title: I Hold With Those Who Favour Fire

Naruto/Katekyo Hitman Reborn fic by infraredphaeton

summary: When Gokudera died, taking a bullet for Tsuna, he expected to go to hell. Not wake up as a pink haired girly-boy in a world full of ninja. How's he meant to be the Jyuudaime's right hand in a world that doesn't even have a mafia? Clearly, he'll have to clean this place up before Tsuna gets here. REINCARNATION, Gokudera-as-m!Sakura.

Gokudera Hayato died in a storm of explosions, dirt, and blood.

Lying in the bricks and rubble of what had previously been the Rottecci family stronghold, he smiled, because in the clutch, in the last moment, he'd died in the best way possible- taking a bullet for Jyuudaime.

It had all started when their raid on the Rottecci had gone catastrophically wrong- rather than catching them unaware, the Storm division had been ambushed en route to the villa, and Lightning's helicopter had been downed by a series of ground to air rockets. Without the back up from their squads, Lambo and Gokudera had been left to pick up the slack, and as much as he disliked the idiot cow, Gokudera wasn't going to let a twelve year old take on an entire enemy division on his own.

It was a hard fight, and there was a lot- and by a lot, it was meant that Gokudera had used up every single one of his explosives- of damage to the area, but eventually, they'd prevailed. Tsuna, who by all rights shouldn't have even been there, but back at the communications point, had been brilliant- he shone and fought and it was like Gokudera had been watched over by an angel, before finally dropping to the ground, smiling.

He'd walked up to Gokudera and congratulated him on a job well done, and that was when Gokudera had seen the gunman.

He was injured, lying on the ground, but he had enough strength in his arms for one last shot- one last bullet. One more of those bullets that had been the reason for the combat, the anti-Flame bullets that the Rottecci had developed. The ones that were resistant to flame-healing, that stole away the powers of the person shot.

Gokudera didn't even think. He pushed Tsuna aside, and the round punched into him instead, straight through the gut. Better the storm dies than the sky fades.

It was a good death. He didn't regret it.

What Gokudera Hayato did regret, however, was what came after that death.

Not hell, apparently that didn't exist, but reincarnation. And what a shitty reincarnation, Gokudera thought, scowling at himself in the bathroom mirror.

A petite, angry twelve year old with pastel pink hair stared back at him. Gokudera poked his tongue out, and the twelve year old did it too.

What a stupid, girly body, he thought, not for the first time, looking at his hair. It was a delicate, pale pink, the colour of cherry blossoms, and while he'd cut it to match his old hairstyle, he didn't look nearly as intimidating as he should have.

Damn cherry hair.

It was probably the reason for his stupid new name, too. Haruno Hanamaru, what a dumb name.

Who calls their kid flower boy? What was wrong with a good, solid name, like Hayato? Or a regal, powerful name, like Tsunayoshi?

Not that Gokudera would ever assume to take the Jyuudaime's name... unless...

He blushed furiously, trying to throw off the image of him and Tsuna in a church, exchanging rings and vows.

"Hana! Breakfast!" his second mother's voice called from downstairs, and he sighed, dropping his toothbrush in the cup by the sink. As much as he'd been surprised to find out that there were ninja in this new world, what had surprised him more was the fact that there was practically no Underworld. Not in the way he was used to, with long running families, feuds and competitions, practically a culture all on its own. No, here in the goddamn ninja world, it was all petty yakuza and backdoor dealings. He'd heard about one company that was on the level of a low level famiglia, in wave country- the Gatou corporation- but one bent business does not make a mafia worthy of the Jyuudaime.

They didn't even have Italy here.

Personally, Gokudera felt that the absence of spaghetti might have been his true hell, the punishment for all the lives he'd taken.

"Hana! Stop daydreaming and eat your breakfast!"

"Coming!" he called back, and trudged downstairs. Today was the final exam for his class of shinobi hopefuls- the closest thing he'd found to a mafia academy here in Konoha. Whether he actually gave a shit about the Will of Fire or not (he really, really didn't), the tools and access it would eventually give Gokudera would be worth it. It would be worth it, he thought, grinding his teeth. He just had to hope he didn't get teamed up with anyone like Lambo or Yamamoto. One lifetime of infuriating idiot partners was enough, as far as he was concerned.

"Hana, why do you have to dress this way?" his mother greeted him, putting a bowl of rice and fish on the table. She was a housewife, hugely houseproud, and made really, really good salted salmon. In a lot of ways, she reminded Gokudera of Sawada Nana, and considering how much he'd always respected Jyuudaime's mother (she brought the Jyuudaime into the world! No thanks would ever be enough for managing such a monumental deed!) it was easy to treat Haruno Mebuki with the same respect and care.

