Summary: Sarutobi has an epiphany the day Itachi leaves Konoha. He is busy thinking of who could manage to defeat the crazed owner of the Sharingan. When all of a sudden... It hits him. The last being that could halt shinobi in their tracks? Kyuubi. He felt satisfied, knowing that he could entrust the future Hokage the job of annihilating the most dangerous criminal Konoha has ever seen. He lifts Naruto's file from the Academy Records. He changes them. And by doing so, he creates the strongest user of Genjutsu that Konoha will ever see.
Disclaimer: He owns nothing, the boy owns nothing!
Previously: Kurenai started Team One in their training, while Iruka began to train Naruto independently. Kurenai informed Naruto that she wanted all of Team One to be equal in strength. Naruto wept while cursing Sakura for the first time- he hated chakra control training.
Naruto had been up since 06:00 AM working on his chakra control, and he was exhausted. He had fallen on his back more than… more than…
'Something that falls down a lot.' He finished his thought decisively, squinting his eyes and nodding firmly. Naruto wondered when Iruka-sensei would turn up, and he longingly spared a looked at the clock he had set up a on a nearby rock.
It read 06:17.
The blond moaned softly, pulling at his hair. 'At this rate I'll self-harm!' He moaned internally. But nevertheless, he steeled himself, and channelled chakra to his feet.
"Let's rumble, tree! I'll take you down!" He sped towards the tree, and up the bark. He didn't bother to count his footsteps anymore. Naruto's eyes widened as he felt his chakra flare, and he slashed at the tree's bark to mark his progress.
He'd realised that he couldn't tell if he was getting better or not. The kunai marks were his revolutionary way of telling how high he was getting. His latest mark showed a much improved run, and he had clearly almost reached the top of the tree!
He grinned to himself, before landing in a crouch. Dust unsettled around his feet as his eyes narrowed at the mark, and the blond gathered his thoughts.
'I can manage to go far up the tree without problems when I don't think of anything.' He rubbed his chin in consideration. 'I'm a "dead-last" so it shouldn't be too hard to empty my mind." He thought dryly, before channelling chakra to his feet again, and taking off on another high-speed run.
Had there been a bystander, they would have been witness to what Naruto would consider his greatest achievement to date. He had finally reached the top.
"I did it! Yeah!"
Sakura stumbled to her feet with a loud yawn, her body protesting to her movement. Kurenai had commanded that Sakura wake at 07:00 for two extra hours of physical conditioning.
She remembered protesting vehemently, despising physical training, thinking 'I don't want icky muscles, yuck!' But she had then realised that Sasuke didn't want a "weak" girl.
If being… butch… (she suppressed a shudder) was what it would take, then the pinkette would grasp her future muscled body with open arms.
That wasn't the only upside: Sasuke-kun would meet her one hour into her training! He seemed reluctant, but he caved into Kurenai's demand eventually.
'Probably due to my presence!' Sakura thought with a giggle. She frowned slightly at her normal clothes for a minute, before picking pink shorts and a pink and blue decorated vest instead of her regular red dress. Her usual skirt's flapping during her run with Iruka and Sasuke was irritating for her legs.
She nodded happily at her clothes, before walking into her bathroom to wash. She was already off of her schedule.
'I'd better be quick, or I might miss Sasuke at the rendezvous!'
Sasuke formed chakra within his gullet, quickly using the hand seals that his family's death had burned into him forever. He converted the chakra into fire within his mouth, spiting an enormous ball towards a training dummy he had set up in his garden.
"Fire Style: Grand Fireball!" His voice gurgled through the flames, his dull onyx eyes reflecting the orange inferno. He let the embers die from his mouth, and he managed to stifle the gag-reflex that spitting fire gave a ninja. He knelt down in front of the open scroll he had left at his feet, and looked over his latest technique. He had been practising his fire element so he could progress through the Uchiha training scrolls.
