[AU][ItaNaru] Uzumaki Naruto was taken from Konoha at age 6 by a friend of his parents, after a mob beating. After eight years of oneonone training and learning techniques handed down through his f...
"Talking" 'Thinking' /Emphasized words/ "Kyuubi speaking in Naruto's mindscape"---------------An Inconvenient Truth Chapter Two: In Which Team 7 is FormedRai-nii-san said that writing things down make them better. I'm not sure if that's true, but it can't hurt to try. Maybe ordering my thoughts and pouring them down onto paper will make them fade. I can't stand these memories. He had family and friends. Is this what it's always like? These people that you're ordered to get rid of do they always have people who love them? Will there always be people who cry when your victim is gone, that will bury him after his death? Will it always hurt this much to see their tears, to hear their voices crack as they say goodbye? I hate killing, and I hate death, not because I'm taking away a life, but because I leave people behind to suffer for it. (Except from Uzumaki Naruto's Journal, age 8)---------------Konohagakure: Hi no Kuni The 6th of MayWhen Naruto woke, the sun was shining down on his face through the un-curtained window. He groaned, flipping onto his side and wondering why morning always had to come so quickly. Despite his early morning yesterday, Uzumaki Naruto could never be defined as one of those evil beings known as "morning people". After a few minutes of uselessly trying to get back to sleep Naruto sighed and sat up in his comfortable bed, pouting as he slipped out from underneath the plain white covers. And the bed still looked so comfy too……Naruto padded across the room before he could give into temptation, dressed in the loose boxers and sleeveless white shirt he always wore to sleep. He quickly grabbed his clothes for the day and headed into the bathroom, getting undressed and stepping into the shower. Still half-asleep, he scrubbed through his blonde hair and over his body and face until he was more alert and clean as well. Stepping out, he grabbed a towel and dried himself off before starting to get dressed. Naruto slipped into his underwear and black cargo pants, slipping on his shinobi pouch and belt as well. His sleeveless gray shirt and gray trench coat followed closely after that, followed by his black combat boots. Finally, he pulled on his gloves and tied a gray bandana around his hair before putting on his shinobi headband over it. He slipped out of the bathroom fully dressed and grabbed Ginkaze before heading to the door. He would have brought the rest of his weapons with him, but to considering the place he was heading it probably wouldn't be the greatest idea he'd ever had. Plus he knew that his Jounin sensei wouldn't make them do anything that needed his weapons on the first day. Naruto raised a single blonde eyebrow (a trick that had taken many years of practice and tutoring from Rai-nii-san before he had gotten it down) at the sight of Jiraiya, who was attached to the window with a pair of binoculars to his eyes and blood running down his nose. Naruto sighed as he watched the older man giggle and blush at whatever poor lady he was peeping at through the window - how had he gotten stuck with such a pervert again?Naruto passed the giggling man and shouted out as he opened the door, "I'm going out Ero-Sennin, and I'll be back sometime after Noon! Don't die from blood loss I still need your useless ass!"Ah, the love. Naruto stopped as soon as he was outside, rubbing the top of his cloth-covered head. Now where to find the place he wanted to go……? He really couldn't wait for Rai-nii-san to get here so he could get a tour. Sighing Naruto turned in a random direction and started to walk. He grinned when he reached a market – what a perfect place to ask for directions! Naruto scurried up to the nearest stand – Dango by the looks of it. The woman selling them was plump, short, and elderly with waist length white hair pulled up into a high ponytail. "Ano……" Naruto said hesitantly, making kind brown eyes fly up to meet his own. "Do you think you could tell me where to find the Uchiha Estate Obaa-san?"The woman smiled, making crinkles appear at the edges of her mouth and eyes, "Of course young man, of course. Let me see," she tapped her chin thoughtfully, "I believe the Uchiha Estates are down that way," she gestured to the road Naruto had been traveling on, "about a half-mile or so, and then to your left. They should be only a little ways after the Academy if you get lost sweetie." Naruto gaped when she called him sweetie but the old woman just winked at him, making him harrumph. "Arigatou Gozimasu," he said, dropping into a short bow before hurrying down the road he came by. The woman watched him go with indulgent eyes before shaking her head and returning to her work, muttering about impatient younglings. Naruto had always been fast, so what should have been a half-hour trip got cut down to barely ten minutes. The dango seller's directions had helped out a lot, especially with the hint about the Academy – he had made it there and only gotten lost twice! Naruto had heard stories about the Uchiha Estate from Itachi-sensei; the older boy had described it as large and luxurious, with too many things for too little people. However, standing in front of its gates now, the only word Naruto could come up with was /creepy/. The house was painted black, and had little other color to it, except the flashes of the trademark Uchiha symbol painted here and