Sarutobi Hiruzen sighed, looking at the young ninja of the leaf. Per usual, there was a permanent scowl, a sense of impatient hostility and restrained violence. The feathers and beads in his hair really weren’t worth noticing other than the fact that he wore them and made him look wild, especially in conjunction with the whiskers. It would be more intimidating a look if the whiskered cheeks were less round with childhood still clinging to his face.
Uzumaki Naruto took after his father in looks and intelligence and his mother in terms of chakra capacity and had her drive in face of adversity.
His temper and general personality however seemed to been shaped by the less than ideal treatment of the villagers. Naruto had a suspicious, nasty mind that didn’t trust easily, if at all. Hiruzen had jonin that trusted more easily. More to the point, his personality was blunt, coarse and unforgiving in general. The less said about how short a fuse his temper had the better; he could control it, but training grounds afterward had needed remodeled when he finally let it loose. Some property of his chakra could cause immense destruction; the sort that seemingly removed trees and training equipment from existence and not just by turning it to ash.
The young ninja had graduated early and proved himself well enough to have earned a vest. Currently just a chunin vest, but Hiruzen didn’t want the young ninja to be so distant from his age-cohort in rank for all that they were recent graduates. Most of those that Naruto spent time with were the more specialized tokujo who were eclectic in age and ability.
Part of his reluctance might be from the fact that the last time he had promoted and trusted someone so much at such an early age had gone on to kill all his clan. And the others that had been promoted so early while capable ninja were not the most whole human beings.
“What’cha got old man?” The blond drawled. He sounded bored. Obviously he was looking for a mission and was impatient for one. It was a bit of an indulgence to do so personally and not through a team of chunin but it was something of a habit once he was promoted. Uchiha Itachi's massacre had had effects on so many aspects of Konoha that even years later the ripples would be felt keenly.
“What are you in the mood for?” Hiruzen asked, curious.
There’s a pause and consideration; Naruto would take any assigned, but had an affinity for the bloodier, more clandestine missions than his general temperament would suggest. Not that Hiruzen liked to assign Naruto those but sometimes on missions, it was easier for a troublemaker to pass on than have them sabotage a mission in their pettiness and ruin Konoha's reputation.
“Escort, if I can have my pick of people preferably.” In other words, he wanted to be out of the village and around people he wanted to be around for at least a week. Choosing Genma was a good sign, Raido meant that someone was probably going to die, Anko would be a sign to expect moderate property damage and there were worse signs.
"Any preferences for who you'd like to go with you? Provided I don't need them elsewhere, of course."
Naruto ignored the open door and the heavier footfalls from behind him as his son and his genin team entered the tower.
“Asuma-sensei, when are we going to take a C-rank? Sasuke-kun’s team would have if their third member hadn’t come down with the flu. I want to prove my worth as a kunoichi!”
And that was the worst sign. Playfulness.
“Hey! I know you! I’ve seen you around my dad sometimes!”
“Uzumaki Naruto. Chunin of three years. Your team and your sensei will be with me on a C-rank of the Hokage’s choice.”
“How troublesome.” The young Nara groused.
Hiruzen mentally agreed with the young ninja; Uzumaki Naruto was angling for something and the best that Hiruzen could figure that to be was Hokage for all he hadn't professed the idea aloud. Few other chunin had rotated through all of the village’s various departments such as the barrier squad, the police force that was instituted after the death of all but two Uchiha, the code-breakers and included a small stint in the academy as a teacher’s aide while one of the chunin was out for maternity leave.
That sort of rotation and dedication gave Uzumaki Naruto a basic understanding of most of the village. The best thing that came from that was a lot of connections around the village who thought well of his dedication and skills and the fact that Naruto actually had a friend his own age: Kurama Yakumo. Who was Team 7′s third member that had been laid out with the flu.
Yakumo had a prodigious genjutsu talent but had a frail body. She had been given to Kakashi as a student in light of Kurenai’s earlier failure with Yakumo as a student -the failure that Uzumaki Naruto knew of because he had been a friendly acquaintance of Kurenai’s back when she was teaching at the academy as a chunin. They even had nicknames for each other, although the meaning of the names was lost on Hiruzen and all observers.
Kakashi had been for failing this team as well but Sasuke’s decision to feed his teammate bound to the log had given Kakashi the sign that his team would care and fight for each other with all the strength the will of fire could give. It showed that Uchiha Sasuke still had empathy for others and a disregard for stupid orders. The sort of stupid orders that would be killing all your relatives.
Seeing no harm in humoring this decision, Hiruzen agreed with Naruto’s not-request.
“C-rank to Wave. Escorting Tazuna back home and protecting the bridge until it’s finished.”