THIS TECHNIQUE IS UNIQUE TO THE UCHIHA CLAN, AND IT MARKS THE BEGINNING OF AN UCHIHA'S TRAINING. SHOULD THE NINJA LEARN THIS TECHNIQUE, THEY WILL BE ALLOWED ACCESS TO FURTHER BASIC FIRE TECHNIQUES.
Sasuke nodded, before doing as the scroll instructed.
'Gather the chakra in your gullet.' He channelled his energy.
'Begin the hand seal combination.' He flipped through numerous hand seals.
'State the technique name.' "Fire Style: Phoenix Flower!"
'Push the chakra to your mouth and convert it.' Sasuke ripped the chakra from his throat, the coarse flame building inside of him.
'Release! Repeat all instructions other than the technique name.'
He shot the fire from his mouth, repeating the orders, the garden littered with small blazing balls of fire.
The training dummy stood no chance.
Naruto lay asleep against the tree, drool trailing from his smiling slumber. He was unaware of the approaching shadow, unaware of the presence beside him.
A presence… hidden inside a box?
The blond opened his eyes slowly, and he looked around to see the owner of the voice.
The blond checked the area observantly, noticing no one. 'The forest is clear, the only thing that's wrong is this box.' He considered the box for a moment, before deciding that the cream-brown coloured cuboid was not worth his attention.
"Naruto, you were fooled by my amazing deceptive technique!" A high-pitched voice called from within.
"Konohamaru? What are you doing in a box?" Naruto asked blandly, "Don't worry; your headwear isn't that bad."
A growl of youthful anger was heard from within, along with a fumbling.
Naruto looked on as the box flopped around the woods with a sweat drop, 'Now this is just sad,' he thought to himself with mirth. Konohamaru continued to struggle with his escape plan while the bell on Naruto's clock finally rang. It was 08:00.
"Konohamaru? Can you beat it? I normally wouldn't mind you being here, but I have a training session." Naruto asked, quickly bored.
The thrashing of Konohamaru's box quickened in pace and grew more violent.
Naruto yawned while he sat on a tree stump. 'I guess Iruka's trying to get back at me for being late yesterday.' He thought glumly.
So he began to wait.
"So, Itachi," A murky shadow of a figure said tentatively, "I hear you've been spying on Konoha's resident demon host."
"Yes." Replied Itachi in a dull monosyllabic answer. His red and black eyes betraying no emotion. Itachi stood in a small cave-like room with seven shadowed figures, each in a smoky haze. Itachi was enrobed in a long black hooded cloak, with red clouds adorning the shapeless cloth. His mid-length dark hair was kept in strangely good condition, considering that he was a man running from ANBU everyday.
"What more can you tell us then?" The shadow queried, an underlying threat in his tone.
"He has been assigned as a Konoha Genin under the tutelage of Kurenai Yuuhi, rookie Jounin," Itachi complied, "his team-mates consist of Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha."
"Your younger brother? I hope no conflict will arise when you retrieve the fox Itachi," another shadowed form remarked with a snort, "after all, you don't want to have to kill him, yeah?"
"Silence Deidara," the first shadow commanded imperiously, "I wonder what Sarutobi is thinking, giving Namikaze's legacy to some rookie-nobody."
"The best of ninja are sometimes the ones you know the least of, I'm sure you appreciate that Leader-sama," Itachi said plainly, referring to the fact that the first shadowed figure was a relative unknown to the ninja world.
"Are you implying she's a threat?" The leader replied, "I doubt she would be any trouble for a God such as myself."
"She is no threat to Akatsuki," Itachi confirmed with a nod, "but among Konoha's Jounin she is known to be logical, a user of Genjutsu and the only survivor of that incident with the ANBU three years ago."
"Oh-ho? This will be interesting, that much is certain. Make sure to keep me updated, Itachi." The leader mused, his silver-ringed eyes meeting with Itachi's own.
