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It's an uncommon fact that the Nara clan members, shinobi I'm particular, tend to pick something in life and fixate on it for the rest of their life. It's more well known among the shinobi of Konoha, but no one tends to publicize such a large weakness of such a strong clan.

Of course, when Shikaku sat his son down to explain the fixating, he also explained that depending on what it was, it could be his greatest strength as well as his weakness. Shikaku's own fixation of  out smarting his opponents tended to be a great help, but he was a child of war and Shikamaru's fixation was likely to be less helpful.

"So, you said we don't choose the fixation? We just know when we've found it?" Shikamaru had a hand on his chin in a thinking position. It looked more adorable than serious since he is only ten.

Shikaku nodded at his son's questions.

"And it can be a person?" Shikamaru prodded.

Shikaku sighed before nodding again.

"Troublesome. I think I've already found mine." Shikamaru sprawled out onto the floor on his back.

Shikaku made a mildly surprised noise. On a more expressive person, it may have been a loud yell of the word "what?", but Shikaku is not one for theatrics. "What do you think it is?" He asked.

Shikamaru sighed. "There's a boy in my class. His name is Uzumaki Naruto. I believe it's him because I want nothing more than to stay by his side for the rest of my life." He answered his father's unasked question as well as the voiced one.

"I see. Uzumaki?" Shikaku sighed before lying out next to his son. "That is troublesome."

-

"Naruto." Shikamaru said as he sat down next to the blonde boy Monday morning before class started.

"Oh! Hey, Shikamaru! What are you sitting with me for? You usually sit in the back with Choji." Naruto had a bright grin on his face.

Naruto had been sitting in an empty row on the window side of the classroom. "There's plenty of room for Choji to sit on my other side when he gets here." The Nara sighed slightly. His dad had told him if Naruto is his fixation, he should try and help him more with the academy stuff, but it all seemed so troublesome. "If you don't mind, I think we'll start sitting with you from now on."

Naruto's fake smile fell. "Really?" He asked in a hopeful voice.

Shikamaru sighed. "Yeah"

A bright, real smile replaced the neutral expression on Naruto's face. "That sounds great, Dattebayo!"

-

Sitting next to Naruto for a few weeks revealed quite a bit about the blonde to the Nara.

"Sensei? I think you gave Naruto the wrong test." Shikamaru pointed out. They tended to give out different versions of tests to avoid cheating, but this was wrong. Shikamaru swiped the paper and held it up. "These are questions a lot of chuunin might have trouble with." He couldn't help but wonder what was going on. Mizuki had been the one to pass out the tests and he was always hard on Naruto. Shikamaru had figured it was because Naruto was last in class, but what if Naruto was last in class because the teachers were hard on him?

Iruka came by to look at the paper. "Good catch, Shikamaru. I don't know how this got in here." The hard look on his face and stuff posture told the Nara otherwise. "Sorry for the mix up, Naruto." Iruka handed Naruto a new copy.

Shikamaru was happy to look over and see the questions were on their level this time.

-

Maybe Shikamaru had thought too soon when he said on their level. Naruto had completely messed up each question. It wasn't really much of a surprise when he thought about it. Naruto

had trouble keeping up with lessons, and whenever he tried to ask anyone but Iruka a question, they ignored him or sent him out for disruptive behavior.

He really had to ask for advice on this one.

"Hey, dad?" He said when he saw his father next. "Naruto is being treated unfairly at the academy, but I don't know what to do about it."

Shikaku sighed. "There's a reason for it. I can't tell you why, but a lot of the adults don't like him. Right now. . ." He frowned. "It might be best if you help tutor him. Maybe make a study group with Ino and Choji when Naruto is caught up to the class."

Shikamaru frowned. "Troublesome. Is that all I can do right now?"

"Is that all you've noticed that's wrong around him?" Shikaku countered his son's question with one of his own.

If his father is asking, that means that there is something else wrong. "Before I started talking to him, he always put on a lot of fake smiles. I think he was really sad. He's happier now though. His clothes are in bad shape and too big for him. I thought it was just because he is an orphan, but a lot of orphans are in the academy and have fitting clothes, even if they are cheap or used, and they don't have holes like Naruto's do." His frown got worse. "He's really small for our age. Even if he's going to be short as an adult, he should be bigger than he is now. He never brings or get lunch at school, either. Maybe he's small because he's malnourished.  The other orphans aren't as healthy as those from civilian or ninja families, but they are healthier than Naruto and I've seen them eating lunch boxes, meaning all of this applies to just him, but I don't know why." A lot of it came out as muttering, but Shikaku heard every word.

"So, you may not be able to do anything else to fix his schooling, but we can fix some of his other problems." Shikaku sighed. "It looks like we need to get Yoshino to help."

His father does love his mom, but he really hates asking her for help since she always want him to do chores in return. "Thanks, dad." Shikamaru put on a small smile.

-

Yoshino didn't know much about Naruto before finding out that he was her son's fixation. She knew what every adult in Konoha knew: He's a blonde kid with blue eyes and whisker like scars on his cheeks, he's a prankster, and he's the kyuubi jinchuuriki. Now she knows that he's being abused in more ways than just the expected hatred by the villagers, and, as her own fixation is being a caretaker, it pains her to know that her village could fail a child so horribly.

"So, I was wondering if you would maybe make a bento for Naruto everyday, too." Shikamaru asked her. He was prepared to end up doing chores around the house for this, but to his surprise, his mother nodded.

"I'll make it, Shika, don't worry." Yoshino smiled at her son. His fixation shouldn't have to go hungry because people are close minded and full of hatred. "And in return, you have to bring him around sometimes, okay? I want to meet the boy who could make my sweet little boy fixate on him so early in life."

Shikamaru sighed in relief. "I will."

-

Naruto, Shikamaru, and Choji sit outside together during lunch unless it's raining. Sasuke prefers to eat in the classroom, so most of the girls are inside which makes it peaceful.

"Naruto, I noticed you never bring a lunch." Shikamaru said.

Choji looked over at his best friend in confusion. Shikamaru notices a lot, but he never says anything.

Naruto awkwardly put a hand on the back of his head. "Ah, well-"

Shikamaru cut him off by shoving a bento at his chest. "I asked my mom to make this for you."

Naruto grinned. "You don't have to do that, Shika! Make sure to tell her I said thanks."

Shikamaru smiled back at Naruto. "Oh, and I was wondering if you're doing anything after school tomorrow. I noticed that you have trouble keeping up with the teachers. I wouldn't mind helping you out so you can get caught up."

Shikamaru was not prepared for the tackle hug that came at him, but having his fixation so close to him was certainly nice.

-

Choji and Shikamaru lived in a different direction from Naruto, so they didn't walk home together. Choji used this chance to question his best friend. "What was all that today, Shika? It was kind of weird when you just wanted to be friends with Naruto out of nowhere, but now you're going out of your way for him. You never do that."

Shikamaru sighed. He knew this would be coming. Choji knows him too well for it not to. "Have you heard about the Nara fixations?"

Choji shook his head no.

"Basically, because of how smart we are, we need something but keep us grounded, so we tend to find one thing in our life and we spend the rest of our lives fixated on it. . .or them."

Choji's nose wrinkled in confusion. "And out chose to fixate on Naruto?"

Shikamaru shook his head and shoved his hands in his pockets. "It isn't a choice. We just find the fixation and we know. "

"So, do you know why yours is Naruto?"

"Yeah." Shikamaru huffed slightly and a small blush popped up on his cheeks. "Its because he reminds me of sunny days. I always liked watching the clouds on bright sunny days and Naruto gives me the same feeling."

-

Naruto tended to be a quick learner once someone comes to understand how he learns. Since Shikamaru is a genius, he noticed rather quickly that Naruto learned better by doing. There aren't many ways to turn history, math, or japanese into a activity one can do rather than just reading it and studying it, but he found that letting Naruto have a five minute break after thirty minutes of sitting still and learning greatly increased his concentration. After a few weeks of meeting up three or four times a week after school, Naruto was finally caught up, which brought another problem.

