Sarutobi had asked her to revive an old tactical concept, and lead a team of reconnaissance specialists. The last one had come to grief, but she didn't think the concept itself was flawed. What happened to Nomaru, Mattai, and Kobaru-sensei had been a tragic accident. At least that was what she told herself on her good days.
On her bad days, her thoughts were much darker. Sometimes they flirted with treason. Of a sort, anyway. If her suspicions were correct, she wasn't alone in such thoughts, just in failing to act on them.
—part of Kurenai's exposition.
is a Naruto
fanfic written by ace author S'TarKan (known in some places as Viridian or Evil Author Lord) which has risen to near-legendary status in the Naruto fanfiction community, especially among Naruto/Hinata shippers.
The story is a For Want of a Nail
concept based on the idea that Yuuhi Kurenai scouts the newest class of genins the afternoon before the teams are assigned, and makes note of Hinata's crush on Naruto (among other things). This leads to her requesting that Naruto be placed on her team, replacing Kiba as part of Kurenaiís plans to create a team specializing in reconnaissance. Naturally, this leads to a completely different set of interactions than Naruto had in the canon series, including an original story replacing the "Wave Country" arc, among many others.
With Naruto and Hinata now being on the same team, naturally the story is a Naruto/Hinata pairing, but Shino and Kurenai also receive their fair share of attention, with Kurenai in particular receiving a more fleshed-out characterization than in canon.
The story was on hold in the "Search for Tsunade" arc for slightly over two years, but was updated on September 6 2013. The author maintains a blog
and an active forum
where he posts occasional word count updates and is also involved in several other projects, such as the equally well-written Harry Potter And The Nightmares Of Futures Past
Of related interest is Snapped
, a Team 8 AU also written by S'TarKan.A character page has been made.
This fanfiction series contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Hiashi is portrayed as one of these toward Hinata, with such admirable parental habits as physically abusing Hinata during "training exercises" or not allowing her to sleep until she masters a new technique.
- Achievements in Ignorance: You're not supposed to be able to infuse shadow clones with a full personality, but no-one told Naruto. Not surprising since (in this alternate universe) Naruto's education is implied to have been sabotaged.
- Action Girl: Hinata and Kurenai, most notably.
- All of the Other Reindeer: The effects of this on Naruto's everyday life are taken Up to Eleven. Vendors who don't outright refuse him service instead overcharge him. He isn't allowed to open a bank account, and it's heavily implied he gained a reputation as a thief as well as a vandal from unscrupulous businessmen exploiting and exaggerating his prankster antics to dip into a fund set up by the Sandaime to pay for any damages done by him. Then there's the academy therapist that intentionally gave him horrible advice, and the med-nins who don't want to treat him...
- Aloof Big Cousin: Neji, as always.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: Amusingly, Shino's mom invokes this trope when Naruto and Hinata visit the Aburame household for the first time. It's even lampshaded.
Shino: *Embarrassed sighs*
Misato: ShinoÖ *In a dramatic voice but with mischief in her eyes* This is the first time you've brought friends home. I have a lot of time to make up for.
- A Mother To Her Genin: Kurenai.
- An Aesop: Kurenai likes to turn various mishaps into inpromptu lessons for her genin, asking them what they can take away from the experience
- ...And That Little Girl Was Me: Discussed. Kurenai tells a story about a girl who, as a Chunin, defeated a more experienced Jonin. When Shino's reply makes the assumption that the girl in the story was her, Kurenai reminds him that she didn't explicitly say so. Though, as Shino then points out, it's hard to believe that she would recall so many exact details about the fight if it had happened to someone else, which Kurenai acknowledges.
- Anyone Can Die: S'TarKan officially claims this about his story, after he killed off Kurenai.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Hinata declares that she's worthless because her father said so, Kurenai asks whom she spends more time with (Naruto) and whether he'd agree with her father. Cue Flashback to him saying "Hinata, you rock!" and one stunned-silent heiress.
- She's on the receiving end of another one just before the Tsunade Retrieval mission and before Kurenai gets killed. "Hinata, you know what you did wrong, what good would it do to keep reminding you of it?" Innocuous enough, but considering what Hinata has been through her whole life, it made her entire world begin to unravel.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Part of Sasuke's characterization due to Naruto not being on Team 7. Being on the losing end of a curbstomp battle with Naruto seems to have weakened this trope somewhat.
- Ascended Extra: Kurenai. In the original manga, she's given little characterization and mostly just serves as the one in charge of Team 8. Here, she's a major character with a troubled history who serves as both the Obi Wan and Team Mom to her students, especially Naruto and Hinata.
- Author Avatar: Kurenai is considered as such, and the author suggests that she's his "mouthpiece".
- Badass: Virtually everyone.
- Badass Adorable: Hinata.
- Badass Crew: Team Eight.
- Badass Grandpa: The Hokage, as usual. Also, Jiraiya.
- Badass Teacher: Kurenai, Iruka, Gai, Kakashi and Asuma. The first three also count as Cool Teachers. The other two are more of Sink or Swim Mentors though.
- Batman Gambit: Naruto uses one to convince Tsunade of returning to Konoha. See the Awesome entry for more details.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Kurenai overcomes Tsukuyomi this way. By working with the genjutsu rather than against it.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: A double subversion of sorts. While in the Forest of Death, Hinata's face is badly bruised. It remains that way for the rest of the chapter and at least a third of the next one until a medic nin heals her.
- Berserk Button: Don't call Hinata weak in Naruto's company. Also, dare to seriously threaten or, worse, actually hurt his teammates. He will go Kyuubi on you.
- This is not as major as the above example, but as the Precision F-Strike demonstrates below, don't call Naruto a monster because, to Hinata, that's bullshit.
