'-.-' A/N: Yes I am insane, and yes I do like my bouncy style of writing. I'm sorry it you don't appreciate it, but so far, most people have liked it. Oh, and I do accept flames. All criticism is good. Make sure to tell me why you didn't like the story, though!
Headfirst Into Shallow Water
It was, finally, the day of the 'Gennin Exams'.
Sakura had to calm Naruto down, especially when they were informed that the jutsu they needed to preform the Bushin jutsu, or clone technique. Sakura told him that even if he failed, she would still be his friend. Then she suggested in Mizuki's hearing that there might be another skill test that could make up the failure.
The tests went as planned, Sasuke got the title 'rookie of the year', Sakura got 'top kunoichi', and Naruto's unfortunately failed. Sakura gave Naruto a hug in consolation, before she had to go find her parents. Sakura and Sasuke watched out of the corner of their eyes as Mizuki spoke to Naruto. When both left, sensei and student, Sakura asked to talk to Sasuke in private.
"How are we going to keep the Uchiha from going after him? Traps? Distraction? Or do we leave it to Mizuki to make sure nothing happens to him?" Sakura asked, worried.
Sasuke thought for a minute before he replied, "Itachi is on a mission right now, as are most of our jönin, so it shouldn't make too much of a difference. We'll have faith in Naruto and hope Mizuki isn't as idiotic as he acts." Sasuke placed a hand on her shoulder to reassure her. "He'll be fine, sis. Trust that Iruka finds him first."
Sakura leaned into Sasuke as they walked back to their parents. "Do you think we'll get Hatake-san?"
Sasuke looked at her and tapped her forehead, "You know he wants us. We are potential incarnate, remember?"
Sakura giggled at him and smiled, "thank you, brother."
Sasuke nodded at her, "You're welcome. Now, go find out what is in your new jutsu library."
Sakura laughed and ran back to her parents, waving goodbye over her shoulder.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
It was well after dark, and well after the commotion that signaled Naruto's 'test', when Sakura woke to a knock at her window.
She padded over and found Naruto on her window ledge, with a grim look on his face. "Naruto-kun? What's wrong?" she asked and she gestured him inside.
"Sakura-chan, can I tell you a secret?" Naruto asked, before he stepped into her room.
Sakura was slightly stunned, but nodded for him to speak as they both sat down on her bed.
"Can I ask something first? It is kind of important," Naruto asked hesitantly.
"Of course I will, Naruto-kun. You know you don't even have to tell me your secret, if you change your mind." Sakura replied.
"Do I act like a demon?" Naruto asked in a rush.
"What? No. You are the sweetest, if slightly oblivious, boy I know. What could possibly make you ask that?" asked Sakura, even though she knew the answer all too well.
Naruto spilled his guts to her, giving a blow by blow report of what happened that night. When he told her about the kyubi, she pulled him into a hug. She told him how she would always be his friend, because even if he was a demon, he'd never hurt her. After she reassured him that she was okay with it, he began to babble about everyone else. He talked about all the people who did know and their treatment of him. He talked about the identity crisis Mizuki caused, and how he wondered if he really was the kyubi. He even confessed that for a few minutes he had wondered if it was the reason his family had never claimed him; if the kyubi, and therefore himself, had killed his parents.
Sakura held him and reassured him that he was Naruto, not the kyubi. She talked him through the trauma that Mizuki caused until the sun was nearly up. By then, Naruto was almost completely calm and semi-collected again. Naruto left her alone after one last reassurance that she was still his big sister, no matter what.
~ * ~
When Naruto had gone, Sakura got dressed and prepared for the day, thankful she had gone to sleep early. She prepared her breakfast and ate before her mother had come down. Sakura left to Sasuke's normal training area in the Uchiha Complex.
Sakura found Sasuke exactly where she expected to, doing a Uchiha Clan tai jutsu kata in 'his' private training area.
"Aren't you up a little early, Sakura? What brings you here?" asked Sasuke with his back toward her.
"He visited last night. We should have our third. Just thought you would like to know," she calmly replied.
Sasuke glanced over his shoulder at her, "Did he now? That's interesting. Did he tell you how he passed?"
Sakura nodded, "He did, but I was sworn to silence, of course. It is doubtful that he will tell you right now, but it is a possibility that he will in the future, when he is more comfortable around you."
Sasuke grunted an acknowledgment before focusing his attention back onto his kata.
