The Sandaime makes a choice to take advantage of Orochimaru's defection from the Akatsuki, and Naruto finds people that are precious to him before he puts on the cheerful mask he's known for. AU
Jiraiya walked down the hall towards his old teacher's office. He was not looking forward to delivering the information that his network had reported to him. He was glad that Sarutobi wasn't the type to blame bad news on the messenger. Unfortunately; in his most expert opinion, the hurt look that crossed the Hokage's face whenever his old student was mentioned was worse. Jiraiya could have possibly stopped Orochimaru, but he had been too occupied with trying to get him to return to the village instead of trying to kill him. A mistake he wished he could correct.
He walked passed the old man's secretary quite quickly, he wasn't in the mood to flirt with the girl right then. He did give send a wink in her direction though, and he nearly guffawed out loud at the squeak she made in response.
As he swept through the doors to his office, he grinned at his boss. He knew neither of them would be smiling for long. Sarutobi gave him a small smile in return.
"What brings you here today Jiraiya?" the Sandaime asked him.
The legendary ninja sighed inwardly. The old man wanted to get straight to business. Not for the first time since arriving in Konoha did he wish he were innocently looking through his telescope a few rooftops away from the women's bath. This was too important a matter to allow him to indulge himself though unfortunately.
The news would probably be taken the quickest and the best if he didn't play any games, so he decided to cut straight to the heart of the matter. "Orochimaru has decided to betray his organization."
Sometimes Jiraiya hated being right. The pain that crossed his mentor's face was easily visible. He had the chance to kill the snake as well. He had tried to do it too, but failed miserably.
"Why did he leave and where did he go?" Sarutobi queried him. "I would have thought the power that the Akatsuki aims for would keep him loyal to their cause. There certainly aren't any means to gain more power that I know of."
"He seems to have had quite a disagreement with the rest of the group on that point. He doesn't want to risk using one of the Bijiuu on himself, the coward. He's set a much simpler goal. The Uchiha's Sharingan. He's not ready to make an attempt on them now though, he knows that the clan would rip him apart." Jiraiya gave a chuckle. "I would like to see him try; but he knows that if he did get one they would hunt him down and kill him even if it cost them half of the clan to do it."
Jiraiya continued, "Right now he's making an attempt to establish his own ninja village close to the Fire Country's northern border. The Akatsuki are rather upset with him, they're looking forward to mounting his head. Thankfully enough that group is a bit weaker after this, it should keep them on the sidelines till we're ready. Nobody can lose someone that skilled and just brush it off." He chuckled slightly. "They aren't even willing to try to kill him outright."
Jiraiya's eye twitched; a comely young woman was walking on one of the roofs not to many buildings away. That she was wearing only a rather skimpy bikini; ensured that she was noticed by the perverted sennin. His attention began to wander as the woman laid down to sunbathe.
The pervert's attention was rather rudely interrupted in his opinion when a folder filled with paperwork decided to bounce of his face.
"Pay attention Jiraiya", Sarutobi growled at him, his arm suspiciously looking as if it just threw something.
"Right; sorry sensei." He definitely should have been more circumspect. Now he was going to miss out on some good 'information'.
The Hokage huffed at him, and he looked like he was prepared to continue with more questions. He didn't disappoint.
"How long are you going to be staying in the Leaf Jiraiya?" the old man asked him, seemingly honestly curious.
The addressed ninja thought about his answer. He had some contacts he needed to meet with while he was here. That would take some time, which would give him an opportunity to pursue his own endeavors.
"About a week while I'm waiting for information sensei. Meanwhile... I think I'll do some research." Jiraiya began chuckling at the thought.
"Well then; I'll send the warning to the kunoichi in the village." Sarutobi ignored the glare that was sent his way. "Where can I contact you?"
He quickly wrote down the name of the hotel he was staying at and turned around to leave. That damn old man just needed to have the last word though...
"And Jiraiya, I'm sure you'd rather have the kunoichi aware of your presence than ignorant of it. Isn't the reward much more satisfying when it's difficult and dangerous to collect?"
Jiraiya left the office cursing at the old man.
Sarutobi was grinning as he watched his old student leave. The boy really had turned out well; even if he was the most shameless of perverts. If only his two other students had done as well. Tsunade had been something great; until her personal losses convinced her to throw away her life as a ninja. He did not want to think of Orochimaru and how he had turned out.
Jiraiya had delivered good news about him though. That defection would stymie the Akatsuki; perhaps long enough for the boy to be prepared. He was worried though how that project was going to turn out. It had been two months since he started at the academy and the boy was possibly the worst student he had ever seen; in every possible way.
