Sasuke was careful to never show what he felt or thought. Most of the time he was naturally quiet and withdrawn; he cared little about the affairs of others. But the evident anxiety that girl displayed around the Uzumaki kid was really starting to aggravate him.
The only comfort was that all of that excessive attention wasn't aimed at him. He knew that if it had been any other girl from his ex classmates selected to join him on the team, she would've been infatuated with him (as had happened during his entire academic career). She would've ended up being completely useless to them; only worried about catching his attention without contributing anything to the group. Having Hinata Hyuga as a member of Team Seven could have its benefits: he wouldn't have to endure one of his obsessive fans in the group.
However, there was a huge negative in the whole equation…it made him sick to his stomach to have to put up with a girl pining over the biggest idiot in the Leaf Village. What did she see in Naruto anyway? Was she blind, deaf or just stupid? Someone must have dropped her on her head as a baby.
As the three of them walked along surrounded by an awkward silence, he realized that Hyuga girl wasn't like his fans and stalkers. She was quiet, reserved and very shy. Everything made her blush and she would stutter out her responses if Naruto spoke to her. On the other hand, if Sasuke spoke to her or even looked in her direction, Hinata ignored him as if he wasn't even there. Was she trying to annoy him or was it possible that she truly didn't care about him at all.
If Sasuke spoke to her, Hinata couldn't maintain eye contact for more than a second before looking away. Was it shyness or perhaps fear? Sasuke hadn't decided yet. But did he really care? No. He didn't. It didn't matter to him what those two did, as long as they didn't get in the way of his plans.
Nevertheless, after that Naruto idiot threw out his comment about marrying Haruno, Hinata had seemed even quieter than usual. She walked along in a deep melancholy, her head bowed. Could it even be possible that the girl had a crush on Naruto? After all, she was always looking his way and the reactions she had around him made it pretty obvious she was feeling something towards him. Shuddering, he repressed that thought immediately. It was too hard to imagine someone loving an idiot like Naruto. She was probably just shy. Yes, that must be all there was to it. Although, if he really thought about it… it was way more irritating that he was wasting his time wondering about Hinata Hyuga.
The three of them walked back to the Ninja Academy and sat to wait with the other groups in the classroom. They watched as one by one each of the designated groups left the room with their new jounin instructors. Finally Team Seven was the only group left. As the hands on the clock slowly ticked their way past 3 PM and their own teacher still hadn't arrived, Naruto lost any semblance of patience.
He jumped up suddenly and began to pace the room, making lap after lap around the small area. Hinata followed him with her eyes, her cheeks turning a faint pink from whatever thoughts crossed her mind. Sasuke couldn't stop staring at the clock as he waited impatiently to get all of this over with already. Naruto continued to restlessly move about, occasionally opening the door and sticking his head out to look in the hall, muttering about whether their instructor was ever going to make it.
"We've been waiting for three hours!" He suddenly shouted breaking the uneasy silence between the three of them. "Wasn't he supposed to get here by twelve?"
"Shup up already." Sasuke ordered him.
"Sasuke…"Naruto growled. "Teme…"
They both glared at each other before Naruto snorted in disdain and turned away from Sasuke as his lips settled into a frown. He then continued to walk back and forth across the room with his hands jammed in his pockets. Bored with that he leapt onto the tables and began to walk across them as he began to whistle loudly. Finally when he had run out of annoying things to do, he sullenly plopped down next to Hinata.
Sasuke could not help looking at them as they were right in front of him now. The girl kept her head down staring at her hands. She usually looked uncomfortable, but it was even more apparent when Naruto would approach her.
"Hey, Hinata…Has Sakura-chan ever talked to you about me?" Naruto asked enthusiastically. "She loves me? Right? Right?"
"Ha..Haruno-san and I aren't really that close." She answered, her voice barely louder than a whisper. Sasuke watched as she lowered her shoulders even more, sinking further into herself, her misery etched in every line of her body. "I'm..I'm sorry… Naruto-kun."
