Naruto would be punished, nor did he try to explain that a Jinchuuriki isn’t the same as the Bijuu beyond telling people about the sealing, so things went south. Thus, an AU or at least divergent aspect; I am well aware that in canon, there is no evidence of Konoha’s people attacking Naruto physically, other than Mizuki of course.



This memory also further explains why Naruto learned Tsunade’s technique on his own so easily. By the way, the OCs are one-off characters I made, but the names are references; anyone who guesses where the names are from gets an Internet cookie.



User mandalorianjedi of The Fanfiction Forum has helped me polish this story with his critique.



(TFF is not a FFnet affiliate. Search for thefanfictionforum(dot)net )



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“…Say what now? Shisui-san – could you repeat that?” Biwako said, her breathing coming out loud and her fingers twitching; even her heartbeat was audible to her ears, and her hearing was far from the best of her senses. The illusory world of the Gunbai still worked just like reality.



Shisui only smiled, though to Biwako, the expression seemed bitter. He said, “you heard me right the first time, Biwako. The Uchiha intended to assassinate the Third Hokage, if possible without anyone knowing it was the clan who did it, and manipulate the rest of Konoha into putting an Uchiha in the Hokage’s seat.”



“But… why?” Biwako asked, but even as she did, memories of her childhood and things she had seen in the Uchiha Ninja Library came to the forefront.



Mikoto… yet another Uchiha family has been forced to move back into the clan district via jacking up the rent and constant harassment.”



Why? Why are they doing this, Fugaku! Sarutobi doesn’t even have the guts to do so officially!”



Ways to make Inuzuka stop in their tracks – airtight containers of stink bombs within Seals so that they wouldn’t see them coming; a certain ninjutsu called the Sonicboom jutsu; counters to those smells and sounds for the Uchiha themselves, because some Uchiha also had enhanced senses other than eyesight, especially those with Inuzuka blood like Biwako herself; certain perfumes that kept Inuzuka from finding someone far better than even the best of scent-killing spray(*0) .



Ripping the Inuzuka’s partner to pieces with extra brutality; poisons that only affected dogs -including nin-dogs- mainly airborne and touch-based; the exact way to move to render the basic techniques of the Inuzuka, Tsuuga and Gatsuuga, much less effective; an Earth Style jutsu -stolen from Iwa- that hardened the skin in such a way that claws and fangs would break off and more-



“…Perhaps if we showed our dedication to Konoha-”



We have proven ourselves time and time again, Fugaku, and you know it!”



Then let us hold our heads high and cow any and all opposition with our strength.”



Certain perfumes, poisons and pesticides that made the Aburame’s Kikai and the Aburame themselves lose control, weakened them or killed them; the Sonicboom jutsu again-



“…What are they doing to my godson, Fugaku? Can’t we just-”



Just do- what, Mikoto? What could we possibly do that we haven’t already tried?”



At that point, Biwako had a hard time hearing anything because her parents were speaking at lower volumes.



“…Said it y- self. Strength-”



Mikoto. Do- realize what- proposing? …Sound like- fool Yashiro or even worse-”



Yes… certain things were starting to make sense. So, Itachi might have wanted to keep Konoha from tearing itself apart. Then again, why had Itachi used that terrible illusion on Biwako if he had only wanted to prevent even worse things than the clan dying from happening? To keep her too furious to look at the facts more carefully, as she had thought before? Something else? Why? Why? Why! WHY!!



…Biwako woke up screaming; she bent over the side of the bed and vomited, the powerful emotions overwhelming her once again. Something was off about her eyesight, though, to a vertigo-inducing degree, which didn’t help with her urge to vomit; she didn't mean the activated Sharingan, either.



Later, in front of the bathroom mirror after rinsing her mouth many times and brushing her teeth more than once, Biwako noted that not only were her eyes on; her right Sharingan had three tomoe (comma marks) in it, though the left one still had two. It took a bit of time for her to calm her emotions down enough to deactivate her eyes.



'How and why? When Shisui-san told me all that, my reaction didn't evolve my Sharingan. Now, though, after dreaming of that time, my Sharingan has evolved. Confusing,' Biwako thought to herself, trying to make sense of her Bloodline Limit.



Biwako was still shaking slightly. 'Even if Tsunade and Shizune-san had a point when they talked about sleeping in the same bed not being proper now, it’s kind of an emergency,' she thought to herself, still not at the best of shapes, ‘maybe I should knock on Naruto’s door.’



Before she could decide either way, Naruto’s bedroom door opened. He was shivering; he didn’t have the smell of vomit on him, but she could smell the tears and, even if she couldn’t, there were tear tracks on his face, unlike Biwako’s mostly dry eyes.



Naruto took a look at Biwako, did a double-take, then went about making some tea for both of them to drink, not even asking her what was wrong yet. Smart boy. It was a milder variety of tea, though the name escaped her, perfect for helping with insomnia. He poured some for both of them, not bothering to go through formal tea ceremony.



Naruto put a small amount of sugar into his tea, not even bothering to put any near Biwako; while that could seem impolite to some, to Biwako, it was a sign of how well he knew her. In a surprising twist, while Naruto liked most vegetables, fruits and herbs -well, pretty much all of them but lemon- and was really good at brewing it, he wasn’t especially fond of drinking tea. He didn’t dislike it, unlike milk, but he usually preferred drinking hot cocoa -made with water, not milk- or even coffee nowadays.



Biwako knew that many people swore by milk heated to between ‘warm’ and ‘lukewarm’ for a sleep aid, but neither she nor Naruto would ever drink more milk than necessary.



"Want to talk about it?" Biwako told Naruto. Naruto's past was still largely a mystery to her.



Naruto took a few shuddering breaths, then said, "it's something from the orphanage."



Biwako waited patiently for Naruto to speak, but she didn't take her attention off him. After what felt like a long time, he started talking again.



“It’s- it’s my earliest clear memory,” Naruto said, obviously doing one of the breathing exercises Tsunade had taught them.



Biwako had known plenty of breathing exercises to begin with, mainly ones well-suited for the Fire element; though they were also well-suited for something else. Her mother had taken advantage of the breathing methods during her childhood to learn how to sing more easily… and not only her.



(“Mom…? Your voice is so pretty!” Biwako said, entering the dojo after hearing her mother’s voice.



Her mother stopped singing after a few seconds, saying, “thank you, Biwako.”



“I never knew you could sing! You sing so good too!” Biwako said, impressed, then realized she had said it wrong.



“It’s ‘sing so well’, Biwako,” her mother corrected her gently.



Biwako stomped her feet, saying, “Mom! At least give me time to correct myself!”



Her mother giggled, saying, “my apologies, Biwako-hime. Your royal subject has overstepped herself.”



“You better apologize- wait, are you mocking me?” Biwako said, starting to get annoyed again.



Her mother said, "of course not."



"Hmph."



"I'm only being sarcastic," her mother said, a hand in front of her mouth.



Biwako didn't know what that meant, but she knew that her mother was laughing at her. She knew it! Biwako stomped her feet on the floor again, letting out an annoyed sound.



Her mother put a hand on her head, saying, "relax, Biwako. Didn't you wish to know more about my singing skills?"



"Oh, yes!" Biwako said, "how can you sing so well, Mom?"



Her mother explained how she had learned how to when she had been around Biwako's age from an older relative.



“Can I learn too? Will you teach me, Mom?” Biwako said, very impatient for learning how to sing.



“It’s ‘may I learn?’ ” her mom said, “but all right, Biwako. I will teach you how to sing… firstly, how is your progress with the diaphragm-breathing exercise?”)



Biwako realized she had started singing a melody her mother had sung to her many times. Naruto was looking at her, his mouth hanging open. He said, “I didn’t know you could sing!”



She stopped singing and said, “anyone can sing. Singing well is another story.”

Naruto gave a short laugh, but his expression darkened quickly enough. He said, “about my first clear memory… I remember eating with the other orphans when I was four years old. I had just finished my food, so I went to ask for seconds. The orphanage was well-funded apparently, even if sometimes kids mysteriously disappeared. The caretaker, Asuna-san slapped me out of nowhere, even though I think she had been good to me until that day. Another caretaker, Motoko-san, stopped her, but Motoko-san also later kept the other boys from playing with me; ‘for their protection’ or something.



» At night, I cried myself to sleep, thinking of Asuna-san’s anger and slap, and Motoko-san’s words. ‘Am I sick or dangerous or something?’ I thought. I woke up to a pillow smothering me – Asuna-san had returned and was trying to kill me. I thrashed and thrashed; I felt myself weakening until warmth spread from my belly to the rest of my body. I kept thrashing; I heard a cracking sound, then another one. I took the pillow that was on my face and threw it away from me.



» I looked around, and Asuna-san was lying half on the floor, half on my nightstand. There was blood on the wall above the nightstand, and more blood on the nightstand itself and the floor. The latter was coming out very fast from a spot on Asuna-san’s head, close to her ear. I felt really tired all of a sudden; it felt like I had been running for hours. The room stank like when one of the younger kids had shit or pissed themselves. I hadn’t known then what death smelled like. That was when Motoko-san entered the room.



» She went up to Asuna-san and checked her – probably looking for a pulse. Then, she started crying over her body. At the time, I was too young to understand she was dead. I kept asking where Asuna-san was the days after."



-----



Naruto, along with Biwako and Mito, were having lunch at the Academy once again.



“...And I told Ebisu-san ‘what are you doing there? You’re just as big a perv as Pervy Sage, aren’t you?’ He was startled and made noise; then, he had to run away before any of the girls saw him. Really, though, he was probably telling the truth and it was an accident – he’s a bit of a prude,” Mito said, engaged in a conversation with Biwako, her eyes a bit teary.



Naruto saw Ino approach them and frowned despite himself. Mito had told him about Ino breaking up their friendship, not to mention that the resemblance with Maifa was obvious, making Naruto even more wary of her.



“Mito,” Ino said, “could we talk?” Looking down.



“I’m here, so talk,” Mito replied, a bit frostily.



“I mean alone,” Ino said, biting her lip.



Mito heaved a great sigh, but she nodded. She led Ino a bit further, next to a giant tree that was rumored to have been made by Hashirama, which Naruto could confirm thanks to his Forest Net Works.



Naruto made two hand-seals and put Chakra into his ears without any shame, something he had learned from the scrolls of past Senju spies and trackers; he wasn’t very good at it yet, but it should be enough for him to eavesdrop – the two girls hadn’t gone far and he had naturally good hearing. He didn't trust that girl as far as he could throw her. Wait, wrong analogy. Naruto didn’t trust her as far as he could throw a boss summon while Chakra exhausted.



“…So, Ino-san, what did you wanna tell me?” Mito said, and Naruto could see her agitation from where he was despite her face being mostly hidden.



Ino swallowed nervously, cleared her throat and swallowed again. She said, “I’m sorry, Mito. I’m so sorry!” Bowing low.



Naruto wasn't expecting that. He couldn’t see expressions from where he was, but Mito went still. Then, Mito said, “you’re sorry? You said you couldn’t be friends with me anymore! Why…?”



“I- I was scared!” Ino admitted, “when I saw that ANBU die and Ebisu-san get so hurt by those Iwa missing-nins, I was terrified… I’ve never felt so scared before in my life! Please, Mito! Please forgive me! I want to be friends again!”



Mito sighed again, then fell silent for a few seconds. Afterwards, she said, “I don’t think I can forgive you immediately, but I’m willing to hang out again.”



Ino said, “thanks, Mito – you’re the best!” Hugging Naruto’s twin.



What Ino said next was too quiet to make out, but Mito said, “no! Keep your hands off Naruto!”



Naruto blinked – just what had Ino said?



Ino talked at a low volume again, but this time audible; she said, “why? Do you wanna keep him all to yourself? He did beat up Kiba for you,” blowing a raspberry.



“Ugh, Ino, you can be so annoying…,” Mito said, sighing.



Ino’s Chakra, which Naruto was examining more carefully, felt a bit familiar. Was she a fellow Sensor-type or something? He shrugged; while he didn’t dislike Ino, regardless of looking so much like her, he still didn’t trust her; partly because she was too loyal to Konoha.



-----



"I can't believe that Ino!" Mito said, huffing.



Biwako lifted an eyebrow, but Naruto knew why Mito was saying that.



"She's so boy-crazy!" Mito explained, waving her hands around.



Naruto smirked at Mito, despite himself, and said, "at least this time, it wasn't about that Hyuuga, right? Ino's tastes are improving!"



"Huh? Naruto, how do you know-," Mito said, looking confused.



Naruto could feel his smug smirk grow; he normally didn't act like that, but Ino's sudden interest had given him a strong confidence boost. He said, "now, now, Mito; do you really expect me to reveal my methods so easily?"



"...You eavesdropped on me! How?!" Mito said, outraged, "don't you think you should at least apologize?"



Naruto lost his smirk. He said, "sorry, Mito. I was worried for you – that's all," giving her a sad smile.



"Well," Mito said, "I guess it's fine!" But still pouting and crossing her arms.



"How about this: I will pay for the first two normal-sized bowls at Ichiraku's after we're finished with the Academy for today," Naruto said, making Mito squeal in happiness.



Mito beamed and said, "I forgive you completely!" Without hesitation, then hugged him.



Naruto stiffened in her embrace, but then, he relaxed and hugged her back. After the Academy let out, Ino tagged along with the three of them. She kept shooting glances at Naruto.



Ino eventually said, "so, why exactly did you hurt Kiba that much a couple weeks ago? Not that he didn't deserve it, but what’s your reason?"



Naruto smiled at her and said, "there's only so much idiocy and cockiness I can take before I snap. I hope Akamaru will keep better control over his pet from now on."



Ino cringed a bit. She said, "wow, Naruto, that's a scary smile." Then, she said, "wait, Akamaru's pet? Where did that come from?"



Naruto smirked, full of smugness, saying, "you know how the smarter one is the owner and the stupid one is a pet when it comes to dogs and humans, Ino? And how Inuzuka partner dogs are as smart as humans?"



"Well, yes- wait, you mean Kiba isn't much smarter than a normal dog, so he's a pet to Akamaru?" Ino said, looking directly at Naruto's eyes.



"Exactly!" Naruto said, smiling.



Ino smiled back, which then turned into a smirk; then, she said, "you're such a dork, Naruto! Besides, I'm sure you wouldn't tell Kiba that to his face!" And started snickering.



Naruto tried to scowl at her, but her snickering got worse.



Ino then said, "your pout is adorable!"



‘Pout’? ‘Adorable’?! He was not adorable! Was he?



Naruto looked in Mito and Biwako's direction, but they were both too busy glaring at Ino. He then looked at Ino again, seeing her smirking at the other girls. He shrugged, deciding to let Ino dig her own grave – he hadn't known that Mito was so overprotective.



When they reached Ichiraku Ramen, Biwako sat down slowly and formally, Ino strutted over to a stool like a queen among peasants and Mito jumped onto one enthusiastically. Naruto simply sat down.