there on the outside. It was a huge Victorian style mansion with high, pointed ceilings and large stained glass windows. Naruto sighed and opened the black, spiked gates, shuddering when they creaked ominously. He may have been a shinobi, but he really, really hated all things creepy and crawly. Naruto leaped his way down the long alley to the house, wondering if this had been a good idea. He could always come back later and hope that maybe the Uchiha's had painted their house pink or something to make it seem less dreary……The idea of the gloomy, magnificent mansion being painted a cheery pink made Naruto a little less nervous and little more amused. In a corner of his mind he was plotting how exactly he could get it done, and how much paint it would take to get the whole house……Inner Naruto rubbed his hands together evilly, cackling all the while. Outer Naruto rolled his eyes. Completely relaxed due to his bout of insanity, Naruto grinned as he reached the tall, oak door. Raising a tan hand he knocked three times, wondering if he should return to being nervous when his knocks echoed suspiciously. Naruto swallowed and waited, a booted foot tapping impatiently. Slowly the door creaked open. Naruto had mentally prepared himself for this meeting the entire run over to the Uchiha Estates. He had assured himself that he would be /strong, manly/, and /unemotional/. He would /not embarrass himself by acting like some sissy girl reunited with her one true love. However all of that went flying out of his head as soon as he saw Uchiha Itachi. Naruto flew at the older boy, wrapping him in a huge hug and pressing his face into the crook of Itachi's neck, breathing in his scent. He felt Itachi stiffen and mentally smiled – his sensei had never got used to being hugged, no matter how many times Naruto had randomly sprang one on him in the past. Slowly (very slowly, in Naruto's opinion) Itachi relaxed, although he didn't do anything more than stand there and let Naruto hug the stuffing out of him. Naruto pulled back soon after that, and scanned Itachi's face eagerly, drinking in the sight of his sensei after being apart for so long. He looked older. The lines under his eyes that had been faint when they had first met had deepened, giving him a more mature look. Naruto was relieved to see the charcoal black eyes instead of the flashing red of Sharingan – both he and Raiden had lectured Itachi about the dangers of keeping his Bloodline activated all the time, and apparently the Uchiha had taken it to heart. The lines of his face seemed sharper, and his cheeks had lost the small amount of baby fat Itachi had had when they had first met. However, despite these changes, Itachi still looked very much the same – his long, silky black hair and narrow, tilted eyes hadn't changed at all."I'm back, Itachi-sensei," he said, beaming at the older boy. Itachi gave him a look (Number 12 on the list of Uchiha Itachi's expressions: 'Way to state the obvious you moron') before saying, "Naruto-kun."Naruto rolled his eyes at the typical greeting. It would probably scar Itachi for life to say more than the occasional short sentence. "Well?" the blonde demanded, moving a little farther away from Itachi and placing his hands on his hips. "Are you going to let me in or not?"Itachi raised an eyebrow ('How rude Naruto-kun') before turning around and heading back through the door, Naruto following closely. It had surprised him when he could start reading out what Itachi was saying through his facial expressions – when he told Raiden his nii-san had gotten this funny look on his face and had muttered something about his "baby growing up already". Naruto shook his head – Rai-nii-san was weird. He scanned the hallways, rolling his eyes when he noticed that it was as dark and gloomy as the outside of the house was. How typically Uchiha. Itachi led him into the sitting room, a large room with the bare minimum of furniture needed, bare walls, and no windows. Naruto felt like rolling his eyes again – how he had gotten with such a cheapskate for a sensei he had no idea……Sighing he sank into one of the straight backed chairs surrounding a round table and folded his hands under his chin, staring up at Itachi through long eyelashes. Itachi swept into the chair across from him, his eyes unreadable even to Naruto. The silence stretched for a moment."When did you get back?" Itachi asked finally, his voice flat. Naruto grinned, "Just yesterday in fact. I would've come sooner, but Ero-Sennin and I had a hard time finding a hotel that would let the old pervert in, especially after he started flirting with all the female workers, and then I had to do those stupid Genin Exams. I would've come after that, but I was really exhausted so I just decided to stop by first thing in the morning."Itachi nodded indifferently, although Naruto could see a spark of amusement at his babble inside the dark eyes. He huffed and glared playfully at the older boy."Raiden?" Itachi asked quietly. Naruto rolled his eyes again, "Stayed back, the lazy ass. He'll probably be here soon – he could never be away from me long. Anyhow, there is a reason to my contagious visit besides informing you that the one and only Uzumaki-sama has arrived……" Naruto grinned as Itachi huffed at his arrogance. However the smile soon wiped off his face. "I met your brother yesterday – his name's Sasuke right?" Itachi gave a bare hint of a nod, his black eyes narrowed onto Naruto's face. "Have you been training him?"Itachi said softly, "Sasuke's training has been