Days came and went. Time flowed like a river, eventually arriving to the point of the Academy graduation. Nearly five years had passed since the massacre of the Uchiha clan. Shinku looked back at those years as he walked towards the academy to receive his graduation test. He was alone today. Sasuke had gone ahead. If Shinku had to say, he thought he’d come far in these five years, but this was only the beginning. He was only now standing at the starting line.
After the Uchiha funeral, Shinku’s life progressed steadily with little troubles. He would often train together with Sasuke and on the rare occasions he wasn’t under observation he would practice the powers he wished to keep secret, even from his own best friend. At least until the time to reveal them came. At first, his biggest problem was the lack of jutsu to learn. Even receiving the scrolls of the Uchiha clan only gave him a variety of fire techniques which he learned one after the other, but he had nowhere to learn other jutsu from. He supposed he was being a bit greedy. Just what he had was already impressive, even if it was far from satisfying the genius academy student.
He eventually found his answer as they started teaching more about ninjutsu at the academy. They learned about a variety of jutsu and although it was only on paper, they were supposed to learn the seals for the jutsu as well as their effects, which was enough for the red-haired prodigy to practice them in his spare time. As the years passed, the vigilance of his observers became more and more lenient, simultaneously giving him more and more chances to practice with his advanced sharingan, becoming familiar with its abilities.
Already an incredibly capable shinobi, ahead of his peers by leaps and bounds and only widening the gap, some even questioned if Shinku shouldn’t be allowed to graduate already, but with Itachi’s betrayal, the academy had gotten even stricter with early graduation due to overwhelming abilities, not to mention that when he was asked, he himself expressed his wishes to remain in the academy and graduate with his peers. Much unlike a fellow student with spiky blonde hair who had taken the academy test twice and failed just as many.
Sasuke and Shinku became like brothers after the incident, they lived together and spent much time together, and that bond tightened with time. Though Shinku hoped Sasuke would make other friends as well, the younger brother of Itachi kept mostly to himself, becoming even more introverted than he was prior the Uchiha’s downfall. He only really opened up in front of Shinku and even that became a rare event with passing time, as Sasuke focused himself more on his goal of defeating Itachi. Shinku, taking his example focused on his own goal as well, doing some research.
He quickly learned that although the Hokage was the public face of the village and was the highest authority in the village in most people’s eyes, it wasn’t confidential that the Hokage had a council of advisors. A council that surely disputed amongst themselves. The members of this council included the Third Hokage’s former team members under the teachings of the second Hokage Senju Tobirama, Mitokado Homura and Utatane Koharu. As well as his former rival Shimura Danzo. There was a high possibility one of them could have been responsible for allowing the Uchiha massacre as they hold authority and respect in the public’s eyes only second to that of the Hokage. Even if Hiruzen had learned afterwards that they had commanded someone not to act upon discovering Itachi, it would have been too late to do anything about it. Interestingly enough Shimura Danzo was removed from the council by the Hokage, shortly after the Uchiha downfall. Shinku narrowed his eyes in suspicion at this, but he had no proof. Not proof for others to be shown, but proof for himself to be convinced that this was indeed the target of his hostility.
This brought a new problem to the table though. And that was that in order to give such an order, this person must have known about Itachi’s betrayal before it happened. Shinku clenched his teeth in rage upon considering this possibility. No matter how much he’d been able to calm his emotions over the years he was still a child, a deeply traumatized one, one who was forced to grow up prematurely and in an uncontrolled direction. That his emotions ran wild from time to time was no surprise. If anything was a wonder, it that he usually managed to remain composed in most situations.
Pursuing the matter further though, couldn’t be done. He would have to become a shinobi first, become a shinobi and rise through the ranks. What did he need to become to gain more information on this? Chunin? Jonin? ANBU? Perhaps even Hokage? In any case he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to gain more information on the subject. As a child, he was too helpless to acquire any such chance. But he couldn’t rush growing up either. He needed to bide his time. To be patient. He once more reminded himself of this as he chanted within his mind ‘For that is what being a shinobi is about.’
