Naruto: Tetsuden - 002
I’ll just give you a heads-up now. I’m gonna give you all a LOT of stuff that you’ll be confused about in between chapters, most of which I don’t actually confirm until way on down the road. Some of it, though, you can pretty much figure out on your own after a few chapters or so. When I say this, I’m really talking about one thing, in particular, which should go without saying once you read the chapter. Hope you enjoy
Here’s the previous chapters if you didn’t catch them:
Chapter 002: Airon, Kei, and Inase
- Present-day -
Kei: …Hrrrrrrrrrmmmmmm, …yeah, Dad? What’s wrong?
Jiraiya: What’s wrong? Hmmmmm, how about the fact that you’ve been sleeping until eleven…and the exams start at TWELVE!?
Kei: Huh!? Oh, crud!
Jiraiya: Exactly! Now, hurry up and get dressed! Inase’s been awake since seven!
Kei: Huh? …What about Airon?
Jiraiya: Not a clue. The kid wasn’t in his bed this morning. If you hurry in there, you can eat a late breakfast before I send you out to look for him.
Kei: What!? …Dad, come on! Why can’t you or Inase do it!? You two have the Byakugan!
Jiraiya: What’s the problem? You’ve gotta be at the Academy in less than thirty minutes, anyways.
Kei: Rrrrgh…huhhhh. (…Man, what’s the point?)
Putting his father’s words to mind, …though not exactly enforcing them, Kei Namikaze slowly rolled out of bed and threw his mesh armour on before fitting his forehead protector, which he had fashioned into a sash, over his left shoulder and across his chest. After putting on a pair of dark-grey pants, he tossed on an overcoat of a slightly lighter color, keeping it open as he preferred it, and strapped his sandals on. Looking into the mirror to ensure that nothing was wrong with his spiked, red hair, courtesy of his Uzumaki blood, he darted from his room and down the hallway, just hoping that his mother was in as loving a manner as always. …Sure enough, upon entering the kitchen, he found her already close to finishing with his breakfast, while his father and sister sat at the small, wooden table.
Jiraiya: (Reading a book as he sipped a fresh cup of his wife’s tea, he looked up with a smile on his face upon noticing his son’s presence.) Ah, there you are. …This is probably a record time for you, isn’t it?
Inase: Hmhmhm, I would certainly think so.
The youngest of the triplets and the sole girl among them, Inase was much more passive than her brother. Sporting her grandmother’s dark-blue hair, she wore a dark-purple tube top over her short-sleeved fishnet shirt, while her forehead protector lay draped around her neck. In addition, she bore the Byakugan eyes of her grandmother's bloodline, the only one among her siblings to have inherited them. In contrast to her brother Kei, who almost adored sleep, her mind was far too often at work for her to sleep-in on any given day, …though even this paled in comparison to her other brother, who had been known to spend many a night catching no sleep whatsoever. …None of them were entirely sure why.
Kei: Aaahh, save it, sis.
Walking over to the stove, he placed his hand on his mother’s shoulder and planted a small kiss on her cheek before taking his seat.
Kei: Morning, mom.
Inoue: (Finished fixing his plate, she placed her used dishes in the sink before carrying it over and setting it in front of him.) Hmhm, well, morning to you, too. I suggest you pick up some speed, young man. Today’s not exactly a day to doze off, now, is it?
Kei: (Already halfway finished with his plate, he swallowed what was in his mouth before replying.) Heh he…yeah, I guess not. Sorry about that. You guys gonna watch us?
Jiraiya: Today? Oh no, they wouldn’t let us. Rest assured, though, we’ll be there to watch when the finals come along.
Kei: (Adopting a sarcastic tone, he feigned his own disappointment in this news.) Awwww, …oh well.
Jiraiya: (He knew his son too well to fall for this ploy, but decided to simply play along with it, anyways.) Hey, it’s alright. Your grandpa’s assisting with the exams, so you got that to look forward to, don’t you?
Having brought this to mind, he looked over at the wall in front of him, on which suspended a large, round clock.
Jiraiya: Speaking of which, you have to meet him at the Hokage Mansion in five minutes, so get a move on.
Inase: (Standing up from her seat, she walked over to her mother and planted a kiss on her cheek before doing the same with her father.) Airon’s probably already there. I’ll go on ahead after him. See you in a few days.
Jiraiya: Take care, sweetie.
Inoue: (Already out the door, she quickly yelled after her.) You be careful now!
Kei: (About to chomp down on his last piece of egg, Inase’s offhand comment caused him to pause midway in confusion, quickly placing it in his mouth and swallowing it before voicing his perplexity.) …Wait a minute. What did she mean by “days”?