"Come on! You can tell me! I promise I won't say a word to her." Naruto insisted with a huge smile on his face.
"I've..I've t-told you the truth, Na..Naruto-kun" Hinata answered as she squeezed her eyes shut refusing to look at him.
"Uhmmm…"Naruto scratched his head, wondering what the issue was with this girl.
"You should worry about your ninjutsu instead of someone like Sakura Haruno." Sasuke said with a smirk and a look of superiority. "Your ninjutsu is embarrassing."
Naruto softly growled at him again but didn't reply. The room was once more completely silent. Conversation between them would never be something that flowed easily. Sasuke was a quiet person, Hinata didn't speak unless she was forced to and Naruto was irritating, at least for Sasuke. It was more than obvious that their group would fail.
An Uchiha doesn't fail. – Sasuke thought as he tightened his fist. He repeated that to himself over and over again in his thoughts.
Even if he had to do everything on his own, he wouldn't let his team become the laughing stock of the Leaf Village. He suddenly found himself wishing to have any other member on his team in Naruto's place, even one of those idiotic girls such as Ino or Sakura. Shino would have been perfect; he was quiet, had good grades and he didn't form any type of emotional attachments with people. It would have been a nice and quiet team with Shino there instead of Naruto.
Suddenly, the door opened and the three gennin from Team Seven glimpsed their new instructor for the first time.
The kids followed the Jounin ranked ninja to the highest place in the Academy building. They didn't understand the reason for moving from the class; however, it seemed that their new and mysterious instructor liked to be out in the open with fresh air on his face rather than in a dark room. Sasuke put his hands inside his pockets and followed while Hinata just continued to look at the ground in front of her as she walked behind him. Naruto pranced in front of them as he kept pace with their jounin teacher, hopping from one foot to the other as he excitedly asked him all sorts of questions about the missions they would have, what their training would be like and what they were going to do from that day forward, one right after the other without giving the older ninja a chance to respond.
Once they had reached the roof top, the man told them to take a seat. The three of them obeyed but they were all asking themselves what this was all about.
Hinata kneeled, as if she was at a tea ceremony while Naruto plopped down beside her; crossing his legs in an attempt to seem calm but his knee kept bouncing up and down giving away his excitement as he impatiently waited to receive his instructions. Sasuke sat on the stair steps behind Naruto and Hinata and quietly stared off the side of the roof calculating how much longer he would have to deal with these idiots. Hopefully not for the rest of his life. But could he even survive them until they were promoted to chunnin rank?
"Let's see…"The man started off with as he absentmindedly scratched his chin, which he kept covered with a ninja mask. His arms were crossed over his chest as he leaned against the railing around the roof. He sounded so bored, so uninterested that it began to worry the young ninjas. "Why don't you start by introducing yourselves? Start with your names, obviously. Then say what you like, what you don't like, what your hobbies and dreams are or…something like that."
"Hey! Hey! Why don't you start by introducing yourself sensei?" Naruto asked seeming a bit confused. They didn't know a thing about this man, but it seemed that his first impression of the three of them wasn't complimentary; in fact he seemed to hate them already.
"Me?" The jounin instructor asked pointing himself with his thumb. "I'm Hatake Kakashi. I have no intentions of telling you my likes and dislikes." Naruto was disappointed, but Hinata was still staring at the floor and Sasuke wasn't paying attention at all. "About my dreams…" His voice trailed off as he stood quietly staring off into the sky for a moment before seeming to shake himself. "And I don't have many hobbies…" Then there was nothing but complete silence. It seemed as if that was all Kakashi was going to say. Naruto scratched his head feeling that he had been cheated in some way. "Now it's your turn. You go first." Kakashi said staring at Naruto.