Even if she did keep trying to get him to dress like a complete dork.

"I like this way," Gokudera grouched amiably, and she smiled, ruffling his hair. It was the same conversation they had every day, about Gokudera's rings and necklaces, his slouchy trousers and studded belt. But he was too young to wear a suit, like he used to, and he wasn't going to go around dressing like a nerd, so Gokudera had reverted to his old teenage style. Mebuki kissed his forehead, and he smiled, before settling down to breakfast and planning his day. If he'd been reincarnated here, surely, eventually, the others would as well. Hopefully not for a few years, but that just gave Gokudera time to get things ready, to make it nice, before his boss turned up. He needed to check the citizen registry, survey the local criminal element, check on his leads in the Ume-Cha teahouse and see if his feelers had returned anything, and train. He still had storm flames, at least, he could feel them, but without a medium, they weren't going to do him much good. Still, new, pink haired body or not, Gokudera was a genius. He would figure something out.

"Ara, is our little punk awake and complaining?" asked his new father, leaning in to kiss his wife. He was far less irritating than Gokudera's old father- a little silly, a little overly doting, and he had been calling Gokudera his 'little flower prince' since before Gokudera had the control to scowl at him. Honestly, he could finally understand why Jyuudaime objected to his father calling him Tuna-fish, now. "Are you ready for tou-chan to drop you off at school?"

And go to school, too. He knew he'd forgotten something.

"I can go on my own," Gokudera said, scowling at his rice, and his father laughed. It was still so weird, having a family that actually cared. Having a father that actually cared.

"Of course you can! Are you meeting up with your girlfriend?"

"Ino isn't my girlfriend!" Gokudera flushed again, and his dad pointed at him.

"Ah, but you didn't use a suffix! You guys must be serious!"

Gokudera scowled again and finished bolting down his rice. "I have to go."

"Actually go to school, please, Hana?" his mother asked, "Your truancy is almost as bad as the Uzumaki boy-" her face went dark for a moment, "I'm afraid for your grades. And it's exam day!"

"Sure, kaa-san," Gokudera said, even though he knew he was easily second in class- would be first, if he could be bothered to actually put any effort in. "I'll go to school today."

"And then, maybe your tou-chan wouldn't have to take time from his day to drop you at the Academy gates," his father said, sounding a little tired, "promise us, Hana."

"I promise," Gokudera said, and stood up, pushing his bowl away. "I'm going out, now."

"Have a good day! Be safe!" his mother called, and his father waved at him, settling down to a second cup of tea.

Hopefully, Gokudera thought, the Jyuudaime wouldn't have been born yet. It'd only been twelve years since his death in the other world. That would make him almost thirty two, wouldn't it? If the other guardians did their jobs, Tsuna wouldn't show up until he was at least eighty. That meant that this little pink haired body would be almost sixty. Gokudera frowned. Maybe the shinobi arts would have something that could help slow down aging? He didn't want to finally see Jyuudaime just to croak it of old age and go through this stupid waiting game again.

As the so-called Hanamaru turned onto the main drag, which lead down towards the Hokage's tower, and the Academy, a second person fell into step with him.

"Sakuratama," Ino said cordially, nodding at him.

"Ino-pig," he returned, sticking his hands in his pockets, "what do you want?"

"I can't walk to school with my childhood friend?" asked the unholy spawn of Mukuro and the baseball idiot, and Gokudera flushed a little.

"We aren't friends! We're rivals!"

"Sure, sure. My mum wanted me to ask you to ask your mum if it's okay that you sleepover on Saturday after the barbeque."

"I already asked and she said fine." Gokudera replied, as they turned the corner onto the laneway that lead up to the Academy gate, "But that doesn't mean we're friends!"

"Aa, we're best friends!" Ino chirped, and Gokudera fumed a little more. Just because Ino had helped him out back in pre-Academy classes, and he tutored her sometimes, and they hung out a lot, and Ino kept stuff at his house and they ate lunch together everyday didn't mean that they were friends!

….Gokudera's emotional intelligence was not, unfortunately, equal to his I.Q.

"Well, I have to go talk to Suzume-sensei. I'll see you in class!" Ino smiled, "see if you can save me the seat next to Sasuke-kun!"

"Che. He's a bastard," Gokudera said with a sneer, and Ino punched him in the shoulder, hard enough to make his arm go dead.

"He's hot! And cool! Just because you're jealous of him, Sakuratama, don't be petty!"

"I'm not jealous! Who's jealous?" Gokudera scowled, and trudged into the classroom.

"Ahh, Hanamaru-kun, you're here," said Iruka-sensei, with a look of surprise.

