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Chapter 1: The Start of Something Special.
Kakashi Hatake was a distinguished Jonin of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, Konohagakure. He was something of a hero to some, a villain to others, and his name was notorious across the world. A student of the Fourth Hokage, he had graduated from the Academy at the age of five, became a Chunin not a year later, and became a Jonin at the mere age of thirteen. A survivor of the Third Shinobi World War, he had lived through countless threats to his life and ended countless threats to his village, he took part in innumerable attacks on enemy forces, killed more than his fair share, and lost many of those closest to him. He was made of stern stuff, a man who would give his all to complete any task given to him, someone who would kill and bribe and cheat and steal and lie to fulfil his duties to his village and would obey almost any order, no matter how insane or suicidal it seemed to be, and always come out fighting.
And even he was having his doubts about these three.
Here they were, sat on the roof of the Academy on a bright, beautiful afternoon, three newly graduated Genin and their Jonin sensei. It was a joyous day for most Jonin, they either got to pick on a group of 'Genin' who weren't ready for that title, and then send them off back to the Academy with their heads bowed and their arrogance cowed, of they got themselves a team to train and care for, and eventually come to love and cherish as if they were their own children.
Kakashi, on the other hand…
Resisting the very tempting urge to sigh Kakashi gave his entire team a bored once over glance, then, resting his right hand on the side of his head, half covering his one uncovered eye with his fingers, he focused his gaze onto the boy on the far left, his hand hiding his intense scrutiny somewhat.
Sasuke Uchiha was a pale skinned boy who was slightly taller than average, with black hair that spiked up at the back and had longs bangs at the front that framed his face, so long they hung down to his chin. He had onyx coloured eyes and a scowl on his face, and yes Kakashi was listing 'scowl on his face' alongside permanent features. In fairness it hadn't shifted in the slightest since he had arrived, and while he might've arrived three hours late that scowl didn't look it was going to go anywhere ever.
Sasuke wore a pair of three quarter length, dark grey trousers and a long sleeved, high collared, black shirt with the Uchiha clan crest emblazoned across its back. He wore the typical equipment pouches on his thigh and his waist, and the typical blue shinobi sandals specially designed for ease of movement, durability, and, of course, drainage. It was rather difficult to fight when your shoes were full of blood after all.
Sasuke's forehead protector was, surprise surprise, on his forehead. Most kids nowadays seemed to think it was cool to wear it somewhere else, like the arm, or as a belt, he had even seen someone wear it as some sort of leg belt or something. Admittedly Kakashi himself was wearing his as an eye patch, but it was on his forehead as well.
Sasuke was… well he was going to be tricky, and that was putting it lightly.
Four years ago the famed Uchiha clan had been brutally massacred by their favourite son, Itachi Uchiha, Sasuke's older brother. Every single one of them had been slaughtered, the men, the women, even the children, not a single Uchiha survived that night except Sasuke, and of course Itachi.
For this foul, disgusting act of near genocide, on his own kin, Itachi Uchiha, was viewed by the people of Konoha and the Land of Fire as a whole as… a hero.
The Uchiha's attempted coup d'état was revealed to the wider populace after the slaughter took place. Itachi had potentially saved the entire village, the land, hell all the lands and all the hidden villages, from a fourth world war. He had murdered traitors and conspirators, and yet with him alive and in good health the future of the Sharingan as a Konoha bloodline remained secure.
And Sasuke was allowed to live where the rest of the Uchiha died because Itachi asked that he be spared, , because Itachi valued his life above the life of the whole Uchiha clan, because while Itachi was willing to murder all his kinsmen for the sake of his village he wasn't willing to murder his little brother.
Sasuke had not witnessed the massacre. He was knocked unconscious by his brother beforehand and put under ANBU guard at the hospital. Kakashi knew this because he had been one of the guards, and so he also knew of Sasuke's reaction when he had woken and a blood-stained Itachi, accompanied by the Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, had explained to him what had occurred.
At first the boy hadn't believed it, then he started crying, then he attacked Itachi. Kakashi and the ANBU had moved to restrain him, but Itachi stopped them short with a small gesture and made no move to defend himself as the tearful Sasuke continued to punch and kick and bite at his brother.
Itachi had received no injuries killing the entire Uchiha clan, full of unsuspecting but potent shinobi, a true testament to his immense skill not only as an Uchiha but as a ninja. The number of injuries Itachi had taken from Sasuke trumped it, not a difficult achievement to be sure. A bloody nose, a busted lip, a black eye, several bites that went through the skin, and most likely some severe bruising on his stomach before Sasuke had fallen unconscious from a combination of exertion and stress.
Sasuke's ordeal had not ended with his family's death at the hands of his own brother however. Itachi may have been the hero that saved them from the enemy within their own gates, and Sasuke's life might be secure because of that, but Sasuke still faced discrimination and outright hatred from the village that his clan sought to dominate.
He was not entirely blameless for this, though perhaps blame was not the correct word. There were things that Sasuke could've done that may have prevented him from becoming the outcast that he was, whether or not he should've done those things was a question that was far too complex for Kakashi to even bother contemplating.
Sasuke might not be so hated if he had not continued to bear the crest of his murdered clan, unlike his brother who had not worn it once since the massacre. He may have been accepted if he hadn't continued to defend their name, to take pride in his clan, to even agree with their desire to control the village, but he hadn't. Sasuke bore their emblem, Sasuke defended their name, and Sasuke was hated. He was nicknamed 'The Last Uchiha' and that was not meant as a compliment.
He should've been blacklisted from ever becoming a shinobi, but the Third Hokage saw fit to give him a chance, likely with some persuading from Itachi, and even then he was listed as a flight risk, showed genuine hatred towards Konoha as an entity, loathed just about everyone whoever they were and hid anything he felt behind an icy cold mask.
'Not exactly the best person to become a shinobi' Kakashi thought, once again having to resist the urge to sigh.
Despite all of that Sasuke was skilled. He had excellent mark in taijutsu, ninjutsu and genjutsu, he performed well in the written test, and while that was averaged out by his outstandingly bad performance in assertiveness, preferring to instead complete the task alone, and cooperation, in that he didn't, and class attitude, where he was ranked as the worst ever, he was so impeccable in his other skills that he was this year's top rookie, and boy were there a whole lotta people pissed off about that, Sasuke himself didn't seem too thrilled about it, or maybe that was how late Kakashi had been, or maybe it was because they had been sitting here for five or so minutes and nothing had happened.
Rather than speed up or get moving along, Kakashi, if anything, slowed down and moved onto the next member of his simply wonderful team, and yes he was being sarcastic, incredibly sarcastic in fact.