neglected."Naruto raised an eyebrow, "I can see that. His power levels are way below yours, and only a little higher than the rest of the Genin in my class. But why was his training neglected? You know better than to coddle him and let him sit around and do nothing."Itachi gave him a look. Naruto sighed, "I'm guessing either your ANBU duties or the Uchiha Massacre affected him negatively."As quiet as ever, Itachi answered, "The clan's massacre affected Sasuke greatly. He has become a stale shell of the talented child he used to be. My ANBU duties also kept me from spending as much time with him as I would have liked."Naruto felt like falling off his chair in shock at hearing Itachi speak three full sentences together, if only to clear the mood a little, but felt that his sensei wouldn't appreciate it. He sighed and leaned forwards in his chair, his blue eyes intensely focused on Itachi's face."He's not doing well Itachi-sensei. His aura is clouded with revenge and every good emotion has the tinge of darkness to it. If he continues this way, in a few years he will be insane."Only those closest to Itachi would notice the slight tightening around his eyes at those words. Naruto said nothing about the worry he could see in the older boy's face and instead continued to watch him and wait for an answer. Itachi sighed."Please watch over him Naruto-kun," he asked, dropping his head in a subservient manor. In Itachi's mind, there was nothing else to be done. He couldn't help his brother – he had no experience with comfort or coddling, and didn't spend enough time with the boy as it was. Sasuke had no close friends to turn to, or any mentors to guide him away from the dark path he seemed to be taking. However if anyone could help him it would be Naruto, the boy with the sunny nature, too kind heart, and perceptive eyes. Naruto, whether he knew it or not, drew people to him like moths to a candle, except that instead of burning they were warmed by his large affection. He could heal even the most twisted of hearts, Itachi knew all too well. After all, Naruto had been the one to save him as well.-Flashback-"Hey."Itachi blinked, trying to keep from dropping back into darkness. He slowly turned his head, wincing as he felt the dry blood spread over his skull crack and ooze slightly. There, standing in front of him, was a boy. A cute boy, in fact, with sunny spiked hair and large blue eyes. However the boy was dressed in dark gray ninja clothing – obviously not a civilian. Itachi was trying to remember why it was a problem that he should run into any shinobi, but his fuzzy mind couldn't come up with any reasons. The little boy knelt down beside Itachi and stared at him with curious, cat-like blue eyes before saying, "Ne, onii-san, what happened to you?"Itachi stared at the child as he tried to remember why he had come to be in this state, and yet like the problem with meeting shinobi all he got were fuzzy memories he couldn't make out. Itachi shook his head, indicating that he had no answer. The little boy huffed. "Well alright then. I'll get you to Rai-nii-san and Hisoka-chan, and they'll fix up right up, alright onii-san?"Itachi concluded that the boy was stronger then he looked when the little blonde raised him to his feet with what looked like no effort at all. The boy carefully wrapped an arm around Itachi's waist – the child came up to mid-chest when they stood next to each other. Itachi leaned heavily on him, wincing when he heard one of his cracked rib pieces rubbing together in a grinding sort of way, and several scabbed wounds re-open. The boy seemed to notice his discomfort and strived to go as slowly as possible. "We're nearly there," he informed Itachi seriously. Itachi tried to nod, but stopped immediately; moving his head made his temples throb spectacularly and sent black spots dancing around his eyes. Obviously, it was not a good idea. The strange pair approached a small house made out of dark brown wood and two little windows. Itachi couldn't help but think it looked like one of those "quaint" cabins his father would always sneer about. Itachi snorted, making the boy look up at him with curious eyes. He just glared until the little blonde shrugged and turned away. They entered through the front door without knocking; something Itachi wasn't used to doing, even as a shinobi. His family was been high class, snobbish, and entirely too strict on manners. No one ever entered a house or even a room without knocking first, even in the direst of emergencies. Itachi found it distasteful and slightly ridiculous, but followed the rules all the same. Every Uchiha did. They entered the living area, where two people were sitting. For some reason Itachi thought he should know one of them, but his memories were still fuzzy and he couldn't make out how he should know them. He could see the black closing in around his eyes – he was starting to fall unconscious. However the boy kept his hold onto him, even as Itachi settled all his weight on him and they both started to droop to the floor."My name's Uzumaki Naruto," he said, and his blinding smile was the last thing Itachi saw before he surrendered to the darkness of sleep. -End Flashback-Naruto stared at Itachi with wide eyes, wondering if had, in fact, heard the tensai correctly. Itachi wasn't one to ask for help; his stubborn Uchiha pride wouldn't allow it. 