"Old Man," Mito said, "I want the Kushina Shio special!" Back to her usual self.



Naruto twitched when he heard his mother's name and said, "I'll have the same as Mito, Teuchi-san."



Ino turned to look at Naruto and said, "are you sure, Naruto? Mito can eat a whole lot of Ramen! It's a wonder she hasn't gotten fat-"



Mito punched Ino's bicep, making the Yamanaka wince theatrically.



With a smile on her face that reminded Naruto of a mythological kitsune, ironically, Ino said, "and now your hand is as heavy as a guy's. Are you sure you aren't one? No, wait; you're too short-"



Naruto decided to intervene – he didn't want to watch how girls bonded with one another, nor did he particularly feel like seeing Ino maimed. He said, "Ino. Are you going to order or not?" Faking impatience.



Biwako had ordered a bowl of beef ramen. She was being unusually quiet, even for her, this day. Naruto looked at her, worried. Biwako turned to look at him, looking him in the eye, somehow realizing he was looking at her. She kept looking into his eyes with her own black ones. He didn't know what she was looking for, but he smiled at her… which, for some reason, made Biwako’s pale face turn pink. Come to think of it, Biwako never cringed when he smiled.



Ino snickered once again. She said, "well, at least now I know I stand no chance with Naruto. Oh, why do the cutest boys always either have someone or are ice kings?"



"…I have no idea what you are talking about," Biwako said, looking forward, where Teuchi-san and Ayame were cooking.



Naruto wondered why Biwako had answered that, but he shrugged that off. Naruto ended up paying for everyone's ramen except Mito's; the latter had to pay for every bowl she had eaten other than two normal sized ones; Naruto had been very careful with the words he had used when he had promised.



Still, Ino was a force of nature; Naruto still couldn't tell for sure how she had managed to get him to pay for her and Biwako, too. Poor, poor Namekuji-dono!* As for the Kushina Shio special Naruto had gotten... well, he had finished it, gotten a second one and eaten all of it too. Ino ranted about how there were 'two of them'. She didn't know just how right she was.



Well, even in Naruto’s earliest memories in the first orphanage, he always had at least two full plates or bowls at every lunch and dinner, and a truly huge amount at breakfast. Unbidden, that memory came back to him; Asuna-san's-



His mood thoroughly ruined, Naruto starting walking back to the Uchiha District.



-----



Naruto found a strangely big toad, roughly the size of Naruto's head, waiting at the entrance of the Uchiha District. He didn't think much of it, considering a lot of animals, some of them strange, had made the Uchiha district their home; when he had awakened the Mokuton, even more animals had started showing up.



When the toad talked, Naruto realized this had something to do with Jiraiya.



It said, "oi, are you Uzumaki Naruto?"



When Naruto said yes, the toad got its tongue out of its mouth and released a small scroll, saying, 'this is for you'. Naruto took the scroll and entered the Uchiha District without even looking back.



'What the hell does Jiraiya want?' Naruto thought to himself, still in a bad mood.



After he reached Biwako's -no; their home… or rather the closest thing to home he had in Konoha-, he tried to open the scroll… and failed.



'How come I didn’t notice the blood seal?' Naruto thought, 'I'm really out of it, apparently.'



Then, Naruto bit the skin at the base of his thumb and bled on the blood seal. One more, stranger-looking scroll -it had different colors on each side and Fuuinjutsu markings on the margins- and a paper letter appeared. The scroll was empty of writing, even smelt new, so Naruto looked at the letter.



Naruto,



I'm sorry I took so long to contact you, but the Sandaime and tracking a certain organization had me busy for too long.



I know that you think what the Third and I have said about him being mind-controlled is an excuse, and it might well be. I know I made a rather large leap in logic, but we need to be ready for any possibility, and the jutsu we spoke of is way too dangerous not to be prepared for. You can think of this as an old pervert ageless lover of women being paranoid.



Now, getting to the reason I sent you this: the Sandaime is going to be easier to persuade to do something for you now. Do you have any requests for him? I'll be your intermediary. Please limit it to one major thing, or a couple of less major ones.



Send your answer via the scroll; whatever you write on the yellow side will appear on mine, and whatever I write on mine's other side will appear on your scroll's white side. Write 'True Erasure' twice in a row to wipe the side you are writing it in.



Try it out.

Sincerely yours,



Jiraiya, Sage of Mount Myouboku



Naruto mused on Jiraiya's speech patterns – he usually sounded informal when speaking, unlike his letters. Naruto then shook his head. He thought, 'I don't need anything from the Sandaime. I don't need anything from such a person! Even if the mind-control theory turns out to be true, he never even bothered to visit me; I can't be loyal to that kind of person, nor trust him with anything. No, operation "Somewhere I Belong" is very much a go, even if Iruka-sensei- wait… I have a request that the Sandaime is the only one who can fulfill.'



Naruto wrestled with himself; he hated having anything to do with that man. It would feel too much like he owed the bastard something if he asked for even the smallest of favors… never mind the fact that the Third owed Naruto, not the other way around. Maybe Biwako would have advice. He would have to talk to her and Mito about it anyway.



-----



"You should do it!" Biwako said without hesitation.



"Just like that?" Naruto said, grimacing like he had smelt something foul.



Biwako nodded, saying, "of course! It's a unique opportunity. Remember that Shinobi use all tricks in their arsenal and take advantage of their- of opportunities," not quite getting what kept Naruto back. Maybe his pride…?



"It's just- I- it feels too much like I would owe him something," Naruto said, then his expression changed like he had thought of something more. "I don't want to owe that man anything – I'm not even sure if I should become a Genin in this village," he said, a grim look on his face.



Biwako did a double-take. She knew or at least strongly suspected what the plans Naruto had for the future were, even though he hadn't voiced them, per se: he wanted to join another Hidden Village or become a wanderer or something like that. She had been keeping all money she would get from vegetable sales outside the Land of Fire banks and even withdrawing as much as she could of her inheritance because she intended to follow him wherever he would go; there was nothing binding her to Konoha after what Shisui had told her.



Still, it was only the second time Naruto had said something so blatantly disloyal to Konoha and the only time so far he had proposed not to graduate at all.



Biwako tried to think of an alternative; after all, they needed to have mission experience, and she didn’t want to leave before they had squeezed every drop of resources and training out of Konoha. Hmm… new Genin would give their written oaths sometime between getting the forehead protector and meeting their Jounin sensei. If she could sabotage that process without anyone knowing….



She would have to throw herself into Genjutsu; forget improving her Body Flicker, her Fire Style, her Lightning Style Chakra Flow, her taijutsu and her shurikenjutsu when she was with Shisui. Focusing on her Sharingan and Genjutsu -maybe the sword to keep from getting rusty- was the way to go.



-----



Shizune was supervising an all-out spar between Naruto and Biwako. Naruto was preparing for the signal-



Start!”



Biwako started with a hail of shuriken. Naruto deflected them with a kunai in such a way that they would get in her way-



Shit!



Biwako had managed to slip through the gaps and was at melee range. Naruto drew a kunai, swiftly channeling Wind Style Chakra into it-



(Clang!)



Their weapons met, and Naruto barely managed to keep her tanto from grazing him. He shot off a -somewhat weak- Wind Ninjutsu using a single-handed hand-seal, but Biwako had apparently predicted that, so she shot off a small fireball at the same time.



Naruto disengaged and dropped to the ground quickly, but he still didn’t completely avoid burns on his face. He hissed, but he made sure to move again, and none too soon, because more shuriken were coming his way.



He used a Doton jutsu to get below ground, then he shot off as soon as the shuriken were clear-

Crap!



One more shuriken was coming. Naruto managed to harden his skin using another Earth Style jutsu, deflecting the shuriken with his forearm, but he could hear the rest of the shuriken coming back at him from behind. Maybe-



Naruto made a simple Earth Clone under the ground and towards his right, so that it would be on Biwako’s left side, the one on which seemed a little slower to react. Then, he made a substitution with a tree branch in such a position that Biwako would be unlikely to look at the place the clone was at.



Biwako had wasted no time. She used a full-body tackle, electrifying Naruto, keeping him from drawing Living Makibishi to drop between them.



Ow! Fortunately, the clone hadn’t been affected. It used an Earth Style ninjutsu and threw mud at Biwako’s head and feet.



Biwako’s head twitched, but didn’t turn.



Naruto took the opportunity, though, and used a Wind ninjutsu on dry ground, aiming the dirt at Biwako’s eyes. He prepared to- all of a sudden, there was another Biwako under the ground to his Chakra sense.



‘She substituted herself with a clone at the last moment!’ Naruto thought to himself.



Biwako got out of the ground immediately and looked at Naruto, making eye contact.



By the time he snapped out of the Genjutsu, just short of a second later, a lot of shuriken were coming at him; some were even sparking with Lightning Style Chakra. Damn that bracelet!



Naruto tried his new ninjutsu in combat for the first time. He made a Dragon seal -the seal that helped with modifying Shape-, then Tiger, then a modified Dog seal, which he tended to use for his purified water jutsu.



Suiton: Uzushio no Kabe!



An offshoot of ‘Suiton: Suijinheki’ (‘Water Formation Wall’), ‘Uzushio no Kabe’ (‘Wall of the Whirling Tide’) made a miniature whirlpool to stop an opponent’s attack.



Naruto caught the shuriken in his defensive technique, molded his Chakra in the correct way to sense Chakra, then shot them off, along with the water at where he felt Biwako to be.



She went underground. Naruto was about to cause a mini-earthquake when she shot off out of the ground, shooting- electrified senbon?! No, they were made of Lightning Style Chakra!



Naruto was down, unable to get up. He heard Shizune call the match and felt her Chakra healing him, but he could only think about his loss.





-----



Autumn came and went, and Naruto had become eleven years old. The birthday party he had had with Tsunade, Shizune and Biwako was the stuff of legends; his sensei had nearly ended up drinking sake after years of abstinence, but Shizune had managed to persuade her otherwise with copious numbers of senbon. His training had also gone well.



His aunt(?) teacher(?) Tsunade had found a way to motivate him more for his medical training. Teaching Naruto -or helping him with- a non-medical ninjutsu as a reward. She had finally taught him the Shuriken Shadow Clone when he had gotten down the Mystical Palm, reviving a fish with it… which had taken him nearly two months of practice. At least, she had allowed him a Shadow Clone for learning it.



Another time, she had taught him an offensive Earth ninjutsu, Doryuuso (Earth Flow Spear), easily C-ranked and with the potential to be upgraded to A-ranked, if Naruto's suspicion was right. It was 'death from below'; using hardened clumps of soil and rock as long stalagmites to impale enemies to death. It had been very difficult for Naruto to learn, far beyond what a C-ranked ninjutsu of one of his affinities should have been. He had had to learn to spread his Chakra into the ground, then use it to affect the ground further; if he hadn’t been a sensor, it might have taken him twice as long!



It had taken Naruto a bit over two months to get it down, even being a sensor, even with his experience with the Earth element. In many ways, it was worse than the Mystical Palm – at least, that one he had had little to no prior experience with to guide him, took slightly less time, and it was an A-ranked jutsu besides.



("Tsunade-sensei," Naruto said, "do you know why it took me even longer than the Mystical Palm to get down the Earth Flow Spear, even though I was already really good with the Earth element and had a clone or two helping with it, too?"



Tsunade smiled at him mischievously. She said, "oh? So, you noticed something off?"



Naruto suddenly had the feeling that he was being pranked. He said, "you know what the problem was?!" Practically shouting his lungs out.



"Inside voice, Naruto," Tsunade admonished him. "Yes, but can you pinpoint the problem yourself?" She said then.



The boy breathed in and out, trying to think what was different about that jutsu. He had gotten down the Water Dragon Bullet, which was B-ranked and had more complicated Shape Transformation, on his own in three weeks or so, but that one had fourteen hand-seals (*3).



Could it be the fact that this jutsu had fewer hand-seals? Or maybe the fact Naruto was somewhat better at the Water element? But that didn't explain away such a huge dif- oh, that cunning bi- woman! Naruto said, "so, I take it that Doryuuso doesn't usually have only two hand-seals?" Probably looking ugly with a grimace on his face.



Tsunade nodded. She said, "you got it. Normally, that jutsu is taught with seven hand-seals first; Snake and Bird are only the final ones," smiling at Naruto proudly.



"Why would you do that?" Naruto asked, frustrated.



His aunt bent down to look into Naruto's eyes and put a hand on his shoulder. Then, she said, "Naruto. You are used to learning things easily; you have natural talent, and a whole lot of it. Unfortunately, that comes with its own set of problems. When I was a genin, everything came easily to me; my teammates were very driven, but I simply coasted through at first. Orochimaru eventually became arrogant, because he never learned the lessons Jiraiya knew all along, and I managed to grasp when I had the 'dead-last', Jiraiya himself, surpass me in combat ability… though I did catch up eventually. You have the same set of issues as both Orochimaru and I did when we were around your age; I simply tried to make sure you wouldn't end up lazy or entitled.")



Auntie Tsunade had pranked Naruto well with Doryuuso. The boy could admit that, at least. On the other hand, he had learned a vital lesson: he couldn't and shouldn't give up just because something was hard.



Naruto wasn't sure what teaching a ten-year-old such a dangerous jutsu just to make a point about hard work said about his aunt, but at least she had cautioned him not to use Doryuuso around anyone he didn't truly intend to kill. He was glad about healing that puppy's leg either way, which was the milestone he had reached and gotten the reward for. The day before, his aunt had had him dissect corpses, both human and animal; Naruto wasn't going to specialize in veterinary medicine, but practicing medical ninjutsu on animals was a time-honored tradition, or so Tsunade insisted.



Naruto, thanks to Tsunade’s lesson on perseverance, had gone back to learning genjutsu and turning a leaf transparent; it had taken him around five months of instruction from Shizune to be able to 'disappear' a leaf almost a third of the way, and that was with him being allowed a clone to train in it alongside him or let him do something else simultaneously every time.



According to his aunt, a ninja didn't need to be good at everything, but Naruto intended to get good enough at it that Biwako would have a hard time getting him with genjutsu; she had improved hugely in that field, and Naruto knew exactly why. Of course, Shizune had also taught him how to recognize and dispel genjutsu better, which came a lot more easily to him than producing Yin Style Chakra; mainly by putting him in a genjutsu, herself.



("When are you going to use the genjutsu on me, Shizune-san?" Naruto said, "I'm rea-"



Naruto stopped speaking suddenly; something was wrong with the circulation of his Chakra. He made dual single-handed Ram hand-seals to enhance his concentration and Control… he found the problem; some foreign Chakra in his head's coils, but he didn't want to risk problems with his brain, so he went with the standard method and halted all of his Chakra's circulation for a moment, then released some of it in a tightly controlled shockwave.)



