Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Hey, everyone! I wrote the first chapter in two days, and it's not edited. I've started on the second chapter, so hopefully, this one goes over well! I have so many ideas where I want to go with this. Enjoy!
When Sakura received a summons to Hokage Tower earlier that morning, she was sure that Tsunade-shishou was going to assign her a medical relief mission, or even a diplomatic one. What she did not expect, however, was the assignment of a Jounin Instructor.
"What? Shishou, you can't be serious."
Tsunade's eyes flashed. "I'm dead serious, Sakura. You're to meet your new genin squad tomorrow morning at 0800 sharp. Don't be late."
"B-but the hospital! Who's going to take over while I'm out supervising D-ranked missions? Shizune-senpai has her hands full here, and there's no one else qualified! I can't just abandon my duties, Hokage-sama!"
"It's already covered. Yamanaka Ino has agreed to be taken off active duty to see to the day-to-day operations of the hospital. Of course, Shizune and I will stop in periodically to make sure things are running smoothly, but it's nothing that you'll need to concern yourself with," Tsunade replied firmly.
"Ino-pig?! No. No no no. That's a disaster just waiting to happen. She's not even a fully trained medic-nin! How the hell is she supposed to be responsible for an entire freaking hospital?! Besides, I can't be an instructor! I don't know how! What if I don't know enough jutsu to teach them? What if one of them dies out in the field? What if all of them die out in the field?! I can't have that on my conscious. I just can't do it." Sakura was fully aware that desperation was making her voice crack. Still, she couldn't quite keep the panic she felt from squeezing at her heart and causing her fast-paced rambling.
She continued to list numerous ways in which assigning her a Genin Squad would be catastrophic until Tsunade finally had enough. The Godaime slammed her hand down on the desk, the loudness of it echoing across the room and abruptly halting whatever it was that Sakura was about to say next.
"This is not up for discussion. Under normal circumstances, there wouldn't be a need to recruit. However, due to the lack of instructors that volunteered this year, I had to pull a few of my more qualified jounin to train the next genin class. Take that as you will, but if I were you, I'd see it as a compliment."
Sakura tugged the ends of her petal pink hair and pouted.
Tsunade-shishou eyed her before sighing. Her tone softened as she said, "Please, Sakura. I trust that you'll make a fine sensei, and I have no doubt that you'll do whatever you can to keep your squad safe. That's all I can ask from any instructor, willing or otherwise."
Sakura stared into her shishou's golden-flecked eyes and saw nothing but sincerity. Her shoulders deflated.
"Okay. I'll do it." Sakura held her hand out for the debriefing packet.
As Tsunade passed her the folder containing everything she needed to know about her students, Sakura couldn't help but feel a sense of foreboding. Tsunade dismissed her, and as she left the Hokage's tower, the packet clutched to her chest, she decided that, despite her growing unease, she'd have to give it her all. Her new students deserved that, at least.
Besides, how bad could it be?
Remembering her genin days with Naruto and Sasuke-kun, with a lazy Kakashi-sensei at the helm, she groaned aloud.
This was going to be a disaster.
The next morning, an hour before she had to pick her genin up from the academy, Sakura took a seat at the desk in her bedroom and opened the debriefing folder. The words blurred in front of her, most likely due to lack of sleep, so she shook her head to clear her vision. I knew I should have taken a sedative last night to knock me out, the pink-haired nin grumped. She was tired. When she should have been peacefully slumbering, readying her mind and body for the trials to come, all she did was toss and turn in nervousness.
Sleep deprivation is making me a tad dramatic.
Sakura rolled her eyes at herself and began to read.
She skimmed the introduction paragraph before her eyes found the rules and regulations all instructors must follow.
Fraternization between teacher and student is strictly forbidden. If it is found that a teacher has taken advantage of a student, this crime is punishable to the highest degree of the law. The teacher will be stripped of all rankings, titles, and medals, dismissed permanently from shinobi duty, and faces up to a lifetime in maximum security detention. There are no exceptions.
Sakura nodded her head. The first rule was completely reasonable, and she agreed with the punishment wholeheartedly. She moved on to the next one.
