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This fanon is to redress all the things I find wrong with the Naruto series and detail an "if I were in his shoes" I had regarding Naruto. This Naruto is not a moron, he is in fact very intelligent. While he is still a practical joker, he now pulls pranks for the amusement of himself and his friends, not to get attention.
This Naruto being smarter, was also able to spot Hinata's crush on him much sooner and act on it. Naruto, now being very curious, managed to wrangle the entire story and truth about his father, the Fourth Hokage, and the Nine Tails out of the Third Hokage and has since become determined to protect the Hidden Leaf in honor of his parents rather than just to make everyone respect him. He has also become much more adept at info gathering and has picked up a great deal of information about the world around him, and is also far more proficient at using ninjutsu and accessing the fox's power because he's been aware of it for much longer.
He now usually keeps at least one tail manifested simply for convenience and to remind people that messing with him could have nasty consequences even though he secretly never stops hoping for the day when he won't need his tail to ward off the blatant resentment of those around him."
Chapter 1: Naruto UzumakiEdit
12 Years After the 9 Tailed Fox's AttackEdit
Naruto cheerfully clambered about the Hokage monument, using his claws and a series of safety lines to keep himself from falling to a very early death as a fluffy orange tail waved in the air behind him holding his spare paint bucket. He grinned as he heard people shouting at him from down below. He didn't much care. SPLOOSH went the yellow paint over the hair of his father's stone semblance. Naruto checked to make sure he had gotten most of the former Hokage's hair and then clambered back up and switched for buckets of blue and white paint before clambering back down to his dad's eyes and quickly painting them as well.
It was definitely the most polite of his work today. Lord First Hokage had lipstick and makeup on to go with his long hair. Lord Second had a long curly mustache and his tongue sticking out with his eyes crossed and a rather stupid grin, and Lord Third looked very drunk. Ah speak of the devil, Naruto thought as he turned in his harness and saw Lord Third walking up. Naruto sighed and clambered back up to set his bucket of paint down, and get where he could run, he added as he glanced over his shoulder and saw his teacher Iruka-sensei running up.
As Iruka-sensei tensed to spring, Naruto loosed his safety lines, knowing that if he kept them secured Iruka would have him hog tied in an instant. Iruka sprung up, Naruto sprung down, "WHOOOOO!" Iruka landed on the monument, hanging like a lizard, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Naruto hurled a kunai trailing one of his lines into a nearby building, and as it lodged in the wall he twisted, spinning himself through the air onto the side of the building,latching on with his claws and stopping what would otherwise have most likely been a lethal descent.
He pulled his line loose and bounced across the street off a building and back down before waving at Iruka-sensei and yelling up at him, "High Altitude Maneuvering Practice Sensei!" Then he bounded away as two chunin leapt down to the street to chase him. As he rounded a corner at top speed he dove into a dumpster and hid as the two chunin shot past, "Where did he go?!"
Naruto grinned and transformed into a small ordinary fox and waited. He listened with his fox senses as the two chunin moved on, carefully paying attention for the pop of a shadow clone being made. When the coast was clear, he slunk out of the dumpster and scurried off to Ichiraku's. Before he got there he transformed again, this time into a pretty girl with dark hair in nondescript clothing. He slunk in and ordered six bowls to go, making sure to barely acknowledge Iruka-sensei as he poked his head in looking for him.
"Hey have you seen Naruto?" He asked Teuchi. "Nope," Teuchi replied. Naruto hmmed thoughtfully, "you mean that blonde kid with the tail?" Iruka turned to Naruto immediately, "Yes that's him!" Naruto cheerfully pointed away from the school, "I think I saw him going that way."
Iruka bowed, "Thank you miss!" and ran off. Teuchi handed Naruto his ramen, "Here you go." "Thank you!" Naruto replied happily before walking off calmly. He didn't run, but he didn't let any grass grow under his feet either. He hummed cheerfully, everything good here, nothing wrong. He passed the two chunin that had chased him and got back to the school in a matter of minutes.
He slunk around to the classroom window and poked his eyes over the bottom of the window sill to make sure he had indeed beaten Iruka back. He grinned as he didn't see him and quickly climbed in. "I'm back!" He declared happily. He quickly returned to his seat and after quickly kissing Hinata on the cheek and placing a bowl of ramen in front of her, earning himself a huge smile and shy blush that made his heart soar, he looked around, "Choji!" Choji grinned as he accepted his bowl of ramen, "Thanks Naruto!" "Shikamaru!" Shikamaru sighed as he accepted his, "You know Iruka-sensei's gonna be furious when he gets back right?" Naruto grinned, "He'll get over it."
