Author's notes: This is my first fanfic, so please be nice! Constructive criticism and advice would be greatly appreciated!
Chapter 1: How to Find a Baby.
The battle seemed as if it had lasted for hours, though it was really much less. Both fighters were exhausted, though neither would ever admit it. The usually spunky kunoichi glared murderously at her opponent, who smirked back, knowing it infuriated her. Anko quickly formed the seals for a jutsu, and launched another attack, which her opponent countered easily.
"My dear, you're simply no match for me, no matter what you try." The other ninja sneered. Despite all his boasts, he could not deny that even his chakra was getting dangerously low. 'This ends now.' He thought, and began forming the seals for his own destructive jutsu. Anko saw it, and quickly hurled several kunai at her former teacher. He dodged it, but his former student's attack was not without effect. In his rush, the Sannin formed an incorrect seal, and his jutsu backfired with a puff of smoke and a loud bang. Anko coughed and shielded her eyes from the smoke, but once it cleared, she couldn't resist peeking at what she assumed would be the charred remains of her former sensei. Instead, the kunoichi was horrified to see a tiny form, whimpering in a heap of clothes. Orochimaru had transformed into a baby.
Anko first assumed that this was a trick. She looked around and found a rather long stick that had fallen during their battle. As the kunoichi peered around herself, she realized that a large part of the forest had fallen victim to their battle. Ignoring the damage, Anko poked the baby with the stick, none too gently. To her surprise, the baby let out a loud wail in protest. The younger ninja was completely taken aback.
'Is this some sort of trick?' She wondered as she scooted closer. The baby looked up at her with big teary eyes and let out another sad whimper. Cautiously Anko reached out and lightly touched the baby's fuzzy, black hair, causing his cries to grow louder out of desire to be held. Anko was not very good with children, and therefore had no idea what he wanted; was she supposed to pick him up? Was he merely acting, and waiting for an opportunity to kill her? Orochimaru continued to cry, and even his cold student was beginning to pity the poor child. Against her better judgement, Anko lifted her teacher's tiny form out of the heap of clothes and loosely wrapped his now too large tunic around him. "I have to report this to Lord Hokage." She groaned.
The Third Lord Hokage was rather surprised when Anko burst into his office holding a baby. "Well, this is a surprise. Whose baby is that?" He inquired of the rather agitated jonin.
"Lord Hokage…you're not going to believe this." She began. "It's….it's Orochimaru." The elderly ninja's eyes widened considerably.
"Anko…you've been taking quite a few missions, haven't you? Perhaps you should take some time off and get some rest." The Hokage suggested slowly.
"I'm not crazy, Sir! It really is Orochimaru!" The younger ninja insisted. "I was on my way back from a mission when he confronted me, and a big battle broke out." Anko figured the demolished part of the forest would serve as proof of that. "I…I think something went wrong with his jutsu, and all of a sudden, instead of Orochimaru, there was this baby." She held the baby out as proof, holding him upside down by his ankle, causing him to scream.
"Anko, that's not a proper way to hold a baby, regardless of who he is!" The Third scolded, rising quickly to take the baby from the clueless kunoichi. The elder cradled the baby gently, and gradually he stopped crying. The tiny child observed the man through big, golden eyes, with slitted pupils. "It seems you're right, Anko." The lord said. "Look at his eyes. There's no mistake." The younger ninja peered at the baby, whose eyelids were beginning to droop. "I don't think this is a simple transformation jutsu, Anko." The Hokage said, his voice becoming serious. "I think Orochimaru was truly and completely changed into an infant. This could be a new start for him, a second chance, if you will."
"You mean…we're just going to leave him like this?" Anko asked curiously, wondering if she could go toss him off a cliff now and get rid of him forever.
"Well…it could be rewarding in some ways, but it wouldn't be wise." Came the reply.
"It would be best to return him to his natural state as soon as possible. For us, and for him."
The jonin frowned. "You want to help him?" She asked unhappily.
"I want to return things to normal." Her leader corrected. "However, that will take time. While we work on a solution, the child will need a caretaker." He added, looking at Anko expectantly.
"You don't mean…me?" She asked, turning pale with dread.
"Yes, I do. I think it would be an excellent opportunity for you, Anko." The Hokage said, handing Orochimaru back to her. "Now remember, that's how you're supposed to hold him." He reminded her as he placed the baby in her arms correctly.