"I will see you in a few days, at the placement meeting," Sakura said as she walked away. "Make sure you get your hair cut before your photo. We wouldn't want to make a bad first impression, now would we?"
Sakura heard his grunt of amusement in reply. She was really just picking on him for his quiet obsession to not look like his older brother. Since finding out the reason for his short hair, she never let him forget that she knew.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
It was the day of the team assignments, a day long awaited by two time-traveling pseudo children.
Sakura took the opportunity to casually remind Sasuke about what had happened the last time they had received their team assignments. She had asked him if he still hadn't kissed someone yet. She took great pleasure in the glare he threw at her.
Upon entering the room, both noticed that Naruto was already sitting, more like bouncing, in the end seat of the table Sasuke usually occupied, leaving the middle chair open, likely for Sakura to take. The time travelers sat down quietly. Sakura smiled a greeting at Naruto, who grinned widely back.
When Iruka called the class to order, most of the children were surprised to see him in bandages, and actually paid attention to his speech about their new responsibilities and the dangers they would now be facing.
Sakura, Sasuke, and Naruto were among the small number of children not paying attention. Instead, they were having a written conversation about whom they might be getting for a teacher. Sakura even added Itachi's name as one of the possible teachers, but Sasuke crossed it out, due to Itachi still being in Anbu.
Iruka only regained their attention after lunch, when he called in the jönin who was to 'test' the possible gennin. Sakura pinched Sasuke's leg when she saw Shisui in the group. She was very glad when she did a quick count and came up one short. She hoped that meant Kakashi was going to test this year. Sakura, Sasuke and Naruto breathed a simultaneous sigh of relief when they were named team seven together, happy that their plan to be on the same team succeeded.
When Shisui called for team four, Sakura heaved an exaggerated sigh of relief, catching Shisui's attention. Shisui looked over at her and, upon realizing who had done it and why, he winked at her. She responded by sticking her tongue out at him. Sasuke nudged her arm and shot her a look, causing Sakura to huff in exasperation. Shisui chuckled as he led team four out the door.
When team seven was the only team left without a sensei, the time travelers nearly sighed in relief. They were still pessimistic and doubtful of actually getting Kakashi as their teacher; something may have changed.
Since Iruka was still packing up and had not left yet, Sakura decided to ask him. "Iruka-sensei? When is our sensei going to be here?"
"Actually Sakura-chan, you will be having two teachers. Since it was questionable whether or not Naruto would be allowed to team up with you two, you were both assigned a jönin sensei to apprentice," Iruka told the surprised team. "They should be here sometime soon. Good luck," Iruka called as he left the room.
All three members of team seven sat in a stunned silence for a few minutes.
"Two sensei?" shouted Naruto
Sakura and Sasuke looked at each other slightly worried. Who would the other jönin be and would they be able to trust them?
"Let's go back through the list of jönin we know of and see who it might be," Sakura suggested.
"If we cross out those who just picked up a team, Sarutobi Asuma, Yuuhi Kurenai and Uchiha Shisui are definitely off the list," Sasuke stated. "Who else do we know of?"
"Mitarashi Anko is still a special jönin, so not her," stated Sakura.
"My brother is still Anbu, so not him," put in Sasuke.
"Why can't Anbu and special jönin be sensei?" asked Naruto.
"Special jönin are supposedly too specialized to give a gennin a thorough overall knowledge of the ninja arts and Anbu are supposed to be secret. We aren't supposed to know Itachi is Anbu. Besides, Anbu are too busy to be able to teach a gennin team," Sakura explained.
Naruto nodded in response but quickly found a flaw in their reasoning. "Wait, what are the rules for apprenticing? Can you apprentice a special jönin? Because then, one of our sensei may still be special jönin."
Sakura and Sasuke looked at each other, more worried then they were before on whom the other jönin would be. Both were startled when a voice spoke up behind them. "Shiranui Genma, Namiashi Raidou, Gekkou Hayate, or Morino Ibiki? What kind of list is this?"
After they spun around, Sakura and Sasuke were struck mute. Jiraiya was crouched on the table behind them, looking down at their paper,
"Who are you?" shouted Naruto.
"I am -" started Jiraiya. Unfortunately for him, that is as far as Jiraiya got, because Naruto didn't wait for his response.
Instead, Naruto turned to Sakura and Sasuke and asked, "Who is this old guy?"