It had taken Naruto almost as long as making a third of the leaf invisible, starting with dispelling her more mundane Genjutsu and working his way up to the difficult ones, but he had managed to detect and dispel some of Shizune's most subtle genjutsu near-instantly. In the meantime, he had been crushed by Biwako in their all-out spars recently because of that blasted third tomoe.



Unfortunately, he couldn't use the Genjutsu Dispel skill without a hand-seal very well yet; if he tried it at enough power to dispel a B-ranked genjutsu, he might cause himself internal Chakra burns according to Shizune. It was strange, though – it was becoming harder and harder for Shizune and Biwako both to get a genjutsu to stick to Naruto, even without him doing anything to counter.



On the other, offensive hand, with all five hand-seals, Naruto could manage to succeed in a False Surroundings genjutsu one fourth of the time – though even when it worked, Biwako could near-immediately detect and break it… without her Sharingan; it was that obvious. There was also Naruto’s first major failure in the medical field.



(Naruto's squeamishness around corpses and the injured and sick was slowly disappearing. He was on yet another training trip with Tsunade-sensei, and she had him -and herself- work as support for Shizune. She was getting herself used to working as a medic-nin again by helping her original apprentice with her work.



As they were walking away from the site of a successful healing session, Naruto heard a chirp-like sound. He looked around, finding a small bird on the ground. He walked closer – he could see that one of its wings was bent. It tried to claw at him, but he didn’t pay that any mind and used the Mystical Palm on it. The wing, though, just wouldn’t get in place. He used a relatively advanced diagnostic jutsu on it and after a bit of checking the other wing out, he knew what he had to do to fix the broken one, though probably not perfectly.



Naruto used the Mystical Palm again; he aligned the wing correctly and fixed it. Why was the bird’s breathing getting more shallow and its cries weaker, though? He frantically used the diagnostic jutsu again, and discovered that some of the bird's bones were broken and some of its internal organs also had damage. Most of its bones also had a strange structure Naruto hadn't found in ground-bound animals. He wasn't good enough yet to be able to tell the exact difference, though.



'Never mind that!' Naruto thought. Then, he said, "Shizune-san! Tsunade-sensei! A little help…?"



Neither of them moved, though Naruto thought he saw Shizune and even his aunt twitch. "...Please…?" He said, but his aunt shook her head.



Naruto decided to try to heal the little creature as best he could – he apparently couldn't rely on anyone at the moment. He used the diagnostic jutsu again, mapping the bird's body, then the Mystical Palm to mend its internal organs and bones.



It was not enough; the bird was dying in his arms. Naruto threw a last desperate look at Tsunade and Shizune, but nothing worked, on either front – the bird's chest stopped moving. He tried to revive it but he knew, deep down, that it was too little, too late. "…Why?" Naruto said, looking at Shizune and Tsunade both, feeling betrayed.



Tsunade said, "it's better that you get used to failing to heal something now, with an animal, rather than lose a person on your first failure," her eyes shining with unshed tears. It was the most openly sad expression Naruto had ever seen on her face, worse than when she had shown him her family photos.



Naruto stopped breathing for a moment. The wind had been taken out of his sails. The anger came back, though. He said, "did you have to do it this way, though? I have few enough people that I trust- wait. Is this about me asking for more offensive jutsu?"



"…Partially," Tsunade admitted, making Naruto get angrier, "it was worrying me, that you were being half-hearted about the medical field. You are very talented in it, so if your negligence gets someone you love killed, you might never forgive yourself."



Naruto blinked. He said, "is that what happened to you?" Speaking softly.



"Not quite – at first, it was kind of the opposite problem," his master said, biting her lip and clenching an empty bottle of soda so hard that she made it into a very small ball. "I wasn't taking most of my ninja abilities seriously when I first became a Genin. My grandfather had died less than a year before, leaving the village in Sarutobi-sensei's hands. Having the recently appointed Third Hokage as my Jounin sensei made me feel invincible, like I would never need to actually fight. Combine that with the preference I had for the medical field and my reluctance to kill at the time, and I focused on learning how to provide medical aid without putting much effort into my combat skills.



» Then, I had a wake-up call; or, rather, multiple ones in a row. The first was that the three of us got separated from our sensei, leading to both Orochimaru and me being captured and used as hostages. The second one was that it was Jiraiya -someone I had considered an incompetent- who sneaked up on them and saved us, though with another Konoha ninja helping him. The third one was that the chuunin helping Jiraiya got killed in the process. I tried to save her, but I knew that with her injuries, even Grandpa would be hard-pressed to manage that – she was too far gone.



» That’s when I chose the path of the combat medic, similarly to my grandfather. While I don’t often use directly offensive ninjutsu for fear of not having enough Chakra to heal, I have good enough Taijutsu skills that I have no problem taking care of enemies and healing allies both; not to mention Byakugo no jutsu and my other trump cards. On the other hand, I have Chakra reserves that, even in my atrophied state, were almost twice those of the average Kage. Now, I’m closer to the point Jiraiya is at, if you are right about what his Chakra was like to you, than to myself a year ago.”



Tsunade then went on to explain that a medic-nin needed a different skill-set from a fighter. She said “a light and steady hand, precise application of their Chakra and skills, a knack for both academia and practical application, patience, the capability to dodge well enough that the medic-nin doesn’t die until everyone else on the team does and more.



» You know, I once contemplated making the unwritten rules of a medic-nin more official… then, I realized that if the medic-nin is unable to fight, they are a liability to their team. I still believe that a medic-nin needs an inexhaustible supply of Chakra and self-healing that can regenerate limbs without hand-seals to stand on the front lines, but I never made it official… especially if we consider the fact that I got my self-healing jutsu to work too late to ever use it in a fight.”



Naruto digested the long explanation for a minute or so. Then, he said, “so, I need to increase my Chakra reserves by a lot?”



“You are already progressing well,” Tsunade reassured Naruto.



Naruto wasn’t as convinced. He would graduate in less than two years. By that time, he needed to get enough Chakra to both fight and heal without sacrificing his performance in one of them.)



Once, he had accompanied his aunt-slash-teacher to healing a noble, who was getting herself used to being the main healer once again, rather than support. His performance had gotten him an A-ranked ninjutsu, Suiton: Daibakufu (Water Style: Great Waterfall), which had taken him nearly a month to get down; it was an exploding shockwave of dense water.



Tsunade had gotten Shizune to teach him Gale Palm when he had managed to synthesize a plant-based poison using only his bloodline and helped him perfect his house-making jutsu when he had gotten down the Chakra Scalpel. One of Naruto's favorite jutsu was the Water Prison, which Tsunade helped him figure out from past accounts of Senju and Uchiha after he had picked up the Chakra Transfer Technique… the latter had taken him all of a week, which, considering it was technically S-ranked, was an amazing feat.



Naruto fought Biwako in an all-out spar, months after the previous one, as a great finish to the birthday party; unfortunately for him, she had improved her balance and dodging capabilities to the point his enhanced strength was all but useless against her, her improved swordsmanship capabilities were too dangerous for him and the three tomoe were still a pain in his ass, so he lost.



Apparently, now that Biwako was good enough at taijutsu that she didn't fear his enhanced strength and had kenjutsu, he would need to fight her at a distance… but she moved too fast for him to keep her away. Not to mention the fact that her reflexes were ever so slightly ahead of his own, and her flexibility had always been far superior.



-----



“Damn it. Damn it!” Naruto said, punching the ground, making a small crater.



He had lost to Biwako yet another time. He could tell Biwako was studying him, but-



“Naruto,” Biwako said suddenly.



Naruto lifted his head to look at her, only to see a small frown on her face. She said, “instead of getting angry and hitting things, why don’t you channel that energy into getting better? Ba-a-ka.”



Naruto almost growled. He said, “it’s not that easy -ttebayo! I’ve been left behind; far behind!”

“…You have a bloodline. Why don’t you use it?” Biwako said, a perplexed expression on her face.



“It’s too slow for me to use it, and you’ve never given me enough of a breather to drop Living Makibishi,” Naruto said, still frustrated.



“What, do you want me to hold back?” Biwako said, raising her voice slightly.



Naruto glared at her furiously, saying, “of course not!”



“Then think of how to counter my abilities,” Biwako said, biting her lip. “You’ve already shut down my Genjutsu somehow.”



Naruto tried to think of a way to counter swordsmanship plus shuriken plus Chakra Flow plus incredible speed. He could only think of one thing: a weapon.



Naruto decided to go to Tsunade for advice, even though his faith in her was shaken.



…Naruto said, “Auntie Tsunade. I need your advice,” grimacing.



Tsunade nodded. She said, “what is it, Naruto?” Her face almost unreadable.



Naruto could tell that his aunt was sad, probably because she knew he was still a bit angry at her, but he didn’t say anything about that. He said, “it’s- I’m falling behind Biwako and I don’t know what to do. I decided to learn how to use a weapon, but I don’t know one that would let me give her a hard time – is there a weapon around that would be able to flow my Chakra really well and withstand mine and Biwako’s Chakra Flow at the same time?”



Tsunade didn’t speak for a few moments, then she said, “what material would that weapon be made of, then?”

“Steel with Chakra-conductive metal- wait. What about wood? I mean, that kind of wood?” Naruto said, getting more excited as he talked.



Tsunade smiled softly. She said, “we will have to test its properties, but yes, I suspect it will be really accepting of your Chakra, really durable and relatively easy to replace. How about a bo staff?”



Naruto decided to try it. He made- a branch that looked nothing like a staff.





“…Do you know anyone who knows how to use and make a staff, Auntie Tsunade?” Naruto said, his joy cut short.



“What am I, chopped liver?” Tsunade said, frowning, “the Third taught me the basics of Bo Staves when I was in his team, though I haven’t needed to use one. It was the one thing Orochimaru had a hard time with: blunt weapons, though he was very good with swords. Surprisingly, Jiraiya was decent at both.”



It was an interesting idea.



“Naruto,” his aunt said, sounding a bit hesitant, but her gaze was focused on him. “Biwako has the goal of finding her brother and beating some answers out of him. She is rather driven. Do you have one?”



Naruto opened his mouth – of course he did! Then, he closed it. He wanted a place to belong, true, but was that something that would make him driven? Was it specific enough? What was it that he really wanted to do in the short term and what was his long-term goal?



He would have to think it over.



-----



Naruto had gotten a return message from Jiraiya on the 'special' scroll.





Kid,



You need to pull up your grades at the Academy and graduate early. You have less than three months. Make sure to tell the girls so that they try to graduate this March, too.



Naruto rolled the scroll back up and smiled, rubbing his hands together. So, he needed to raise his grades? So be it. He would make a 'miracle' comeback!



-----



Iruka said, "Biwako, it's your turn to throw the shuriken and kunai for this week's shurikenjutsu exam," smiling.



Biwako threw the shuriken six at a time, and all twelve of them were dead center. She wasn't even fazed by the challenge – though Naruto knew that it wasn't much of a challenge for her. The kunai, she threw one by one- but with her back turned. She still got a perfect score.



It was Naruto's turn, and he took a bit of time to weigh the projectiles-to-be, realizing that they were not very high quality, the balance was wrong and they were too blunt even for practice weapons.



Naruto looked at Mizuki, glaring at the white haired fool who was still ‘learning the ropes’ as a teaching assistant despite having worked in the Academy for years; the man only looked back with a serene expression, but Naruto could almost feel the smugness rolling off him. The boy had an idea. He had a great idea. He could see Mizuki shudder from the corner of his eye, but he couldn't pay attention to the piece of trash right now.



Naruto chose to throw the kunai first. He enhanced his body through a variation of the Byakugo no jutsu, then threw the dozen blades hard enough to embed them into the bullseye of the targets they hit, one by one; even though they were blunter than the rubber slugs Naruto sometimes bathed with.



When the time to throw the shuriken came, Naruto did the same for the first eleven ninja stars, but for his last go, he threw the shuriken in a different way, and slightly off in aim... ending up with it ricocheting twice, then hitting Mizuki in the back of the head. Hard.



Iruka-sensei went up to Mizuki quickly; the lighter haired man groaned from his place lying on the ground and slowly got up, with Iruka-sensei's help, though he was wobbly. Once Mizuki was no longer as dizzy, he glared at Naruto, who smiled at the man. Naruto wondered why Mizuki shuddered, though the man still glared – Naruto's smile wasn't that creepy, was it?



Iruka-sensei whispered in Mizuki's ears. Fortunately, Naruto could boost his hearing. "… know what you did. If you try to pull that kind of shit ever again, a blunt shuriken on the head will be the least of your worries."



Then, Mizuki whispered back. He said, "I'm pretty sure Naruto did that on purpose. Aren't you going to-"



Iruka-sensei scoffed. He said, "if I were him, I would probably have put a lot more strength into that throw. You saw how deep those kunai and shuriken reached before, and they were just as blunt. Just be grateful you are alive and well – you could have been crippled or worse. Now, don't change the subject," still whispering.



Mizuki looked as if he was about to object, but Iruka-sensei patted his back, obviously using a lot more strength than necessary, then said that Mizuki was fine.



"Wow, Naruto," Kiba said, "you're so clumsy! It’s no wonder you're the dead last!" Laughing.



A few other students also laughed at Naruto.



Naruto also forced a laugh and said, "it's true, what they say, isn't it?"



"What was that, dead last?" Kiba said, showing his teeth.



"I said," Naruto said, "that the puppy that barks the loudest is usually the runt of the litter. In this case, the stupidest too. Haven't you learned after that beatdown you got?" Without moving.



Kiba got into Naruto's face and bared his teeth again. He said, "you wanna fight?! I'll beat you in front of Mito, and-"



A slapping sound echoed, and Kiba stopped talking suddenly. Naruto could tell that Mito was behind Kiba, but he hadn’t realized that until less than a second before Mito had slapped the back of Kiba's head.



'I didn't even hear or otherwise sense her; even though she has the strongest Chakra I've ever encountered other than possibly the Sandaime, Biwako, Auntie Tsunade and Jiraiya,' Naruto thought and could feel the cold sweat going down his forehead.



Naruto sidestepped, seeing Mito's hand go through the space where his head had been split-seconds before. He soon had to dodge again, because Mito didn't give up.



"Sit still so I can get you!" Mito said, letting out an animalistic growl.



Naruto blew a raspberry at her, then said, "it's 'stand still'. Let's save the enthusiasm for the ring, though."



"I wanna pummel you and I wanna do it right now!" Mito said, her voice very shrill, showing her annoyance.



Naruto winced – his poor ears! He could also sense that Iruka-sensei had arrived, so he said, "Iruka-sensei, is it possible for me to fight Mito today?" While still dodging, holding his hands over his ears to prevent any more pain from Mito's shrieks.



"Well, Naruto," Iruka said dryly, "how can I resist such a heartfelt request? Mito, to the ring, now."



Mito froze. She turned slowly and robotically to look at their sensei, then said, "yes, Iruka-sensei," her posture stiff.