'He must care quite a bit about Sasuke to swallow his pride like that' Naruto mused, eyeing Itachi thoughtfully. "I will look after him the best I can. You know I will Itachi-sensei," Naruto answered, his usually exuberant voice quiet. And Itachi knew that, of course. Naruto, for some unknown reason, couldn't stand to see people in pain. The blonde was always helping others, keeping others sane by his large heart and cheery ways……Itachi knew that even if he had not asked, Naruto would have helped Sasuke anyway, because that was a part of who he was."Yes," Itachi said, equally as quiet. The room descended into silence for a moment before Naruto huffed and said loudly, "Well now that we're done with that depressing bit of conversation……I probably should get going. It's what," Naruto glanced up at the clock hanging about the door, "11:45 already! Damn, I'm gonna be late!" Itachi watched with amusement as Naruto hurried out of his chair and out of the living room. He didn't get up from his seat. A minute later, Naruto's head popped back into the door, looking sheepish."Sorry Itachi-sensei!" he yelled. "I'll see you after the Team meet ups alright? Maybe tomorrow we can do something!" And then he was gone again, his chakra and presence disappearing fluidly from Itachi's range. Itachi let a small half-smile cross over his face as he leaned back in his chair languidly. Even if he would never admit aloud, he was glad to have Naruto back in his life.---------------Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, to how it holds you to a place. (The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen; Macy)---------------When Naruto entered Classroom 5 it was just as noisy as it had been the day before, only without the hordes of screaming banshees crowding around Uchiha Sasuke. The blonde sighed in relief – he really didn't feel like dealing with those blood-thirsty, scary girls right now. He strode to the back of the room where the younger Uchiha was leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed and his head tilted towards the ceiling and slid into the seat next to him. Startled by the unexpected neighbor, Sasuke's eyes opened and his head snapped to the side. He relaxed however, when he saw it was only the blonde from yesterday that had saved (not that he would ever admit it) his ass from his crazed fangirls. Naruto smiled in amusement at the quick succession of panic and relief that flashed across the Uchiha's aura – he had activated his bloodline after leaving the Uchiha Estate just for the purpose of getting a closer look at the people who would be his team. He was going to be spending a lot of time with his teammates, and he wanted to get a look at their personalities and power level as early as possible. Naruto watched as the rest of the class filed in, smirking inwardly when he saw more than one dirty look thrown at him by a USRFA member. He idled his time by picking out some of the stronger students – a girl with short dark hair and the trademark light eyes of a Hyuuga was clearly above her classmates, and about even with Sasuke. There were three boys also, who were closer to the Hyuuga's and Sasuke's range - a guy wearing sunglasses with poufy black hair, another with a topknot of spiked dark hair that was half-asleep on his desk, and the last was a guy with shaggy brown hair, dark eyes, and a puppy in his jacket. Naruto raised an eyebrow; he could recognize their clans plainly by their looks; an Aburame, a Nara, and an Inuzuka. However it was surprising that, besides him, Sasuke, and the Hyuuga girl, that they were strongest out of the lot. Nara's were known more for their strategic mind, and both the Aburame and Inuzuka clan relied on their animals to win a battle. They weren't known to be that powerful, especially when dealing with chakra. Were the rest of Genin really that weak……?Naruto was startled out of his musings when Iruka entered the classroom, carrying a pile of papers and wearing a smile. The dark haired teacher dumped his pile onto the desk in the front before picking up a single sheet. Naruto leaned forward in anticipation – he had been waiting for this moment. Iruka cleared his throat and the room fell silent."Team 1," he started, "is Himura Sanosuke, Kurosaki Byakuya, and Ami Rukia. Your Jounin sensei is Shiranui Genma. Team 2 is still in rotation from last year. Team 3……" Naruto sighed and tuned the man out – he had no desire to know what everyone else's team was. He kept his senses open so he would hear his name called out and turned his attention out the window. "Team 7 is Uchiha Sasuke," Naruto perked up, interested to see who was on the team with Itachi's little brother, "Haruno Sakura," Naruto winced in sympathy, "and Uzumaki Naruto."The room was dead silent for a minute before Naruto said, "Whaaat?"That broke the ice. Sakura jumped up, screaming (like the banshee she was) with joy and Sasuke slumped visibly in his chair. While Uzumaki might not be that bad, he was stuck on a team with one of his fangirls/……Why couldn't he have gotten Hinata? She, at least, didn't obsess over him……Iruka hid a smile and continued, "Your Jounin sensei is Hatake Kakashi. Team 8 is Inuzuka Kiba, Aburame Shino, and Hyuuga Hinata. Your Jounin sensei is Yuhi Kurenai. Team 9 is still in rotation from last year. Team 10 consists of Yamanaka Ino," Naruto perked up from where he had slumped in defeat (he was stuck with Sakura! Sakura, the rapid Uchiha fangirl!) then glanced at Ino, who was leaning forward in her seat, "Nara Shikamaru, and Akimichi Chouji. Your Jounin sensei is Sarutobi Asuma." Naruto held a hand over his mouth to block his smile; Ino was currently alternating between wailing about