"Now for you to carry on with your new task. We are to use Gatou Shipping Industries as a front for our finances in Akatsuki." The ringed-eyes hardened, promising pain should Itachi fail. "Your mission is to persuade Gatou to our cause. Any means are deemed necessary. You are to meet Kisame at the normal rendezvous point, and you are to continue onto Wave Country where Gatou has been residing for the last year."
"I understand." Itachi confirmed, nodding and leaving quickly. The shadows disappeared, each vanishing without a trouble.
'Sasuke… This placement can't have been by accident. I wonder what Sarutobi is scheming." Itachi thought grimly, before heading to meet his shark-like partner Kisame.
Naruto let out a tired yawn, before looking at the clock which read a horrifying 08:58.
"Crap, I won't be late for Kurenai twice!" He yelled with determination, before shooting off from the spot, leaving Konohamaru to continue to struggle in his escape.
The blond ninja bounced through the forest, his orange and navy jumpsuit a blur. He channelled chakra to his feet so he could run up a tree that stood in his way, rather than into it, and continued to the meeting spot.
The chakra automatically cut off with each raised foot, and came back with every footstep. Naruto had definitely mastered the tree-walking exerci-
His foot slipped, and at this moment he cursed his inherent clumsiness, and now he hated his lack of prior training.
He fell into a large bush with a fox-type yelp. 'I'm gonna be late again.' He thought sullenly picking twigs from his hair, and removing leaves from his clothes. He stumbled to his feet, before continuing at a slow jog.
Despite his "mastery" of the chakra efficiency exercise, he still couldn't perform like others of his age could. He knew Sasuke was adept at moving through trees, and that Sakura was also able.
And they knew, just as he did, that he could not. The only time he managed to jump through the trees (unhindered) was when he was influenced by the demon when Mizuki tried to steal the Forbidden Scroll of Sealing, and that was when he moved on all-fours.
Maybe he couldn't move through the trees easily because he was too short. He scowled at the thought. Suddenly the smell of burnt oak met his nasal ducts, and he realised he was close by to the training ground.
He turned his jog into a sprint, and managed to arrive in time to hear Kurenai say something that piqued his interest.
"-oday I will teach you how to perform a basic illusionary technique."
"Awesome!" The blond roared, charging into the clearing.
His team-mates sighed and rolled their eyes at each other. However the two were clearly excited.
"Where've you been Naruto? I had to get started without you again."
The blond winced at her tone. Kurenai hadn't even tried to hide her disappointment.
"Kurenai-sensei, I was waiting for Iruka since eight this morning, and he didn't turn up! I lost track of time waiting," he said apologetically.
"I understand Naruto." Kurenai replied shortly, before gesturing him to stand next to Sasuke and Sakura.
'I won't be late, ever again!' Naruto vowed to himself.
"As I was saying, the Genjutsu you will learn today is just the moulding of the illusion," Kurenai continued before demonstrating one of many hand seals.
"The dog hand seal is what forms the first part of this illusion," Kurenai lectured, placing a flat hand on top of a clenched fist. "The dog is what give the illusion extra reality, and it conveys the image you create within your brain to the battlefield."
Her students all nodded once, and made the hand seal.
"This begins a technique that affects the enemy's eyesight, and by using one like this you could fool an enemy into doing just about anything," Kurenai said with a hint of a smirk. "Naruto, create a Shadow Clone so I can show you."
Naruto did as he was asked, creating a solid replica with a small fragment of his chakra.
Kurenai flipped through many hand seals before casting a Genjutsu at the clone, and the group watched as it began to walk in a daze around the clearing.
"What image did you project into the clone Kurenai-sensei?" Sakura asked in awe, while Naruto put the clone out of it's misery with a punch to the head.
"So… many… bunnies…" Naruto let out a shudder, while Kurenai looked at him curiously.
"I projected the image of millions of rabbits hopping around the clearing," she said with a hint of humour, "in a fight you would try to create an image that would distract or pain rather than using an abstract illusion like that." Kurenai sent Naruto a searching look, 'how did he know about the rabbits? I was unaware that you receive information from the Shadow Clones you dispel.'