- Avoid any and all sexist remarks in Kurenai's presence. Also avoid being a dick to Naruto; she will scare the shit out of you.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Hinata is a victim of severe emotional abuse, with major self-esteem problems. She's gentle, kind, and refuses to speak ill of anyone, even her screwed up family. And if you threaten her teammates in her presence, she will smash in your face.
- Naruto swiping Neji's face with a Kyuubi powered claw from point-blank range for what he did to Hinata. Gets an immediate lampshade from Sakura.
"I never knew Naruto could be so... brutal."
- Big Brother Mentor: Iruka towards Naruto, obviously. Given that he was one of the few teachers in the academy who treated Naruto fairly, he is also one of the few male characters that Kurenai trusts.
- The Big Guy: Naruto, despite being the shortest member of the team, thanks to his nearly unending stamina, chakra and use of shadow clones. Also Rock Lee and/or Kiba, whenever they are around Team 8.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Hyuga in general, even more so than in canon. So far Hinata seems to be the only decent person out of all of them.
- Although, like in normal canon, Neji appears to be coming around recently.
- He goes as far as to help Hinata hide from her father, which given that Hiashi is one nasty case of Abusive Parent is a pretty good deed.
- Big Sister Instinct: Shown at least twice in the story with the older sister jumping into the fray to protect a younger sibling: The first time with Hinata trying to rescue Hanabi from a group of kidnappers, the second time with Temari trying to defend Gaara during the Sand/Sound invasion.
- Bloody Hilarious: Talking through a broken nose is a laugh riot. Right, Orochimaru?
- Boisterous Bruiser: Lee and Gai, of course.
- Book Dumb: Deconstructed. Naruto's horrible grades at the Academy came less from genuine ineptitude and more from many of the instructors (except Iruka) actively trying to sabotage his progress. Under Kurenai's mentorship, he improves enough to be a serious contender for chuunin within a few short months.
- Boom, Headshot: Kurenai's death.
- Break the Haughty: Sasuke and Neji. Time will tell if any other Hyuugas will get their turn.
- Brick Joke: At chapter 4, Naruto uses his chakra pulse (see Chekhov's Skill below) for the first time. It's casually mentioned that among the effects, the wives of some village elders lost the cosmetic genjutsu they used to look younger. More than 16 chapters later, guess what happens when Naruto uses the pulse with Tsunade.
- Broken Bird: Kurenai. Itís shown and remarked how much she was affected by the death of her teammates as well as other unsavory events in her past. As a result, her outlook on life can be quite cynical and pessimistic at times. However, in a subversion of how the trope usually plays when it comes to mentorship roles, she acts quite sympathetic and encouraging towards her students (although she still can be very stern when needed), and proves to be quite a good teacher and team leader despite her personal issues.
- Bullying a Dragon: Some of the villagers towards Naruto. Sasuke can be forgiven for this, before the Chunin exams. After the Forest of Death, he no longer has an excuse.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Kurenai believes that as ninja become more experienced, they also become more eccentric to deal with the stress. Might Guy is the poster boy for this theory, but Kakashi and Jiraiya also fit.
- Calling The Old Men Out: Shino goes before his clan's elders after learning about the Kyuubi, and, as is said later in this entry, verbally tears them apart.
- Can't Catch Up: Discussed by Shino and his parents when they learn of the insane training regime that Naruto (and later Hinata) takes daily. In order to avert it, Shino gets training with a new fighting style and some cool new weapons.
- Chekhov's Classroom: Subverted. Kurenai teaches the squad a jutsu to charge one's fist with electricity, and informs them of how useful it is against an enemy wearing steel. In the following chapter when the group is fighting 3 ninjas and one of them turn his skin into steel, you'd think Naruto would use this jutsu. Instead he uses the Kyuubi's power to punch a hole in the guy's chest.
- Played straight later in combination with the Chekhov's Gun of Naruto's electroshock alarm clock, Naruto uses the technique to wake Gaara and end his demon's rampage.
- Earlier, a psychiatrist speaks individually to each of the new genin, saying the first time they kill someone while on a mission is the most difficult. Except for Naruto, who he coldly dismisses as a monster who will probably enjoy killing. This comes back to bite him in the ass hard when ANBU Black Ops show up and take him away for interrogation.
- Back in Chapter 4, Kurenai's explanation of how to realize you're in a Genjutsu involves searching out discrepencies. This is how she managed to break Itachi's Tsukuyomi.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Haku. In chapter 9, Team 7 (which includes Kiba in place of Naruto) explains the result of their mission in Wave Country. It's mentioned that Haku survived the fight with Zabuza and was brought back to Konoha with them. In chapter 12, Sakura is surprised to see Naruto escorted by a Chuunin proctor to the bathroom. Finally, in chapter 18, that same proctor is revealed to be Haku, who helps the Sandaime in the battle against Orochimaru, heavily affecting the outcome of the fight.
- Chekhov's Skill: In chapters 4 and 6, Kurenai is shown teaching some simple jutsu to her students. Given his enormous chakra reserves and poor chakra control, Naruto ends up supercharging the jutsu leading to hilarious effects. It turns out the supercharged versions become very useful later, particularly during the Chuunin exam and Orochimaru's invasion. The most relevant include:
- A condensation jutsu used to gather little amounts of water from the surrounding atmosphere in order to accomplish menial tasks (like refilling a canteen). By supercharging it, Naruto creates a giant torrent of water that he uses to decimate Gaara's sand shield during their fight in chapter 17.
- A brief chakra pulse used to cancel genjutsu; generally a short-range tactic, it's limited by the amount of chakra put into it. By supercharging it, Naruto creates the equivalent of a chakra EMP capable of covering the entire village and disrupting all kind of techniques beside genjutsu. In chapter 17, Naruto uses it to cancel the genjutsu that Kabuto puts on the stadium during the invasion to the village, but the pulse is so big it ends messing up other jutsu in the area, particularly those neccesary for Orochimaru's plans.
