Chapter 5: First Mission
"I hate you, Kakashi-sensei." Team Seven's resident blonde stated flatly.
"Now now, Na-ru-to; you should be more cheerful – after all, it was you that wanted a C-Rank mission, correct?" The tall silver-haired mask-wearing sensei of said team shook a finger at his 'cute student' as he reprimanded her cheerfully.
"I hate you, Kakashi-sensei!" The words were now said in a half-hearted attempt at an up-beat tone.
Kakashi eye-smiled, ruffling his student's spiky hair "Much better."
The blonde growled quietly and ducked away from the hand, skulking over to hide behind Kiba.
"Ero-sensei" Naruto grumbled spitefully at him before flicking a nervous look back at the man… she never could quite tell when he was being serious or not, and the last time that had happened it had gotten her chucked in one of the ANBU Interrogation cells (you know, the ones they made for interrogating traitors) writing out 'I will not steal my sensei's porn books any more, under pain of watching my sensei burn down all the Ramen stands in Konoha'.
Hey, it wasn't her fault!
Naruto only felt that he could do with overcoming his addiction, and thus helped out in the best way she knew how – by taking them (duh!).
Unfortunately, it seemed like the man took it as a personal insult to his 'mad awesome ninja skills' (Naruto's words, not his) that she was able to do so. Really, was it such a bad thing that she had such awesome pick-pocketing skills? Apparently the fact that she could also do it with the bracelets (that had bells on them, that ero-sensei had insisted she wear after successful attempt #7) was just a further insult to his skills. And Naruto felt that he was becoming waay too paranoid whenever she was within reaching distance of him.
Part of the reason he went so far as to involve ANBU was probably not her… 'fascination' of divesting him of porn, however. Because, well…
…Apparently planting 35kg of catnip in Kakashi's house, opening all his windows, and after it had made all the cats in a twenty mile radius to converge on said apartment in all their tetchy demonic fury to complete Mission: Retrieve Tora was 'Not Acceptable'.
Humph, how Kakashi wilfully ignored that they'd broken the record for fastest catching of the Demon Cat in a decade and thus been inducted into the ANBU's Hall of Fame (the picture framing the moment of capture in all its catty, crazy glory) not to mention how she'd gotten a week's worth of Free Ramen from Ibiki… well, she had no idea. And it wasn't like she'd not been forced (at sword point) to clean it all up afterwards (stupid scarecrow).
Honestly, it was a Rule that sometimes, scarifies just had to be made, and if Scarecrow-sensei couldn't swallow that… well, it wasn't her fault. What made catnip so irresistible to cats, anyway?
She threw another glance at the ero-sensei before deciding to talk to the dog-boy, "So Kiba, you don't think you could…?"
Dog-boy smirked. "Na-ah-ahh, Naru-chan" the brunette ignored the loud shout of 'Don't call me that or so help me Kami…!' "That's your responsibility. After all, 'the client is always right', right? And our client decided he wanted you to do it."
"Shut up, usuratonkachi." The Uchiha deigned to cut in, sporting his default expression of boredom/anger (at least that was what Naruto was coming to understand).
"Shut up teme!"
"Why don't you both shut up?"
"Be quiet dobe"/"Make me dog-boy!"
"Hem-hem." The three genin froze.
Kakashi clearing his throat was a Tell that they had learnt to pick up on quickly. It was never loud, never seemed anything other than natural and was never over-blown, but when it was heard, it translated as "Shut the Hell Up Now. Dear Kami aren't shinobi supposed to be quiet, fools?"
Of course, this was Naruto's own personal variation of the 'oh-shit be professional' scale of Scarecrow Interaction.
The day he'd thrown her in the ANBU cell, he'd actually coughed. Thrice.
Of course, there was also a difference between the 'Hokage wouldn't mind that much if I lost a genin' to the run-of the mill cough.
Team Seven was proud to say that they were by now expert Kakashi 'Be-Professional' Scale readers… or at least Naruto could boast that.
Kakashi eye-smiled at his frozen deshi and continued on walking, saying cheerfully to the fat-man, "Excuse my genin, Matsuda-san, they are… excitable."
The merchant that had hired them smiled and shook his head "That's fine, Hatake-san, I have interacted with shinobi before, and I have the utmost confidence in Konoha's genin teams."