She walked toward the sparring ring and so did Naruto. Naruto smiled at Mito, but his sister cringed slightly. Was Naruto's smile that cringeworthy?



Mito breathed in deep, possibly to gather courage for something, then said, "how about we use ninjutsu too, Iruka-sensei, Naruto?"



Naruto shrugged, then said, "I'm all for it."



Iruka-sensei thought it over a bit, then said, "yes to some ninjutsu; genjutsu and Fuuinjutsu are also allowed, but no directly damaging jutsu other than you or clones using taijutsu, no weapons and no kind of explosion or explosives; for obvious reasons. Also, nothing pre-prepared – so no seals or traps you didn't make on the fly. No help from others, and that restriction includes summons."



Naruto thought over the restrictions, then decided that the element of Earth would offer him the best defensive and supplementary capabilities, so he would forgo Water and Wind to avoid revealing much.

Iruka-sensei gave the signal, and Naruto created a few Earth Clones under the ground without using hand-seals, all the while looking Mito in the eye. Mito made the Clone seal, but one of Naruto's Earth Clones got out of the ground and punched her in the gut repeatedly, while two held her by the wrists and two others held her by the ankles.



Mito was too durable to get hurt much by Earth Clones, but Naruto the original charged at her. In the blink of an eye, Mito tensed her muscles and flipped herself, forcing the clones holding her to the ground. Then, she punched out the one punching her, leaving only the two clones that had held her legs 'alive', because the impact on them had been softer.



Naruto completed his motion and punched Mito in the cheek, launching her away, but unfortunately not far enough for her to lose by ring-out. She spat blood, but unlike most of the girls in his class, she wasn’t fazed. Her hands met again, but Naruto made one of his clones use the D-ranked Mud Hazard to get her eyes, sacrificing the clone because that jutsu was too costly; it was something an Earth Clone that had already burrowed through the ground could barely fuel, and even that was only because it was of its own element.



He went for a charge again, but Mito put a hand in a single-handed hand-seal and managed to catch his fist with the other, even though her eyes were full of mud. Suddenly, Naruto felt his body become unresponsive; he stumbled back, using his other hand to support his hunched frame. What did she-



"You know," Mito said, wiping her eyes with her sleeves, "if you hadn't underestimated me so much and lowered your guard when you blinded me, I would have lost, and very quickly too. You came at me in a straight line when you really know better, and didn't even bother coming at me immediately after your clones attacked me."



Naruto's mind was going a mile a minute. Mito was walking back towards him, slowly because of still trying to clean her eyes, and he was helpless – she wouldn't have any trouble throwing him out of the ring. He couldn't even control his Chakra enough for a jutsu!



"The Self-Cursing Seal(*2) is an amazing thing!" Mito said.



That sounded like a Cursed Seal. What did he know about Juuinjutsu (Cursed Seals)? Many were irremovable, but they were usually those that took a lot of preparation. Mito wasn't a complete stickler for the rules, but she respected Iruka-sensei and his authority very much, so she had almost certainly followed his rules and made the seal on the fly.



Maybe it could be broken with willpower? '…What am I thinking,' Naruto told himself with a scoff, 'this isn't one of my manga.'



Naruto considered trying to dispel it like a genjutsu – he tried just that after managing to make a one-handed seal with his left, and was rewarded with a weaker restriction. Unfortunately, that didn't even last a second before the seal was back at full power and more, and his time was about to run out. 'That's it! I'm on the right track!' He thought.



Naruto made his final Earth Clone attack Mito, gathering his Chakra at the same time, without a hand seal. His clone was dispelled without much difficulty, but bought Naruto time anyway. He unleashed a huge burst of Chakra, but tried to keep it tightly controlled. As a result, he blew Mito away without causing much destruction. Unfortunately, Naruto was no Hyuuga; he couldn't send her very far at all. Suddenly, he felt a burning sensation inside, which quickly escalated to levels nearly unheard of for Naruto; it was kind of like what he expected from his blood being replaced with a strong acid.



Mito's mastery of the Sealing Arts was superb, Naruto had to admit. The good news was that he had broken free of that annoying seal; the bad news was that he had lost nearly a third of his reserves so far. Worse yet, his entire body was in agony – had he caused himself internal Chakra burns? He should have been more careful with his Chakra Control - Tsunade-sensei was going to make him do remedial Chakra Control training. Naruto grit his teeth and concentrated on the fight. Mito had put her hands together like a cross in the Clone seal, making three extra copies of her appear.



Naruto didn't speak; he simply formed seven Earth Clones, only four of which were above the ground, this time with a Snake hand-seal to reduce the cost and the strain on his Chakra network, gritting his teeth again.



Mito said, "I'm the master of clones! You can't hope to win like this!" Smiling ferally.



"Now who's underestimating whom? Let's see if you can back up your words in a battle of clones," Naruto said and made his clones attack the four copies of Mito.



A taijutsu match of sorts ensued; in the meantime, Naruto used a diagnostic jutsu on himself with two hand-seals and discovered that he had very mild internal Chakra burns, but they were in three places of his Chakra network. Fortunately, they were healing just fine and were already mostly gone.



Naruto had numbers on his side, his clones took up far less Chakra each, they could burrow through the ground briefly, and he had superior taijutsu skills… not to mention that the original Naruto's speed and strength were greater than the original Mito’s. On the other hand, the originals weren't participating in the fight, and Earth Clones lost a lot more speed and power compared to the original than Shadow Clones did. Too bad I don't know the Tsuchikage's Rock Clone….



That's without counting Naruto's injury, nor the fact he had spent a lot of his Chakra already; his healing factor required much less Chakra than the Mystical Palm usually did, but the receding internal burns were still taking a lot. Well, Naruto had always wondered who would win a battle of attrition between the two of them.



…Over ten minutes later, after literally hundreds of clones, both Naruto and Mito were panting in exhaustion. Naruto could feel the sweat running down his face, but it was the headache that worried him. Unlike Shadow Clones, the normal elemental clones like the Earth Clone had no mind of their own, and had to be controlled by the original through a mental link. That part was what caused the headache. 'Heh,' Naruto thought, 'brought down not by the burns, which have already healed, nor Chakra exhaustion, but mental strain. Who'd have thought?' Putting a hand on his temple.



He heard Mito groan in pain, so he looked back at her. She was holding her head too.



'Of course,' Naruto thought, 'the Shadow Clones bring back memories and mental fatigue!'



Out loud, he said, "I can see the strain those clones have caused you. Can you even go on?"



"I- I can!" Mito said, swaying on the spot.



Naruto approached her, wary of tricks. Before he reached grabbing distance, Naruto stomped on the soil in Mito's direction, using Yang Style Chakra for the Byakugo no jutsu (Strength of a Hundred jutsu), rupturing the ground, making her lose her balance. Finally, Naruto shoved his sister out of the ring while she was off-balance.



"Winner: Naruto," Iruka-sensei said, sounding really impressed.



Naruto could see how dejected Mito was, so as a good brother, he decided to rub it in. He said, "what was that you said, Mito? I underestimated you and lowered my guard? Heh, take your own advice."



Mito glared at him for a moment, then she smirked, saying, "yeah, laugh it up, Naruto. I'll get you next time, don't worry."



"In your dreams, Mito," Naruto said and offered his right hand's fingers for the Seal of Reconciliation.



Mito reciprocated, so the two of them clasped fingers.



"Wait, wait, back up! When did Naruto get so strong?!" Kiba said, with Akamaru barking. Then, Kiba said, "wait, what do you mean 'he always was like that', Akamaru?"



Naruto shook his head and said, "like always, Akamaru is showing way more intelligence, common sense, observation skill, insight, level-headedness and knowledge than you. Are you sure that you are Akamaru's partner and not his pet, Kiba?"



Kiba looked at Naruto, his eyes wide; Naruto could also hear Ino's gasp. 'Did she really think I wouldn't say it to Kiba's face?' He thought.



Unexpectedly, Kiba laughed, with his mouth mostly closed, not showing his sharp canines this time. After the Inuzuka calmed down, he said, "you know, you're the first one to say that to an Inuzuka and their partner, as far as I know. Many ignorant people think that our dog partners are pets, but you not only know better, you made a cool joke about it! I might manage to like you, after all!"

Naruto’s reply was perfectly poised and intelligent… he would like to say, but he only said ‘huh?’



-----



Naruto was walking out of the exam room, holding a Konoha forehead protector, reluctant to actually wear it. He pocketed it; maybe he would wear it in front of his throat or something. Biwako’s Transformed Shadow Clone was at his forehead, taking the place of his goggles. Hopefully, that would be enough to counter the oath-taking thanks to her genjutsu.



Their sensei was supposedly Hatake Kakashi, a name Naruto had seen more than once in the archives of the Uchiha Ninja Library. If the Uchiha had gotten things right, Kakashi was definitely a greater threat than the Hokage himself and likely greater than Jiraiya too.



‘Well,’ Naruto thought to himself, ‘we will see in two weeks.’

-----

“Mito,” Naruto said seriously, “we need to talk.”

Mito looked at him, her face scrunched up in confusion. She said, “what about?”

Naruto took a few deep breaths and said. “I- never mind. I’ll tell you another time,” ignoring Mito’s worsened confusion. ‘I chickened out, damn it!’ He thought to himself, unable to tell his sister that he believed their father had sealed a giant fox in him.

He had tried before, but he hadn’t even reached the ‘we need to talk’ stage.

-----



*0 Yeah, Naruto could have used that when he infiltrated the Senju compound, but it didn’t occur to him.



*'Namekuji' means 'slug'; Namekuji-dono is this Naruto's wallet, as a parallel to canon's Gama-chan ('gama' means 'toad').



*2 The Self-Cursing Seal is the immobilization seal Danzo used on Sasuke in canon.



*3 There's no way Suiryuudan had (anywhere near) 44 hand-seals; Zabuza must have been trying to trick Kakashi with extra seals (which backfired immediately after with Daibakufu (Great Waterfall), possibly because Kakashi had already known both jutsu).
 
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#30
A good addition. Considering Kiba's reaction to Naruto's joke, that could be used to bring Naruto and, by extension, Biwako closer to the village. Especially when you consider Ino and Mito being added to their group. It would really depend on Mito's reaction to Naruto possibly being a Jinchuriki. Granted, it's a long way off for them to fully accept being in the village, if you go that way, and it's not like the two of them don't have very good reasons for wanting to leave, but you do have some solid groundwork to take the story in both directions.

I'm not sure I'd agree with the Water Dragon jutsu not having that many handseals- considering it is both an elemental and shape manipulation jutsu. That being said, you'd almost have to be a ninjutsu specialist to be able to use it in battle, which Kakashi is. As are Orochimaru and Sarutobi, who are two of the few who used jutsu like that. Zabuza, on the other hand, wasn't. He was a stealth and assassination expert, which makes the fact that he could use a jutsu with that many handseals even more impressive.

When you look at the flow of the battles during the 1st and 2nd Kakashi vs Zabuza fights, when Zabuza relied on stealth, he outclassed Kakashi. When the battle switched to ninjutsu, Kakashi dominated. However, where Zabuza majors in Stealth and Swordsmanship and minors in Ninjutsu, Kakashi clearly majors in Ninjutsu and minors in Tracking. Also, it seems to be implied that Zabuza was one of the weakest of the Seven Swordsmen and is in his prime as a high A-Ranked ninja. Kakashi, on the otherhand, shows deathseeker behavior and is clearly NOT in his prime and is still a High A-Ranked Ninja. It's not really until his battles with Kakuzu and Pein that Kakashi seems to start pulling away from his self-destructive mindset and ups his training to become the S-Ranked Ninja he was shown to be during the 4th Shinobi War. So Kakashi's victory isn't surprising even if you ignore the fact that he was a mentor for the main protagonist.
 

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#31
Well, Kakashi has a different role here to canon, so his development as a ninja will be changed, too -- think Hokage Kakashi, only with the Sharingan, haha. Kakashi's growth as a ninja, I believe, had also been stunted in canon. Half a field of vision and lack of depth perception can be crippling to anyone other than Tobirama and Karin. Add to that his issues with depression and for a while, even deathseeking (as you said) and you have a recipe for disaster. Edit: the Sharingan also needed a lot of care and training, which Kakashi didn't put much effort into.

Well, the Water Dragon can still have a great number of seals (14 here, I think...?) but not to the point of absurdity.
 
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#32
I don't believe canon stunted Kakashi's growth so much as reversed it. After all, in the anime at least, Kakashi had been Kushina's personal guardsmen and had been given the night off and then later was ordered by Sarutobi not to fight during the Nine Tails Attack. Between Obito "dying" while saving his life, his killing Rin and then his failure being able to potentially save Minato and Kushina... Kakashi was one bad day from either committing suicide or going on a murderous rampage. Between the depression and death seeking behaviour, we also see hints that he had become over reliant on using his Sharingan, which he could use better than most Uchiha. Also Hokage Kakashi still had the Sharingan, as he regained the use of it as Obito was killed by Kaguya.

Still, it will be nice to see a fic with a Hokage/Hokage-Level Kakashi. Those are pretty rare, despite Kakashi being the canonical 6th Hokage.
 

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#33
I only know about the fillers in passing.

As for the Sharingan, Kakashi temporarily gained dual Mangekyo after Obito bestowed him his Chakra by teleporting his fucking soul out of the afterlife. However, the actual eyes were lost with Obito, I believe, so Naruto restored Kakashi's original eye (non-Sharingan) he had lost during the Kannabi Bridge mission using the Six Paths Yang Power.

Finally, if I got this right, Kakashi retired from ANBU in his early twenties at most. That's when he let himself go, and he became reliant on the Sharingan for strong opponents while at the same time not dedicating enough effort into actually making the Sharingan truly viable.
 
#34
During the fight with Kaguya, right before she vaporized Obito, when he and Kakashi were protecting Naruto and Sasuke, Obito restored the Sharingan to BOTH of Kakashi's eyes and he could use it as if he was a Uchiha. Upon gaining two Sharingans, Kakashi was able to use Susanoo with the Magenkyo Sharingan. And he still retains the ability to use the Sharingan in Boruto.

Strangely, Kakashi's use of the Magenkyo Sharingan doesn't impede his eyesight, like it did for Madara, Sasuke and Itachi, until the former two got eye implants to upgrade to the EMS.
 

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#35
During the fight with Kaguya, right before she vaporized Obito, when he and Kakashi were protecting Naruto and Sasuke, Obito restored the Sharingan to BOTH of Kakashi's eyes and he could use it as if he was a Uchiha. Upon gaining two Sharingans, Kakashi was able to use Susanoo with the Magenkyo Sharingan. And he still retains the ability to use the Sharingan in Boruto.

Strangely, Kakashi's use of the Magenkyo Sharingan doesn't impede his eyesight, like it did for Madara, Sasuke and Itachi, until the former two got eye implants to upgrade to the EMS.
I thought it was temporary. Link?
 
#36
Nevermind, it was a temporary upgrade and used as a gag in Boruto.
 

