Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. If I did, Itachi won't have those wrinkle-like lines on his face!
Author's blabbering: Wow! My very first Naruto fic! I've been thinking of this plot for some weeks now since I've been constantly watching the Survivor: Palau. No matter! I just needed it to get out of my head… Usual pairings (Sasusaku, Nejiten, Naruhina, Inoshikatema, Asukure) Please be kind. It's my first…
CHAPTER 1: ANOTHER MISSION?
It was such a fine day at Konoha. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining brightly, the sky was as blue as the ocean and the wind was cool and refreshing. The shinobis were busy minding their own businesses, training and practicing, eating or just hanging out at the Ichiraku Ramen, wanting to get the latest scoop on people. It was so fine and pleasant that no one would think that the Hokage was plotting something nasty for them.
"I am such a genius, Shizune!" Tsunade cackled as she read and reread the scroll in her hands. The scroll that she just made to liven up the life of the young shinobis of Konoha and unknowingly give them a suffering they have never suffered before. "Why haven't I thought of this before?"
"Probably because you're too busy gambling and drinking wine," one of the legendary sannins, Jiraiya, commented thoughtfully and dodged a flying kunai aimed from Tsunade's direction. "Chill out, Hokage! It's not good for you to get hyped up like that!"
"Shut up! Who died and gave you the privilege to correct me?" the Hokage-sama snapped, throwing another kunai at the perverted hermit, before going back to her cackling spree. "I am such a genius! No wonder I became a Hokage!"
Jiraiya cleared his throat rather loudly. The Hokage-sama glared at him. "Er, let me correct that, you became a Hokage because I, the great Jiraiya, declined the offer of becoming a Hokage!"
The Great Respected Hokage of Konoha flung several kunais and shurikens at the white-haired Nin who dodged them all again. She then sneered at him leeringly. "Hah! If you're so great, then why haven't you even thought of this plan before?"
"Because," he started slowly as if explaining to a toddler that 1 and 1 is 2. "I value my life, Tsunade-hime. I know the abilities of those shinobis and I certainly don't want them to be after my head."
"Hah, like those brats can do something to me!" Tsunade cackled yet again. "I am the Hokage!"
And while Tsunade was busy basking in her self-proclaimed glory, Jiraiya was smirking at Shizune who was looking after Ton-Ton. "Shizune-san, I was wondering if you could pose for my next book," he said in a voice he considered as suave and sexy, but sounded like a low growl from a dog to be honest. "You know, 'that' book—"
The legendary Nin stopped and dodged several more sharp objects, including a pen, from Tsunade. "Get away from my assistant, Jiraiya! I mean it!"
"All right, all right!" Jiraiya waved his hands in surrender then posed a thoughtful look that could give Shikamaru a run for his money. "How about I ask that blonde from the Sand village… Temari, right?"
The three were silent for a moment, busy with their thoughts. After a while, Tsunade jumped to her feet, her cackling getting louder and louder by the second. It's a wonder that the ANBU hasn't come over yet and shut her up.
"I GOT IT!"
The two legendary both jumped, said it and looked at each other at the same time. The Hokage ignored the leering perverted hermit before sitting back down and started writing another scroll. After a while, she sent for a Jounin and handed him the scroll.
"Kindly give it to the Kazekage," she said in a sweet, honeyed tone. "Tell him it's an invitation from our village."
The Jounin gave her a nod before disappearing in puff of smoke. The Hokage leaned back on her seat with a satisfied smile.
"I'm going to make this an A-rank mission," she said thoughtfully. "That way, none of them could refuse. I'll also tell them that this is a mission requested by the Hokage! … Yep! That's it!"
Jiraiya's snort could be heard even from a thousand miles. "Another mandatory mission, huh?" he said. "But then, every mission that came directly from you is a mandatory one!" He swiftly caught a shuriken. "Shizune-san, maybe you should just quit on your boss and become my assis—"
"You perverted idiot!" Tsunade screamed, her words accentuated with a throw of a weapon. "Get away from Shizune right now or I'll kill you!"
"All right! Geez!" The man jumped a foot in the air, trying to avoid a spinning scythe aimed at his legs. "Just get on with your mandatory mission! Just send them already!"
Tsunade narrowed herbrown eyes and scowled at him like he was the slimiest, nastiest scum that ever graced the village. Aside from Orochimaru, of course. No one would be as slimy and nasty as that slimy and nasty snake-person. "You really are digging right into my nerves, you pervert!" she screamed. "And for that, I'll make sure you come into this 'mission' of ours and look after the kids!"