the injustice of life and hitting a protesting Shikamaru over the head. Iruka ignored the chaos and rolled up the list of teams as he said, "Congratulations on your team placing! Please wait for your Jounin sensei here!"Naruto sighed as he watched Iruka smile cheerily at them. He was glad that he was with Sasuke, because that would make his job of looking after the younger Uchiha much easier. Sakura on the other hand……he snuck a glance at the excited pinkette and rolled his eyes. It would take a lot of work to get her mind out of the fangirl setting, and her banshee like screeches were making him dislike her more than he already did. Perhaps, in time they could be friends, but that would never happen until she lessened her fixation on Sasuke and started to work harder to become a real kunoichi. Naruto leaned back in his seat, surveying the room and frowned as he noticed that most of the teams had already been picked up by their Jounin sensei. He looked over at Iruka, who was sitting at his desk marking papers."Oi, Iruka-sensei!" he called out, and he didn't miss the flash of annoyance that passed over the teacher's face as he looked up. "Yes Uzumaki?" Iruka asked curtly."Is this Hatake Kakashi guy always late?" Naruto was somewhat curious about his sensei. Raiden had spoken of him, but only about his past somewhat – that Kakashi had been placed in a team under his father with an Uchiha Obito and a Yamaro Rin. However Rai-nii-san spoke highly of the Jounin and Naruto wanted to meet him to see what all the fuss was about. Iruka looked somewhat amused as he answered, "Hatake-san is well known for his lateness Uzumaki. You'll probably be here for a while."Naruto's eyebrow twitched; he really, /really didn't want to wait here for Kakashi to show up……he frowned slightly."Oi," a deep voice echoed in the back of Naruto's head, making the blonde roll his eyes. "I remember your sensei. He was younger when I first saw him……a scrawny shrimp with gray hair and a mask. Didn't give me much of a fight though……" Kyuubi almost sounded wistful. Naruto snorted – the old fox really did enjoy a challenge too much. "I could probably sniff him out for you. Listening to your whining is more than I can bear."/'I wasn't whining!' Naruto insisted indignantly, even as he left his seat to stand by the windows. 'I was……brooding elegantly.'Kyuubi snorted, "You couldn't brood to save your life, let alone brood 'elegantly'."Naruto snorted and opened the window. Sakura noticed what he was doing and came up behind him curiously."What are you doing Uzumaki?" she asked, somewhat snidely. Naruto glanced over his shoulder at her coolly, "I'm going to find our sensei. I don't want to be here longer than I have to Haruno."With that he leapt out of the window, ignoring the shriek of surprise that Sakura let out. Quickly he attached himself to the side of the academy and ran the rest of the way down to the ground. He let out a laugh when he heard Sakura's yell to come back, and continued to run, allowing Kyuubi to sniff out Kakashi's scent."He's by the stone with the ningen on it," Kyuubi said after a minute of searching. Naruto's smile slid off his face, although he continued to run. Rai-nii-san had mentioned that Kakashi's teammates had died – Uchiha Obito in a skirmish with Iwa shinobi, as well as Yamaro Rin and his father dying only a few years later when Kyuubi attacked. It didn't surprise Naruto that Kakashi was at the Memorial Stone – his teammates names would have been carved into it, as every shinobi that had died in both the Iwa wars and Kyuubi attack had been placed on the large rock. Naruto jumped to the rooftops, heading swiftly for the stone. He had a vague idea where it was – when he had been younger he hadn't spent much time wandering around Konoha due to the beatings. He had stayed indoors, only travelling to Ichiraku's and the Grocery store when he absolutely needed to. His safety had never allowed him to travel to any place he didn't absolutely need to visit. Naruto stopped at the edge of the clearing where the Memorial Stone was placed and watched for a minute. Hatake Kakashi was a tall man with drooping spikes of silver-gray hair and a mask covering half of his face. Naruto knew that this was because of some strange Hatake tradition, but Rai-nii-san had never gone into the specifics. The Jounin's headband was tilted over his left eye, concealing the Sharingan eye he had received from his dying teammate. One white knuckled hand held an orange book that Naruto recognized immediately; Ero-Sennin had spent the greater time of their travels together researching and raving about his /Icha Icha series. Naruto stepped into the clearing and his eyebrows knotted when Kakashi didn't even raise his head. A Jounin of his caliber (even now his power level shone an icy green-white) should have noticed Naruto immediately. The blonde hurried up to his new sensei's side and got an eyeful of his aura. Blue had always been described as the color of "sadness". Naruto had studied colors and emotions thoroughly, and knew that emotions had certain "levels" to them in a way. Stronger emotions had more depth and a darker color than superficial ones. And right now he was looking into the sea of blue-black that swirled around Kakashi's core like a particularly violent typhoon, tints of purple and pure black hidden within the smooth original coloring. 