Yes, that exactly! Like–Youbirin probably either explicit or implicitly lords his clan kid status above his teammates (oh, you don’t know how to do this already? when it’s something not taught in the Academy… a shortcut for starting campfires or something) and it’s this foundation that keeps him ahead of them…
And while Sakura doesn’t get her point-blank super strength until after Tsunade comes back (which means after the Chuunin Exam / Sound Invasion and thus after Youbirin loses his mentor) she does have perfect chakra control which canon!Sasuke got jealous of during the Wave arc. And while I’m unsure how soon you want Jiro to get his chain lightning, Youbirin basically grew up with Jiro as his minion–as his inferior–so any hint that Jiro might at all be better than him, no matter how insignificant would be grating.
So this inferiority complex is already the reason why he gets pushed towards Kabuto… if he does get the summoning contract I think it should be for a different reason. Like having realized his mentor was a traitor to Konoha and that he might have–even minimally, even unwittingly–added to that is what pushes him to temporarily take leave.
And so he retreats to his clan–some of whom are basically like, you can just go back into the Medic Corps where it’s safe, tons of Nohara are there, there is honor in this–some of them even bring up the last time a Nohara was a field/combat medic–Youbirin’s very namesake–and she died!
But maybe someone–the Nohara that has a summoning contract, maybe–is like. There is no shame in making a mistake, but not trying to correct that mistake? That is shameful. And maybe Youbirin brings up how even if he were to go back, he’s so behind, and that Nohara is like… if that is actually your concern and not just some excuse then you can sign this scroll. Insert-creature-here will decide if you are worthy.
… Yeah? Maybe? I don’t want to hijack the plot or anything…
That does work really well! (I’d recommend naming his mentor Takama Nohara, personally, if only because it’s theorized that’s the intended root of Rin’s name.) It does play with Youbirin’s biggest advantage/disadvantage, and it does so differently than any other canon clan kid!
Not sure what animal though… Based on the supposed root for the Nohara family name, it’d have to be something related to heaven or clouds, so perhaps a bird of some sort? Doves might be too western, but I think I read that Sasuke has hawks or something…? It’d also have to be something that, from a meta standpoint, is useful for Team 10′s bodyguarding/information-taking team mission. So a bird really is probably the best option for him, considering the “bird’s eye view” would be helpful to them.
Actually, if we use birds, we could give him birds of paradise. Or it could be broadened to be corvids/crows, and then the “master” summon is a Bird-of-paradise, since they used to be considered part of the family corvidae. But that might be a bit much…
Alternatively, something that can camouflage – like chameleons, although foxes and tanuki are known for being tricksters (but might be loaded symbolism with the tailed beasts, so might be out) – might be really good because it could set him up to get better at genjutsu, since it’s something that not as many of the konoha-nin actually use all that much of, as far as I know anyway.
And getting him into genjutsu would complete a ninjutsu-taijutsu-genjutsu triad with Jiro and Sakura, since Sakura’s main ability – point-blank super strength – is augmented taijutsu, while Jiro’s lightning affinity and his novel uses for it are ninjutsu.
But a chameleon may not be well-themed for the clan’s name and job… The only animal I can think of associated with medicine is snakes, which are right out. Bears also seem to have an association via Spirit Animal associations, but that won’t mean much to the Japanese-heavy world of Naruto.
I’m keeping all of that for posterity but I just realized that he literally has to have a crane like I am not joking it is the most symbolic animal in Japanese culture to not already have a place in Naruto lore, plus it’s a bird (see: point A about usefulness to Team 10) and it’s associated with longevity and eternal youth. Plus, there’s that story of 1,000 paper cranes, which can be fuel for some cool jutsu involving paper if we want to go that route.
Jiro’s chain lightning probably isn’t until pretty late. He certainly develops his defibrillator hands kinda early though, depending on if defibrillators even exist in the Naruto universe. (I think they do but I don’t remember.) I kinda want that to be his “aha!” moment, like he suddenly realizes he can actually succeed on his own merits. His compass-jutsu might also be early-ish, too – it’d help them survive the forest of death, in any case, and it’d be a settling factor for putting him on team 8 when team one splits. (I.e. his compass-jutsu, which likely points out more than just due north because chakra, makes him a useful tracker) But his brainwave/neuron stuff is all later.
And Sakura… honestly I’m not sure what changes in her development in Dreaming of Sunshine? But I feel like she’ll only get fast-tracked to Tsunade through the Team Medic process. Tsunade would probably be highly invested in this team dedicated to making battle-medics, and that would give her reason to notice Sakura early. The actual training won’t be until after the chuunin exams, but perhaps sooner than in canon? (I don’t know when it happens in canon because all of my knowledge of canon is centered on the chuunin exams and what I can find on the wiki)
On another topic: I know you just answered my ask about the redesigns, but I kind of posted them while I was waiting for your reply. So you can comment on my design choices if you wish. (I actually really like Jiro’s design better? But the orange might be too close to Naruto’s theme color. Youbirin is a toss-up, but I think I’m closer than I was with his earlier design.)
Oooh, yes, that is some fantastic Nohara clan headcanons! The only other possible summon I could think of was a swallow bird–but they’re not nearly as impressive as cranes would be. I’d probably avoid the paper/origami jutsu–simply because that’s edging too close into Konan territory, but maybe he develops a sealing technique which requires many tags? Also, I like to imagine old man Takama Nohara has seen many things (he regrets not offering the summoning contract to Rin sooner).
Well, without spoiling anything, there are some changes in Sakura’s development in DoS–so having her become noticed by Tsunade because she is on a team of combat medics leading to an accelerated apprenticeship is totally within line. After the Chuunin Exam, of course, but it’s not as late as canon (which is, after the Sasuke Defection arc plus however long it takes Naruto to recover from a chidori through the chest). Especially if their jounin sensei dies during the Sound Invasion (not sure whether or not I want that to actually happen). Or, maybe, if they were also in the Exam and made very impressive showings.