Categories > Anime/Manga > Naruto > Herald of the End

Chapter 4: The Darkness of Truth

by MachFarcon 4 reviews

AU. The world can be forever changed by the simplest of choices. When Sakura takes a different path home one day after the Academy, the events that follow will shake the world. Konoha, what have yo...

Category: Naruto - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Hinata,Naruto,Sakura - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2016-08-03 - 9829 words

Naruto grinned happily as he chatted with Sakura and Hinata as they neared the Academy. Today was going to be the best day ever! He was going to graduate with Sakura-Chan and Hinata-Chan. And they were going to be on a team together then. It was going to be great.

Hinata was quiet as Naruto talked. She watched Naruto happily gesture to them as he explained his latest training session. The idea that had slowly been building inside her grew. She made her decision. "Sakura-San, may I talk to you privately for a moment?" Hinata requested with a serious look on her face during a lull in conversation.

Sakura blinked and looked over at Hinata. Hinata had a serious look on her face. "Sure." Sakura answered confused. "When do you want to talk?"

"Before the Academy today." Hinata answered, hoping that Naruto would get the hint. She could never bring herself to tell Naruto to leave them, so Naruto would need to leave them to talk in private out of his own volition.

Sakura turned to Naruto, who was looking at them both in slight confusion, and ordered him, "Naruto. We'll meet you at the Academy. Hinata and I have to talk about something alone."

"Oh. Ok." Naruto's shoulders slumped ever so slightly for the briefest of seconds. And then just as quickly, a wide smile slid across his face. "Ok. I'll meet you at the Academy." He grinned and nodded before rushing off towards the Academy.

Both girls watched Naruto head off. As soon as he disappeared from their sight, Sakura turned to Hinata and angrily demanded, "What do you want? We made Naruto-Kun sad!"

"W-well, " Hinata began quietly, fighting back the tears at the thought of making Naruto sad, "You know how Naruto doesn't really have anyone but us as friends?" Seeing Sakura's nod, Hinata grew more and more passionate as she continued, "We need to become friends ourselves. For Naruto-Kun. So he doesn't have to ever choose between us."

Sakura dropped into deep thought. While Hinata-San had made several good points, there was something about it that almost made Sakura protest. Sakura's eyes widened as she realized what the issue was: She wanted Naruto-Kun all to herself! Sakura opened her mouth to refuse Hinata's offer of friendship when Hinata's words replayed in her mind.

"...So he doesn't have to ever choose between us..."

Sakura's mouth closed with a snap. That was the point wasn't it? How could she call herself Naruto's best friend if she wouldn't ever think of what he wanted? And Sakura knew what Naruto wanted. He just wanted his friends to get along. Sakura set her jaw. She turned to Hinata.

"I'll be you friend. For Naruto-Kun." Sakura paused, considering, "And you're a pretty good person. I would have eventually became your friend anyway." She added grudgingly.

Hinata relaxed in visible relief. "Ok. Let's go find Naruto and cheer him back up. Right Sakura-Chan?"

Sakura nodded firmly, "Right! Let's go Hinata-Chan."
Naruto skidded to a stop outside of the Academy. The run had served to clear his head to a certain extent, and gave him the insight that Sakura and Hinata had simple wanted to talk about something without him. They would catch up to him later. Naruto took a step forward before freezing mid-step. What if they wanted him to wait for them outside of the Academy? Naruto placed his foot back down and moved over to the gate of the Academy. He would wait for his best friends here.

About ten minutes later, his ears perked up as he caught the sounds of Sakura-Chan talking to Hinata-Chan. He pushed off the wall and jogged eagerly towards the pair. As he got closer, the two girls visibly brightened as they spied him coming toward them.

"Sakura-Chan! Hinata-Chan!" Naruto called, "Are you all done with your talk?"

"Yes. Hinata-Chan and I are done with our talk." Sakura called back. She waited for Naruto to join their group before guiltily apologizing, "I'm sorry for sending you away Naruto-Kun. I didn't mean to make you sad."

"It's all right." Naruto waved away Sakura's apology, "I realized that sometimes you have to talk about something that I'm not supposed to hear. " Shyly glancing at the pair, he couldn't help but ask, "So it's Hinata-Chan then? Does that mean you and Hinata-Chan are friends?" There was a cautious hope laced in his tone.

Any doubts in Sakura's or Hinata's mind over their new friendship was wiped away by Naruto's hopeful expression. It was Hinata that answered, "Yes Naruto-Kun. Sakura-Chan and I are friends now." "So now you'll never have to choose between us ever again." She added mentally.

Naruto's blindingly happy smile that threatened to rival the sun in warmth filled the girls with a sense of accomplishment. "Now," Naruto began with exuberance, "Let's go kick this exam's ass!"

"Hell yea!" Sakura shouted.

"Let's do it." Hinata said loudly, loudly compared to her normal self at any rate.

And with confident steps the three walked into the Academy.
The classroom was ordered chaos. All of the students were talking amongst themselves, realizing that this could be the last time they would see each other. There was several shouting girls surrounding Sasuke Uchiha. Sakura recognized her former friend Ino as one of the ones that was sitting closest to Sasuke. Surprisingly, Sakura realized, she didn't feel the need to try to sit close to Sasuke-Kun. Sakura shrugged off the strange feeling and headed to the seat next to Naruto, joining his and Hinata's speculations on what the test ahead was comprised of.

After another few minutes, Iruka entered the classroom along with Mizuki. Iruka shouted for quiet but was promptly ignored by the class. He waited for another minute before taking a deep breath. Beside him, Mizuki plugged his ears.

"ALL RIGHT! SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!" Iruka's head grew to a massive size as he yelled, "IT'S TIME TO START CLASS!"

The class slowly quieted down as Mizuki removed his fingers from his ears. "Now," Iruka continued with a normal tone, "Here's how we are going to do the test today: First, we are going to take a written exam. After that, we are going to be testing your kunai and shuriken throwing skills. Next, we will be pitting each of you against each other in graded sparring matches. Once those are completed, we will be testing your skill with the Clone Technique, the Body Replacement Technique, and the Transformation Technique." Iruka indicated Mizuki beside him, "Mizuki-Sensei will be helping me administer these exams."
And with those words, the Konoha Genin exams started. After the written test had been completed, the class headed out to the grounds behind the academy. Iruka started the students off alphabetically. As he grew closer to Sakura's name, she felt herself growing nervous. Naruto put his hand on her shoulder as he whispered, "You got this Sakura-Chan!" Bolstered by Naruto's words, Sakura stepped forward as Iruka called, "Haruno, Sakura."