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#37
...I've already decided whether Naruto will stay in Konoha or not, truthfully. I'm building up the tension (will he? Won't he?), but as the author, barring extreme circumstances, I'll proceed with my plan on this.

Truthfully, I'm mostly a 'by the seat of the pants' writer, but some things, I plan out in advance. Of course, many of them are subject to change, provided the flow of the story takes me a different direction than I had expected... but me changing my mind about this particular plot point is unlikely.
 
#38
I know all about ever changing plotlines. In my fic Ultimate Experiment: Weapon-X, I fully intended to kill off Anko during her fight with Orochimaru in the Forest of Death, but decided against it as I wrote that scene. Similarly, that same fic was supposed to be one where the 4th Hokage wasn't Naruto's father- as when I first started writing it, it hadn't actually been confirmed that Minato was related to him at all. Given the number of fics that had come out at that time where Naruto was the son of the 4th, I was going to do something different. Then it came out that the 4th was his father after all, so I decided to go with canon.

Well, you've got a good set-up regardless to go one way or the other. You know, something to think about, for if/when you get that far in the fic, but considering Naruto, as an Uzumaki, related distantly to the Senju, but he also has Hashirama's abilities. Given that Biwako is a Uchiha and has the Sharingan... There is a good shot that any children they have might gain the Rinnegan. Of course given that only Hagromo came by it naturally in canon, it's unlikely any of their grandchildren would also have it, but who knows?
 
Story6

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#39
This chapter (and possibly others to come) won't be kind to Sakura. Note, though, that she's far from incompetent, and is capable of growing as a character – I don't like Bashing at all; I actually don't hate canon Sakura, either.



Warning, there is also not-so-covert suicide baiting in this chapter. Unrelated to Sakura, of course.



Please tell me your thoughts. Did anyone come across as an irredeemable monster and/or the victim of Bashing?



-----



All Naruto could think was ‘shit!’, because the one who would supervise his oath-taking was Yamanaka Maifa, the Deputy Headmistress herself. Not only that… he had been woken up and dragged by ANBU to the Academy in a surprise visit, and there was one supervising the oath taking, too, along with an unmasked man and woman, each in a Chuunin vest.



Fortunately, the Biwako clone on his forehead still had plenty of Chakra despite having been active for over seven hours. Biwako was right to be so vigilant! She wouldn't let Naruto live that down. Ugh. Well, Naruto’s Shadow Clones still weren’t very good at using the Mokuton, so Biwako being able to use Genjutsu: Sharingan with hers so well was very impressive.



The female Chuunin was an Academy teacher, Naruto believed, but he couldn’t remember her name, for the life of him.



Two other, likely slightly older graduates were there. A brown-haired girl Naruto didn’t recognize and a male Aburame other than Shino, were also in the small -for Academy standards- room to sign the oaths themselves – the unknown girl was even really close to his position. How was he going to get out of this?



No. I should trust in my capabilities and Biwako’s. Fortunately, she has planned ahead and leaves a new Shadow Clone on my forehead every morning and night. Think, Naruto; what can Biwako’s Genjutsu overcome and what can it not?



He arrived at the conclusion that the Aburame should be top priority, same with the ANBU – the former because Aburame had senses most people didn’t, so he was almost guaranteed to be resistant to Genjutsu and the ANBU due to her being an ANBU -of course- and because she was a complete unknown. Considering Maifa was a Jounin -though not missions-active- and really good at mental manipulation, she was likely to be resistant to Genjutsu, so she had to be disposed of or mentally weakened somehow too.



Thus, the only ones to only get Biwako's Genjutsu treatment would be the pair of Chuunin and the unknown female graduate. Naruto made a few covert hand seals, making a small plant that could synthesize an almost completely undetectable substance which dulled the reactions and mind of a ninja, and as an extra effect, weakened the senses of an Aburame and their bugs severely. Fortunately, both he and Biwako had a really high resistance to it.



The ANBU twitched, and Naruto started panicking on the inside. He relaxed and kept his breathing the same, though. When nothing else happened, Naruto felt relieved, but he still didn’t let much shine through outwardly – he had years of hiding his true feelings in the Academy to fall back on.



‘Is that purple-haired ANBU a sensor-type? I doubt she is an Inuzuka with that hair, though it could be fake, so…,’ Naruto thought to himself, ‘she will be on guard from now on, so I had better make sure she can’t do anything at the same moment I execute my next action. Fortunately, Maifa isn’t as careful… as far as I can tell, at least – a lot of the Yamanaka clan are sensor-types, too.’



Maifa started speaking, giving a lecture on the responsibilities expected of a member of Konohagakure’s ninja corps. Naruto kept half an ear on her, but his mind was working faster than the Yellow Flash could attack, trying to find a solution. Fitting, being his son, ha!



He would have to take the risk of using his bloodline again; it was the only way out he could think of. At a moment Naruto couldn’t feel being watched, he made three more covert hand-seals. He could have used the Jutsu with just one, but he was trying to minimize Chakra leakage – wasted Chakra made someone easier to detect.



Naruto felt the use of Chakra from his forehead. He realized Biwako had used a Genjutsu to delay the ANBU, but he didn’t relax just yet. The Wood Clone Naruto had just made traveled towards the ANBU through the wooden floor using his new Kabutomushi no Jutsu (Beetle Jutsu), though it was the one jutsu only Wood Clones were able to manage, not the original.



Then, the clone injected a hallucinogen into the ANBU’s foot as covertly as it could barely a moment after Naruto felt more Chakra use near his forehead. The beauty of that particular hallucinogen was not only that it worked really quickly, but also that its effects were mostly suppressed when the target was under Genjutsu while at the same time reducing the capability of the target to resist said Genjutsu.



Of course, Biwako had had to get used to plant-based drugs, poisons and venoms of all sorts. Due to her concentrating so much upon Genjutsu; also due to Naruto learning to make such things quickly and him learning how to use the Bo Staff -well, the Staff he was using was actually much smaller than a Bo Staff and gradually growing- Biwako had lost most of their recent all-out spars, with Naruto's few losses being mainly because he hadn't built up enough of a resistance to all his own poisons.



Naruto was not getting any closer to thinking up a goal other than ‘get the hell out of Konoha’ and maybe joining another village, though. Certainly nothing that made his blood boil in passion or gave him direction.



Naruto assumed direct control of the Wood Clone, a trick he had discovered recently thanks to examining the Water Shadow Clone and the Earth Shadow Clone more carefully. He felt the resistance of the very floor to his efforts first-hand, but ignored it. He tried to think up a way to get Maifa… then he realized: why not just- make sure she isn't feeling well?



Naruto had the Wood Clone inject the woman with an undetectable poison that would soon send her to the toilet vomiting and shitting uncontrollably, then had the clone track down Biwako in case she had problems too.



Naruto suspected that either Hashirama had made all of the Academy himself, or Hashirama’s trees had been used as material. After all, no other kind of wood resisted Naruto’s attempts nearly as much. He would use Forest Net Works, but he had better things to do at the moment.



He gave the unsigned paper to the Academy teacher at the urging of the male Chuunin. The man called the woman Suzume.



A shiver went down Naruto's spine when 'Suzume' stared him down through her glasses. She's- does she suspect what I was doing? The moment broke when she took out a small bottle, poured out a liquid and- cleaned her hands with it.



Naruto started breathing harder. He ground his teeth, glaring at the woman, barely able to keep himself from shooting Killing Intent at her. I can take cursing at me, but treating me like I'm something filthy and contagious-



The other Chuunin cleared his throat and coughed a few times- the woman cringed away from the male Chuunin, making the man roll his eyes. Naruto's anger disappeared immediately. He scoffed under his breath and went back to his seat. A germaphobe? Ha!



-----



Naruto was waiting for Iruka to arrive and announce the graduations – the class above them was in the same lecture hall, including the Hyuuga most of the girls liked, Neji. Neji was too busy staring down the weirdo who looked like him, Hinata. In fact, if Naruto was reading things right, Neji despised Hinata… that couldn’t be right, though. He would always call her ‘Hinata-sama’ in a harsh and mocking tone, though. Well, enough about those two.



Naruto and Iruka had ended up more and more estranged; Naruto, while contemplating his goals and dreams, had realized one thing: the man couldn’t be part of Naruto’s life. Iruka was very much loyal to Konoha and all of Naruto’s ideas for the future had one thing in common: they would take place far away from Konoha. Thus, Naruto had been distancing himself, though it was more easily said than done.



Sakura walked up to Naruto, making him think, ‘oh, no. Not this crap again.’



Then, Sakura said, “Naruto, could you please make room for me to sit next to Biwako-san?” Very sweetly. Too sweetly.



Naruto resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Sakura was a manipulative bitch, but it wasn’t like she was very good at it. Fortunately, he would be rid of her soon. Naruto said, "nope."



"What?!" Sakura said very loudly, waving a fist near Naruto's face.



Naruto rubbed his ears, saying, "oh come on, Sakura! Your voice sounds like the screeches of a wounded animal!"



In truth, Sakura's voice wasn't particularly shrill; Ino's and Mito’s both were worse, and Mito's could reach insane volume on top of that, but Naruto was trying to annoy Sakura.



!!



Apparently, Naruto had succeeded in annoying her, because she tried to punch him in the face. Naruto blocked using his forearm. ‘Oh! She hits hard!’ Naruto thought to himself, but he didn’t let that show.



Before she could do anything else, Naruto grabbed her extended arm at the wrist with his free hand and squeezed.



“Ah-ow! Ple- please stop, Naruto-” Sakura said, her voice suddenly changing into something vulnerable.



Fake. Liar. Naruto couldn’t help his reflexive reaction. He squeezed much harder, making Sakura let out a ‘kyaa-!’ which got stuck in her throat. Sakura let out a few tears, which Naruto could tell were actual tears of pain this time, not Sakura being a manipulative bitch; so, he let her go.



When Iruka entered, Sakura rushed to tell him what had happened; or, rather, an imaginary version of it in which he had attacked her unprovoked.



“I see,” Iruka said, sizing both of them up visibly. Then, he said, “I’m not going to even bother asking Naruto his version of the events. Sakura, you do realize that lying to a superior directly can have consequences?” Making Sakura perk up, then freeze in place.



Naruto was still a bit pissed off at Sakura, no matter how smug the look he was able to give her after Iruka telling her off was. Maybe a prank was in order- Mito’s eyes met his own; Naruto found a familiar mischievous glint in those dark blue eyes. Perhaps they could bond over a shared love of pranks, not to mention it might take her mind away from Jiraiya’s prolonged absence.



After a long speech by Iruka, one that Naruto had barely paid attention to and most of the others even less, Iruka started announcing the graduates and teams. The only thing Naruto had paid attention to was Iruka's barely visible grimaces and the way he would massage his temple at some points.



Iruka said, “The early graduates are Uzumaki Naruto, Uchiha Biwako, Namikaze Mito and Haruno Sakura.”



Naruto’s thoughts came to a halt. What the shit-?



As the teams were being announced, Naruto was having a hard time calming down. Sakura was going to be joining them as an early graduate – that was giving Naruto a hard time controlling his reactions and breathing, harder than he had had in years; even that ANBU's presence hadn't been as daunting. He really, really didn’t want to be in a general group with her, much less teammates.



Naruto ground his teeth as quietly as he could. He could kill that girl twenty different ways by the time she realized and yet- and yet his hands were tied. He barely managed to keep tears at bay by focusing on how much he hated that girl.



Sakura was giving Naruto a mostly unreadable look; it held something that looked like anticipation and- more. Naruto wasn’t sure just what, but there were a lot of emotions there. Then, she looked at Biwako, apparently forgetting about Naruto. Oh, how I want to throw a shuriken at Sakura or ten- no. I need to listen to the team assignments.

He tuned back into Iruka’s words, and just in time.



“The kunoichi originally slated for Team Three is unable to join it due to- reasons, so the team will consist of Rock Lee, Hyuuga Neji and Haruno Sakura. Sensei is Might Guy.”



The cries of over a dozen disappointed fangirls resounded in the hall. Strangely enough, Sakura made a similar sound, not a sound of triumph, making Naruto’s head clear, but also confusing him. Hmm, why? I don’t get it. Naruto scoffed quietly at the fact he was giving even that much thought to Sakura of all people, making sure to go back to listening to Iruka.



“Team Seven will consist of Uzumaki Naruto, Uchiha Biwako and Namikaze Mito. Sensei will be Hatake Kakashi,” Iruka said, then went on to tell them of Teams Nine and Ten, because Team Eight were still together and Genin*.



Naruto sighed in relief – at least he wouldn’t be teammates with that girl. Of course, Jiraiya had promised that the three of them would be in the same team, even told him who their sensei would be, but Naruto found it hard to trust people nowadays. Nowadays, as in over half his life.



-----



Biwako decided to finish her career as an Academy Student with a ‘bang’, as Naruto would say. She hadn’t tried a certain exercise in- over a year, actually. She substituted her shuriken pouch for the kunai equivalent. She activated her Sharingan and prepared herself-



Biwako jumped in the air, withdrawing multiple kunai, doing everything as Itachi had shown her. She ricocheted the weapons off one another… she landed and went to look at her handiwork. Unfortunately, the kunai, while all on target, were mostly nowhere near the center.



I- I did everything right! Exactly as Itachi showed me! Then why-?



Biwako ran the previous sentence through her mind again – she had done exactly the same moves as Itachi. Though she hadn’t unlocked her Sharingan at the time, the circumstances and the repetition had burned it into her brain. The problem was obvious to her now: Itachi had been a twelve- and thirteen- year-old male, with his dominant hand being the right one. He had also been extremely dexterous, even at twelve.



Biwako was eleven, female, had a different body type, was primarily left-handed and didn’t have hands as dexterous as Itachi had had, though she would try to catch up-



Wait. I’m not Itachi – why am I trying to copy him? I’m my own person! Hadn’t I had that same problem with all those members of the clan comparing me to Itachi? I will train to beat him; not to match him, nor copy him. Biwako put on a wristband almost identical to the other one -the one that contained sealed shuriken- on her wrist and started over. She calculated every move in advance. She didn’t manage it -was even worse than before-, but she hadn’t intended to, anyway.



Third time’s the charm. After having seen how the kunai and her seals-covered wristband behaved during this exercise using her Sharingan, Biwako was certain that she could manage it. She drowned out her nervousness and simply did it. Flawlessly.



Biwako was still staring into space when Naruto found her, teasing her for spacing out, then turning worried when she didn't respond. Message received, niisan.



“Biwako? What’s-? You look like you had an epiphany just now!” Naruto said, his worried gaze swiftly changing into something more relaxed.



Biwako said, “I’m surprised that you know what an ‘epiphany’ is, much less can use it in a sentence,” the words coming out without her meaning to.



Naruto's flat look told her that he wasn't in the mood for that kind of banter.



Biwako did her best to convey 'you shouldn't have teased me, then' without speaking.