She shook off the new-found knowledge she had regarding Naruto's favourite Ninjutsu and continued in her instruction. "The next seal is the serpent which represents rebirth and treachery. The use of the serpent seal is always necessary if you are attacking more than one of the enemy's senses. It is the one seal that can be used to completely re-create an enemy's senses, which makes it vital to the use of illusionary techniques."
The trio nodded again, committing this important knowledge to memory. A flicker of recognition passed on Naruto's face, as he thought back to the treacherous ninja that Kurenai mentioned the day before.
"The monkey seal is one that is supposed to stand for trickery and play on the person's balance. It can be adapted, through the use of the following seal to affect the enemy in different ways." Kurenai demonstrated the monkey seal, with her palms on top of the other.
Her students copied the seal, before doing a slow run-through of the hand seals she had already showed them. Sakura's hands smoothly worked through the seals at a fast pace, while Sasuke slowly moved through the unfamiliar combination. Naruto on the other hand watch the pair, before attempting it himself. He tried to incorporate the speed of Sakura with the precision of Sasuke, which only gave him clumsy results.
"Naruto," Sakura looked at him uncertainly, "you should move at your own pace. If you find hand seals hard, all you have to do is practice doing them until you find them easy!" She said with a smile. 'He's clearly trying hard. It's not his fault that we're better at this sort of stuff than him.'
Naruto flashed her a grin of embarrassment, before muttering a quick "Thanks Sakura-chan."
Kurenai watched the exchange with a small grin, glad she hadn't interfered with Sakura's treatment of Naruto before. It's better for people to grow unhindered after all.
"There are two more seals within the sequence, however… I'll tell you the last, but you have to decide for yourselves what you want the one before to be. Picking this hand seal will decide the purpose of the technique, and the effect it will have on enemies."
"Kurenai-sensei, I don't understand." Sasuke said flatly, "aren't all Genjutsu intended to incapacitate the enemy in order for you to finish them with a physical attack afterwards?"
"You misunderstood the statement, Sasuke," Kurenai said lightly, "what you say is correct in some ways, but it is too linear a thought. After using an illusion, you can recuperate with a healing technique, build up power for a Ninjutsu, flee from the battle, and more. There are no limits to your actions in a fight."
Sasuke nodded in acceptance.
"Moreover, that is the purpose of using Genjutsu. The purpose I was referring to is the purpose of using that particular technique. Would it be to fool the opponent's hearing? Their sense of smell? Both? The next seal in the sequence would decide this." Kurenai said, "the effect of the technique would be how the purpose of the technique would help you in the encounter."
"… Such as?" Sasuke replied, 'this training is a bit too talky for my liking.' The Uchiha thought impatiently.
"In pursuit of an enemy, a heavy ninja may cast an illusion on the enemy to change their sense of hearing. Rather than hearing the ninja's approach, they may continue to hear the wildlife around them, or even create a fake approach from the opposite direction to confuse them." Kurenai responded readily, "this would make them more vulnerable to attack."
Sasuke nodded in acceptance, while Sakura and Naruto continued to run through the seals.
Kurenai opened the box lying next to her to withdraw six scrolls. Half of the scrolls were wrapped with a blue ribbon, the other half were wrapped with a red ribbon. She gave Team One a scroll of each.
"What are these for, Kurenai-sensei?" Sakura asked, her intrigue building. 'I'm a Genjutsu type after all! I'll be awesome!'
"The blue scroll contains the current frame of seals for the technique, while the red scroll shows what the gap can be filled with." Kurenai explained, while she began to stretch her leg muscles. "Your assignment for today will be to select a theoretical hand seal to fit into the sequence."
Her budding illusionists nodded with zest, each excited to deceive the other.
'I'll make Sakura believe I'm better than Sasuke!' Naruto thought with excitement.
'I'll make Sasuke fall in love with me!' Sakura sighed with rose-tinted vision.
'I'll make those two losers focus more on being ninja!' Sasuke pondered briefly, 'Nah, I'd rather make Itachi think he'd lost his testicles.'