Sakura stepped forward to the throwing line. She took two deep breathes. She clutched the provided kunai in her hand. Her hand snapped forward repeatedly as she threw the kunai towards the target.

"Seven out of ten." Iruka counted, "Not bad!" He congratulated. "Keep it up for the shuriken portion! " Sakura grinned as she heard Naruto shout out a congratulation on her score. "You bet!" Sakura quickly took the offered shurikens and stepped towards the throwing line again. She sent the shurikens buzzing down the range towards the target.

"A solid seven out of ten!" Iruka congratulated Sakura before heading out to retrieve the thrown weapons. A happy Sakura was welcomed back into her group by Naruto and Hinata.

"Hyuga, Hinata."

Hinata toed the throwing line after accepting the offered kunai. Naruto's unending confidence had rubbed off on her, and her hand moved forward gracefully as she threw the kunai before she lost her gained confidence. The kunai sped down the range towards the target one by one.

"Seven out of ten! Well done." Iruka congratulated, knowing Hinata's confidence issues. Hinata felt a small confident smile flow onto her face as she heard Naruto yell out encouragements as she took the shuriken. She looked almost graceful as she sent the shuriken buzzing towards the targets.

"Seven out of ten. Good job Hinata-San!" Iruka exclaimed, proud of the immense strides his student had made in the last three years. Hinata joined her group amidst their congratulations.

"You guys did really good!" Naruto exclaimed, happy at his friends success.

Sakura grinned before teasing, "Well, Naruto-Kun, make sure you don't do something stupid like drop the kunai." The three attempted to keep straight faces as they thought of the nigh-impossible chance that Naruto would screw up a physical test. The three soon broke down into stifled giggles.

"Uchiha, Sasuke."

The black haired boy strutted to the throwing line, grabbing the kunai as he went. He threw several kunai at one time, hitting the target each time.

"Nine-point-seven-five out of ten!" Mizuki exclaimed.

Sasuke snorted arrogantly, "Of course I scored that high. I am an Uchiha after all, unlike these other commoners." He swiped the shuriken from Mizuki and quickly threw them, once again unleashing several at a time.

"Nine-point-five out of ten!" Mizuki congratulated, successfully hiding his annoyance at the black-haired boy's words. Sasuke threw a superior smirk in Naruto's direction before heading to the back of the gathered students to brood.

"Uzumaki, Naruto."

"Good luck Naruto-Kun." Hinata whispered encouragingly.

"Yeah. Good luck Naruto-Kun." Sakura added with a confident nod.

Naruto grinned and strode confidently up to the throwing line, snagging the kunai as he went. As soon as his foot touched the line, his hands blurred. The ten kunai rocketed down range, slamming into the target.

"Ten out of ten!" Iruka exclaimed, surprised. He knew Naruto was good, but he didn't know that Naruto was this good. Naruto chuckled warmly as he heard Sakura shout congratulations and Hinata's softly spoken words of encouragement. He once again snagged the shuriken. Before he even reached the throwing line, his hands blurred once again. The sharp thuds of the shurikens hitting the target reached their ears a moment later.

"Ten out of ten." Iruka announced, amidst the whispers of the class. Naruto was welcomed back to his group with words of congratulations.

Sasuke scowled fiercely. How dare the lowly clan-less looser do better than him! He was an Uchiha! Suddenly a idea began to form in Sasuke's mind. He knew how he would get back at the Uzumaki...
Soon the throwing portion finished, and it was time for the sparing matches. "All right!" Iruka began, "It's time for the sparing match. I'm going to lay down a few ground rules. First, no killing blows. Second, it's taijutsu only. So no non-hand-to-hand-combat techniques. This also means that no weapons are allowed." He took a breath before continuing, "To win the match you must either knock your opponent out of the ring, or you force them to submit. You may challenge someone, but you do not have to." As soon as Iruka finished explaining the rules, Sasuke's voice rang out.

"I will fight the Uzumaki."

A hush fell on the class. This was more than just a simple challenge. Sasuke was the top student. Naruto was the student with the worst grades. But no one could deny the blonde's effectiveness in combat. Sakura froze. She remembered what Ino had said to her just over six months ago...

Sakura entered the classroom to see Sasuke lean back with a satisfied smirk on his face. In contrast, Naruto had a slightly depressed air about him. Three seconds later, the depressed air disappeared as he hid his feelings deep within. Sakura was terribly conflicted. She felt angry that someone had made fun of Naruto-Kun, but that someone was Sasuke-Kun. She was so deep in her confused thoughts that she didn't even notice Ino walking up to her until the blonde girl spoke.

"You're going to have to choose." Ino pointed out.

"Huh?" Sakura blinked in confusion. "What are you talking about?"

Ino snorted. "For as big as your forehead is, you don't get it do you?" Ino's blue eyes pierced Sakura's confused green eyes. "You're going to have to choose between Sasuke-Kun and Naruto-Baka. They are completely different from each other."

"I accept." Naruto's confident voice rang out, as he strode towards the marked off sparing ring. Sasuke quickly followed, as his fan girls cheered. After they both entered the ring, they made their way to the opposite sides of the ring.

Iruka felt like he was watching a building on fire, helpless to stop the carnage about to happen, but unable to look away. He swallowed, wetting his suddenly dry throat before starting the match. "All right! Keep it clean you two. Are both fighters ready?" When both boys gave their assent, he continued, "Ready?" Iruka's hand slashed downwards. "Hajime!"

Neither boy moved. "Do you hear that dobe?" Sasuke sneered, "Do you hear them cheering my name? Calling for me to beat you down?" Sasuke then moved for the verbal kill, "And who is cheering for you? Just two pathetic losers that are pretending to kunoichi..." Any further taunts that Sasuke had planned were shoved back down his throat as a heavy oppressive presence cloaked the ring. It was as if the very air itself suddenly gained twenty pounds and was now pressing down on the last Uchiha.

"What did you say?" Naruto asked, his voice a deadly calm, his eyes betraying his furious anger. "Did you just call Sakura-Chan and Hinata-Chan weak"? Sasuke paled, but stood his ground, if only by the barest margins.

"Y-Yes. I said that they are weak." He panted, attempting to steel himself against the oppressive air.