- The Chick: Tenten and/or Sakura, whenever Team 7 and/or Team Gai act in tandem with Team 8.
- Colossus Climb: The fight between Naruto and Gaara during the Sand/Sound invasion eventually involves this. Given that he didn't sign the toad summoning scroll and can't call Gamabunta, when his opponent enters the Shukaku form, Naruto doesn't have any other option than running over the Giant Tanuki Demon in order to reach Gaara and awaken him. Granted, he used the Nine tails's chakra to power himself up for the climb, but still...
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Hanabi does. Loudly. Obnoxiously. Ungratefully.
- Crazy-Prepared: Naruto strangely enough. During the Forest of Death chunnin exam the characters kept mentioning how they had no idea why Naruto brought X item but it sure came in handy: e.g. he brought multiple collapsible tents by himself and other things.
- This is Hinata's influence. One way her poor self-esteem manifests is that she always makes sure she has any item that she might foreseeably need, within reason. Naruto notices this tendency in chapter nine (after Naruto throws up during a training session, Hinata offers him a clean cloth and cup of tea from her thermos) and decides he should emulate it. Being Naruto, of course, he doesn't worry about the 'within reason' part.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Team 8 was originally assembled to specialize in reconnaissance. Kurenai, however, chose to switch Naruto in place of Kiba to avert this trope.
- Naruto, Shino, and Hinata were able to defeat an enemy Jonin early on partially because he specialized more in stealth than in fighting.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Naruto vs Sasuke. One punch, right in the jaw, and Sasuke is OUT.
- Well, Sasuke had only deliberately and with malice aforethought slammed down on Naruto's Berserk Button regarding Hinata, immediately after Naruto had just watched Neji beat her half to death. What an Idiot.
- The author did give some arguments as to why Sasuke lost, at the end of chapter 15, suggesting that, among other things Naruto is in better condition in this fight, and has been training with someone who defeated Sasuke in canon.
- Cute Bruiser: All of Team 8 eventually, but Naruto takes the cake.
- Dead Man Writing: Kurenai in her letters in Chapter 22.
- Decoy Protagonist: Prior to Chapter 20, if not for the fact that Naruto and Hinata are displayed as the two main characters, you could be forgiven for thinking that Kurenai is The Hero of this story. Much of the altered backstory and the changes the proverbial nail has wrought are thanks to her mentoring of Team 8, after all.
- Deconstruction Fic: The entire story deconstructs many aspects, plot points, and characterizations of Naruto as a whole. Naruto's status as a pariah is the result of something more serious than a case of All the Other Reindeer. The teaching methods of a Sink-or-Swim Mentor like Kakashi are shown to be vastly inferior when compared to the more involved methods of Kurenai and Gai. The abuse Hinata has to deal with at home (albeit much more severe than in canon) has horribly warped her sense of self worth to the point where she would rather die in a pointless duel than lose and be considered a failure again. Even Naruto's own style of dress is critiqued.
- Designated Girl Fight: In addition to the two from the preliminaries, Hinata versus Temari during the Sand/Sound invasion stands out. In part because most of the previous group battles involving Team 8 had been against fully male teams (so Hinata and Kurenai tend to fight men more often than not), in part because of the intensity of the fight, as both combatants were desperately trying to defend someone.
- Determinator: Deconstructed during Hinata's fight with Neji, where instead of showing how determined she is toward living up to her and Naruto's ninja way, Kurenai instead interprets Hinata's actions (aka - fighting doggedly) as a failed suicide attempt, followed by a scene in the hospital where Hinata denounces her own existence and confirms Kurenai's suspicions.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Kurenai actually brings this up earlier when the team is just formed: don't keep fighting a losing battle that is, in the grand scheme of things, unimportant, especially if the only reason you're still fighting at all is pride.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Naruto's "unfortunate metaphors" would be this to anyone else.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Naruto, did you just break Orochimaru's nose?
- Disney Death: Iruka. During the border patrol mission in chapter 7, Naruto and his team confront a trio of missing ninjas that kidnapped Konohamaru and Hanabi. Konohamaru tries to prevent Naruto from fighting them, telling him that they killed Iruka, which only contributes to Naruto's moment of Unstoppable Rage. Turns out later that Iruka was alive, just badly injured, and Naruto visits him in the hospital. This instance only makes it more poignant when another character really dies later in the story.
- Drowning My Sorrows: How Kakashi coped with his own sensei dying.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Kurenai forces Tsukuyomi to its logical conclusion, breaks it, and gets head-shotted for her trouble. We'll miss you, Kurenai.
- Dynamic Entry: Shino kills a giant snake this way.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Hinata's Big Screwed-Up Family. All of Team 8, the Third and Jiraiya know about it. Gai, Kakashi, Asuma and Iruka also seem to have an inkling. Not only can they not really talk about it publicly, but Hiashi has such powerful connections that he won't answer for his actions (something the Sandaime points out). They collectively decide to come up with plausible reasons for her not to be at her house or near her father.
- To a lesser extent, Naruto and Gaara being jinchuuriki.
- Enemy Mine: Team 8 and Team 7 against Orochimaru, Naruto and the Kyuubi breaking the Cursed seal.
- Exact Words: Strangling someone isn't the same as beating them with one finger.
- Expy: Shino seems to be based on Spock. Misato and Shibi Aburame share traits with Spock's parents as well.
- Even Evil Has Standards: For all his Blood Knight tendencies, Kisame seemed pretty shocked and disturbed when Itachi acted against their assigned orders and killed Kurenai in cold blood.
- Five-Man Band: When Team 8 is in tandem with either Kakashi or Gai's team combined.
