Uhm. I haven't stopped writing "Plans for a Seduction", but this story just wouldn't leave me alone. It was quite persistent and didn't want to wait until I was done with the other story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto (insert legalese here).
It all started out so nicely. The plan was to neutralize the Hokage before beginning the attack. The Leaf village wouldn't fall apart without Tsunade's leadership, but if she were alive and acting crazy? Hmmm. Definitely a distraction, and one the Sound shinobi were counting on.
The letter-scroll was incongruous. It had been through all the tests, and no poisons were shown to be present before it was delivered to the Hokage's desk along with all the other requests for ninjas.
In fact, the Sound ninjas were getting a bit bored waiting for the scroll to be activated. Didn't the woman ever read her mail?
Tsunade nodded her understanding and gestured for Kakashi to continue with the report on his team's most recently accomplished mission.
Naruto and Sakura stood next to their former sensei, now teammate, as he detailed how they'd successfully managed to thwart a small war in the Land of Rain.
"Well done, all of you. But what of Lord Tomi's reaction?" Tsunade asked as she finished scribbling on a piece of parchment and putting in the 'out' pile.
Shizune picked up the parchment and grimaced at the chicken-scratch writing. She balefully eyed the whopping 'in' pile compared to the small runt-sized 'out' pile. Some of those letter-scrolls had been there a week already. She sighed despondently. They'd be working late. Or at least I will, she thought. Again.
Tsunade ignored her assistant as she reached over and randomly picked up a scroll, knocking two others onto the floor. Shizune grumbled as she rescued the two letter-scrolls and put them back on the desk. With a deep sigh, she bowed and excused herself, taking the completed parchments out to be dealt with by the appropriate designees.
In the outer office Shizune was surprised to see Morino Ibiki and Shiranui Genma. They nodded to her as she greeted them both formally before Genma indicated he was here to pick up some documents. Then Ibiki stepped close to her as he asked quietly, "Is the Hogake in? I need to speak with her."
Not allowing surprise to show on her face, Shizune nodded. She wondered what this was about. As one of the villages best shinobi and leader of the ANBU's torture division, Ibiki had immediate access to the Hogake at nearly all times. For him to ask to Tsunade's availability, well, this must not be official. She let the small tension in her shoulders seep away. No matter how sure of herself she was, there was something about this particular ninja that always put her on edge. Something about him made her feel … less somehow. Less capable, less smart, less of a ninja.
Ibiki passed Shizune on the way to the Hogake's door. He wondered why she always seemed so stiff around him. It's nothing. He told himself, probably just a reaction to his scars. Most women were put off by them, but not usually kunoichi of her level. They usually understood, or better yet, found them to be proof of his strength. Pushing such random thoughts aside, he reached for the door when he heard a soft "pop" from inside.
Shizune and Genma heard the noise too. Neither ninja even bothered to ask what the sound was or if the other had heard anything. They were too good at their jobs for that. Both leaped through the door, Shizune seconds behind the ANBU division leader with Genma close behind. They all knew the sound of an activated scroll only too well.
Both Shizune and Ibiki stopped and stared at the white powered faces standing before them. Tsunade's face was a complete wash of white, coating her face, even her eyelashes were covered as she blinked.
Kakashi, Naruto and Sakura were not as liberally covered, but had obviously been caught up in whatever trap this might be.
Cautiously Shizune started forward only to be stopped by Tsunade's hand being held up imperiously. "No closer!"
"What is it ma'am?" Asked Shizune, even as she opened up her own chakra to use her medical knowledge in deciphering the white powder.
"Not a poison." It wasn't a question, but a statement. Ibiki was also scanning, but focusing on the immediate office, and then pushing his senses out throughout the building and around the general area. Genma was doing much the same.
"No, it's not a poison." Kakashi held up his hand, studying it intensely, careful not to rub the powder further into his skin.
Sakura and Naruto were staring at each other, eyes wide. Both were quiet, for once.
Shizune finished her examination with a small gasp. "It's not a poison, and therefore the scans didn't catch it. But it is a very powerful drug."