Suddenly Naruto shot forward, his fist burying itself into Sasuke's stomach. Sasuke wheezed out a choked grasp as all of the air in his lungs was abruptly forced out. He didn't have time to react as Naruto reached with his other hand and grabbed Sasuke's shirt, bodily tossing the shocked Uchiha into the center of the ring. Sasuke barely dodged Naruto's leg, the force behind the attack raising a cloud of dust that obscured the two fighters. The dirt irritated Sasuke's eyes as he wildly looked for Naruto. A savage jab to his jaw sent him stumbling back, and Sasuke fought to keep his balance. He swung wildly, hoping to connect with something.

Naruto blocked Sasuke's swing, using his superior strength to knock the fist out of the way. He slid into a right punch, once again burying his fist in Sasuke's stomach. Unlike before however, Naruto grabbed Sasuke's descending head, as the Uchiha bent over in pain, and brought it own to meet his rising knee. Sasuke's head snapped back. The Last Uchiha stumbled backwards and out of the dust cloud. He fell to one knee as his eyes began burning.

"Go Naruto-Kun!" Sakura's voice snapped Naruto out of his angry, focused instincts. He looked over at the gathered crowd, and sure enough, Sakura-Chan and Hinata-Chan were cheering for him. He let himself toss a grin in their direction before Sasuke's movements drew him back to the fight.

Sasuke staggered to his feet. Despite he had just been hit several times, he felt like he could go another ten rounds. The burning in his eyes had decreased to a mild irritation. Oddly enough, the world seemed to be moving slower. Sasuke flexed his hands. He was an Uchiha! He would win this.

Naruto surged towards his opponent. As he got closer, he realized that Sasuke's eyes had changed. Sasuke's iris had changed to a bright red color, and a single black tomoe rotated the pupil slowly. And when Naruto swung, Sasuke dodged.

Both of the fighters leapt back from each other briefly before charging each other. A quick exchange of fists and kicks occurred before they broke apart again. Naruto's dark blue eyes met Sasuke's bright red ones. Naruto smirked. Then he blurred.

Sasuke was unprepared as Naruto seemed to appear in front of him, his right hand drawn back. A split second later, Naruto's palm slammed into the Uchiha's chest, catapulting him back two dozen feet. Sasuke rolled to his feet. As he prepared to take a step forward, the stunned silence brought him up short. His eyes were drawn to the line four feet in front of him. "I-I lost?" Sasuke thought stunned. As he watched Naruto be declared the winner of the match by a stunned Iruka, hate began to grow and fester in Sasuke's soul towards Naruto. "I'll take you down, clan-less, stupid, talentless loser!" Sasuke vowed to himself, glaring hatefully at the bright eyed blonde.

Sakura felt as if a unknown burden lift from her shoulders as Naruto walked towards her and Hinata. She understood now. "Well, Ino-pig, I made my choice. And I don't regret it for a second. My Naruto-Kun didn't need to try to demoralize his opponent to win." She thought, satisfied with her choice.

Hinata felt relief as Naruto walked towards them. While she had never doubted that Naruto would win, Sasuke awakening the Sharingan, the fabled Copy Wheel Eye, had given her great concern. But Naruto had easily won, and she felt relief. The small vicious portion of her was glad that the Uchiha had lost badly. Perhaps now he would leave Naruto-Kun alone...

The rest of the matches seemed dull in comparison to the first exciting match; much to the disappointment of the gathered students. It is worthy for note, however, that both Hinata and Sakura were able to easily force a submit from their opponents. The other potentially interesting matches of note were the separate matches of Kiba Inuzuka and Shino Aburame. Kiba had simply beat down his opponent in an all-out slug-fest, while Shino had used his clan's affinity for bugs to simply drain his opponent of chakra until they submitted. The rest of the mostly unremarkable matches ended quickly. Soon it was time to head back inside the classroom for the final test.

After the students filed back into the classroom, Iruka explained the next section in more detail. He and Mizuki would be splitting the students into two separate groups. Each student would be called by one of the two teachers into a examination room to be tested alone. Mizuki would be starting at the bottom of the list while Iruka would be starting at the top. As time went on, Hinata and Sakura made a terrible discovery: If their math was right, then Naruto would be examined by Mizuki-Sensei. Both Sakura and Hinata knew that Mizuki-Sensei wouldn't grade Naruto fairly. That said, he couldn't just fail Naruto because he didn't like him right?

A sudden distressing thought blazed into Hinata's head and she turned to Sakura with barely disguised alarm. "Sakura-Chan!" Hinata hissed quietly, "What were the three jutsus that we are being tested on?"

Sakura turned to Hinata with a confused look, before whispering, "The Body Replacement Jutsu, The Transformation Jutsu, and the Clo...oh damn!" Sakura paled as she realized what the issue was. Naruto was simply incapable of performing the Clone Jutsu. No matter how much or how little he poured into the technique, the clones looked sickly and weak at best. At the worst, his clones simply fell over and "died" right then and there. Sakura turned to warn Naruto of the extremely important impending issue, when Mizuki's voice startled her.

"Uzumaki, Naruto." Mizuki silently congradulated himself on not letting his hate for the demon fox bleed into his voice when he called it's human name. As the demon happily walked into the exam room, Mizuki barely hid the glee on his face when the thought of its depressed face when it failed.

Hinata and Sakura were almost panicking when Naruto jogged into the exam room before they could warn him. They both sent prayers up in hopes that Naruto would become a genin today. They were so intent on Naruto's situation that they had to have their names called twice by Iruka. As they stood in line to go next, they couldn't help but worry: What was happening in Mizuki's examination room?
Naruto grinned to himself as he canceled the transformation jutsu. He had always wondered why people always had issues with that technique. All you had to do was charge your chakra and concentrate on who you wanted to become...

Naruto's happy thoughts were abruptly shattered by Mizuki-Sensei's next words. "Now perform the Bunshin no Jutsu. " Naruto carefully performed each hands sign, hoping against hope that the clone technique would work this time. As he channeled his chakra to complete the technique, he squeezed his eyes shut, not wanting to see how badly he had screwed up again.

After a minute, he carefully peeked his left eye open. What he saw filled him with despair. He was surrounded by ten corpses of his clones. Despite the fact that the clone jutsu only created illusionary copies, he had somehow created dead illusionary copies of himself. Naruto slowly hung his head and started walking to the door. Mizuki's compassionate voice stopped him.