- For Want of a Nail: The storyís premise. According to the author, the nail isnít Kurenai requesting Naruto for Team 8, but some unspecified event in her backstory that led to the deaths of her old teammates, a recon oriented team, which means that when she is offered a chance to form a new recon team, she decides to scout the class rather than simply take the students based on written reports. The author also directly indicates that Hiashi is more nasty than he would be in canon, due to the changed course of history.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Naruto is sanguine, Kurenai is choleric, Hinata is melancholic and Shino is phlegmatic.
- Friendship Moment: Hinata calming Naruto down after his first kill, Shino verbally tearing into his family for their treatment of Naruto, Naruto visiting Hinata in the hospital and Hinata and Shino comforting Naruto when he goes to pieces at Kurenai's funeral.
- Naruto has one earlier, when he muses on how badly Hinata got hurt, and the stray thought of "no one does this to my friends" completely unhorses him.
- Freudian Trio: Naruto, Hinata, and Shino. Not that they have a choice in the matter.
- Genki Girl: Hilariously, Shino's mom appears to be at least a partial example.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Kurenai knows a small-scale genjutsu that gives her eyes a subtle glow. She often uses it to unnerve people, especially if they push her Berserk Buttons.
- Glass Cannon: Hinata's eyes and reflexes make her quick to react to danger and any hit she lands with her Jyuuken has the potential to be a One-Hit Kill. However, her defenses and recovery time seems to be lower than the rest of Team 8.
- Good Parents: Shibi and Misato Aburame.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Invoked multiple times in chapter 18, as the story cuts from one fight scene to another just as one character is about to get mauled by his opponent and subverted just as often, as the character about to be injured reveals to still not be out of the fight.
- Government Conspiracy: There is one going on inside the Leaf Village between the Hyuuga Clan and many members of the Village Council, with the ring leaders seemingly being Hiashi and Danzo. While their exact goals and motivations have not been clarified yet, is heavily implied that they ordered the murder of Kurenai's former team and had been actively promoting hate against Naruto inside the village. Some characters, including the Hokage and Kurenai are aware of its existence, but have been unable of bringing it down through legal means.
- Graceful Loser: Chouji takes his defeat at Shino's hands during the Chuunin Exam very well, even giving him a bag of chips when all is said and done.
- Gratuitous Japanese: A lot of it. Common expressions include "Ano", "Gomen," and "Arigato."
- Guile Hero: In his spare time, Shino seems to be becoming one. Naruto even lampshades it:
"No one wins an argument against him!"
- Naruto himself has shades of this, such as manipulating Tsunade into returning to Konoha.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Excluding Hinata, the Main House Hyuugas always seem to be pissed off about something.
- Half Truth: Shino's comment about what flowers would be appropriate for Neji's funeral is construed as a public death threat. It could be, but what he was talking about was Neji's funeral after Naruto rips him limb from limb.
- This is also how Hinata managed to evade her father's questioning in regards to what Naruto did during the fight with the three Iwa shinobi after returning from the border patrol.
- Happily Married: Appears to be the case for Shino's parents, despite or perhaps due to being very different.
- Happiness in Slavery: Hinata is more than willing to be Tsunade's personal assistant for six months if it means Tsunade will return to the village to help Naruto and so that Hinata won't have to go back to her Big Screwed-Up Family.
- He Knows Too Much: Itachi ruthlessly kills Kurenai once she breaks his Tsukyomi, simply because she figured out how to beat it.
- The Heart: Hinata has some traits of this. Despite her poor self esteem issues (or maybe because of them), she is very gentle and kind, always willing to help other people. She tends to act as a conciliatory voice between the rather disparate personalities of her teammates. More importantly, she helps Naruto to overcome the Heroic BSOD mentioned below, she is the first person to point out to Shino that Naruto is actually a valuable teammate when the Aburame had initial doubts about his competence, and she even convinces Naruto of sparing Neji's life despite what he did to her.
- The Hero: Naruto
- Heroic BSOD: Naruto starts to have one of these after he makes his first kill, but Hinata helps him snap out of it before he gets too angsty.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Hinata is especially plagued with feelings of self-doubt and inferiority, in large part thanks to her abusive father.
- Occasionally, Naruto does this as well.
- Humble Pie: Naruto serves it up to both Sasuke and Neji.
- I Am a Monster: One of the major reasons behind Naruto's Heroic BSOD mentioned above. Given that he was using the demon's chakra at that moment and felt vindicated by the death of his opponents, he started to believe he was turning into the fox. Hinata and Kurenai help him to put things in perspective.
- Eventually, both Neji and Sakura realize that they could stand to be better and nicer people, similar to their canon counterparts.
- Identical Stranger: Naruto to the dead son of an innkeeper.
- I Hit You, You Hit the Ground: Chuunin Exam preliminary battles. Naruto hits Sasuke out of the Chuunin Exam. Sasuke hits the ground with a broken jaw.
- I'm Standing Right Here: A dramatic example; Hiashi Hyuuga very plainly speaks of Hinata's weakness and uselessness to Kurenai when he entrusts her to train her as a ninja. Hinata is standing a few feet away when he does.
- In Spite of a Nail: While several of the Chuunin Exam matches are different, some match-ups are the same as in Canon. Tenten vs. Temari, Hinata vs. Neji, Sakura vs. Ino, Lee vs. Gaara, Naruto vs. Neji and Temari vs. Shikamaru. The actions in many of this match-ups change due to the altered circumstances, however...
- Iron Lady: As a jounin and team leader, Kurenai carries herself as one. She has to, given the chauvinistic mentality of some of the people around her (like a weapon shopkeeper in one of the first chapters).
- I Take Offense to That Last One: When Shino deconstructs Naruto's personality traits and deduces that he's the host of the nine-tailed fox demon, the thing that really gets under Naruto's Skin is that Shino's bugs fed off his chakra until they were full and Naruto didn't even notice. Naruto even goes so far as to declare that he's cheating.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Shino does not take well to Naruto being referred to as an "it" by his clansmen.