Sat in the centre of the three, with an all too neutral expression on her face, was Sakura Haruno.
She had fair skin, though not as pale as Sasuke's, with long pink hair tied by a red ribbon into a simple ponytail that left her fringe to hang freely over her forehead protector, and green eyes. She wore a short sleeved dark red t-shirt that was long enough to reach down to her mid-thigh, half hiding her shuriken holster attached too bandages wrapped around her right leg, her hip pouch attached to the belt around her waist that vaguely separated her long t-shirt into upper and lower halves, and she wore the standard blue sandals.
'Haruno… huh…' Kakashi really, really had to resist sighing now, in fact it was an almost physical effort to keep himself from doing so. He had been the team leader of that mission, the one that left Kizashi and Mebuki Haruno in enemy hands. It was no fault of his, though that was no consolation even to Kakashi, that they had been taken captive. They had gotten careless, forgotten they were in enemy territory, and been captured.
But that wasn't the worst of it. No the worst of it was when Konoha refused to pay the ransom demanded, and thus the pair of them were killed, their corpses found hanging in a tree several days later. Kakashi knew how events had progressed in enemy hands, he was certain of it. Alone neither Mebuki nor Kizashi would've broken under torture, they were stronger than that, but they loved each other deeply and to spare the other pain and death they spilled secrets, secrets that were valuable to Konoha. As far as the higher ups were concerned that made them traitors, not even the Hokage, who was noted for his mercy and forgiveness, could defend them for their actions.
He wondered if Sakura knew the full details behind her parent's demise, and doubted it. It was more than likely that her relatives, who had taken her in following the events, had glossed over those details. Maybe they hadn't mentioned that they had been kidnapped, or didn't say that Konoha had refused to pay, or maybe they had, Kakashi truly didn't know.
What he did know was that the instructors at the Academy had little but praise for her. She was attentive, dutiful, calm, composed and scored well in all subjects but excelled at those requiring the use of her mind. She was above average in taijutsu, in the top five in fact, had done well in ninjutsu, superb in genjutsu, performed admirably in assertiveness, though the instructors noted that she preferred not to take or be placed in charge, had done okay in cooperation, but often disobeyed orders yet completed the objective more efficiently because of her disobedience. Overall, they concluded, Sakura had a keen tactical mind but her hesitation to take control and give orders hampered and would continue to hampers its use.
Sakura worried Kakashi a little, but on the whole he judged her to be the easiest on the team to manage.
'Especially since the last one is…'
"Are we just gonna fucking sit here?" Naruto asked, resting his chin on his knuckles and half glaring at Kakashi.
'Naruto… Namikaze' this time Kakashi couldn't hold back and did sigh. All his years of keeping a straight face, while being tortured, while fighting, even while a comrade died in his arms, all of that was nothing before this.
The son of the Fourth Hokage, and Kakashi's sensei, Minato Namikaze and his wife Kushina Uzumaki, Naruto Namikaze was widely regarding around the entire village as the hero who contained the dreaded Nine Tailed Fox that had attacked and nearly destroyed this village twelve years ago. At the cost of his own life the Fourth Hokage sealed the Nine Tailed Fox inside of Naruto, while his mother Kushina also perished that night.
Could there be a more perfect hero?
An orphan whose very life was, in a sense, forfeit to protect the village, self-sacrificing before he even understood a sense of self, guarding them all against the horror of the Nine Tails that many held still fresh in their minds. Was there any way he could be more perfect as a hero?
'Well, I suppose he could be a blonde haired, blue eyed hero… Oh wait, he is!' rolling both his eyes, though only one was visible, at the mock surprised tone his thoughts took on, Kakashi then looked Naruto over.
Naruto was a bit short for his age, shorter even than Sakura, with spiky blonde hair and blue eyes, as well as tanned skin. He was strikingly similar to his father in his looks. One thing his father had not possessed though was the set of three marks on either of Naruto's cheeks, scars maybe, that bore a strong resemblance to whiskers. Whether this was an effect of having the Nine Tails sealed inside of him, or whether it was something else entirely, Kakashi didn't know. But lacking any other evidence he was inclined to go with the former.
Naruto wore a bright orange hooded jacket with thick blue lines running down the arms, it was left unzipped revealing the white t-shirt marked by a red spiral he wore beneath, and a pair of orange trousers with blue lines running down the legs, matching his jacket. He had his pouches in all the usual places, his forehead protector on his forehead, and like the others he wore blue shinobi sandals.
Kakashi examined him a moment longer. According to his Academy instructor, a man named Iruka Umino, Naruto was rather crap at just about everything, his ninjutsu was frankly appalling, and his genjutsu was even worse, he didn't cooperate, and he didn't like being in charge, and he barely paid attention in class, when he showed up, when he wasn't sleeping. His one saving grace was his taijutsu, where he was just behind Sasuke who was number one.
Iruka also mentioned more than a few other things regarding Naruto such as the fact that he often came to class injured or exhausted, the boys distinct dislike of being called by his last name, a dislike of any comparison between him and his father, even in praise, his aggressive attitude that made him quick to resort of physical violence, his almost complete lack of interaction with his fellows students besides the few times when someone aggravated him, and his unwillingness to rely on anyone but himself.
One line from Iruka's report on Naruto had made Kakashi chuckle for a while, then made him rather miserable "Naruto Namikaze passed the final exam, Naruto shouldn't have passed" his implication was obvious to anyone willing to see it. Naruto had only passed because of his last name, because of who he was, because of who his father was.
Cracking his neck to work out the kinks that had developed there Kakashi gave his team another once over, then finally nodded to himself "Okay, enough faffing around, let's get started."
Naruto glared, Sasuke's scowl deepened, even Sakura looked slightly put out, which was fair enough.
Here he was, sounding like they were wasting his time, when he'd not arrived for three hours and then spent twenty odd minutes in silence. Kakashi was actually surprised that they'd remained quiet this long, impressed even at their patience, or their lack of will to verbalize their annoyance, it was one or the other "Now, why don't you guys introduce yourse…" he paused "…You know what, don't bother" 'I already know who all of you are' he said to himself, but out loud said "If you pass my test you can introduce yourself, I might even care enough to learn your names, if not then… well I guess it won't matter."
"Test?" Sasuke asked, his voice as cold as his frozen in a perpetual scowl face.
"Sensei, we've already been through all the tests at the Academy" Sakura told him, a slight, barely noticeable, frown on her face.