"Right! Right! My name is Naruto Uzumaki!" He eagerly said. He really wanted to make a good first impression on his new instructor, Kakashi-sensei. "I really like cup ramen. But I like the ramen sold at Ichiraku's even more! Iruka-sensei invited me to eat there the other day!" Sasuke rolled his eyes as he listened to Naruto. Hinata was glancing over him with a shy smile, hanging on every word as if his idiotic ramblings were the most profound statements in the world. "I really hate those three minutes you have to wait after you add the boiling water to cup ramen." Hinata giggled softly, quickly covering her mouth in a cute girlish gesture. "And my hobby is to buy all the different types, flavors and brands of cup ramen, and compare them to each other." Naruto raised both of his fists to the air with a smile and ended his presentation with the most profound statement he could think of. "My dream is to become the best Hokage the Leaf Village has ever seen and make every single person that lives here acknowledge me."
"Ok. Next." Kakashi said.
He was still leaning against the railing with his arms crossed; he looked as if he was indifferent towards his students but he was actually paying close attention to everything they were saying. He could clearly see how much energy Naruto had, but the other two were much quieter, keeping their thoughts to themselves.
Sasuke stared into the space before him, his elbows resting on his knees with his finger entwined covering his mouth, as he focused on anything but the spectacle that was Naruto. Hinata still just stared at the floor pretending she was invisible; a seemingly permanent blush on her cheeks as she trembled with dread that he would call on her next. Kakashi could tell she was one of those very timid girls that always caused trouble for men when they grew up. They never even noticed just how attractive that shy quality could be for some gentlemen. He was, after all, an expert on the issue, seeing as how he had read almost every single romantic and erotic book on the market.
"My name is Sasuke Uchiha." Sasuke spoke calmly when he noticed Hinata wasn't going to speak up. "There are many things that I hate and not much that I like." He never moved as he spoke, his hands still covering his mouth, his whole body unexpressive as he talked. "And I have ambitions since I don't plan on leaving them just as dreams… the revival of the Uchiha Clan and…killing a certain individual."
I just hope he isn't talking about me. – Naruto thought staring at Sasuke and swallowing loudly. Sasuke had spoken with such graveness that it was difficult to imagine he might be joking.
"Ok. That just leaves you." Kakashi said glancing towards Hinata.
They had to wait several moments in silence just for her to open her mouth. Both Naruto and Sasuke couldn't understand why she was making such a big fuss over having to talk when it was just them. Something wasn't right with that girl. She opened her mouth, sighed and then closed it again. It was like she had never spoken before a group of people as she avoided everyone's stares and her cheeks blushed red.
"I… I am…"She whispered so lowly that the three of them could barely be certain she had actually spoken. Naruto raised his eyebrows, staring in fascination at how red Hinata was becoming just from this simple task. Was she really that shy? How did she even plan to become a ninja that way? "I am…Hi-Hinata Hyuga, daughter of Hiashi Hyuga." Sasuke's eyes glanced over her with new interest. If that girl was the daughter of the leader of the Hyuga Clan, then, she was the same girl that had come close to him that day. "I'm…I'm eleven years old, my-my birthday is December 27th. I..I like …" She glimpsed at Naruto with such intensity that for a second, even Uzumaki wondered what was wrong with her. "My favorite f-food is Zenzei and…cinnamon buns."
"Aha. And what are your dislikes?" Kakashi asked.
"I..I don't like fights or confrontations. I don't like e-eating crab or…or shrimp." Her voice was still so soft and low that everyone continued to strain to understand her.
Sasuke realized the girl he had initially dismissed as just quiet, was completely different from him; more than likely they would have problems in the future because of it. He was seriously considering complaining about the designations of those groups, but then he worried that might give others the impression that he wasn't up to difficult challenges. If Hinata and Naruto were as useless as they seemed, every single role in a mission would fall on his shoulders, practically as if he were working on his own. That way, he could learn even faster.
A few feet away Naruto was wondering what the hell Hinata was doing there if she disliked fights. The shinobi world was all about fighting! He never imagined that what was going through that girl's head were images of her being forced to fight against her sister all the time, as their father Hiashi judged them and tried to decide which one was stronger. Hinata hated to argue with others, hated that her father would humiliate her in front of everyone when he confronted her about her weaknesses and especially when he declared her as a shame to her clan.
"Do you have some dream? Any hobbies, perhaps?" Kakashi asked.