- It Never Gets Any Easier: On the eve of Kurenai's funeral, Naruto asks Jiraiya if losing people close to you eventually becomes easier. His response:
"No, and if it ever does, I donít want to know you".
- Jack of All Stats: Shino. He has no trouble at all keeping up with the rest of his team but lacks Naruto's stamina. He's physically stronger than Hinata, has a longer reach than both of them and recovers faster but he doesn't react as fast as she or Naruto do. Kurenai combines this and her genjutsu moveset as the team's Kung-Fu Wizard.
- Jerk Ass: As mentioned before, most members of the Hyuuga clan fall into this, including Neji, Hanabi and especially Hiashi. The members of Team 7 are initially portrayed as this as well.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Similar to canon, Kiba can be very brash, arrogant and belligerent. He nevertheless is loyal to his teammates and cares about them, despite the ocassional squabbles.
- Kick the Dog / What the Hell, Hero?: While is still in the air whether or not Sasuke will go the same path as in canon, some of his actions can be interpreted as either one of these tropes. Namely, his killing of one of the Sound team in the Forest of Death after receiving the cursed seal from Orochimaru, and his mocking of Hinata to Naruto's face during the preliminaries.
- A lesser example is Naruto taunting Neji by saying his dead father would be disappointed in him. Only slightly mitigated by it probably being quite right then (Hizashi was more-or-less a good man, Neji was, at the time, a Jerkass).
- Narrowly averted during Kurenai's funeral; Naruto becomes an emotionally distraught mess, so Hinata rushes to his side without thinking (or even acknowledging the Death Glare her father was giving her). This pissed Hiashi off. Shino then comforts the grieving Naruto. This pisses Hiashi off further. He's about to haul an also-grieving Hinata off when Asuma and Kakashi appear on either side of him; their reaction to Hiashi's intentions is summed up as 'One step further and I will Chidori you right in the face, then teach the entire village how to Chidori you right in the face'.
- Killed Off for Real: Kurenai.
- Knife Nut: ALL ninja love kunai but Kurenai seems to somehow always have one in her hand when she's angry.
- Lampshade Hanging: On Highly-Visible Ninja.
- The Lancer: Hinata
- Layman's Terms: Naruto tends to be confused by Shinoís speech patterns, requiring someone (usually Kurenai) to translate for him. Eventually, an exasperated Shino starts doing the translation himself.
- Left for Dead: Iruka, with Konohamaru fully believing he was dead.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: The battle between Shino and Chouji during the Chunnin exams is impeccably civil.
- Let's Get Dangerous: A non-combat variation occurs when Jiraiya drops his pervert facade after Kurenai asks him to take her seriously.
- Life or Limb Decision: The battle between Orochimaru and the 3rd Hokage ends with this... For both combatants!!
- Lightning Bruiser: Thanks to the supplemental training in taijutsu he is taking with Gai and Rock Lee, Naruto has gradually turned into an example. This is especially evident during his fight with Gaara in the Chunin Exams. He not only manages to outrun the other jinchuuriki's sand defenses, but hits him so hard that Gaara ends up with a concussion. And that's not taking into account the Kyuubi chakra, which not only increases his speed even more, but also gives him enough strength to punch through metal.
- Like A Daughter To Me: Kurenai says she would be proud to call Hinata her daughter. In her will.
- Little Miss Badass: Hinata, regardless of what she thinks.
- Lady of War: And she's working up to this, as far as Naruto's concerned.
- Local Hangout: Ichiraku Ramen. Kurenai sometimes takes the team to Moritake's (her favorite restaurant) when she wants to talk about something serious.
- Loophole Abuse: Misato, Shino's mother, knows a secret fighting style involving kama of which she was instructed to not teach to anyone outside the Hidden Mist Village. Since Shino was actually born there, she sees no harm in passing it down to him.
- Love Epiphany: Hinata realizes that what she feels for Naruto is not merely admiration or a crush while watching over him after the battle with Orochimaru in the Forest of Death.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Kurenai believes this is what happened to her original team. The details are expounded on chapter 22.
- Mama Bear: Kurenai is mildly disturbed to realize that she would put the safety of Naruto, Hinata and Shino above the village, if it came down to that.
- Exemplified in her talk with Jiraiya, which can best be summed up as: "Don't you DARE corrupt my kids."
- Master of Illusion: Kurenai, of course. Unlike the manga, she's shown actually being able to kick ass with it. To the point of being able to dispel the Tsukuyomi while under its effects.
- Meaningful Funeral: Kurenai receives one in chapter 21. It's a serious Tear Jerker.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Kurenai, except that she's not an old man.
- Mind Rape: Genjutsu in general, with Tsukuyomi being the crowner. Beating it gives Kurenai her Dying Moment of Awesome.
- Mood Whiplash: In Chapter 11, following their dinner with the Aburame Clan and Shibi apologizing to Naruto on behalf of their clan, Naruto and Hinata play a game of tag that leads to their first encounter with Gaara.
- Moral Myopia: During their battle at the Chuunin Exam, Kiba and Akamaru use Gatsuuga on Shino... and when Kiba sees his partner was wounded?
- Mundane Utility: Shadow clones. Good for supply gathering, gardening, and making take-out runs. Of course, this was sort of a given, as Naruto's first solution to any problem seems to be 'throw a bunch of clones at it'.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Spoofed in chapter 14. Naruto and Kurenai have a very serious talk regarding the Kyuubi. Given the seriousness of the matter involved, Naruto decides for once in his life to be silent. Cut to a scene of Iruka suddenly getting shivers, reacting as if a major violation of the Universe laws was happening.