Kakashi chuckled, ah to be so young and innocent and lacking the cynicism that years would bring, it was truly an amusing sight to behold, and one Kakashi would take glee in annihilating "Yes, yes you have, well done, you passed all of the Academy tests" he stared at them flatly, his eye showing them his utter disinterest in their existence "But those tests, those are just to weed out the ones unworthy of becoming ninja, not to find those who are worthy. So there's another test, a final final exam if you will, and one I have the pleasure of proctoring. If you pass then you become fully-fledged ninja. Fail… well, if you fail then its back to the Academy with you."
"No one said anything about another fucking test" Naruto said, his fists clenched, his teeth bared.
"It's a secret test" Kakashi explained, sort of "You've all be trained in the arts of the ninja" he continued on "Taught to fight, to use ninjutsu and genjutsu, to lay traps, to survive in the wilds, now I'll be testing all of that knowledge, and more. I'll be testing to see if any of you have the will" he paused, to let the word sink in "to truly become shinobi" leaning back Kakashi noted with approval their now utterly serious faces, and knew that the severity of the test was hitting home "Oh, and another thing" he exclaimed, as if he had forgotten "This test has a fail rate of sixty six percent" he let them process that for a moment, then smiled using only his visible eye "Just though I'd let you know" he stopped smiling suddenly, his face turning bored again "Anyway, meet me at the Third Training Ground at…" he looked up at the sun. Was he trying to divine the time based off of the suns position in the sky? No, not really "Five o'clock tomorrow morning, and bring whatever gear you think you'll need" standing he paused and looked back "One other thing, I'd advise you all not to eat breakfast tomorrow" he eye smiled, sounding, and feeling, truly cheerful "You might throw up" on that delightful statement he vanished in a cloud of smoke, leaving the three wannabe ninjas behind him.
Naruto didn't hesitate in spitting at the spot where Kakashi had stood before leaving the roof, shoving his hands in his pockets and cursing under his breath. Sasuke remained sat, his hands folded before his face as he brooded over this unexpected development. Meanwhile Sakura spent a moment sat alongside Sasuke, also deep in thought, before standing and finally leaving the Uchiha along with his gradually getting darker and more violent thoughts, her own nicely cleared.
From a tree some distance away Kakashi, his legs kicked up onto a branch and leaning against the trunk, with his favourite book in his hands, looked over as they were all gone, save one, and sighed again 'Why do I get this year's Team Totally-Fucked-Up?'
When Naruto Namikaze woke the next morning a feeling of intense annoyance pervaded his thoughts and emotions, and he growled audibly as he remembered the source of his intense annoyance. His Cyclops of a sensei, with his stupid stuck up silver hair and his idiotic mask, had told him, and his team, yesterday that the Academy's 'final test', which Naruto had found tedious and annoying, was just a ruse to find those who 'could' become Genin, not those who 'would'. He then explained that they would be put through another test, which the Cyclops would oversee alone, to determine whether or not they really were good enough to be Genin. It went almost without saying that Naruto hated 'tests'.
Cursing under his breath he rolled out of bed, grabbing his alarm clock and throwing it at a wall seconds before it would have gone off, and headed off to get ready. He had a piss and a shower, at the same time, brushed his teeth, stared hungrily at some half-finished takeaway lying about, it might've been yesterday's, might've been last week's, and might've tasted like shit when flavoured with tooth paste, but that didn't stop him being hungry. He couldn't eat it or else risked failing this damnable test anyway, so he focused on getting dressed trying to take his mind off of food.
As he was pulling on his sandals he noticed that when he threw his alarm clock he had knocked over a picture that was always sat on his bedside table, and quickly righted it. It was a picture taken a few weeks before his birth, his beautiful red haired mother, Kushina Uzumaki, stood one hand on her bulging stomach the other locked with his father's hand.
He touched his thumb to the face of his mother, the mother he didn't and never would know, then touched his fathers as well, a father who had never held him as he cried, never told him stories of his exploits, never had the chance, a father whose name had judged his entire life. He smiled sadly at the photo "Fuck you" he told both his parents, letting the picture fall again, leaving it face down on the bedside table.
Without further ado Naruto left his apartment by the window, grabbing the rucksack he had stocked with everything he might need for the test before leaving, dropping neatly down into the street that was nearly empty at this time in the morning, and made his way to the training ground.
He arrived on time, technically he arrived two seconds after the clocks struck five but he didn't know that, and found both his teammates had arrived before him. The Third Training Ground was a glade by a river, with three wooden posts set in the centre of the glade, and the training area probably included the surrounding woodland. Sasuke was leaning against the post to his right, Sakura was leaning against the post to his left, which left him with the post in the middle.
Naruto didn't bother standing though, instead he sat down and leant back against the post, his rucksack sat beside him. Like this 'Team 7' waited… and waited… and waited… and waited… and Sakura sat down after an hour passed, and they still waited… and Naruto's stomach growled, he really regretted not eating now as they still fucking waited… and waited… and yes more waiting… and more waiting… and Sasuke stomach growled now, though nowhere near as loud as Naruto's had… and more waiting… waiting… waiting… waiting… Sakura joined the stomach growling club… and they waited… and still waited… and waited some more… and waited a while longer… and, yes, waited.
The sun had risen and the day was well and truly started, and their sensei was nowhere to be found, to his left Sasuke thumping his fist against the wooden post drew his gaze for a moment, and glancing over to his right he found Sakura checking her supplies for what must've been the fifth time. Naruto, on the other hand, decided to lean his head back and close his eyes, thinking that if their sensei wasn't around than he may as well have a nap.
"Hey guys!" Kakashi greeted them cheerfully, suddenly popping up from behind the posts. He took two of them by surprise, both of them tensing up moment before he appeared. They had good sense's he'd give them that. Sasuke was now glaring at him and Sakura was staring blankly, he wondered if that was her way of showing annoyance, then decided that he didn't really care. The reason why he hadn't taken the final member of their team by surprise was simple, he was fast asleep "Well then, let's get on with this" he said, purposefully sounding like they were wasting his time to piss them off, it had been five and a half hours since the designated time after all "Now…" he stopped, sighed, and knelt down in front of the middle post "Come on, wakey wakey" Naruto hadn't woken up and they sort of couldn't continue without the whole team conscious "Oi, blondie, wake up" he gave the boy a light slap on the cheek, still no reaction "Come on whiskers, up" he banged the top of the blondes head with the edge of his palm, and that finally woke him up.
"Urgh… guka… huh?" Naruto slowly blinked, it was odd how despite opening his eyes he could still only see black… waking up a bit further he realised that it was actually just his sensei's mask "Where the fuck... have you been?" he grumbled at the Jonin, who backed off to let him stand, yawning halfway through his sentence.