"I'm sorry Naruto. I know how much you wanted to pass. I know how much graduating means to you. But I think I can still help you!" Mizuki's tone was nothing but pure sincerity. "There's a second secret test to become genin. I can tell you about that if you still want to graduate with your friends!"

Hope can be a powerful drug, dulling common sense and caution.
Sakura and Hinata had finished their tests quickly. While they had not gotten a perfect score, they had easily passed the final exam to become genin. However, as more and more time passed they grew ever more worried as they watched the closed door Naruto had disappeared into to take his test. Suddenly the door opened.

Mizuki stepped out, his expression properly schooled in an expression of sadness. He walked to the teachers desk and announced, being careful to keep the utter satisfaction out of his tone, "I regret to inform you all that Naruto Uzumaki had failed the Ninjutsu portion of the test. He utterly failed the test. He has gone home in shame."

The mocking laughter of the class warmed Mizuki's heart. He was so distracted by maintaining his false expression of sadness, while simultaneously enjoying the class' laughter at Naruto's failure, that he failed to notice the veins surrounding Hinata's eyes bulge out as she activated her Byakugan in anger. Nor did he notice Sakura shaking with barely suppressed rage.

Hinata trembled with barely suppressed emotion. There was several strong emotions warring within her, so she couldn't pinpoint what emotion she was feeling the strongest about. As anger was slowly winning, her eyes suddenly caught sight of a note within Mizuki's pocket. All anger left her. The note was simply addressed "To Sakura-Chan and Hinata-Chan" in Naruto's messy scrawl. Hinata elbowed Sakura and leaned close to whisper in her ear.

Hinata's whisper broke though Sakura's mental angry rants. "Sakura-Chan. There's a note to us from Naruto-Kun in Mizuki-Menba's pocket." Sakura stopped shaking. She glanced at Hinata. All it took was one glance for them to form the basics of a plan. The plan was simple. Follow Mizuki-Dobe and take Naruto's letter. It was rightfully their's after all...
Mizuki chucked to himself as he made his way to the forest. His plan was brilliant! He had directed the demon to steal the Scroll of Seals from the Hokage's office. He hadn't expected the little fox to actually succeed, but as the alarms wailed in the village, it was apparent to that the demon had succeed somehow. Mizuki allowed himself a malicious laugh. Now it was time to find the demon fox and...relive it of its burden...
Naruto breathed out a huff of exhaustion. It was tough learning new techniques. He grinned happily to himself. He had done it. He had learned the Shadow Clone Technique. There had been some kind of warning on the technique, but he was feeling fine. Now to wait for a teacher so he could graduate and be on a team with Sakura-Chan and Hinata-Chan.
Iruka hurried towards the forest. He had to find Naruto before the ANBU found him. He didn't understand why Naruto would do such a thing as steal the Scroll of Sealing. What was Naruto thinking?

He pushed more chakra into his legs and quickly became a blur to the untrained eye. After a few moments of sprinting and jumping, he reached the forest. As he looked over the vast extent of the forest laid out before him, he felt his heart sink. How could he find Naruto in all of this mess?

Iruka heaved out a heavy sigh before straightening. "Well, it looks like I'll just have to search the entire thing then!" Iruka thought with a determined nod. "I can't let one of my students down!" The thought echoed in his mind as he pushed even more chakra into his legs to increase his speed.
Naruto was startled from his studying of the next technique by Iruka's angered shout. "Naruto! There you are." Inruka landed in the small clearing Naruto had taken refuge in. As Iruka opened his mouth to explain to Naruto how badly had had messed up, Naruto excitedly informed Iruka that he had passed the secondary test.

"I did it Iruka-Sensi! I passed the test!" Naruto exclaimed with obvious pride. "I learned the technique just like the secret secondary genin test required." Naruto grinned, proud that he could now focus on his next goal: Getting on the same team as Hinata-Chan and Sakura-Chan.

"Wha-what?" Iruka stammered, not understanding what Naruto meant, "What are you talking about? What test?"

Naruto tilted his head to the side in complete confusion. "You know Iruka-Sensi. The secret genin test that requires you to steal the big scroll from the Hokage's office and learn a technique before you are caught."

Iruka was stunned and more than slightly confused. Why did Naruto think this was some kind of test? He then went cold as he heard Mizuki's voice. "Very good Naruto. Now just pass over the Scroll of Sealing so you can get your headband."

Suddenly, like the final piece to a puzzle, it all fell into place for Iruka. Mizuki was one of the people that hated Naruto. And he must have failed Naruto on purpose to get him desperate enough to steal the scroll. Seeing Naruto bend down to grab the scroll, Iruka shouted desperately to Naruto, "Naruto! Don't give the scroll to Mizuki. He just wants the scroll. There isn't a secret Genin test!"

Naruto stopped, confused. He just didn't understand. Why would Mizuki-Sensei give him a fake test? Mizkui's next words to Iruka shocked him down to his very core.

"Why should he believe you Iruka? After all, you hate him too. I mean, he is what killed your parents after all." He then turned to look at the shocked blonde. "Don't you want to know why everyone hates you?"

Iruka eyes widened as he heard Mizuki's words, he quickly begged Mizuki, "No! Don't tell him. It's forbidden by the Hokage." Mizuki's mocking laughter was his answer to Iruka's plea.

"Guess what?" Mizuki began, satisfaction practically oozing off each word, "The Kyubi that attacked Konoha twelve years ago didn't die. Instead, it was sealed. And you know what it was sealed into?" He paused, savoring the moment. "The shape of a baby. You are the Kyubi. You're the murderous demon fox."

Naruto froze, his mind repeating Mizuki's words over and over. He really was a demon then? He killed all those people didn't he?

Upon seeing how effective his words were, Mizuki hefted a massive shuriken for a moment before throwing it towards the stunned Naruto. Iruka, spotting the danger, tackled his sunny-haired student out of the lethal projectile's path. The impact knocked Naruto out of his shocked stupor.

"I-I-I'm the K-K-Kyubi?" Naruto's small, endlessly sad voice questioned. Iruka's heart broke. He didn't hear any of the malicious terrible power from Naruto. All he heard was a small boy who now thought he knew why he was hated. And it was heart breaking. He watched as Naruto slowly stood up.

Naruto's heart was heavy, so heavy. He was a monster. A demon. He was a killer. As Mizuki readied another giant shuriken, he didn't move. It was better this way. Sakura-Chan and Hinata-Chan didn't deserve to be associated with a demon. Mizuki hurled the shuriken.

