Uzumaki Naruto sat unusually still at his seat in the Konohagakure Shinobi Academy, quietly listening to his instructor's lesson. Umino Iruka forced himself to keep his eyes on the boy, making sure that he was not planning some type of prank.
On aal day, the young student would not be paying attention to any of the lectures in the Academy. To him, lectures were often boring and he had better things to do with his time.
Today, however, was not a normal day. The subject of Iruka's lecture was one of the few things that Naruto was genuinely interested in; the former Hokage and the responsibilities related to the position.
"Now, who here can tell me the names of all the Hokage?" Iruka asked.
As the instructor began to eye different students, looking amongst the group of kids who raised their hands to answer the question, a snort escaped Naruto's lips.
"Heh, that's an easy question, Iruka-sensei!" Naruto said, crossing his arms. "The Shodai Hokage was Senju Hashirama and his brother, Senju Tobirama, was the Nidaime. The old man is the Sandaime and the Yondaime was Namikaze Minato."
"Naruto, you're supposed to wait until I call on you to answer a question! Don't just talk like that unless you have permission!" Iruka shouted, crossing his arms, which cause Naruto to stick his tongue out in defiance. A second passed before the chūnin dropped the serious look on his face and smiled at his student, nodding his head. "However, you are correct. Although you should give Sandaime-sama the proper respect he deserves and call him by his real name – Sarutobi Hiruzen – instead of 'old man', you are right. Those are the names of the Hokage!"
Naruto rubbed the back of his head, beaming at his teacher's praise.
"Wow, Naruto actually knew an answer to something." Ino said with a chuckle.
"It's the end of the world! Our village must be getting invaded or something!" Kiba exclaimed loudly.
The class laughed in response to the Inuzuka's joke, which caused Naruto to cross his arms, the grin on his face dropping almost immediately.
"Hey, I know I don't get the best grades here, but if there's one subject I know, it's the Hokage, dammit!" He shouted. "I have to know about my predecessors, after all!"
"Alright, no fooling around, everyone. We got more to get into with the lesson!" Iruka shouted loudly.
The academy students quieted down, looking sheepishly at their instructor. The chūnin's eyes wandered the classroom, making sure that all students had settled down, before he started to continue.
"Anyway, as you all heard, those are the names of our former leaders. Some of their clan names might be names you heard, if you remember what we've talked about in our history classes." Iruka stated, bringing his hand to his chin. "Senju Hashirama and his clan helped found Konoha, after all. And the Sarutobi Clan was also instrumental in helping establish our village in the early days after the Warring Clans Period!"
"So basically, the Hokage are all from famous historical ninja clans, huh?" One of the students, a brown-haired boy with glasses, said with a frown. "So does that mean you have to have the right family history to be a successful ninja?"
"That's not necessarily true, Ken." Iruka said, frowning at the question. "Being from a shinobi clan does help, yes, but-"
"The Yondaime wasn't from a clan." Naruto spoke-up, interrupting his instructor. "Namikaze Minato's parents were just normal civilians, yet he ended up becoming the Hokage!"
"NARUTO! WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT INTERRUPTING AND SPEAKING OUT OF TURN?" Iruka shouted.
"Uhhh…" Naruto sunk back into his chair, rubbing the back of his head as he laughed quietly. "Y-You may need to r-repeat that lesson again, Iruka-sensei."
"Wasn't the Namikaze Clan a shinobi clan, though?" Kiba asked, turning in his desk to face Naruto. "Didn't we just learn something about a Namikuni clan or something a few days ago?"
"You're thinking of Nami no Kuni. And that's a country, not a shinobi clan." Sakura noted, frowning. "Geez, Naruto even knew that and you didn't. You sure you aren't the dead last of the class, Kiba?"
"Ah, who asked you?" Kiba snorted in response.
Iruka grit his teeth as his class busted into another round of laughter. He was about to blow-up on his students once more when he noticed a student raise his hand.
"Iruka-sensei?" Ken spoke-up.
The class almost in unison stopped laughing, giving the normally-quiet student a chance to speak. A sigh of contentment escaped Iruka, enjoying the silence once again, as he acknowledged his student.
"I'm just curious… but since the Yondaime was basically a nobody until he started his shinobi career… do you think any of us stand a chance of becoming Hokage?" Ken asked. "It would be really cool to know that I could become the Hokage or say that I graduated from the same class as the Hokage!"