Uniform Regulations: All Jounin Instructors are to wear the standard shinobi uniforms. This includes but is not limited to: Long sleeved, sweat resistant shirt. Olive green flak vest. Tear-proof black pants. Standard shinobi sandals. Teachers must have at least one kunai pouch strapped to their person at all times, and it must be fully stocked. Teachers must tie their hitai-ate securely to their foreheads. There are no exceptions.
Sakura snorted. No exceptions, her ass! She could count on two hands the amount of instructors she's seen violating the uniform code in some form or another. With an irritated sigh, Sakura heaved herself out of the chair and stomped to her closet. She removed her red and pink clothing before slipping her jounin uniform on. Before exiting her closet, she held her medical apron, debating whether she should put in on over her pants.
Shrugging, she put it to her waist and tied it off in the back. She was technically following the rules by donning the appropriate attire. It even said in the text itself that she wasn't limited to just the standard uniform. Besides, she was a medic-nin first and foremost, so she was going to dress the part as well as she could.
Heading back to her desk, she swiped her hitai-ate and black leather gloves from her nightstand. She placed them next to the packet, ready to be put on when she finished. She perused the rest of the rules, occasionally nodding her head in agreement and snorting when she thought a code utterly ridiculous. Under appearance, especially. Sakura grumbled in annoyance as she deftly braided her long, pink hair because according to the code, hair longer than shoulder length had to be tied back neatly and efficiently so as to not become a hindrance in battle.
Of course, that was a standard shinobi regulation but rarely enforced. Sakura would have ignored it completely if her shishou hadn't inked in pen next to it, 'I'm looking at you, Sakura!'
Deciding that there couldn't be anything else that was detrimental to the development of her squad, she flipped to the back until she found the files of her students. First up, Uchiha Nozomi.
The top of her class, gifted in taijutsu, and from the description, would've given Sasuke-kun a run for his money in bukijutsu when he was that age. Superb chakra control, too. Sakura rubbed her face as she stared at the profile photo of the girl. Her dark, midnight hair was cut into a soft bob that curled around her chin; her eyes were a shade lighter than the locks framing her face. Sakura's gaze zeroed in on the twisted scowl of the girl's lips. From the looks of her, she's sure to be just as moody and difficult as Sasuke-kun was, too, Sakura thought. She already had a headache.
She flipped the page and landed on Hyuuga Naoki. His broad smile complimented the sparkle of mischief in his lavender eyes, which was surprising to the medic-nin. She didn't think he was from the main branch since she's never heard of him before. She read down his description and frowned. Lacks ambition, prankster, average in ninjutsu. He wasn't even in the top 20 of his class? It was Naruto all over again! Sakura sighed in exasperation. She could only hope that he wasn't nearly as rowdy as her crazy but lovable teammate. She also wasn't very optimistic about being responsible for the children of the two most powerful and respected clans in the village. She could just feel the heart palpitations coming on.
"Okay, last one," she muttered.
Kawata Reiji. His photo depicted red, spiky hair and a youthful face. Was he even old enough to graduate from the academy? His profile declared him to be 12, though, just like the rest. She shrugged and continued. Ranked sixth in his overall class, slightly above average in taijutsu, ninjutsu, and genjutsu, and according to a personal note from Iruka-sensei, suffered from eternal pessimism. He came from a small, unheard of clan that migrated to Konoha from Suna several generations ago, and there wasn't any mention of kekkei genkai.
Sakura scowled and tossed the packet away from her. She slipped her gloves and hitai-ate on before briskly walking out of her bedroom. She locked her apartment behind her and turned, only to barely avoid smashing her face into the chest of Uchiha Sasuke.
She squeaked and shuffled backward, hitting the door she just locked a little harder than she anticipated. Sasuke raised an eyebrow at her, his lips twitching in amusement.
"Sasuke-kun! What are you doing here?" Sakura asked. Her heart rate increased, which was her usual reaction when in the presence of her long time crush.
"My mother heard that you'll be taking on the role of jounin instructor. She asked that I deliver this bento." Sasuke handed her a box wrapped in floral cloth. "It's for good luck."
Sakura smiled and untied the knot at the top. She opened the bento and inwardly gushed over how thoughtful Mikoto-san was. The Uchiha matriarch packed colorful fruit that was neatly arranged, along with onigiri decorated like pandas and a myriad of her favorite sweets. Sakura had always preferred a light lunch, and Mikoto-san must have remembered that about her. She'd have to stop by the main house in the Uchiha compound this week to personally thank Sasuke's mother.