'Sweet Kami-sama' Naruto thought, alarmed for his new sensei. Kakashi's grief bordered on depression – the darkness of the color and the hints of black showed that. The purple hinted that the sadness had been there so long it had become immersed in his core – a swirling ball of purple, dark crimson red, and white. "Kaka-sensei," Naruto barely noticed the affectionate nickname he had given his teacher, too horrified by the deep wells of grief he could see within the man. Kakashi seemed to rouse himself from his dreamlike state and Naruto watched, fascinated, as the swirls of blue-black began to recede bit by bit until they were overtaken by a thin yellow color of fake happiness and contentment. Only a small layer of the original color remained on the outside of the yellow. Naruto was amazed. It took years of training and a huge amount of effort to be able to push back such harsh emotions as the grief he had seen in his sensei – obviously the man was skilled in more than just jutsu. Kakashi straightened and Naruto noticed that his grip on the orange book had become looser. The Jounin's single black eye surveyed him curiously."Oh? Who might you be then blondie?" he asked, and Naruto's eyebrow twitched at the mocking edge the Jounin's voice had taken."One of your new students Oh Great and Powerful Kakashi-sama," Naruto swept into mockingly low bow. "Oh finally someone has recognized my greatness," Kakashi said dramatically, fanning himself with his book. He peered down at Naruto and the blonde could sense him frowning teasingly through his blue mask, "If only it wasn't this short gaki……I would've preferred hoards of beautiful women……" Kakashi sighed wistfully. Naruto's temple throbbed as he leaned up and swatted Kakashi on the back of his head, scowling as he shouted out, "Pervert! It's bad enough Ero-Sennin writes those books, but for people to actually read them……" Naruto shook his head in mock despair before looking up at the sky and pointing an accusing finger in Kakashi's direction. "Kami-sama this is who you give me as a sensei to guide me through my Genin years? This/?!?!" (1)Naruto felt triumphant when he saw /genuine amusement over-taking the fake wall of happiness his sensei had barricaded his grief behind. Considering how quickly Kakashi shifted from deep sadness to bright cheerfulness, Naruto was fairly certain that the Jounin hadn't felt actual amusement for quite some time. "Care to explain why you came all the way out here gaki?" Kakashi asked, after the short moment of somewhat awkward silence that followed Naruto's dramatic statement. Naruto gave him a mock-glare as he shouted out, "Iruka-sensei said that you would be late so I found you to drag you back to the Academy kicking and screaming! There was no way I was going to wait for your lazy ass to get to the Academy……" Naruto growled under his breath and pulled impatiently on Kakashi's arm. The older man looked startled and then bemused by his new student's behavior, even as Naruto continued to pull Kakashi across the field and farther away from the Memorial Stone. Once they were outside the field, Naruto started to run, Kakashi easily keeping up at his side despite the hand still clamped around his wrist. The Academy came into view after a few short minutes, and Kakashi mentally sighed. He really, really didn't want to do this……He shot a glare at his oblivious student. If that stupid gaki hadn't come, perhaps he would have found a way out of it……Perhaps he could knock the gaki out and then make a run for it?Naruto, ignoring the dangerous vibes emitting from his sensei, smiled when they reached the main entrance to the Academy. The building was empty, as all the teachers had already gone home for the day, which allowed Naruto and Kakashi to navigate their way fairly quickly to Classroom 5, entering quietly. Naruto mentally rolled his eyes when he saw Kakashi pull out his orange book and open it to a random page. He wasn't sure if the man was actually reading it or not. The first thing Naruto saw was a nervous looking Sasuke edging slowly away from a ranting, furious Sakura. When they entered, Sakura immediately turned on them, leaving a visibly relieved Uchiha to relax from her onslaught. "Uzumaki-baka! What did you think you were doing, running off like that? It would have looked bad for Sasuke-kun and me if our sensei had come in while you were gone……" she trailed off as she noticed Kakashi. The silver haired man tapped his masked chin thoughtfully with his orange book as he said, "Hmm……My first impression of you is still not favorable, unfortunately."Naruto rolled his eyes and swatted at Kakashi's head, ignoring Sakura's scandalized gasp at the familiar conduct between subordinate and superior. No matter that Kakashi was supposed to be their sensei – he was still a Jounin! Naruto was supposed to be properly respectful and subservient, not smack their teacher, even when he made such a remark as that! Sakura sent a glare in Naruto's direction. But Kakashi ignored her and even Naruto as he chirped, "To the roof, faithful minions (2)!" and disappeared in a small swirl of leaves. Naruto rolled his eyes yet again at Sakura's shocked look and Sasuke's disappointed one. Obviously they weren't expecting someone like Kakashi to be their Jounin sensei; the person that would guide and mentor them through their Genin and Chuunin years. He had to say that he hadn't either, but at least he had Jiraiya, Itachi, Kyuubi, and Raiden when he got his lazy ass to Konoha……Naruto shook away his stray thoughts and turned to Sasuke, ignoring Sakura for now. Her little speech when he had come back in had annoyed him, and he didn't want to try talking to her right