'Off-topic question.' Iruka bit his lip, resisting the urge to ignore the question. 'But still… if this class is going to get off-topic with jokes, might as well let it get off-topic in a way that could do everyone some good.'
The chūnin took a moment to look at all of the students in the room, examining each of them for a moment. He then gave a smile as he turned back to Ken.
"There is a lot of potential in this year's class. You are all good students and I've seen some remarkable skills in all of you. If you all keep up with your determination and improve on the skills you all have, I could see any of you becoming the Hokage!" Iruka told his students proudly.
Most of the students in the room looked at their sensei and smiled back, gratefully accepting the compliment. Naruto had a large smirk on his face.
"Don't worry Iruka-sensei." The blonde spoke confidently. "I intend on getting better each and every day. You'll be seeing me as the Hokage in no time!"
The wholesome silence vanished as quickly as it had appeared, as a few scoffs were heard after Naruto finished his statement.
"Just because you know some basic facts about the Hokage doesn't mean you stand a chance at becoming one yourself, Naruto!" Sakura stated, crossing her arms.
"She's right. If anyone here is going to be Hokage, it's going to be Sasuke-Kun!" Ino exclaimed before turning her attention away from Naruto and to the dark-haired boy sitting by the window. "Isn't that right Sasuke-kun?"
Sasuke gave no response to the blonde-haired girl, seemingly deep in thought. He was either unaware of what his class was talking about or he simply did not care.
"What's so great about him? Sasuke doesn't even care about being Hokage." Naruto grumbled, crossing his arms. "He's nothing special, anyway."
The Uzumaki's comment sparked an outrage from the self-proclaimed 'Sasuke' fan club. Nearly every girl in the class was now glaring at Naruto with small-traces of killing intent.
"He's more special than you ever will be!" One of the girls shouted.
'Whatever.' Naruto rolled his eyes, biting his tongue to avoid speaking more of his thoughts aloud. 'There's no point in arguing more about this. They're not gonna listen to me and I got no one here who will back me up. Might as well shut up and let them finish 'defending' their precious Sasuke.'
Unfortunately for him, he had already irritated the 'Sasuke fan club' enough. The room continued to get louder, with each girl vocalizing their opinions on Naruto and their support of Sasuke for Hokage.
"Sasuke-kun will make an amazing Hokage!"
"Naruto will be lucky if even becomes a shinobi!"
"Why does he even think he has a chance to be Hokage anyway?"
"As if that would ever happen!"
"Hey! Enough!" Iruka shouted again at his class, who ignored their instructor once again.
'Ugh… they're all so loud…' Shikamaru grumbled to himself.
This increase in noise ended up disturbing the Nara, who had been trying to drown out the noise of his fellow classmates so he could fall asleep. With a loud yawn, he started to look around the room and at the girls in the class in irritation.
"You should seriously stop trying Naruto. Sasuke will be Hokage in no time and he will be the greatest Hokage this village has ever had!" Ino said proudly, a pink blush on her cheeks as she stared at the Uchiha.
Naruto continued to grit his teeth at each and every response he received. He was about to finally respond and snap until a voice spoke-up before he could.
"This is so troublesome… can you people just admit that Naruto can become the Hokage already so I can go back to sleep?" Shikamaru groaned, laying his head down on his desk, trying to fall asleep once again. "You're all so damn loud."
The classroom became quiet for a moment. All of the students turned their attention to the Nara. Even Naruto looked at the boy with shock in his eyes.
"You can't be serious Shikamaru!" Ino shouted, rolling her eyes. "You seriously think that an idiot like Naruto can become the Hokage?"
"Sure he can. Why wouldn't he be able to?" The boy replied with a yawn.
'What? Does he really mean it… does he… really think I can become Hokage?" Naruto's eyes widened further.
"Why not? Really?" One of the boys sitting next to Shikamaru laughed. "He's the dead last in our class, Shikamaru! He's nowhere near strong enough to become Hokage."
'Ugh, they're not going to shut up. Might as well argue back I guess… the sooner I get this over with, the sooner I can maybe get to sleep.' Shikamaru grumbled before finally pulling his head up from his desk and turning his attention to the boy sitting next to him.
"Of course he's not strong enough to be Hokage right now. None of us are. Not him, not you, not me, and not Sasuke. We're just academy students. Wait until we are shinobi and he gets the chance to truly train and get stronger. He'll probably surprise you." Shikamaru mumbled with a yawn. "It's at least possible. I can see it happening."