"It's exam day," Gokudera said shortly, falling into a seat at the front of the class. While he'd always liked school, and the shinobi academy did have some novel subjects, Gokudera was a busy man. Child. Boy. Person. A busy person, with a lot of organised crime to organise, and pretending to learn calculus was not on his agenda.

Somewhere on the other side of the market place, several petty thugs breathed a sigh of relief. The Smoking Bomb wasn't haunting Ume-cha today. Maybe they'd actually be able to find out what the devil child was up to. Gokudera the Smoking Bomb- who was this weirdo? What kind of kid goes around calling himself Temple Prison, anyway? Well, today, Aki thought, with a smirk, the Toshinskyoukai would find out.

Aki eased open the door to the old tea shop, tucking away his lockpicks, and signaled the others up to his side.

"We're in luck, boys. Let's spread out and case the joint. This kid's gonna regret messing with Toshinkyoukai!"

"Yes, buchou!" The other four Toshinkyoukai moved up to the door, and Aki pushed it open properly, letting his kohai take the lead.

"What an idiot. That lock wouldn't hold out a ten year old," Aki scoffed.

Then, the explosions started. They rattled along the top of the bar, empty umeshu and sake bottles exploding a hail of glass, while large plumes of bright red smoke filled the room, cutting off all sight and making the gang members choke.

Aki moved quickly, as the first of his group fell, taking cover under a table. He looked up, and saw a tag fixed to the underside, a large middle finger carved next to it. It was counting down from 5.

"Fuck you, Smoking Bomb!" he yelled, as it flashed its last number, and Aki knew no more.

Back at the Academy, Gokudera sneezed.

"Someone's talking about you," Ino taunted, from her seat next to Gokudera. "I bet it's Mai-chan. She has a huge crush on you."

"Ino-san! No talking!" Iruka called from the front, as he and his assistant- Miyuki? Mimuki? Mi-something, Gokudera honestly hasn't paid enough attention to know- begin to pass out the exam papers.

When he got his, he glared at the assistant, who had stolen his hair colour, shouted the part of his brain that was very similar to his attitude when he'd actually been twelve the first time, and Mi-blank-ki smiled back mildly.

With a sigh, he flipped over the paper. Then he sighed heavily, and hit his head on the desk a few times. Booooooring, yelled that same part of his brain, which was still throwing a temper tantrum over leaving Tsuna, boring and useless! Why aren't we building up tenth's empire? We're wasting our time!

Okaa-san would be disappointed, he countered, and the inner twelve year old pouted heavily. She's really invested in our graduation. She wants to be able to point to us and be proud and say, that's my son, he's a shinobi of Konohagakure.

...Fine. But after this, we're going to Ume-cha.

Gokudera sat up, picking up his pencil.

For his mother, he would do this. For Tsuna.

If chuunin Atsu is travelling from the Wind Country Border Station 32A to Fire Country waypoint 22B, carrying one injured team mate (67kg, tourniqueted leg after battlefield amputation) and one important message (sealed scroll, category 4), while injured (18cm gash, left thigh, treated with Mystic Palm jutsu for 33 seconds before interruption), how long will it take chuunin Atsu to arrive, and what medical attention will he require?

For Tsuna, Gokudera repeated.

After the paper exam, they were run through an incredibly basic physical test- nothing on Reborn's Spartan training, or Gokudera's training with Shamal- and were called into a separate room to test several jutsu.

"Ah, Hanamaru-kun," Iruka-sensei said, with a friendly smile.

"Iruka-sensei," he acknowledged, and Mi-blank-ki grinned as well.

"Could you please do a henge for us? Any person, not necessarily a public figure."

Any person….Gokudera smiled, forming the seal.

"Henge!" he called, and a perfect copy of Sawada Tsunayoshi, age 22, Vongola Decimo, stood in front of the teachers.

"Let's hear your voice, Hanamaru-kun," said Iruka-sensei, slightly impressed by the sheer detail of the henge- usually, that level of detail would only be found in henge of someone that the user knew from constant company, or insistent surveillance. Everything from the young man's fluffy hair to his perfectly polished shoes looked real and consistent, like the young Haruno had been as obsessive in watching him as the girls who followed Uchiha Sasuke around. Considering that he didn't look like a member of the Haruno family, and wasn't part of the Academy staff, that couldn't be true, but it meant that Hanamaru either had a great imagination, or could build an illusion out of a quick glance at a civilian businessman. He noted something down on his paper, and smiled at Hanamaru to continue.

"Ano," said Tsuna, "I never liked Yamamoto as much as you, Hayato." Gokudera grinned internally, enjoying the sound of a sentence he'd always wanted to hear. "You're my most valued person."