"Ah well, you see" Kakashi paused, taking a moment to think "I was walking down the street heading to meet my wonderful new team… until I remembered I got you guys" Naruto twitched, Sasuke glared, Sakura barely reacted "But I continued on anyway, but then out of nowhere an enemy shinobi suddenly jumped out in front of me. Now I quickly dealt with him of course, however a passer-by was injured in our brief battle, so, feeling responsible, I took him to the hospital. But you see that man was a volunteer cook at a soup kitchen, and if he didn't arrive many people would go hungry, but he was injured so obviously he could go. So, being the gracious young man I am, and feeling party responsible, I volunteered to go in his stead. And that's where I've been" he finished with an eye-smile.
Sasuke glared at him disbelievingly, Sakura contained her disbelief to a raised eyebrow, but Naruto just nodded "Fair enough" he said, yawning "So, can we get started on this test, or do you need to dash off and buy some old lady her groceries because you accidently knocked her down some steps while fighting an enemy ninja plotting to assassinate the Hokage" he said it all in one breath "…or something?" so it seemed Naruto didn't believe him any more than the others, which Kakashi found rather sad to be honest, but at the same time he mentally jotted down the excuse Naruto had just given to him. He could make use of it later.
Instead of answering Kakashi placed an alarm clock down on top of the post Naruto was stood by, the blonde leaning back to see what he was doing rather than doing the simpler thing and turning around "Okay, its set for noon" he said after checking, he wouldn't want to have set it wrong after all, that would be embarrassing "Now allow me to explain the test" out of his pouch he pulled a pair of bells "This is your objective."
"Bells?" Naruto raised an eyebrow as he looked at the two silver bells on a strand of red string that Kakashi held betwixt his fingers.
Frowning at them Naruto shook his head, not understanding in the slightest "Why?"
"Why bells?" Kakashi considered that question for a minute "You know something, I'm not really sure myself. But I guess that the bells represent an objective, and simulate a genuine mission. For instance instead of bells it could be a scroll you're tasked with stealing or something similar. Still that doesn't really matter, the bells themselves are unimportant, the test is what matters."
"And what's the test?" 'whiskers', as Kakashi was currently referring to him in his head, demanded, still none the wiser than when Kakashi started his 'explanation' but much more annoyed.
"Ah, 'the test'" he nodded sagely "Well the test is pretty simple, not complicated at all, even a complete imbecile could understand it…" he frowned "Which leads me to doubt if you three can, anyway" he shook his head, ignoring the glares he was being sent for his offhand comments "the goal is the bells. You three" he point at each of them in turn "are going to try and take them from me. Once the alarm, set for noon remember, goes off the test is over. Those with bells pass, those without fail."
"But… there are only two bells" Sakura noted, or was it query?
Kakashi eye smiled "So there are."
"I see" she said calmly, and the other two seemed to have figured it out as well "So only two of us can pass this test?"
His smile didn't fade, but he didn't answer either, instead watching as the three first of all pondered, then carefully evaluated each other, then refocused their attention on him when he spoke "You can use any tools at your disposal, even kunai and shuriken, if you don't come at me with the intent to kill, you won't get these bells" his single visible eye opened a touch "and you might not survive either" then his eye smile was back full force "Well then" he looked from each of them, Naruto looked positively pissed off, but determined, Sasuke looked much the same only his determination was more hidden under piles of raw anger and hatred, and Sakura stared at him with determination equal to her two teammates but with less anger "begi…"
Naruto was off before he had even started, a kunai in hand, poised to stab him in the stomach. A second later the blonde found himself face down, a foot pressing against the back of his head, the kunai he had been planning on stabbing his sensei with being twirled casually by its ring on said sensei's little finger.
"Let me finish blondie, then try to kill me" he chuckled "Still, at least I know one of you is coming at me with the intent to kill" he looked over at Sasuke and Sakura, both had moved into defensive stances, but neither had moved to help, and one look in their eyes told him everything he needed to know 'And now I know two more of them will as well. Good, maybe they'll put up more of a fight than last year's batch' he removed his foot from Naruto's head and stepped back, letting the blonde stand and back away to where his teammates stood "Okay, then…" he left a long pause, waiting to see if any of them moved "Be-…" he left another shorter pause "…gi-…" another small pause and a glance around "…-n."
A hail of kunai and shuriken hammered into him, each of his three students tossing fifteen plus each, then, as the bleeding and stabbed Kakashi began his long descent to the ground, he vanished in a cloud of smoke, replaced by a wooden log.
"Substitution" Naruto murmured, spitting at the log.
Sasuke scoffed and disappeared into the trees, stopping only long enough to grab his pack, leaving Naruto and Sakura out in the open. Naruto spent the time removing all the kunai and shuriken from the log and placing them in his pouch, but he gave a handful of about sixteen over to Sakura "Here, they're yours" Sasuke had fucked off so Naruto was claiming his batch, but Sakura could have her weapons back.
Sakura nodded a thank you and stowed them away, then they both grabbed their own packs and disappeared into the trees, splitting up and heading their own ways. For the sake of this test they were rivals at best, at worst enemies. But… Sakura stopped on a branch, under the pretext of catching her breath and making a plan, and instead thought about the test a bit more.
Several minutes later she had come to no conclusion, if anything she had more questions 'I've never heard of a Genin team with only two Genin… and sensei didn't specify much of the details. Will the Genin who pass this test then be reassigned with the other?' their sensei hadn't been too big on the specifics in fact, most of it he left for them to figure out, them being Sakura. All he said was that those with a bell at noon would pass. Sakura bit her lip, she wasn't sure what it was yet but something about the test didn't add up.
An explosion off in the distance brought her back to reality. Her rivals were making their moves, she had limited time, and certainly not enough to ponder this forever, and if they got the bells before her then it was game over, so it was time to get started. Checking her pouch and pack for what she knew was there Sakura nodded. She had a plan.
Several minutes previously Kakashi wandered back out into the clearing again, just stepping into the sunlight like he was taking an afternoon stroll, and looked around 'Well, it looks like they all know how to hide themselves and can do so effectively. Good' he knew where all three of them were, with a three millimetre margin of error, and what they were doing, but it was an impressive attempt from three newbie Genin.
"So, Mr Short Dark and Broody" he said "What's the plan?" he turned his one visible eye onto where Sasuke was hidden amidst the foliage. Unlike his teammates he was close to the outer edge of the trees, while both of them were pretty deep by now "Are you going to use traps? Jutsu? Or just attack me head on? Well whatever, it won't make any difference" through the leaves their eyes met, black on black "You can't beat me."