Maybe the Hokage thought she could reverse psychology the legendary Nin. Still, it was a mistake for her to say that since, the moment she said it, the hermit was practically laughing his head off. "You really serious? Thanks, Tsunade-hime! I will take care of the kunoichis of Konoha!"
Tsunade glanced at Shizune who was smiling at her brightly. "Ah, my mistake to invite him…"
"Don't worry, Hokage-sama," the assistant replied cheerfully. "Temari-san had beaten up Jiraiya-sama once when he tried to ask her to pose for his book. I'm sure she could do it again."
"I guess inviting the Sand siblings isn't bad after all…"
The two women glared darkly at the singing, dancing, grinning Jiraiya before Tsunade got irritated and pinned him on the wall with several kunais and shuriken.
"You're worse than Naruto, you know that?" she snapped before settling back on her seat with a grin.
It's going to be the best 5 and a half weeks of their lives…
Seventeen-year-old Haruno Sakura blew a pink lock of hair from her face and sighed for the nth time. She knew she should've just come at the bridge at a later time, probably an hour or two later than the arranged time. But then, if she comes here at that time and Kakashi arrives earlier than her, she'd really be scolded for being late.
Yeah, like he's always been early!
She sighed loudly again before turning to the stream in front of her, throwing small rocks at the water. After a minute or two, she was dropping fairly large boulders into the water.
"Sakura-chan!" She turned her gaze over her shoulder and looked at Naruto who just came back with a takoyaki tray. The blond ninja looked around as if searching for something. Or someone. "I've already eaten 5 bowls of ramen and he's not here yet!"
"Obviously!" the pink-haired kunoichi muttered in sheer irritation. When their sensei comes, she'd pull out her shurikens and make him a nice little pincushion. Yeah, there's an idea! She raised her jade eyes to the midnight-eyed ninja standing on top of a tree. "You see him yet?"
Sasuke shook his head slightly, his gaze still skimming over the top of the tree. Sakura sighed and went back to her activity called splashing-rocks-over-the-bridge activity.
Late, late, late again! Why am I not surprised? She threw a few more rocks before she got up and turned around… Only to find someone standing behind her with a grin. She let out a loud shriek and nearly caused Sasuke to fall from his tree.
"KAKASHI-SENSEI!" she screamed at the white-haired Jounin. "You're late again! Where have you been going all this time! Don't you know that we've waiting here for—"
"Just thirty minutes, Sakura!" Kakashi said cheerfully, ruffling her pink hair. "It's actually a record! Besides I was on my way when I met this woman. Her foot was stuck in a mud puddle and I—"
"How can there be a mud puddle in Konoha when it's barely even raining here?" she demanded irritably.
The young man grinned at her. "You're getting sharp, Sakura! You're finally looking underneath the underneath!"
Sasuke had to restrain the young kunoichi from pummeling their sensei into bloody bits. Ever since he came back to Konoha, he had tried to live life lightly. Of course, he was still the grumpy, stoic and cold Uchiha Sasuke, but this time, at least he socializes with people already. If you call nodding at Naruto and Sakura socializing, that is…
"Ne, ne, what is this all about, Kakashi-sensei?" Naruto asked, eating a takoyaki. "Is this another mission for us?"
The white-haired teacher tossed them a scroll before pulling out his favorite 'book'. The three Chuunins read it for a moment before Sakura looked up, a confused expression on her face.
"What is this? A test of our survival skills?" she repeated what was written on the scroll. "Aren't we having enough 'survival skill tests' here in Konoha? And we have 39 days to finish it? Isn't that too long?"
"It was the Hokage who requested you guys," Kakashi replied, still reading. "It's a mission from her. You can't refuse."
"Obaa-san?" Naruto choked on his takoyaki. "Obaa-san requested this mission?"
"That's right so you guys should prepare your things now!" Yuuhi Kurenai told her students, a hand on her hip. The three shinobis looked at her, puzzled, then turned their gaze back to the scroll. "What's wrong now?"
"There's something wrong with this mission," Shino said flatly, pushing his glasses on his nose. "An A-rank mission for just 3 Chuunins?"
Hinata peered over Kiba's shoulder and frowned delicately at the scroll. "I agree with Shino-kun, Kurenai-sensei…"
"Who cares! It just means we're the best team!" Kiba pumped a fist in the air and Akamaru barked in agreement. "That's right! Team 7 and 12 didn't get this mission when they both got PMS-stricken geniuses on their teams, right? Hah! We finally beat them to it!"