"You see him being Hokage? Over more competent ninjas like Sasuke-kun?" Sakura asked, her eyes wide in disbelief. "Shikamaru, you can't honestly believe that, can you?"
"I do." The Nara replied. "Becoming the Hokage is not something anybody can do. They need to be willing to work and do whatever they can to reach the position. Naruto clearly wants the position and is actually going to work for it. He has dedication and he won't give up until he reaches his goal. If you can't see his dedication, then you're just being troublesome. Besides, he'd probably do a good job as Hokage in the future. He cares for the village, after all. I'm sure he'd do everything he could to be a good Hokage and keep the village safe and strong."
"I… um…" Naruto mumbled to himself, trying to process his words. 'No one's ever said something like that about me…'
Sakura seemed as if she was going to reply to Shikamaru's statement, but before she could speak, she was cut off by another person's voice.
"Um… I-I agree with Sh-Shikamaru-san."
Everyone turned their heads to the back of the room, staring at Hinata. The Hyūga poked her index fingers together, looking downward as she started to feel the attention of her classmates on her. She was already regretting speaking up.
'No! I don't regret it!' Hinata took in a deep breath, reaffirming her own statement to herself. Her eyes briefly moved over to Naruto and a blush developed on her cheeks. 'If Shikamaru-san can speak up on behalf of Naruto-kun, then so can I!'
"I-I think th-that Sh-Shikamaru-san is r-right. N-Naruto-kun has the d-dedication to become a g-great Hokage." She spoke quietly.
'Hinata? She thinks so too?' Naruto stared intently at the kunoichi, his eyes somehow widening further. 'She thinks I'd be a great Hokage?'
Before any of the students could reply to the quiet girl, Iruka coughed, grabbing everyone's attention back to him.
"That's enough for that discussion. There are more things we have to discuss today besides who we think can become Hokage!" Iruka informed the class sharply, crossing his arms. "And just because all of you didn't stop talking even after the second time I yelled at you all to get quiet, we're going to have a quiz tomorrow on the Hokage, so make sure you all study, because it WILL count on your overall class rank!"
Many of the academy students all groaned at the chūnin's words, but did not speak back. The class turned quiet as they focused in on Iruka's lecture.
Naruto stopped paying attention to class, focusing on his thoughts. His mind kept repeating Shikamaru's and Hinata's words of support for him and his dream. Naruto had never met anyone his age who actually believed in him. He spent the rest of the class thinking back to his two fellow classmates, wondering what they truly thought about him and his dream.
"Class is dismissed. I will see you all tomorrow." Iruka informed the students.
Nearly all of the students in the room got out of their seats quickly and started rushing out of the classroom to head back to their homes. Naruto got up from his seat slowly and looked around for two of his classmates.
"Hey, Shikamaru! Hinata" Naruto called out to them.
Shikamaru, who was taking a nap, groaned at being awakened before turning to Naruto. He got out of his seat and walked up to him with a yawn.
Hinata, who had gotten out of her seat and was walking towards the door froze upon hearing his voice: 'Naruto-kun wants to talk to me?' She walked slowly over to him, a blush forming on her cheeks.
"I…I just wanted to ask you guys. Back in class today…did you both mean it?" Naruto asked softly, looking down.
"Mean what? Be a bit more specific." Shikamaru yawned in response. "I don't remember much of class today. It dragged."
"Every class drags for you!" Naruto looked up, scowling.
The Nara shrugged his shoulders in response: "And?"
"Um…" Hinata spoke-up. She immediately looked away as both of her fellow classmates looked at her and began poking her fingers. "Y-You were asking us N-Naruto-kun?"
The Uzumaki took in a deep breath he looked them in the eye: "I, um… mean when you both said that I could become Hokage. Do you two actually believe that?"
"Oh." Shikamaru responded. "That what you meant."
"I… I m-meant it." Hinata nodded her head in response. "I… I th-think you will be a g-great Hokage in the future N-Naruto-kun."
"I think so as well. If I thought otherwise, I wouldn't have said anything. It'd be too troublesome to lie about something like that." Shikamaru said with a shrug.
Naruto stared at his fellow classmates for a few seconds in silence before he gave them a large smile. It was different than the grin he normally wore on a daily basis; this smile was more genuine than either had ever seen on his face.