The occasional visits to the Konoha library weren’t solely to learn more about the Hokage and the governing of the village however. During his stays there, Shinku had found a fascination for medical ninjutsu. With it he could be a big help in any team. Medical ninjutsu was something that would be welcomed anywhere with open arms, but it required a ridiculous amount of fine chakra control and knowledge of the human body, two things Shinku hadn't particularly focused on. Sure he had a bottomless chakra pool and he'd done excercises like wallclimbing and waterwalking even before the massacre, but he had never done anything with the honest intention of practicing chakra control in particular. Not that this stopped him from pursuing it, he practiced chakra-control on his own. It was something he could do even if his observers were there. Reading books on medicine, on biology and on the jutsu, when he was eventually confident enough he even injured himself in order to create injuries to practice on. There was a limit to how good he could become without official training, but through practice and perseverance, he managed to learn to heal various injuries, from cuts, to bruises. Anything more advanced than that, he couldn’t allow testing with his own body as failure would come at too great a cost, but he should be able to heal if not a fatal injury and given enough time.
And here he was. After five years of preparations, he was standing in front of the Academy, in front of the starting line of his shinobi career. He stepped inside and made his way down the hallways to his classroom. Most were already there, but a few people were still missing. Sasuke himself was there already, but the two Uchiha only needed a single glance to acknowledge each other.
Shinku walked down the aisle and sat down in his usual seat. Minutes passed as more people arrived in the classroom, the instructor, Iruka, included. When everybody had finally gathered, Iruka started speaking.
“Now then. We are going to begin the graduation test. Those whose name is called, proceed into the next room. Furthermore, the subject of the test has been decided to be on the clone jutsu.”
Shinku wasn’t impressed. The clone jutsu was simple and not incredibly useful. The clones didn’t even have a form. They were only a visual distraction. That didn’t mean they were useless, but they weren’t realistic enough. Experienced shinobi would be able to tell a clone at a glance without even the need for any special dojutsu, let alone someone with the sharingan or, even worse, the byakugan.
Iruka called the first name before stepping into the next room together with the student. Then came back and called out the next. And so on. It was eventually Shinku’s turn. Opening the door to the next room, instructor Mizuki was sat behind a desk, with Iruka walking over and sitting next to him. Shinku entered the room and stood in front of the two.
“Um… so. Do I need to do a normal clone technique?” asked Shinku, thinking that would be too easy. Iruka and Mizuki looked at each other then back at him.
“You have something else you can demonstrate?” Iruka asked, receiving a nod in reply.
Shinku put his hands together into the tiger seal. ‘Water Clone Jutsu’ he chanted in his head, three streams of water rising around him and shaping themselves into his form, then gaining color, looking exactly like him. Iruka and Mizuki’s eyes widened.
“A water clone!” iruka exclaimed “That’s a C-rank jutsu!”
“Yes. Since we learned about it in class, I practiced it some.”
“Practiced it some…” A sigh came from him. He should have been used to this from Shinku by now. There was no way he wouldn’t graduate. This test was a formality in front of him. Iruka picked up a head protector with the Konoha symbol on it as well as a sheet of paper and handed them to Shinku. “Congratulations. From today on you’re officially a genin of the village. If it’s you I’m sure you’ll catch up to us chunin in no time though.” He laughed.
Shinku bowed to iruka in respect and gratitude as he picked up the protector and tied it around his head, before taking the paper as well. ‘Ninja Registration Form huh?’.
“The orientation is in a week. Be sure to fill and submit the registration form by then.”
Shinku nodded before leaving. A number of people had gathered on the outside, in front of the entrance. Graduated classmates and some of their parents. Shinku was going to ignore them and head out to train, when he noticed a familiar spiky-haired idiot on the swing opposite the academy, looking defeated. Did he fail? Now that he thought about it the clone jutsu was always something he had trouble with. Shinku pondered what to do. He was about to step forward and try and cheer him up when Mizuki approached him first, starting a conversation.
‘…Well. Mizuki-sensei will probably do something about it.’ He thought and went back to heading to the training grounds. His pursuers were missing. Perhaps he could have a go at using his advanced sharingan today. Ahhh, he needs to take a picture for the registration form too. So annoying. It was as he was pondering such insignificant matters that Shinku greeted his first day as a genin. But it was without a doubt that the starting line had now been crossed, and there was no going back.