The sound of the shuriken piecing flesh sounded out in the clearing. Naruto's eyes flew open. Why didn't it hurt? And what he saw changed how he viewed life forever. Iruka stood facing him with his arms outstretched. Naruto saw a pained grimace cross Iruka's face, before it smoothed out into a smile. Iruka let a gentle smile enter his face as he looked down at his student. "Naruto," Iruka began, needing to assure his terribly confused and hurt student, "You aren't the Kyubi. You're a Jinchuriki. Not the Kyubi. Just its jailor." He paused for a moment, letting the truth sink into Naruto's desperate ears. "Now go! Mizuki is a traitor to the village and can't get the Scroll of Sealing." Iruka, seeing Naruto's hesitation, urged him again, "Go! I'll be fine!" Naruto sprinted off.

"I'm surprised." Mizuki commented, "I would have thought that you hated the demon too."

"I do." Iruka replied, as he carefully pulled the massive shuriken out of his back with a pained grunt. "But Naruto isn't the demon fox." Iruka let a proud smile cross his face as he continued, "Naruto is a hero. And I look forward to seeing him grow into the powerful ninja that I know he can be!"

Mizuki scowled. This wasn't going to plan! "Well then, " He snarled, "I guess I'll just have to kill you and track down the demon myself." He launched himself at the severely hurt Academy teacher as he snarled, "If you like the demon so much, you can die for it!"

Iruka barely dodged Mizuki's charge. But the bloodloss slowed him too much to respond to Mizuki's follow-up kick. The kick threw Iruka back against a tree fifteen feet away with a meaty thud. Iruka wasn't able to hold in his cry of pain as his lacerated back slammed into the unforgiving tree trunk. He looked up with blurred vision to see Mizuki ready another giant shuriken. Iruka closed his eyes. "I'm sorry Tsubaki-Chan. Mizuki isn't the man either of us thought he was. I wish I could go back and try harder to win your hand. May you find peace, Tsubaki-Chan."

The sound of metal on metal brought him out of his thoughts. There was no pain. Iruka's eyes shot open to behold the most amazing sight. Naruto stood in front of him. The Uzumaki's arm was outstretched, clutching a kunai, having just deflected the shuriken away from his Sensei. Dark blue eyes glared at Mizuki.

"You know, " Naruto's voice was a dark, deadly calm, "I should thank you, Mizuki." He paused, letting his words sink in, before continuing, "Without you, I would be still wondering why they all hated me. Know I know." His eyes and tone hardened. "But you tried to kill one of my friends. You tried to kill someone precious to me!" The crushing presence of Naruto's killing intent crashed down on Mizuki. "And I won't allow that."

Mizuki managed to get out a forced laugh, "And what are you going to do exactly? I'm a Chunin! And you're nothing but a failure!" Naruto's chuckle turned his veins to ice.

"You're right. But that's just one me. What if there was two? Five? Ten? One-hundred?" Naruto brought his hands up into a cross symbol. "Taju Kage Bunshin no Jutsu." Naruto's voice rang out like a death knell.

For a single moment, nothing changed. Then, everything changed. The trees and ground surrounding the clearing was covered in white smoke. When the smoke faded a moment later, it was awe-inspiring. Clones of Naruto covered every inch of the surrounding area, and they all wore the same deadly calm expression. Naruto simply pointed at Mizuki. The army charged.

Mizuki blocked the first attack out of pure reflex, despite knowing that the clone technique was nothing more than an illusion. Shock flooded his body when he felt the impact of the clone's fist on his arm. These weren't illusions! They were solid clones! Mizuki steeled himself. Even if there was more of him, it didn't change the fact that the demon was talentless. Mizuki counter attacked, his fist slamming into the clone's stomach. After receiving the hit, it burst into smoke. Mizuki felt confidence build in him. All it took was one blow to take the clone out! He could do this.

Iruka watched the battle with undisguised amazement. He knew that Naruto was good, but he didn't think Naruto was capable of this. He wondered how much the chakra Naruto had, considering high-ranking Jonin had trouble making more than ten shadow clones. His attention was drawn to, what he assumed was, the original Naruto. Naruto was simply watching Mizuki as he fought his clones. Naruto suddenly snapped out a command. "Ten!"

Mizuki swung a fist at another of the blasted clones when it started glowing ominously. His eyes widened as the clone exploded in a blast of fire and smoke. The explosion tore apart the remaining clones, and devastated the area, turning it into a crater of ash and smoke.

Mizuki panted, that had been a close call. Had it not been for his split-second decision to swap places with a log, he would have been caught in that explosion and been severely injured, if not killed outright. A sudden blow knocked him back into the original clearing.

As Mizuki tumbled to his feet, he wildly looked around for his attacker. The demon emerged from the forest, a dark smirk on it's face. "You fell right for my trap. You never wondered why there was a log so conveniently close did you?" Naruto questioned, his dark amusement slowly fading. Killing intent almost crushed Mizuki into the ground. Naruto's eyes darkened.

"You're not going to hurt anyone ever again!" Naruto's voice slowly grew deeper as he starting stalking in Mizuki's direction. "If I must become a demon; If I must become a monster; If I must become a killer, I gladly accept that price to protect all of my precious people!" Naruto blurred.

Mizuki snapped a kick towards Naruto. Naruto slid to the side of the kick, and his right palm smashed into the leg's knee, snapping it with a crack! Naruto's left fist then slammed into Mizuki's ribs, cracking them with a solid blow. Mizuki fell to his good knee.

Naruto stepped behind Mizuki, his blood thundering in his ears. Even though the adrenaline was making clear thoughts difficult, he knew that Mizuki wouldn't stop until he hurt Iruka-Sensei. And what if he decided to hurt Sakura-Chan or Hinata-Chan? "Never." Naruto vowed. "Not while I still breathe!" Naruto gripped Mizuki's head. And with a savage jerk, twisted.

The crack of Mizuki's neck snapping echoed though the forest like a gunshot. The thud of Mizuki's lifeless body hitting the ground seemed to go on forever.

Iruka stared at the clearing ahead of him. Had that just happened? Had Naruto, innocent, naive Naruto just killed his former teacher? Iruka blinked several times. The scene in front of him never changed. So it was true then. One of his best students had just taken their first kill. Iruka hesitantly called out to his student. "N-Naruto?"