"I know I'm getting it, Shika! I really am, but my grades aren't going up at all! You even helped me do the leaf sticking exercise right, but Mizuki-sensei said I cheated and failed me for it." Naruto looked so sad right then that Shikamaru felt ready to destroy the lives of Mizuki and anyone else who mistreated his fixation.

"I know you have been." Shikamaru sighed. "Maybe we just shouldn't worry about grades. My grades are bad too, you know?" He flopped onto his back in the grass. 

Naruto sighed. "Yeah, but that's because you like them there. I thought mine were bad because I didn't know the stuff, but now I know the stuff and they're still bad." Naruto lied down next to Shikamaru.

"Grades don't really matter. What matters is passing the genin exam. As long as you can do that, I wouldn't worry about it."

Naruto frowned. "But what if I cant do that? I can do the henge and the substitution, but I can't make a clone yet."

Shikamaru blinked slowly. "Yeah. . . That's a problem. You could come over to my house next weekend and we can ask my dad for help, if you want."

"You think your parents won't mind?" Naruto said. " A lot of grown ups don't really like me."

Shikamaru smiled. "My parents will." They better because Shikamaru is going to keep Naruto in his life for as long as possible. "Now. . . How about a nap before we head home?" It's a nice day out, Shikamaru's favorite type.

"A nap? I'm not really tired." Naruto said. "But, I guess I can just lay here with you if you want to take a nap."

"Yeah. . . " Shikamaru put his arms behind his head. He'd prefer curling up next to the blonde, but he wasn't sure how Naruto would take it.

Suffice to say, when shikamaru woke up a couple hours later to a sleeping Naruto cuddling against/half on top of him, he was feeling pretty happy.

-

"Mom, Dad, this is Naruto." Shikamaru said when they came inside.

Both of his parents were not so discreetly observing the blonde from the living room.

"Hello." Naruto said in a quiet voice with a small wave. He was looking down, clearly waiting for some sort of negative reaction.

"Hello, Naruto. Our son has told us a lot about you. I'm happy he's made a friend like you." Yoshino said with a soft smile.

Naruto finally looked up, a dazed expression rested on his face. "Really? I'm glad I have Shikamaru as a friend! He's a really great guy!" Naruto smiled brightly.

Only Shikaku noticed the small blush on his son's face.

"So, will you be staying for dinner, Naruto?" Yoshino smiled at him.

"Ah. . . If it isn't a problem, then I'd like that." Naruto said. He'd grown to love Yoshino's cooking from the bento boxes she'd been making for him for the past few weeks.

"Of course it's not a problem." Shikamaru said before placing a hand on Naruto's back and guiding him to the living room where his father was still sitting. "Dad, we want to ask you a few things."

Shikaku raised an eyebrow. "Oh?" He said in place of an actual invitation to ask.

Shikamaru nodded. "Naruto still can't do the clone jutsu. We were hoping you could help us figure out the problem."

"Let's head out side." He said. As soon as they were in the back yard, Shikaku turned to face Naruto. "Okay, show me what you can do so far."

Naruto nodded. "Okay" he formed the handseal. "Clone jutsu." He said. He had been yelling jutsu names, but Shikamaru had asked him to keep it quieter. Two half dead looking white clones popped into existence lying on the ground.

Shikaku blinked slowly at the display. "That's way to much chakra for two clones. Try putting as little as you possibly can into the jutsu."

Naruto nodded and tried, but the clones still appeared half dead and on the ground even if their coloring was better.

Shikaku sighed. At this rate, Naruto would need years of chakra control practice to even come close to using a small enough amount for this jutsu. "You have too much chakra for this." He said simply.

"How can he have too much chakra?" Shikamaru asked.

"From what I can feel, his reserves are at least triple my own" and that's without the kyuubi, the jonin commander couldn't help but think. "Without perfect chakra control, he'll never be able to use the basic clone jutsu. It's not that good of a jutsu, so worrying about getting your chakra control to that level isn't necessary. From here, I see two actions we can take. For both of them, we need to see the Hokage. It will take some time to set up a meeting with him, but just leave that to me. Don't worry about it for now." Shikaku told Naruto.

Naruto frowned. "Why would it take time to set up a meeting with Jiji? He sees me everytime I go to the tower."

Shikaku looked at him sharply, any trace of laziness was gone from his posture and expression. "Everytime?"

Naruto nodded. "He told me he would see me everytime, but to make sure I only come in over important things because he's busy."

"Well. . . Why don't you two head out front and I'll meet you there? I need to tell Yoshino we'll be gone for a little while."

Shikamaru grabbed Naruto's wrist and led him around the side of the house to the front.

Shikaku joined them a few minutes later and they set off.

-

"Ah, Naruto. It's been some time since you've stopped by." The Hokage said with a smile.

"Jiji! It's nice to see you! I made some friends, so I haven't had as much time as I used to." Naruto said.

"And is going Shikamaru one of these friends?" The Hokage eyed the two Naras wearily.

"Yeah! Shikamaru is the best! He's really nice and-"

The Hokage laughed. "As exciting as this is to hear, I'm sure you three aren't just here so Naruto can brag about his new friend."

Naruto nodded. "I'll tell you all about Shika some other time, Jiji!"

The old man smiled in an indulging way. "So, what's the reason behind this visit?"

"It has come to my attention that Naruto has too much chakra to perform the academy clone jutsu. Id like to have your permission to teach him the shadow clone jutsu instead." Shikaku said.

Hiruzen stroked his beard. "I see. . . And you think that would be the best course of action? I'm sure you've come up with some other solutions. I'd like to hear them as well."

Shikaku pressed his lips together. "The only other viable solution I've come up with is to allow Naruto to be tested as a special genin and have him tested on the other two jutsu instead of the clone, but I believe it would be best to teach him the shadow clone jutsu. He has more than enough chakra to use the jutsu to it's top potential."

"So, special genin exam or letting an academy student learn a village secret?" Hiruzen mused.

"Not just any academy student." Shikaku said with a raised eyebrow. "Naruto is special. Speaking of that, I'd also like permission to reveal that secret to both Naruto and Shikamaru."

Hiruzen's eyes hardened. "You understand why it's a secret. Naruto, shikamaru, why don't you both wait outside my office." The Hokage smiled at them.

Naruto and Shikamaru were definitely confused, but they knew that wasn't a question. "Bye, Jiji!" Naruto waved as he followed Shikamaru out.

The Hokage waved back.

As soon as they left, Shikaku spoke again. "Naruto deserves to know why the village hates him. He deserves to know why he's different. You can't keep it from him forever."

Hiruzen sighed. "And what of telling Shikamaru? He's smart enough to not hate Naruto for it, but you wouldn't suggest him just for that."

Shikaku nodded. "Shikamaru is a close friend of Naruto's. He can be there so Naruto has someone to talk to if he needs it."

"And what if they drift apart? They are still children. It's unlikely they'll remain friends after the academy."

"Shikamaru fixated on Naruto."

Hiruzen frowned. "I see." He sighed slightly. "I agree to letting you teach Naruto the Shadow clone Jutsu. As for telling them about the Kyuubi, you can tell them on the day they both graduate the academy."

Shikaku nodded and accepted that as the best he would get before walking out.

"How'd it go?" Naruto bounced up to him.

Shikaku sighed. "I can teach you the jutsu. If you're free tomorrow, you can come over at noon."

"And what about that secret you mentioned?" Shikamaru said.

"I have permission to tell you both when you graduate."

"Can you tell us anything now?" Naruto asked.

"It's the secret about why a lot of people hate you and what makes you so different."

-

"Okay, now we just need you to make two clones, Naruto." Iruka said. He felt bad doing that since he knows the trouble Naruto has with clones, but he can't show favoritism.

Naruto quickly ran through the handseals. "Shadow clone jutsu." He said as two clones popped up beside him.

"Shadow clone?" Iruka asked.

"That's not the clone jutsu we teach here." The third proctor said.

"Were going to have to fail you if you can't produce two regular clones." Mizuki sneered.