"Now, let's stop thinking of Genjutsu for now, and continue on with our physical enhancement." Kurenai said, finishing her last stretch. "Sakura, Sasuke, did you two do your set stamina training this morning?"
"Yes Kurenai-sensei!" The two responded synchronised.
"Good. Because now, we're going to be doing muscle-building and fitness!" Kurenai announced, while Sakura groaned. "Leave your belongings here, I'll leave a watchman." Kurenai said, before biting her thumb to use blood in her next technique. She flicked through several hand seals, and finished the technique with an exclamation of "Summoning Technique!"
A large, fat robin appeared through a puff of smoke. It was enormous for a robin, that much was certain. It was easily taller than Team One, and reached up to Kurenai's shoulders at full height. Its girth was more surprising, as it's appearance had destroyed a few sets of trees in the forest.
Its eyes were beady and black, while it's beak was a deep orange. Its breast was a deep red, while the rest of it's body was an Autumn-auburn shade that stood out among the vibrant green undergrowth.
"Greetings, Kurenai-san." The robin rumbled in an extremely deep voice, which definitely startled the Genin.
"Good morning Komadori-kun! You've gotten big!" Kurenai said in surprise, stroking the top of his feathered head.
Komadori let out a rumbling laugh, before he replied "I've been working towards being a main combat summon! The boss is training me personally herself!" The pride in his voice was obvious.
"Great job Komadori! Can I ask you to do me a favour?" Kurenai asked with a smile.
The robin nodded slowly in response,
"Can you keep watch on those belongings over there? We'll be back in a couple of hours." Kurenai promised.
Komadori nodded again, slightly exasperated.
"I promise, next time I'll use you for combat purposes." Kurenai vowed, stroking his auburn head again. The robin gave a whistle of approval, and she led the group of ninja-in-training away.
"Kurenai-sensei! That was amazing!" Naruto said, clearly awestruck.
"I know, Naruto. I know."
"Kurenai-sensei, what was that?" Sakura asked with amazement, and while Sasuke did not say anything, he didn't have to.
His gaze followed the graceful figure in front of him, and he knew she was more capable than she had let on. His onyx eyes narrowed, 'She said she was a rookie Jounin, but she's easily on par with the elite! So far she's shown that she can use Fire techniques, Summons and Illusions. I wonder what more she has stored up her sleeve.'
"That was Komadori, one of the Bird Summons that belong to Konoha," Kurenai said, "only a select few have a contract to summon."
"How did you get yours?" Naruto asked curiously, "did you have to pay for it?"
Kurenai laughed, "My teacher gave it to me when he thought I was ready."
"But," Sasuke began, "what about the rest of your team? Didn't they get anything?"
"They were all wiped out," Kurenai replied shortly, "part of it was due to the Nine Tailed Fox, the other part was murder."
"Apologies, Kurenai-sensei," Sasuke said carefully.
"That's alright Sasuke," Kurenai smiled at him. "You don't have to worry, after all by my age, every ninja's lost someone."
"Is that so?" Sakura asked with a frown.
Kurenai nodded in reply.
"I don't like it Kurenai-sensei! I'll do my best to make sure everyone I care about stays alive!" Naruto said determinedly.
'That boy is so naïve,' Kurenai mused with a hint of a smile. 'You'd have liked him Kenpachi-sensei; his innocence is not yet marred by the experiences of a ninja.'
Sakura laughed at Naruto, while Sasuke smirked slightly, and Team One continued on.
Kurenai shook off her reminiscence, "Come on Team! Keep your knees high!" She called, "we have a long way to go yet!"
Sakura returned home after training, feeling her leg and arm muscles screaming in pain. With a groan, she forced herself up the stairs of her two-story home to her room. She yawned, and walked through her bedroom into her personal bathroom.