"WILL HE NOW?!" Iruka bellowed as he dropped the camouflage cloth right behind Naruto. Naruto jumped clear across the room, a bowl of ramen still in hand as he landed on Iruka's desk. He recovered quickly, turned, crossed his legs and sat down on Iruka's desk, "Well that last bowl's for you. I kinda figure you'll get over it but..." he shrugged, "The monument needed painting anyway, it's supposed to rain tonight and I used cheap paint, so it will wash right off, I sent Lord Hokage a bowl of ramen too with a shadow clone, and I'm back now. No harm done."
Iruka opened his mouth to scold him further, closed it, Naruto had a point he thought. And he had brought ramen as an apology. Still though, "Well Naruto, since you missed it, everyone is going to review the Transformation Jutsu!" Naruto shrugged as the entire class groaned, "Okay." He folded his hands into the activation seal and turned back into the pretty dark haired girl whose form he had assumed at Ichiraku's, only this time in the nude.
Iruka's expression was priceless as he recoiled in surprise and his nose started bleeding. "Sexy Jutsu!" Naruto declared as the entire class exploded into laughter, "A cheerful reminder that Transformation is good for more than just disguises!" He managed not to howl with laughter like everyone else, but it wasn't easy as Iruka seethed, "NARUTOOOOO!!!"
Naruto scrubbed away at the paint he had left on the Third Hokage's stone face, not bothering to gripe. He knew it wouldn't do any good, and besides, he had planned ahead and used easy to wash off paint. It was coming off almost as soon as the water touched it. "Hey Naruto," Iruka called down, "Why'd you do all this?" Naruto looked up at him, "Couple of reasons actually."
He went back to scrubbing, continuing nonchalantly, "Number one, I thought it was pretty dang funny. Number two, I needed the stress relief, the graduation exam's tomorrow and even though I don't show it, that does stress me out a little. Number three, it was good exercise and I love a good chase. Number four, it made my friends laugh when they saw it, and that means way more to me than having to clean off this cheap paint I used. Hell applying it was more trouble than cleaning it off is!
"Number five, I wanted to see how good my transformation jutsu is, and apparently it's pretty good, which makes me feel a lot better about the exam tomorrow. Number six, I was going for ramen anyway, and I figured while I was making trouble I should go ahead with the prank I'd been batting around in my head for over a month. Go big or go home right?" Before Iruka could respond, Naruto continued, "Number seven, I got to use that joke with my Sexy Jutsu that I've been waiting to drop since I made it. Number eight, ramen!"
He paused and Iruka thought maybe he was done, but just as he opened his mouth Naruto said in a more subdued tone, "Number nine, I felt like reminding people I'm not a monster." Iruka flinched slightly, his reproach dying in his throat as he looked over at the face of the Fourth Hokage, the yellow paint and blue eyes making his resemblance to Naruto extremely clear as Naruto continued, "I pretend it doesn't get to me, but it's hard to ignore that a lot of people still look at me like I'm just the fox." His tail waved behind him, "I don't blame them for being afraid, he's not some house pet. He's downright scary, but that doesn't make being treated like some kind of homicidal freak any easier."
"And maybe I am a freak," he continued as he scrubbed slightly more vigorously, anger seeping into his voice as though he were scrubbing at the fear and resentment that had been the bane of his existence for so long, "But I'm a Hidden Leaf Village freak, and one day I'm gonna be Hokage so that they'll all know I'm here to protect them! From the fox and whatever else is out there! That I'm not a monster! I'm the son of the Fourth Hokage and even if most people don't know it and they're not allowed to talk about it, I'm gonna do my old man proud!" he finished defiantly. Iruka smiled, it actually made sense when he put it like that!
Naruto walked into Ichiraku's with Iruka and hugged Hinata, "Sorry I'm late, took a little bit longer than I expected to gather up all my climbing gear." Hinata smiled, "I don't mind." Hinata's father looked over his shoulder, and then turned around on his stool, "I mind. That was a very disrespectful thing to do Naruto!" Naruto looked chagrined, "Lord Hyuuga, I cleaned it all up! And the rain tomorrow would've washed it off even if I hadn't! Besides Lord Hokage knows I didn't mean anything by it! He actually thought the expression on Lord Second's face would've been hilarious!"
