Welcome back! This is chapter fifteen, part three to Konoha's Not-ANBU! Enjoy.
~ Recap ~
Not to mention, all of them had no problem with taking charge when they have an idea or a strong opinion, which can help the rest of the team understand what each person thought. As Himari recounted all of the facts they had and offered ideas of their approach, Kakashi smiled to himself, grateful for the umpteenth time that he had such a good team.
Sasuke woke up, his internal alarm waking him.
He got up onto his feet, yawned, cracked his neck, and glanced outside for the time. The sun had already risen, almost all of it above the horizon. Seven o'clock, a little before it was precisely seven, but close enough. The Uchiha glanced around the room to see Naruto and Sakura both still asleep and debated on whether he should wake them up or not. Naruto must've arrived during the night. Sighing, the boy leaned down and tapped Naruto's shoulder.
The Uzumaki twitched.
"Time to get up, dobe," Sasuke hissed, snapping his fingers right in front of Naruto's face.
His teammate sniffs, but then turns onto his side and completely ignores Sasuke. The Uchiha scowled. Mustering up pure chakra onto his fingertips, it only occurred to Sasuke that the voltage may be too much after he had sent his electricity-affinity chakra straight at Naruto's face.
Naruto shot up, and Sasuke stifled a snort at his panicking look.
The Uzumaki instantly realised what had happened, his left eyebrow twitching. "What the hell, teme? That was uncalled for!"
Sasuke ignored him, moving onto Sakura, and gently shook her shoulder. "Time to get up, Usagi."
Sakura peeked open an eye. "Already?" She yawned.
"See how easy it is to wake her up?" Sasuke gave Naruto a look. "I had to zap you with chakra to get you up."
"Mean," Naruto poked out his tongue, tugging his cloak onto his back. He checked all of his pouches, making sure than all of his scrolls were there, especially those that stored his weapons and items.
Sakura stood up, stretching. "Let's go downstairs. Sensei's probably waiting. Welcome back, Naruto."
Naruto smiled. "Good to be back."
All three of them quietly made their way downstairs, knowing that Tazuna and his family were still sleeping. As they were halfway down the stairs, the delicious smell of miso soup wafted up to their noses, and all three of them exchanged a glance. Breakfast.
"Morning," Sasuke called, entering the kitchen.
Kakashi stood at the stove, leaning against the counter as he waited for the soup to cook. "Morning, brat."
"Morning!" Sakura chirped.
"Morn," Naruto grinned, "nice to see ya, sensei."
"Good to see you too," Kakashi eye-smiles.
Someone walks in while whistling, commenting, "I smelt the famous Hound miso. When's it ready?"
"Shiranui-san?" Sasuke blinked.
Genma smiled. "Hey, taichou's kids. I'm part of Team Ro, and we're going to spend some time with y'all."
"I never knew you were in ANBU," Sakura smiled back.
"Ma," Genma shrugged, "I wasn't in there for long."
"Yeah, about a year and a half," Kakashi informed his team, before opening the miso pot and stirring the contents slowly. "We've got a plan already for the mission."
His three students exchange a glance and look back at him. Naruto grinned. "Hell yeah."
"Himari," Kakashi nods, "she'll tell you the details. Ko's out scouting out our two destinations and Himari will join him after she briefs you, so when they're back with results we'll head out."
"Two destinations?" Sakura picked up.
"We're going to the Waves daimyo's little palace," Genma starts taking out bowls and spoons form the kitchen, "and then that lair you've been to."
"The plan's down," Himari states, walking into the room. Team 7 turns to her, ready to take in information. The Hyuga smiles, before taking a seat on a barstool beside the team, who stood next to the kitchen counter.
"We're pairing up, right?" Sasuke asks.
"Correct," Himari nods, "you'll each be with a member of Team Ro. Sakura, you're with Yamato. Naruto, you're with Yugao. And Sasuke, you're with Genma. All three of your teams will head to Gato, whereas Kakashi, Ko and I will be going to the daimyo's place."
"Right," Sakura nods.