The Hokage turned and collected his crystal. He paused as he considered how many times his perverted student had tried to steal this device. The thought gave him a chuckle. He liked to peep as much as the next man, but he thought the peeped upon should have at least the chance of discovering they were being watched. If they were ninja, it was their responsibility to realize when they were being spied upon.
Channeling his chakra through the ball, he started one of his most common pastimes; the study of an old friend's only son. He grinned as the blonde, whiskered boy appeared in the crystal. He sighed as the boy tried to throw a shuriken at a target and miss it by about ten feet. His life would be much easier if Uzumaki Naruto was more talented in the life of a ninja than he was showing at the academy. He still had hope that the boy had some inner genius that was waiting for the proper stimulus to unlock. As he watched the boy throw another shuriken and managed to not only miss the target worse than before; but cut himself on the weapon, he had to admit to that having little probability of ever occurring.
"Damn." The old man watched the boy, thoughts the child's father playing through his head.
Uzumaki Naruto cursed as he nicked himself with the shuriken as he threw it. The damn things just didn't like him. Hell if he thought about it, nothing liked him. He glanced at his instructor and rolled his eyes at the look the idiot was giving him. This village was full of idiots. He was only five years old damn it, and everyone hated him. He hadn't ever done anything.
"Hey you stupid child! This is how you throw a shuriken", the man yelled as he threw the weapon. Right at Naruto's shoulder. He managed to dodge the projectile mostly but still cursed the man as the stupid thing nicked his shoulder. His instructor continued with the insults "You can't even dodge right boy. I don't know why we keep you around here anyway. Would have been better for the entire village if you were drowned the day you were born."
Naruto glared at the man and decided he deserved some of his wit. "Fuck you loser. If you were half of a good teacher, I'd be better than this. With idiots like you running this place it's a surprise that this damn village manages to have any good shinobi!"
Naruto was tired of this crap. He wasn't going to learn anything today, and he decided that he had more important things to be doing. Like pranking the entire village.
He walked out of the academy; ignoring the insults that followed him. He listened to them and grinned. It wasn't anything he hadn't learned before. Some people just didn't have any imagination. He had probably heard and learned every good insult and curse by listening to what was said to him daily.
Still he was upset he wasn't learning faster. The first thing they had started to learn at the academy was how to use chakra. He was the only one in the damn class who still couldn't get the damn thing. Of course their teacher and his assistant had helped everyone in the class except for him. When he had asked for help the piece of shit laughed at him and the trouble he was having with the lesson. So he got stuck learning from a scroll.
He did nearly have it a few days ago though. Naruto had gotten annoyed at his progress and practiced it for two straight days. He laughed, he had actually taken a weekend off from pranking so he could work on his chakra use. By the end of the two days, he had felt it. Just a whisper of chakra but he was sure he had used some. He would master it.
The young student looked up at the cliff shadowing the Hidden Leaf. He looked at his goal. Nobody was more acknowledged and loved than the four people whose likenesses had been carved into the cliff. The best ninja the village had ever seen. He would be put up there one day. Naruto would surpass all four Hokages. He would make the entire damn village recognize and love him. He had an early start; he was the first student since Uchiha Itachi to be allowed into the academy early. He would prove that he was worthy of it.
But first he had to learn the damn basics.
He had reached his usual shortcut home through one of the training areas when he was caught very off balance and surprised. Someone was actually speaking to him normally.
"Hey kid, you seem to be having problems with the academy." Naruto turned around to see the person who had addressed him. He glared at the ninja in question; young but with light grey hair, a genin from the look of it. He wondered what he wanted, no one really talked to him unless they had to, not counting the insults he was given everywhere he went. "What do you want?"
"My name is Mizuki, Naruto-kun. I've been watching you, and I have a proposition for you."
Naruto was suspicious. No one wanted anything to do with him that didn't involve a early death. And this one had a strange look on his face. Like he was hungry for something. "Why should I care? Nobody has offered me anything before, so why should I believe you'll say anything I should care about?"
"You should listen because this will benefit us both. You are having trouble at the academy and need some help. I however, have the chuunin exam coming up and I can use an, advantage, in such a dangerous test."
Naruto thought about the answer. Someone willing to help him for no reason was retarded; everyone hated him. If this genin could get something out of it though, that he could believe. This would probably have him doing something dangerous though, not that that was a surprise. Nobody really did care about his welfare. He decided he would listen to what the genin had to say though. It might be worthwhile to him as well, though that would be a surprise. "I'm listening."
Mizuki grinned at him and gave his proposal, "In the Hokage's tower is a room full of important scrolls, jutsu, and other items. There is a scroll there, the Scroll of Seals. It has this village's most powerful jutsu written down inside of it. If you were to get that, we would both be able to use it to gain enough power to accomplish our goals."