"I..I…put flowers inside of b-books and…and… I wait for them to dry and get pressed. My..My dream is… to trust in myself so I can.. ch-change the way I am. I… I want to… to be recognized by my father." Sasuke's eyes got bigger when he heard her say that. A very profound pain was rekindled in his chest as pictures of a little boy desperately trying to learn fire jutsus flashed in his head. "I want… I want… I want to be a kunoichi as kind as my mother was and as.. as strong as my.. my father."
Naruto bowed his head at the painful confession the girl had just made. She simply wanted to be recognized, just like him. He felt guilty that he had never taken the time to talk to Hinata before. Maybe if he had known sooner that the two of them felt the same way, just maybe, he could have avoided all of those years of loneliness and sadness, and so could she, by being his friend and supporting each other.
"Don't worry Hinata!" Naruto said giving her a soft pat on the shoulder. "We'll become stronger together!"
Sasuke remained silent, but he never took his eyes off from Hinata, trying to understand the feelings of distrust and annoyance that ran through him. It bothered him to be reminded of the hurt he had felt as he grew up, the constant pressure to measure up to his brother's achievements just so he could be recognized by his father. Had this girl really gone through the same? Did she understand? Or had she heard rumors and was now just saying those things as part of a cruel joke?
-Well, that ends our presentations. – Kakashi sighed.
He had known he was going to be assigned the Uchiha kid in his group; his clan had been annihilated completely in a tragedy that the Leaf Village still mourned even to this day. But now, he had another noble kid. This wasn't good; the noble families always created problems when it came to the treatment that their daughters received on academic issues. Not only that, but if Hinata Hyuga was from the main family of the Hyuga clan, Kakashi had a sinking suspicion that she was probably the heiress. Not that he would ever be made to call her "Hinata-sama". That would have been the cherry on the top of this disaster ice cream.
"Hinata-san, I didn't know you were Hiashi Hyuga's daughter. I'll have to go talk with your father before I can properly train you."
Hinata nodded timidly, mortified to be drawing so much attention to herself. Kakashi order them all to accompany him to the Hyuga mansion so one after the other they walked silently, following their jounin instructor. It seemed as if he hadn't intended them to have the rest of the day off. He must be planning to start training them this very same day, and for that, they needed the permission (or something of the sort) from Hinata's father. If Kakashi didn't verify it was "ok" to train her he could get in trouble with the Hyuga clan or even with the Hokage.
The district where the Hyuga clan lived was quite large and very traditional. You could tell from the moment you walked inside it that it had been there for many many years. Sasuke moved forward with his arms crossed tight across his chest as he followed right behind Naruto and Hinata, looking from side to side at the way these people with pearl eyes were working nonstop. He was reminded of walking the streets of the Uchiha district as a child, greeting people as he ran by, listening to them wishing him a good day and asking about Itachi. Ever since his clan's massacre those streets had fallen silent, a ghost town where all that was left were the memories and echoes of a past time when there had been life in those empty buildings.
He resented Hinata Hyuga for making him remember all of that. He clenched his fist as he gritted his teeth and kept walking.
The mansion where Hinata lived was much larger than the other houses around it. The entrance was beautifully decorated with cherry wood columns displaying the clan's symbol in the middle. They walked under the canopy formed by the cherry trees on each side of their path. The cherries were just beginning to mature, the occasional red spot standing out against the green leaves.
They passed over a small arched bridge made of wood. The pond under it was teeming with Koi, as the fish swam slowly from one side to the other. Naruto paused for a moment to praise the place, saying how beautiful it was and asking Hinata if those fish were edible.
Meanwhile, Hinata felt more and more embarrassed with each step she took. She dreaded showing them just how different her life was compared to the life of the rest of her teammates. The Hyuga clan was extremely wealthy and powerful; she had lived all her life with servants, nannies, governesses, maids, cooks, trainers and bodyguards. For once in her life she wanted to be normal, like any girl in the Leaf Village. But it was impossible to hide now; Naruto and Sasuke were seeing with their own eyes the way she lived.