"Since Naruto and Sasuke have worked with their partners before, we'll have the two of you sharpening up your abilities with them and potentially learning something new. However, Sakura, since Yamato is a new teammate, the two of you will be working on sharing your abilities and getting used to working with each other."
"Hai," the three of them chorus.
"We'll have breakfast first," Himari smiled.
"Here," Genma and Kakashi both held two bowls of soup on his hands and placed them down. Despite being the top shinobi inside of Konoha, Team 7 couldn't help but think they were almost like the legal guardians of three children who was just serving them breakfast in preparation for the three to go to school like a normal family would. Then Kakashi gave them an eye-smile.
"You shouldn't eat too much."
Let's just leave it at the fact that Team 7 only drank half their soup.
"You have Wood Release?!"
"That is so cool! Did you have Lord First's cells implanted in you, or maybe are you a direct descendant? I mean, both are really cool anyway. I can't believe I'm seeing someone who has Wood Release..."
"I was implanted with cells."
"Then you must be a result of S-S' experiments. Amazing. I thought you had all been dealt with. This is so cool!"
"Er, should we get to training?"
"Right. Sorry, Yamato-san."
"It's not bad, Sakura. It's quite refreshing to see someone who's excited to see my Wood Release."
"I can do Earth Release and a little Water Release. I had Kurenai-san tutor me on genjutsu too. Oh, and Himari-san taught me a little medical ninjutsu."
"Interesting. So Earth Release is your affinity?"
"Show me your most comfortable jutsu."
"That...was impressive for your age. Very. Anything I should know?"
"Sensei gave us all an emergency jutsu that does a lot of damage...I have Doton: Doryo Dango."
"Right. I seem to recall that from somewhere when taichou used it smash a bunch of - ah. Let's not go there. How would you describe your chakra control?"
"I'm the best out of my team, Yamato-san."
"Even better than the Uchiha?"
"That's good. First things first, which do you prefer? Earth or genjutsu?"
"Genjutsu, Yamato-san. It sits better with me, and I find it easier to reserve chakra on it."
"Alright. Show me what you can do."
"Place me under your genjutsus and describe what's happening. That's the most effective way."
"Hai! Jubaku Satsu! Yamato-san, this is a B-rank genjutsu that Kurenai-san taught me. Do you see the tree that's growing at your feet? That's part of it, and once you think you're fully immobilised, then I come from the tree and stab you with a kunai."
"You know Narakumi no Jutsu, right? Sensei taught it to me."
"Ah, the hell-viewing technique. Yes."
"Then I also have Kasumi Juusha no Jutsu."
"No, Yamato-san. They look like clones, but they're really just a genjutsu. They cannot attack, which is why I don't have too many and use my weapons to pretend they can attack. You can't dispel them like a normal clone jutsu, they'll just part."
"Ah. Like mist. I see."
"Lastly, I have Chotosu."
"I know this one. The reckless one which gives the targets a blown up ego and confidence so they think they can achieve anything."
"Hai. They usually also forget about using E and D-rank jutsus, which can work out in our favour."
"Very interesting. Now, Sakura, I'd like you to fight against me."
"That was fast."
"Lesson eleven; always assume something is happening at that exact moment, unless otherwise told."
"Of course Hound-senpai would tell you that."
"Uzuki-san! I haven't seen you in ages!"
"Jeez, Uzuki-san, why are you giving me that deadpan look?"
"Have you improved at all from the last time I saw you?"
"Uzuki-san! Have more faith in me! Of course, dattebayo!"
"Come on. Come and try to get me, you little fox."
"Kyouchikutou no Jumon!"
"It's a genjutsu! Like it, Uzuki-san?"
"Baka. Kai. You don't just say it-"
"Kage Bushin no Jutsu! Kaze Bunshin Bakuha."
"What did you just mutter?"
"Stop dodging my clones! And why would I tell you?"
"Why wouldn't I dodge your clones? And because you're an idiot, that's why."
"That's not nice! Kage Bushin no Jutsu!"
"If you keep summoning them, I'll keep killing them."
