Title: Actual Training

Author: kimbo-smarties

Rating: K

Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to me. If it did, I'd have better things to do than come up with "What Ifs" for this disclaimer line.

Genre: Kiddie Fluffy Cuteness (Yes, that is a genre.)

Fandom: Naruto

Ship: None

Summary: While babysitting for the Hokage, Itachi, in his own special way, helps the Not-Quite-Yet Team Seven train.

Author's Note: Follow-up to 'The Mission'.

Things were so much easier when the only things Itachi had to duck and dodge were mud pies and stuffed animals. Now, he's constantly evading kunai and shuriken coming from all directions, thrown by eight-year-old academy students trying to get the best of the great Itachi Uchiha.

Which would never happen, of course, but the children's persistence was cute (but becoming more and more annoying, Itachi decided as he caught another of Naruto's kunai and threw it back, skimming a few of the boy's blonde hairs.)

"You're not very quiet, Sakura." He said, bursting the girl's bubble. She had thought she was being silent and stealthy while trying to sneak up on the Uchiha heir. Apparently, though, she wasn't doing a good job. With a small huff of frustration, she sunk back into the darkness of the woods that surrounded one of the Uchiha clan training fields to regroup and try again.

Itachi heard the familiar hum of a kunai cutting across the air yet again. Without looking up from the scroll he was reading, he caught it one-handed and tossed it back to his little brother. He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth in slight disappointment; hadn't he taught Sasuke to conceal his chakra better than that?

"Itachi-nii!" A pink head popped out of the woods. "Why won't you help us train?"

"I am." The thirteen-year-old swiftly deflected a shuriken using his ANBU-issued arm guards.

"No, you're not!" Sakura protested, stomping out of the coverage of the trees. "You're just sitting there reading your stupid scroll! You're not even looking at us!"

Itachi didn't spare her a glance. "I do not have to look up from my scroll to know where all three of you are and what your plan of attack is. For instance, Sasuke is hiding behind a tree thirty feet to my left, and he is pulling a kunai from his pouch. Naruto is twenty-three feet to my immediate right and is clicking two shuriken together."

Sakura looked from right to left, trying to pick out her friends. "How do you know that?"

This time, Itachi did look up, giving the girl a flat, bored look. "Because they're loud." She opened her mouth to protest, but he went on. "But it is to be expected. You're just academy students. You're not meant to be very good at the ninja arts just yet."

Huffing with anger, the eight-year-old stomped over and, just barely, stood over the ANBU resting against the tree trunk. "Well, we might be better at the ninja arts," she went out of her way to mock him, "if someone would quit being as lazy as Shikamaru and help us! We want some actual training, right guys?"

There was a dual echo of "Right!" from the trees.

Itachi smirked with amusement. He wasn't sure which one was worse: his little brother and his budding Uchiha attitude, Naruto and his loud- loud- excitement for all things shinobi, or Sakura and her impatient need to learn coupled with a fury she inherited from her mother.

With a small sigh of surrender, he sat aside his scroll and stood with a liquid grace achieved only by experienced ninja. "Actual training, huh? Just what exactly does that entail?"

And so ends the 'Naruto Drabble Series'! Thanks so much to everyone who reads, reviews, follows, favorites, supports, etc. All of these drabbles are 1-2 years old, but posting them here on and letting them get out to a broader and different audience has reminded me of exactly why I loved them, and the Naruto fandom- crazy shipping wars and all- in the first place! :D So, again, thank you.

Oh, and review.