The boy thought about what he had been told. This scroll sounded like a good deal. He understood why Mizuki had come to him. Sneaking into the Hokage's tower and stealing a scroll would get the thief into a lot of trouble. He was perfect for the job though, he was in trouble all the time anyway just for existing. This was also the perfect chance to show the village not to underestimate Uzumaki Naruto. It would also be fun to break the rules so openly. Naruto gave him a grin.
"I'll do it."
In his office, the Sandaime Hokage smiled. "That was certainly interesting." Perhaps the Scroll of Seals would be the thing to catapult the boy's development. "Interesting indeed."
He would have to plan how he would handle this. The boy's unwilling tenant would probably give him the ability to handle some of the less dangerous jutsu that the scroll contained. The more he thought about it the more the old man liked the idea. Kage Bunshin for one would be a perfect jutsu for the boy.
Sarutobi's smile disappeared as he thought of something else. Mizuki. He searched his memory to remember the files he had read concerning the village's new shinobi. The old man frowned as he remembered the boy's file. He was ambitious and extremely hateful of Naruto due to his parent's deaths in the fox's attack.
He pondered for a moment how he would he deal not only with the genin having information he shouldn't, but how would he also deal with Naruto involvement.
The Hokage sighed. Perhaps the best course of action would be the one he was most loath to pursue. He leaned back to do some heavy thinking. He had some hard decisions to make; one way or another.
He wondered though, "Yondaime, how would you proceed?" the old man asked into the air.
Sarutobi stood outside the door listening. He couldn't help but chuckle. Naruto was tearing apart the room looking for the scroll and had absolutely no idea that it had already been removed. He looked at the said item in his hand and thought on what it contained.
Would this be a smart course of action? It had its risks certainly, but so did inaction. Indeed, the cat was out of the bag already. This episode proved that Naruto would listen to an offer that involved increasing his development. And the Hokage wasn't willing to leave the boy in the hands of just any ninja he managed to find that was willing to offer training.
No, he had already chosen to become involved in the child's case. The only question would be how he would proceed. The scroll of seals was likely his best bet. The seal was designed to force the fox's chakra to help him if he was in danger, or particularly emotional. That was his backup if he couldn't handle the jutsu. If he even managed to perform it.
But how would he deal with what the truth though. He couldn't have him run the risk of using the fox's chakra with no idea of what it was and what it could do. This course of action required him to disclose the fate of Kyuubi to the boy. Chances were his reaction would not be good.
The old man sighed. So many risks. And that wasn't including that there would be a very angry young genin waiting for the Leaf's worst young ninja. Fretting wasn't getting him anywhere though; it was time to make his entrance before he lost his nerve.
"Hello Naruto, are you looking for this?" the Hokage asked as he walked into the room holding the item the boy was so assiduously looking for. Sarutobi raised an eyebrow at the look of shock that graced the boy's face and the look of determination that followed it. He wondered how he would react to the information he was about to receive.
"The Scroll of Forbidden Seals; one of the Hidden Leaf's most dangerous items. This contains our villages most powerful and dangerous kinjutsu." The Hokage paused to look at the boy; he was clearly off balanced. "Every jutsu in this scroll can kill a person if they are not ready to handle it. Some are fatal just to perform. I wonder how Mizuki learned of its existence. No genin should have that knowledge. Something I will have to ask him in any regard."
"He didn't tell me the scroll was dangerous", Naruto replied. The boy was confused, perhaps wondering about his reaction to the attempted theft. Sarutobi grinned at the thought. He thought once more about what he was going to do, and he wondered if young Naruto would be able to handle it. Many of the jutsu on the scroll were fatal to those without enough stamina to use them. He was relatively certain that having the Kyuubi sealed inside of him would give him more than enough chakra to use some of them safely. He had been wrong before, but the Akatsuki would be coming for him and he needed to be ready. Orochimaru had given them a reprieve and Sarutobi wanted to take advantage of it.
Sarutobi read the description for the first jutsu on the scroll. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu; this jutsu creates flesh and blood bunshins out of your chakra. To maintain them, the ninja performing this jutsu has to split his chakra between himself and the created bunshins. If he doesn't have enough to keep himself alive with half or less of his chakra he will die. If the ninja just has enough, he will create and be able to maintain the jutsu, but will be unable to do anything else." He paused slightly and continued, "Do you want me to teach this jutsu to you Naruto?" Sarutobi nearly laughed out loud at the look of shock on the boy's face.
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN DO I WANT TO LEARN!? THAT JUTSU WILL KILL ME!"
Sarutobi chuckled at his response. "Not necessarily Naruto. In fact it is my opinion that you can handle this jutsu; likely better than anyone else alive." This was the dangerous part of this exchange. He thought that he deserved the information, but Sarutobi didn't want to tell him until he was older and he was sure that Naruto could handle it. Circumstances weren't always kind though; a lesson the old man knew well. "The reason is the secret that has been kept from you your entire life. The reason why most of the village hates you", he finally said.