It had been two weeks since her training had begun, and Kurenai had steadily been wearing the team out. Sakura turned the taps of her bath, and poured a lather into the water to create a heavy, perfumed foam. She slowly sank into the warm depths, 'this feels great!' she thought to herself as she let her eyes close in exhaustion.
Her chakra reserves were almost completely drained, and as such Kurenai had given her the next week off of training, saying instead that they would perform their first missions- which according to Ino-pig didn't take any effort anyway.
'I don't envy Ino,' Sakura thought with a small smile, 'I love my Team… Sasuke-kun's a no-brainer, Kurenai-sensei's so wise, and Naruto's…' She opened her eyes for a moment, and she thought back on how hard he had been trying. 'He's grown on me.'
It was the first time since her friendship with Ino at the Academy that Sakura felt true acceptance, and for that, she was happy.
Sasuke rubbed his burning limbs as he entered his clan house. He didn't feel immensely tired, but he hadn't trained himself to this extent in a long time. He was grateful to get out of Konoha's hot sun, (his pale skin had been burnt to a pale pink) and he headed straight for the shower.
Sasuke dropped his sweat-sodden clothes into the washing basket, flicked the switch and moved under the hot running water, feeling his tension leave him and his muscles loosen enough to lose their tension. His dark hair flattened slightly under the pressure of the water, but it never did completely. 'That's one of the quirks of being an Uchiha,' Sasuke thought scornfully, 'Our hair won't flatten, but we can all be eliminated in one night by a teenager.'
Sasuke's hands had blood on them- he had hit a training post too hard.
'All eliminated except me.'
Sasuke had felt his mind wander from his self-assigned task of killing the man who ruined his life while he had been with Team One. 'Such a thing can never happen again.' He thought stubbornly, 'they're a tool.' He convinced himself.
However this self-assurance didn't stop Sasuke from remembering the day he had spent with his team, and the progress they had made. Sasuke continued to brood over his vengeance, while the blood from his hand was washed down the plug-hole in a spiralling scarlet whirlpool.
Naruto walked into his apartment with a sigh. His stamina had definitely helped him in the endurance training, so much so, that he barely felt tired. Naruto washed his face, before putting some instant ramen on to cook. It would be a long three minute wait until he could eat. But until then, he would think- Kurenai-sensei placed importance in thinking.
Something bothered Naruto about the day's events. The blond reflected over what Team One had got covered in their training, and he remembered that Iruka had never turned up for their meeting. It was late though, and Konoha's afternoon sun was setting. It would be too late to ask Iruka now, he would have to wait until tomorrow.
Well, if Iruka-sensei turned up, anyway.
The three minute alarm was set off, and Naruto sat up from his chair and moved over to the oven. He slipped the plastic cover off, before letting out a long relaxed sigh.
It was a bright sunny morning in Konoha, and Kurenai's "Team One" had all been withdrawn from training temporarily. The three of them had been instructed to meet at a small restaurant near Konoha's market place. The shop was handily equidistant between all of the Team's members, while also serving a good quality of service and product.
Kurenai had chosen the location carefully, and knew that such a place would reduce irritation to the Team, and also promote their likelihood of being punctual.
And they all were.
They had all met at the set time of 09:30 at the restaurant's door, Sakura sporting wraps around her ankles, Sasuke who embarrassedly kept his gaze fixed on the floor (hoping that if he didn't see people, they would not see him- and his sunburns,) and Naruto who had approached with a small frown.
"Good morning Team One, how are you all feeling today?" She asked, the corners of her mouth twitching upwards at Sasuke's embarrassment. Her deep red eyes found Sakura's newly applied medical gauze and she felt her heart swell with pride.
"Doing fine, Kurenai-sensei," Team One responded in unison.
"Great, now let's get breakfast and, after that, we'll head on to get our mission." Kurenai announced, "this will give your bodies time to recover from it's recent increase in stress, and let you begin to experience a ninja's lifestyle." She placer her hands firmly on Sasuke and Sakura's shoulders, "Order four glasses of water, I'll be inside in a minute." She steered them to the doorway, and the pair walked in together (albeit with minor confusion.)