"Wow Hinata! You must be loaded." Naruto scratched his head as he stared in wonderment without considering how impolite his comment had been.
"Of course she's rich. She is part of the Hyuga clan's main family." Sasuke retorted. Naruto's ignorance really annoyed the hell out of him. For the millionth time he wished this day would just come to an end already. "She is the heiress of the clan."
"That's amazing Hinata!" Naruto shouted. "You are really lucky!"
Hinata quickly bowed her head, but not before Sasuke caught her saddened expression. Did this girl actually dare to feel unhappy about having a family, a clan, about being the heiress? Watching her was like watching Itachi, only she lacked any talent. The eldest daughter of the clan's leader, the heiress, the princess, probably the one her father favored over anyone else. Being close to her was beginning to exasperate him. He could not stay here much longer.
"How long is this going to take?" Sasuke asked Kakashi.
"Only a moment, Sasuke." The instructor answered.
They reached the entrance of the house and a man approached them. He had the same eyes as Hinata, but he was dressing like Kakashi. All those Hyuga and their pearly eyes did nothing but remind Sasuke that he could still not activate the sharingan.
"Hinata-sama!" Said the man, smiling as he approached them. "I didn't expect to have you back so soon."
"Hinata-sama?" Naruto snickered slyly towards Sasuke.
"I already told you, she is the heiress to the Hyuga clan." He answered without looking at him. "Every member of the clan owes her respect because she is their superior."
"But she's just a girl!" Naruto groaned, unable to believe that someone their age could be so important. "Do we have to call her Hinata-sama too?"
"What's up Ko?" Kakashi greeted the man casually; it seemed like they knew each other. "Is Hiashi-sama around? I'd like to have a word with him."
"He is. He is training with Hanabi-san." The man answered making a short bow. "Please, follow me."
"Wow… they are all so polite." Naruto whispered to Sasuke as if Hinata couldn't hear him.
From his position, Sasuke noticed how Hinata's eyes clouded over, as she stared at the floor as if she could disappear into it and escape from all those glances. He wondered why she was acting like this. Could he be wrong? Perhaps this Hanabi girl was the eldest daughter and Hinata the youngest. In that case, it was normal that his father would be focusing on making her fight against him, if she was the heiress she needed to be strong. He would have liked it if his own father had focused on him more than Itachi.
They walked down a long hallway out into an open area, where water fountains bubbles and other traditional decorations of the Hyuga house were displayed. Naruto couldn't stop admiring everything out loud, over and over again, talking about how great it must have been to live in a place like that and telling Hinata that she had to invite him over all the time now so he could eat there whenever they finished their training. He rambled on about sparring sessions at her house, and if they had their own thermal baths here ... and any inane thing he could think of.
Sasuke groaned; he used to live in a place like this. Beautiful, grand, but it wasn't so great when you were completely alone. He had left the mansion where his family had lived and rented an apartment in the center of Konoha. Loneliness seemed to increase with the size of a place when there was no one there to talk to.
"Wait here." Kakashi said as he followed Ko through a door and into the dojo.
The three of them were left in the corridor. Hinata leaned against a wall as Naruto flopped down on the wooden floors. Sasuke turned his back to them, facing out towards the garden. In the silence between them they could make out the strong voice of Mr. Hyuga talking to Kakashi-sensei inside the dojo.
I've been designated the jounin instructor of your daughter, Hinata-san.
I see. Who else was appointed to the group?
Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha. Sasuke was the best student of his generation in Taijutsu, Ninjutsu and Genjutsu, and the second best overall. Naruto Uzumaki… well… he…
An Uchiha and that kid.
There was a moment of silence before Hinata's father spoke again, loud and clear.
A Hyuga pairing up with an Uchiha. Was this the best group she could join?
The teachers at the academy describe Sasuke as a genius for his age. And Naruto…well… he is very persistent.
A genius? An Uchiha? Ha! Neji Hyuga is a genius. He is the best of his own generation and probably the most talented gennin from the Leaf Village. Most likely they placed her in this group so they could rub it in my face that my daughter lacks any talent.