Naruto shrugged, as if to say, 'I'm a hypocrite. Deal with it.'



Biwako rolled her eyes at Naruto. Then, she asked him if he wanted to watch her train.



Naruto looked at her, blinking fast, his mouth open. She hadn't made such an offer before, so Biwako didn't blame him for his surprise. "Close your mouth before something flies in," Biwako said. Not blaming him and not teasing him were two different things.



"You have enough disadvantages as it is so far," Naruto said, a slightly sardonic smile on his face, "are you sure you want to add yet another one?"



Couldn't he take it at face value?! Biwako scowled. She said, "what's that supposed to mean?!" Glaring at Naruto. Was that implied sexism?



Naruto took a look at her face, then said, "in the last four matches, you've lost three. Don't tell me you are a complete sore loser…?" Lifting his eyebrows.



Biwako took deep breaths, in and out. Then, she said, "of course I'm a sore loser. Those who aren't are content as career Chuunin at best. 'Sore loser' and 'competitive' are synonyms."



"Hey, don't disrespect career Chuunin!" Naruto said, scowling at her, "Iruka-sensei is fine with staying at Chuunin rank, but he's amazing!" Crossing his arms at stomach height.



"…Could we not have this conversation right now?" Biwako said with a sigh, feeling tired enough that she was ready to call it a day despite it being mid-afternoon.



Naruto looked ready to explode, but he held his tongue, saying, "fine!"



Biwako wondered what had crawled up his ass and died, as Naruto himself would say.



"You know, Biwako," Naruto said, "you could try not judging so quickly and carelessly," more calmly.



Biwako grimaced. She had thought he hadn't caught that. "What do you mean?" She said out loud, but as she said that, she knew Naruto hadn't been fooled.



The look he gave her silenced her. Biwako hated how vulnerable she felt at such moments – Naruto was usually able to 'read' her so well that it literally scared her… not that she would ever admit to that.



Nor would she apologize. Naruto had escalated first when he had mocked a serious offer, the fool.



-----



"Where is our sensei -ttebara!" Mito screeched out, making Naruto slam his palms onto his ears so quickly that he worsened the pain.



"Mito," Naruto said, grimacing in his pain, "could you please not be so loud?"



"Huh?" Mito said, "are you saying that I'm too loud?" Still at a volume too high for anyone sane.



"Painfully so," Naruto said, not holding back in his criticism.



"Indubitably," Biwako said without hesitation.



"You guys suck…," Mito said, sulking. "I know," she said perkily, recovering quickly in an epic mood swing, "it must be Kakashi-san! He's usually tardy. He was Dad's student. I only see him once a year or so nowadays – I think he pissed off Old Man Hokage, or maybe the Old Man pissed off Kakashi-san or both. Anyway, they got into a fight three or so years ago and now Kakashi-san is on missions away from the village non-stop! It might have something to do with- with the two of us and what happened all those years ago."



Naruto filed away the information. He didn't have the heart to tell Mito that he was still in contact with Jiraiya and that the man had told him about their Jounin sensei. He knew that Mito hadn't seen her (their?) godfather in over a year, so he hadn't told her he had a permanent means of contacting Jiraiya. He had asked Jiraiya why he hadn’t given Mito a scroll like his, too, but the man had been- evasive.



Maybe it had something to do with the Kyuubi no Youko. Ugh. I’m still tired. What was I thinking about, again…? Naruto slumped over on the lecture hall desk. Maybe he should rest for a few minutes….



"BOO!"



!!!



Naruto threw himself into the air by shoving himself upwards off the closest surface, then lifted his leg and kicked at the offending person downwards in an axe kick. ‘Byakugo no jutsu, Tsutenkyaku! (Strength of a Hundred jutsu, Heavenly Foot of Pain!)



(Crack crack. Crack!!)



When his heel fully landed, Naruto directed his body toward -and did an elbow strike at- where he felt the enemy to be, then threw himself away and twisted his body in such a way that he landed on his feet, his Staff held in his hands, ready to strike.



The unknown man that was in front of him started clapping. He said, “congratulations, Naruto, you just now came closer to killing me than anyone has in years. I am not going to tell you how many dozen and hundred S-rank and A-rank missions I’ve run in those years. Just know that it’s an extremely impressive feat on your part.”



Naruto scrutinized the man. He looked to be young despite his white (silver?) hair. In fact, Naruto swore the man couldn’t be a day above twenty-five. His eyes were really dark but not quite the same as each other – one was truly black, just like Biwako’s; at that same eye, a big vertical scar went all the way through, but something that looked like spiral-shaped seal markings on the skin was peeking out from the mask covering the lower part of his face; again on the same side as the scar and completely black eye. Well, maybe Naruto was seeing what he was expecting to see because of the description in the Uchiha library.



Then, Naruto came to his senses and looked for Biwako and Mito. They were near a corner of the near-empty lecture hall. Biwako had her hand on Mito’s shoulder and the latter was shaking like a leaf.



Naruto scanned the rest of the hall, only to see that one of the benches that worked as desks for multiple students had been snapped; almost pulverized in some places. He then noticed that his right foot was a bit achy, with quite a few splinters making their presence known through escalating pain. “Did- did I do that?” Naruto asked out loud, his question not directed to anyone in particular. Then, he said, “…Mito? Biwako? Did I- did I hurt you?” His voice cracking halfway through due to his worry and guilt.



Biwako cleared her throat. Then, she said, “I managed to get myself and Mito out of the way before you finished your- maneuver. I’m just fine; Mito only panicked a bit.”



Naruto was worried. He had only relatively recently reunited with his sister; would she fear him, maybe even hate him, over this?



Suddenly, Mito straightened up and said, “wow, Naruto, that was amazing!” A huge grin on her face, though she was still trembling a bit.



A chuckle from the strange man (Kakashi?) had Naruto turning to look at the man again, gripping his staff hard. The man said, “well, at least Naruto has his priorities straight. I’m Hatake Kakashi, your potential Jounin sensei. Well, lesson learned: I will treat you with more- care from now on,” the movements of his eyelids and visible facial muscles somehow conveying a menacing grin, making Naruto shiver.



'Damn it, Auntie Tsunade,' Naruto thought, 'your counter-ambush training has gotten me into trouble!'



Naruto limped up to Mito and checked her breathing, just in case her fear response had triggered something dangerous in her body, under Hatake Kakashi’s watchful eye. As he used the Mystical Diagnostic Palm, he could feel her Chakra and noted it was a bit different than usual, but couldn’t tell exactly how, nor a cause, so he let it go for the time being.



'Naruto,' his aunt and teacher had said, 'a medic-nin doesn’t let themself get injured if they can – that’s why I have you do so many dodging drills. Once you have gotten injured, though, take care of your wounds well but quickly; efficiently, lest you get killed and take your entire team with you.'



Naruto made a few hand-seals to use the same diagnostic jutsu on himself, the pain catching up with him, making him grimace. Then, he went through five hand-seals, using the Chakra Scalpel to swiftly reopen his wounds and remove the splinters from his foot and shin (ouch!), making sure to disinfect the wounds wherever needed (again, ouch!). Those splinters looked like they had come from a chair, Naruto noted.



Once he was done, Naruto checked for any leftover splinters and used the Mystical Palm just barely so that it wouldn’t have a chance of scarring. He wrapped some bandages around his legs, thanking his lucky stars that his Achilles Tendon hadn’t been seriously injured, somehow. He sat down on the floor, keeping his legs at a comfortable position.



Mito started telling Naruto to go to the hospital for his injuries, but Naruto knew he didn’t need to – something like that wasn’t beyond his capabilities.



Kakashi said, "perhaps you should consider listening to Mito, Naruto?" His suggestion being uttered in a firm voice. "If only for Mito's peace of mind."



"All right," Naruto said, "I only trust one of the medic-nins at the hospital, though. If he's not there, I will wait till next time," grimacing at the thought of the hospital and most of those working in it.



"Great!" Kakashi said almost cheerily, "now that it's settled, let's go!"



-----



"Hello Kabuto-san," Naruto said, smiling at the older medic-nin.



Kabuto smiled back, adjusting his glasses. Then, he said, "hello, Naruto-kun. Who are your friends and what is the problem you are having?”



Naruto told Kabuto about being startled awake and axe kicking his teacher, then Kakashi continued with saying that he had used the Kawarimi no jutsu (Substitution / Body Replacement) to replace himself with a chair, getting splinters in Naruto's leg. Then, Mito derailed the whole thing.



She gestured wildly, saying, “it was incredible! Naruto broke Kakashi-sensei, but it was a chair, after all, so there was no need to worry. He broke the bench next with the same axe kick, then he threw himself at empty air, but Kakashi-sensei was there, after all! Naruto elbowed sensei, but sensei dodged-!”



Kakashi chopped the top of Mito’s head, telling her to control herself. Naruto trusted Kabuto to a point, but he didn’t want any more people to know about his training with his aunt – especially those loyal to Konoha. It was bad enough that Kakashi had seen Naruto use the Byakugo no jutsu (Strength of a Hundred jutsu) and heal himself. Naruto would chew out Mito later.



Kabuto smiled at Naruto, saying, “that is extremely impressive, Naruto-kun. Your teachers must be very proud of you.” Kabuto also adjusted his glasses, giving off an eerie effect with the light.



Naruto rubbed the back of his head, his bashfulness not completely faked. He said, “thank you, Kabuto-san,” smiling at him. In his thoughts, though, Naruto was a bit worried about what Kabuto had deduced.



Kabuto was extremely sharp, as much as he usually hid it – Naruto had spent time with him, so he had gotten to know Kabuto, to a point. Naruto had noted Kabuto’s caustic and arrogant side too, which would shine through, sometimes.



As Kabuto was examining Naruto's legs, he said, "whoever healed you has done an excellent job, Naruto-kun. There's no hint of scarring, nor any splinters -even small ones- left," a small smile on his face.



Mito didn't say any more, fortunately. As they all left the hospital, Kakashi gave them instructions on where and when to meet him for the ‘true Genin test’. Naruto and Biwako had to put a lot of effort into shushing Mito’s indignant cries.



“Bring it on, sensei!” Mito said, punching upwards into the air, her determination showing on her face.



-----



Naruto needed to get to improving his single-handed hand-seals. He could do some less basic things after Shizune had started teaching him but, beyond that, he needed to work on them himself.



'There's no shortcut to this, Naruto-kun. There are better training methods and teachers in many cases, but sometimes, the only way forward is sheer, repetitive practice. Even Biwako-san has gotten this down, and she's not as good at shortening hand-seal sequences as you,' Shizune had said.



Naruto did a few manual dexterity exercises, including doing scales on a small replica of a piano, complete with sound. Then, he tried the Water Clone with three single-handed hand-seals. A jutsu he would normally have no trouble with came out with a Chakra drain worthy of six and a half clones, when he had only produced two. That was worse than his sealless attempts, though not as slow to form.



Naruto kept at it. In hours, he managed to reduce the Chakra drain to the equivalent of five Water Clones with two hand-seals, finding better combinations.



What should I work on getting down with one hand? Maybe the Gale Palm jutsu, or Shuriken Kage Bunshin…? I need to get them down to one single-handed hand-seal each, for devastating results. Of course, that’s too lethal for a spar, but we will go on missions soon enough. Maybe Suiryuudan no jutsu (Water Dragon Bullet Jutsu) ; Tobirama’s notes should be really helpful. I also know that Mokuton can absorb Chakra from those same notes, but Hashirama-sama hasn’t left anything on Mokuton himself.



Something told Naruto that he wouldn’t be able to learn how to absorb Chakra using Mokuton anytime soon, so he would prioritize other things. Tsunade had convinced him that he should work on what he already had to be able to use it more quickly. After all, they were going to be on missions soon.



-----



Biwako was going to try something else she had long considered out of her league. She equipped her bracelet, the one with Shuriken sealed inside, then put a hand on the War Fan, channeling a bit of Chakra.



From a moment to the next, she ended up next to the illusory Naka River. With a whisper of his name, Shisui appeared in front of her. He said, "so, Biwako, what is it today? Back to Lightning manipulation? Should we just talk? It's been a while since we've done that."



"Shisui-san," Biwako says, doing a breathing exercise that was highly advanced, one she had found in a book Itachi and her father had co-written, "are you familiar with Fire Style Chakra Flow?"



Shisui's eyes went wide. He said, "are you talking about what I think you are?"



Biwako shrugged. She prepared herself, then released multiple shuriken, breathing fire into them- she failed completely, not managing to imbue even one and giving herself mild burns.



After a few tries and more burns, Shisui intervened, saying, "you are doing it wrong, Biwako."



Biwako snorted. She said, "fanks, Fifui-fan. I'm too ftupid to have realived that myfelf," dryly, though her words were coming out strange.



"Really? I always figured you were pretty smart," Shisui said, smiling at her.



"…I was being farcaftic," Biwako said, looking at Shisui as condescendingly as she could manage with that lisp.



Shisui snickered. He said, "I was being sarcastic, too, though I truly do believe you’re smart. Seriously, Biwako. How come you fell for it that easily?"



Biwako crossed her arms in front of her chest, saying, "not funny, Fifui-san!"



Shisui gave her a beaming smile, one that made Biwako remember happier times, saying, "nice pout. It's not so great when the sandal is on the other foot, is it? Well, I'm glad that you are still able to act like a kid sometimes. Never lose that. Not for me, not for Itachi, not for Danzo or the Hokage…. Not for anyone."



Biwako ended up having a longer conversation with Shisui before she resumed her practice, this time with only one shuriken. She took air into her lungs and stomach, this time turning it Fire-natured while in her mouth and keeping it there for a bit longer than usual to help with putting it into the shuriken, stretching her pain tolerance to the limit.



Biwako was almost whimpering – the burns inside and outside her mouth were at a level she hadn’t faced before. She knew that in the Gunbai’s (War Fan’s) world, only mental influences worked, that neither physical training nor injuries transferred over to reality, but she could still experience pain.



Well, since she had gotten a feel for how it worked, she could use Shadow Clones in reality for learning Housenka Tsumabeni. That jutsu would be great for making the approach of multiple enemies much harder… and eliminating solid clones more efficiently.



Biwako's nose had gotten to the point where she was able to sniff out people hiding – in combination with her Sharingan, even Naruto wasn't able to hide from her. Naruto's Chakra sensing and sense of hearing was already at a level where Biwako couldn't hide from him, too.



She would be able to send Shadow Clones after Naruto while keeping him from making use of his own clones thanks to her skill with dual casting. 'I wonder how and how soon he will manage to counter this…. I doubt that Shuriken Kage Bunshin and Uzushio no Kabe -even Mokuton- are enough,' she thought, not a doubt in her mind about Naruto's ability to do so.