"Veridone?" Ibiki asked. "It's a hallucinogen sometimes used in interrogation, but …"
Shizune shook her head, "That's part of it, but it's been mixed with nox weed and something else." Frowning she looked back at Ibiki. "Pink Calyx pollen?"
"Hallucinogen, stimulant, and another strong hallucinogen with a sleep agent? That makes absolutely no sense!"
"You can't mix nox weed and that strange pollen together, wouldn't they cancel each other out?" Genma pondered aloud, circling around to the side and being careful to stay clear of the powder.
Shizune nodded. "Usually yes, but look at them. No one is asleep and nox weed affects are immediate.
"But we're not affected!" Naruto mused, then giving voice to his usual self. "Yes! Someone screwed up and it's not going to work on us! We were too powerful for them to harm us! Just one more thing to prove that I WILL be Hokage someday!" He jumped up with a shout of victory, startling everyone in the room.
"It's not that simple Naruto …" began Shizune as she stepped toward him. She neutralized the remnants of the combination drug as she stepped toward the young ninja, only to be brought up short. Was that Kakashi growling at her?
Ibiki stared at the copy-ninja for a heartbeat before grabbing Shizune and pulling her back just as Kakashi leapt in front of his teammate, landing on all fours and definitely growling at them.
"K-k-kaka-shi?" Shizune stammered.
"He's not himself, see?" Ibiki nodded at the white-haired ninja as he settled down at Naruto's feet looking for all the world as Akamaru sometimes did with his owner, Kiba. Standing guard.
"Hallucinogen." Announced Tsunade. "It's obviously affecting Kakashi."
Shizune looked over at her long-time friend, and sensei. "But not you Tsunade?" Belatedly she noticed that Ibiki was still holding her. She pulled away with a reluctance that surprised her.
"Of course not, Shizune." Tsuande's brow furrowed a moment as she looked them all over, "in fact it seems Kakashi is the only one to be experiencing …."
"Someone's approaching." Genma suddenly interrupted, jumping up to hang from the ceiling with chakra even as Ibiki pulled out several weapons.
"Two actually, but their ours." She scolded them both, carefully skirting around Kakashi, still growling at Naruto's feet.
"But who's to say they really are ours." Naruto spoke softly, his stance battle ready.
Surprised, Ibiki gave the smallest of nods and Genma winked. Shizune watched in horrified fascination as the door, already ajar, was pushed open.
Temari and Shikamaru stood there looking at them all with puzzlement. "Uhm, we had an appointment with the Hokage." The Nara youth said hesitantly, staring at Tsunade as she wiped the white powder off with a cloth.
"Yah. About the chuunin exams, eh? Good, good. I'm anxious to read the list of the final applicants."
Everyone looked stunned as they stared, once more, at Naruto.
The young blonde stared back brashly. "What? They have an appointment with me, the rest of you can go now."
Sakura stepped up, touching her teammate on the shoulder, "Naruto, you're forgetting something."
"Oh yeah," Naruto rocked back on his heels and smiled sheepishly. "You needed to see me Ibiki?" He said with utter seriousness. Sakura nodded, turning to perch on the desk. Kakashi walked over on all fours, strangely gracefully too, Shizune thought bemused.
"But you're not …" Genma started, still standing upside down on the ceiling.
"Ready for the meeting yet," Ibiki interrupted quickly and harshly. "Don't you want to clean up first?"
Sakura and Naruto looked at each other, still covered in a fine spray of white powder. "Probably wouldn't be a bad idea," the pink-haired girl murmered.
The two headed off for Tsunade's ajoined restroom, with Kakashi crawling after them for all the world acting like a guard dog.
"Nicely done." Shizune whispered, then turned to look at the real Hokage. "What should we …" her voice trailed off as she realized that Tsunade wasn't looking at her. In fact, the Hokage was staring in shock toward the door.
Shizune, Ibiki and Genma slowly turned to see what she was staring at so hard. Shikamaru looked wide-eyed and unnerved, trying not to blink as his Hokage stared through him.
"D … Dan?" She whispered, "I thought you were dead."
Shizune's jaw dropped. Tsunade thought Shikamaru was her dead lover?
"Well, this could get interesting." Genma said stoically.