Title: The mission

Genre: Romance/humor (hopefully)

Rating:T for now.

Pairing: KakaIru (eventually).

Status: WIP

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Everything belongs to Masashi Kishimoto

Notes: This story was beta-ed by Chibinecco (Thank you!).

It's my first story and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Iruka walked into the Hokage's room, only to see it was half filled with jounin.

"Godaime sama," he said as he bowed deeply to the Hokage, then turning to address the others present, he bowed to each in turn. "Sarutobi-san, Morino-san, Hatake-san, excuse me please".

Turning back to the Hokage he bowed again.

"You requested my presence?" Iruka glanced at the three jounin. "Should I come back later?"

"No, Iruka-sensei, you're right on time," she said smiling.

Iruka didn't like her smile. It seemed slightly sadistic. He knew it wasn't just in his head either; everyone knew the current Hokage was a littleā€¦ different. She seemed to get a perverse kind of pleasure out of making people uneasy.

"Well, let's get to the point. Iruka, you will be going on a mission with those present here."

Iruka blinked and looked around the room again. He was to go on a mission with Asuma, Ibiki and Kakashi? Three elite jounin?

'What the hell?' What could he possibly do with these ninja except hold them back?

Iruka was no fool. He knew his own abilities. He was a good, dependable chuunin, and he had good people skills. He also knew that he would never in his life achieve the level of skill any of these men possessed. For Tsunade to send three jounin on a mission it had to be a difficult A-rank. Iruka had performed exactly one A-rank mission in his life, and that was only because it was a C-rank mission turned ugly. He still had the scars from it.

B-rank was the toughest that he ever got, and his last had been quite a while ago. What possessed Tsunade to send him along on this mission? Or rather, now that he thought about it, what humiliating task was he to perform? Would he be used as bait? Iruka was faced with the chilling thought that, compared to these ninja, a measly school teacher would be expendable. Then again, Konoha wasn't the kind of village that easily sacrificed any of its citizens. And bait for what? No, he was being ridiculous.

Tsunade interrupted his thoughts. "You must be wondering what part you'll play in this mission."

'DUH!' Iruka thought. "Yes, Hokage sama" he replied politely.

She handed him a scroll and after a nod from her he opened it and read it through.

They were supposed to escort the daughter of one of the elders of the Hidden Star Village back to her parents. The girl had been in Konoha for educational purposes as she would one day follow in her father's footsteps as advisor and she was to learn about the other hidden villages.

Once every few years some of Konoha's influential civilian citizens would send their children to another village for some time, where they would live with guest families. It was seen as a good learning experience for the children and a sign of trust and good will towards the other village. In return some civilian children of the other village would visit Konoha. The tradition had started soon after the end of the third Ninja world war when the leaders of many countries desperately wanted to improve the relations between the villages.

Now this girl's parents wanted her back in the Star Village with them, and Tsunade had guaranteed her safe return.

Iruka understood the importance of this mission, Konoha still hadn't recovered from the blow dealt to them by the Sound village, and really, they needed all the allies they could get.

Bringing this girl home safely might not make the Star village an ally per se, but it certainly wouldn't hurt diplomatic relations. Something happening to this girl while she was in the care of Konoha's ninja would be very unfortunate; the girl's father was a powerful man.

When he read the girl's vital statistics he also understood what was to be his part in this mission.

He should have known.

The girl was eight years old, they wanted him to baby-sit.

How insulting.

He knew someone had to do it, though.

Jounin may be powerful, smart, cunning, and strong, but some of them were also not one hundred percent in charge of their faculties and not to be trusted with little children and Iruka believed that included present company. Besides that, they would have to put all their attention into keeping the kid safe. They'd have little time to care for the girl. In the meantime, the kid would get bored and get herself into trouble. They always did.

But why didn't they just send a female jounin, who'd had children herself, along with the group?

He handed the scroll back to Tsunade.

"Why not send along a female jounin, Hokage-sama?"