Hiashi hmmed, "You still should not have done it. You shirked your studies to do it and your graduation exam is tomorrow. You should have been studying, not out pulling childish pranks. Are you ready for the exam?" "Ready as I'll ever be," Naruto replied cheerily. Hiashi looked at Iruka, "Is he ready?" Iruka sat down, "Well his transformation Jutsu's up to snuff. He claims he used the shadow clone jutsu to send Lord Hokage a bowl of ramen this afternoon after his prank as an apology of sorts, so I suppose he's good on that too."
Hiashi hmmed again before looking back at Naruto, "At least you apologized." Then he turned back to his ramen. Hinata smiled as Naruto's relief was evident on his face, "You'll do great Naruto." Naruto smiled and hugged her, "I know you will too." He kissed her and earned a small growl from Hiashi, who still had reservations about Hinata and Naruto's relationship and insisted on chaperoning their dates. They quickly broke off the kiss and as Hinata blushed Naruto declared, "Let's eat!"
"Way ahead of you," his shadow clone replied around a mouthful of ramen from the seat next to Iruka.
Later That EveningEdit
"You want me to WHAT?" Naruto exclaimed. Lord Hokage's expression was completely neutral, "I want you to throw the exam tomorrow. Feign incompetence and pretend to fail." "But why?!" Naruto exclaimed. Lord Hokage gestured to his crystal ball, "I've been able to discern that someone wants to steal a very important artifact and is planning to use the failure of a student to fool the student into thinking that stealing this artifact will allow them to pass the exam. The problem is that I'm not sure who it is. You have a reputation as a troublemaker and class clown already, you would be a likely target for this ruse. So, I want you to bait this traitor out into the open. Iruka's already on board with this plan if you decide to help us."
Naruto grinned, "You got it boss!"
The Next DayEdit
Naruto looked at the pitiful replication of himself he had made, with a mix of embarrassment, disappointment and horror on his face and a sense of smug pride behind it as he took in his transformed-on-creation doppelganger. "YOU FAAAIL!" Iruka bellowed.
Naruto slunk into the Third Hokage's house, Lord Hokage was waiting for him, "Just like you said boss. Mizuki came right up to me and after about half an hour of me playing all depressed told me that if I stole the Scroll of Sealing I could pass." Lord Third nodded, "Alright then. Thank you for your help in this matter Naruto." He suddenly transformed into Naruto, "By the way, it's curious that you should have been asked to steal that scroll."
Naruto tilted his head, "Why?" Lord Hokage grinned Naruto's grin, "Because that shadow clone army technique you made up is the first thing written in it!" Naruto's jaw dropped, "So I worked out a secret jutsu all on my own?" Lord Hokage adjusted Naruto's goggles while one of the ANBU got the scroll, "Yes you did. Your father would be very proud." He clapped Naruto on the shoulder, "Now go get some rest. You've earned it. Iruka will announce your passing the exam tomorrow morning."
Naruto grinned with tremendous satisfaction as he slunk all the way home in fox form. Wait till Hinata hears about this!
The Next MorningEdit
Naruto caught Hinata in a hug the minute he saw and gave her a passionate kiss as he lifted her off the ground and spun. Hinata blushed crimson, "N-Naruto?" then she saw his forehead protector, "You passed!" Naruto grinned, "Yeah, Boss Hokage asked me to purposely throw the exam because he wanted to lure out a traitor to the village. So I threw the exam, the traitor took the bait and when he got to the rendezvous Boss Hokage was waiting for him disguised as me!"
Hinata stared in shock, "Really? You got a mission straight from the Hokage?" Naruto grinned, "Yeah Iruka-Sensei's going to tell everybody today and get this, he's counting it as a C-rank! So I'm taking you out to dinner anywhere you want to celebrate!" Hinata squeaked with delight and threw her arms around Naruto kissing him delightedly, "We have to tell my father first. He was really upset when he heard you had failed." Naruto smiled, "Well yeah we gotta tell him! Can't have him thinking I lied about being ready for the exam now can we?" Hinata just laughed and hugged him tightly again.