Just to be thorough, she decided to put a bit more effort into Exploding Clones and into making something subtler and faster… a Raiton Jutsu, maybe. Naruto had always had a bit of a hard time getting his own Shadow Clones to explode, because they didn't want to go through the pain and 'death'. Biwako had never had that problem. She really didn't want to know what a Yamanaka would say about her mental state if they knew about that, though.



Tsunade had let them off after filling the past few weeks with constant speed, teamwork and combination Jutsu training, and also refining what they already knew. While the two of them were naturally in tune, there was always room for improvement, according to Tsunade.



'You are getting close to doing missions out of the protection of a Hidden Village. You will need to concentrate on only a few things that you are able to use fast,' Tsunade had said.



Biwako was focusing on stuff that would need few hand-seals while alone and Taijutsu or Kenjutsu when with Tsunade or Shisui, so she wasn't technically disregarding Tsunade's advice. On the other hand, while she is a powerful ninja, the sun hardly shines out of her a- behind- no, ass.



-----



The next day, the day of the test, had arrived.



“Aah! Where the hell is Kakashi-san- Kakashi-sensei, whatever…!?” Mito shouted out, but fortunately, Biwako had reminded Naruto to take some earplugs with him.



The volume was still above normal to him, so he winced, thanking his luck and Biwako for the earplugs. He decided to try to calm down… and check whether Kakashi was already near Training Ground Three. He made a single-handed hand-seal, Chakra sensing having been the only skill he had been able to use that way for years.



Only two other human presences and- a dog? No, a ninja dog. Was an Inuzuka- wait. The notes on Kakashi had contained something about summoning ninja dogs- “Mito,” Naruto said, a realization dawning on him, “does Kakashi-sensei have a ninja dog?”



Mito said, “yeah, he has a pack of them. Summons or whatever. Why?” Blinking.



Naruto made a gesture to signal Biwako, who followed Naruto at a distance. Not a Water Clone; I will hide most of my proficiency in Water in Konoha. He made an Earth Clone to approach the creature- the hell!? It was a huge black dog, one that resembled a bulldog. Bulldogs shouldn't ever get that big!



Naruto slowly approached the dog himself when it didn't do anything to his clone. The dog had something in its mouth, which it spat in front of Naruto, then rolled over playfully. The Earth Clone took it, took a few steps away from everyone and unfurled the scroll, its sight relaying to Naruto the contents of the scroll, though blurry due to the limitations of that particular jutsu. At the same time, Naruto started rubbing the dog’s belly, much to the dog’s delight.



'Find me, then take away the bells



~Kakashi'



The scroll was also signed with a childish scribble, Henohemomoheji or whatever. Naruto told Mito to stay away from the scroll, then asked Biwako to sniff it. They would figure out the bells thing later.



Biwako did so, then said, "follow me."



Biwako jogged away and didn't even look back, so Naruto took Mito by the hand and started chasing Biwako until Mito started focusing, so he let go of her hand. The three of them ended up at the top of the Hokage Monument. Kakashi was on the Fourth’s head, but something was bothering Naruto. He checked for interlopers- wait. Kakashi has little to no Chakra! This is an elemental Cl-



“Kakashi-sensei,” Mito said, “we got you, finally!” Preparing to tackle him, not even a little short of breath.



“Wait, Mito!” Naruto said, panicking a bit, “that isn’t!-”



Then, Naruto calmed down a bit when he detected a second, invisible Mito trailing behind the first one. ‘Mito’ tackled ‘Kakashi’, passing through him and falling off the Hokage Rock-



The real Mito appeared mid-trip, her ankle having been caught in- a snare!? Kakashi got out of the ground, a kunai held at her throat, too quickly for any of the three to react. Naruto froze in place.



"So, what are you two going to do now?" Kakashi asked, having caught Mito in a hold that was all but inescapable.



Naruto started taking deep breaths. In and out. In and out. His fingers started twitching. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Based on how Biwako was squeezing his shoulder, she was counting down from five and would start throwing shuriken at another few seconds. When she reached ‘one’, Naruto made two Earth Clones beneath the ground and launched himself at Kakashi in the same breath, hitting the man’s wrist with exact precision, taking the kunai from him and using it to cut Mito’s leg free-



Naruto felt a numb pain in his left wrist suddenly, losing the stolen kunai the same way he had gotten it. Now! In response, he had his clones attack Kakashi. He heard the whistling of shuriken a split-second after he made a single one-handed seal to help cast faster. He hightailed it out of there. ‘Kawarimi no jutsu!’ Naruto said in his mind, shifting the seal then to help him with Sensing.



Kakashi made a noise of distress. Naruto felt Kakashi get in front of the rock Naruto had used as fodder. He looked up, only to see Kakashi deflect a lot of shuriken but still get pierced by a few. "Go- back- to Training Ground Three," Kakashi said, then poofed into smoke.



Kakashi had sent another clone! He had only sent clones! Naruto clenched a fist, suddenly angry at his new teacher. Unless he had been here all the time, watching us. Naruto's blood ran cold – he had been unable to detect any more of Kakashi. No sound, no Chakra presence…. Even Biwako's nose had been unable to notice another Kakashi.



Naruto started power-walking toward the training ground. Biwako did the same, saying, "did you two notice? Nobody batted an eye at the battle going on outside the Training Grounds, when we should have been swarmed by ANBU. That means Kakashi has enough pull to arrange for this, even after having a severe falling out with the Hokage."



"Well, yeah!" Mito said, gesturing wildly, "Kakashi-sensei is the strongest in Konoha! Even Pervy Sage has said he would probably lose against Kakashi-sensei in a fight. Pervy Sage also said that Old Man Third is afraid of Kakashi-sensei, for some reason… I haven't seen the Pervy Sage since then, after Pervy Sage got into a fight with Old Man Third…. Do ya think the Old Man sent Pervy Sage away because of that? But-"



That was- interesting information and speculation. If Jiraiya believes he would not be able to beat Kakashi in a fight, what about Auntie Tsunade? ‘This is a world full of monsters. I can’t afford to stay as weak as I am now,’ Naruto thought to himself. Out loud, he said, "what do you want me to say, Mito? I wasn't foolish enough to trust the Sandaime from the start," barely able to keep from sneering.



Mito shrank to herself, saying, "oh," in a small voice.



Naruto patted Mito's shoulder, being a little worried because Mito very rarely lost her energy.



-----



“I’m glad you three made it,” Kakashi said, leaning on a tree stump, looking very relaxed. "So, Biwako. What was that rain of shuriken about?"



"What do you mean?" Biwako asked, but Naruto had realized the problem.



"What I meant is that Naruto was in the line of fire," Kakashi said, his posture suddenly obviously tense.



Naruto could see Biwako's posture suddenly turn tense, too. He tried to defuse things, saying, "sensei, I was ready to escape. We've-"



"Naruto! I want to hear Biwako's reasons first!" Kakashi said, interrupting him.



Naruto could see the signs of danger in Biwako. He didn't know if Kakashi had noticed, but Biwako was utterly fucking furious at the moment. She said, "I trusted in his ability to get away. We've drilled thousands and thousands of times-"



"You've drilled using dangerous maneuvers like that, without supervision?!" Kakashi said, an edge in his voice that chilled Naruto's blood.



Most importantly, though, Naruto was starting to no longer be angry at this man. He was getting furious. Naruto said, "we had supervision!" Raising his voice.



“Naruto. Watch your tone, Genin,” Kakashi said, staring at Naruto’s eyes, both eyes unblinking.



Naruto bit back his first response, which was to tell Kakashi to go fuck himself. Naruto thought, ‘shit. I didn’t expect that Kakashi would be so stupid. Nice start for this team,’ to himself, his inner voice turning sarcastic towards the end. Out loud, he said, “very well, Hatake Kakashi,” trying to grin but only managing a sneer.



Kakashi said, sounding condescending, “I am your sensei and superior officer. You will call me Kakashi-sensei or-”



“No,” Naruto said, openly sneering this time.



“…No?” Kakashi said, blinking a few times.



“You may be my -our- superior officer, but you are no sensei. In the short time we’ve been togeth- we’ve been near each other, you’ve managed to insult and offend two of your future students; to spit on the efforts of my true sensei, the one who taught Biwako and I how to move like we are one person in two bodies, one who knows the meaning of teamwork and can teach it better than you would if you had a thousand years; to not even pretend you’ve tried to listen to your future subordinates.



» No. Hatake Kakashi, calling yourself a teacher is an insult to Academy teachers everywhere, let alone Jounin-sensei. Come back when you can at least see flawless teamwork you will never be capable of if it’s in front of your eyes,” Naruto said, concluding his speech with another sneer. He caught Biwako’s eye.



Then, Naruto and Biwako started walking away at the exact same moment.



“You will stay right there!” Kakashi said, making Naruto freeze in place for a moment due to the authority in his tone, “you will be dropped from the ninja program and never be allowed back if you leave at this moment. I will make sure of it.”



Naruto snorted and went back to walking away. He said, “Better this way than with a Jounin-sensei I could never trust. Mito, you coming or what?”



After a few moments of hesitation, Naruto was able to hear Mito’s footsteps following.



Kakashi said, “…Mito? You- why?” Sounding pained.



“I don’t want to fail out of the ninja program, Kakashi-san,” Mito said, “but it’s better than becoming like you. Not a failed ninja, but a living failure and worse than any piece of trash. I might not remember my father, but I’d like to believe he would be very ashamed of you.”



Biwako left her own parting words, too. She said, “possibly the most powerful ninja in Konoha… and yet, those hands will never hold anything. Perhaps you should follow your father’s example, Hatake. It will only bring about a better fortune to people around you.”



Naruto took in air through his mouth in a gasp suddenly, knowing what Biwako was talking about. He hadn’t expected her to take it so far, though. He signed at her, ‘why do you always poke the sleeping dragons?’



Naruto could suddenly feel Kakashi’s Chakra, despite not actively trying to sense it. He tried to get Biwako to walk faster, but she was still stubborn and kept her normal walking pace. She didn’t even acknowledge his sign language question.



“…What was that about, Biwako?” Mito asked, her eyes much sharper than usual, looking directly at Biwako.



“That was Biwako going way over the line, Mito,” Naruto said, his hands twitching in his agitation.



Biwako grunted and even Naruto, who knew her best, couldn’t detect any meaning in the sound.



Suddenly, Mito spoke up. She said, “wait. Didn’t Kakashi-san’s father kill himself when Kakashi-san was a kid? Biwako! Why?! Just- why?” Her voice coming out alongside what sounded like sobs.



Biwako let out a sound that reminded Naruto of a growl. Naruto said, “let’s go somewhere we can talk in private.”



Minutes later, they had reached Biwako’s home. Naruto plopped down onto the couch, Mito and Biwako sitting on either side. He noticed Biwako rubbing her temple and trembling in agitation. “Biwako. Are you all right?” Naruto asked.



Biwako sighed deeply, then said, “yes. That person pushed a lot of my buttons at once. I really wanted to stab him with my tanto until he died, then stab him some more.” She put both hands and leaned her weight onto one of Naruto’s arms.



Naruto chanced a glance at Mito, who was quiet, unexpectedly. She opened and closed her mouth, then said, “that doesn’t make it right -ttebara,” her voice at normal speaking volume, something rare for her. “What buttons exactly?” Mito said a few moments later.



Biwako stayed silent for a few seconds, in which Mito asked again. Naruto told Mito to wait.



Biwako said, "he was practically telling me that I don't care if Naruto lives or dies. Then, he shut out Naruto himself, showing that he only cared about any paperwork that would come out of his death or injury and put the nail in his coffin by threatening us,” scrunching up her usually almost expressionless face.



Mito hadn't spoken for over a minute and Naruto didn't want to break the silence, no matter how uncomfortable. At long last, Mito said, "you should say sorry to Kakashi-san," softly.



Biwako twitched violently, jarring Naruto's arm a bit. She said, "are you serious!?" Almost shouting the words.



"Oi, don't yell at me!" Mito said, raising her voice too.



Naruto was tempted to just get away, but he sighed, resigning himself to his fate. He squeezed Biwako's forearm and put a hand on Mito's shoulder.



Mito made a growl-like sound and looked at Naruto, but Biwako went still. Naruto said, “come on now. Mito has a point,” squeezing her forearm again.



Biwako tensed up. She said, "all right. Let's say I agree you two are right. I won't apologize either way."



Mito made a sound of protest, but Naruto let go of her shoulder and told her, "let it go, Mito. She is almost as bad at apologizing as I am."



Mito looked Naruto in the eyes and said, "are you serious, Naruto? Just how bad are you at it?"



Naruto made an 'ugh' sound at the same time Biwako did.



Mito said, "that bad, huh?" Laughing, though her face was still haunted.



-----



Biwako had just finished her training session with Shisui, back to regularly training things other than her genjutsu, when Indra appeared in front of her, startling her. Of course, she managed to keep her reaction contained, but she could tell Indra had picked up on it. ‘He’s improving at an incredible rate,’ she thought. Ninja training or not, Indra was amazingly talented – Biwako could admit that to herself.



“It is high time I took an active role in your training,” Indra said, his expression more open than usual and his voice full of energy, “now that I have a grasp on you ‘shinobi’ of the modern times and on the skills you require, I should be able to offer you something you will never find anywhere else, Biwako.”



Biwako had noticed that Indra’s vocabulary was slowly becoming less complicated and formal. She was also intrigued by his offer, so she said, “what is that, exactly?”



Indra spread his hands, saying, “what do you think the Sharingan is and does, Biwako?”



Biwako thought for a few moments. Is that a trick question? “They are special eyes that give the wielder a few special abilities,” she finally said, each of her words carefully measured.



“A passable answer, though very short – the bare-bones version, if you will. What fuels the Sharingan, though? What distinguishes a weak user from a powerful one, other than their amount of Chakra and level of Chakra Control, of course?” Indra said, watching Biwako very carefully.



Biwako tried to think of anything her relatives had said about the Sharingan. Indra stayed silent while she was concentrating.



(‘There is no value in killing the likes of you... Foolish little sister, if you wish to kill me, then hate me, scorn me, and survive in an unsightly way. Run, run and cling to your pitiful life.’)



Biwako’s breath stopped for a moment. Hatred? Wait. Itachi was a liar. Was there a more reliable source? She thought it over a bit longer-



(“I think I see the problem – after all, I am a Katon user myself, though my primary element is Water,” Iruka said, taking on a lecture pose, “Fire is unique in that it is fueled by the user’s passion. An indecisive and torn heart cannot perform Fire Style well. While all jutsu need focus, and one’s Spiritual Energy, thus their Chakra, is affected by emotions, Fire is especially unforgiving of lapses. For most jutsu, the most consistent results come when the user is calm and focused. Fire needs both that and passion; you need to be in control of your passion. Not the other way around. Especially when first learning a jutsu.”)



“The Sharingan is strengthened by the user’s passion,” Biwako whispered. That explains why the Uchiha tend to- tended to be so good at Fire Style.