"Well, it certainly sounds different, and like an established character, not just some random words," Iruka-sensei said, ticking off something on his clipboard, "move?"

The Tsuna illusion moved with Gokudera as he moved through a basic kata, and Iruka-sensei nodded again.

"Excellent work. Now, three bunshin, please."

"Bunshin!" Gokudera called, and a copy of himself- his real self, tall and angular and manly, Hibari, and Lambo flanked the Tsuna illusion he was wearing.

"Henge bunshin?" Mi-blank-ki said, eyes widening. "That's very impressive, Hanamaru-kun. Could you do a kawarimi now, please."

Gokudera-Tsuna shrugged, and swapped himself first with the bunshin of himself, and then with a potted plant.

"Very nice," Iruka-sensei agreed, nodding at his clipboard. "The results will be public tomorrow morning, but I can tell you that you've scored incredibly well, Hanamaru-kun. Congratulations on your graduation."

"Please come to school tomorrow, for team assignments," Mi-blank-ki ended, "you're a real shinobi now, not just a student. Truantism is technically being A.W.O.L, not just skipping class."

"Thank you, sensei," Gokudera nodded, picking up the hitai-ate from the desk in front of the two teachers and tying it around the sleeve of his shirt.

"You're free to spend the rest of the day however you like, but please, if you haven't already filled in your I.D. paperwork, do it this evening."

"Whatever," Gokudera said. Iruka-sensei wasn't that bad, but he was still an older man- or was he? Gokudera was technically 32, after all- and Gokudera certainly didn't trust the bastard. "See you tomorrow, sensei."

"See you tomorrow," Mi-blank-ki said happily, and Gokudera glared at him as he headed for the door.

His mother was outside, in the group of parents waiting by the Academy gate. She wore a pale blue informal kimono with a scatter of sakura on it, and was carrying a deep pink parasol, along with a set of picnic bento, the wide square boxes braced between her arm and her dress.

"Hana!" she called, waving the parasol awkwardly, "Congratulations!"

"Thanks, kaa-san," Gokudera said, scratching at one cheek, "but it wasn't that hard. It was really easy, actually. I didn't even study, and the sensei said I did well."

The blond kid who was sitting on a swing beneath the tree shot him a poisonous glare at that, and Gokudera prickled, pulling himself up and balling his hands into fists. If the little shit wanted to start something, Gokudera would end it. He stepped forwards, and-

"Maa, Hana, let's go meet your father. I packed a special picnic as a celebration!" his mother said, blocking him from the tree and the blond under it. "This is a really special day, Hana. I remember my days as a genin," she sighed, trailing off, and Gokudera shot one last glare at the blond, mouthing 'fucking bring it' behind his mother's back. "It was me, Kisuke-kun, and Ren-kun, and our sensei was Ichimaru-sensei. It was really a golden time…"

"Hana! I saw that!" she said sharply, at Gokudera's silent threat, and he looked away.

Gokudera shrugged, and stuck his hands in his pockets. "Eh, why are we going East? Isn't tousan's office three blocks west?"

"Yeah, but there was an explosion on the west side of the market. It killed five yakuza, you know! Near that old tea shop."

Gokudera nodded. He'd been expecting a strike at Ume-cha sooner or later, but he'd hoped to be there to see those gangster-wannabes blow up. The looks of surprise on their face- their territories open to take in the name of the Jyuudaime…

"You look happy, Hana. Are you that pleased to be done with the Academy?" his father asked, as he left his office. He worked as a paperwork ninja, sorting mission reports for D and C rank missions- a career genin job.

"Yeah," Gokudera lied, "and kaa-san made teriyaki, so…"

"Ah? Kaa-san's teriyaki? It's a good day!" his father cheered, ushering them over to the park. "I've been looking forward to this all day. I told all my colleagues about my little Sakura-oji-sama's graduation, and how he's sure to pass with flying colours!"

"Tou-san! Not in public!" he hissed, ducking away from the attempted hair ruffle, and his father just laughed again, even as his mother shook her head.

It was a nice evening. Not the kind of nice evening Gokudera craved, with Tsuna and other guardians- yes, even Yamamoto- and eating Italian and watching terrible sci-fi movies, but a good evening, none the less.

When the Haruno family went home, Gokudera kissed his mother goodnight, put up with his father's too-tight hug, and went upstairs to his room, where he climbed out the window and went straight back out into the market district.

Ume-cha was pretty much rubble, Gokudera thought, toeing at a piece of concrete. He'd only caught five of the gang members in the explosion, more was the pity, but the old tea shop had done its job. Six years of putting the fear of home-made dynamite into these two bit yakuza had come to an end here, with the death of Aki Knifehand, their leader. He felt a little bit like Hibari, cleaning up the neighbourhood like this, Gokudera thought with a shudder, heading for the little explosives resistant 'black box', painted bright orange and concealed beneath the remnants of the bar, which held his reports.