"Thanks, Sasuke-kun! Tell your mom I love it and I'll be around sometime soon to say hello." Sakura beamed at him.
"Hn. I will." Sasuke took a step toward the stairs. "Are you on your way to the academy? I'll walk you."
Sakura blushed and skipped to follow Sasuke, who continued without waiting for her answer. Once they made it out of the apartment complex and into the street, Sakura matched her stride with the Uchiha and studied him out of the corner of her eye.
He was so tall compared to what he was eight years ago when Team 7 first formed. Then, Sakura could look right into his dark eyes, but now, she had to crane her neck up just to glimpse his face. His hair was longer, falling to just below his shoulders, and Sakura wondered if perhaps he would grow it as long as Itachi-kun's. It would suit him, she thought.
"I haven't seen you in your shinobi uniform since the exams," Sasuke remarked, interrupting her side-eyed examination of him.
"Has it been that long? I guess I've been so busy with the hospital that I haven't gotten a chance to wear it."
Sakura, the last member of Team 7 to take the Jounin Exams, passed a little over two years ago. The first two tests she passed with ease; it was the final round that proved to be more difficult. She was matched with a nin from Iwa and he was definitely a tough opponent. However, with Sasuke-kun and Naruto watching from the stands, she refused to disappoint them and herself by failing. She barely defeated the Iwa nin as Naruto and Kakashi-sensei loudly cheered from their seats. She wasn't entirely sure if her exhaustion made her imagine it, but she swears she heard the usually quiet and composed Sasuke-kun shouting encouragement, as well. She'd like to believe she did, anyway.
Sakura continued. "You know, I don't think I've seen you in anything but your shinobi uniform since you took the exams almost four years ago."
It was true, at least. The same pants, flak vest, and katana strapped to his back for the last three and a half years. The only thing that changed was his hair.
Sasuke grunted and didn't say anything else. They walked the rest of the way to the academy without speaking again, but to Sakura, it was a comfortable silence. She was happy that Sasuke took the time out of his busy schedule to want to spend these precious few minutes with her.
When she was younger, she had hoped that Sasuke might feel for her the way she felt for him. As she grew, however, she realized it didn't matter. As long as Sasuke was a part of her life, she could live, content. Lately though, Sakura was positive she was sensing a weird vibe coming from the reserved man she's loved for so long.
For the past several months, she's run into him on several occasions, whereas before, she had to plan a team dinner weeks in advance just to see him.
Every time she spots him in the market on her way home from work, he makes a beeline for her and insists they spend time together. They mostly end up at Ichiraku, where Naruto inevitably strolls in half way through their meal, dragging a willing Hinata and a not-so-willing Sai behind him. Once, she caught Sasuke walking the opposite direction of her when she just left the hospital. She called out to him, and he immediately crossed the road, as if he expected it to happen. He was carrying a basket full of goods he had just purchased at the market, and when Sakura inquired about it, he insisted his mother sent him to do some grocery shopping. The strangest part about that night wasn't that Sasuke demanded she follow him to their old training grounds, but the moment when they arrived and settled beneath a large Sakura tree, and Sasuke pulled out freshly made sandwiches and sides. Like he planned it. Wouldn't that be considered a date? How utterly absurd was it that she believed Sasuke-kun might've taken her on a date! Right?
Sakura shook off her speculations and willed her heart to stop racing. They reached the entrance of the academy and Sasuke turned to her. "I'll be going. Hokage-sama sent a summons earlier, and I'm late."
Sakura did a double take. "Wait a second. Out of all the years I've known you, you've never intentionally arrived late to a mission debriefing. What gives?"
Sasuke's stare was suddenly intense. The air felt charged around her as Sakura was caught in dark eyes. The moment lasted for several moments and left her oddly breathless. His eyes flickered then, just barely, but it was enough to break the trance she was under.
What happened next stunned Sakura so much, she practically fell over. Sasuke lifted his arm, and taking his pointer and middle fingers, poked her right in the middle of her hitai-ate, in the exact spot of the hidden leaf insignia.
Sasuke was already walking away, waving a careless hand in the air while the other was shoved into his pocket. Sakura, mouth hanging open in shock, raised a shaky hand to her forehead and traced her fingers over the spot Sasuke had touched. W-What?