Sakura giggled at the look of frustration on Jiraiya's face, while Sasuke answered Naruto. "'This old guy', as you put it, is Jiraiya, the Toad Summoner of the three Legendary Sages. You would recognize him as the author of the famous 'Icha Icha' book series."
Naruto stared at Sasuke blankly for a second before asking, "Why do you thin I would recognize him for writing a book?"
Sakura giggled and replied for Sasuke, "The Icha Icha series are the books you keep trying to take away from Hokage-sama, Naruto-kun."
Naruto stared at her for a second before rounding on Jiraiya, "You write that smut?! I've been trying to get the old man to stop reading it for ages!"
While Jiraiya and Naruto argued about the Icha Icha series and its quality in the literature world, Sakura talked to Sasuke about the new development.
"Do you suppose he is who I was going to apprentice under?" Sakura asked, incredulously. "The only benefits I can see are his rumored spy network. I don't think I could pull off going into that many brothels without putting a lot of men into hospitals."
Sasuke glanced at Sakura for a moment, before he looked to Jiraiya again. "No, I don't think you would have been under him. I doubt I would either. Maybe he is doing a favor for Hokage-sama, and checking up on Naruto?"
Sakura nodded, but didn't reply.
Sakura and Sasuke were scrutinizing Jiraiya while he and Naruto argued, when a whisper came from behind them again. "Is he going to do a trick?"
The duo jumped and spun to see who had snuck up on them this time. They were more relieved than surprised to find that it was Kakashi crouched behind them on the desk, much as Jiraiya had when he first arrived.
After getting over her shock, Sakura bowed to Kakashi in greeting. "Hello Hatake-san. Are you going to be one of our sensei?"
Naruto looked over from his argument with Jiraiya and saw someone new. Naruto ignored Jiraiya and turned to Sasuke. "Is this that Kakashi guy you and Sakura were talking about?"
"Hn," Sasuke grunted an affirmative.
Kakashi decided to ignore the strange, smart children and address the other adult in the room. "Jiraiya-sama! I didn't know you were in the village." Kakashi's tone implied a question in his words.
"I am just stopping by to do a favor for sensei. Though, it appears that it isn't necessary," Jiraiya answered in response to the unspoken question. "So, these are going to be your brats, huh?" he asked as he looked the three over.
Since the two adults had began to talk and ignore them, Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke ignored the adults in kind. Naruto appeared to be distracted by something outside the window, but had a clear view of everyone in the room. Sakura and Sasuke were in a conversation that appeared to consist of hand gestures and body language. The hand gestures were not in a code either of the adults were familiar with.
After a series of Sakura's 'wild' hand gestures, Naruto,instead of Sasuke, responded to whatever she had said. "Patience. Remember, Sakura?"
Kakashi and Jiraiya exchanged glances before they looked back at the trio.
"But, Naruto-kun!" whined Sakura.
Sasuke shook his head at her, "Come, Sakura. Are you going to ruin Naruto's lessons by not following them yourself?"
Sakura pouted and gestured something in reply, and motioned to the two adults in the room. Whatever she had said caused Naruto and Sasuke to scrutinize the two men. Sakura appeared smug.
"I didn't know jönin made a habit of being rude," Naruto said after a minute of staring.
The two jönin looked at the trio, confused. Well, Jiraiya looked confused. Kakashi had only raised an eyebrow.
"Sakura-chan asked you a question, Hatake-san," explained Sasuke.
Kakashi blinked once and lazily looked at the three, who were staring at him expectantly. "Yes, kunoichi. I am going to be one of your sensei. Your other sensei is currently out on a mission and will not be back for two weeks."
Sasuke let out a sigh of relief at those words. His brother would not be his other sensei and neither would any other Uchiha. They would just have to wait to see who it was..
"Now, I'd like to see you three on the roof in 5 minutes. Jiraiya-sama, if you'd accompany me?" Both jönin left the gennin is a flash and smoke.
'-.-' Author's note '-.-'
*1* - the week between the exam (with Naruto's 'test') and the assignments go here. Naruto's interaction with Konohamaru also goes here. :)
Yes, it was kind of a cliff hanger, but I needed to get this posted sooner, rather than later. I've got half of the next chapter already written, but I couldn't add it to this one, or the cliff hanger would have been two times worse. Hope you liked it! Oh, and if you have a suggestion for the other sensei, let me know!