Gokudera still wrote a report for Tsuna every week, and entered it into the black box at five o'clock on Friday, detailing the exploits of the week. Or, he did at first, and then, when the first black box had been filled, he'd buried it in the woods near the Naka river, and started his second.

Then his third.

Then his fourth.

Tsuna was going to have a lot of reading to catch up on, when he got here.

Gokudera kneeled down in the dust, staining the knees of his dark pants, and pulled the black box out from under the bar, ignoring the uncomfortable shift of rubble under him. It was almost the same size of his torso, and the orange paint had chipped and burnt from the explosion, but it was definitely still intact.

Standing, he brushed off his pants and picked the black box up, setting it on the shattered counter.

"Yare, yare. What do we have here?" drawled a dark voice from up on the broken wall. Gokuder whirled around to see a man in ANBU gear crouched on top of the shattered wooden wall, balanced on his toes, resting his hands on his knees. He had a shock of bright silver that stuck up, and he somehow managed to project boredom through his full face mask. "What's a baby genin doing out here in a crime scene?"

"Who says I'm a genin?" Gokudera snapped, crossing his arms. Fuck him up! cheered his inner self, and Gokudera pulled out a handful of paper tubes- his own, newest, dynamite recipe. Low smoke, short burn fuses, and constructed in his family kitchen- he was pretty happy with them, considering the limitations.

"The hitai-ate, and your age, genin-chan," said the ANBU, standing and stepping down from the wall to walk over shifting rubble like solid tarmac. "Now, what are you doing here….soldier?"

Gokudera's feet snapped together on trained instinct, a hand coming up to salute his superior officer, just as the Academy had trained him to. "I left a box of stuff here a few weeks ago. It's sentimental. Not that it's any of your business, asshole!" he said, grinding his teeth.

"Training seems to be getting less effective," the ANBU mused, "We never would have gotten away with a report like that in my day."

"Whatever, grandpa. Go back to your nursing home if I'm bothering you!"

"Sentimental means bomb proof now?" asked the ANBU, ignoring the little pink haired boy in front of him and leaning down to examine the box, "Ah, youth trends change so quickly."

"I like explosives, so most of my stuff is made bomb proof," Gokudera allowed, and the ANBU nodded. "That's not a fucking crime, is it?"

"Not technically. Why did you leave it in an abandoned tea house?"

"Because it's embarrassing!" Gokudera said, glaring, trying to think quickly.

Tell him it's porn.

I'm not telling him it's porn! Gokudera snarled back, and his inner shrugged.

Tell him it's not porn?

"It's not porn!" Gokudera shouted, going red.

The ANBU paused, and turned to look at him, as Gokudera's ear went bright red, and he covered his face with his hands.

"You're at that age, huh? Mother's still cleaning your room?"

"Well, yeah...But it's not porn!"

"Eh, just buy Icha-Icha. You're an adult now," the ANBU said, nodding at the armband hitai-ate. "it's pretty much porn without pictures."

"It's not porn! It's just...writing. Some writing stuff." Gokudera said, crossing his arms again and looking to one side.

"Are you lying, genin-chan? I don't think you are. A manly diary, huh? I know the type of thing."

"I'm not. Now, I need to go home." Gokudera said, heaving the black box up to his chest.

"Sure, sure," the ANBU waved a hand, "we might follow up with you. Stay available!"

"Stay available," Gokudera repeated back, in a mocking tone of voice, "Whatever."

"Travel safe, genin-chan," the ANBU said, sounding far too amused. "And really, when you start wanting that porn-"

"I don't want any porn!"

"Sure, sure. It's by Jiraiya-sama, when you're looking in the bookstore."

"I won't look!"

Gokudera stomped away, followed by the ANBU's creepily pleasant chuckles.

He didn't sleep well that night, dreams haunted by masked perverts and Tsuna's disappointed face, and Gokudera woke up just before his alarm could go off, to the utter certainty that somebody had been in his room while he was asleep.

His desk was in perfect place, and his dirty pants were still on the floor, his closed toe boots kicked off at the foot of his bed, and there was no particular evidence to say that there had been an intruder, but...

Something told Gokudera that someone, someone professional, had been in the little red and grey room.

Today, he remembered, he had a few letters to post to various people- informants, his inner clarified, they aren't your friends or anything, right?- which he pulled out of the concealed section under his mattress. That, at least, seemed untouched.