Naruto was clearly off balance. The possibility to an answer that he had looked for his entire life was dangling in front of his face. The look he had made gave the old man hope that he was doing the right thing. The boy whispered his response. "Why?"
"What do you know about the day of your birth; the day the fourth Hokage defeated Kyuubi?" he asked.
Now the boy was confused. His tone of voice showed that as he answered. "Not much, it attacked the village and killed a lot of people before the fourth killed it and died."
"Ah, that is the point my boy. Unfortunately the bijiuu cannot be killed. In reality, they are almost impossible to even defeat. It takes something, special in fact to defeat one of them. The Yondaime used the last jutsu in this scroll to gain his victory in that battle. The most dangerous jutsu in this scroll, and perhaps the most dangerous that ever existed. Fuiin Jutsu: Shiki Fujin. A jutsu that summons a shinigami to seal an enemy with death itself. Unfortunately it also kills the one who uses it; without exception. Because he was fighting against an immortal opponent, Yondaime could not kill Kyuubi even using this jutsu though. So he sealed it, inside of a baby boy born that very day" Sarutobi explained
"You mean..." he said. Naruto's eyes were very wide.
"Indeed Naruto, since he could not kill his opponent it was sealed inside of you", Sarutobi said. He watched the boy, wide eyed with shock from the news he had just received. He recovered quickly though.
"So I'm a demon. Then the village does have a reason to hate me", Naruto told him.
Sarutobi had never seen the boy so dejected. He wished that the truth did not need to be told. But the Hokage had to deal with reality. If a lowly genin was willing to try to use the boy for his own ends, what would other greater ninjas do? The boy had to know why there was such animosity, why there were others who would try to use him. And that was reason enough for disclosure, without even counting the group of S-class missing nins who would be after him.
He did have to cut off that thought of Naruto's though, "No, not at all. In all reality you are a hero. You are what stopped Kyuubi from killing the Yondaime and destroying the rest of this village. The fools who hate you are weak-minded simpletons who feel the need for a scapegoat so they can ease their own pain. Unfortunately their hate has passed from them onto most of the younger generation. It is not what the Forth Hokage wanted. He wanted the best for you, for you to be recognized and renowned as this village's savior.
"So they don't have a reason to hate me?" he asked him. Naruto had hopeful expression, one that the old man was glad to see.
"No Naruto; they do not have a good reason."
The boy muttered something under his breath that Sarutobi couldn't hear and then spoke up, "Damn them, they've been making my life hell for nothing."
Naruto was taking the news better than he would have thought. It was a promising sign. The years that that he had been abused had given him a strong mind. He sighed; he should not have had to go through those years at all.
It was time to continue though, "So I understand that it is your goal to one day gain my position."
"Yeah, I'm going to be the best and make everyone acknowledge me", he replied with absolute certainty in his voice.
"So boy, do you want to come learn this jutsu?" he asked.
Naruto frowned and Sarutobi was curious as to why.
"How does Kyuubi help me to use this jutsu and keep me from killing myself trying?" he asked.
Sarutobi closed his eyes and sighed. He had hoped the boy would figure it out. He would not have such luck though.
"The fox has an almost limitless amount of chakra. That supply is within you, and reinforces your own. That's why you have more stamina than anyone your age and why you heal so quickly. I imagine that cut on your shoulder from earlier is completely healed by now", he explained
Naruto looked at his shoulder and nodded at him. He would have to be trained to assess what people told him though. He should have asked how the Hokage knew about his shoulder. That would have to wait though.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu will also cause you to split the fox's chakra along with your own. It will also reinforce each of your bunshins so none of them lose any strength. I imagine you could make quite an army by yourself. So Naruto, do you want me to teach it to you?" he questioned.
The boy's answer took about two seconds, "Yes."
Naruto left the building more exited than he had ever been. He could barely imagine the pranking potential that his new jutsu had. He paused at that thought. His new jutsu, his first new jutsu. It had been hard to learn, and the old man pushed him mercilessly. He was fair though and pointed out what he was doing wrong, and how he could improve. He touched the new forehead protector, he still couldn't comprehend it. A genin, the Hokage had given him his old forehead protector and a promotion as a gift for mastering Kage Bunshin no Jutsu. He had told him he was thought it was appropriate for passing his first step on the path to Hokage.
He was taking a short cut through one of the training areas when he was interrupted from his thoughts rather rudely.
"HEY, YOU IDIOT FOX!" an angry young man yelled at him.
