Disclaimer: Naruto is the intellectual property of Masashi Kishimoto, Shueisha, VIZ Media, et al. No money is being made from this story and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Just So Stories was written by Rudyard Kipling, and is in public domain.

Author's Note: This is a request ficlet for an anonymous lj poster, in response to the prompt: something involving Team 7, a D-rank mission gone horribly wrong, and the phrase 'exploding frogs'. I couldn't get anywhere until it occurred to me to try my hand at literary pastiche.

This is absolutely not canon at all. It is complete and utter crack.

Summary: Once upon a time in Fire Country, O my Best Beloved, three Ninjas went on a D-rank mission to retrieve a Cat...

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How Team Seven Got Their Summon Animals
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Once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Zoologist who lived in a house, on a hill, by a town of Ninjas, and right next door to the Forest of Death. She had studied animals all over the world, from the tip-most tops of the mountains to the deep-most depths of the oceans, and now she had come to Fire Country to study the animals that lived in the Forest of Death, because they were poisonous. Every morning she went out to catch new animals (which you must not do, Best Beloved) but she made very sure to wear gloves so they couldn't sting or bite or scratch, and they were specially-made-magical-gloves, so that was all right.

Her garden was full of strange creatures -- slugs and centipedes, beetles and bats, snakes and frogs (you must particularly remember the frogs, Best Beloved). The Zoologist was proud of her garden, and every afternoon she put on a new pair of specially-made-magical-gloves and went out to feed her animals. She sang while she fed them, because she was happy, so that was all right too.

One day while the Zoologist was sitting in her garden, sewing a new pair of gloves (she made them herself, Best Beloved, because she knew Magic), a Cat ran through the gate, under the bushes, three times around the house, past the animal cages, and up her legs into her lap.

"Help me!" said the Cat.

And the Zoologist said yes, because she liked animals. She took the Cat into her house, fed him some milk in a saucer, and told him to behave himself while she dealt with his troubles.

She went back outside and discovered three Ninjas running around her garden, looking at all the animals (including the frogs -- have you forgotten the frogs, O my Best Beloved?). "This is private property!" the Zoologist told them. "Go back outside the gate and knock."

The pink-haired Ninja looked very sorry, bowed deeply in apology, and went outside. The black-haired Ninja didn't look sorry at all, and he didn't bow, but he also went outside. The yellow-haired Ninja ran up to the Zoologist and grinned very wide -- so! -- and said, "Hi Granny! We're looking for a Cat. Have you seen him?"

"Idiot! Don't you have any manners!" the other two Ninjas said, and they rushed back into the garden to chase their partner. They chased him through the bushes, up the trees, three times around the house, and into the animal cages, which they knocked over. All the animals spilled out onto the ground and into the air, buzzing and hissing and squeaking in a terrible racket.

The pink-haired Ninja tried to stop running, but she stepped on a slug instead of the grass, and the slug spit poison all over her toes. The black-haired Ninja tried to climb up a tree, but he grabbed a snake instead of a branch, and the snake bit his neck. The yellow-haired Ninja bent down and picked up a frog (you did remember the frogs, Best Beloved?) and said, "Hey, Granny, where did you find all these cool animals?"

Before anyone could warn him, he reached down to tickle it -- so! -- and the frog exploded. This is because it was a Tri-Colored-Kamikaze-Tree-Frog, and they protect their families by making anything that eats them very unhappy.

The Zoologist wiped frog pieces off her face and recited the following Sloka, which, as you have not heard it, I will now proceed to relate:

Those who don't respect gates
Meet awkward fates.

For the Zoologist was also a Magician. And she made it so the pink-haired Ninja would always be followed by spitting slugs, the black-haired Ninja would always be followed by biting snakes, and the yellow-haired Ninja would always be followed by exploding frogs. "Let that be a lesson to you," she said, and she shut her garden gate behind them.

When she went back into her house, a fourth Ninja had climbed in through the window and picked up the Cat. He bowed deeply to the Zoologist and said, "I apologize for my students, and for my own rudeness, but this Cat has run away from his home and I need to take him back."

The Cat might have protested, but the gray-haired Ninja kept a hand firmly over his mouth -- so! -- and all that came out was "Mew!" Then the gray-haired Ninja jumped back out the window, into a tree, over the fence, and out of sight.

So the Cat went back to his mistress, the Zoologist tidied her garden, and the three Ninjas were banished from town until they learned enough Magic to keep the animals from following them every minute. And the next morning the Zoologist found a potted rosebush, a box of very nice tea, ten cups of instant ramen, and a little orange book of amusing stories sitting at her garden gate as an apology, because Ninjas are sneaky that way, so that was all right.

And that is how the three Ninjas got their summon animals.

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They creak and they croak
And they chorus from trees
They swim with a splish and a plop,
They have extra-long tongues
And pads on their feet
And they climb with a stretch and a hop.

Now some prefer fishes
And some prefer cats
And some are quite partial to dogs,
But I will stay here
By the side of the pond
And sing with my chorus of frogs.

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AN: Thanks for reading, and please review! I'm particularly interested in knowing what parts of the story worked for you, what parts didn't, and why. (And yes, I know that if I wanted to completely copy Kipling's style, the Zoologist would be a man instead of a woman, but this is not the 19th century and I don't care.)

Further Note: This story was edited as of 5/14/07, so that it reads better out loud. The changes do not affect the plot.