Naruto snapped his head to look over in Iruka's direction with a fluid grace that was strongly reminiscent some great predator. Iruka was taken aback by the dark expression on Naruto's face. Iruka realized where he had seen such expressions before. He had seen them on elite Jonin who enjoyed killing a little too much. Iruka prayed with all his heart that Naruto hadn't succumbed to that darker part of himself. Iruka swallowed past the lump in his throat.

"Naruto," Iruka began gently, not wanting to surprise the boy, "It's all right. Mizuki isn't going to hurt anyone anymore. You don't have to fight anymore." Seeing Naruto's normal sky-blue eye color start to bleed back into Naruto's eyes, Iruka continued, "It's all right. I'm fine. I'm not going to die. You're fine. You don't need to fight." Iruka heaved a heavy sigh as he saw Naruto blink and then classic Naruto was back.

Now that the excitement had passed, Iruka wondered how he could help his student. Naruto had failed the Genin test. How could Naruto be with his friends now? Suddenly, with a flash of insight, Iruka knew what to do.

"Naruto come over here." Iruka requested. Naruto quickly ran over to Iruka, his eyes checking over Iruka to make sure that he was fine. Iruka's voice sharpened, his tone becoming professional as he continued, "As the de-facto leader of this mission to stop a traitor of the village of Konoha, I bestow upon Naruto Uzumaki the title of Genin as a battle-field promotion!"

"R-Really?" Naruto shyly asked, feeling slightly hollow from the emotional roller-coaster that he had just been on.

"Yes." Iruka made no effort to hide the proud smile on his face as he congratulated Naruto. "I always knew you would become Genin. I'm proud of you. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future."

Iruka and Naruto's happy moment was abruptly interrupted by the Hokage's words. "Indeed. I am quite proud of you Naruto." Hiruzen paused, letting his words sink in before continuing, "But am curious of how one of my ninja ended up dead." His voice, although spoken in a questioning tone, did not allow for any refusals.

"Well," Iruka began carefully, making sure to not include Naruto's dark words or his dark demeanor, "It all started when I reached the clearing in the forest..."
When Iruka finished his recounting, he glanced over at Naruto. Naruto seemed to be dealing with his first kill, but Iruka knew that it could easily be just a mask, hiding the true feelings frothing inside. His attention was drawn back to the Hokage as he spoke.

"Well, now I understand. It is tragic that a fine ninja such as Mizuki has lost his way." Hiruzen sighed, looking for a moment as old as his actual age, then the Hokage straightened and continued. "But he failed in his mission to harm our village. And for that, young Naruto, you have my thanks."

Naruto nodded, before speaking clearly, his voice steady and calm, "Thank-you Hokage-Dono." Hiruzen seemed to be somehow disappointed by Naruto's professional answer.

"Genin Uzumaki, I have new orders for you." The Hokage spoke, "You are to ensure Iruka-San makes it to the hospital to be checked out. You will then report tomorrow to the Shinobi Academy classroom for team assignment."

Naruto bowed, acknowledging his orders. It helped that he was going to do those things anyway. He leaned down to help Iruka stand, and then the two slowly walked off towards Konoha. As the Hokage watched them go with a saddened expression, one of the ANBU asked his leader, "What is wrong?"

Hiruzen sighed sadly before replying, "It's nothing important. Just the idle wishes of an old man." The Hokage then turned away from the view. "But now we must get back to the tower. Have Kakashi Hatake and Kurenai Yuhi come to my office. There has been some changes in team placement."
Kurenai Yuhi walked with some confusion into the Hokage's tower. As she walked up the stairs towards the Hokage's floor, she wondered what had happened to prompt a change in team placement. She had been given Kiba Inuzuka, the heir to the Inuzuka clan, Hinata Hyuga, daughter of the Hyuga clan's leader, and Shino Aburame, the future successor to the Aburame clan. As she entered the Hokage's office, she spied Kakashi Hatake in the room, reading his thrice-damned orange smut book. After the door closed, the Hokage began to speak.

"Ah, Kurenai, I'm glad you arrived. We have much to discuss." He paused for a moment before continuing, "This evening a traitor conspired to steal the Scroll of Sealing. He would have succeeded if it were not for the brave actions of one genin. Naruto Uzumaki." The pair of Jonin were sent into a shocked silence. "Unfortunately the young Uzumaki had to take the life of the traitor in self defense. With the updated knowledge of Naruto's fighting skills, I am changing your two teams around."

He faced Kakashi, the grey haired man putting his book away as the Hokage turned to him. "Kakashi, I am removing Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno from Team Seven. You will be gaining Kiba Inuzuka and Shino Aburame in their place." Kakashi opened his mouth to protest, but the Hokage had already turned to Kurenai. "Kurenai, you will be losing Kiba Inuzuka and Shino Aburame. You will be gaining Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno in their place."

The Hokage faced both of the flabbergasted ninja and steepled his fingers before explaining the reasoning behind his decision. "With Iruka's reevaluation of Naruto Uzumaki's skills, it has become apparent to me that his skills are much higher than originally reported. And because of this, I have the opportunity to make two multi-purpose squads. Team Seven can both be a front-line squad and a tracking squad. Team Eight can also now serve both roles. In addition, with all of Team Seven being clan heirs, they will also be a political team. I have decided to test out a new idea. Team Seven and Team Eight will be training together at least once a week. In addition, they will be each other's back-up team." He then gestured to the Jonin in front of him. "Thoughts? You may speak freely."

It only took a few seconds for Kakashi to burst out, "Why my team? You know how I wanted Naruto."

"It's simple." the Hokage began, "You have the Sharingan. You are the only one able to teach Sasuke Uchiha. In addition, you have gone on many political missions."

"But I thought that a growing rivalry between Sasuke and Naruto would benefit them both!" Kakashi argued.

"They can still have their rivalry. Your teams are going to be training together after all." Sarutobi pointed out. Kakashi leaned back, mollified.

The Hokage turned to Kurenai. "With Naruto's combat prowess, Hinata's Byakungan, and Sakura's intelligence, they will be a great asset to the village, able to perform in many different roles. " Kurenai nodded, understanding the logic behind the Hokage's decision. But she didn't understand why they needed to interact with Team Seven so often. Her eyes widened as a sudden thought occurred to her.

Kurenai spoke a moment later, her voice a mix of confusion and slight accusation. "Why are you really having our teams work together?"