Naruto turned around, and grinned at Mizuki. He was planning on giving him the benefit of the doubt concerning the scroll, but he had just lost that with the insult and bringing up Kyuubi. He looked around, and noticed the area was deserted. He grinned.
"Hey Mizuki, I didn't notice you there."
"Where were you idiot? I've been waiting for three days. Where's the damn scroll?"
"Hey, did you know that the scroll was dangerous, that all of the jutsu in it can kill you", Naruto asked?
"Of course you stupid fox", he replied. "I was going to have you use one of the more lethal ones to make sure you died. You deserve nothing better for all of the pain you've brought us!"
Naruto brought his hand to his chin as if to do some deep thinking. He was going to bother this bastard as much as possible before he kicked his ass. "Oh you mean Kyuubi?" The surprise that was clear on the other genin's face was priceless in Naruto's opinion.
"You know about the fox already!? So you know why you deserve to die you little shit!"
"You're a dumbass, and you're wrong about me. And I'm going to kick your ass for all the pain you and idiot villagers like you have caused me!"
Mizuki grinned at him. He really had no idea of what he was getting into. He was going to enlighten him before he beat him down though.
"You haven't wondered what I've been doing for the past few days instead of bringing you the scroll Mizuki." Naruto savored the confusion the other ninja was exuding. "Just so you know, the Hokage was waiting for me. I thought I was screwed, but he told me about the fox and offered to teach me some of the crap from the scroll. I finally got this cool little jutsu last night, and I'm sure you won't enjoy it!"
"You're lying you little bastard."
For effect Naruto decided to scream the jutsu's name as he crossed his fingers. "KAGE BUNSHIN NO JUTSU!" He grinned at Mizuki and the stupid expression that seemed to have locked onto his face.
Ten Narutos surrounded the gray haired genin. He was so surprised by his jutsu that he didn't notice one of the bunshins rush him from behind and throw a punch at his cheek. The blow caught him solidly, and was enough to knock him slightly in the air. Seven Naruto's met him before he hit the ground and with a variety of punches and kicks helped him hit it harder.
The other genin wasn't finished though, a kunai flashed in his hand and three of Naruto's bunshins disappeared in puffs of smoke.
"Damn you, you fucking demon!" Mizuki threw a handful of shuriken into the crowd of bunshins that were charging him. It slowed them down enough for him to jump into the air and look at him. Naruto realized that he had been noticed when he threw three of his shuriken at him.
"Shit", he growled as one hit him in his shoulder; the same one that had been wounded the other day. He was aiming for his old wound, not knowing it had already healed. Naruto grinned at that thought, and laughed as he thought of a trick he could use to win this.
With a gesture, he had created a new batch of bunshins and all of them charged at the descending genin.
"THIS WON'T BEAT ME YOU DEMON!" Mizuki screamed as he landed, and used chakra to flip over the oncoming crowd. He quickly spotted Naruto watching from a distance and charged him with a yell when he grinned at him.
When he reached him, Naruto knew he had him completely off balance when he let him stab him in exchange for a kick to the balls. Mizuki's eyes widened and he slumped over in pain. He didn't even notice Naruto turn into smoke.
The real Naruto was laughing as he led the crowd as they all jumped on the prone genin, punching and kicking. He felt his nose break on his foot, and some ribs give to the pounding. He felt it in his head as all of his bunshins dealt similar damage.
After about two minutes of beating into him, Naruto dismissed his bunshins and looked at his handiwork with a smile. No one could say he didn't deserve to be a genin. He certainly out performed this one.
The said boy turned to look at the person who had called to him. He relaxed when he recognized one of the old man's Anbu.
"I'm here to take him." The man paused before continuing. "Good work in apprehending him also."
A new jutsu, a promotion, a won fight, and now praise from a total stranger. Naruto smiled; it really was a great day.
Sarutobi watched as the boy literally pranced away. The happiness coming off of him could be felt.
He shook his head. Only a few days ago he had been despairing on if the boy had any talent at all. Then with the only difference being a little direction and help from a teacher the boy managed to learn a jounin level jutsu in a few days. The boy could barely use his own chakra before they started, but he picked it up very quickly with some help and advice from him. It made the point rather clear that the boy's best interests were not in the academy. He would never receive fair treatment there from people who hated him. An alternative would have to be found. He would give the boy to Jiraiya in a moment if he thought the man was mature enough to raise a child.
He stopped at that thought. Jiraiya might not be able to raise him but there was another who could handle both of them. Jiraiya would mostly train him and only offer a little help in bringing him up; perhaps like an over perverted uncle. He just had to send them to that suitable guardian. And convince both of them to accept the little assignment
The Hokage grinned as the wheels started to turn in his head.
"Itachi", he called out.