"Don't forget to wear training gear today, Hana!" his mother called through the door, before heading down to start on breakfast.

Right, Gokudera shook his head. He had team assignments today.

Although he'd never particularly cared for exercise clothes, he could admit that the standard black trousers that ninja wore in the chuunin uniform were both comfortable and fairly stylish, so he wrapped his ankles for support in black bandages and put on his usual heavy boots, along with a red tank top and a white over shirt. After that, he added his favourite pieces of jewelry, and tightened the hitai-ate (now attached to a red bandana, thanks to his mother) around his right bicep. It was good enough, there was nobody to impress here.

Outfit sorted, he stormed into the bathroom to start his morning mirror-glaring session.

Fucking stupid pink hair.

"Hana, breakfast!"

Gokudera glared at the baby in the mirror, who pouted back at him.

Team assignments. Then, surely, he would have time to deal with the Toshinkyoukai remnants, and find a new home base, now that Ume-cha was gone. Ino wasn't waiting for him at the end of his street, today, so Gokudera had time to both post his blackmail and snarl at various trouble makers. Are you sure you don't want to bite them to death?

Don't say that kind of thing, Gokudera replied, I'm nothing like that animal obsessed weirdo.

"If you don't hurry up, Hanamaru-kun, you'll be late for school," said one of his neighbours, pushing him into action, and he broke into a light jog, heading for the Academy.

"Team seven is made up of Uzumaki Naruto, Haruno Hanamaru-"

Gokudera slammed his head against the desk.

I said anyone who didn't remind me of Lambo or Yamamoto, stupid universe! his inner wailed, and Iruka-sensei cleared his throat.

"and Uchiha Sasuke."

The class immediately broke into whispers.

"An all boy team?"

"Sasuke-kun's on an all guy team?"

"Where's their kunoichi?"

"Maybe Hana-kun counts? He's really pretty and delicate looking, right?"

"Who said that?" Gokudera roared, jumping onto his desk, "Fucking fight me! Say that to my face!"

"Not during class!" Iruka-sensei yelled, and Gokudera snarled. "Hanamaru-kun, sit down! It looks like there must have been an error in the paperwork. Go along with it for now, and I'll talk to administration about it tomorrow. Team eight-"

Gokudera gestured with his dynamite one more time, and then settled back down into his seat.

An all boy shinobi team? It wasn't done. Girls had the innate chakra control, the extra infiltration lessons, they were an integral part of a battle unit.

Not just that, but how dare they take the most eligible bachelor in Iruka-sensei's class, and partner him up with the Uzumaki kid and that delinquent Haruno?!

"I'm going to kill you, Sakuratama," Ino hissed, leaning in to stare Gokudera in the eye. "How dare you steal my husband."

"The Uchiha? As if. He has no idea what makes a real man," Gokudera scoffed, "not- not that I'm interested in guys! But if I was, it definitely wouldn't be Uchiha."

"Sasuke-kun's not good enough for you?" Ino asked, suddenly defensive.

"Not even slightly!" Gokudera sniffed, looking away. "A real man looks after people, he doesn't ignore them. That's being some...some flighty skylark who doesn't understand team work or service and it'll all end with me being locked up in Malaysia waiting for bail for a crime I didn't even commit just because he never learned the introductory manual silent sign language!"

"...I feel like there's a very confusing story behind that," Ino said, after a moment of silence. "Where's Malaysia?"

"Doesn't matter," Gokudera said, leaning back and glaring across the classroom at Uchiha Sasuke. "What's important is the lesson, Ino-pig. And that lesson is never trust someone like that."

"You have so many problems. I'm glad we made friends when we were so little. I would have missed so much free entertainment."

The bell rang, as Iruka-sensei announced the last teams, and Ino stood up, heading for her sensei at the head of the room.

"Good luck, Sakuratama!" she called back, and Gokudera coloured a little.

"I don't need luck! Wish yourself luck!"

"No, you do it!"

"Fine! Good luck, Ino-pig!"

Gokudera looked from Naruto to Sasuke and back, and then promptly sat down to make explosive tags, pulling a stack of seal paper and chakra infused ink out of his jacket pocket.

Paper bombs. Now that was one thing this world offered that Gokudera could get behind.

As soon as he'd heard about them, he'd asked his parents if he could learn- just paper bombs, not fancy, expensive fuinjutsu- and eventually they'd caved.

Six weeks later, Gokudera had written his first lopsided, awkward BAKUDAN seal, and he hadn't looked back. Paper meant that he could carry hundreds of seals, not just the dynamite and grenades he kept in his usual stashes. Hundreds of explosions, or smoke bombs, or flashbangs, water releases and fragmentation releases- Gokudera was in a pyromaniac's heaven, and as soon as he'd mastered the E-class cigarette lighter jutsu, there was nothing to stop him from just exploding everything he wanted to.