Jiraiya: (Taking a quick sip of his tea, he adopting a more stern and slightly agitated expression.) The exams, Kei. The second phase takes five days to complete. …Did I not tell you that once?
Kei: (Taking a moment to think it over, it suddenly clicked in his head.) Uhhh, …oh yeah! Yeah, you said that yesterday.
Jiraiya: Huhhh, you really ought to pay more attention, son. Now, get on with it. You’ve gotta catch up with your sister now.
Kei: Alright, alright. (…Sheesh.)
Placing his plate in the sink, he received a quick hug from his mother and walked over to pat his father on the back. …And, after checking around to ensure that he forgot nothing, he sped outside the house and after Inase.
On the opposite side of the village, atop the roof of the Hokage Mansion, stood Kei’s and Inase’s older brother, …albeit only by minutes. Staring out at the enormous village laid out in front of him with his bright, blue eyes, one would think he had been standing in that spot for nearly half the night, …which he had. He couldn’t be bothered to sleep a full three hours on most nights…and it was his favorite spot in the entire village. Sporting shoulder-length, jet-black hair, courtesy of his mother, the long-sleeved shirt he was wearing completely contrasted the color of his hair, which was matched instead by that of his overcoat, the hood of which he kept over his head on a near constant basis. Sagged around the waistband of his dark-blue pants was his forehead protector and two holsters containing assorted melee weapons. Also equipped around his waist was a four-foot katana protruding from his right side, his skills with which were quite proficient. …In all, his attire gave him the appearance of a highly capable shinobi, …though his disposition suggested that his interests lied elsewhere. The sun had almost reached its highest point in the sky by this time…and the light that it bathed the village in gave it a serene beauty that couldn’t help but bring a small smile to Airon’s face.
Airon: (Hmhmhm, it’s almost peaceful today, …as if the village doesn’t even realize that some poor child may die in it soon, all in the hopes of moving up in the ninja ranks. …Such a cruel paradox of nature. Hmph, and they say these are times of peace. …Footsteps…) Is someone there?
Turning around, his smile grew even larger as his grandfather Naruto stepped out onto the roof. Running over to greet him, the two embraced for a short moment before separating once again.
Naruto: Hehehe, I thought I might find you up here, Airon.
Fully aware of his grandson’s…“nighttime” habits, he scanned the roof of the building before turning back to Airon.
Naruto: You didn’t stay up here all night again, did you?
Airon: (He paused a moment and looked toward the ground, …mainly because he didn’t have a very legitimate answer.) …Couldn’t sleep.
Had this not been a recurring habit of his, Naruto would have believed him in a heartbeat, given what was taking place today. …Unfortunately, though, this wasn’t the case. Placing his curled finger beneath Airon’s chin, he pushed it up gently until their eyes met.
Naruto: You know, …you can always tell me what’s on your mind, Airon.
He put on his trademark smile before going on.
Naruto: Hehehehe, I always figured that’s what grandfathers were for. Then again, I never had one myself.
Airon: (He managed a smile before lowering his head again, though this time, not completely to the ground.) I don’t know. I just…have too many things on my mind most nights. Makes it difficult to fall asleep.
Naruto: Hm? What kinds of things?
He raised his head again, so that their eyes were locked once more. …In truth, he was only about a head shorter than Naruto, who had grown to be well over six feet tall.
Airon: That’s the problem. It’s nothing, in particular, but just…too much is fluttering around inside my head to put enough focus into something like sleep. …My mind’s just always at work, you know?
Had it been anyone else, …except maybe Inase, he wouldn’t have expected a very helpful reply to this problem. …Fortunately, though, his grandfather had more than enough witty retorts to go around.
Naruto: Hehehehehe, well, I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of being a genius, isn’t it?
He waited until he saw a smile from Airon before continuing. …He loved making his grandchildren happy.
Naruto: …I’ll tell you what. If I remember right, Gaara knows a jutsu that’ll help you sleep. He should be bringing his grandkids here to take part in the exams, so I’m sure he’d be glad to teach it to you.
Having met the Kazekage before, Airon knew who he was talking about and gladly accepted his offer.
Airon: …Thanks, Grandpa.
Naruto: Hmhm, not at all. So, anything specific you can think of that’s been keeping you awake?
Inase: (Airon and Nakama, sitting in a tree-)
Airon: …Not really. (Shut up, Inase!) Hey, looks like we’ve got some company.
Naruto: Hmm, is that right?
Without hesitation, Kei and Inase sprinted up the side of the Hokage Mansion, leaping over the railing and onto their grandfather, who was just as excited to see them. Normally, he would’ve been able to catch one of them in the air, even unprepared, …but with their combined weight and strength, he was completely outdone and fell crashing to the ground.