"Oh? Let's do this!"
"What the fuck was that?"
"Bad language, Uzuki-san!"
"You have exploding clones, now? Very cool, I must say."
"Cool, right? See, see? I'm better now!"
"Did you just-"
"You didn't realise, did you?"
"What's the new seal?"
"It's not new. It's old."
"I haven't seen it before..."
"This one? I thought I showed you."
"Uzuki-san, can you draw it so I don't have to twist my arm to see it? And take it off! My arm feels like it's going to be torn off from all the weight that's on it!"
"So...that's for weight, multiplication, invisibility, covert, gravity, and permanence. Right?"
"That's not invisibility, but you're close. It's the activation one."
"Ehhh? They look the same!"
"Uzuki-san, it's just a curl!"
"Baka, that curl changes everything!"
"Now, redraw this. I want it to be perfect."
"Just use this stick and copy it into the dirt. This is good to use against samurai, who mainly focuses on speed rather than strength."
"No. Do that weight seal again. You need more flick."
"Better. Have you ever practised any of your seals?"
"Yes, I have! Just not the weight one..."
"And not the multiplication nor covert, I see."
"Eh, so what do you specialise in?"
"Kenjutsu and dojutsu, Shiranui-san."
"Interesting. Now Kakashi said something about your eyes being fast enough but your movements aren't. Which is why we're focusing on long-range attacks for you chunin, and letting us ANBU do all the frontline work."
"Chunin? Did sensei tell you about our promotion?"
"Yeah. Now show what you can do, kenjutsu kid."
"Don't call me a kid."
"We'll see about that."
"Nice swing. Though I do have to say, even if I'm not a kenjutsu master myself, but you seem rather unbalanced. Spread out your feet a little wider, Uchiha."
"Eh, you seem rather complaint to orders."
"Sensei trusts you enough to teach me."
"Interesting. Kid, that was a stupid move. I want you to interpret the human body motions in order to think ahead. Then you can predict the movements and create less risk."
"I use senbon, kid. Senbon are needles, and you have a limited amount. If you don't hit the right place, that's the needles wasted. This is something you have to know as someone who is a shinobi, and more specifically, bukijutsu users. Those with weapons don't have the luxury of shaping chakra to their needs and swiftly changing their attack direction. You have to be confident, Uchiha."
"Good. Better. Now faster."
"I'm a long-range fighter. Most likely, you'll have to step in once in a while."
"Then why are we paired up, with all due respect?"
"Mmm? I can hold off samurai easily, but it's mostly for you chunin's benefit."
"And what the hell was that? Your opponent will try and sweet talk you, well, most of them will. What's with that soft attack? Uchiha!"
"Fight with the intention to kill. You shouldn't be an innocent genin anymore, so come at me."
"Dendou Hari Hiirogari no Jutsu."
"Mmm? Do you have to mutter the jutsu name? It's not very smart. What if someone had enhanced hearing?"
"But you don't, Shiranui-san."
"True. But, it's good to be cautious. Faster, kid. Faster. You can't hold your own against samurai by just doing that."
"Nice needles, too obvious."
"Don't take this as a sign that all samurai are formidable, they'll definitely have stupid runts like our genin. But, as a former infiltrator, I know for a fact that they graduate into samurai by taking speed tests and kenjutsu examinations. They focus on that."
"Sadly, you chose that area to specialise in."
"Shiranui-san, why does your senbon manage to parry my blade?"
"It's not the length of the blade that makes a big difference, it's the user. See, I've been using senbon since I was young. Probably younger than you. So I have much more experience, and I know what strength I need to use. Sparing against a lot of other opponents can help you get used to different styled fighters. I supposed maybe Gai's disciple could help you."
"Rock Lee? He's loud."
"How else do you think Kakashi's one of our best taijutsu fighters?"
"Faster, kid. Do I need to say it again?"
"You'll need your Sharingan for this."
"Back already?" Kakashi raised his eyebrows, as Ko and Himari walked into the house.