- Never Mess with Granny: Tsunade.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Despite Hinata's increased training and confidence, Neji still beats her within an inch of her life in the Chuunin Exam preliminaries.
- Not So Different: Shino invokes this in a positive way during his confrontation with his clan's elders:
Elder: "He's still a damn demon!"
Shino: "No. He's the demon's jailer. We, of all people should understand that what someone holds inside themselves is not the sum total of their being. I've dealt with that issue among my peers, as I am sure each of you have done at some point. Many cannot look beyond our allies. The presence of kikai bugs hosted within our bodies makes it impossible for many to relate to us in any meaningful way. But just because I have two colonies of kikai doesn't mean I am a kikaiÖ just as Uzumaki Naruto containing the Kyuubi no Kitsune doesn't mean he is the demon."
- Played for Laughs when Kiba and Naruto get into a tussle right after fighting the Sound Genin in the Forest of Death.
Shino and Sakura: Can't you control him?
- Naruto has a moment like this at the end of his fight with Gaara, but not only in relation to the similarity between him and his opponent, but also in the similarity between Gaara and Hinata. Basically, Naruto realizes both Gaara and Hinata were raised to believe their existence was worthless and meaningless. This revelation upsets him so much that he vows to fix it.
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Shino's kamas.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Played with by Maito Gai, of all people: while his speeches about the Power of Youth and generally overreacting to anything are part of his character, he is fully aware that people tend to daze off when he's making those speeches, and is not above using it at his advantage.
- The Obi-Wan: Kurenai may count as this up to the dying part.
- Oblivious to Love: Naruto to Hinata, even more so than in canon. It's remarked on and justified several times, but considering they spend every day together here, it's astonishing. Even Shino lampshades it. Justified by both Naruto's stunted emotional development keeping him from noticing the subtle cues and Hinata's lack of self-worth and shyness keeping her from being more forward.
- Kurenai finally spits it out for Naruto in her letter to him in chapter 22.
- Odd Friendship: Naruto and Shino eventually become good friends despite how different their personalities are. Naruto and Lee may count as an example too.
- Oh, Crap: Shino, upon learning that Jiraiya offered Naruto the summoning contract for toads.
- Because of his reaction, Naruto does not sign the contract. Time will only tell how this will affect his future battles.
- Only Sane Man: Shino is the only member of the team who's not maladjusted in any way that matters.
- The more humorous variant is also employed, with Naruto of all people being cast on the role whenever he interacts with Lee and/or Gai.
- Out, Damned Spot!
- Papa Wolf: Kurenai points out to Hinata that Naruto fully intends to avenge her fight against Neji in the Chuunin Exam Finals and that Shino would gladly pick up the slack if Naruto should fail.
- Passing the Torch: In chapter 22 Gai presents Naruto with the Turtle Summoning contract and Naruto accepts.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: At the end of their fight, Naruto grabs the already beaten and defenseless Neji by the collar of his shirt and claws at his face with the Kyuubi chakra. While he does get called on it, most spectators of the fight think it was done in retaliation for Neji almost killing Hinata during the preliminaries, so they don't really make a ruckus about it. The trope is actually subverted when the real reasons behind Naruto's actions are revealed later.
- Pet the Dog: Sasuke actually gets one in Chapter 20, by clearly stating he doesn't want to let Itachi kill anyone else if he can help it.
- Temari realizing that for once, she's not terrified of Gaara; she's terrified for Gaara.
- Plot Armor: Oh, so averted.
- Poor Communication Kills: Kurenai works very hard to avert this with her team. For instance, she tries to steer Naruto towards opening up more to his teammates, and works hard to get Shino to understand she's not favoring Naruto over the others by having him train with Gai's team.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Orochimaru refuses to attack the team in chapter 21 as fighting them and two sannin with only one arm would be too difficult. He still laments being unable to corrupt Tsunade though.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
Neji: That's impossible.
Naruto: Just as impossible as fighting against fate. Just as impossible as fighting a Jyuuken user hand to hand.
- Precision F-Strike: During the above-listed BSOD, Naruto recounts the advice he received from an academy psychologist regarding making his first kill. Hinata does not take this well.
Naruto: Well, he told me he didnít think Iíd have any problems at all... like Iím some monster that would probably enjoy killing.
Hinata: Thatís bullshit! *sudden horrified pause, claps both hands over her mouth*
- Although his language is generally coarser, Naruto dropped his first actual F bomb on Neji in chapter 19 (although it may have been more of an F mine, since it was in the middle of a prepared speech).
- Properly Paranoid: When she hears about the stipulation for the tenth question of the Chuunin Examnote , Hinata suspects it was put in there specifically to sabotage Naruto's progress as a ninja. It wasn't, but she is correct in assuming that people in high places are plotting against Naruto.
- Protectorate: Kurenai selected Naruto for the role of the heavy hitter of the team, in order to protect his teammates in case something goes awry during a recon mission. Given that Hinata and Shino turn out to be his very first real friends, Naruto took that obligation to heart.
- Pyrrhic Victory: In Chapter 20 Kurenai does the impossible and succeeds in dispelling Itachi's Tsukuyomi. The fact that she was able to pull such an act results in Itachi killing her on the spot afterwards.
- A more humorous example happens in the next chapter, which is appropriately named for this trope. Tsunade does manage to beat Naruto in their duel. But she lost the bet that she would do so with only one finger when she opted to wring his neck.
- The Quiet One: Shino. Him surprising Naruto by speaking quickly becomes a Running Gag.
- A Rare Sentence: Lampshaded in that it was something he never thought he would say:
: (to Rock Lee)
Have you forgotten what Gai-sensei
- Reality Ensues:
- After being coldly rejected by her many times, Naruto gives up on Sakura, and advises Lee to do the same. Lee listens to what he has to say.