Indra looked at Biwako, his eyes wide open in- glee? “Yes!” He shouted out, much louder than his usual. “The Sharingan gains power from passion! Have you not ever wondered why only about one Uchiha in three awoke the Sharingan in Konohagakure? The mostly peaceful existence of police officers and modern Hidden Village shinobi could not awaken the passions that would arise in the Warring States era, from everything you and someone else have told me of shinobi history!”



“Tsunade said something about the awakening of a bloodline being rough on a person,” Biwako told Indra.



“Why would you place faith in the words of that woman?” Indra said, the barest hint of a grimace on his face, “the loss of secret techniques; the passing of time; too little new blood; too much new blood. Those and even what that woman said could be among the causes of fewer Sharingan users. Unfortunately for her credibility, from what I have managed to get out of Madara, the phenomenon of a new Sharingan user damaging themself due to its awakening only happened in non-combatants exposed to the perils of war, in his time. Do you grasp what I am implying, Uchiha Biwako?”



“…Many of the modern Uchiha had gotten lazy,” Biwako said, biting a lip. That was a bitter pill to swallow. “Then, the reason Itachi succeeded had a lot to do with how weak most of the clan had gotten, even the combatants. It’s possible that my parents didn’t even resist for other reasons, on the other hand,” sighing quietly.



Apart from the sounds of the illusory river and some fake birds, silence reigned for minutes. Then, Indra said, “what will you do to combat those issues so that you do not end up weak?”



Biwako thought it over. She had Naruto to push her to new heights as her friend and rival, and Itachi as a target to surpass. What more could she do?



“If I might suggest something,” Indra said, “I would like you to meet somebody.”



Biwako perked up. She said, “does that have something to do with your reference to Madara earlier?”



Indra smirked for the first time in a while -maybe even the first time Biwako had ever seen him make that expression- and made a ‘come hither’ motion.



A male Uchiha, much taller than Indra, came forth. He resembled Biwako a lot in face shape and with that long black hair, though his was more spiky. His face didn’t reveal his age – he could be anywhere from mid-twenties to late forties. His active pair of Sharingan took in Biwako at the same time she was taking him in. The man then turned to Indra, saying, “now, I’m allowed to see my descendant, or rather Izuna’s? You rat bastard, what are you plotting?”



“She is my descendant as well, Madara,” Indra said serenely, “besides, you have a tendency toward- ‘overkill’ is the modern name of the concept, I believe. You could not be trusted with someone that young. Especially considering this foul language.”



“…Fair enough,” Madara said, literally shrugging off the matter. Then he said, “so, you are Biwako, the almost-last Uchiha?” Studying her again. “You look like any other young Uchiha girl,” Madara concluded.



Biwako stared Madara down, Sharingan to Sharingan. She didn’t even dignify his taunt with a response.



!!



Dread, then fear unlike any before filled Biwako. What- what the hell-! All of a sudden, she was an ant and this man a giant about to step on her. Genjutsu?! No. It’s pure killing intent! She didn’t stand a chance against him. She couldn’t even move her body. What could she- No. Go to hell, you bastard! She flexed her good hand in such a way that a finger broke, leaving her left-hand middle finger to face Madara in an obscene gesture and snapping herself out of her paralysis with the pain.



The feral grin on Madara’s face would have fazed almost anyone else, but Biwako only returned the grin. She placed her right hand in a one-handed hand-seal, then another and another. ‘Lightning Style: White Bolt’. The jutsu was based on a manga -other than Pocket Monsters- she had read and was a more streamlined and efficient but less powerful version of ‘Thunderbolt’. It was also the only elemental jutsu she could pull off with one-handed seals so far other than the Great Fireball.



Madara made one-handed seals of his own, blowing Biwako away using a Wind jutsu. Or rather, he blew away a log at the same time Biwako was releasing the Great Fireball, turning the Wind jutsu against him- until the wind became stronger, forcing Biwako’s jutsu back towards her. Oh crap! What do I do!? She reflexively brought her hands together, broken finger and all, and used an Earth jutsu, covering her body with a thick layer of mud at the same time she dropped to the ground.



The heat she felt on her skin was great, but nowhere near as bad as she had feared. Her training to learn Housenka Tsumabeni had been a lot worse. She got up as soon as she was sure the heat had passed. He must have redirected it!



Madara was looking at her, still looking very unimpressed. Biwako grit her teeth. This man! He makes me furious – that look on his face! Soon enough, the pain of her burns and broken finger caught up with Biwako. She was able to keep from letting out a sound, but she couldn’t bring herself to look at the finger directly – looking at it turned her stomach.



“You have a really, really long way before you are at a level where you would be considered even barely adequate for my era. If you ever reach it,” Madara said, looking at her more neutrally.



In reply, she presented to him her finger.



Madara laughed with little restraint. He said, “if only there were women like you in the Uchiha clan during my time…. Even one should be enough. I never succumbed to the pressure for me to marry and have children because the Uchiha women were all too weak-willed and compliant. That’s why I hoped that Mito would be interested, but apparently she had already decided to marry Hashirama. Ah, I was so envious!”



Biwako hadn’t expected Madara to be so open. Perhaps he had been unable to confide in anyone for years. Well, she could work with that. To torment him or to get information… it didn't matter. She said, “envious? Which of them were you envious of?” Smirking at Madara.



Madara blinked for a few seconds, then scowled at her, “I do not like what you are implying.”



“So, both of them?” Biwako said, blinking ‘innocently’. Then, something else occurred to her. "By the way, the fact that you are attracted enough to someone my age that you said you wish there were more like me for you to marry…. Well, it doesn't reflect very well on you, does it?"



The expression on Madara's face was priceless. It reminded her of the long-suffering look of someone who had lost their faith in humanity. Seeing him like that brought Biwako joy – Madara looked down on her and had shown her that she was nowhere near strong enough to reach his level; possibly not for a decade or more. If ever. She immortalized the moment with her Sharingan, then switched it off. No. I will reach his level. I will surpass him. I will!



One moment, she was looking at Madara's face; the next, she was alone with Indra again. His expression was completely unreadable at first, but for a moment, she noticed an imperceptible twitch on his face. She wasn't sure what it meant, though. Maybe I should have kept my Sharingan on.



Indra said, "do you see now?" His face stoic again.



She didn't ask what he meant. She only said, "I'm weak," gritting her teeth.



She despised being looked down upon, and Madara hadn't stopped looking down on her for more than a few seconds at a time. She hated him. Most importantly, though, she hated how someone had been able to rip her resistance to pieces with practically zero effort. A little voice was even telling her she might never reach- I hate- I hate-!



Biwako let out a scream, one that had nothing to do with her physical injuries. She screamed out her anguish, her hate, her- She couldn't even give a name to her emotions. She screamed long and loud; she screamed at the heavens, where the major gods were said to reside; she screamed at the Pure Land, where the souls of the departed dwelled. She screamed somewhere nobody was able to hear her apart from dead relatives, like Indra and Shisui-



"Biwako? Biwako, what is it? What's wrong?!" Shisui's voice said, sounding panicked.



Biwako took a few deep breaths, then said, "Madara. I met Madara today."



Shisui looked Biwako in the eyes. He said, "what did he do?" His face tightening, "is he the one who caused those burns? Did- did he break your finger?"



Biwako swatted away Shisui's hand. She watched Shisui's face turn more worried, then said, "you- you think I'm weak, too, don't you? That I can't even take care of myself! You look down on me, Shisui-san! Just like- just like that bastard, Madara," gritting her teeth again.



Shisui's face shifted to a strange smile. Was he looking down on her even more?! Before she could yell at him, he said, "pride comes before the fall, Biwako. Remember that," and disappeared.



Biwako broke down crying for the first time in- three years, maybe? She rode it out alone for some time – she had lost count, and not just because the world of the Gunbai was eternally lit by the late afternoon sun, or something that looked like it.



"How- how do I become strong, Indra? Stronger than Madara; strong enough that nobody is able to look down on me," Biwako said quietly, feeling slightly lighter.



Indra said, "well, the first step is to discard what is unnecessary. Only those that inspire the strongest emotions in you should be kept as bonds."



-----



“Uchiha Biwako,” Kakashi said, his face expressionless, “you are to present yourself to Sandaime-sama’s office in- two hours from now. Uzumaki Naruto and Namikaze Mito are to be there too. Goodbye.”



He poofed into smoke, revealing himself as a Shadow Clone. Again.



Mito had kept pestering Biwako to get her to apologize to Kakashi for the past few days. Naruto would usually manage to distract Mito with talk of pranks and targeting Sakura, but Biwako was still starting to get annoyed. Unnecessary bonds, huh? Is this what you meant, Indra?



-----



LOL, I hadn’t planned on Kakashi acting that way. It simply… happened. As for what Biwako told him… yes, she and Naruto were using what they know about Kakashi from his file against him, with Mito hitting yet another sore point or two. I don’t condone what Biwako told Kakashi, nor any form of suicide baiting for that matter. (Yes, the FSN reference was deliberate on my part.)
 
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mandalorianjedi

The Original M2J
#40
While Biwako does cross the line, Kakashi was out of line as well and emotions were running high. I'm not saying she was justified in what she said, but Kakashi should have known there would have been fallout from his attitude. It's almost like he walked into the situation blind considering the fact that Biwako and Naruto are closer to each other than literally everyone else and Mito is getting closer to them as well.

I have a feeling that the meeting with the Sandaime will not go well at all either. After all, he's already alienated all three members in one way or another. And that's a power trio that Konoha, the Sandaime nor Kakashi can't afford to alienate. And yet, they are all doing their damnedest to do so.
 

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#41
While Biwako does cross the line, Kakashi was out of line as well and emotions were running high. I'm not saying she was justified in what she said, but Kakashi should have known there would have been fallout from his attitude. It's almost like he walked into the situation blind considering the fact that Biwako and Naruto are closer to each other than literally everyone else and Mito is getting closer to them as well.

I have a feeling that the meeting with the Sandaime will not go well at all either. After all, he's already alienated all three members in one way or another. And that's a power trio that Konoha, the Sandaime nor Kakashi can't afford to alienate. And yet, they are all doing their damnedest to do so.
Kakashi lost it when he saw Naruto being 'sacrificed'. He has also been mostly out of Konoha for the past few years.

As for Naruto and Biwako's files, he has read them.... Except Mizuki and someone else have doctored them. (No, not Maifa. She actually has Konoha's best interests at heart.)

Edit: yeah, that's what I was going for. Biwako crossing the line, but at such a point, that she has enough of an excuse not to come across as an irredeemable monster. I don't want readers to lose interest in my characters, but they are far from perfect. As you probably suspect, Biwako's character arc is coming rather soon.
 
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mandalorianjedi

The Original M2J
#42
It certainly doesn't help that she's also being influenced by Madara and Indra.

Suzume? Because she definitely seemed to be on Team Anti-Naruto.

You know, given that Biwako and Naruto have the Sharingan and Mokuton Kekkei Genkais, it would make more sense for Mito to be the Kurama's Jinchuriki. It also provides for a greater need for Hiruzen and Kakashi to make up with Team 7, than to let things fester. Not that they don't already have enought reasons to do so, given Naruto and Mito being the children of Minato and Kushina and Biwako being the sister of Itachi. Mito being the Jinchuriki could also be a tool to make the obvious observation that this particular power trio are basically the modern day Hashirama, Madara and Mito with their general individual abilities.

Plus, there's the irony factor of Kurama being sealed into to women of Uzumaki blood named Mito.

Then there's also the fact that it would show Danzo having a bit of forethought when he revealed to the village that Kurama wasn't as dead as many thought. After all, by having people focus their negative energies on Naruto (being unaware that the boy had the potential to wield the Mokuton) rather than Mito, there would be less of a chance of ostracizing Konoha's actual Jinchuriki. Not that it doesn't have the potential to bite him on the ass royally if the Last Uchiha, the (technically) Last Senju and the Konoha Jinchuriki go missing nin.
 

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#43
Suzume? Because she definitely seemed to be on Team Anti-Naruto.
(Spoiler: she doesn't care about Naruto, one way or the other. She's just a microphobe (edit: germaphobe).... Yes, she is the other spy in the Academy though. She's against Konoha, so she has made a few- subtle but dangerous maneuvers. And when I say 'subtle' , I mean she is truly able to

Influence the female ninjas-to-be, turning most of them into fangirls; though in the absence of male Sasuke, not as well as in canon

Without anyone being the wiser and to why they are more obsessed than usual for fangirls and more plentiful. And even less useful, by a significant margin.
 
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mandalorianjedi

The Original M2J
#44
I have to admit, that's actually a nice twist. And a believable one.
 

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#45
LOL, remember when I told you that I'm mostly a seat-of-the-pants writer?

Well, I've decided what to do with Kakashi, or rather the reason why he was acting like that. The Sandaime had him test the team, to see if they -especially Mito- were more loyal to each other, rather than Konoha. As well as more reasons, which the Third wouldn't state, of course.
 

mandalorianjedi

The Original M2J
#46
Believable. Of course, Sarutobi isn't doing himself any favors. They are a team he's seemingly gone out of his way to alienate at every turn and all he's doing is driving them further away.
 
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AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#47
Believable. Of course, Sarutobi isn't doing himself any favors. They are a team he's seemingly gone out of his way to alienate at every turn and all he's doing g is driving them further away.
Well, he ordered Kakashi not to tell them and closed a few loopholes. Not all of them, though. :D

Sarutobi, for someone who doesn't trust Kakashi, is remarkably quick to underestimate the man.
 

mandalorianjedi

The Original M2J
#48
Even still, it's like Sarutobi is trying to get the three of them to defect. And that doesn't even get into the fact that Jiraiya is on their side. Sarutobi would he shitting bricks if he knew that Naruto and Biwako had also been in contact with Tsunade. Although Naruto's drop kick and basic medical knowledge are a minor tell. Really, the biggest benefit to Sarutobi is the friction between Team 7 and Kakashi. As it's less likely they'll co-opt Kakashi of they do plan on leaving and taking Mito with them.
 

AoMythology

Apparently a report-er
#49
Kakashi is extremely loyal to Konoha and Mito- well, you'll see. Kakashi is more likely to become Hokage than defect, though. Edit; He would have to fix a lot, though. Hiruzen's scrambling to pick up the pieces of his and Danzo's mistakes is costing him even further.
 
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mandalorianjedi

The Original M2J
#50
Despite him being the canonical 6th Hokage, there aren't a lot of Hokage Kakashi fics out there. Probably my favorite one is Deadly Touch which has Kakashi being awesome and basically forcing Sarutobi into making him the 5th Hokage by subverting most of the ninja forces right out from under both Hiruzen and Danzo and wiping out Root in secret.

So, what? Kakashi being an asshole was just his way of trying to get the kids, particularly Mito, to trust Sarutobi less? Because they didn't need any help there. I suppose depending on how Sarutobi and then Kakashi handle the fallout of their genin test will be the deciding factor on just what Naruto, Biwako and Mito will be doing going forward.
 
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