An Anbu made himself visible behind him. Sarutobi had a little assignment for him. "Follow Naruto and watch for trouble from Mizuki. When he approaches him let Naruto handle it unless he needs help. When he's beaten take him to the cells and inform Ibiki that I want every piece of important information the boy has ever heard.
"Yes Hokage-sama", he replied respectfully.
As the ninja disappeared, headed in the direction Naruto was traveling Sarutobi contemplated his subordinate. Itachi was one of the most talented individuals he had ever seen, even though he was so young. He was only a few years older than Naruto even and he had just been accepted into the Anbu. He knew the boy felt suffocated by his clan and the politics that concerned him as its heir. He hoped that he would find some peace from them though, he deserved to. He was a very hard worker and one of his better ninjas. He knew he didn't dedicate himself because of his clan though, he was ambitious for himself. He wanted to be the best. And he had the talent to make himself that. Maybe he could have him trained so he could help Naruto protect himself from the Akatsuki. It was a goal that might drive the boy. He put the thought in the back of his head and quickly located the other nin in his presence
"Kakashi", he called out again.
A silver haired Anbu made himself visible behind the old man. Sarutobi grinned at him; Kakashi had been an Anbu Captain for quite a few years now and the old man was still unable to convince him to take a job as a jounin instructor. Despite a horrific tardiness problem, the man was one of his best ninjas and Sarutobi was of the opinion that he would make a fantastic teacher. His own had been exemplary after all. He just had to convince him to take the job.
"Find Jiraiya. Tell him I have a job for him to do. Highest priority."
His subordinate nodded at him and disappeared in a burst of smoke. The Hokage couldn't help but grin. If this half formulated plan worked, things might work out after all, even with the adversity that his village faced.
Jiraiya was annoyed. He could have been gathering important information but he was stuck in this damn office watching as the Third finished up his paperwork. If the old man was going to summon him for a high priority mission; the least he could have done was be ready for his arrival. He was in the middle of his masterpiece; the compilation of a lifetime of effort and his old teacher was making it difficult for him to finish.
"I have a new job for you", the old bastard finally told him.
Jiraiya felt a vein pop out in his forehead. Sarutobi called him in when he had a mission that was either particularly dangerous (even for him), or secret. Or the worst; when it was so annoying that watching Jiraiya would bring him a great deal of amusement. The old man threw a file at him.
The Toad-sennin began skimming through the information while the vein in his forehead became more defined. This was definitely the third option. The presence of these two individuals made it clear what type of assignment this was.
"I'm not babysitting and I'm definitely not going on a wild goose chase."
The old man grinned at him. "Look closer at those files; I believe they contain information that will convince you to accept."
He groaned inwardly. The old man wouldn't make such a statement unless he was positive about his reaction to what was in those papers. He wouldn't be able to get out of this. Damn that old man. Jiraiya started to read the entire thing.
After a few minutes he started cursing at the old leader. He had effectively trapped him. He had called him just to trap him into this. As much as he wanted to refuse he knew he wouldn't. He should have expected something; the shifty old man had used the same strategy when he conned him into spying on the Akatsuki.
"You knew if I learned how the kid was being treated here I would feel compelled to act. Worse you knew that by giving me her location; I would feel compelled to visit. You really are a bastard sometimes Sarutobi-sensei."
The old man grinned even further. "You have no idea Jiraiya. He's a prankster at heart, far worse than his father ever was. Plus he was just taught Kage Bunshin, which you know he'll use." He started to curse at the Hokage even louder.
The old man just had to get the last word though. "You really are making it a habit of using a rather impressive amount of profanity. How do you ever expect to attract a nice woman with that coming out of your mouth Jiraiya?"
He didn't even bother to stop cursing as he gave the chuckling bastard his worst glare.
Naruto skipped out of the academy grinning as widely as he ever had. It had been a few days since he had beaten Mizuki, and he had decided to keep going to the academy for fun. And that had been a great choice.
He was correct on his thought that his new jutsu would be great in pranks. It had the greatest effect; keeping him from getting into trouble because of them. His teacher could hardly blame him when he was sitting innocently in front of him when a prank was pulled. There was no way the bastard would have ever expected him to be able to make kage bunshins
The next best thing about it was that he could send his bunshins to do things he wasn't willing to do, or couldn't do without endangering own health. The result was the worst case of pranks that ever hit the village. He painted the Hokage's statue, he chased the women out of their baths naked, he even blew up a portion of the academy with an explosive note. Life was good.
He had an appointment with Hokage now though. The old man had told him to come and see him four days after he learned the jutsu. He wondered what he wanted. Maybe he wanted to see how his progress was. He did teach him so it was possible that that was what he wanted. He grinned at the thought of the jutsu he was making now. He had gotten the idea from the reactions the men in the village gave after he sent the female bathers running through the streets. Naruto wondered if it would work on the old man when he finally mastered it.