- Hinata, a relative underdog, is defeated by her more experienced and talented cousin.
- Kurenai is killed after escaping Tsukuyomi, being in a weakened state after escaping. It also doesn't help that this fic's version of Itachi has no qualms against killing people.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Naruto and Shino, respectively.
- Also, Lee and Naruto, in a rare case of Naruto being the blue oni.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Sarutobi. Said almost literally.
- The Rival: Played with in the relationship between Team 8 and Team 7. While they are not enemies in the proper sense, at the beginning of the story they can't stand each other (in part thanks to the already present animosity between Naruto and Sasuke). However, as the story progresses and especially after the events of the Forest of Death, the members of each team start to understand (and in some cases, even respect) the members of the other team. They arenít yet on the friendliest of terms, but at least they are more civil towards each other. One has to wonder how things will proceed between them now that Naruto has said to Sasuke that Team 8 also plan to hunt down Itachi because of what he did to Kurenai.
- Running Gag: "Lee!!" "Gai-sensei!!"
- Also, Naruto's ruminations on spoiled milk.
- Although he's only done it twice, Naruto's slightly disturbing but surprisingly accurate metaphors.
- Kunai appearing in Kurenai's hand when she gets angry.
- Sacrificial Lion: Poor Kurenai.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Shino's parents have this dynamic.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: As head of the Hyuuga, Hiashi has and exploits this.
- Self-Deprecation: Naruto demonstrates being more than willing to sometimes crack a joke at his own expense. More often than not, this ends up having a Dude, Not Funny! effect on his teammates.
"Send themnote my grades from the Academy. Let them know they were scared of the 'dead last' in his class."
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Kurenai tells the Sandaime it'd be a miracle if the way the villagers have treated Naruto doesn't result in this.
- Serious Business: The protocol of respect and proper behavior in the Hyuuga clan. Hiashi is even willing to separate Hinata from a distraught Naruto during Kurenai's funeral just so he doesn't look bad. Thankfully, Kakashi and Asuma won't have any of this, and let him know quite clearly. Threateningly.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Shino. Taken Up to Eleven by his father, Shibi.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Used (sometimes word for word) by Naruto whenever Jiraiya teases him about his relationship with Hinata.
- Ship Tease: Obviously, there is a far amount of it between Naruto and Hinata, but Shikamaru/Temari and Iruka/Kurenai also receive a few scenes of this. Too bad in the case of the later, considering what happens in chapter 20.
- Shipper on Deck: There's Kurenai, Shino, Ayame, Sakura and Jiraiya, all for NaruHina.
- Shout-Out: Lines from The Matrix and Star Wars are occasionally added almost word for word. These are not quotations by the characters, of course, but nice little stealth references.
- Also a significant one to The Terminator during Naruto's fight with Neji:
"There is no fate but what we make."
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Shino fires one off to the Aburame elders when he notices they refer to Naruto as "it" and not "he".
"Your choice of pronoun speaks volumes, esteemed elder."
- Silk Hiding Steel: Hinata has too many self-esteem issues to truly qualify, but she is slowly getting there. Besides her many moments of combat prowess, the best example might be when she is interrogated by Hiashi about Naruto using the Kyuubiís chakra during the border patrol mission. Despite being utterly terrified of her father, Hinata deduces he wants that information for nefarious purposes, so she decides, much to her own surprise, to not reveal anything, claiming she didnít see what happened. The deception works and a frustrated Hiashi dismisses her.
- Sinister Scythe: Misato dual wields a pair of kama and eventually, so does Shino.
- Sixth Ranger: Neji and/or Sasuke have a similar role when Team 7 and/or Team Gai act in tandem with Team 8, given how distant and aloof they act towards their teammates.
- Sleep Cute: Happens accidentally with Naruto and Hinata; Hinata can't keep her eyes open and nods off, her head against Naruto's shoulder, while Naruto is too panicked to move an inch because of this. It actually makes Shino laugh.
- Happens again in the Forest of Death, when Hinata falls asleep on Naruto's shoulder after he's left comatose during the fight with Orochimaru.
- The Smart Guy: Shino. He, among other things, figures out Naruto is the Nine-tails Jinchuuriki all by himself.
- Kiba and Sasuke also refer to Sakura as ďthe brainĒ of their team.
- Spanner in the Works: Naruto becomes this in chapter 17 and 18. During the invasion to Konoha, Kurenai orders Naruto to use his chakra pulse (see Chekhov's Skill above) to remove the genjutsu that Kabuto put on the stadium. Naruto creates such a giant pulse that it covers the entire village with impressive results: By pure accident, the pulse ends up not only dispelling the genjutsu but making Orochimaru's plan fall to pieces. The nature of this trope is even pointed out by S'TarKan in his Author's Notes regarding said chapter.
- Spared by the Fanfic: At present, Haku, Hayate and Sarutobi. By contrast, Kurenai and Tazuna.
- Stations Of The Canon: It's actually going down the road towards ultimate defiance; the divergence point is set well before the anime opens, and ultimately will part with established canon altogether. Granted, this is largely because the fic itself was fully outlined before posting, and so contradicts many subsequent plot points and revelations made in canon.
- The Stoic: Shino, of course.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Naruto gets all starry-eyed over the explosive tags sold by Tenten's father. He's also ecstatic upon discovering that trees can explode, despite being caught in the blast radius because he was the one who made it blow up with an overcharged electric attack. Kurenai, by contrast, is not pleased.
- Stupid Sacrifice: Haku gleefully throws his body in front of Orochimaru's blade to protect the Hokage rather than try to block it or throw it off course. It gets subverted because the Third Hokage won't have any of it.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Shino, as the story goes along. Stoic, logical, quiet, at one point, not quite used to human contact outside of his family and will fuck you up proper if you hurt his friends.