A hail of kunai rained on his position and Kakashi made a short leap to the side, it was a little more than a hop, and let them slam uselessly into the dirt and trees.
But Sasuke wasn't done, immediately after a row of shuriken rushed towards him and Sasuke was on the move, leaping through the trees. He might be repositioning himself, he might he trying to lure Kakashi away, he might just be running away. Kakashi didn't follow, whatever his plan. He caught the shuriken, all of six of them, spread like a pack of cards between his thumb and forefinger, then dumped them with the kunai.
The next thing Kakashi noticed was 'Chakra!' he spun and found Sasuke exactly where Kakashi knew he was, running through seals and with his chakra building 'Those hand signs are…' he let a faint smile show on his face 'As expected from Itachi's younger brother.'
"Fire Release: Great Fireball Jutsu" Sasuke curled his hands over his mouth, forming a barrel of sorts using only his fingers and palm, and it was through his barrel that he blew fire. The fireball hit where Kakashi was stood, and Sasuke upped his chakra output, thus upping the flames intensity.
With enough power to burn the earth below it into ash, those flames could certainly do the same to a human body, and as the flames died away all Sasuke could see was ash.
He leapt, twisting in mid-air and throwing more shuriken, as Kakashi shot out of the earth behind where he had stood moment ago, in the perfect position to slice open his neck without him even noticing. Not one of them hit true.
'Earth Release?' Sasuke thought, staring at the tunnel that Kakashi was stepping out of, his thrown shuriken held casually in the Jonin hand 'Well, whatever, all I have to do is…' his face set into grim determination.
Kakashi looked at Sasuke as he stepped out of the tunnel 'Well, jutsu, head on attack, but no traps yet. So three guesses what's next, and the first two don't count' did Sasuke really think that rope he set up, which when cut would release a number of weapons, was that subtle? Kakashi could only presume that, yes he did think it was that subtle.
Sasuke shot off, throwing kunai as he ran away, Kakashi played along and gave chase, dancing around the kunai, playing an old but dangerous game called 'How close can to the kunai can you get before someone ends up seriously injured and you're all punished?' It was a fun game, one he had played as a Genin, and Kakashi was something of an expert at it, as evidenced by letting a kunai actually brush the fabric of his mask, but not leaving even the faintest of cuts.
Soon they were amidst the trees and Kakashi, all too aware he was being led along, continued after Sasuke's retreating back. A kunai was thrown but not at him, instead it was thrown far to his left and cut the rope there.
Tanto slammed into his body, ten or twenty of them, all hitting within a couple of seconds, that number of knives stabbing anybody was sure to leave them dead, and Kakashi's body disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving only an impaled log behind.
Sasuke, who had stopped to watch, was suddenly wide eyed and he looked around quickly.
"So" Kakashi said, placing a hand on the boys shoulder "It would seem like your plans were for naught, you're jutsu for naught, all the strength and skill you obtained worthless" Sasuke turned his head to glare at Kakashi, as his hand twitched towards a kunai "So… since yours failed, how about I go on the offensive?" he didn't wait for an answer, instead his foot met Sasuke's back and sent the boy flying. He didn't stop there, instantly he was at Sasuke's landing point and punched him in the gut before the kid even got a chance to hit the dirt. He slammed his forearm over the back of the boys head to make him fall faster and with Sasuke's face in the dirt, he finally stopped his short lived but intense offensive, and reached into his pouch.
Looking upwards Sasuke found his sensei reaching for a kunai, and he tried to escape. But he wasn't fast enough and his sensei had already pulled forth his weapon… or at least Sasuke had assumed it was a weapon.
But it wasn't. It wasn't a kunai, or a tanto, or a dagger, or anything even vaguely similar, it wasn't even a coil of rope, it was a book, a bright orange book with a cartoonish picture of a man and a woman on the front. Kakashi didn't say a word to him, merely opened his book, turned, and walked away, leaving Sasuke lying on the ground with one parting comment "I guess that's all the Uchiha are worth nowadays."
His anger burned like a wildfire, like the flames he had summoned previously. He was being treated like a child, the Jonin hadn't been serious for even a moment, but more importantly than that this bastard dared to insult his family. With rage building with him Sasuke channelled his chakra towards his eyes, red taking over the onyx orbs.
Kakashi spun and blocked the jab aimed at his back, and his eye went wide "The Sharingan!" he exclaimed, his previous aloofness slipping for a moment. He wasn't expecting that. Fire jutsu that no Genin could perform, impeccable Taijutsu, and reasonable trap making skills where one thing, but the Sharingan was a whole other matter.
He struggled to block with only one arm free as Sasuke's attack continued, his punch flowing seamlessly into a sweeping kick. Kakashi leapt over it but Sasuke was ready for that as well, his superior eyes, with a single tomoe circle the pupil, giving him the clarity he needed. Sasuke twisted his fist out of Kakashi's blocking palm, continuing with the momentum of his kick and turning his back on the enemy, not a good move true, but Sasuke lashed back with an elbow jab at his airborne opponent.
Kakashi blocked it on his palm but was forced back a short distance before landing. Sasuke rushed him, jabbing quickly at his weak points. Kakashi continued to hold him off with one arm, letting a few lesser blows hit to focus on the more dangerous attacks.
Finally the Jonin had had enough and as Sasuke rushed him again, charging him with a simple punch, he moved faster than Sasuke could register and grabbed his wrist, tossing him at a nearby tree. The force of the slam stunned Sasuke for a moment or two and gave Kakashi the time to put his book away. Only he didn't put it away, instead he flicked over a page casually.
"I'll confess, I wasn't expecting to see the Sharingan here today, but it doesn't seem to have helped you much now does it?" he commented blandly.
Sasuke struggled to his feet and fell into a stance, but Kakashi simply shook his head. This fight was over.
"By the way ducky, you should probably strip."
Sasuke blinked "Ducky?" he frowned again "Strip?"
Kakashi sighed, kids these days "The back of your hair" he said deadpan.
Sasuke frowned and thought about it, then scowled darkly, "Fuck you Cyclops!"
"Yeah, like I haven't heard that one before" he would've rolled his eyes, but couldn't take his eyes away from what he was reading, after all what was happening to Honoka-chan was far more interesting than the inside of his eyes lids "Anyway, ducky" he stressed the nickname in an attempt to exacerbate Sasuke's current annoyance. It worked "Strip."