A lazy voice snapped the medic-nin to attention. She whipped her head to the side and saw Shikamaru standing next to her, arms crossed and head tipped back, as if he were studying the sky.
Sure that her face was flaming in embarrassment, Sakura managed a quick 'hi' before hightailing it to the doors. Shikamaru followed at a much slower pace, but still somehow entered at the same time as her.
"Looks like the Uchiha finally got a clue," the lazy genius mentioned casually.
"What? What does that even mean?"
Shikamaru sighed. "Troublesome."
Sakura hurriedly changed the subject. "What are you doing here, anyway?"
"The same reason as you, I'd imagine."
The pink-haired woman was surprised. Nara Shikamaru, lazy boy, cloud-watching extraordinaire, volunteered to be an instructor? Sakura had a hard time believing that. He barely made it to the monthly tactical unit meetings with the Godaime as it was, and she highly doubted he suddenly took the initiative to train a couple of brats to become ninja. Sakura opened her mouth to voice this when Shikamaru beat her to it.
"Before you undoubtedly ask, I didn't volunteer. Hokage-sama roped me into it."
The pair reached Iruka-sensei's classroom and leaned against the wall. They waited around with the other instructors for their old academy teacher to let them in.
Amused at sharing the same unfortunate fate with a comrade, Sakura asked, "How did she do it?"
Shikamaru sighed. "A month's vacation once my squad passes the Chuunin Exams."
Sakura's jaw dropped. "Are you kidding me?! She bribed you?"
He shrugged and walked into the classroom. Iruka-sensei stood in the doorway, ushering in the instructors and directing traffic for those who were exiting, their new genin squad in tow.
Seething, Sakura stomped past the rest of the jounin waiting to be let inside, leaving them bewildered and a little intimidated by the obviously angry apprentice to their esteemed Hokage. They were well aware of what happened when rage met the physical strength of those two.
For her part, Sakura couldn't believe her shishou stooped as low as bribery! Especially considering the fact that she didn't offer Sakura a damned thing! If Hokage-sama was going around handing out bribes, the least she could have done was throw a bone to her loyal student.
As Sakura stewed in her anger, the classroom slowly emptied until only three students remained. She had to give them credit for not saying a single word while she stood there, arms crossed and tapping her foot. She knew she looked visibly upset, with her brows furrowed and her eyelids scrunched together tightly. Maybe they thought she was on the verge of crying? Ha! If she were on the verge of anything, it would be literally tearing through the walls of Hokage tower and demanding an explanation from her shishou.
Once Sakura felt calm enough to address her students, she opened her eyes. Instead of staring at her with a mix of respect and fear, like she'd imagined, her students were completely ignoring her.
Hyuuga Naoki was seated right next to Uchiha Nozomi, with one of his hands holding his chin and the other tracing a heart over and over on his desk. He gazed at the Uchiha girl dreamily, and Sakura swore she saw a little bit of drool slip from the corner of his mouth.
Nozomi also had her chin in her hand, her sight set on the view outside of the window. By the fierce scowl adorning her face, she was clearly annoyed by the unwanted attention she was receiving from the boy next to her. Sakura was reminded of her academy days when it was she drooling over an Uchiha. Heh.
Lastly, she found Kawata Reiji on the opposite side of the room, near the front. His hands were clenched together on his desk in front of him, and Sakura didn't miss the sour look he was shooting to no one in particular.
Sakura noticed that all three already tied their hitai-ates to their foreheads.
Adopting a determined look, Sakura spoke. "Kawata Reiji. Uchiha Nozomi. Hyuuga Naoki. We are now officially recognized by the village and the Hokage herself as Team Fourteen. I'm Haruno Sakura-sensei."
Sakura prepared herself for a response and found that she would not be receiving one. The brats even had the nerve to stay slouched in their positions! She clenched her fists. She didn't work so hard for eight freaking years only to be disrespected by a few genin fresh off the block!
"HEY!" Her voice boomed across the room, the echo rattling the windows. It was a little trick her shishou taught her years ago. Basically, Sakura used her chakra to enhance her vocal chords. It didn't require a lot of effort, and it was much like the process of sending chakra to her fists to cause catastrophic damage. Tsunade-sama used it during meetings when she was faced with a room full of people trying to speak over one another.