There was no Jyuudaime to object, here.

"What are you making?" Sasuke asked, eventually, as Gokudera quickly sketched the simple array, moving from paper to paper had always been weird in class, but this kind of behaviour seemed weirder than normal. Usually, the pink haired boy would be nose deep in some weird civilian science fiction book, or engrossed in a scientific tome, but instead, he'd just settled down to systematically churn out miniature paper bombs, stacking the pile to fifty before Sasuke's curiosity had finally gotten the better of him.

Uzumaki was ignoring them both, setting up a series of minor pranks to teach their tardy teacher a lesson about lateness.

"I'm making paper bombs," Gokudera said with a grunt, "don't bother me. Uzumaki!"

The blond looked up from mixing glue and chalk in a small bowl.

"What, Hanamaru?"

"Eh, call me Hana," Gokudera said, waving a hand. It sounded girlier, but Hanamaru was just too long for casual conversation, and it wasn't like he could go by his real name. "You want a smoke bomb?"

"Ooh, can you do colours?" Naruto asked, bouncing over, as Gokudera quickly began on a slightly different design.

"Sure. Why the fuck not. What colour?"

"Orange!" Naruto cheered, and Gokudera drew in a few extra kanji in the corners.

"Fuck 'em up," he said solemnly, passing the completed tag over, which Naruto quickly armed and put in place at the door.

When Hatake Kakashi opened the door to classroom 14C, he was greeted by an eraser covered in chalk dust, a bright plume of burnt orange smoke, a faceful of sticky coloured chalk, and a pair of grinning, smug, pre-genin. The last one, the Uchiha, was sitting in a corner, pretending to be unamused, but Kakashi could read the silent approval in his eyes at his teammates' prank.

The blond, Uzumaki Naruto, looked painfully like his father, but was laughing that full body, stomach deep laugh that his mother had, and Kakashi's eye skated over him, not willing to torture himself that way today. A deadlast, with a knack of traps and pranks. He could probably work with that, but… he would have to pass the bell test, first.

The pink haired boy was cackling, and there was ink smudged on his hands- the creator of the smoke tag, then. Haruno Hanamaru was a bit of a mystery: a constant truant, with genius level intelligence but no real pressure to perform, and his teachers had taken to treating him like a Nara, leaving him alone as long as he occasionally participated, and kept his grades okay. Yesterday, according to the exam, Haruno had finally acted seriously, and managed to beat the rookie of the year, Uchiha, on the final exams, in everything except thrown weaponry. A delinquent loudmouth with a hair trigger temper and one of the finest strategic minds that the Academy had seen from anyone who wasn't a Nara.

Finally, there was Uchiha Sasuke, sulking in a corner. He had more psychological flags in his profile than most chuunin did, and would train until he was physically unable to. Determined, rude and unpersonable, but technically perfect in all combat techniques. Not a genius like his brother, but a hard worker, who could still, possibly, be guided away from the darker side of vengeance. Kakashi knew that Sasuke could be something great. Whether that greatness would work for Konoha, or end in betrayal for his own personal vendetta, however, was unknown.

A delinquent, a deadlast, and a loose cannon. The Hokage really was pulling out all the stops on Kakashi's team this year, wasn't he?

"Aa. My first impression of you guys...Immature." he sighed, "I hate you. Meet me on the roof in five minutes."

Gokudera cackled at his face full of chalk, but stood up, slipping the pile of paper bombs into his shirt, and headed for the door.

"Ehhhh? He hates us? He doesn't even know us!" Naruto complained loudly, "How am I meant to become Hokage if I don't even have a good teacher?"

Gokudera grunted, following the loud blond up the stairs.

"I mean, I get why he'd hate that asshole Sasuke, and you, Hana, cos you're kind of dick sometimes, but what did I do?"

"I'm kind of a dick sometimes? You've been hitting on Ino for two years, even though she's uninterested!"

"Ehh, you didn't use a suffix!" Naruto yowled, pointing at Gokudera accusatively. "Are you her boyfriend now?"

"Oh, god, no," Gokudera recoiled, falling back a few steps down the stairs and hitting Sasuke, who pushed him forwards. Gokudera managed not to trip, getting his feet under him, and kept climbing. "No way. Not if she was the last person alive!"

He crossed his hands in front of his chest in a big 'X' shape, "No way!"

"Oh." Naruto blinked, "Well. Okay. Why are you such an asshole about me liking her, then?"

