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Fanfic: Cutting Loose
Cutting Loose is a For Want of a Nail Naruto Fanfic written by Chengar Qordath. The basic premise revolves around Naruto becoming friends with Tenten while still at the Academy, and ultimately graduating a year earlier than he did in canon and joining Team Gai in Neji's place.

Currently, the fic has four story arcs:

  • The Introductory Arc (Ch 1-2)
  • The Two-Tailed Jinchuriki Arc (Ch 3-6)
  • The Kiri Rebellion Arc (Ch 7-12)
  • The Chunin Exam Arc (Ch 13-present)


This fanfiction series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: All the kunoichi are depicted as competent, at least, which makes for a refreshing change from canon.
  • Berserk Button: If you hurt either Naruto or Tenten, the other will hunt you down; the latter is also prone to snapping at Naruto whenever he lets his Chronic Hero Syndrome put him in danger with reckless disregard for his own life or how his friends would feel.
    • Meanwhile, Sasuke's Itachi button is Deconstructed as he learns the hard way that losing control and acting irrationally does not a good ninja make.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Yagura, which is canon, but here we get to see the effects first hand. It's not pretty.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Quite a few, Might Guy/Maito Gai being the most prominent.
  • Can't Catch Up: Lee and Tenten are slowly getting left behind by Naruto's rapid growth.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Akane will never be a ninja again after getting her spine severed, crippling her.
  • Conversational Troping: Naruto's new fangirls discuss whether Naruto fits The Ace, Broken Bird, Blithe Spirit or All Girls Want Bad Boys. Lee disagrees with all of them, as he thinks Naruto is a Nice Guy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tenten and Kakashi, and even Naruto himself to a lesser extent.
  • Demoted to Extra: Teams 8 & 10 haven't appeared very much in this fic, and neither of them even make it past the Forest of Death stage during the Chunin Exam.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Tenten vs. Sakura is an invoked In-Universe example, since they're matched up for the 3rd stage of the Chunin Exams (albeit by drawing lots).
  • Driven to Suicide: After regaining his senses, Yagura lets himself be impaled by Naruto's blade as retribution for his (unwitting) sins.
  • Dying as Yourself: Yagura
  • Everyone Can See It: Naruto and Tenten.
  • Evil Counterpart: Naruto treats Yagura as this, which heightens his determination to defeat him. He later extends the same to Gaara, only even more seriously.
  • Exact Words: See Loophole Abuse, below.
  • Fangirl: Naruto develops these after publicly revealing his status as a Jinchuriki after his mission in Kiri.
  • Flat "What.": Tenten's reaction to Naruto's "The Man Behind the Man" rambling in chapter 2.
  • For Want of a Nail: In this case, it was a chance conversation between Naruto and Tenten that started with her teaching him how to throw, and ended with them striking up a friendship.
    • Mind, this fic also functions on the Retcon that Naruto attended the Academy two years early (and so was in Tenten's Graduating Class after his first failure), rather than the {{Canon}] implication he simply took the Grad. Exam early somehow. Of course given there are potential plot holes in the canon scenario... yeah.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Team Gai:
    The Kirk: Naruto
    The McCoy: Rock Lee
    The Spock: Tenten
    • Neji's team:
    The Kirk: Masaru
    The McCoy: Maeko
    The Spock: Neji
  • Friendly Enemy: Yugito seems to genuinely like Naruto. Doesn't mean she won't try to talk him into defecting, and try to beat him into unconsciousness and kidnap him if he doesn't go along with her voluntarily.
  • The Generic Guy: Masaru's the most ordinary character in the story so far, hands down. It's handled rather well, though.
  • Genius Ditz: Naruto - completely ineffectual in the Academy setting, a genius in thinking outside the box.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Inverted - Rock Lee thinks this is true, but then realises that the real reason he (and Tenten) Can't Catch Up to Naruto is because he's both "a natural genius and a genius of hard work". The reason Naruto's so much tougher here than in canon is because he works hard.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Tenten's main argument for not pursuing a Relationship Upgrade with Naruto. It doesn't convince him.
  • Idiot Savant: According to Word of God, Naruto. It sticks in-story as well.
  • Jerkass: Maeko. There have been one or two hints that she might have a Dark and Troubled Past. It's been confirmed that she is both an orphan, and possesses a Kekkei Genkai which (apparently) originated in Kiri...
  • La Résistance: Naruto gets involved in the rebellion against the insane Mizukage, Yagura.
  • Loophole Abuse: Naruto exploits this during Ibiki Morino's part of the exam - the rules state that you "lose two points each time you're caught cheating", after all.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Itachi makes his appearance in the Forest of Death.