The technique worked. All three of her students snapped to attention as the last of the echoes faded. Sakura glared at them.
"My first impression of you… is that you're all idiots."
The pink-haired nin smirked inwardly as she received the reactions she was hoping for. Hisses, glares, and an extremely indignant "hey!" tied together in a chorus of voices. She crossed her arms and smiled.
"Well, if you're all offended that much, I guess you'll just have to prove me wrong. Follow me."
She flipped her braid over her shoulder and mosied out, secure in the knowledge that all three brats were shuffling out after her. Now I know the amusement Kakashi-sensei felt when he successfully rattled us, Sakura thought gleefully.
She lead her students out of the academy and down the street, straight to the training grounds. As they walked, civilians and shinobi alike greeted her when she passed. Her students eyed each interaction silently, but Sakura hoped they noticed how well-liked and respected she was around the village.
When they reached the tree that she and Sasuke shared a meal under, Sakura motioned for them to sit and did the same.
"Before we begin, I'd like to do introductions." She stared at her students. "Likes, dislikes, goals, dreams, things like that."
Nozomi scoffed as Reiji shot his hand up.
Sakura addressed him. "Would you like to go first, Reiji-kun?"
The red-haired boy frowned. "I was gonna ask if you'd start, sensei. I don't want to mess up."
Sakura eyed him a moment before agreeing. "Okay. My name is Haruno Sakura, apprentice to the Godaime Tsunade-sama and respective member of former Team 7, now under the name Team Kakashi. I'm an active duty jounin medic-nin, and while not on missions, I run the hospital. I like… Well, it doesn't matter what I like."
"My dream is to become as strong as my teammates, so that I'll never be considered a burden again."
Sakura decided to finish with that. There was no need to continue what was sure to be a sob story. She cleared her throat. "Reiji-kun, now that you know what's expected, why don't you go next?"
He nodded slightly and began. "My name is Kawata Reiji. My clan originated in Suna before coming here. I like to be left alone. My goal is to make it through my first mission without dying. That's it, I guess." His face turned solemn with his last sentence.
Sakura was definitely going to have to work on this kid's outlook on life. Although, for now, she was happy to get through their first day relatively unscathed.
"Ah! Yes, yes, let me go," Naoki laughed, running a hand through his short, brown hair.
"I'm Hyuuga Naoki, and I'm totally not even close to being considered main branch in my clan. It's alright though, because one day I'll show all those stuck up pricks how strong I am. I like to walk around the village and people-watch, especially when Nozomi-chan is out, because then I can just watch her." He sighed as his eyes glazed over. Honestly, Sakura thought that was a pretty creepy thing to say, but she didn't really have any room to talk, considering the way she trailed after Sasuke-kun when she was Naoki's age.
Sakura also wasn't sure why Naoki held such animosity toward the main branch of his clan, but maybe it was a similar reason as the one Hyuuga Neji has. In any case, she knew that not all of the main branch was stuck up like Naoki said, because Hinata-chan was seriously the most kind and selfless person she'd ever met in her life.
"Do you have any goals or dreams?" Sakura asked the Hyuuga.
"I think it'd be cool to be Hokage. Or Nozomi-chan's husband. If I had to choose, I'd go with Nozomi-chan's husband, for sure."
Sakura clapped her hands together, "Okay! Speaking of Nozomi-chan, why don't you round us out, hm?"
The Uchiha girl scoffed again. "I am called Uchiha Nozomi. I don't have time to have likes or dislikes, and I certainly don't have time to entertain weirdos that practically stalk me." She glared at Naoki when she said this.
Sakura laughed awkwardly. "Do you have any goals or dreams, Nozomi-chan?"
"One day, I will marry Uchiha Sasuke."
Sakura choked on her spit.
Out of all the shocking things Sakura was told in the last several days, that one most definitely took the cake.
Kami help us.
The second chapter should begin to address how each character fits with the Uchiha clan still alive and kicking. For example, how Sai became part of Team 7. Also, I realized that I never mentioned the bento that Sasuke gave to Sakura again lol. I'll figure out what the hell she did with it and incorporate it into the next chapter haha. Naruto will make his appearance in the next chapter, as well. Thanks for reading!