Naruto frowned, but he remembered what Shikaku had told him to do if they said something like that. "But these are better than the regular clones. They're solid! And I can't make the regular clone, so Shikaku-san got permission from the Hokage to teach me this instead." Naruto explained.

"Permission from the Hokage? We should have received a letter if that were true." Mizuki said. He had actually hid the letter when they received it.

Iruka smiled. "Well, I'm sure Naruto isn't lying to us. Nara-san is here today. We can always ask him."

"I don't see why it matters. We should pass him anyways. He produced two clones when we asked for them even if they aren't the regular version." The third proctor added.

"So, two for passing. Majority rules. Naruto Uzumaki, you pass." Iruka said, ignoring Mizuki's outraged look. The village would take care of it now. Whenever a student is passed for failed by majority rule, they look into the odd one out's conduct to see is they are impartial enough to stay as a teacher.

"How'd it go?" Shikamaru asked the blonde.

"I passed!" Naruto grinned before running up and hugging Shikamaru. "I don't think I could have without your help, Shika. Thank you for helping me so much."

Shikaku couldn't help but smirk as he looked at his red faced son getting hugged by his fixation. "We have to head to the Hokage Tower boys. I still need to tell you that secret." He and Hiruzen had decided it would be safest to discuss it in the Hokage's office since it would be easier to make sure no one was listening in there.

-

"There's no easy way to tell you both this, butlers start by clearing up the lie. Twelve years ago on the night the Kyuubi attacked, the Fourth Hokage didn't really kill the beast. There no known way possible to kill a bijuu. The only way people have come up with to deal with the beast is to seal them inside of a person, a jinchuuriki. "

Shikamaru's eyes lit up in understanding. "And Naruto is a Jinchuuriki? The fourth Hokage sealed the Kyuubi inside of him?"

"What?" Naruto said. "But. . . I don't understand. Does that mean that all of those people were right? Am I a monster?" He whispered.

"No!" Shikamaru shouted before wrapping his arms around Naruto. "You're not a monster. Youre . . ." He blushed. "To me, you're even better then the perfect shady spot on a warm, sunny day where I can watch the clouds go by."

"I- I-" Naruto couldn't help it. He wrapped his arms around Shikamaru to return the embrace and couldn't hold back the tears.

The old Hokage felt his heart clench in his chest. Shikaku was right. Shikamaru would help Naruto through this, but he's going to need more than the little bits of downtime between missions and training can provide. As soon as the boys left the office, he asked Shikaku to stay behind. "How would you feel about breaking up the Ino Shika Cho trio this generation?"

Shikaku's eyes hardened. "I want what's best for my son. The trio is a good team, but if you're offering, staying with Naruto will be better for him."

"It's going to take a lot of convincing, but we might be able to make it happen. I'll call a council meeting. We only have three days before team assignments are finalized."

-

"As much as the Ino Shika Cho trio has been successful in the past, I don't believe it would work this generation." Shikaku said from his seat. Inoichi and Chouza snapped their head over to him in shock.

The Hokage had started off the meeting by proposing the new team assignments. From there, he asked Inoichi and Chouza their opinions on breaking up the trio. They had both been against and had expected  Shikaku to be the same.

"Why do you say that?" Inoichi asked. Surely his friend has a good reason for it.

"I'm sure all of you know of the Nara fixations?" He inquired. At the node and general agreement he continued. "My son has already come into his. I believe it in the village's best interest for my son to be placed on the same team as his fixation, Uzumaki Naruto."

"I wasn't aware your fixation could be a person." Koharu spoke up.

"It can be anyone or anything. For Shikamaru, it's Naruto. They've been training together and friends for years."

"I thought your fixation was your greatest weakness. Why would you want your son's weakness that close to him?" Hiashi asked.

"It doesn't have to be a weakness. It can also be our greatest strength. Being around Naruto makes Shikamaru motivated. He wishes to keep training so that he may become strong enough to always stay by Naruto's side. Separating them is a mistake." Shikaku explained.

"And what of the Uchiha? We planned to place him and Hatake Kakashi on the same team as the Jinchuuriki so they can use the sharingan in case anything goes wrong." Himura said.

"The Uchiha has yet to come into his sharingan and we don't know how well Hatake Kakashi's sharingan would work against the beast since he wasn't born with it. Shikamaru has been allowed to know the secret at my request because of his fixation. It is better to have someone who could recognize the signs and help others escape than two people we aren't even sure could stop the fox." Shikaku countered.

"We have an Anbu. I believe he was one of Orochimaru's experiments." Hiruzen eyed Danzo wearily. "He is capable of wood release, which we know is capable of at least partially containing a bijuu. I believe pulling him and placing him as cell seven's instructor could abate some of your concerns."

"And which instructor should he replace?" Tsume asked.

"Asuma." The Hokage said after a moment.

There were murmers of agreement throughout. "So, what can we expect to be the new team assignments?" Hiashi asked.

"The only teams assignments effected are cells seven, eight, and ten. The new assignment will be team seven, instructor Tenzou, genin, Uzumaki Naruto, Yamanaka Ino, Nara Shikamaru. Team Eight, instructor Yuuhei Kuranai, genin Akamichi Choji, Hyuuga Hinata, Aburame Shino. Team ten, instructor Hatake Kakashi, genin Inuzuka Kiba, Haruno Sakura, Uchiha Sasuke. Any questions? Dismissed."

Shikaku was ambushed by Inoichi and Chouza as soon as he got outside.

"Why didn't you tell us you were supporting this?" Inoichi asked.

Shikaku just sighed.

"It's great that Shikamaru found his fixation early on. You should have told us." Chouza said. "We'd have understood."

-

"I've got some good news." Shikaku said when he saw Naruto and Shikamaru sitting on his porch together. Naruto had been coming over a lot since that first time. Yoshino and Shikamaru were definitely loving it and Shikaku enjoys it, too, if he's being honest.

Shikamaru and Naruto both looked up at the jonin.

"The Hokage reconsidered the team placements. We convinced the council to break up the Ino Shika Cho trio this time and place the two of you on the same team along with Ino."

Shikamaru frowned. "But I thought you said they'd want to put Naruto and Sasuke on the same team."

 


Shikaku sighed. "They did, but the Hokage had a trick up his sleeve better than an unawakened Sharingan. He's pulling one of his Anbu to be your instructor. I don't know the guy, but he's capable of wood release." The next thing Shikaku knows, he has tiny arms wrapped around his waist.

"Thank you, Shikaku-san. I'm really glad I can stay with Shikamaru."

Yoshino opened the door and called them in for dinner.

-

"The teams are a little different this year than they have been in the past, but I've been assured the council and Hokage went over them personally" Iruka said he looked over his paper. He quickly read out the team assignments and then he let in the jonin instructors.

"I'm Yamoto. I'm here for team seven." The brunette said.

Shikamaru, Naruto, and Ino all stood and followed him up to the roof.

"I suppose introductions are in order. Tell me about yourselves. Names, likes, dislikes, dreams for the future, stuff like that." Yamoto said. "You can start." He pointed at Ino.

"My name is Yamanaka Ino. I like Sasuke-kun and dislike Sakura-chan. My dream for the future is to become a good clan head." She finished.

Naruto went next since he was in the middle. "My name is Uzumaki Naruto. I like Shikamaru, Yoshino-san's cooking, and training. I dislike prejudice and bullying. My dream for the future is to become Hokage and make Konoha a better place." He said in what was probably louder than an acceptable speaking voice, but not yelling.

Shikamaru sighed. "Troublesome. My name is Nara Shikamaru. I like Naruto, Choji, and cloud watching. I dislike performing unnecessary actions. My dream for the future, or rather, my fixation is to spend the rest of my life by Naruto's side." He finished in a monotone voice

Naruto stared at him for a moment before tackling him into a hug. "I want to spend the rest of my life by your side, too, Shika!"

Yamoto watched the display with an almost blank, yet somewhat amused expression. "My name is Yamoto. I like training and reading. I dislike it when people, especially ninjas, slack off. I don't really have a dream for the future." He never really thought he'd love so long. "Meet me at training ground eleven tomorrow at six am. Don't be late." He said before using shunshin to leave.