Kurenai nodded after a few minutes of thinking. "I have to say, you're quite right about that, Shino."
"What!" As always, the dog-loving boy exploded into a million pieces of flaming molten rocks, just like whenever he gets into an argument with Naruto. "Are you saying we're not good enough for this mission? That is not true! I'd probably beat that Naruto with my eyes close!"
"In your sleep, you mean?" Shino said shortly, pushing his glasses again and ignoring the spluttering, fuming Kiba being restrained by Hinata and Kurenai. "Anyway, we should just be careful with this mission. It could be suicidal for us…"
"Vague… Too vague and suspicious…" Neji muttered, throwing a kunai at one of the training dummies. He had just read the scroll, threw it back at Gai and returned to his training session. "I'm not surprised if it came from the Hokage."
"Neji's right," Tenten replied, folding her arms, and glared with high disdain at the scroll in Lee's hands. "It just says we'll be going and staying in an island a few miles off the Mist Village's shore to test our survival skills for 39 days… It doesn't even sound like a mission."
"But, Tenten, it will be a chance for us to use and show our pent-up youth energy!" Rock Lee clenched his fists in determination, his eyes resembling balls of fire. "We shall show everyone how great our explosive youth and teamwork is!"
"Lee, it seems that you are exploding with youthful passion and fire today!" Gai exclaimed in his usual loud voice, rivulets of tears streaming down his cheeks. Tenten rolled her eyes at the two drama queens. "The others should make you their example of a perfect and youthful Jounin!"
The taijutsu master in green spandex cried like there was no tomorrow. Neji groaned in exasperation. "Gai-sensei!"
And as the waterworks and bone-crushing embracing conference started, the two green-clad idiots were promptly ignored by their two mentally-stable teammates.
"What do you think, Neji?" Tenten asked the Hyuuga prodigy, picking up the scroll that had fallen from the hands of Lee. "We can't back out now."
Neji stopped his training and folded his arms across his chest, scowling. "I'm not sure but it seems to be another ploy made by Hokage-sama for us."
"You think?" Tenten looked up at him and met his milky white orbs.
"It's just an inference," the Hyuuga admitted, raising a dark eyebrow. "So we have to prepare for this mission. It might not be safe for us, albeit we're Jounins. Bring all the weapons you can."
Tenten grinned up at him. "They don't call me the Weapons Mistress for nothing, Hyuuga Neji."
"You know, I have a feeling this would be a much different mission from our usual," Yamanaka Ino said as she rolled up the scroll.
"39 days?" Chouji sounded desperate and panicky. "I won't survive there! Will there be restaurants and groceries and shops? Will there be bakeries and deli? Will there? Will there?"
The blonde kunoichi slammed a fist on her portly teammate. "Idiot! We're going to a survival mission! You think we could find anything there?" she snapped before turning to their other teammate who was lying on the grass, his fingers linked behind his head. "And what about you, you lazy bum! Aren't you even going to say anything?"
"It's too troublesome to say anything, Ino," Shikamaru said with a yawn. "Just pretend I said something."
"You're the laziest shinobi I've ever known, Nara Shikamaru!" she screeched at him.
"That's probably the 817th time you told me that," the shadow ninja remarked lazily. "Say it for a 183 times more and you'll reach a thousand!"
Shikamaru would've been impaled on a tree by several kunais had Asuma not interfered and held back the screaming, shrieking, fuming female. The shadow master muttered something about troublesome, hot-headed blondes while Chouji wailed something about not being able to eat for more than a month. Asuma let out a tired sigh.
"Fine then!" Ino huffed madly. "Let's all die together in this mission!"
"An invitation? From the Hokage?"
"It's a 39-day, all expense-paid trip to an island. White sand, blue sea, a yacht and cottages. There's also a test of survival and other ninja skills."
"Sounds fishy to me. Why would the Hokage plan with something like this? It almost feels like a vacation."
"Shut up! You just don't know what fun and exciting means!"
"What do you think? Should we accept their invitation, Gaara, er, Kazekage-sama?"
"Fine. It wouldn't hurt if we did."
Review, review, review… Like it? Don't like it? Sorry if you don't… If you see any mistakes, such as the teams numbers, etc, just tell me, okay? And as for the grammars and errors, wanted: beta reader!