Prologue: Failing Teamwork
It was a fine sunny day in Konoha. The bright sun flashing its golden rays warming the entire village with happiness and contentment making its people count their blessings every now and then. Everything was at peace.
That is, until something doesn't want it to stay long…
"What did you say, teme!"
"You heard me dobe!"
Hatake Kakashi a renowned Anbu then an aspiring Jounin instructor shook his head in annoyance as two of his 'aspiring' team bickered on and on like little children. It was nine o' clock in the morning and apparently, things are going worse as it seems.
He looked at their pink – haired teammate who was tampering down on her temper until she couldn't take it anymore. "Stop it you guys! We shouldn't be so noisy this early in the morning!"
The blond one, famed for his loudmouthed – ness was cussing angrily with his raven – haired teammate who was so pissed off at something – or someone.
"I don't want to work with you dobe, you'll keep slowing us down!" Sasuke ranted, crossing his arms in front of him. Sakura was holding down a very angry Naruto who was on the verge of strangling his teammate.
"Let me at him, Sakura – chan! Let me at him!" Naruto wailed, struggling helplessly.
Sakura tightened her hold on him. "No, Naruto! And I'm not going to let you go until you calm down!"
Kakashi decided to butt in. "Alright, that's enough. We're already late for our mission and it's about time you stop this now." Sakura managed to put Naruto down and stepped in between him and Sasuke. Kakashi coughed to get their attention.
"Okay, here goes," he began. "You guys, how are we going to finish all of our missions in flying colors if both of you will not work together?" The two boys exchanged glares.
"He started it!" Both boys exclaimed.
Sweatdrops appeared in the backs of Kakashi and Sakura's heads. This is getting worse. Somehow, Sasuke and Naruto must once again undergo training about teamwork or else…
"You two, you're not going to take up missions starting today," Kakashi announced seeing both boys' faces turn to horror. Sakura stared at her sensei as if he was joking.
"Sensei, surely you don't mean that," she said, startled.
Kakashi narrowed his gaze. "Sakura, I mean it. Until Sasuke and Naruto realize the importance of teamwork, nothing good will come out of our missions if two comrades are fighting each other." He winked at her. "It will be bad for us."
Naruto stared at Kakashi in disbelief. "Kakashi – sensei! If you're thinking of this as a punishment, let Sasuke experience this and take me with you!"
Their sensei shook his head. "I'm not going to do that."
Naruto knelt down and hugged Kakashi's legs together. "Nee, nee, Kakashi – sensei! I promise, I won't pick a fight with Sasuke anymore. Just let us do the mission!" He gave Kakashi a puppy dog – like expression. Complete with tears.
Sasuke ran his hand through his hair and sighed wryly. To think that they were already chuunins at this age, Naruto still didn't let go of his childish antics not one bit. He glanced at Sakura who was giggling at the scene.
Kakashi somehow got a soft spot. He was a dog lover after all. "Alright, I'll give you both a chance." Naruto hopped back to his standing position and Sasuke strained his ears for what was to come. He stared at both boys and spoke, "Tomorrow morning, we'll meet at the training area."
"E – ehh? Kakashi – sensei, are we going to go training in getting the two bells? Isn't that already old?" Naruto teased, his smile widening by the second.
Kakashi coughed. "No. This time, I'm going to give you three another test."
Sakura's eyes widened. "What? Even me?" Both boys snickered. At least they're not alone. She glared at them for including her at their fault.
"Well, since you're Team 7," Kakashi reasoned. "Don't worry, you'll enjoy the test I'm going to give you. And since you three are growing stronger by the day, it's time to put those skills to a test."
Naruto whooped happily. "Yeah! A chance to get at Sasuke – bastard!"
Sasuke rolled his eyes while Sakura scolded Naruto to tone his voice down. Kakashi took one last look at his students, a plan forming inside his head. This will be fun.
Later that night, Kakashi hunched over at his desk for hours. He was thinking of a new test to boost his team's unity at the cost of his sleep and twenty – seven cups of coffee that he drank. He stared at the paper he was scribbling then sighed as he crumpled it and threw it in the already filled wastebasket.
"No. No. Umm no?" he muttered as he write another idea then crossing it out. His hands flung to the sides of his head. Concentrate! I need to get this done before tomorrow!
After writing nonstop for five hours, Kakashi finally got his well – deserved sleep.
Morning came and as usual, the three used – to – be genin cellmates awaited their sensei in front of the training area. They no longer brought their bags with them, just their weapons and tools for today's practice.