"Ugh! I can't believe I'm on a team with you two idiots!" Ino screamed before stomping off.

Naruto looked up from where his head was on Shikamaru's chest, still wrapped close together in a hug. "What did you mean by fixation?"

Shikamaru sighed. "Naras tend to be extremely smart. Because of that, we need something to focus on so that we can stay sane. We've developed these things called fixations over the years. We don't choose them or when they happen, but they come. Mine came to me two years ago. My fixation is you." Shikamaru said.

 





"So. . . You didn't help me because you wanted to? I'm your fixation, so you had to." Naruto looked sad. He wouldn't throw away his friendship over this, even if Shikamaru doesn't really like him.

"That's not exactly right. We don't choose what we fixate on, but we choose how we react. I found out I was fixated on you, so I started to spend more time with you and help you where I could. I'm not upset that I fixated on you. I'm actually really happy about it. It let me see just how great of a person you are."

Naruto's expression brightened up. "We should go watch the clouds and take a nap!"

Shikamaru smiled. "Yeah. That sounds nice."

-

"You three pass." Yamoto said to his new genin team. His test was a little odd. He used interrogation techniques to try and pit them against each other by separating them and then telling that that only two of them could pass, so they had to pick which  two should pass and why. Ino had been trained in psychology because of her family and had seen through it, shikamaru had seen through it because of his intelligence, and Naruto is just too self sacrificing to have failed. "Ino and Shikamaru both saw through my plan pretty quick. Naruto, you wanted both of your teammates to pass even if you couldn't. That's a good quality to have, but you really need to value yourself more." The words that the blonde said flashed through his head. "They're both heirs to their clans. It'd look bad if they fail. I'm just. . . Me. Everyone expects me to fail anyways. That's why I think Ino and Shikamaru should pass."
Yamoto frowned. He's even that attitude before on a lot of broken shinobi, usually older ones. "I need to report this to the Hokage, but I can be done with that soon. It's still early in the day. Take a two hour break, eat lunch, and report back here after the two hours are up. We'll begin training today."

-

Three weeks later, some of the genin graduates met up at choji's family's barbecue restaurant. Everyone except Sasuke was there.

"Ugh, Kakashi sensei hasn't taught us anything!" Sakura complained. "He's so lazy. All he does is read his perverted book while we do D ranks."

Kiba nodded along "it's really bad. I have my clan to learn from, but Sakura and Sasuke don't have that. What are your senseis like?"

"Kuranai sensei is really nice. She teaches us but I think we're spending too long on some stuff. We all belong to clans and don't need to spend as much time on the basics." Choji paused from eating to say.

"Yamoto sensei is a slave driver!" Ino said. "He makes us meet at six am five days a week. We train until noon. Then we get an hour break for lunch, then we do a mission."

"I really like him! He's a great teacher and he spends time with each of us individually. He even told us where he lives and said we can contact him in weekends if we have questions." Naruto said.

"Troublesome." Shikamaru sighed out. "I really hate all this effort, but we have been advancing."

"Huh?" A voice from the door way said. "Is that our students?" A beautiful black haired woman said.

"Looks like it." A bored voice answered.

"Introduce me. I want to put faces to the names in the stories." Asuma told Kuranai.

"I see you three are having a nice day off. " Yamoto ruffled Naruto's hair.

"Yamoto-sensei!" Ino said in shock. "We're just all catching up. It's been a while since we've all seen each other."

Yamoto raised an eye brow. "You don't have to explain. I don't care what you do on your days off unless you're hurting yourselves or others."

"My cute little minions." Kakashi put his hands on Kiba's and Sakura's heads. "I see that you're missing one.  Where is he off to?"

Sakura huffed. "Sasuke-kun is training by himself since you don't train us." She hissed.

"Maa, maa" Kakashi eye smiled and waved it off.

"Senpai." Yamoto said as he stared at Kakashi.

"What is it, Tenzou?" He asked.

Yamoto's eye twitched slightly. "You have to train your genin. They can't be strong if you don't help them like you're supposed to." He made a scary face.

"But, Tenzou, I am training them." Kakashi whined.

"What have you taught them so far?" Yamoto asked.

"Teamwork exercises."

Yamoto waited a minute. "That's it? My genin are already on water walking. I plan on taking them on a C rank soon and then teaching them their affinities."

"How are they already on water walking? Mine are still on trees!" Kuranai said.

"Sensei makes us train six hours a day, five days a week." Ino said.

Shikamaru nodded. "It's not fun, but he pushes us and we're improving a lot."

"You don't think that's too much?" Kuranai asked.

"Sensei knows our limits! Besides, we're ninja and shouldn't be treated like children, even if we are young or inexperienced." Naruto added.

Yamoto nodded. "Senpai, be sure to start training your team or I'll have to file a formal complaint of misconduct on you . . . Again."

"You're so mean to me, Tenzou!" Kakashi slung an arm over his Kouhai's shoulders.

"Have a good lunch. Be prepared. Monday, I'll be upping our training." Kuranai said as she dragged Asuma to follow a server to a table. Yamoto and Kakashi tagged along.

"Did you hear what sensei said? He's going to take us on a C-rank soon!" Naruto gushed to Shikamaru.

-

"Grab your mission stuff and meet meet me at the East gate in thirty minutes. Team Ten is requesting back up for a mission. Pack for two weeks. I'll fill you in on the way." Yamoto said as soon as he entered the training ground.

The three genin scattered immediately.

-

"What are we going to do, Sensei?" Sakura asked Kakashi. The rank of their mission had suddenly gone up. The demon brothers had attacked. Them and even though Kakashi had taken care of them, he knew they'd need help if they kept going.

"I already sent a report to the Hokage. We're going to wait here until we receive new orders." Kakashi said. "We'll be setting up camp in the forest. My summons will watch the road for our back up."

-

"Hey!" A gruff voice said. "Are you Team Ten's back up?"

"Pakkun." Yamoto smiled. "It's been a while. Please, take us to Kakashi senpai."

"Kinoe." Pakkun said. "I thought you were going to stay there for a while."

Yamoto smiled. "I go by Yamoto now. I was pulled out to be a jonin sensei. I think it's a good change."

"This way." Pakkun led them to a clearing.

"They sent another genin team." Kakashi said.

"Yes,  I was given the details and the Hokage left the choice to me on whether or not to bring them. This will be a good chance for them to lose some of the naivety of youth."

Kakashi snorted. "Sit down. It almost night, so we'll stay here tonight. I'll fill you all in."

Yamoto sat across from Kakashi. Ino sat next to him, Naruto next to her, and Shikamaru sat next to Naruto and leaned into his side.

"It seems out client has made the shipping magnate Gato mad at him by trying to build a bridge to the mainland in his country. This will release the tyrannical hold Gato has on the country. We defeated two chuunin level enemies o nyhe way here. I assume the next enemy will be jonin level, so I asked for back up." Kakashi filled them in.

"You wouldn't usually do that senpai. You can take on most jonin by yourself. Why ask for back up?" Yamoto asked.

"I'm not sure how many people Gato has hired. Missing min are expensive, but not hard to come by. "

Yamoto nodded. "Shikamaru, Naruto, go try and hunt us something for dinner. Ino and I will set up our camp. It's okay if you can't find anything, but I'd rather save our rations for when we need them. Is there any water near here?" Yamoto asked Kakashi.

"I didn't scout very far." Kakashi replied.

"Akamaru and I can smell a large source of water to the south." Kiba said.

Yamoto nodded. "Take your teammates and fill up everyone's water bottles." Yamoto said.

Kiba nodded. "Let's go guys." Sakura seemed happy to have something to do and Sasuke seemed to sense that he shouldn't  argue with Yamoto even if he wants to.

-

Naruto tapped Shikamaru's shoulder and pointed as quiet as possible. There were two rabbits sitting next to a tree eating.

Shikamaru quickly trapped their shadows and Naruto went over and quickly killed them with a kunai.