"It's not that far," Ko shrugged. Himari looked a little dishevelled, but otherwise, was fine. Ko, on the other hand, looked like he just had the time of his life, a wide smile on his face and his hair all tousled.
Yugao walked in, biting down on a carrot she had in her hand. "So, what's the report?"
"The daimyo's place is under light security, and their sensory abilities are chunin at best." Ko recounted. "They have some sort of force that's like a mesh in between shinobi and samurai, though they didn't look particularly well-trained."
"Of course," Genma nods, sipping on a cup of hot water. "Infusing shinobi and samurai together is hard. This isn't the first time it's been done, but usually, they lack a certain field of ability."
"Which one?" Sakura asked, looking up from where she was washing the dishes. "Which field?"
"You can't be certain," Yugao smiles reassuringly at her, "different people have different areas they specify in."
Naruto cocked his head to the side. "Which means in order to know which field they lack, you have to fight against them?"
"Correct," Himari nods.
"What about Gato's lair?" Yamato asked.
"Their security is nothing like the daimyo's," Himari frowned, "it's completely bulked up. They have patrols with five-minute intervals in between, and they have at least ten people stationed on a floor."
"That's nothing like before," Sasuke commented.
"They must have some sort of thing they have to protect now," Kakashi notes. "Anything else?"
"Majority are samurai and some mesh." Himari twirled a dark-purple strand of hand in her fingers. "Though, I did manage to catch a couple of shinobi as well. But I only saw two."
"Shinobi, huh?" Kakashi leaned further back into his seat. "Interesting. Brats, go get some rest. We leave in three."
"Hours?" Naruto asked.
The three chunin ducked their heads down in a curt bow before silently walking up the stairs, their feet now used to making no sounds as they moved. Team Ro watched them before they heard the bedroom door close and they all looked at Kakashi.
"Taichou," Himari starts.
"I know." Kakashi furrows his brows. "But you guys will be there."
Genma chuckled. "It's nice to know that you trust us so much that you'd even give us the responsibility of your kids, but this is getting serious."
"It was always going to get serious." Kakashi shrugged.
"You can't argue with that," Yugao muttered, settling down and taking another bite out of her carrot. "Though I gotta say, Naruto's going really well. His seals are impossibly intricate at his age."
"The Uchiha learns fast too. Managed to get up to average samurai speed today," Genma agreed.
"Sakura's genjutsus are amazingly detailed," Yamato gave Kakashi a withering look, "especially the hell-viewing technique. Senpai, what did you teach her? Seriously?"
Kakashi shrugged. "It's good for her to master it." He stands up, stretching. "Who's up for a light spar before we go storm the daimyo's lovely mansion?"
"Hell yes," Genma grinned, "today's the day, taichou."
"I'd like to see you defeat me." Kakashi grins.
Up in the chunin's room, the three chunin lay side by side, eyes wide open, mind wide awake. The three of them knew that they all were awake, but didn't utter a single word. Naruto tossed to the side, facing Sakura, and the girl's sharp eyes glanced downwards before quickly refocusing on the ceiling. Sasuke concentrated on his breathing, but it seemed louder than normal.
"Goddamn it," Naruto shot up, "I can't sleep."
"Rest doesn't mean sleep," Sasuke said flatly. "Lie back down."
"What did you guys do with your partner today?" Sakura offered. "I worked on my genjutsu abilities since we're mainly focusing on long-range."
Naruto tentatively lay back down, staring up at the wooden ceiling. "Er, I did some sealing stuff. You know. Just practising the seals."
"Just speedwork." Sasuke sighed. "And reaction times. Most of the reactions were leaping out of the way though, I wasn't even allowed to parry a blow."
They fell back into an awkward silence, hearing faint cheers from outside. Naruto tried looking backwards, almost pulling himself into a bridge, before sighing and giving up, flopping back onto his bed.
"I wonder what they're doing," Naruto said suddenly.
"Sparring." Sasuke squinted as the room got dimmer as the sun went down. "If you listen hard enough, you can hear the jutsu and clashes of metal."
"Ah." Naruto fell silent.
