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Tripod

Part Two What If #24

Sarutobi had just finished packing his pipe with a green waxy substance when Anbu Badger arrived to give his report.

"The children did not bond with Kakashi as you hoped they would, Hokage-sama."

"Oh?"

"They spent the whole meeting glaring at each other. This convinced Kakashi that there was no chance that they'd work together and he make it clear to the children that they would not pass his test."

"Which explains the long term mission he's on that I don't remember assigning," Sarutobi sighed.

"A shame he didn't look underneath the underneath," the Anbu stated. "In a lot of ways, they represent everything he values in a group of genin."

"That's why I assigned them to him," Sarutobi replied. "As you said, a shame. But I suppose it can't be helped. Who expects genin to be like that?"

"You did, Hokage-sama," the Anbu pointed out.

"Have a quiet word with whoever they select to be their instructors, let them know both that I am watching and that I do not want the children to be aware of that fact. Let them believe they've gotten away clean."

"Yes, Hokage-sama," the Anbu agreed.

"Be sure to set up a separate bank account for Kakashi and be sure that he's reimbursed for any charges his former students rack up," Sarutobi added.

"I'll see to it myself, Hokage-sama."

"Tell team twelve that I want them to keep 'losing' training materials where the children can find or steal them," the old man continued.

"I will, Hokage-sama. Do you want them to continue monitoring their progress?"

"I do, discreetly. If the children catch on, it's something the Anbu decided to do on their own for reasons of their own."

"They will then ask the children to promise not to tell anyone, Hokage-sama," Badger agreed. "Could also be a convenient way to get them to use their skills for the benefit of the village."

"Only if the children catch on or if we can't find someone else," the Hokage said calmly. "I want to see how far they can go on their own."

"Of course, Hokage-sama."

IIIIIIIIII

Sakura joined her teammates for breakfast at a new place the next morning. The meal wasn't bad, good enough anyway to keep her silent about the owner's unhealthy interest in goats for another day anyway.

"We're meeting Kiba's sister in a couple hours for hand to hand training," Sakura announced as she took her seat. "Didn't even have to pay extra for her to dress up in a fetish outfit after I told her it was so we could take pictures and traumatize Kiba."

"The one with the leash and collar?" Naruto asked hopefully.

"Yup," Sakura agreed.

"Hn." Sasuke waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"Language," Sakura chided between giggles.

"We're definitely going to tell Kiba that we're doing that to her," Naruto snorted, trying to control his own laughter. "Any chance of getting his mom in on this too?"

"She's busy till next week, said she'd be happy to help after that," Sakura replied, showing that she was, as usual, two steps ahead.

"Hn."

"Yeah," Naruto agreed. "Really is a good thing we got rid of the other guy, speaking of whom, what was on that mission scroll we assigned him anyway?" Naruto asked.

IIIIIIIIII

Kakashi stepped over the corpse of the shipping magnate. "I'm here with a message from the Leaf. Whirlpool may be gone, but we're not. We don't forget our allies. Their responsibilities are now ours." That wasn't strictly true, they'd been cheerfully ignoring the area for decades until he'd gotten his mission scroll.

The people of wave cut down their half dead hero as the strange ninja slaughtered the mercenaries that had seized their land as easily as they'd have gutted a fish.

IIIIIIIIII

"Sent him out to deal with a brewing situation in Wave to start with," Sakura replied. "Once that's done, he'll get another mission to investigate that new hidden village, once that's done I've got another two or three more that we need to put in the pipeline. Wouldn't do to have him come back before we're ready for him to."

"Hn?"

"We've got investments there," Sakura replied. "Some new idiot was trying to muscle in."

"Hn." Sasuke nodded respectfully.

"Why thank you, Sasuke," Sakura said proudly. "I thought so."

"You figure out which Hyuuga we should get to help with our chakra?" Naruto asked.

"Not yet." Sakura reached for her notebook. "Got a few possibilities but no one really stands out.

Sasuke pursed his lips. "H-Hn," he said cautiously.

"Yeah?" Naruto regarded the other boy. "Who?"

"Hn."

"Sakura?"

"Don't have much information on her. Never even considered her to be honest," Sakura admitted. "Should have though. Good idea, Sasuke, I'll check her out."

"Hn." The boy blushed.

"Pervert," Sakura snorted.

"You're one to talk," Naruto laughed. "How often did you pester Ino to let you sleep over?"

"You know exactly why I did that and you know it has nothing to do with how physically attractive I may or may not find her," Sakura said sharply.

"Sorry, was just trying to make a joke," Naruto said with a look of discomfort on his face.

"No, I'm sorry for being so sensitive," Sakura sighed. "I love my parents but they're just so . . ." she shook her head.

"Civilian?" Naruto suggested.

"Yeah," Sakura agreed pensively.

"Hn," Sasuke offered.

"You always know just what to say, Sasuke," Sakura said, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.

"A poet, a philosopher, a gentleman, and a scholar," Naruto agreed, blinking away his own tears. "We all wish that we could be half as eloquent."

AN: No, I don't believe I'll be writing any more of this.