Naruto: (Despite how rough the two of them were being, he couldn’t help but laugh at his current situation.) Hehehehahahaha! Kei, Inase, it’s…oof…it’s great to see you both, too, now would you mind…ow…getting off of your poor, old granddad!?
They did as he requested, all the while Airon couldn’t help but laugh at this offhand remark.
Airon: I thought you said the Third Hokage was in his sixties when you knew him!
Noticing that Naruto’s expression had gone blank, he decided to continue toying with him. …Hopefully, he’d manage to get a good laugh out of it, as well.
Airon: …The years haven’t taken too great a toll on you, have they, …GRANDfather?
Airon’s goal having been reached, Naruto almost immediately broke into a comedic attempt to regain his credibility with his grandchildren, …which, in truth, he never really lost. …They admired him too much for that.
Naruto: Gyyyaaaahhh!! Whaddaya mean by that, huh!? Taken their toll on me!? On ME!? HA!! I could do this all day! C’mon!! I’ll take on all three of you at the same time! I won’t even use clones! No, wait! I won’t use any jutsu at all, how’s that for getting old, huh!? HUH!? …Uhhhhh…
Quickly realizing that all he had managed to do in the last twenty seconds was rant uncontrollably as his grandchildren laughed on, he regained his composure almost immediately, unable to keep himself from laughing with them as he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.
Naruto: Hehehehehe…huhhhhh, alright. …Well, I think that’s enough fun for now. What do you say we make our way over to the Academy before you wind up being late?
Airon: (Still chuckling softly to himself, he looked over at his siblings, who were just beginning to settle down themselves, before turning back to his grandfather.) …Sounds good to me. Kei, Inase, let’s head out.
Kei: Hehe, with you there.
Inase: Hmhmhm, same here. (Did you know he would spaz out like that?)
Airon: (Of course I did. …Hmhm, wouldn’t have done it, otherwise.)
As Inase began heading over to the stairs, followed shortly by Kei, they suddenly found their actions being questioned by Naruto, who was standing beside the railing of the roof.
Naruto: Hey, where are you guys going!?
Inase: (Confused, she and her brother turned back around, each of them sharing the same perplexed expression.) We were…just gonna take the-
Naruto: Nonsense! C’mon, just follow me!
With that said, Naruto lifted his foot onto the railing and took a huge leap off of the roof of the mansion, intending to use his preferred travel method of skipping across the rooftops. As Kei and Inase looked at each other, the former merely shrugged his shoulders and took off after his grandfather, leaving his brother and sister standing alone on the roof of the building. …A smirk and a few shakes of his head later, Airon called out to his sister to follow suit.
Airon: Well, I suppose the stairs would only slow us down even more now. Come on, Inase!
Leaping over the rail and taking off after them, Inase closed her eyes and let out a deep sigh before doing the same.
Inase: (You guys can be so annoying at times.)
Airon: (Don’t be harsh, little sister. …Hmhmhmhm, you know you love us.)
Inase: (…Huhhhh…yes, I know.)
Dashing quickly across the rooftops of the village with the speed inherited from their great-grandfather, it took little time whatsoever for them to reach the Academy, …in front of which stood yet another trio of young shinobi and their sensei, each of whom wore an expression that combined both delight and curiosity.
????: Well, it’s about time, guys! What took you so long? We were about to just head inside without you.
Inase: (Her smile quickly became a frown, albeit with hints of minor sarcasm, before shifting her gaze towards her brother, who was standing beside her.) Ask…Kei.
Kei: (Dumbfounded by her sudden, however accurate, accusation, he spun around in a rather comedic fashion before holding out his hand to point at his sister.) Rrrrrgghhh…hey, come on! Why you gotta point the finger at me, huh!? Blame Airon! He’s the one who stayed up all night! Again!
Airon: (Closing his eyes and lowering his head, he chuckled softly before looking back up at his brother.) I dunno, Kei. …From the look of things, you’re the one pointing fingers here…hehehehe, and literally, no less.
Kei: Ahh, quit being a smart-aleck, Mr. Perfect!
Understanding the point, nonetheless, he ended his small fit and turned back around, desperately attempting to act nonchalant about the whole ordeal.
Kei: Ugghh, whatever. …Pffft, like I care.
????: Hehehehehe, you guys are just fun to watch, you know that?
Walking over to the apparent leader of this other team of genin, Airon held his hand out in front of him, prompting the slightly older boy to clasp it in his own and pull him in for a short embrace.
Airon: Hmhm, it’s great seeing you here, …Minto.
Konohamaru’s grandson makes an entrance!!!