Sakura blinked. "They haven't seen each other in so long. I wonder why? I mean, maybe a reunion every year or something could work."
"Who knows?" Sasuke frowned. "Probably be too busy doing their current job."
"Too many missions," Naruto agreed, "they probably couldn't find the time to actually schedule a meeting. But like, sensei and Shiranui-san hang out once a month. I heard from Uzuki-san that she and Himari-san have lunch once in a while."
"Mmm." Sakura nods slowly. "Hey, once we're that old, do you think we could create an annual catch up?"
"Maybe." Naruto grinned. "That would be cool."
Sasuke tossed onto his side, away from his teammates. "If we're alive."
The other two members of Team 7 peer at him, with Sakura, the furthest away, propping up onto her elbows. "What makes you say that?" Naruto asked, frowning.
Sasuke doesn't turn around. "I mean, war's around the corner, and no doubt we're going to be pulled into it. Also, the three of us are chosen ones, in a sense. I've got to avenge my clan, and you all know that bastard's an S-rank missing-nin. Also, dobe is a Jinchuriki. Who knows what kinds of people look for him. I don't need to talk about Sakura, the heir to the rich Haruno clan now, do I? I'll probably die first, my brother's pretty strong. Most likely I'll end up dying with him from chakra exhaustion or something."
"I won't let that happen," Sakura said defiantly.
"It's my fight." Sasuke snarled, suddenly hostile, scowling.
Naruto tapped his teammate's shoulder, and the raven-head visible relaxed. "We know. You can fight him. But just know that we'll be there to watch your back, okay? Sakura's going to heal any of your wounds and I'll make sure that the two of us don't get hurt."
"I can make sure I don't get injured," Sakura said, scowling.
Naruto sighed. "You know what I mean! Right?"
Sasuke cracked a small smile, but still didn't turn around to hide it from his teammates. "Whatever."
"He smiled!" Naruto pumped a fist into the air. "Hell yes!"
"No, I didn't." Sasuke wiped it off his face almost instantly.
"I knew it!" Naruto grinned widely at Sakura, who smiled dryly back. "I know he did, I just do!"
Sakura patted his blond hair. "Yeah, yeah, okay. Now let's get some rest like sensei told us to. If we don't, it can seriously impair us on our ability to fight."
"Hai!" Naruto smiled, reminding Sakura of the times he used to smile that innocent smile during their Academy days, before the blond boy lay back down on his makeshift bed - just his cloak and some clothes.
Sasuke stiffened slightly, before sighing and turning back onto his back, onto to see Sakura kneeling beside him. "What are you doing?"
Sakura just smiled and ruffled his hair. "Get some rest, Sasuke."
The Uchiha blinked as she climbed back over Naruto to slide under her cloak. Sasuke paused, before reaching up slowly to touch his raven strands. Did she just - what? What was that? Was that just a friendly thing or just something teammates did or -
A slow rich melody started to fill the room, and the two boys shift slightly to look at Sakura, who was humming to herself as she snuggled deeper into her bed, and the two of them exchange a glance before closing their own eyes.
It felt like a short five minutes before Kakashi was knocking on their door again, calling out their nicknames softly. "Come on, rabbit, fox, raven. We're heading out."
"Hai," the three of them chorus, a little sluggishly. All it took was a stretch before the three of them were fully awake, quickly shuffling around the room to stock up on their weapons and sharpen up on their kunais - and in Sasuke's case, his katana. Kakashi opened the door to see Naruto giving them their masks from the scroll he had stored them in, Sasuke passing out the sharp blades he had sharpened, and Sakura folding up their clothes they had used as their bed.
"Prepared?" Kakashi eye-smiled.
Team 7 smiled back. "Hai!"
"Naruto-kun!" Yugao's voice floated up from downstairs. "Remember to bring a lot of ink and chakra!"
"Hai!" Naruto yelled back. The rest of Team 7 deadpanned. Bring lots of chakra? Those two were just the same.
"We should say something to Tsunami, Tazuna and Inari." Sakura nods.
"They're waiting downstairs," Kakashi eye-smiles, "Inari just came back from school."
