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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 had four story arcs; the introductory arc, an arc centered around Yugito's attempt to either talk Naruto into defecting or forcibly kidnap him, an arc centering on Naruto's involvement with the rebellion in Kiri against the insane jinchuriki Mizukage, Yagura, and the current Chunin Exam arc.
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.
- The Atoner: Sasuke, after one of his teammates nearly dies because of his Itachi Berserk Button.
- Berserk Button: If you hurt either Naruto or Tenten, the other will hunt you down. Meanwhile, Sasuke's is Deconstructed as 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tenten and Kakashi, and even Naruto himself to a lesser extent.
- Demoted to Extra: Team 8 hasn't appeared very much in this fic, and they don't even make it past the Forest of Death and into the Third Stage of the Chunin Exam!
- Team 10, too.
- Designated Girl Fight: Tenten vs. Sakura is an In-Universe example, since they're matched up for the 3rd stage of the Chunin Exams.
- 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.
- 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.
- Freudian Trio:
- Team Gai:
- Neji's team:
- 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.
- 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.
- Original Character: Several; Maeko seems to be the most notable one.
- 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.
- 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. 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 Sasu Saku may have been sunk following Sasuke's action in the Forest of Death. Quite telling, 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.
- 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 the closest of all.
- 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.