"Thank-you for the complement" Kakashi said with a smile that stretched his lycra face mask into a weird shape.
The three genin had fallen back from the two adults. Naruto whispered, "Does that kind of…"
"Freak me out? Hell yes! Kaka-sensei's crazy." Kiba furiously whispered back and Akamaru, who was perched on the Inuzuka's head, barked in what the other genin of team seven could only guess was agreement.
Naruto glanced the Uchiha's face and decided that, yes, they were all in accord.
It kind of sucked how sucky their first C-Rank mission was. It wasn't exactly hard for her to forget the briefing.
…The Sandaime Hokage hid a smirk as he glanced down at the papers, "Hmm, I think I have just the thing…"
Sarutobi pulled a sheet of paper out of the stack of missions and glanced at it before nodding decisively. He cleared his throat, "This is a C-Rank mission. You will escort a merchant to Otafuku Gai – he has requested assistance moving his goods to a better store, as well as your help in delivering messages to his business partners during the time you are there. You have two weeks to complete this task, although it shouldn't take that long. He has a son that you will also be required to protect. I trust you all to act in a way properly befitting of a Leaf-nin and to not bring disgrace upon our village. Remember that you are no longer academy students. Dismissed."
Kakashi didn't look up from his book as he said lazily, "Meet me at the gate in an hour, make sure to pack enough for a prolonged mission." After which he disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
Naruto scowled at the empty space beside her but the scowl slid off her face to be replaced with a smile – they had actually gotten a good mission for once! She could actually, for the first time in her life, leave the village. It didn't matter that it was only for a fortnight tops, or that they would be tasked with moving crap most of the time; they were on a C-Ranked mission!
She sent a wave to the old man before turning around, following the teme out of the room.
They met up an hour later at the aforementioned spot. Sasuke and Kiba had large packs on their backs, which no doubt included what they would need for the next few weeks. Naruto didn't look any different – after all, she had everything sealed.
Naruto had used the time to find Gai-sensei and inform him of her impending mission, although it involved having to block out the rant about 'youthfulness' and the 'Springtime of Youth' for a disproportionate amount of time, although he became bearable at the end and told her to keep practising her taijutsu.
Her taijutsu training was extremely different from the way the Green spandex-clad man was training Lee. For one thing, he had gotten rid of her weights. Kakashi had been right in giving them to her for the initial part of her training, but Gai had said they weren't suited to her. The initial increase of speed that they had granted her had stuck, but Gai had said that she couldn't afford to be wearing weights all the time – they were counter-productive since she needed her speed and wasn't going to be a taijutsu master in any life in either case.
She needed to be proficient in it – after all, taijutsu was often the last line of defence for ninja; you needed to be able to defend against close-ranged attacks as well as long-ranged – but she was never going to be crazy-good… or at least without giving up ninjutsu and completely focusing on training her body.
The style that Gai was teaching her relied heavily on speed and unpredictable movements, combined with precise hits to pressure points to disable the opponent – which meant she'd had to study scrolls to know exactly where to hit to deal the most damage. Gai had explained that it was a Kaze-style and she was picking it up fairly quickly; the movements seemed to have been made for her – much to her sensei's delight.
A hand landed on her shoulder and she looked up to see the curved eye of her sensei, "Ready, Naru-chan?"
The blonde's eye developed a tick and she growled, inadvertently revealing her unusually long canines, "DON'T call me that! Or so help me kami I'll…"
The hand left her shoulder and the nonplussed jounin handed their papers to the chunin guards, "Team Seven leaving for C-Ranked mission to Otafuku Gai. We were supposed to meet up with Matsuda Kenshin to escort him and his son."
The chunin glanced at it and lazily marked something down on the book that was resting on the table before waving vaguely and saying, "That's your client over there – he's already paid the fee to have his goods sealed for the trip. Good Luck."
Kakashi turned and walked lazily over to the clients, and Kiba was jittering with nervous tension while Sasuke didn't move – Naruto grumbled mentally that he probably felt it was beneath him to go and greet the client properly. She covertly waved to Izumo and received a wink for her troubles before she span around and approached the two.