"You guys are the first two to believe in me like that and I promise you both that you will not regret it!" Naruto stated, bringing his hand to his chest. "Thank you both so much!"
"You're w-welcome, N-Naruto-kun." Hinata replied, looking down again as her blush reddened further. Despite that, however, a wide smile developed on her face as well.
"I was just saying the truth. You don't have to thank me for it." Shikamaru replied, a smirk on his face. "But, whatever. It's no problem at all, Naruto."
"You two aren't busy right now, are you?" He asked them.
"Hmm?" Shikamaru tilted his head slightly in response. "I was planning on getting some sleep. Maybe go cloud watching. But I guess I'm not really busy."
"I have to be home in about t-two hours for t-training with my clan, b-but I'm free r-right n-now." Hinata replied.
Naruto did not fully process their words; all that process in his mind was that the two were free at the moment. He gave them a foxy grin.
"Since you guys are free, I'm taking you both to get ramen at the greatest place in Konoha, Ichiraku's Ramen. Consider it a treat from your future Hokage." The boy told them.
Before his words could register in their heads, Naruto grabbed both Hinata's and Shikamaru's hands and started to rush out of the room, dragging them along with him.
"Hey! Slow down. I didn't agree to this." Shikamaru grumbled as he tried to loosen Naruto's grip on his hand. His attempts, unfortunately, failed. 'There goes my relaxing afternoon of sleep. What a drag...'
'Naruto-Kun's holding my hand! Naruto-Kun's taking me to get ramen with him!' Hinata shouted in her head, unaware of anything else in the world.
It took only a few more seconds before the Hyūga heiress lost her grip on Naruto's hand and fell to the ground in unconsciousness, her smile seemingly widening on her face.
It took Hinata roughly ten minutes before she regained consciousness. Upon waking up, she was immediately dragged out with Naruto, alongside with Shikamaru.
The blond rushed them through the streets of Konoha towards a ramen stand in the center of Konoha's streets.
"Yo, Old Man Ichiraku! I'm here!" Naruto announced.
Ichiraku Teuchi, the owner of Ichiraku Ramen, turned around as he noticed the young blond sitting down at one of his chairs. A chuckle escaped his lips as he approached the boy, bowing his head.
"Good afternoon, Naruto. Long day at the academy?" He asked.
"Yeah, it was kinda long, but it's no big deal." He shrugged in response before gesturing to his right. "Hey, hey, old man! Meet Hinata and Shikamaru! Hinata and Shikamaru; meet old man Ichiraku! And his daughter Ayame…" Naruto then blinked as he looked around in the stand. "Uh… where's Ayame?"
"She has the day off! I can't overwork my daughter too much." Teuchi said, his chuckling getting louder. He then turned his head towards Naruto's classmates, who were standing off to the side. "Hinata and Shikamaru? Welcome! Any friends of Naruto are welcome here! Please; have a seat!"
"Oh! Um… okay…" Hinata nodded her head quickly as she took the seat next to Naruto. "It-It's a p-pleasure to meet y-you I-Ichiraku-san…"
Shikamaru shrugged his shoulders as he walked over to the seat next to Hinata's, nodding his head at the ramen chef.
"I assume you want your usual miso ramen, am I right Naruto?" Teuchi asked. The blond nodded his head, which caused the chef to turn his attention to the other two academy students. "And for you two?"
"I, um… d-don't really have ramen m-much, so I d-don't know. I'll j-just order what N-Naruto-kun ordered… if that's okay…" Hinata said, bowing her head slightly.
"Hmm…" Shikamaru brought his hand to his chin as he tried to think. "… Damn, it's been a while since I've had ramen. I guess Shio Ramen? You make that here, right?"
"I make all types of ramen, Shikamaru-san!" Teuchi laughed again as he nodded his head. "So two bowls of Miso and one Shio. Coming right up!"
As the ramen chef turned around to start working on the ramen, Naruto turned his head to face his two classmates, looking at them in surprise.
"Wait, you two don't eat much ramen? Really?" He blinked in response. He stayed quiet for a moment, trying to process their words. "… Why?"
"I usually eat with m-my cl-clan and my f-father's not a big fan of ramen…" Hinata admitted, frowning. "Whenever I g-go out and g-get my own food, I usually g-get something sweet…"
"I'm sorta in the same boat. Normally eat with my parents. Mom doesn't cook ramen." Shikamaru shrugged his shoulders in response. "Although I sometimes go out for barbeque with Chōji whenever he wants to."