- According to Misato, Shibi is as well.
- Take That: There's one against Sasuke and Sakura when Naruto is contemplating Hinata and Shino learning his secret shortly after their first mission outside the village. Sakura didn't learn about Kurama until after the timeskip, while Sasuke acknowledged Kurama's presence during their fight at the end of Part I.
"His teammates would have to have been extremely dense or self-centered for him to be able to conceal his differences for much longer".
- A more obvious one happens in Chapter 8, after Naruto has killed two people in the previous battle.
"Naruto did not sleep well that night. Of course, that was like saying Sasuke was a little stuck up or that Sakura was slightly enamored of him."
"In other words,a massive understatement."
- Team Chef: Hinata. Overlaps with Supreme Chef and Chef of Iron, Type 1.
- Team Dad: The Hokage, especially to Naruto.
- Team Mom: As the Jonin instructor of Team 8, Kurenai naturally fills this role, and she's the closest thing to a mother figure that Naruto and Hinata have. Guess how Naruto reacts after she's murdered?
- Tempting Fate: Good news, Kurenai, you won't have to take your own life to preserve your dignity.
- That Came Out Wrong: In chapter 3, Naruto tries to compliment Hinata on how she's worried about doing her fair share of the work a D-rank mission where they do housework for an injured homeowner and not avoiding it altogether like he believes other girls would. With each word out of his mouth, he fails harder, and harder, and harder.
- There Are No Therapists: The one that's actually mentioned turns out to be an asshole, making this a moot point. Kurenai, on the other hand, makes an adequate stand-in.
- These Hands Have Killed: Naruto after his first kill. Hinata and Kurenai snap him out of it.
- Took a Level in Badass: The entirety of Team 8. All three of them are way above where they were in canon at this point in the story.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Sakura overhears Naruto talking to Lee about how mean she is, as opposed to Sasuke calling her annoying, and resolves to become a better person. Like in canon, Neji also does a Heel-Face Turn after fighting Naruto, and receiving a far more savage beatdown.
- Training from Hell: Naruto starts working out with Guy and Lee to improve his taijutsu skills. Later in full effect when Naruto trains with them 3 times a day while Hinata is in hospital after the Preliminaries. Especially when Gai himself spars with Naruto.
- Eventually, Team 7 demands this from Kakashi in light of Team 8's successes.
- Tranquil Fury: Shino after Neji cruelly demolishes Hinata in the Chuunin Exam preliminaries:
Shino: What variety of flowers would be appropriate?
Shino: For your teammateís funeral.
- Also this, after Naruto returns the favor to Neji in the finals:
Shino: We are establishing a precedent regarding acceptable behavior towards allies and team members. To that end, we propose to demonstrate a willingness to use any and all means to obtain an equitable response, ranging from coercion, influence, and tactical intelligence, to, as needed, extreme levels of physical violence.
- His reaction to the WHAM event in Chapter 20, while said in a cold but level tone, is enough to send chills down an eavesdropping Sasuke's spine.
- Before the confrontation of his clan's elders, he tells his father just what he thinks of the air of passive-aggression and hatred toward Naruto; it's described as the Aburame equivalent of screaming himself hoarse and setting all their houses on fire.
- Hinata also invokes this in Snapped. Didn't do her as much good as it does for Shino, but it was still pretty awesome.
- Trap Master: Shino notes that Sakura appears to have a talent for setting up effective traps.
- True Companions: One of the most heartwarming elements of the story is seeing the members of the eponymous team turning into this as time goes on. Specially in the case of Naruto and Hinata, as the team eventually becomes their main solace given their horrible childhood and the closest thing they have to a real family.
- Try Not to Die: Anko's standard encouragement for the Forest of Death section of the Chuunin exam.
- Naruto receives this advice from the Kyuubi before it uses its chakra to dispel the seal Orochimaru placed on him.
- Twitchy Eyebrow: The primary way of gauging Shino's mood is the position of his eyebrows.
- Turtle Power: Gai offers Naruto the turtle summoning contract and Naruto accepts.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Hinata puts herself through the wringer to rescue Hanabi, her younger sister, from a trio of missing nins that kidnapped her. Hanabi is not impressed.
- Unstoppable Rage: Naruto using the Nine-tails chakra for the first time.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Hinata may not be his girlfriend but one way to get her to stop fretting over her own flaws is to endanger Naruto in any way.
- Wham Episode: Chapter 20. Not only does Itachi arrive in search of Naruto, but he kills Kurenai in the process.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Kurenai to Hinata, regarding pushing herself too far, believing that she doesn't care how they would react if she died. Naruto takes issue with her doing so. She also, more indirectly, criticizes Shino's suggestion that Tenten buy flowers for Neji's funeral, and Naruto's risking forfeiting his match to wait for Hinata by suggesting that they're her fault.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Naruto's reliance on his Kage Bunshin is remarked on. It's not his only technique but it is the most convenient.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Most of the interactions that Kurenai has with Hinata are aimed at Hinata realizing that, regardless of what her father or her family thinks of her, she does have worth.
- You Are Not Alone: Naruto has this revelation during Kurenai's funeral. After bottling up his emotions for most of the day, he finally breaks down and starts crying. It doesn't pass much time before Hinata and Shino appear at his side to comfort him.
- You Got Spunk: The Kyuubi says this to Hinata. Really.
- Zerg Rush: Naruto's standard tactic, as usual. Special mention goes to the final stretch in the Forest of Death, the team realizes that there are probably several traps and opponents between them and the castle and stealth may not get them far. But then Naruto realizes, "We don't have to conceal that we were here, we just have to make it impossible for anyone to pick us out before we reach the finish line." Cue Kage Bunshin.
- In the Sound and Sand invasion, Naruto spends 30 Kage Bunshin to disable a Sound jonin.