The Hokage sighed, before smiling slightly. "Kurenai, you were always one to pick up on the subtle details." His tone then hardened, "What I'm about to tell you is an S-Class secret, breaking it is punishable by death. " He let his words linger in the air before continuing. "Naruto Uzumaki is the Jinchuriki of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. And while he has shown no signs of giving into the demon's influence, we cannot afford for it to rampage across the land again. The Sharingan has been known to be able to control the Biju to a certain extent, so that is one of the reasons why your teams are training together. The second reason is both much simpler and more...harsh." The aged Hokage's face could have been cut from stone. "Out of everyone on your new team, none of them will gain any high-ranking clan status or they aren't part of a major clan at all. But their skills are a great asset to the village, so they will be able to help Team Seven achieve greatness and prestige for the village."

Kurenai went cold at the Hokage's words. Her eyes narrowed slightly as she realized the truth about her Genin team; as far as the village was concerned, they existed to help other ninja's become great. The village wouldn't help them become great themselves. Kurenai silently vowed, in that instant, that she would help her team become great, even if she was the only one who would help them!

Kurenai cast a subtle glance at her fellow Jonin. Hatake seemed to be accepting of the fact that three Genin were going to be nothing more than a spring board for his team's greatness. She turned back the Hokage, her eyes searching his for any regrets for the decision he just made. She couldn't find even one.

The Hokage waited a few more minutes to see if there would be any more questions. When there wasn't, he dismissed the two Jonin.

As the door closed behind the Jonin, Hiruzen let out a deep sigh, his heart heavy. He hated the fact that he was putting Naruto into a squad that wouldn't succeed much, but it was for the best. The Hokage knew that any ninja couldn't be more important than the village, but Hiruzen also knew that when he died, he would have much to answer for what he had done from Naruto's parents. He honestly dreaded the day that he died, for he knew the answers that he could give about his decisions concerning Naruto wouldn't matter to them. For they were family first, village second. Hiruzen heaved another sigh. He doubted that Naruto would ever forgive him if Naruto ever learned of all the secrets that Hiruzen was keeping from him. The Hokage reached for another piece of paperwork to sign.
Sakura hurried though her morning routine, needing to go meet Naruto as soon as possible! His note, the one that they had acquired from Mizuki-Teme's pocket, had told them about a secret secondary Genin test. Sakura had, after not being about to find Naruto, searched the library for books about secondary tests for Genin. The fact that she didn't find even one reference made her worry all the more. She quickly ate her breakfast, grabbed the breakfast and lunch prepared by her mother, and sprinted off in the direction of Naruto's apartment.
Hinata hurried though her morning routine; she had hardly gotten any sleep last night after she and Sakura-Chan had parted ways. Naruto's note had concerned her greatly, so great in fact, that she had approached her father in order to ask him if he knew any information about the secret Genin test. His words had been condescending at best, and cold and hurtful at the worst. She grabbed a quick breakfast from one of the servants before heading to Naruto's home.
Naruto suddenly awoke with a cry of terror. He panted as he struggled to keep the memories at bay. After he had dropped on Iruka-Sensei, he had slowly walked back to his apartment. When he had reached it, he had practically collapsed onto his bed, the day's events finally setting in. He had slowly realized that while he didn't like killing, he didn't regret killing Mizuki. Mizuki had tried to kill Iruka, and somehow he knew that Mizuki would threaten some of his other precious people someday. Naruto couldn't allow that.

When he had finally fallen into a restless sleep, he was plagued with nightmares of all of the awful times he had been beaten. Now that he knew why he was hated, all of the villager's taunts made so much more terrible sense. Naruto closed his eyes, slowly pushing the memories back into the dark place in his mind, before slamming the vault shut on the memories. It seemed like just as he was opening his eyes, several loud poundings on his front door echoed though his small apartment. Naruto tilted his head to the side, and listened. His eyes widened happily as he recognized the voices outside. It was Sakura-Chan and Hinata-Chan!

Sakura raised her hand to "knock" on Naruto's door again when it suddenly opened. Naruto stood there safe. Sakura felt instant relief course though her, as she took in Naruto's hurt-free form. Beside her, Hinata did the same. A few moments later, her brain stuttered to a stop for a moment as she registered a very important detail. Naruto wasn't wearing a shirt. Naruto's happy grin combined with his shirtless chest brought a heavy flush to her face, as Sakura quickly turned her head away.

"Naruto-Baka! We were worried about you! Where were you yesterday?" She demanded, being careful to not let Naruto see her face. It wouldn't do for Naruto to read something into her flushed face that she didn't know about. They were only best friends after all.

Hinata was struck dumb. Naruto was fine! And perhaps more importantly, he was shirtless. As she raked his half-clothed form with her eyes, her face grew more and more heated. Soon she was afraid she might faint from all of the blood rushing to her face. But even still, she couldn't look away.

Naruto was puzzled. Why were Sakura-Chan's and Hinata-Chan's faces red? Had they run all the way to his apartment? If so, they needed a drink. "Sakura-Chan! Hinata-Chan! Come in! I'll get you guys a drink of water! That'll help you regain your breath from all of that running." He opened the front door wider before heading to his kitchen.

When he came out with two glasses of cold water, he was surprised to see Sakura-Chan's and Hinata-Chan's faces were still red. They really needed to be careful on how hard they pushed themselves. As he set the glasses of water down in front of them, he felt a cool breeze waft though his apartment. A few goosebumps appearing on his chest prompted him to look down. He wasn't wearing a shirt. "I'll be right back." Naruto called as he headed towards his bedroom, inadvertently giving both girls a whole new view to...admire. Sakura promptly chugged the ice-cold water.

When Naruto came back out of his room a few moments later, he was wearing a shirt; much to the girls' simultaneous relief and disappointment. As he sat down, Sakura burst out with the question she had been nearly bursting to ask. "Where were you yesterday? Does the secret Genin test really exist?" She practically demanded.

"Well," Naruto began the story, leaving nothing out. There was no secrets between friends after all. "It all started when I entered the exam room at the Academy..."

Sakura stared at Naruto; anger, pity, and sadness warring within her. Anger at Mizuki for what he did to her Naruto-Kun. Pity for Naruto having to go though such an ordeal, and sadness at the fact that Naruto had to take a life. But the anger was quickly winning as she continued to think about it. How dare Mizuki, or anyone for that matter, try to hurt Naruto? If he wasn't already dead, she would beat him down herself. Naruto's status at a Jinchuriki was a shock at first, but looking back, it was the final piece she needed to figure out why everyone seemed to hate Naruto. She scowled. As if anyone could believe that Naruto was some kind of demon in human form. He was Naruto-Kun, her best friend.