Sasuke grunted out loud, turning around to glare at Hinata with hatred burning in his eyes. How dare her father look down on the Uchiha clan that way? He was about to lose it. His entire body tensed as he tried to calm down, to repress his anger, but he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to.
… As you know, a ninja's life is risky and we will be going on several missions that could put her in danger. I wanted to make sure beforehand that you agree to it. Besides, there will be times when we will train past the usual hours; it is possible that Hinata might arrive home at times of the night that aren't proper for a young lady of her status and nobility.
Do whatever you want with her. A failure like her that isn't even able to compare to Hanabi who is five years younger than her… is not necessary in the Hyuga Clan. She couldn't even be the best of her class as Neji was and he is from the branch family. Hinata is a waste in this clan, a mistake from nature and I wouldn't even be upset if she died on a mission. You can take her.
Both Sasuke and Naruto gaped at Hinata. But the girl kept her head down. However there were no tears or sobs, or really any reaction; as if she was already familiar with such words, so overexposed to them that she didn't even seemed to be affected when listening to something as harsh as the words her father had spoken. So used to them that she had come to believe those words as the truth.
Naruto clenched his fists, understanding finally why she had so much trouble talking to them. She had probably lived her entire life in the shadow her father projected over her. He rushed into the training dojo shouting over and over again that Hiashi Hyuga was wrong, that Hinata could become a better shinobi. Kakashi swiftly grabbed him by the waist as he tried to pull him outside the dojo, apologizing as he struggled with the young ninja.
Outside Sasuke stood still. He understood that just as Hyuga had looked down on his own clan, he felt the same way towards his own daughter. He walked towards Hinata his expression still looking as if she and her family feud completely disinterested him.
He wasn't very good with this sort of thing. It was the first time he really saw Hinata Hyuga, understood that just like him, she had to grow up with the weight of being the lesser sibling. When his own father was alive, he had never talked towards him that way. But he had been completely emotionless, rarely saying that he was proud of him. And so even without the hurtful words, Sasuke had grown up with a huge hole in his chest that no matter how much he tried to fill it by becoming stronger, he couldn't make stop hurting. He couldn't even imagine how painful it would have been for Hinata to be treated that way all her life. To be disposable.
"Come." He ordered her as he walked down the hallway away from the dojo, once more with his hands inside his pockets.
Hinata raised her eyes from the floor and followed him quietly not really understanding why. They left the noise of Naruto's yells behind as he demanded Hiashi apologize to his daughter, as he repeated again and again that she was a good girl and that she could become someone strong. Kakashi again tried to apologize for all the fuss Naruto was creating, but the kid had grabbed tight to the two columns at the entry of the dojo so Kakashi couldn't drag him away.
"U…Uchiha-kun?" Hinata asked as she stared at his back when they had made it back to the entrance of her house. He sat down on the stairs.
Sasuke didn't speak, didn't move, just remained sitting there as he waited for Naruto and Kakashi to get out of there. Memories of his own past overwhelmed him as he heard Hiashi's words repeat in his head over and over.
In that moment, Sasuke felt he couldn't breathe, suffocating from the remembered pain, but he hid it well under that cold icy mask he always wore.
"What gives you the right to tell your own daughter she is a waste?" Naruto screamed as he continued to hold tight to the columns as Kakashi pulled at him.
"People are born what they are." Hiashi answered without looking at the boy, his focus on the little girl who was fighting to get to her feet right in front of him. "Hanabi was born to this clan as a prodigy; Hinata was born as nothing more than a head ache, a head ache which is now yours, Kakashi."
"You bastard!" Naruto screamed again, trying with all his strength to get free from Kakashi, but he couldn't maintain his grip on the pillars and his hands finally slipped free from them. "How can you even say something like that?"
"That's enough Naruto." Kakashi said severely, covering the boy's mouth with his palm so he would stay quiet already. "I'm very sorry Hiashi-sama. Apparently my students don't know how to respect their elders."