A harsh scowl took over the Uchiha's pale face "Strip?" why would Kakashi tell him to do something like that. It was such an odd thing to say that Sasuke couldn't even find it in himself to be annoyed or disgusted by the implications.
"Yeah, strip" Kakashi eye smiled at him and began calmly walking away, not sparing Sasuke another glance.
It was then, and only then, that Sasuke heard it. A faint hissing sound, so distinct from that of a snake, it was sound he had heard several times before, mostly during training, sometimes during training accidents, and he was certain that, without a doubt it was a…
He looked down and found that he was right. Stuck on the front of his shirt was an explosive tag, sizzling away like there was no tomorrow.
Sasuke had never undressed quicker in his life, he had never thrown his clothing with such desperation before, and had never run quite so fast before that moment in his short but bitter existence.
Naruto turned at the explosion, half wondering if his competition had been taken down, half wondering if Kakashi had been taken down, the final half wondering about when he could get some grub. He was starving, his stomach was trying to ingest itself it was so bad, that feeling like he had swallowed a gallon of acid was distracting him, but also driving him. He'd teach that silver haired son of bitch a lesson on denying Naruto food.
Stood in a circle of kunai and shuriken and even a pair of axes, Kakashi could quite happily compliment the teams Kunoichi on her trap making and placing and concealing skills "Those were some rather impressive traps" and so he did "For a Genin" kind of.
He had spent the last fifteen minutes being bombarded by weaponry, it was rather annoying when a trap you activated had a backup trap in case you avoided it, but it was really annoying when a backup trap had a backup trap, and he wasn't even going to start on how annoying it was when a backup backup trap had a backup trap. So you can imagine that he wasn't too thrilled at the backup backup backup traps backup trap.
Still he had avoided them all, and without losing his place in his book which was nice. Honoka-chan was currently taking it like the dirty bi… and he stopped his thoughts there before someone accused him of being sexist. And he wasn't, he read porn in public but certainly didn't objectify women, at least no more so than he objectified men.
Whether or not someone would accuse him of being sexist because of personal private thoughts that he would share with practically no one, and quite possibly literally no one, was unimportant.
Getting back to the matter at hand, the backup backup backup traps backup trap, which just so happened to be a pair of swinging axes that were currently lying on the ground with the rope cut, Kakashi could confess to be very pleased with Sakura's trap making and positioning skills.
'I wonder if she realised that facing me one on one would be suicide, even if I wasn't taking it seriously, which I'm not' if he had been taking this seriously, and when he said seriously he meant facing off against enemy ninja type seriously, then they'd all be dead already. But he wasn't so there weren't.
"So, pinky" he said looking up from his book directly at a tree several metres in front of him "What's next? Given the thought you put into these traps I'm guessing you have a backup plan, and if you don't…" his single eye glinted darkly and he said nothing more.
The illusion of the tree vanished and Sakura stood in its place.
Kakashi turned his eyes back to his book and waited. He felt an increase in chakra and a smile worked its way across his face, though his eyes didn't move from the long and detailed description of Honoka's sexual misdemeanours 'How interesting.'
He was surrounded on all sides by cherry blossoms that flew in the air as if swept up in a hurricane, a hurricane centred on Kakashi. He flicked over to the next page. It was a rather good Genjutsu, he'd give her that, but there were flaws. The cherry blossoms that hit his face left no sensation of touch, he couldn't smell even the faintest whiff of the cherry blossoms scent and while to most people that might be normal Kakashi's nose was exceptionally good, and also they didn't make much of a sound besides a general windy noise… unlike the shuriken hidden amongst the blossoms.
He caught them before they hit, snatching them out of the air without even looking and dropping them to the ground with the rest. There'd be a small armoury on the ground around him soon enough.
More whirred in, their distinct noise giving them away and Kakashi squatted, ducking below the whole row of them, then he closed his book "Alright then."
The illusion shattered and Kakashi was nowhere to be seen, Sakura looked around searching for him, a kunai held defensively in one hand, the other palming her pouch.
"Nice try" a whisper was all the warning she got, before a kunai stabbed through her throat "But I won't be fooled so easily" Sakura's body fell apart, pink cherry blossoms floating away on the wind.
From up in the trees Sakura searched for who had thrown the kunai but found no one, she couldn't even get a hint on the location it had been thrown from. Her Cherry Blossom Double hadn't fooled him for a second, and he'd killed it to prove a point, to prove the futility of her quest even further. But why? If he had left it alone she would've thought him fooled, and become less cautious. Instead he gave her a warning, and still hadn't even attempted an attack.
All these questions where making her head hurt and Sakura rubbed at her forehead through the forehead protector to try and ease the ache, she felt so confused. What was going on with this test? What was it purpose? Why was it happening? What was happening?
… What was she doing?
"Release" she stopped her chakra, then let it surge, shattering the illusion Kakashi had cast on her.
Instead of finding herself in the trees, where she had vanished to after putting Kakashi in her Cherry Blossom Slash illusion, with a clear mind, Sakura found herself stood on the ground, with the silver haired Jonin in front of her reading his book, in almost the exact positioning they had been before she had cast the Cherry Blossom Slash illusion at all.
'He had me under Genjutsu since back then?' she hadn't noticed, at all.
"You're not the only one who can cast Genjutsu" Kakashi said amusedly, eyes not leaving his book.
Sakura nodded, agreeing with his statement. She wouldn't forget that. She leapt into the trees, making a tactical retreat, or running away as some might call it. That was fine though, running away from someone stronger than you, she could and did do that and felt no shame about it either. He had avoided all of her traps, and she had been using lethal ones, he had used a Genjutsu on her without her even noticing, and he hadn't taken advantage of these flaws, instead he played along like he was humouring a child.
Maybe that was exactly what he was doing Sakura wondered, glancing back through the trees but seeing only leaves. She was too far to see him now anyway.
She needed to rethink her strategy, and rethink this test.
Kakashi smiled fondly as he read an enormously pleasant, decidedly tasteful, and immensely realistic paragraph… all about how Honoka-chan loved taking it up the arse. It was one of his favourite in the whole book, Honoka-chan was perhaps his favourite girl… or maybe it was Tsusumi-chan… or Kiyomi-chan… No actually, Kakashi decided that they were all his favourite, but he was reading Honoka-chan's chapter right now so she was his favourite at this moment in time.
"So, whiskers" he called out to the blonde who was casually sat staring at him from a branch, not even trying to hide and not yet trying to attack "What are you doing for this test?"
Naruto leapt down and landed nimbly on his feet "Let me pass."