  • Meaningful Name: Akane Shatsu, Naruto's replacement on Team 7. Her name basically means "Red Shirt." Possibly an aversion, since despite being critically injured she survives her first fight, and her injury has caused some important Character Development for Sasuke and Sakura. Her injury has apparently left her crippled for life, though.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sasuke after Chapter 16. Maeko also gets this, to an extent. Yagura is also horrified by his actions when he's broken out of his mind control and realised what he did to Kiri.
  • Only Sane Man: Tenten is one in team 9. On the beginning, at least.
    • Masaru appears to be this for his team as well, since he's stuck with Maeko and Neji with no word on the whereabouts of their sensei just yet.
  • Original Character: Several - most notably Maeko, Masaru and Akane.
  • Punishment Detail: A common answer for low-mid level offenses by ninjas. D-rank missions to clean the sewers seem to be a popular choice.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Before the relationship upgrade, this is exactly how Naruto and Tenten's relationship works. Depending on whether they work out romantically or not, they might snap back to it - making each other The Not-Love Interest. Justified because their friendship is the core of the story - no matter what happens, Tenten is Naruto's most precious person.
  • Plausible Deniability: It's hinted that Naruto's research trip to Kiri was only approved because it would allow Konoha to unofficially get involved the ongoing civil war while blaming it all on an impulsive young Genin.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Masaru to Maeko in Chapter 16:
    Maeko: "Hey, I was trying to help!"
    Masaru: "Key word there, trying. That's all you ever do; you just screw things up and put me and Neji in danger. Did you even bother to pay attention when we were getting lessons in field medicine, or was that just another subject you never bothered with because you thought you were too good for it?" (He applies a bandage to Neji's back while muttering under his breath)... "I figured it was only a matter of time before she got one of us killed."
  • Relationship Upgrade: After spending more than a year as Just Friends, Naruto and Tenten finally decide to give a relationship a shot.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Sasuke, when he abandons his teammates to Kisame in order to pursue Itachi, even striking Akane in the face in order to do so. He pays for it badly though, something he's all-too aware of.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Generally averted, but Kisame unleashing a "fluffy of blows" provided great amusement to all the readers until the author fixed it.
  • Ship Sinking: It's too early to be certain, but SasuSaku seems to have been ignominiously sunk following Sasuke's actions in the Forest of Death. Quite tellingly, Sakura rather contemptuously refers to him as "Uchiha" rather than "Sasuke-kun" when asked the state of her team. Adding to that is her developing a crush on Naruto - although he's now dating Tenten, Word of God has said it's unclear whether this will be the final Official Couple by the end of the story.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Kaiza, Zabuza and Haku.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Completely blown apart - the Land of Waves Arc never even happens because due to Naruto helping La Résistance in Kiri, Zabuza decides to leave Gatou's employ and join up. He even kills the man before he and Haku depart. The Chunin Exam Arc has some very notable differences as well.
    • Itachi also mentions that Orochimaru is apparently still a member of Akatsuki.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Maeko frequently shoots her mouth or does stupid things which are liable to get her killed, such as refusing to increase her skills in areas she's actually good at, out of some sense of self-entitlement and Pride. It takes Masaru viciously chewing her out after Neji almost dies saving her for her to finally recognise this, and even now she's going to need time to grow out of it.
  • True Companions: Team Gai, but especially Naruto and Tenten - Rock Lee is shown to occasionally feeling like a Third Wheel because although all of Team Gai are close, those two are the closest of all.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Kakashi asks Sasuke this after the Forest of Death debacle. For the record... no, it wasn't.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While he keeps his tone of voice under control, Kakashi is still ripping into Sasuke when scolding him for getting Akane badly injured due to his irrationality concerning Itachi. Though he considers kicking Sasuke off the team, he acknowledges that the boy has realised his mistake and will learn from its severity, but either way he's disallowed from participating in the Third Round as punishment.

Chunin Exam DayFanWorks/NARUTODead Garden
CupcakesThe New TensExtended Stay

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