What it Takes
When Jiraiya decides to test out a new jutsu he learned from a traveling merchant, it lands Naruto and his team in a situation that will change his life, and his perception on just what it means to be a ninja, forever.
When they regained their composure, Uchiha Sasuke was the first to speak. "I might have expected this from a sensei of Naruto's. Nothing happened."
"Keep your comments to yourself, brat," Jiraiya snarled indignantly. "Just because you've got those sharingan eyes doesn't mean you can insult me."
Sasuke, ever the conversationalist, said nothing in response, simply setting himself upon a fallen tree and sighing. Haruno Sakura, Sasuke's ever-present pink-haired confidante (although according to him the word "annoyance" would have been better), sat down beside him almost instantly.
"Sasuke-kun, are you okay?" she asked worriedly. "Are you hurt?"
"Of course not," Sasuke snapped back.
The white-haired hermit grunted and rolled his eyes. He was beginning to understand his hotheaded student's nearly religious disdain of the last remaining Uchiha (Itachi didn't count; missing-nins had no names). The pretentious little punk was pretty damn annoying.
The bored, annoyed, stone-faced youth was looking around himself with an expression that was uncomfortably familiar to Jiraiya, who instantly looked away.
You're too much like Orochimaru for your own good, kid...pretty soon you'll grow a forked tongue.
"Oi!" came a grating, squawking voice from behind him. "Ero-sennin! What's this jutsu s'posed to do! I don't feel no different!"
"Don't call me 'ero-sennin...'" Jiraiya muttered under his breath. "Now..." he began in a louder, sagely (in his own mind) tone, "the purpose of this jutsu, a very complicated jutsu which only the greatest of shinobi could accomplish, I might add, is to--"
Jiraiya stopped mid-lecture, finger still up in the air to accentuate his words, to regard the stoic, masked jounin leaning back against a tree trunk, an extremely familiar book held easily in one glove-clad hand. "Huh?"
Hatake Kakashi glanced up, his single visible eye meeting Jiraiya's own. "They are our students, are they not?" he asked.
"Yes..." Jiraiya replied, wondering where this was going.
"Then...why not let them figure it out?"
"Like it or not, the Uchiha has a point...we don't even know if it worked. I can't be entirely certain, after all."
Kakashi shrugged, slipping his book into the pouch at his belt. "If it didn't...then they won't find anything. But if it did...they should be able to tell."
Jiraiya contemplated the younger ninja's suggestion, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. The idea did have merit...after all, what better way to test a young genin's observation skills than to place him (or her) in a situation where there may or may not be anything to observe?
"Hmmm...all right, Kakashi! Good idea! That's your training for the day! Amongst the three of you, decide just what it was that my jutsu did. If you can figure that out, or prove to my satisfaction that nothing has changed, then you pass. If you cannot do this...well, you'll find that out later."
Jiraiya glared pointedly at Sasuke when he said this.
The young sharingan user was unperturbed. He glared right back. "I don't think so," he said. "I don't intend to fail."
"It's all well and good to say that, Sasuke-kun," the frog hermit snapped, placing sarcastic emphasis on the honorific, "but the important part is to back up your big words. So how about you three get to work and come up with an answer before you start gloating, huh?"
"Yosh!" Uzumaki Naruto cried excitedly. "No sweat, ero-sennin!"
"Stop calling me that!" Jiraiya growled, whirling on his heel. "That's Jiraiya-sama to you, brat, not ero-sennin! Don't call me ero-sennin!"
"Then stop being one!" Naruto shot back, crossing his arms.
Jiraiya's white-hot glare was met equally by his young charge, and eventually the legendary leaf-nin-turned-novelist averted his eyes and snorted. "Just get to work, Naruto. You only have until sundown to give us an answer."
"You too, Sasuke, Sakura," Kakashi said. "Get moving."
Without complaint (although Sasuke rolled his eyes again), the other two genin of Team Kakashi left the clearing to follow their hyperactive, unthinking, far-too-chipper-for-this-hour-of-the-morning teammate.
The two older ninja remained in the clearing, Kakashi staying where he was (his book back in his hand) and Jiraiya sitting down in the same spot which Sasuke had occupied moments earlier.
Jiraiya sighed. "Well...I wonder how long it will take them to figure this out."
"If it worked," Kakashi murmured, "Sasuke will know before long. Sakura, too. Naruto might not understand at first, but...all in all, if it worked, they'll know. What will take them a long time is finding proof that nothing happened if, in fact, it didn't."
"Tch..." Jiraiya snorted. "It worked. I felt it."
"You said you got the scroll from a wandering peddler a month ago, Jiraiya-sama," Kakashi reminded. "We cannot be sure that the effects are what she said they were..."
"Mm..." Jiraiya grunted. "That's why I'm not sure. But...for how much I paid for the thing, it'd better have worked as advertised. I intend to soak in a lot of nostalgia here."
"I'm still not certain this was a good idea..." Kakashi muttered.
"Oh, you wouldn't, you stick in the mud," Jiraiya complained, waving off the jounin's concern. "Honestly, with the Fourth as your teacher, one would have thought some of his adventurous nature would have washed off on you. Who could pass up an opportunity like this? Think of the possibilities!"
"I am..." Kakashi replied softly. "And that...is precisely why I don't like this situation. I cannot see it ending well. I apologize, Jiraiya-sama, but I find myself hoping that your attempt failed, or that the jutsu was a fraud."
Jiraiya sighed and shook his head. "Sheesh...well, we'll just see, then, won't we, kid?"
Kakashi twitched at being called such a name, but he said nothing.