Sakura's jade eyes chanced a glance outside through the glass pane of the doorway, and she saw Kurenai talking to the frowning blond. The pinkette arched an eyebrow and pondered the situation, before continuing after Sasuke. They approached the counter, and she let him order the drinks before they in the brightly-light café.
Sasuke let Sakura sit before he did, and he moved to sit beside her. "Sakura, what do you think they're talking about? Why does Kurenai always talk to Naruto alone?"
Sakura ran a hand through her glossy hair, before applying the purple hairclip she had used the day before. Her hair was in the way. "I'm not sure Sasuke-kun. But Naruto didn't look entirely happy. And maybe she has to tend to him because he's the weakest rookie? She might feel responsible for him."
Sasuke grunted in acceptance, "that's a definite possibility, but Naruto's not incapable. You know that as well as me, after all, he outran the both of us in the endurance training, and he was able to use his chakra to increase his speed."
"He could?" Sakura said, surprised. "I never noticed."
"I could feel small fluxes of chakra run through his muscles… I could see it." Sasuke revealed, with a slight blush. Sakura guessed that he was embarrassed that he had let something that sounded so illogical slip.
"That's interesting Sasuke-kun. It makes me want to research into locating and sensing chakra." Sakura mused, before sipping from her glass. She peered through the wide bay window of the café, "hey, where did Kurenai-sensei and Naruto go?"
Sasuke offered her a blank look. "Maybe she had to take him somewhere. We should wait here for them to come back."
"What? How could this have happened?" Naruto asked heatedly, "didn't Mizuki-sensei get executed?"
"Naruto, I'm afraid that he was not. He was kept locked up in Konoha's prison as he was under suspicion of working with a dangerous missing ninja." Came the reply.
"But Old Man! Iruka- he-" Naruto responded desperately.
"Naruto, Iruka is a ninja. He volunteered for the mission, and while he's overdue, it does not mean you should worry about him." The Old Man replied, taking a drag from his tobacco.
"But he was meant to be back the morning after! He's a day late!" Naruto argued, stomping to emphasise his point.
"Naruto, know your place. You're talking with the Hokage, and being rude will get you nowhere." Kurenai muttered out of the side of her mouth.
The Hokage noticed this, and he allowed a shaky smile. "Kurenai, I'm setting you a C rank mission. You are to investigate Iruka's status, but are not to get into any combat situation."
"Understood Hokage-sama!" Kurenai responded in shock.
"I would not normally assign a rookie team like Team One a C rank mission, however this is one that is personal. I'm glad you came to see me Kurenai, Naruto." The Hokage nodded at the pair with a weary grin.
"Thank you for your praise, Sarutobi-sama." Kurenai bowed briefly, "Naruto you are to fetch Sasuke and Sakura. Tell them the circumstances of the mission, leave no details out. We will need to be prepared for combat, however we should not expect it. Upon your arrival I want you to take an inventory of all of the supplies that we have as a Team." Naruto nodded, confirming he understood the order. "Dismissed!" The orange blur shot from her, and began to bounce all the way through town.
Kurenai nodded to the Hokage, before beginning to leave herself. "-Kurenai." She stopped, and turned back to him. "Be careful, we don't know Mizuki's motives. I'm sending you because I know how worried Naruto is, and I understand that this will be the only way for him to cope in case the worst has happened."
"So you believe Iruka is already dea-" Kurenai began with wide eyes.
"It's a possibility." The Hokage interrupted her grimly, "I'd like for you to find Asuma, I believe that his team will provide help for you in case you run into trouble."
"Thank you." Kurenai said sincerely, "in all honesty, I was slightly worried. This is a lot of pressure." She admitted lightly. Sarutobi nodded in understanding.
"Don't worry. I'm even in the process of calling back ANBU Squad Delta from their border patrol so they can sweep the area," Sarutobi said comfortingly, "But Kurenai, never let down your guard." His warning was clear.