now, or he was afraid he'd be more than a little rude. And if there was one thing he'd learned during his time with Jiraiya, it was to never piss off a woman."Coming or not?" he asked the Uchiha. Sasuke nodded and stood up, automatically entering what Naruto had dubbed "Brood Mode". Itachi had used it often too. Naruto quickly swept out of the classroom, Sasuke following closely behind with Sakura trailing after them, looking extremely confused. They reached the roof to find Kakashi leaning against the wall next to the door, trying to look bad ass. The effect was ruined by his little orange book and the constant stream of giggles he was emitting. With his eyes still glued to the page, Kakashi gestured for them to sit. Sakura did so, but Sasuke and Naruto remained standing, both eyeing Kakashi; one with distaste, the other with curiosity."Well……" Kakashi drawled out. "Your all powerful sensei would like an introduction. Likes, dislikes, hobbies, dreams, goals, all that fun stuff," he carelessly waved a hand. "Pink girl, you're first."Sakura eyed him carefully, "Shouldn't you go first sensei? So we know what to say?"Kakashi gave her one of his smiles, and Naruto was interested to note that his fake cheerfulness exploded to almost dangerous amounts as he did so. Perhaps Kakashi used it to mask other emotions as well, and it needed to make his happiness stronger to do so? But why would he need to do that? He could be annoyed at them if he wanted, so why was he masking it? Naruto was starting to get even more interested in the puzzle that was Kakashi."Hatake Kakashi. I have many likes and many dislikes. My hobbies can wait until you're older……And, well I have a dream……"Sakura muttered under her breath before huffing and starting her own introduction, "I'm Haruno Sakura. I like," here she gave a long, side-long glance at Sasuke before continuing, "and I dislike blondes of all kinds!" Naruto was given a glare. "My hobbies……" Sakura began to giggle. "My dreams……" Her giggles grew louder and more excitable, all while she was looking at Sasuke. Naruto and Kakashi regarded the youngest Uchiha with pity. Kakashi interrupted Sakura's giggle fest by saying loudly, "Broody one, you're up.""Uchiha Sasuke. I have some like and many dislikes. I don't have any hobbies, and my dream is really more of an ambition: to restore my clan and to kill a certain man."Silence reigned over the roof until Naruto chuckled and commented, "How Emo."It was a good thing looks couldn't kill, or our hero would be buried twice over. Kakashi seemed to be amused by Naruto's comment, but instead of laughing just gestured for the blonde to go next. "My name's Uzumaki Naruto. My likes are training, a certain fox, people who believe in me, and ramen. My dislikes are most of the people in this village, prejudice, and intolerance. My hobbies are training and playing pranks on unsuspecting persons, and my dream……" he trailed off, looking thoughtful, before shrugging. "My dream is to make the people in Konoha acknowledge me one way……or another."Naruto was well aware of the sharp glance he had received from Kakashi at his mention of a "certain fox" but the Jounin had remained silent, to his relief. He knew there would be a confrontation, but he didn't want it to happen in front of his new teammates. He didn't fully trust Sasuke and Sakura yet – at least, not with his secrets. They already were looking at him curiously, probably due to his statement about Konoha."Maa……I suppose that will be it for today. Report to Training Ground 7 at 6:30 AM sharp," Kakashi drawled out. Sakura sounded puzzled as she asked, "What for sensei?""You'll be doing Survival Training," Kakashi sounded entirely too gleeful for Naruto's peace of mind."But we already did that in the Academy!" Sakura protested. Naruto was amused at her attitude; did she really think that the Academy standards were that great? The Academy was there to teach the students the basics; it was during the Genin years that the student grew the most, as they started to get real, one-on-one tutelage. "Don't slack off," Kakashi warned, although it was ruined by his jovial tone. "Out of 27 graduates, only 9 will be chosen as actual Genin. The rest will be sent back to the Academy. This is a difficult test with a failure rate of 66%! Anyhow, don't eat breakfast tomorrow – you'll only throw up. Ja ne minions of mine!" he cackled as he disappeared yet again in a cloud of leaves. The roof was silent until Naruto sighed and said, "Jeez, we just had to have that guy huh?"Sasuke grunted, while Sakura nodded enthusiastically, probably forgetting that she was agreeing with Naruto/. The sole girl of the group turned to Sasuke, a sweet and innocent look overcoming her face as she bent her head shyly. Sakura twirled her fingers behind her back, rocking back and forth on her heels."Sasuke-kun, would you like to have dinner with me?" she asked timidly. Sasuke, Naruto noted, had frustration and annoyance flashing over his aura. Obviously this wasn't a new thing."No," the youngest Uchiha's voice was flat as he turned to head back to the rooftop door. Sakura looked crestfallen but resigned as she followed him out. Naruto hesitated for a moment before yelling out, "Oi! Uchiha!" Sasuke looked at him over his shoulder, a single black eyebrow raised. "Talk to Itachi about the test tomorrow."Sasuke's eyes narrowed and he opened his mouth, as if to ask how /Naruto knew Itachi/, but Naruto shook his head and mouth 'later' at him. Sasuke, eyes still narrowed, nodded stiffly before disappearing