"You know...in order to avoid unnecessary confusion, you may want to pick up an alias...you know, just in case we happen to...run into someone."
That particular idea, which Kakashi understood immediately, obviously hadn't passed the silver-haired ninja's mind, because his eye widened and he lowered his book. Jiraiya grinned, looking so much like his student that it was eerie, but Kakashi didn't see it.
His mind was occupied...now he was thinking of other possibilities than the ones he had been concerned about. He was thinking about precisely the same things that Jiraiya had thought about when he'd bought the scroll.
"...I..." Kakashi choked out.
"See...? Aren't you glad I brought you along? It was difficult to do it; myself and three genin wasn't all that hard...although Naruto caused a bit of a headache. You, though...you took a lot of extra energy. But I thought you would...appreciate the...scenery."
"J-Jiraiya-sama..." Kakashi turned his head.
"This...this jutsu is..."
"Amazing? Incredible? Wondrous? The greatest thing you've ever laid your eye on?"
"Eh?" Jiraiya's eyebrows rose. "Dangerous? Well, sure, if the wrong people learn it, but...well, that woman said she only sold that jutsu to people she deemed responsible...and I believe her. She had a...knowing way about her."
"Yes...and she gave it to you." This comment was pointedly ignored. "...While the potential of this jutsu is rather intriguing," (Jiraiya was pleased to note the Copy Ninja's change of opinion) "there is one particular person I am...concerned about."
"Concerned about? Who? Naruto?"
"Oddly enough...no. I'm concerned about...Sasuke."
The implications seemed to hit Jiraiya just then, as the frog hermit raised his eyes to regard the sky, something he always did when deep in thought. He frowned.
"Hmmm...I hadn't really thought about him...well, I guess we'll just have to keep an eye on him, won't we?"
Kakashi nodded, placing his book back into its pouch. "I suppose we should leave, then."
It was a sad fact in Konohagakure that, while the members of Kakashi's genin team had possibly the greatest potential of all of their peers, their teamwork (or lack thereof) made them the least accomplished squad to have come along in centuries.
So it was no surprise that an argument broke out not four minutes into their training exercise.
"This is stupid! Nothing's different! Ero-sennin didn't do anything!"
"We can't know that yet, Naruto," Sakura said with a disgusted look on her face. "We haven't looked at anything!"
"Sure we have!" Naruto waved his hand impatiently at the village before them. "You see anything?"
"...Dobe," Sasuke muttered. "of course we aren't going to notice anything this far from the village. You're just as much an idiot as your teacher."
"What was that, you jerk!? I oughtta--"
"Boys!" Sakura cried. "Stop this!"
"Shut up!" both shinobi snapped at their pink-haired teammate before going for each other's throats.
...Naruto had forgotten (and Sasuke hadn't known) that Sakura had been receiving personal training from Tsunade, the kunoichi of the Legendary Sannin and arguably the strongest (physically) of all the ninja of the Hidden Leaf.
And even if you were Sasuke, you just didn't get away with telling a student of Tsunade to shut up.
Nursing bruised noses, Naruto and Sasuke sulked as they shuffled next to a sauntering Sakura into the village.
I can't believe she hit me, Sasuke thought.
Of course, she would apologize profusely and heal his "injuries" in about 7.6 seconds, but still...she had hit him! And it had hurt!
Stupid Tsunade-baachan taught Sakura-chan her chakra-hand trick...crap! Naruto thought with a glare.
Yes...Tsunade had molded his precious Sakura-chan into a D.A.N.G.E.R.O.U.S. Person...in other words, Deadly, Angry, Narrow-eyed, Grumpy, Evil, Rabid, Overbearing, Unusually-psycho, and Sadistic. Just great! Before that old witch had become Hokage, Sakura-chan had been a lot nicer (not really; just weaker)!
Naruto grumbled curses as he placed Sakura's name on The List, right under Tsunade's. Sure, they were the only two names on that list...but the fact that there was even a second one was frightening enough.
"What's that paper, Naruto?" Sakura asked, deceptively sweet.
"Uh...n-n-nothing, Sakura-chan! Nothing at all!"
Naruto was silent as Sakura started talking to Sasuke about the new healing jutsu she had just perfected.
...Oh. Sorry. 28 seconds. Must have been having an off day.
Naruto wasn't surprised at all that she didn't bother to heal him. But then, his own bruises were gone already, anyway...would have been nice if she had offered, though.
Fat chance of that. The day Sakura ever thought to heal him would be the day that Sasuke danced the can-can with Gaara and Shino!
Sasuke and Sakura had no idea why Naruto suddenly howled with laughter; they just ignored it, like they always did. And when he suddenly started kicking his legs up and pointing at the black-haired, black-eyed boy before actually falling down and curling up in a fetal position, Sakura just started kicking him.
After two minutes of this with no change in Naruto's behavior, Sasuke grabbed the blonde by the collar of his orange jacket and dragged him the rest of the way to the village, muttering to himself about how Naruto was a waste of plasma and that he was starting to understand why Orochimaru had become a missing-nin (Jiraiya probably hadn't been any better, and might have been worse...might), and once or twice voiced his regret at having come back to Konoha.
He didn't bother telling Sakura to quit kicking.
This was a random idea that struck me a while ago and it grew into a full-fledged story after discussing it with a friend of mine. This won't be all fun and games, and I'm certain I'll have quite a few angsty scenes here and there, but I think a lot of this story will be lighthearted.
This is my first time writing Team Kakashi, since my first Naruto fic was about Zabuza and Haku and my second one has Gaara and Hinata as Naruto's teammates instead of Sakura and Sasuke, but I think I did a halfway decent job with them. If I haven't...well, this story will give me practice.