Kakashi blinked, that was a new strategy, just demanding to be passed, he had to give the kid credit for originality but… "No. Not gonna happen."
Naruto didn't get angry as was expected, and while he didn't look pleased if Kakashi wasn't very much mistaken there was a glint of satisfaction in his blue eyes.
Which only served to confuse the slightly confused Jonin even more 'Is he… happy, that I said no to him?' Kakashi shook his head 'What an odd kid. Oh well, odd is good, better than boring I guess, although boring can be nice at times' "Well whatever. How we gonna do this, blondie?" he asked, turning over a page.
"Like this" Naruto's answer was accompanied, or perhaps further explained, by a set of fifteen or so kunai flying through the air at Kakashi.
'Ah the good old kunai, truly the most versatile of the ninja tools. It can be used as a handheld weapon, a thrown weapon, a distraction, a weight, a makeshift trowel, a dildo, it's just… perfect' he finally decided on a word, just as the knives struck deep… into a log "You're not gonna hit me like that kid, try harder next time… and work on your aim, seriously, how'd you end up hitting that log, I'm nowhere near the log" Kakashi said, leaning over Naruto's shoulder.
Naruto glanced back at the silver haired ninja, and gulped. Without him even noticing Kakashi had managed to get right behind him, and while all the Jonin did was lean over his shoulder, he could've just as easily planted a kunai between his shoulder blades. He spun suddenly, releasing a wave of shuriken. Kakashi leapt cleanly over them, landing back where he had stood before, and casually flipping onto the next page of his book. Naruto had used those moments where Kakashi was in the air to put some distance between them, and was warily watching the Jonin, kunai in hand.
Several moments passed, and Kakashi started to get bored "You won't win by staring at me you know."
"Yeah, yeah" Natsu said, shaking his head. He tossed the kunai and charged, Kakashi sidestepped and avoided it and waited patiently for Naruto to reach him, ignoring the near infinite number of way he could've killed the blonde before he got within two paces of the Jonin.
Sasuke had given Kakashi a pleasant little bout, Naruto did much the same though admittedly his movements weren't anywhere near as fluid as the Uchiha's, nor was he as graceful or as fast, instead he had a good bit more power. His punches packed a good bit of force for such a small boy, and his kicks hit hard, and Kakashi blocked them all, easily countering the moves and making no attempt to take advantage of Naruto's openings.
Kakashi understood why Naruto was number two though, that is why number two and not number one. Sasuke had skill, he could easily get the drop on an opponent, and in Academy regulated matches it was usually first one to step out of the ring or first one to the ground or to a submission hold some stupid rule like that. What Naruto had in spades was stamina, as quarter of an hour alter he was still going strong. His punches hadn't weakened, his movements hadn't slowed, and he shrugged off the few taps Kakashi gave him as reprimands for some of his reckless assaults that left him really open. Thus if the matches were less regulated Naruto might just come out as number one.
It should be made clear that Kakashi's 'taps' tended to leave Naruto face down in the dirt, and packed more force than a hammer blow.
They could both probably keep going like this all day, Kakashi was certain he could, and suspected Naruto could probably do so as well, but there was a small problem.
He was bored.
"Need to do better than that" he taunted flinging Naruto over his shoulder carelessly and storing his book safely away. Naruto scrambled to his feet and rushed at Kakashi's back, coming in jabbing in kicking like his life depended on it. Kakashi blocked, redirected and dodged all of them "Come on!" he snapped, giving Naruto a hard whack on the crown of his head "Stop trying to hit me and hit me!"
Naruto stumbled back, rubbing at his skull, then he grinned up at Kakashi "Alright then" his fingers formed a cross shaped hand sign and a grin tore across his face.
Kakashi stared at the hand sign in shock 'No way! No way a Genin can…'
"Shadow Clone Jutsu!"
'Oh for crying out loud!' Kakashi sighed.
People really needed to inform him about stuff like this, he knew full well that Naruto couldn't perform the Clone Jutsu to save his life, so why did no one bother to tell him that Naruto could perform the Shadow Clone Jutsu and summon up a good ten of the damn things? For a Genin creating one would be a feat in and of itself, ten was simply incredible.
"Well… I wasn't expecting that" he confessed "More points kiddo. They're worthless, but you can have 'em anyway."
"I'd rather…" one Naruto started "…have a bell…" another continued "…if it's all the same with you…" a third said "…Cyclops-sensei" a final Naruto finished.
"Oh?" Kakashi chuckled "Then come and take it."
"Well…" Naruto, with his back against a tree, and several bruises on his body "…that didn't go anywhere near as well as I hoped it would."
It had been a slaughter, Naruto barley even blinked and his clones were gone, poof like they hadn't been there in the first place, and from there it had been a downhill battle. It was like before Kakashi had just been toying with him, and he probably had been, but now Kakashi was bored of toying so therefore decided to just annihilate him.
Suffice to say, he had succeeded.
"Aren't you going to get a bell?"
Naruto groaned and looked up at where the silver haired Jonin was sat on a branch above him, looking down. He'd been certain he was alone, had lost the Cyclops back there in the woods using a diversion of a few Shadow Clones, and it wasn't like he had been being lax, he had checked his surrounding every couple of minutes and found nothing. But it was all for nothing as Kakashi had found him and avoided his detection with ease. He could've easily put a kunai in Naruto's forehead and instead chose to give away his position.
He forced himself up and took a few steps away from the tree "Well, you're pretty good, I'll give you that."
Kakashi blinked "Thank you?" he had been the one winning… hadn't he? So why was Naruto complimenting him on his skills in an almost degrading fashion, shouldn't it be the other way around?
Naruto grinned at him "Let me kick it up a notch then" he flicked through the hand seals, dog, boar, tiger, monkey, snake, boar, then planted both hands flat on the ground "Chakra Chains Binding!"
'That's… Kushina's jutsu?' Kakashi thought as chains erupted from the ground, trying to tangle him up 'Once again, people really need to tell me about this shit' he slipped out of the attempted binding, which wasn't that difficult. The chains weren't that quick, to someone of Kakashi's speed, and while numerous numbers weren't everything, as he had proven several minutes ago by slaughtering Naruto's clones "Interesting" he commented, watching the chains bind up the tree "Got any other tricks blondie?"
Naruto grinned again "A few" he said, from his wrist a chain emerged, seemingly to emerge from his flesh as if it had been forged inside of his body. He pulled it with his left hand, holding a line of chain in front of him. Then chakra flared up along the length of chain, burning along it like blue flames, the chakra so strong it was visible.
'Now that isn't one of Kushina's jutsu, alright Naruto, show me what you got.'