from sight down the stairs. Naruto sighed heavily, leaning against the wall behind him. He was /not going to enjoy talking about that tomorrow……"Oi!" he called out lazily. "Kaka-sensei, you can come out now."Kakashi emerged from a nearby tree eyeing Naruto suspiciously, his hands free of any orange porn for once. "What did you want sensei? You don't seem like the type to go for younger guys, not that I'd ever date an old pervert like you……" Naruto drawled out, amused by the startled surprise that flashed across both Kakashi's aura and face."You know about……/it/?" Kakashi asked cautiously. He would, of course, be screwed if Naruto actually didn't know anything, but he got the feeling from the gaki's introduction and the strange glint in his eye as he mentioned "a certain fox" that the blonde did know. Naruto's cocky amusement faded as he looked up into Kakashi's face warily before saying, "Yes, I know about my furry friend."Kakashi was quiet. He didn't know how to handle this; he hadn't even realized that one of his students was the Kyuubi container until he had looked at the list last night. It had been a shock to see Uzumaki Naruto among his ranks, especially when he knew for a fact that the blonde has disappeared when he was six. It made him both sad and happy to have Naruto on his team – he was a reminder of all that he had lost /that day/, but he also looked and acted so much like Minato-sensei……Kakashi was shaken from his thoughts when a small poof of smoke appeared on Naruto's head. The blonde, looking annoyed, reached up and pulled a brightly colored frog off his blonde spikes. An eyebrow visibly twitching, Naruto scowled down at the frog, wondering what Ero-Sennin could possibly want now."What is it Gamakichi?" he asked. Gamakichi huffed at Naruto's obvious annoyance and answered back sharply, "The old man wants you to come to the Hokage Tower, whiskers. He said something about the Hokage wanting to yap about your past and getting some sake for the special occasion."Naruto snorted; that sounded like Jiraiya alright. He really didn't want to discuss his past with anyone, but Jiji-sama would need to know, if only to properly sort out missions for both Team 7 and Naruto solely. The blonde sighed and turned to Kakashi, who had watched the interaction between the frog and his student with an interested eye. Naruto looked at him for a minute before sighing again, this time more loudly, and than saying, "You'd better come with me for this Kaka-sensei. Since you're my new sensei, you'll need to know what to expect from me," he turned back to Gamakichi and barked out. "Tell Ero-Sennin we'll be there shortly and to not drink all the sake."Gamakichi snickered and nodded before disappearing in another poof of smoke. Naruto turned back to Kakashi and raised an eyebrow. Kakashi nodded and the two jumped from the Academy rooftop to the top of the building next to it, heading swiftly for the Hokage Tower in the middle of Konoha. They reached the tower swiftly and managed to get into the Hokage's office within ten minutes; a feat that Kakashi had once thought impossible if you went the right way instead of through the windows. He'd heard stories about the long wait line from Asuma and Kurenai, who both were too polite for their own good and always used the door. It impressed him that Naruto had managed to get them a meeting so fast; the Hokage must have cleared out his other appointments to make room for this talk. They entered the Hokage's office, and Naruto snorted when he saw Jiraiya sitting at a comfortable sofa that hadn't been there the day before, guzzling sake like water. Sandaime was sitting at his desk, watching Jiraiya amusedly. Dryly he said, "Didn't I ask for you not to drink all that sake Ero-Sennin?""You won't get any anyway, brat," a familiar dark, low voice said from his other side, making Naruto whirl around with wide, blue eyes. The person standing there was both familiar and unexpected."Rai-nii-san?!"-End Note:>A Note on the Flashbacks: There will be a lot of flashbacks for AIT, mainly because so much of Naruto's background story hasn't been told. Maybe one day I'll sit down and try to write out the background story to AIT, but for now you'll all have to deal with the annoying flashbacks :D.
A Note on Kakashi: I always thought that Kakashi had two masks – the physical one and the mental one. He lost his entire team (or so we think; nobody knows anything about Rin) and that has to hurt a lot, even after all these years. Plus the fact that he acts a bit like Obito says a lot about how much he took their deaths to heart. And so I thought that Kakashi's cheery nature is a lot like a mask – he does it to protect his grief, and even some of his other emotions as you saw with the intros and Sakura.
(And finally) A Note on Sakura: I AM NOT going to bash Sakura all the time. The problem is that she annoyed me so damn much during the whole period before the Chuunin Exams. This is my perception of her during that time – an ignorant, arrogant braggart who was in love with an image of someone she didn't truly know. She WILL change for the better, as she did in canon (I love Sakura now; how awesome is it that she can crack gigantic holes in the ground?). Sakura lovers please understand that I will not bash Sakura for that long of time.
(Damn those were some long notes……)
(1) So dramatic Naru-kun……However this was my reaction to Kakashi in canon, especially with those pervert books of his…… -mutters-
(2) I can so imagine Kakashi saying that, can't you?