"I hate doing that." Naruto said as he wiped the blade on the ground before putting it back in his weapon pouch.

Shikamaru snorted. "It'd be weirder if you enjoyed it. Let's look for some edible plants. I read a book on them a few weeks ago."

Another thirty minutes and they found a patch of fern plants. "Zenmai." Shikamaru said. He pulled out a kunai. "Only the female ones are edible. They have a lot of fiber. I have salt in my pack. We can get these with salt and the rabbit meat and have a small stir fry."

"That sounds great, Shika! You're so smart." Naruto grinned at the other boy.

Shikamaru couldn't help the blush on his face as he carefully cut out the fern shoots from one of the plants.

-

"You two were gone a long time." Yamoto said when Shikamaru and Naruto came back to the camp.

"Yeah, we caught the rabbits pretty quick. Shikamaru held them in place with his shadows while I killed them." Naruto grimaced. "But then Shika said he read a book on edible plants, so we went looking and he found zenmai! Now we can have a stir fry."

Yamoto nodded. "Okay. Ino, you know the drill."

Ino had a disgusted look on her face. "I know." She held her out out to Naruto and grabbed a kunai from her pouch.

"Do you do this often?" Kakashi asked.

"After I found out their affinities, we've been having training camps. I make them him to desensitize them. Shikamaru holds the animal in place and Ino or Naruto kill it. Whichever one of them didn't kill it has to gut and clean it."

Tazuna and Sakura looked vaguely green.

Ino returned to the camp fifteen minutes later. "Okay sensei. I spread out the insides and bones for predators and cleaned them. Can I go to the river since it's still day light and clean up some?"

Yamoto frowned. "Take one of Kakashi's team with you and hurry. You don't have time for a full bath."

Ino nodded. "want to come with me, Sakura?"

The pink haired girl nodded and followed her. "How can you be fine after that?"

Ino sighed. "At least I didn't have to kill them this time. It's always so sad. They can see us coming while Shikamaru holds them in place. We can see the fear in their eyes when they find out they can't move. I'm getting used to it, but I'll never like it." She shook her head slightly. "Sensei says it's better to start with animals. We're going to have to kill people someday, Sakura."
They came up on the river. "I'd rather know how to deal with it know than try and deal with it later."

Sakura shuddered. "I know we will, but it always seemed like a far off thing. Now it all seems so real."

"That's because it is real. I threw up my first time I killed an animal. I expected Yamoto sensei to be disappointed, but. . ." She scrubbed her hands. "he just pulled my hair back and said good job. Naruto didn't puke, but he cried on Shikamaru's shoulder. Yamoto told him good job, too. He was proud of us. He knew we didn't like killing, but he said we aren't supposed to like it, we're supposed to do it and that he's proud of us because we didn't try and get out of it or put it off."

"What about shikamaru? Has be killed any animals?"

Ino frowned as she stood up and they started walking back. "Yeah. Yamoto sensei caught a deer in his wood release and made him kill it."

"A deer? But. . .but he's a Nara." She said in shock.

"Yeah. Deer are really important to them, but he did it. He killed it and skinned, gutted, and cleaned it by himself. He even kept the antlers to bring back to his family for their medicine making. He didn't cry or throw up." She looked sick. "It was worse. He was unresponsive. Naruto just held onto him for the rest of the trip. Yamoto sensei didn't try to make them train after that. It took two days before he even spoke again."

They stayed quiet for the rest of the walk. "That smells so good!" Ino said as they came up on the camp.

"Yeah, Naruto cooked it. He's getting really good at it." Shikamaru said.

"Yeah, Yoshino-san has been teaching me." Naruto looked up at Ino and Sakura with a smile.

Ino grinned right back. "Really? That's great. I'm sure Shika is looking forward to having you as a wife." She teased.

"Huh? Are they dating?" Kiba asked. "I thought they were just good friends."

Naruto laughed. "We aren't dating. We're too young for that and need to focus on our training right now. Ino is just teasing is because Shikamaru is fixated on me."

Shikamaru sighed. "Troublesome blondes."

"Oh? It's rare for a Nara to be fixated on a person." Kakashi said as he eyed Shikamaru.

"What does that mean, anyways? Fixated." Kiba asked Kakashi.

Even Sasuke showed interest in the question.

"Ah, that's not really a question for me to answer." Kakashi said.

Shikamaru raised an eyebrow. "You can if you want. I'm not going to."

"So what's it mean, Sensei?" Sakura said as she stared at Kakashi.

"It's sort of like a distraction. The Nara are a clan of geniuses, so they need a distraction to keep them from being inside their head too much. They don't choose it and they can't change it later it life. Their fixation always stays the same."

"So you're fixation or whatever is Naruto? Isn't that a little weird?" Kiba asked.

"Hey! Shika isn't weird. He can't help it." Naruto immediately snapped.

Shikamaru smiled before leaning over into Naruto's space and wrapping his arms around the other.

"Alright, everyone. Eat then sleep. Kakashi's team has been here longer so my team will keep watch tonight. Shikamaru has first watch, then Naruto, then Ino, then me." He looked at a pocket watch. "Dawn should be in about seven hours, so you three can take hour and a half watched each and I'll take the left over." Yamoto said.

Shikamaru frowned. "That's two and a half hours. I'll take an extra thirty minutes since I have first watch so you can keep yours to two hours."

Yamoto nodded. "Alright." He wouldn't turn down the extra sleep and Shikamaru wouldn't have offered if he didn't mean it.

-

"Naruto, do you hear anything? Channel chakra in your ears like we practiced." Yamoto said. Naruto's senses were already enhanced from the Kyuubi, and chakra enhances to the be even better.

Naruto frowned. "Nothing."

Sakura and Kiba sighed in relief.

"No birds or other animals, just the wind." Naruto finished.

Kakashi immediately tensed. "Get down!"

Sakura pulled Tazuna to the ground and all of the ninja ducked just in time for a giant sword to fly where Kakashi's head would have been.

"Sharingan no Kakashi. It's no surprise the Demon brothers failed."

"Zabuza Momochi." Kakashi said back. "Protect Tazuna! Tenzou, wait for me to make an opening and then jump in."

The brunette nodded. "You six need to stay with Tazuna no matter what. Don't jump into the fight. Zabuza is an S rank missing min from Kirigakure. He could kill you all in seconds." Yamoto told the group.

Kakashi had allowed the fight to be moved to the water. It wasn't the best move since water is Zabuza's affinity, but it moved them away from the group.

A water clone was approaching the group, but Yamoto sent a root from the ground through its back and dispersed it.

Kakashi and Zabuza continued to fight, Yamoto joined in every now and then to land a few hits on Zabuza where he could. Eventually, Zabuza was down and knocked out, but Kakashi was on the verge of passing out as well.

A masked ninja hopped down to Zabuza's prone form. "Thank you for the assistance. I'm a hunter nin from Kiri. I'll be taking his body now."

Shikamaru frowned. "I thought hunter nin dispose of the body where it is, no matter who is around."

Yamoto's already wide eyes widened. He quickly threw a kunai at the masked ninja, but they grabbed Zabuza and ran. "That was a good catch, Shikamaru. Now we know Zabuza has help. It's best to just let them go for now since Senpai is so injured. I'm going to need some of you to carry him. I need my hands free in case we get attacked again."

"I got it." Naruto said. He made two shadow clones who immediately grabbed Kakashi.

"Shadow clones?" Yamoto said. "Where did you learn that?"

Naruto smiled. "Ah, I have too much chakra and not enough control to make regular clones, so Shikamaru's dad got permission from Jiji to teach it to me. I don't use it much since I'm learning a lot of other stuff from you, though."

Yamoto nodded.

"How can you have too much chakra? We're just genin?" Sakura asked.

Sasuke sent him a snide look. 

"I can't tell you." Naruto said.

"So you know, then? I've been meaning to ask you." Yamoto asked.

"Yeah. Shika knows, too."

"That's good."

"My house is just up here. I'll have my daughter set up a room for Kakashi-san, but I'm not sure we have enough room for all of you." Tazuna said.