Naruto swung it, spinning the chain above his head like a lasso, the chains still burned with blue chakra, and Kakashi stood there waiting for the climax. Naruto whipped the chain, spinning as he did so, towards Kakashi, letting it stretching in a long wide arc.
Kakashi leapt cleanly over the whip, but he didn't expect what happened next to happen. When the chain hit the tree that had been wrapped in chains, though the chains seemed to have vanished since he last checked, rather than wrapped around it and choke the life from the tree as he expected, it carved clean through like it was a blade rather than a chain.
The chain fell limply to the ground, no longer burning blue as Kakashi landed on his feet, and stared at the falling, falling, falling and now felled tree to his right. He turned his gaze towards Naruto "You missed."
Naruto flicked the chain, gripping it with his right hand, still connected to the wrist of said hand, and ran his left along the length, chakra burning through it again. This time there was no fancy spinning above his head and he just swung downwards. Kakashi leapt to the side, neatly avoiding it. Given what it had done to a reasonably thick tree he did not want to know would what happened if he, a human being, took a blow from that.
It cleaved into the ground, leaving a deep trench and Kakashi could feel a jolt through the dirt wanting to send him skyward. He didn't let it and pretended like it didn't affect him, but he did finally put away his book. This was certainly a trick, and Naruto said he had a few. Kakashi didn't believe for a moment that Naruto could win, but at the same time being turned into human pâté wasn't on his list of things to do, and he'd like to keep it there.
Naruto pulled it back, recharging the chain again, then tried to whip Kakashi again.
This time Kakashi didn't simply dodge, he raced straight towards Naruto, the blonde's whip arcing past, and he moved at such speeds that Naruto wouldn't have any time to adjust the trajectory. He gave Naruto a light tap with his index finger in the side of his neck as he slipped by.
Naruto's chain whip slapped into a tree, stabbing deep into the trunk, the blonde rubbed at the bruise Kakashi had left on his neck checked the Jonin wasn't attack, the flicked the whip to remove it from the tree and drew it back into his body, the chain disappearing into his wrist.
"So that didn't work?" Kakashi inquired. Of course it didn't, but he still felt like asking if only to piss of the blonde.
"Ouch" Kakashi commented, walking up behind the blonde and bringing his book out again, convinced the danger wasn't over but he felt like acting like he thought it was "You're being rather harsh on me, what did I ever do to deserve such spite, hmm?"
"Plenty" Naruto said not turning around.
'So he wants me to approach his back' Kakashi thought, four paces separating them now, he could see the tension in Naruto's muscles, ready to spin around and strike 'Alright then, I'll play along.'
He took one step "Name one example."
"Showing up late for our team meeting" Naruto said "both of them. And not just a few minutes later either, but several fucking hours late."
He took another "I'm always late. You have no more reason than anyone else to hate me. Name another."
"Treating us like we're a complete waste of your time effort and energy."
Another step "But you are. Another."
"Being a one eyed, silver haired, masked wearing prick!"
Kakashi nodded "Fair enough" he took the final step.
And just as he anticipated Naruto spun, but instead of a kunai, a shuriken, or a chain as he expected, something else entirely was in Naruto's hand. A swirling blue ball of energy.
So shocked was he by the appearance of his sensei's signature technique in the hands of his sensei's own son that Kakashi forgot to react for a moment, and by that time it was too late. Without even thinking he had grabbed Naruto's wrist, stopping the boy in his attack, and without pausing for a moment he proceeded to break said wrist.
"AAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!" he let Naruto stumble back with his broken wrist, falling over onto his arm and gently cracking the appendage.
'Oh… shit… I didn't mean to do that. Okay Kakashi evaluate your options, on the one hand you could apologise and lose any cool points you might've earned, on the other hand you could act like you meant to and be super brutal… Super brutal it is' "Is that it?" he asked coldly, looking down at the blonde with a cruel eye. He slipped his book away unnoticeably, feeling that its presence would damage the evil mean sensei appearance he was presently cultivating "A jutsu you haven't even perfected is your trump card" that Rasengan wasn't anything compared to the true Rasengan, it was likely that Naruto hadn't completed all the stages of learning mastering the technique and was instead making do with an incomplete and imperfect version of it. Kakashi laughed darkly "Your father was a far better ninja than you'll ever be."
"Shut the fuck up!" Naruto screamed "Don't talk to me about that basta-urgh!"
Kakashi kicked him in the face and stepped on the blonde's cheek "Naruto Namikaze" he chuckled darkly "You aren't worthy of that name. Compared to your father you are just pathetic. Petty, and uselessly and arrogant and PATHETIC!"
There was a long pause, and Kakashi was truly afraid that he had gone too far. He couldn't see Naruto's face for his own foot, and when he finally moved it what he feared greeted him.
"You think…" Naruto's mumbled "You think I don't know that? You think I don't know that I could never match him? YOU THINK I DON'T KNOW THAT I'LL ALWAYS BE A DISAPPOINTMENT TO HIS FUCKING LEGACY?!" Kakashi stared down at him coldly, hiding the pity he felt beneath a blank mask beneath his real physical mask "Everyone always tells me how great he was, how awesome he was, everything I do he's already done far better. I'm just… just…"
Kakashi sighed audibly "Listen up kid" he removed his foot, and patted Naruto on the head "You don't want to be compared to your father, you hate people who think of Namikaze before Naruto, so why is it you keep thinking about Namikaze. Maybe you should stop thinking about Naruto Namikaze and start thinking about just Naruto, huh?"
Naruto said nothing.
Kakashi smiled sadly behind his mask. Naruto reminded him far too much of himself, his father overshadowed him and while the shame of being Sakumo Hatake's son had hung over Kakashi, until he realised that it was something to be proud of, the honour of being Minato Namikaze's son hung over Naruto, but they were both engulfed in their fathers shadow. But Kakashi wasn't Minato, he didn't know how to deal with himself, and he could not allow a travesty like what had occurred during the Kannabi Bridge mission to occur, so he had to be harsh because it was the only way he knew would get through, and it was the kindest thing he could do. Being cruel to be kind, it would never justify truly, but he didn't know what other options he had.
Kakashi stood straight and Naruto made no move to move "You give up?" he asked neutrally. Not really caring either way, though in truth he was no longer in the mood to fight.
Naruto nodded silently.
"Alright then" the alarm blared loudly.
Okay so I'm torn between focusing on this or Embers of an Uchiha. I plan to write both ideas to their completion, in time, but I'm not sure as to which I should focus on. So anyway, I'm posting this as well to see what kind of response I get, if any.