3: Mission!

"So what are we doing here again, Sensei?" Naruto asked, once more forgetting entirely that Kakashi was no longer the Kakashi that he was. At least, he wouldn't be for a long time. "Aww, I told you already, stop calling me Sensei! And we're here to spy on Iruka-Sensei. I think he lives in the Academy, I swear he does!"

"That still doesn't answer my question you crazy little-"

"BAKA!" Kakashi yelled, smacking Naruto over the head with the hilt of his White Chakra Blade. "Quiet! You're gonna wake him up! Sheesh. Your Sensei must've been one incredible guy to put up with you... Baka Naruto," Kakashi huffed, unaware that he was referring to himself as the 'one incredible guy'. "Anyways, we're here to get my stuff back aaaaand... I need to steal back a ribbon."

"A ribbon?"

"Yeah, a ribbon. It's not my ribbon, baka. I don't wear ribbons. Just listen!" Kakashi sat down crosslegged on the dirt and scratched an accurate floorplan of the Academy in the dust. "We'll enter through the window, got it? I'll go in and..."


In about ten minutes Iruka was jolted from his scant free time by a hideous crash and a pitiful wail that certainly didn't sound like an adult ninja. It did, however, fit the form of the little five and a half year old he found sitting amidst a pile of broken glass in the inside of the classroom. He was uncertain of how to approach this. "Erm... Kakashi, what are you... I mean, um- oh to heck with it," he grumbled, tired of the uncertainness of the situation. He picked Kakashi off the floor and sat him on a chair, then went to sweep up the glass from the floor. He looked at Kakashi while he was doing the latter.

"Now what were you doing crashing through my window like that, Kakashi?" he asked while trying to sweep up a particularly persistant piece of glass that was stuck in his floor, his beautiful hardwood floor!

"I-I was playing with Pakkun and I wasn't looking where I was going and Pakkun tossed the stick back to me and I jumped to get it and I went through the window and the glass went 'CRASH' and then I was on the floor and now I have a cut on my arm and it huuuuurts..." he whined, holding out the fresh cut for Iruka to examine.

"Well well, that doesn't look too bad. A quick bandage should fix it up. Now next time you play with Pakkun you'll watch where you're going, won't you?"

"Yes Sensei."

"Good. And also, it's grammatically incorrect to keep running on your sentences. It's... probably unhealthy too, seeing as your face is so blue from lack of air," Iruka mentioned as he cleaned out the cut, checked it one more time for glass shards, and wrapped it in a thick bandage.

"Hey, Iruka-Sensei?"

"Yeah?"

"What do you have to do to be a Jonin?"

"You have to take another test, I'm pretty sure. You should ask your dad about that one."

"Okay!"

"And you have to work really hard, you hear?"

"Yeah! You watch, I'll be the best Jonin ever!"

Iruka laughed as Kakashi pranced away, his cut swathed in bandages. "The funny thing is is that he's absolutely right... heh..."

Naruto, meanwhile, was sneaking out the backdoor with a bundle on his back. Kakashi dove into the bushes and they hunkered down together. "Did you get the stuff, Naruto?"

"I sure did, look at all this stuff Iruka-Sensei had!" Naruto gave him the bag to examine and Kakashi picked out a few pencils, a pen, a doggie money pouch, a mask, and a small kunai. "Well, that's all my stuff..." he fished around in it some more and withdrew a white ribbon. "Ribbon! Hah! Now..." he hefted the bag over his shoulder, pulled up his mask, and stuffed the assorted items into his pocket. "Now to give back this stuff! Follow!"

Kakashi launched himself up into the tree and bounded away.


Sakumo gritted his teeth and crumpled another scroll, tossing into a wastebasket rather violently in frustration and craned his neck to locate another one. The home stretch wasn't going as well as he thought it would, he had the rest of his new jutsu written out perfectly, it was flawless, but... the ending of it just didn't seem right. With this kind of jutsu he couldn't afford to make a single mistake. He didn't know, however, what was wrong. Something seemed disproportionate, out of place, but he didn't know what piece, what section, what part... He put his face in his hands and rubbed his eyes tiredly, feeling the tender bags under his eyes. This wasn't the way to do it, he had to rest, relax, or he'd end up doing the whole thing wrong. He checked his hand signs to make sure they were correct once last time and got up, the chair scraping against the floor and grating in his ears rather unpleasantly.

He yawned and looked out the window again. It was almost two hours past noon... Kakashi should have been back by now. But maybe it was all the well that he hadn't come back so quickly. He walked around to the kitchen and stared at the contents of his cupboard for a while before making the painfully slow deduction that they should probably go out shopping some time soon. Kakashi would probably want a new money pouch since his old one was confiscated for blowing pudding in Iruka's face when he gave it to Iruka to examine. What a hassle that had been to explain.

Just a few more months... that's all he had to work with. Just a few more... he didn't have any idea of how he would manage it. He flopped down on the floor and decided to polish his kunais, or Kakashi's kunais, rather. He preoccupied himself with that activity for about twenty minutes, the exact time that Kakashi fell down the chimney with a cloth sack.

"Eh? Holidays already?"

Kakashi straightened his headband and brushed the soot off of his pants. "No, I just wanted to see what it was like going down a chimney. It's kinda stuffy in there, not that fun at all."

"Did you manage that Summoning Jutsu I taught you?"

"Yep! I summoned a puppy called Pakkun!"

"Good, good... you're doing very well, Kakashi."

Kakashi glowed at the comment. "Daddy, I'm gonna be a Jonin!"

"Hmm... such high aspirations so soon?"

"Yeah!"

"Well I don't see why not. However... you must become a Chunin first, and for that you have to get stronger."

"Stronger? But I'm already really-"

"Yes, but there will be Genin at the exams who are more than twice your age. I'm not saying that they are stronger than you, they may or may not be, but they have had more training and experience than you have. " He got up from the table. "Which is why you and I are going on a skill-building mission."

Kakashi's face lit up. "Really? Just you and me?"

"Well, I may be tempted to bring another Genin you know along with us, but other than that... yes, alone."

"Where will we go?"

"Not far. This war limits us from straying too far from Konoha, unless..."

"But I want to prove myself! I can do more than just stupid C level missions!"

"Just what I was proposing. You see," he held a scroll out to Kakashi. "The Fifth has just ordered us out to Hidden Sand to help with defensive measures. Because this is a delicate mission, this is an A-rank. Think you can handle it, Kakashi?"

Kakashi quivered with excitement. "An A-level? Of course I will! Let's go! When are we leaving?"

"In the morning, so rest up, pack up, say goodbye to whoever you want... hm?" Kakashi reddened and hid something from the sack behind his back. "Um... I'll be back later, okay? It'll just take a few minutes, bye!"

Sakumo sighed and rested his chin on his fist. "Where in Konoha is going now...?"