"But, but, but…." The horrified woman protested. "What am I supposed to do with this thing!" She cried.
"He is not a thing, he's a baby." Was the stern reply. "This could technically be classified as a mission, so take this." The Leader said, digging in his desk drawer for something. When he found it, he handed it to Anko. "Inside this envelope is your budget for this month. If you use it up, any other money you need will have to come out of your own pockets." He said.
"It's going to take a whole month?" Anko asked, turning even paler. She set the envelope on Orochimaru's chubby tummy, using him like a shelf.
"I certainly hope not!" Lord Hokage said, smiling encouragingly. "I think the first things you should get are clothing and baby food." He added helpfully. Lord Hokage knew Anko well; therefore he knew she was most likely clueless enough to try to feed Orochimaru ramen or dango. The dazed jonin just nodded slowly. "I'll be going now, Sir." She said, and bowed slightly.
The kunoichi walked out of the building slowly, trying to absorb all the information. She happened to glance down disgustedly at the baby, only to see him stick the envelope in his mouth. "Ah, no!" She yelped loudly, pulling the money away from him. "Stupid brat, that isn't food!" Her yelling rather frightened the baby, causing him to start whimpering again. "Oh noooo……." She groaned. "Don't start crying again!" Anko was already starting to get a small headache. "I definitely need help." The ninja muttered. 'Let's see…who do I know who's good with kids?' She thought, making a mental list of people she knew, and checking through it. 'Probably not Kakashi…Kurenai is on a mission, so she can't help…definitely not Ibiki, unless I decide I want this brat dead after all…' Anko smirked at the idea. Orochimaru, blissfully unaware of his peril, had become completely fascinated with Anko's pendant, and was trying to catch it. 'Asuma doesn't strike me as the type to be any more fond of kids than I am, so scratch him…Gai is crazy, so he's definitely out…Hayate would probably be clueless too…Yugao is on a mission with ANBU…Genma hates kids more than I do….' Anko was running out of capable people fast. Then a thought struck her. "Of course!" She exclaimed. "Iruka is great with kids! He'll help me for sure!"
Iruka opened his apartment door to Anko's smiling face, and a very happy baby who was sucking on her pendant. Iruka guessed she hadn't noticed yet. "Iruka, would you help me?" The jonin asked hopefully. "I have absolutely no idea what to do with this thing, and if he starts crying again, I think I'm going to kill him." She maintained her smile, but it was plain that she was getting stressed.
"What do you need help with?" Iruka asked, stepping aside so Anko could come in. "And that's not a thing, it's a baby." The teacher added.
The kunoichi shoved Orochimaru into Iruka's arms, and only then noticed that her pendant was covered in drool. "Ugh! See what I mean, Iruka?" She asked, taking off the pendant and holding it like it was a bug.
"Anko-san…would you mind explaining this to me?" The teacher asked, obviously uncomfortable. "Didn't you plan anything beforehand?" Anko looked at him curiously.
"What do you mean?" She asked, and pointed at the baby. "He was totally unexpected." A light pink tinge appeared in Iruka's face.
"Anko-san, I think you had plenty of time to plan for your baby."
The jonin looked at him in horror. "NO! He's not my baby!" She exclaimed quickly. "It's that treacherous prick, Orochimaru! Look, it's a long story, but Orochimaru was turned into a baby and now I have to look after him." She sighed. Iruka looked down at the baby in his arms, who was gazing longingly at Anko.
"I see. And you need help shopping for him, right?" The teacher guessed, earning a nod from the other ninja.
"Yeah, Lord Hokage gave me a budget for the month, but I don't know what to get for him." She answered.
"Well, clothes would be a good start." Iruka suggested. "And he'll need baby food, blankets, diapers, a crib, some toys-"
"Wait a minute!" Anko interrupted. "He needs all that? That'll cost a fortune! And what am I going to do with a crib after he changes back!" The jonin got a sudden mental image of what Orochimaru's initial reaction could be when he changes back and finds himself in a crib with a stuffed animal. Naturally, Iruka was rather surprised when she burst out laughing hysterically.
'Maybe the stress is really getting to her…' He thought, and sweatdropped. "All right, Anko-san. I'll help you shop, but then you're on your own, all right?" The teacher offered.
When the kunoichi finally stopped laughing, she nodded in agreement. "That sounds fine. Thanks, Iruka." She said, smiling in relief.