After a few minutes of running through the village's streets he reached the tower. He walked in and after a few flights of stairs; he arrived outside the Hokage's office. The receptionist must have been waiting for him, she waved him right in. He complied and walked through the doors.
And stopped dead. He had seen that man before. He couldn't believe that he was here though. Maybe he had been caught and the old man wanted him as a witness.
He chose to ask, "Hey old man, what's that pervert doing here?" He blinked at the looks the two men gave him. They didn't seem to know how to respond.
The pervert blinked a few times and then seemed to decide to settle on a glare for Naruto. The old man blinked and started to laugh; as loudly as anyone Naruto had ever heard laugh before.
"Ummm, old man?" he asked. He wondered if the Hokage had finally gone senile. He was certainly old enough for such things to happen to him.
Still chuckling, the old man responded, "Pervert?"
Naruto glared at the said man. "I saw this loser peeking into the women's baths yesterday. He yelped when they all started to run." The man was looking nervous.
"Who do you think I am gaki? Why would the great and wonderful toad-sennin Jiraiya feel the need to peek! Women gladly drop their panties at the mere sight of me!" he chose to respond.
"What kind of woman would do such a thing Ero-sennin?" he insulted him. He was rather proud of the pun on his chosen name too. "I think you wouldn't even be able to get a prostitute interested in you! That's probably why you peek at the baths, which is pretty pathetic for someone you're age old man."
The Hokage chose to cut in. "And you wouldn't have anything to do with that, disturbance, at the baths would you Naruto?" he asked.
Naruto felt a bead of sweat roll down his forehead. He shouldn't have said anything that would have connected him to the prank. He knew better than that. He cursed at himself in his head. "Of course not!" he lied smoothly.
The old man chuckled. "Don't worry about that Naruto, it isn't important. I would like to properly introduce you to your new teacher though. This is my old student; Jiraiya of the Legendary Three Nins."
Naruto snorted. "All this old man is legendary for is his pervertedness."
The old man chuckled again before answering, "While he is well known for a number of bad habits, he is one of the strongest ninjas alive. Indeed, it might be interesting for you to know that he is the one who trained Yondaime."
Naruto knew his eyes were wide. Any amount of pervertedness could be dealt with to be trained by the guy who trained the fourth Hokage. He said, "And he'll train me too, he can help me become Hokage too!"
Ero-sennin responded, "I can, but I don't know if I will. You're rather annoying."
Naruto snorted. This pervert was going to insult him. He would see how he dealt with his new jutsu. He made a seal and screamed out its name for effect, "SEXY NO JUTSU!" He grinned at the old men as their eyes bugged out for a moment before he lost control of it and the illusion of a gorgeous woman disappeared. "DAMN!!! Still haven't gotten the thing yet."
"Y-y-y-you a-are BRILLIANT!!!" the pervert screamed. Naruto felt a drop of sweat roll down the back of his head. "You are a genius gaki, I'm going to make you the best Hokage to ever live."
Naruto's eyes widened again. He would train him. "Really?" he asked.
"Of course", he said. "I am the great toad-sennin after all. I can't let such genius go to waste." He gave him a look over. "Go pack your things gaki and meet me by the gates. We're going to be doing some traveling."
Naruto grinned at him, and ran out the door. He was excited. This was like a dream. The fourth Hokage's teacher. He couldn't wait to start learning.
"So what do you think of him old friend?" the Hokage asked. Jiraiya grinned. He would never think to admit it to his teacher, but he was going to have fun with this kid.
He huffed loudly before responding, "He's loud, obnoxious, and has no respect. In fact, if it wasn't that the boy had the heart of a pervert waiting to be released, I wouldn't even have considered training him."
"Is that so old friend?" he said. Jiraiya huffed again.
"It will be interesting to see Tsunade again though. I want to see how she'll react to this assignment you've decided to give us. She won't be happy, that's for sure." Jiraiya paused for a moment to think before continuing. "This is going to bring back a lot of bad memories for her, about both of them. I don't think she'll deal with it well. Personally I think the only chance that she'll accept is if she does the stupid thing and makes a bet with her acceptance as the wager."
"Maybe she will do just that Jiraiya. Also I think the offer to absorb her debt will be key in her choice as well. In a few years, her continued losing and interest will make it large enough to bankrupt a wealthy clan. As it is she doesn't have the means to pay it off herself." The old man laughed. "She has earned her nickname though; the legendary sucker indeed."
Jiraiya laughed with him at the thought. He had to cut it short though. "I'll be headed off now Sarutobi-sensei. I've got to meet the gaki at the gates. We'll likely be away for a few years, I hope you can manage it without me old man. Don't go senile while we're gone." Jiraiya grinned as he walked out of the office with his teacher cursing at him for once. His life was about to get interesting.
"WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG ERO-SENNIN!?" Naruto screamed when the old pervert finally appeared. He had been waiting for ten minutes and he had to run to his apartment and pack first.
"Nothing gaki, you shouldn't have run. You won't be seeing this place for a while so you should have took you're time", he said.
As they walked out of the village gates, Naruto decided to ask him the question he had thought of on his way to his home. "So, where are we headed anyway?"
The old man answered immediately. "You don't know anything about my old team I imagine; the Legendary Three. We're headed to see the one who's worthwhile though; Tsunade, the best med-nin that has lived in my lifetime." He growled at her name though, Naruto wondered why. "The old man doesn't think I'm responsible enough to bring up a child you're age though, so he's giving us into her gentle hands", Jiraiya said with a laugh. "She's not likely to say yes though."
"Why not? I would think she would jump at the chance to train the future Hokage", Naruto answered.
"That's actually the reason she will likely say no to this mission. She had two young men in her life; her brother and fiancÃ©; whose goals were to become Hokage. They both died. You'll likely bring up a lot of bad memories that she won't want to be reminded of", he said.
That answer quieted Naruto. The thought that others had his goal in the past and died instead sobered him. He made a vow in his head to not have the same thing happen to him.
"Enough questions", Ero-sennin said, "It's time to start training." He glared at Naruto as he stopped. "Why are you stopping gaki?"
"You said it was time to train", Naruto responded.
"And you'll do it while walking", he answered back.
Naruto glared at him. "So what am I doing Ero-sennin?"
The pervert glared at him, probably from the use of the nickname. Not that Naruto cared, it fit him and he would keep on using it. In fact, he would see if he could get Tsunade to start using it when they found her.
"You're going to climb trees", Jiraiya answered him finally. Naruto blinked a few times before responding.
"And how am I going to do that and keep walking?" he asked.
He definitely didn't like the look in the old man's eyes. It worried him quite a bit even. "Simple kid, you're going to use chakra to walk up a tree, and jump from one to another to keep moving." The old man demonstrated; walking up a tree and jumping to one some distance away, before jumping to the next. Naruto just watched wide eyed.
"And how do I do that exactly Ero-sennin?" he asked.
The old man answered, "Simple, gather you're chakra in you're feet and use it to grab the tree. When you want to jump, send more chakra into the tree to help catapult you from tree to tree. You'll want run a little up every one you hit though. When you feel yourself start to fall, jump to the next. You might want a running start to begin with though."
Naruto nodded at him, and gathered a little bit of his chakra into his feet. He prepared himself and ran at the closest tree. As his foot hit the tree and Naruto tried to go up it something unpleasant happened; his foot didn't stick to the tree and he ran face first into it. He cursed as he pulled himself to his feet; he got the feeling that it would be a long trip.
"Hmmm, maybe you should have waited for me to tell you how to stick to a tree before you tried kid", Jiraiya told him with a grin. "You have to apply just enough chakra to connect yourself with the target; to little and you won't stick. Like that last attempt in fact. If you use to much you'll get thrown away from the tree. Learning to do this will help you gain the kind of control you'd need to master most jutsu. So try again."
"Shit", Naruto said under his breath. He was now convinced this would be a long trip. He took a breath and ran at the tree again. As his foot hit it he couldn't help but grin, his chakra was sticking to the tree.
Unfortunately before he could get his second foot onto it, he was blown away from the damn uncooperative tree.
As he got up again he took a look at his teacher, and frowned at the now chuckling man. He turned towards the damn overgrown plant again and prepared himself for another try.
And a bird overhead decided to take a dump on his head.
Looking over at a laughing Ero-sennin, he was utterly convinced that he was in for a long, long trip. At least the perverted old bastard had explained how to do it. He had even told him what he did wrong on that first attempt. This Jiraiya might not be such a bad teacher after all. He wondered how Tsunade would be.
He blinked; he would have to get the hang of this technique first though. Naruto ran at another tree, hoping for better luck. An promptly ran face first into it.
Jiraiya watched the boy; watched him fail time after time. He grinned, with a first glance one might think that the boy didn't have a chance to become even a bad ninja. Orochimaru wouldn't even be willing touch the boy's training. Jiraiy saw something different though; something he knew his teacher must have seen, and Tsunade would likely see when the found her. This kid would be the best. He was determined when he started, and with each resulting failure it was obvious that his determination and concentration were growing.
Most people would become discouraged and need motivation from someone else. Naruto was different. A completely different animal. Jiraiya could see it in the boy already, he wouldn't give up. Ever. He laughed quietly; it was going to be a great experience molding this gaki into what he wanted to be. Life for him had just gotten quite a bit more fun.