"Mou, Kakashi – sensei is late again!" Sakura complained, fussing with her forehead protector. She glanced at her two teammates who were quiet ever since they arrived. She somehow missed the raging tension between them but the silence comforted her.
Minutes turned to hours and hours turned to half of the day as the three still continued to wait. Until the slight rumbling sound from Naruto's stomach broke the silence.
"Anou saa, anou saa! He's not here yet. And I haven't eaten my breakfast just in case the test is going to be a gruesome one," Naruto commented as he rubbed his abdomen wryly.
Sasuke let out a huff. "Don't even think that Kakashi will give us free meals like the last time dobe." He smirked when he caught Naruto glaring at him. Shrugging nonchalantly and crossing his arms, he added, "Oh yeah, I just remembered, you were the only one that got tied to the post and received nothing."
"Teme!" Naruto dashed madly to pounce on him but Sakura blocked his way before he could almost reach Sasuke within a mere inches. "Sakura – chan! Let me at him, I swear I'll rip that annoying smirk on his face right now!"
"Naruto, remember what Kakashi – sensei said? He's not going to give you any missions if the both of you are going to go at each other's throats!" Sakura reminded him as she pried his hands away from herself. He was clutching her wrists when she stepped in between them.
Naruto finally did let go and sat on the ground and pouted. Sakura breathed a sigh of relief then turned to Sasuke. "Sasuke – kun, as much as I considered you the object of my affection, you mustn't pick on Naruto."
Sasuke snorted. "Who would want to pick on a dobe?"
"Mou, you're also stubborn!" she said as she crossed her arms. But, she stared at his face, which was cruelly twisted into a smirk she smiled. 'I guess he's getting more attractive day by day…'
All of their heads turned at the cloud of smoke and their faces went from anxiety to anger as they saw their sensei waving at them. Sparks fly between their eyes as they listened to what their indigenous teacher has to say.
"Yo, minna – san, I'm sorry I got late, I got caught in the middle of a women's sale downtown," Kakashi reasoned out. Two of his students pointed accusingly at him. "USOTSUKI!"
He coughed to bring their attention back to him and not to his silly lame excuse. "Ehem, now that you're here let's start your mission." He pulled a scrap of paper from his back pocket and handed it to Sakura who stared at it with a confused look.
"Kakashi – sensei, what is this?" she asked. Kakashi gave a small chuckle as he leaned his back on one of the posts. Naruto huddled beside Sakura and looked at the paper she was holding. Sasuke just crossed his arms.
"That piece of paper contains your mission. I will give you a week to finish it," Kakashi answered, seeing Sakura and Sasuke's puzzled looks. Naruto's eyes widened in excitement as he jumped up and down.
"Wowee…a mission! A mission! A chance to get at Sasuke – bastard," he cheered happily. He clenched his fists. "I could show off with my new skills!"
Kakashi held up a hand. "However, there is a condition."
"What condition?" The three asked simultaneously. Kakashi ran his hands through his hair nervously. 'They're not going to like this…' he thought as he gathered up all of his courage to piece his words.
"You're going to do the mission without using any type of jutsus that you know," Kakashi said it out loud and clear. "And especially no Sharingan, no medical techniques and no help from the Kyuubi," he added coyly. Naruto and Sasuke seemed crushed and Sakura looked devastated.
"Wha – what? But Kakashi – sensei, how are we going to do all the missions if you're not going to allow us to use our jutsus? It will be harder for us to finish!" Naruto whined.
Sakura nodded in agreement. "He's right, sensei. If you strip us all of our techniques then, the probability of getting a high – success rate for our missions is low."
Sasuke gave a grunt at his teammates' comments. He was also thinking about the same thing. Stripping them of their techniques meant everything would be hard for them to do. Especially even if the mission was a D – ranked one.
Kakashi however remained firm. "That's basically the point. How can you efficiently work on your missions if you only rely on your jutsus? What will happen if you had a sudden depletion of chakra? The results will be a huge gap factor." He stared at his students obviously weighing his words. He smirked when he saw their shoulders hunched. They finally understood.
"Not using any jutsus and Sharingan? This will be a good training," Sasuke remarked coolly.
Naruto pounded his chest confidently. "Yeah! This will be good, I can finally compete with Sasuke – bastard head on!" He pointed a challenging finger to Sasuke. "Prepare yourself teme!"
