Author's Note : Many of you have been leaving me wonderful reviews for my two long stories in process. I want to apologize for the fact that they haven't been updated in a while. I'm working on new chapters but until then I hope this one shot will tide you over. Thanks!
Adventures in Babysitting
"You can't be serious."
She didn't like putting her foot down but the situation called for it. So with all the skill and knowledge she had acquired in her long life of seventeen years, she came with up with the best counter to that.
"Seeenseiiii," she whined, brown eyes glistening, lips puckered out and hands clasped in front of her so as to make sure there was maximum cleavage visible. There was a long pause and for a moment, she thought she had him. That was until her idiot teammate decided to step in.
"Come, Tsunade-chan! It'll be fun!"
Tsunade's demeanor changed in a second from pleading young girl to angry goddess of doom as she turned to face the imbecile she had had the misfortune of being stuck with for the past few years.
Sarutobi sighed and took a step back. If he hadn't been called in for that S-rank mission then he may have attempted to solve the brewing storm in front of him. But as it was, he was late and the last thing he needed was to have to explain to the rest of expedition why he was covered in blood and white hair… again.
He stepped over to Orochimaru and patted him on the shoulder. "Make sure they don't kill each other, all right?"
The pale boy nodded and Sarutobi took that as his cue to leave. As soon as his sensei was gone, Orochimaru brushed back a strand of black hair and walked towards the familiar building.
"Oro-kun! Don't leave me!" Jiraiya pleaded as Tsunade pushed him into the ground again and made him eat dirt while she bolted forward.
"Stupid Jiraiya," she huffed, running to catch up with her teammate. "We're jounin and he thinks taking a mission at the academy will be fun. Lazy, good for nothing…"
"It may be fun," Orochimaru replied softly. "Or at least give us a chance to learn."
"Learn?" Tsunade asked. "About what?"
"About children," he smiled slightly as he stepped through the door.
A chill ran down Tsunade's spine and she waited for Jiraiya to catch up with her instead of following him inside. He eventually made it, attempting to get the last bit of dirt out of his hair as he came up next to her.
"What?" he asked.
"Is it me, or does Orochimaru get creepier every day?"
Jiraiya folded his arms across his chest. "Yes, I see what you mean. I've noticed things about him that worry me as well."
Tsunade raised an eyebrow. "Hmm? Like what?"
He nodded very seriously. "Well for one, he's never willing to stand guard for me when you're in the bath house."
Inside Orochimaru let out another sigh as he heard the infuriated shrieks of his female teammate and the pleading cries of his male one. Honestly, how he had survived this long with those two was close to a miracle.
He swept into the class that their sensei had assigned to them and instantly the room fell silent. His yellow eyes flitted across the room, taking in each of the young inhabitants like a snake does its prey. There was a girl in the corner with a dog seated at her feet. A trio of young boys had frozen in the middle of whatever they were doing. The rest of the class was doing their best to melt into their chairs.
Orochimaru turned around and picked up the chalk. He drew one long line down, letting the chalkboard shriek in protest. He heard the collective cries of the class and he turned to look at them over his shoulder with a small smile.
He was half way through torturing… that is, writing his name on the board, when his teammates decided to make an appearance. He finished quickly and added their names to the board as an afterthought, seeing as Tsunade was too busy muttering things at the disheveled Jiraiya to care.
"My name is Orochimaru," he stated with a bow. "Today we will be teaching…"
He never got to finish his statement. It was as if his words were like a bolt of lightning for the half dead Jiraiya. A second later, the white haired wonder was standing on top of the desk and almost sparkling as he made his introduction.
"I am Jiraiya, legendary ninja and lover," he winked. "If any of you ladies have…"
The desk disappeared from under him and then hit him square in the back, sending him flying through the wall at the other end of the room. Tsunade put the desk down and glared at the Jiraiya sized hole.
"YOU PERVERT!" she screamed. "These are kindergartners!"
There was some movement in the rubble and Jiraiya pushed himself out. "…any older sisters that need a date…" he managed before collapsing again.
"Overreacted again, Tsunade-chan," Orochimaru stated, shaking his head. She frowned at him but stomped her way up to her prone teammate. She grabbed him by the collar and dragged him back to the front of the class.
Orochimaru saw the familiar hand signs of a healing jutsu so he turned his attention back to his specimens, er, students.
"Today we are substituting for your normal…"
The trio of boys that had caught his attention earlier suddenly paled and jumped under their desk. Orochimaru raised an eyebrow and gracefully stepped out of the way. A gallon of water dumped its contents on the desk and he shook his head.
"A prank? How childish," he stated, weaving his way up to where the boys were. "A trap set to go off when someone uttered the word substitute, hm?"
Behind him another gallon of water dropped and it occurred to him that it wasn't making the noise water should make when it hit the ground. He glanced over his shoulder and almost smiled at the drowned-rat look his teammates were currently sporting.
"It's too simple," he continued, turning back to them. "The word 'substitute' in this situation is too easy to avoid. You should have substituted this word, 'substitute,' for something that meant 'substitute' but was not the word 'substitute' but rather…"
He turned and looked innocently at the duo that had just screamed at him. "Oh dear, I wasn't aware that it was repeatable."
"Like hell you weren't," Tsunade stated, attempting to ring out water from her shirt.
"Yeah!" Jiraiya piped in. "We invented that jutsu when we were in the academy."
There was a collective gasp among the students and the trio froze, expecting another trap to execute.
"You?" the blond haired boy of the trio asked. "You're the Mushi trio?"
Orochimaru flinched, Tsunade let out a sigh and Jiraiya positively glowed. Before his teammates could stop him, he had found his spot on top of the desk again.