Kenshin looked fairly nondescript – a little bit er… padded… than the regular man, brown eyes and hair, and a kind smile on his face. The thing that made Naruto want to recoil in terror was the terror attached to him – a bratty six-year-old with black hair and currently screaming something about 'super powers'.
She approached them, and Kakashi was saying "…Team 7 of Konoha. These are my students; Naruto, Kiba and Sasuke." He indicated which he was talking about, and Naruto waved a little – after all, this guy was the client.
He bowed a little and said "We thank-you very much for accepting the mission – it is always good to have better protection along the main trading routes, and I worry that Daichi is going to run off at any moment."
He did seem sincerely grateful, so Naruto decided that he was okay in her book. She inched away from the brat though – no way was she getting roped into caring for him!
Since Matsuda-san was ready to go, they just walked out the gate.
Naruto glanced back at the chunin who was once again slouched over the table again before saying so only her team could hear, "Huh. I'd a thought it would be harder to get out. Are there even any ANBU around here, Kakashi-sensei?"
The silver-haired jounin never even glanced up from his neon-orange book, "You'd think so, wouldn't you?"
Naruto frowned, very aware that it was highly likely her sensei didn't hear a word she was saying and rolled her eyes, "Thanks for the invaluable insight there, ero-sensei."
Kakashi didn't miss a beat, "No problem."
Naruto stared but settled for shaking her head and turning back to look at their other companions.
After almost a month of Sasuke suffering his teammates ire because of his less-than-desirable attitude, he hadn't changed a whit. Still stuck up, still assuming that he was/had to be the best at whatever they did because he was an Uchiha – like that was anything to be proud of – and whenever Kiba or Naruto managed to show him up he'd always get this petulant look and growl 'If I had the sharingan…' insert what he'd be far better than them at.
It was frankly driving the two of them to the edge – they'd been forced to kidnap the teme last week and hang him from the Academy building when he insulted Inuzuka Tsume – Kiba's mum – and she'd been out for retribution. Naruto never knew that the Inuzuka were so vicious when it came to their 'pecking order' but go-figure – they did share a lot of traits with their ninken after all.
It had been four days since then, and no matter how much she had tried to avoid it, the Brat had 'taken a liking to her' and thus Matsuda Kenshin (the evil, sadistic client) had made it her task to 'keep an eye on him'. What she was thinking before (that he was nice, dammit, nice) was obviously completely and totally wrong, because only evil people placed their children in the care of poor, suffering kunoichi.
Kiba had been taunting her and laughing himself sick the whole freaking trip, and Sasuke had been silent but in a 'you're getting what you deserve, dobe' way, and it sucked.
"Naru-chan! I found this really-cool bug and it-and it's-so-awesome and I know you'll-love-it-and-come-look!!"
Her back stiffened and she turned her head ever-so-slowly to the source of that whiny-voice.
THIS MISSION SUCKS!!!
(end of chapter)
"You know, if the stuff you said about 'all or nothing' and 'we're a team so we watch each other's backs' were true, we'd kind have to help him outta this situation." Kiba pointed out mildly, watching the Uchiha's fangirls fight over him like two rabid dogs over a bone.
Naruto looked back in the direction of their second teammate and shook her head, sighing, "Aaa, my young dog-boy, this is not an area suitable for kicking ass and taking names – all males must learn how to correctly deal with females in their own time. Besides, I bet you know what happens when someone tries to take away a dog's bone."
Kiba cringed. Add a bone, plus a super powered ninken, and you have a missing arm. He wasn't so dense as to ignore the comparison. "Oh."
Naruto smirked, nodding her head. She ruined the moment as she smiled cheerily and said "Not to mention that it's great entertainment for us!"
Kiba made a small nodding gesture while watching Ino and Sakura fighting over the dark haired avenger, "Yes, there is that."
Sasuke scowled at them, barely managing to keep a pout off his face. What happened to teamwork?
Hee hee, it's me again. Yes, you're all very proud of me for ACTUALLY WRITING SOMETHING FOR THIS! Or at least I'd hope so, cos i found out that (to my horror) I haven't updated this since December '08 so I figured that it was about time I made another wack at it XD
I'm not exactly sure where I was going with this, but we've all gotta start somewhere, right?