Yamoto nodded. "that's fine. We can make camp outside. You aren't expected to provide our accommodations."

Kakashi was set down on a futon in an extra bedroom. Sakura quickly examined him.

"Oh? Do you have training as a medic?" Yamoto asked.

"Some. Kakashi sensei said my chakra control is perfect and set me up on a rotation at the hospital." She said as she examined him. "He has some mini injuries that can just be bandaged. The main thing is chakra exhaustion. I know how to do a transfusion, but I don't have enough chakra to restore a Jonin."

Yamoto hummed in thought. "Senpai's reserves are large for a Jonin, too. Not many medics would have that sort of chakra. At a normal rate, it will be a week before he can fight again, unless. . . Can you use Naruto as a battery? He can be the source of Chakra and you could recharge Kakashi like that."

"I've never tried something like that before."

Naruto grinned. "I'm up for it if you are."

Sakura nodded. "Let's try it."

It took almost an hour before Sakura got the hang of it. She had to draw Naruto's chakra into her body then put it into Kakashi's. It was a slow process, but three hours later, Kakashi's reserves were almost back to normal.

"Sensei!" Sakura said when she saw his eye open.

Kakashi sat up immediately. "Zabuza's alive."

"We know." Yamoto said. "Shikamaru figured it out. Sakura and Naruto performed a chakra transfer, so you should be almost healed."

Kakashi looked at his student and the blond next to her and eye smiled. He patted Sakura's head. "Good job."

Yamoto chuckled. "They're not dogs, Senpai."

"Ah, it's okay! We already know that just how Kakashi sensei is!" Sakura said.

"Okay, now I talked to the others on your team and it seems you still haven't done water walking with them?"

Ino looked at Kakashi in shock.

"Maa, maa, Tenzou. They're always so busy, no time for their sensei."

Yamoto sighed but lectured Kakashi about teaching his students.

-

"Okay, Kakashi will be teaching his genin water walking for the next week. The technique the fake hunter nin used on Zabuza takes about that long to heal, so we'll be guarding Tazuna until the seventh day. Then Team ten will join us."

-

Sasuke and Kiba had rushed in like idiots and we're currently trapped in the ice mirrors made by Haku. Ino and Sakura were guarding Tazuna. Kakashi and Yamoto were fighting Zabuza. Naruto and Shikamaru were trying to figure out how to fight Haku, or at least get the two inside the mirrors out of the trap.

"I'm just going in, Shika! You stay out here and figure it out, okay? They might get killed if we wait any longer."

"Naruto, wait!" Shikamaru grabbed his arm. "Don't die. A Nara without his fixation will go crazy, so if you die, I die, got it?"

Naruto's blue eyes steeled. "Don't worry, shikamaru. I won't leave you, yet." He ran into the mirror dome.

"Oh, another one? Surely you must realize how foolish it is for you to have came in here."

"I don't care!" Naruto called out. He tried attacking the ice with a few wind jutsu.

Sasuke slowly stood up and used another fireball jutsu. When Naruto saw it, he added a wind jutsu to it to power it up, but it still did nothing to the ice.

Haku ran from his current mirror and knocked Sasuke back down.

Naruto eventually resorted to spamming clones to try and catch Haku, but it wasn't working. They were all getting destroyed.

"Keep doing that, done." Sasuke said. He was starting to see Haku.

-

It turns out that seeing Haku means nothing when he's faster than Sasuke. Haku stuck him with Senbon and pit him into that death like state.

Naruto was furious. He couldn't protect Sasuke and now he's dead. Kiba and Akamaru are really hurt to. If he doesn't do something, he'll end up like them too and then Shikamaru will end up dying too because Naruto couldn't keep his promise. He couldn't think straight. He was just so angry. All he could see was painted red.

-

"Sensei!" Shikamaru yelled.

It seem like the whole bridge stopped at the malevolent chakra.

"Shit." Yamoto eloquently said before trying to run over to the dome, but Zabuza blocked him off.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was only a few minutes, the mirrors shattered and a no longer red coated figure ran towards the slightly older boy less then five meters away from him and plunged a kunai right through his chest, almost at the same time a white lightning ball went through the chest of Zabuza.

Clapping could be heard. "What a show! I didn't expect Zabuza to lose, but it's not like  I planned on paying him any-" A swiftly thrown Kunai shit him up. Shikamaru's hand was still in the air from where he'd thrown it. After that, the group of bandits and samurai that had been behind Gato erupted into chaos. They started to storm the bridge. Yamoto took out most of them with his wood release, Ino took out the few that approached her and Sakura, and Shikamaru held a few in a place at a time and Naruto ran through and slit their throats.

At the end of it, Naruto and Ino we're leaning up against Shikamaru and the short wall on the side of the bridge. Ino had puked off the side of the bridge until nothing was left, Shikamaru didn't say a single word, and Naruto just had a thoughtful, yet sorrowful look in his eyes.

"Are you three going to be okay while I help Sakura and the citizens with clean up?" Yamoto asked them.

Naruto smiled brightly. "Don't worry so much, sensei! We knew this was coming one day. We just need some time."

Yamoto sent him a worried look, but let it go.

"How are you acting so happy?" Ino asked, still looking a little green.

Naruto shrugged. "I didn't like killing them, but if I wouldn't have done it, they could have killed you guys. Sasuke and Kiba almost died today. That could have been you two."

Ino nodded. "I know. We did what we had to."

"I was the first one to attack. He was just talking and I killed him. He may have hired all those people, but Gato was still a civilian." Shikamaru said.

"Shika. You know that he had to die. There isn't any law enforcement that will hold guys like that." Naruto said.

Ino nodded. "Think of how many more people would have died if he lived. Think of what he was doing to this country. The people here are starving and dying and when they tried to help themselves, he tried to kill them. He wasn't a good man." Ino added.

-

"I've entered you three into the chuunin exams. If you wish to participate, fill out these forms and bring them back to me. You have to join as a team, so if one of you doesn't want to, now of you will." He added that scary face that meant or else.

-

"Just follow me." Shikamaru said as he led him team past the genjutsu on the second floor. They made it to the exam room with no other problems.

"Alright, listen up! I'm your first exam proctor, Morino Ibiki! We're having a paper exam for this round. There will be no cheating! Anyone caught cheating will have two points deducted each time. You have a total of ten points. After the fifth time your caught cheating, you're out. You have to pass as a team. If one person is thrown out for cheating the whole team is. There are ten total questions. Question ten will be given out at the fifty minute mark. Begin."

Shikamaru immediately figured out they were supposed to cheat. Out of the genin he knows, only Sakura and himself would be able to answer these questions. He sighed, but wrote a little note on his paper for if Ino decides to cheat of him. 'Ino, if you see this, help Naruto out and if you see anything weird I his mind, try not to freak out.'

Ino looked around. She has to cheat and she knows it. From her spot she can see Sakura and Shikamaru. She just has to decide which one to use. After a minute, she decided on Shikamaru. He is the safer bet since he's on her team.

-

Ino quickly wrote down the answers she remembered onto her own paper. She wondered about Shikamaru's note, but decided she would figure out what he meant by weird in a minute. She memorized the answers on he paper before using her jutsu on Naruto.

Instead of waking up at his desk, like she expected, she came too in a sewer.

"You don't belong here." A deep voice said.

She looked around and saw giant glowing red eyes behind a large gate with a paper on it that said 'seal'.

"W-who are you and why  are you inside my teammate?" She stuttered out.

"Oh?" The fox came closer to the bars so she could see him better. "I'm the Kyuubi, brat. I was sealed in this kid years ago. This is my prison. Now, why are you here?"

I need to help Naruto with his test. I'm using a mind transfer jutsu to us to cheat, but it brought me here instead of switching us."

"Acting brave?" The fox said.

"Why shouldn't I? You said it yourself. You're sealed here. This isn't my real body anyways." Ino said.

The fox snorted. "Go down that hallway. It will take you where you want to go." His claw poked out of the cage and pointed.