Sakura twisted her fingers nervously in front of her. "I don't know…maybe this is the perfect opportunity for me to stand equal with Sasuke – kun and Naruto…"
Kakashi held up a hand. "Need I remind you that this is not a competition? This is a test in seeing how well you guys work together. Who knows? Maybe we can see what Team 7 is made of." He grinned at each of his students. He knew deep in his heart that his team will never let him down. They're too proud to admit defeat anyway.
He looked at the afternoon sun and scratched his head. Turning back at them with a wary look, he spoke, "I'll be leaving you guys now. Remember you've got a week to finish the test. No jutsus no bloodlines, no Kyuubi and no medical techniques." And with that, he disappeared with another loud POOF!
With their mentor gone, the three teammates stared at each other. Naruto began to open his mouth to speak but he couldn't think of something to say. He decided to lighten the tension around them.
"Anou saa…what do you think the test will be?" he asked. Both Sasuke and Sakura shook their heads. He snatched the folded paper from Sakura and examined it. "Hmm…wonder what's inside…"
"Who knows? This test must be incomparably hard than the last time we snuck on Kakashi – sensei," Sakura commented dryly, remembering the last time they stalked Kakashi in finding out what was hidden under his mask.
"Hmf. We just got ourselves in trouble because it was total moron's idea. To think that finding Kakashi's real face would be something," Sasuke retorted, crossing his arms.
Naruto shot heated glares at Sasuke. "You fell for it too, Sasuke! You wanted as much as Sakura – chan and I to find out what Kakashi – sensei's face like."
Sakura raised a hand to stop the argument. "Alright, that's enough! We don't have much time. Remember, Kakashi – sensei told us we had to finish the mission by a week."
Sasuke's expression began to become serious as he placed a hand under his chin in a deep thought. "Sakura's right. We have no time to waste. To tell you frankly, I'm quite uneasy of the test Kakashi has given us." He looked at Naruto as if he was a major pain. "I'm sure we could use your unlimited stamina in this dobe."
Naruto let out a wide – toothed grin as he placed a hand above his chest. "That was very sweet of you, Sasuke! Acknowledging me like that, I'm so flattered," he squealed in a girlish tone. Sasuke rolled his eyes in annoyance then glanced at Sakura.
"Sakura, we need your intelligence in this. I'm counting on you," he added, with a smirk on his face. Sakura felt a deep blush creeping across her face as she nodded meekly at Sasuke.
'Oh man, this is going to get mushy,' Naruto smugly thought as he watched his two comrades exchange heated glances. He then grew impatient as he ripped the paper open to find out what the test is. His eyes widened as he read what was inside. "You guys…you got to see this!"
"What now?" Sasuke asked irritably.
Naruto smacked the paper right in front of Sasuke's face. "I can't read it, it's too near dobe!" He pried the paper away from Naruto then read the words written inside. His eyes also widened as he analyzed what the words meant in his brain. "No way…"
Sakura went instantly to Sasuke's side and tried to take a peek at the paper. "What? What is it, Sasuke – kun? What is the mission Kakashi – sensei gave us?"
Naruto placed a trembling hand to Sakura's shoulder. "Sakura – chan, I won't read if I were you…Kakashi – sensei's pretty damn sneaky! As in pretty dirty damn sneaky!"
Sakura's expression was still full of confusion as Sasuke handed her the paper. She looked at it and gasped. "This is…this is…" She stared helplessly at her two comrades. "He…"
"Yeah, he's still treating us like children," Sasuke chided.
Naruto crossed his arms and pouted. "Nah, but it's a piece of cake! We can do this. And besides, nothing bad will happen to us right?" He sweat dropped as he saw his teammates darkened features.
Sasuke took the paper from Sakura's hands and crumpled it. "Then let's not waste anymore time. We'll start the mission as soon as possible."
"Can we stop by at Ichiraku first? I want to have a pork ramen before we start the mission," Naruto answered weakly, his stomach rumbling out the truth. Sasuke didn't have time to argue as well as Sakura for their stomachs gave in to hunger as well.
Sakura gave a tiny giggle while Sasuke sighed. "Fine."
And so the three of them went to Ichiraku to fill up their stomachs in preparation for the big mission. The wind began to pick up pace, the breeze grabbing the crumpled paper and revealing its contents.
Author's Note: Well…it's still a prologue. And yes, the test Kakashi – sensei gave them was Scavenger Hunting! I'm still thinking of the entire Scavenger Hunt list and trust me, they will be funny! Reviews, Suggestions and Comments are welcome! Ja!