"Apparently the Leaf Village is full of dishonor lately." Hiashi answered, annoyed by the scandal. "You know where the door is."
Kakashi dragged Naruto down the hall, away from the Hyuga clan training dojo. Kakashi sighed. There went his opportunity to use that wonderful place to train his new students during the winter courtesy of Uzumaki's outburst (He would have done anything to avoid getting wet and cold and be able to read his books under a roof). Minato, his teacher when he had been a gennin, couldn't have been less like his son, who he now manhandled out of the house.
Naruto was fuming; his arms crossed defiantly as he finally gave in and walked toward the exit. He could not believe there was someone so cruel as to treat his own daughter that way.
When they reached the entrance, they saw Hinata leaning against the wall of her house staring at the floor her eyes glittering with unshed tears. Sasuke Uchiha sat near her, a little slumped in thought as he silently glared into space. Naruto crossed quickly to where Hinata was standing and without hesitation he placed his hand on her shoulder.
"You are not a waste. You are my teammate." He spoke firmly for he truly believed in the words he was saying. "You graduated from the academy and now you are a ninja too. We'll work really hard so you can shut your father's mouth!"
"Na..Naruto-kun…"Hinata whispered with tears in her eyes, smiling tenderly at him.
"Speaking of which…" Kakashi walked in front of them, going down the steps before facing his three students. "We'll start with missions tomorrow."
"Missions! Yes!" Naruto shouted with enthusiasm. "What is our mission about? Catching some criminals? Are we going to go fight a neighboring country?"
"Uhmm… not really." Kakashi answered looking at the sky. "This is the sort of mission the four of us can do."
"What? What? What is it about?" Naruto asked, so excited with the whole issue that Sasuke couldn't help but roll his eyes in his direction. "What is it? What is it? What is it? What is it? What is it? What is it?"
"Survival training." Kakashi couldn't help but laugh as he took in Hinata's fear, Sasuke's angry gestures and Naruto's surprised expression.
"What's so funny?" Sasuke asked as he stood up.
"From the 27 students that managed to graduate, only 9 will become gennin rank shinobi. The other 18 will be sent back to the academy to keep studying." The three of them opened their eyes wide in surprise at the words he had just spoken. "In other words, this survival test has a 66% possibility of failure."
"But! But! I worked so hard on passing the final exam…!" Naruto started complaining.
"You failed the final exam." Sasuke corrected him.
"Grrr…what would you know?" Naruto snarled, approaching him with his fists up in the air, ready to punch him.
"Do you want to fight, dobe?" Sasuke asked him with an arrogant smile as he easily avoided Naruto's first hit.
"You can fight against each other all you want…tomorrow." Kakashi interrupted grabbing their wrists so he could separate them. "The academy final exam only selects people who have the capacity of becoming gennin, it doesn't mean you graduate to shinobi rank. Tomorrow I'll determine if you can become ninjas or not. Bring your tools, equipment and ninja weapons. We'll meet at 5 A.M!"
Naruto was shaking. It had been so much trouble to pass that damn final exam and now he was going to be put in the line once more. If he failed he would have to go back to the academy, again, and for sure he would be the biggest laughing stock of all… the mere idea of it made him sick.
Hinata lowered her head once more to stare at the floor. This day really couldn't get any worse. She couldn't expect to pass. Maybe she should tell them right away that she was useless under pressure and that she would rather not go so she wouldn't become a nuisance for her teammates. But then she remembered… the task was for the three of them, if she didn't go… then Naruto-kun and Uchiha-kun would fail because of her. What should she do then? She didn't know the answer to that.
Sasuke glanced at Naruto and Hinata, feeling so frustrated that he wanted to scream. It was more than obvious that those two would only cause him to fall behind and would completely fail as a team on that mission. He needed to be smart and cautious. He wasn't going to let those two ruin his dream of vengeance.
"Alright, you are all dismissed." Kakashi said closing that day's meeting; he would see them the next morning. "And remember… do not have breakfast. You'll be sorry if you do cause you might end up throwing up!"