"That's right children, you are looking at the ultimate trio, the terror of the academy! WE," he stated proudly, "are the Mushi trio."
Orochimaru looked at his teammate with venom in his eyes. He wanted to be remembered in his life but not like that. He had been young, foolish and altogether too wrapped up in being friends with these two to understand the consequences of his actions.
Tsunade was in a similar boat. It had taken years to shake off the bad image her academy days had produced. No one would take her seriously as a sexy teenager when they all knew she was part of the delinquent group of kids who had held the academy's teachers in pure terror.
There was a tug on her sleeve and when she looked down, the young girl holding the puppy was staring at her with wide eyes.
"You're my hero," the girl stated. The dog in her arms yelped happily. "Kuromaru says you're cool too," she whispered, turning red at the words.
"Aw, come on Tsume, don't bother them like that!" the blond boy stated. He turned to Orochimaru. "Teach me how to do the jutsu that turns the teacher's desk to mud."
"Hey! That was my jutsu!" Jiraiya yelled.
"Ino… shut up already," the thin boy next to him said, pulling him back into the seat.
"Don't call me INO, Shikaku! That's a stupid girl's name!"
"Well, you act like one, all troublesome and loud and…"
"Maa maa," the tubby boy and final member of the trio attempted. "Please calm down and apologize. You upset Tsume."
"I'm not apologizing to a girl, Chouza!" Inochi cried. "They're icky!"
Tsume sniffled again and then the waterworks began in earnest. The puppy landed at her feet and started growling at Inochi. He quickly backed out of his seat and pushed Chouza in front of him, hoping the dog would go after the tastier looking member of their group.
At this point, the three jounin knew they were way out of their element. They had dealt with multiple A-rank missions but that in no way prepared them for dealing with squabbling and crying children.
As usual, Orochimaru remained the calmest out of the three and stated his approach to the problem clearly and succinctly.
"I will go alert the headmaster to the problem."
And with that he disappeared into a cloud of smoke, leaving both Jiraiya and Tsunade with the sinking realization that he had just fled the scene completely.
"Jiraiya, you handle those boys," Tsuande snapped. "I'll take care of her."
She didn't bother giving him the chance to protest, instead she pulled the girl to the side, puppy running behind them to keep up.
"Hey, come on now," she said as soon as they were out of earshot. "There's no reason to cry."
Tsume, however, begged to differ, though her reasons for doing that were lost in her sobs. Tsunade frowned a bit and then realized the girl's strange tattoos and small dog could only mean one thing.
"You're Inuzuka Tsume aren't you?"
The little girl sniffled and tried to wipe away her tears. "Uh huh," she stated.
"Wow! That's so cool!" Tsunade stated. "You Inuzuka are really really strong!" Kuromaru barked at their feet in agreement.
Tsume shook her head. "Not me, I'm just…" she sobbed.
"Well, sure, you can't be strong if you let a stupid boy like that get to you," she stated. "You can't ever let boys make you cry if you're going to be a kunoichi, right?" Tsume shook her head and then nodded.
"You know what? Jiraiya used to pick on me all the time when we were in kindergarten. But then, I studied really hard and got stronger and now I get to pick on him instead," she smiled. "And someday you and Kuromaru are going to make those boys over there tremble when they see you."
Tsume rubbed a sleeve across her nose. "Really?"
"Yeah!" Tsunade stated firmly, Kuromaru leaping up at her feet. Tsume reached down and picked up her puppy. "Wow, when you two are together, you're really fearsome!"
Tsume blinked and looked down at Kuromaru as it growled playful in response. Tsume smiled and did the same and Tsunade backed up a few steps in mock fear, holding onto the table behind her. Tsume looked happy at that and Tsunade figured she had done her job.
Poor thing, she must have been a couple of years younger then those boys. How dare they pick on someone as cute and innocent as…
The table she was leaning on dissolved into mud and she fell to the ground. There was laughter and Jiraiya was congratulating someone as if he didn't know he had seconds to live.
"You… meanies!" Tsume cried out. "Kuromaru! Sic them!"
The puppy ran across Tsunade's back and charged at the trio of boys. Inochi cried out in an almost girlish voice as Kuromaru grabbed onto his sleeve and tore the fabric.
Tsunade stood up just in time to witness it and shot a victory glance over at Tsume. Jiraiya pointed a finger at her.
"You taught her to attack her fellow students! You're a bad influence, Tsunade-chan!"
Her only response came in the form of a mud ball aimed right for his head. He ducked and it flew out the door. A rather confused looking young boy with sunglasses and a fresh pack of sludge on his cheek peeked his head into the room just in time to see the chaos unfurl.
"GIRLS TO THIS SIDE!" Tsunade yelled, pushing around chairs to make a fort around their supply of mud.
"BOYS TO ME!" Jiraiya responded, turning the desk behind into mud. "We will NOT give into the GIRLS… unless they give us a kiss."
The boys jeered at that, the girls squealed at the thought and Tsunade nailed him smack in the middle of the forehead for having a thought like that.
Shibi watched for a second later before he stepped back outside, wiping the mud from his face and then his sunglasses.
"What do you have to report, Aburame?"
"The situation is grave, sir," Shibi said.
Orochimaru sighed and shook his head. Why did it not surprise him? "It is expected when a group of children are left in the care of two people who have a maturity level well below theirs," he stated.
He realized as the last word died on the air that it was entirely too quiet for being just outside a room of chaos.
He twitched as the feminine voice behind him whispered in his ear. Something squished in his hair and the inane giggles of Tsunade followed by the resounded laughter of Jiraiya brought him to an epiphany.
Someday, he was going to get even with them in a very very evil way.