"Because she's not interested, idiot! Gentlemen leave ladies alone when they say they aren't interested! Learn some manners!" Gokudera snarled, slamming his fist down on top of Naruto's spiky hair, and pushed past him, out onto the roof. "And he doesn't like you because you set up a bucket drop of glue and chalk!"

"It was funny!"

"Your face is funny!"

"Maa, maa, kids. Settle down," said Kakashi, from his perch on the roof railing. "Let's start with introductions. Your name, your likes and dislikes, and your dream for the future."

"Hey, stupid-sensei," Gokudera said, dropping onto the concrete to lounge and glare at the familiar looking jounin. "You go first."

"Aa, well, my name's Kakashi Hatake, not stupid-sensei, kid." He scratched the back of his head, "I have no intentions of telling you my likes and dislikes. As for my dream... I have few hobbies.."

"Well that was fucking fantastic," Gokudera fumed, "I'm definitely filled with a sense of trust, trash-sensei."

"Thanks for volunteering, pinkie. Of course you can go first!" Kakashi said brightly, and Gokudera hissed at him.

"Haruno Hanamaru. Call me Hana, please. I like…" he stopped, and flushed brightly, "and as for my dislikes...people who don't take situations seriously, and show disrespect to important people."

"Eh, Hana-kun, you haven't shown me any respect," Kakashi drawled.

"You're not important!" Gokudera snapped, "and my dream for the future…" he trailed off, and decided to tell the truth. It was just an ice breaker, anyway, "I want to see the Jyuudaime."

"The Jyuudaime? The Jyuudaime Hokage? You'll be a great-grandpa by then," Naruto burst out, "or a weird old man with twenty cats, like this guy!" he pointed at Kakashi, who sighed. "Or dead! That's a weird dream, Hana!"

"I told you my dream," Gokudera said, crossing his arms. "Leave me alone."

"True, true. Okay, blondie, you're up next."

"Alright!" Naruto jumped up, putting his foot up on the roof rail to pose dramatically, "My name is Uzumaki Naruto! I like Ino-chan and ramen, especially Ichiraku ramen, because Teuchi-ji-san makes it the best! I dislike Sasuke-teme, Hana, and the wait it takes for instant ramen to cook! My dream for the future is to become Hokage!"

Gokudera looked at the blond, blinking. "Lam...bo?"

"Ehh? What's a Lambo! I'm Uzumaki Naruto! Don't forget it! It'd be embarrassing if you didn't know your future Hokage's name!" he laughed loudly, putting his hands on his hips, and Kakashi nodded at the last of them.

"Alright, go ahead."

"Uchiha Sasuke. There are a lot of things I don't like. I guess….I like training. I need to become stronger," Sasuke said slowly, glaring out into the middle distance, "My dream...is actually a goal. I want to kill a certain man, and restore my clan."

For a second, there was silence, and Naruto looked distinctly nervous, while Kakashi looked at Sasuke thoughtfully. Then, he clapped his hands.

"Well, tomorrow, there's a test- survival training. Meet me at training ground 11 at 6am. It'll be hard- it's only got a 33% pass rate. If you fail, you'll go back to the Academy."

He looked them all in the eyes, going from one boy to the next.

"If you pass...you'll be a real shinobi. Don't eat any breakfast- you'll just throw up." he said casually, pushing off the rail to stand up.

"But we already passed the test!" Naruto exclaimed, and Gokudera nodded. "We have our hitai-ate!"

"That's cute," Kakashi said, visible eye glinting. "But that was just a test to get rid of the completely useless. This will be your real graduation exam."

Gokudera shivered, unwillingly. Stupid-sensei was a little bit like...he reminded Gokudera of Reborn, during his tutoring.

"See you tomorrow, kids!" Kakashi said, temperament reverting to his smiley idiot act, and disappeared in a swirl of leaves.

Great. Gokudera was on a team with a baby-Hibari, a grown up Lambo, and a masked Reborn.

Jyuudaime! Hurry up and come back! I can't do this!

notes: Sakuratama means Cherry Blossom Head. I thought it made sense for Ino's insulting/friendly name, considering Gokudera is far more concerned about his pink hair than his forehead.

Temple Prison is one way to read the kanji in Gokudera's name.

Teisshinkyoukai means the blade yakuza group. Because I named another gang the Razors in another khr fic, and I like injokes.

Rottecci means Little Broken (as in the barrier between worlds, or you know, Gokudera's spine. Whichever)

Oh, and not using a suffix with someone means you're either being rude, or you know them really well- like, BFFs or gf/bf really well. So Gokudera's mother doesn't use a suffix with him, because she's his mother, but Gokudera not using a suffix for Ino is a little more remarkable.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this, let me know! Maybe I'll do a follow up, but this was just an idea that got stuck in my brain!