Ino opened her eyes in Naruto's body. She frowned. His senses are so heightened. It's strange. She shook her head and started filling in the answers she memorized before going back to her own body. That must have been what Shikamaru meant. She'll just have to talk to them about it later.

-

"All of you. . . Pass!" Ibiki said. "The ones who left just now don't deserve to be shinobi. We take missions everyday that could be life or death and we don't know. It's part of being a-"

A purple and tan blur busted through the window. A banner fell down that read "the sexy and single second exam proctor mitarashi Anko."

-

Team seven had made it through the forest a day early. They finally had a moment to themselves and Ino could mention what she saw.

"Hey, Naruto. . . When I used my mind transfer jutsu on you during the first test, I saw something." Ino said.

"I suspected you might." Shikamaru said.

Naruto looked terrified.

"Does it change how you feel about Naruto?" Shikamaru asked.

"No. I'm just confused. "
Ino said.

"I can't say anything. Naruto has to explain it and you can't tell anyone. There's a law that makes it punishable by death if you do." Shikamaru said.

Ino nodded and Naruto started telling her about how he and Shikamaru found out and all he knows about it.

-

The preliminary went well enough for team seven, but team ten appeared to be having trouble. Sasuke was having issues with something. Yamoto had told his team to not worry and he'd help Kakashi deal with it.

Naruto, Ino and Shikamaru all accepted that. They have the finals to train for, after all.

-

"Hey, pervert! Stop peeping on the women's hot springs!" Naruto yelled.

A few kunoichi heard his yell and hopped over the fence in towels to beat on the old man.

"What about the kid?" One of them said.

"Oh, don't worry about him. His boyfriend is the Nara heir." Kuranai said with a smile.

Naruto's face lit up red at the statement.

The women giggled and went back to the bath.

"What's you do that for, kid?" The man said.

"It's wrong to peep." Naruto said.

"Oh, there you are, Naruto." Yamoto said. "We agreed to meet a little closer to the road."

"I know, but then I saw this creepy old guy peeping on the women's hot springs." Naruto said as he pointed at said old man.

"Ah, Jiraiya-sama. I heard you were back in the village. Has the Hokage contacted you yet? They're in need of your sealing expertise."

The man grumbled. "I'm going now, since the brat interrupted my research."

"We'll walk with you. I wouldn't want you to get distract again." Yamoto smiled one of his creepy smiles.

"So, who are you? You seem sort of familiar." Jiraiya said after a minute of walking. "Both of you do."

"I'm Tenzou, but I go by Yamoto, now. I am the one capable of wood release." He avoided saying he's an experiment around Naruto. "This is one of my genin, Uzumaki Naruto. I'm looking for a specialized tutor to help him train for the chuunin exam if you'd be interested. I bet he'd be good with seals."

Jiraiya scratched his chin. "Eh, it's only a month until the final. I don't think I can teach him enough about seals I that little time to really be helpful, but I got some other interesting stuff if you want to learn, kid."

"Eh? Really? I thought you were just a pervert." Naruto said.

"Listen up, kid. I'm not just a pervert. I'm a SUPER PERVERT! I am the toad sage, Jiraiya!"

Naruto put his fist into his flat palm in realization. "So you're an ero sennin."

"Don't call me that. It'll scare off the ladies." Jiraiya said.

"They're already scared." Yamoto said. Everyone on the street was giving them a wide berth.

-

"Just wait out here for a few minutes, Naruto. We need to speak to the Hokage in private." Yamoto had said before putting his student out in the small area in front of the Hokage's secretary.

"Naruto? What are you doing here?" Shikaku asked.

"Ah, Yamoto sensei is talking to he Hokage with ero sennin. He asked me to wait out here and after they're done, they're going to discuss ero sennin training me for the chuunin exam final." Naruto explained.

"Ero sennin?" Shikaku asked.

"He said his name is jiraiya."

Shikaku chuckled. "Well I guess it makes sense for him to train you."

Naruto looked confused and decided to voice it. "Why would that make sense?"

Shikaku frowned. "I suppose I can't tell you. I'll ask the Hokage when I go in there if I can explain."

Naruto nodded in understanding. "Okay. Thank you, Shikaku-san."

-

"So, is the Uchiha any better?" Shikaku asked when he came into the office.

"Kakashi did good on sealing as soon as he became aware of the seal, but I'm glad Yamoto made him and the Hokage approach me. A basic seal like what Kakashi used isn't strong enough." Jiraiya said.

"Well, I suppose if anyone knows about mind controlling seals, it'd be me." Yamoto laughed at his own joke even though no one else did.

"What can you do for the boy, Jiraiya?" Hiruzen asked.

"It's going to take some time, but I think I'm close to figuring out how to remove it completely. For now, I suggest placing a loyalty seal to the village on him."

"A loyalty seal? What are we talking here?" Kakashi said sharply.

"That seal is going to prey on any desire he has to get stronger. It will make him defect. The cursed seal clouds his judgement and makes him think that going to Orochimaru is the only option. A loyalty seal will keep him here. I say we tie him to Kakashi and be done with it while I researched how to get rid of the seal completely." Jiraiya said.

Yamoto frowned. "Loyalty seals are easy to abuse and have a bad reputation, but if senpai is the one it's tied to, I think it's a solid idea."

Kakashi frowned. It was barely noticeable with his mask, but to all of the high level shinobi in the room, they could see the faint movement in his mask. "I'm not sure. If he will turn against konoha no matter what unless we use the seal, then I'm for it, but maybe tie him to someone else."

"Who else is there? If Orochimaru has chosen to act against the leaf village, the Hokage's life is in danger and there aren't any other ninja loyal enough and close enough to this." Shikaku said.

"I'm sure it'll be fine, senpai." Yamoto said.

Hiruzen nodded. "Then that's what we'll do. Kakashi, Jiraiya, take care of this immediately. Dismissed."

"I'll have to talk to you and Naruto another day. I'll be in the village for the next month at least." Jiraiya told Yamoto before he and Kakashi both left through the window.

"About Naruto, hokage-sama, id like to reveal his heritage to him. I'm sure he'll be wondering why jiraiya of the sannin is willing to train him." Shikaku said.

Hiruzen sighed. "I'm sure you'll want your son to hear it as well."

"If you'll allow it." Shikaku nodded.

"I was going to tell him when he made chuunin, but all of this business with Orochimaru is moving up my time table. I'll allow it." The Hokage said.

Shikaku nodded. "Thank you, Hokage Sama."

He and Yamoto left the office.

"Where the ero sennin?" Naruto asked when he saw them.

"He had an urgent mission to take care of. He'll be back around soon and still able to train you this month. Your dismissed for the day." Yamoto told him.

"Come home with me today, Naruto. I received permission to tell you and Shikamaru something important."

-

"Naruto." Shikaku stopped him on the porch. "What I plan to tell you is who your parents were. I understand if you don't want shikamaru to know that yet. I can tell just you."

Naruto grinned after he got over the momentary shock. "Shikamaru and I share everything with each other. I want him to know, too."

They stepped inside. "Yoshino, Naruto is here today." Shikaku said his loud enough for his wife to hear his voice.

Yoshino smiled brightly when she turned around to see the blond. "My little pekopeko is up in his room. Dinner will be in two hours if you're staying."

"Thank you, Yoshino-san." Naruto said politely as he took off his shoes and led the way up to Shikamaru's room, Shikaku close behind him.

"Hey, Naruto." The Nara heir said as soon as the blond entered his room.

"Not going to say hello to me?" Shikaku asked as he came in behind him.

Shikamaru just sighed.

"Your dad said he's going to tell us who my parents were." Naruto said as he climbed into Shikamaru's bed, half in the others lap.

Shikaku nodded. "I'm sure you're curious why someone like Jiraiya-sama would train you, Naruto. The reason behind it is who your parents were. Your father was quite close to Jiraiya-sama. He was one of his students. The most famous of his students."

Shikamaru's eyes widened in realization.