"I would have, but there aren't any available right now. The request for the girls return came much sooner than expected. Apparently the parents got word of some type of assassination attempt planned on the girl and they want her back home as soon as possible. We can't afford to wait for one of the women to return from their missions, so we chose the next best thing."

The Hokage smiled sweetly at him. "You."

Tsunade must have mistaken his look of pure outrage for one of concern because she continued, "Don't worry Iruka-sensei, Kakashi-san tells us you're quite the mother hen, you'll do fine."

Iruka struggled to keep his temper under control. Oh how he wanted to rip Kakashi's mask off and stuff it where the sun don't shine. That bastard! Embarrassing him like that, what had Iruka ever done to him? Except question the man's decision making abilities and mental health that is. And that last thing he hadn't even done to the guys face!

It didn't exactly help his mood that Kakashi was standing there right next to him, with that annoying one eyed smile of his. Iruka had the near uncontrollable urge to poke Kakashi's visible eye out with his marking pen. Huh, try and find a replacement for that one.

Iruka took a deep breath to regain his control. Arguing with the Hokage would be useless; she'd probably get a kick out of making him squirm. No, the best thing he could do was to act polite and dignified.

"When are we to leave Tsunade-sama?"

"You will have twenty minutes to get your affairs in order Iruka-sensei; the others are ready to leave. The girl is being brought here as we speak. You may go now."

Iruka nodded and sped out the door, racing down the stairs of the Hokage building. Twenty minutes was very little time, he needed to make sure his kids would have a substitute teacher and that said teacher had his lesson plans for the coming weeks. He needed to ask his neighbor to feed his cat and water his plants, and then he needed to pack for what may be several weeks of travel. The Star Village was located in the Bear country, where he'd never been before and Iruka was slowly starting to get excited about his trip. He'd always loved traveling.

It was close but he managed to get everything done and be back at the Hokage's office within twenty minutes.

As he walked into her room for the second time that day, he spotted the little girl that they were going to escort.

'Well shit.'

He knew that girl. Scratch that, this was no girl. This was a little hellion. This was a female Naruto in full prank mode with a sadistic streak the size of Anko's.

'In Konoha for educational purposes.' Yeah right. Iruka would bet his cat that her parents just wanted to be rid of her for a while.

Although the girl didn't attend the academy, she'd somehow struck up a fascination with his students. She'd been hanging around during the breaks and when he took his kids outside to practice. She looked like she wanted to play, but didn't know how to go about finding a playmate.

Iruka had felt a little sorry for her actually, which lasted until the youngest Aburame girl, Akina, had come running to him in tears, sobbing about the girl that was pulling the limbs of every bug she could find. By the time he'd made his way to the girl, she'd made quite the collection of squirming legless little creatures.

She'd listened to him preaching about unnecessary cruelty and protecting innocent life with an indifferent expression that just didn't belong on such a young face.

He went on and on before she finally interrupted him mid-sentence. "You are not my sensei. I don't have to listen to you." With a snooty look and a swish of her little ponytail she'd turned her back to him and strolled off, leaving Iruka with a severely distraught Aburame Akina, a throbbing vein on his forehead, and twenty three bugs that were trying to roll themselves away.

He hadn't seen her after that, but he'd sure heard of her. Akimichi Montaro got sick in class a few days after the insect incident and when the nurse asked him what he'd eaten he pointed at some of the weeds near the school. A familiar little girl had told him they were 'Tasty'. A few days later Shamanu, the puppy of Inuzuka Kiba's youngest nephew, was found rolling around in rotten fish. The stink was so bad Iruka had to send the boy, Morio, home with his dog and air out the classroom. Nobody knew how a dead fish had found its way onto the grounds of the academy, but Iruka sure had his suspicions.

"Iruka?" The Godaime interrupted his thoughts.

"I would like you to meet Ishikawa Leiko."

'Huh, 'Leiko' that figures', Iruka thought.

"We've met, Godaime-sama" Iruka said with a strained smile.

"Nice to see you again, Leiko-chan."

He was going to kill Kakashi.

End chapter 1

Leiko: I found the name on a site with Japanese girl's names, they say it means 'arrogant'.