"Hmph." Naruto crossed his arms. "Ramen is way better than sweets or barbeque!"
A smirk developed on Shikamaru's face as he shook his head: "I dare you to look Chōji in the eye the next time you see him and say that."
"Deal." Naruto nodded his head, grinning back at the boy. His eyes then moved from Shikamaru to Hinata then back to the Nara as he started to rub the back of his head. "So... um... what do you all do for fun?"
"Fun?" Hinata blinked in response. "I, um-"
"I sleep." Shikamaru spoke, getting more comfortable in his chair.
"The hell?" Naruto rolled his eyes. "Then what do you do when you're awake?"
"Try to sleep." The Nara replied, smirking once again.
"Ahhhhh, that's lame." The blond frowned in response. He then turned his head towards Hinata. "Well, what about you? Literally anything can be more exciting than that!"
"Um... in my f-free t-time, I usually tr-train. I also p-press flowers and read and-"
"Press flowers?" Naruto tilted his head. "What's that?"
"B-B-Basically p-preserving flowers in a b-book. Or t-to make art." Hinata elaborated, a small smile developing on her lips. "My mother showed me how to do so."
"Ah. That's cool." The Uzumaki nodded his head in understanding. "So do you grow your own flowers then? Like do you garden? Cause I garden and that'd be super cool!"
"Um... I d-don't." Hinata shook her head. "I use f-flowers from my clan's garden..."
"Oh. That's cool." Naruto nodded his head again, smiling. "Hey, would you want to use something from my garden to plant?" The Uzumaki's eyes widened for a brief second as he started to rub the back of his head. "I mean, I don't actually have anything with flowers, cause I normally just grow green plants and stuff, but I can try growing some flower-blooming plants if you'd be interested!"
"I-I-I-I..." Hinata's cheeks darkened, turning a bright red color. She managed to nod her head, however, as a large smile developed on her lips. "I'd... l-love t-to."
"Heh. Awesome! Then I'll grow something then." Naruto smiled back. He then quickly turned his head back to Shikamaru. "See? THAT'S something cool to do for fun Shikamaru-"
The rest of Naruto's sentence faded as he noticed that the Nara was laying his head down at the counter, snoring peacefully to himself. Both Naruto and Hinata blinked at the sight of their classmate before a scowl developed on Naruto's face as he poked the boy's forehead, causing him to wince and open his eyes.
"Hey! What do you think you're doing?" He asked.
"Sleeping. You know. What I said I like to do for fun." Shikamaru grumbled in reply as he closed his eyes. "Just wake me up when the ramen gets here."
"OI!" Naruto shouted, poking Shikamaru's forehead again.
Hinata giggled to herself as she watched Naruto continue to pester Shikamaru.
'It's been a while since I've seen Naruto bring anyone with him. And they seem like they're having fun.' Teuchi thought to himself as he continued preparing their ramen. 'Good. It's nice that he's finally making friends.'
With a chuckle to himself, Teuchi focused on preparing the ramen bowls for Naruto and his classmates. Something in the back of his head told him this would not be the last time he saw the three of them together at his stand.
Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Sandaime Hokage, smiled to himself as he stared into the crystal ball in his office. His crystal ball reflected an image of Naruto sitting at his favorite ramen stand, Ichiraku's, with two kids from his class in the academy. The Sandaime recognized both of them as Hyūga Hinata and Nara Shikamaru, the heiress and heir of their respective clans.
The aged Hokage often checked up on Naruto in his crystal ball to make sure he was doing okay and that nothing bad was happening to him. Seeing the blonde boy sitting with two kids his own age having fun and laughing made Hiruzen feel a great joy in his heart.
"Naruto, it's great to see you have friends your own age now. It's good to see people accepting you." Sarutobi commented to himself.
Seeing that Naruto was okay, Sarutobi deactivated his jutsu and the crystal ball stopped reflecting the image of the academy students. Even with the image gone from the ball, the Sandaime couldn't help but see it in his head.
'Those three... I have a feeling they will become something big. Something the shinobi world will remember.' Sarutobi thought to himself.
Every legend has a beginning. Sarutobi Hiruzen just witnessed the beginning of a new legend: a legend of three ninja who would work together to help each other grow and reach their true potential.