"Namikaze Minato, the fourth Hokage was your father. His wife, Uzumaki Kushina was your mother. They both died the day you were born, Kushina in child birth and Minato sealing the nine tailed fox inside of you." Shikaku finished.

"Do you know anything else about them? About what they were like or anything like that?"

Shikaku sighed. "I wasn't that close to them. I'm bet Kakashi could tell you about them if you ask him. He was your father's student. Jiraiya could, too."

Naruto nodded sadly. "Thank you for telling me what you can." He said.

Shikaku smiled slightly and left the room.

"That was a surprise." Shikamaru said as he scooted over to make more room for Naruto.

Naruto went into the now open spot and curled into Shikamaru's side. "Yeah. . ."

"Troublesome." Shikamaru sighed out. "Want to take a nap until dinner?"

Naruto immediately put his head against Shikamaru's shoulder and nodded into it. "Yeah."

-

"Okay, kid. Remember to try and pull on that other source of Chakra." Jiraiya smacked Naruto into the ravine.

Naruto immediately started yelling. Who the heel throws a hid into a ravine like this? It could kill him. He started forming signs for the summoning jutsu. It failed the first few times, but finally, red chakra enveloped him and he used the jutsu again to summon a giant toad.

"Jiraiya!" The toad yelled. "What did you summon me for? And where are you?" He looked around.

"Ero sennin didn't summon you. I did." Naruto said.

The toad huffed. "What kind of prank is this? There's no way a runt like you could summon me."

Naruto frowned. "I did! I have a lot of chakra because I'm a" he paused. "Ji- jan- jinchu- I have a bijuu sealed inside me. The Kyuubi." Naruto said.

"Hmph. I guess it is possible, but that still doesn't answer where Jiraiya is."

"He's at the top of this ravine. Can you take us up there?" Naruto asked.

"Hold on, Kid."

-

Naruto had won against Neji. It was difficult, but he managed with the strategy he and shika5 had came up with and all the extra training he'd had that month.

Shikamaru had won his fight after dragging it out for hours to lure his opponent into just the right position.

Ino forfeited once her mind body swap jutsu had missed. She had used the phrasing her and Shikamaru had come up with to make it seem like more of a chuunin action.

It was time for Sasuke's fight against Gaara, but he was late.

Finally, right as the proctor was about to call Sasuke forfeit, he and Kakashi shunshinned in. "See to it that your sensei's habits don't rub off on you, Uchiha. Being late doesn't look good." The proctor said.

Halfway through the fight, feather began to fall. Yamoto and Shikamaru kept Naruto and Ino awake.

Gaara was going out of control. His siblings almost grabbed him and ran off, but a quick wood release stopped all three in their tracks and suppressed Shukaku. "Team Seven, whatever you do, stick together and fight." Yamoto said. "Anyone with a sound or sand forehead protector is an enemy. Aim for the kill." Yamoto quickly secured the three sand siblings and stood to stay watch on their Jinchuuriki.

"Where are you three going? Where's your sensei?" Maito Gai asked them.

"We have our orders." Ino said as she looked at Gai. "We're going to help protect the civilians in the stands."

Gai nodded. "Be careful."

They all nodded and ran to the stands. They used their preferred method of killing when possible. Shikamaru would hold them in place and Ino and Naruto would kill them, but every now and then, shikamaru would need a small break or wouldn't be able to hold all of the ninja and Naruto would make clones and attack them with wind jutsu while Ino attacked or tried to trap them with her earth Jutsu. Shikamaru used his own lightning element to zap anyone that got too close to him while he was using his shadow possession.

-

The invasion was finally over and team seven was exhausted. Their sensei was no where to be found and a good portion of the village was destroyed and still in chaos, so they stayed in the stadium together for an hour or so.

"I'm going home you two. I'm sure my parents are worried." Ino said.

Naruto didn't move from his spot against the wall. Shikamaru's head was in his lap and his hand was tangled in the Nara's loose hair. He was still unresponsive from the news of the third Hokage's death.

Another hour later and Shikaku, Jiraiya, and Yamoto found him.

"Kid, if your up for it, I'm going on a trip to track down our next Hokage. I can teach you a jutsu your father made if you come with me." Jiraiya said.

"If he goes, you have to take Shikamaru, too." Shikaku said.

"Why would I do that?" Jiraiya asked in an irritated voice.

A smile popped into Naruto's face for the first time in hours, but it was a small one. "Because I'm his Fixation. We need to stay together. It's better that way."

Shikamaru smiled up at Naruto. "That's right. I'll always stay by your side, Naruto." Shikamaru lifted a hand up to the blonde's cheek.

"Fine. You can come, too, brat." Jiraiya said.

-

Tsunade settled right in and immediately took over the village. Naruto affectionately called her Baa Chan and she would never admit that she liked it. For a while, things were peaceful.

Then the Akatsuki started trying to abduct Naruto.

-

Jiraiya had gotten word that the Akatsuki would be taking a three year break. He wanted to use this break to train Naruto, but they have to keep a low profile meaning that it can ot be the two of them. Shikamaru and Naruto reluctantly said goodbye to each other. This would be the first time in almost five years they had spent more than a day apart from eachother and now they wouldn't see eachother for three whole years. They shared their first kiss on the day they said good bye.

-

Naruto finally came back to the village. He went to see Shikamaru first, but their reunion didn't last long. Naruto was too valuable a resource to keep inside the village for long and Shikamaru had a chuunin exam to proctor for.

-

The first time Shikamaru actually feared he wouldn't be able to keep his promise to always stay by Naruto's side was when Hidan had attacked him, Ino, and Yamoto. Another jonin named Asuma had popped up just in time to save Yamoto, but Hidan was still alive and out there somewhere. He'd only left because he said his partner would cut off his head again if he was late.

Shikamaru devised a plan to kill Hidan the next time he saw him. Not only was this man after his fixation, he also made him feel like he'd break his promise.

-

Shikamaru's plan went as expected. . . Almost.  Hidan's partner had showed up, but Kakashi had listed him off and said he'd fight him. He didn't know Naruto would be fighting him too, or that Naruto's arms would be so mangled from this new jutsu he was using. It broke his heart to see his beloved fixation in such a state. It hurt even more to know that Naruto would have to leave soon after he was healed.

-

If Shikamaru felt his heart was breaking at seeing Naruto injured, it felt like it was torn out of his chest and ripped to shreds when Naruto was fighting Pein. The blonde had almost released the Kyuubi during the fight, but eventually, when Shikamaru felt like his heart could take no more, it was over. All he wanted to do was run to Naruto, but his stupid leg was broken and he couldn't do it.

-

Pein had brought all those he had killed back from the dead, but their village was still gone. They had almost no resources.

People were injured and they had no medicine. Children and adults, civilians and ninja alike were all cold and hungry but there was hardly any shelter or food.

They had provisions coming in a few days, but they need stuff now. All they could do was make do with what they have.

Naruto had his own private medical tent. It was small, but there was enough room for Shikamaru to sit on the ground, injured leg straight forward, just basking in the presence of his fixation. The village is destroyed, so many people are dead, or injured, or hungry, but all Shikamaru can think is how happy he is to be reunited with Naruto.

-

Naruto woke up a few days later. Shikamaru was mostly healed by then, so he walked right over to Naruto's bed side as soon as he heard the shift in breathing. "Shika." Naruto breathed out.

"Hey, Naruto." Shikamaru smiled at the blond.

-

The village was rebuilt. Akatsuki, Kaguya, Madara . . . All of them were gone. They could finally move into the future.

"I present, your Nanadaime Hokage, Uzumaki-Nara Naruto" Kakashi passed the hat onto Naruto. The crowd cheered loudly.

-

"Everything really worked out in the end, Shika." Naruto said to his advisor.

"Yeah. We really mad with this far." Shikamaru  leaned against the desk in Naruto's new office. It wasn't exactly like the old Hokage Tower, but it was still nice.

"We should celebrate." Naruto had a devious look on his face.

"How?" Shikamaru asked as he walked closer to the blonde and lazily wrapped his arms around him.

The sudden and heated kiss answered Shikamaru's question.

,