Hinata was frozen. Several emotions frothed within her. Chiefly among them was sadness and anger. Sadness at all of the horrible things Naruto-Kun had to go though, and anger at those who had did them to her Naruto-Kun. Slowly, her sadness gave way to determination. No one would harm Naruto like that ever again. Ever. She didn't care that Naruto was the Demon Fox's Jinchuriki. He was Naruto-Kun.

Naruto sighed happily. They didn't hate him because of his status as a jinchuriki, and for that he was unfathomably grateful . He idly glanced up at his clock, doing a double-take as he realized that time. "Oh crap!" Naruto exclaimed, startling the girls from their ruminations. "We have to go now. Otherwise, we're gunna be late for team placements." The new Genins quickly sprinted towards the Academy, dodging the human traffic as they rushed to their destination.
Iruka limped into the classroom. He felt guilty that he hadn't been there to help Naruto though his first kill, but he had been assured that someone had talked to him. It eased the guilty somewhat. He felt his face break into a proud grin as he realized that all of his students had graduated. With this thought, Iruka started roll call. Once it had finished, he started calling out team placements.

"...And for Team Seven, Sasuke Uchiha, Kiba Inuzuka, and Shino Aburame. Your Sensei will be Kakashi Hatake. For Team Eight, Hinata Hyuga, Sakura Haruno, and Naruto Uzumaki. Your Sensei will be Kurenai Yuhi. For Team Nine..." Iruka's voice was quickly tuned out as Naruto, Sakura, and Hinata quietly celebrated. Naruto grinned happily as he realized that he had completed another stage of his goal!

Ino Yamanaka turned in her seat to taunt Sakura about her team placement of weaklings when she froze with a slight flush to her face. Naruto's smile seemed to light up the room. And if she was being honest with herself, the rest of him wasn't that bad to look at either. Granted, he wasn't Sasuke-Kun, but he wasn't terrible to look at none the less. She turned back around just in time to miss Sakura's and Hinata's eyes narrow at her blush. Ironically, neither of the girls sitting next to Naruto realized that the other was glaring just as hard at Ino as they themselves' were...

Soon, the team announcements were over, and the Jonin started to file in to pick up their teams. After a few teams had left, a pretty black haired woman with red irises walked in. She scanned the room for a moment before calling out, "Team Eight. Meet me in Training Ground Five in fifteen minutes." She then quickly left the room, heading to the training ground herself.

Naruto did a quick calculation in his mind. He knew he could easily make it to Training Ground Five in ten minutes, but he was unsure if Sakura or Hinata could move that fast. So he suggested a way for the team to make it on time. "Okay! Sakura-Chan, hop on my back. Hinata-Chan. I'll pick you up and carry you. I can make it to Training Ground Five in about ten minutes this way."

Sakura opened her mouth to protest when a sudden thought stopped her short. What if Hinata-Chan took Naruto up on his offer? Then she would be left in the dust and Hinata-Chan would be all alone with Naruto-Kun...

Hinata felt faint at the thought of being carried in Naruto-Kun's arms. She clenched her fists and determined to not pass out. For if she did, Sakura-Chan would be all alone with Naruto-Kun...

"I'll do it!" Sakura and Hinata said at once, glaring at each other for the briefest of seconds. Naruto, who had missed the exchange of glares, grinned happily. He loved it when one of his plans helped Sakura-Chan or Hinata-Chan.
Kurenai waited at the edge of Training Ground Five. It had only been eight minutes since she had left the Academy building. She was eager to see how fast her students were. Suddenly, she was aware of someone heading in her direction at relatively high speeds. A moment later, all of her students burst into the Training Ground. Or rather, Naruto burst onto the training ground and Sakura and Hinata were along for the ride. Kurenai shrugged to herself as she walked over. Well, at least she knew Naruto was fast now...

"Welcome." Kurenai greeted her students warmly, "My name is Kurenai Yuhi and I will be your Jonin sensei." Her warm smile put her students at ease as they all disengaged from each other. "Why don't we all share a bit about ourselves?" She asked after a moment of silence.

"Could you go first Kurenai-Sensei? So we know how it's done." Sakura asked, unsure of what information Kurenai wanted.

"I will gladly do that." Kurenai smiled, happy that her students weren't too afraid to ask her questions. "My name is Kurenai Yohi. My likes dumplings, genjutsu, and helping others. My dislikes are those who hurt others for fun, perverts, and those who hurt innocent people. My dream is for my team to succeed in becoming great ninjas and I also want to start a family someday."

She then indicated Sakura should go next. Sakura took a deep breath before starting," My name is Sakura Haruno. My likes are my family, Naruto-Kun, Hinata-Chan, and books." Sakura clenched her fists as she continued," My dislikes are stupid people who hate others, people who hurt my friends, and stupid people who can't see what's in front of them." Sakura looked thoughtful as she spoke about her dreams for the future, "My dream is to become a powerful kunoichi and someday start a family." Sakura threw a confused glance at Naruto as she finished her introduction. She was saved from her confused thoughts when Kurenai indicated that Hinata was next.

"My Name is Hinata Hygua," Hinata began gracefully, drawing on her lessons at her clan home in regards to speaking with others, "My likes are my clan, Naruto-Kun, my Byakungan, and Sakura-Chan." Her eyes narrowed as she relayed her dislikes. "My dislikes are those who hurt or belittle those I care about." A faint blush coated her cheeks as she talked about her dream. "My dream is to be a successful kunoichi and one day start a family." She too sent a glance over at the oblivious Naruto.

Kurenai covered her amused smile at the girls' glances and turned to Naruto expectantly. "My name is Naruto Uzumaki." Naruto began proudly, "My likes are Sakura-Chan, Hinata-Chan, ramen, and training." His eyes darked as he continued, "My dislikes are people who try to hurt my friends." Naruto's eyes lightened as he explained his dream, "My dream is to become the most powerful ninja ever so I can protect my friends."

Kurenai blinked. She had been expecting Naruto's dream to be a bit more...beneficial to himself. She gave a mental shrug. It didn't matter. Perhaps his dream would change in time. "Now that we have all introduced ourselves, " She began, drawing the attention of her team, "There is only one more thing we have to take care of. Normally a Jonin tests his or her prospective team to see if they are able to work together, but I can already see that you three already have good teamwork." She congratulated. "So let me formally congratulate you on joining Team Eight."
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