"Whoo!" Naruto grinned, and the four of them make their way downstairs. Sasuke stood a little to the side, which didn't go unnoticed by Kakashi, who gently placed a hand on his student's shoulder to usher the Uchiha closer to his teammates.
Inari stood at the front door, smiling. "Naruto-nii!"
"Inari!" The two of then hug as if they hadn't seen each other that morning, which they had, and Sakura smiled dryly as Sasuke gave then a full-on deadpan.
"I'll be back before you know it," Naruto was saying, "and then we can eat as much of my tamagoyaki as we'd like!"
"Hai!" Inari beamed.
"I'll make those samurai go boom!" Naruto grinned, cracking his knuckles. Yugao chuckled, before knocking the boy lightly on the head.
"Alright, Make-them-go-boom-sama, let's get to our destination first, shall we?"
Naruto grinned up at the woman. "Hai!"
"Good luck," Tsunami smiled warmly, "and I'll prepare tomorrow's lunch for you all."
One thing that Kakashi liked about this family was that they thought positive. He couldn't count how many families had looked after him for a short period before he announced he had to go to take care of a mission, and they all looked at him like he was walking to his own grave. No doubt Naruto was now looking forwards to Tsunami's cooking and was probably looking to get some tips from her.
Kakashi's smile turned dry. Of course. Then there was the sour old man who gave everyone a reality check.
"Have you taught them ANBU hand signs?" Genma asked, walking into the living room, a towel around his neck after having a shower.
Kakashi shrugs. "A little. Just the most basic ones."
Sasuke demonstrated. "Left, right, forwards, backwards, Konoha, Suna, Ame, Iwa, Kumo, Kiri, Oto. Er, shinobi, samurai. Go, stop. Continue."
"That's decent," Genma nods, before taking the towel off his shoulders and placing it on the back of a dining chair. "Let's get going."
All of them look at Kakashi, who looked at all of the shinobi in the room slowly. Naruto. Sasuke. Sakura. Genma. Yugao. Ko. Himari. Yamato. The silver-haired jonin eye-smiles, before making the sign for 'go'.
They all shunshin out, leaving the three civilians behind, Inari clinging tightly to Tsunami's hand.
"Here's the plan," Yamato drew quickly in the ground using a stick and sand. "Because you've been in this building before, we'll go with the levels you've already been to."
"I took one to five," Sakura said helpfully.
"I took six to ten," Sasuke nods.
"Then I did eleven to fifteen." Naruto peered up at the tall building, lit up with lights from the inside. "There's the two at the very top, which hold most of the goods, form what we got before. S-S was also up there."
It unnerved Team Ro slightly at Naruto's more professional shinobi like personality switch, especially with his mask on. But it was a good kind of unnerving, and it made him more of a shinobi than an innocent little boy.
"Rabbit and I will take the lower six levels," Yamato sketched out a rough image of the building. "Raven and Viper will take the next six. Then, Fox and Bear can take the top five levels. If there are still goods inside, I want them sealed and banned."
"We get less, huh?" Yugao shrugged. "I'm good with that."
"If we get through this smoothly," Yamato winced behind his mask at how pessimistic he sounded, "then we meet up back here. Understood?"
Sakura shifted slightly, moving her rabbit mask on her face. Her short pink hair was tied back into a short ponytail, and her cloak was stashed under the root of a set of trees, along with the rest of Team 7's cloaks. Somehow, the three of them fit in quite well with Team Ro, their uniform not standing out as much as they thought it would.
Yamato nods. "Fox, Raven, Rabbit. Remember; long-range. Don't engage without the order from your superior."
"Hai," the three of them chorus from behind their masks, glancing quickly at each other.
Yugao perked up, mask darting a fast look at the building. "Now's a good time."
Yamato stands up, and they all follow.
"We move out now."
Thanks so much for reading! That's chapter sixteen! I hope you enjoyed it, and I am really grateful to all the reviews that I keep receiving. It really motivates me and it lets me know if you're enjoying the story!
Thanks for reading and reviewing!