There are rumblings of war on the horizon and in six months, the First Great Shinobi War will break out. Afterwards, new countries will be created to separate the five great nations from each other, radically altering the political landscape.
But for now, this is still in the future.
"Sensei, are we there yet?"
Tobirama doesn't need to turn around to know who said that. Homura's lack of stamina is appalling sometimes. Still, it has been a long journey and they've made good time.
They join him on the ground a second later. Koharu fusses with her weapons pouch while the boys pretend not to notice her.
He sighs mentally. Well, at least she isn't fawning over one of them. He hadn't expected much out of her or Homura with their civilian backgrounds but she had proven herself long ago. Now if only Homura could show that he deserved his chuunin vest more often as well, he would be content.
They're off again ten minutes later. Their destination is the Fire-Wind border and the patrol team there that's waiting to be relieved by them.
The change-over goes smoothly and Tobirama resigns himself to spending the next two weeks with only three bored twelve-year-olds for company.
It's the fifth day into their two-week stint when Hiruzen spots the the pair of Suna shinobi on the other side of the border. The man has a large scroll strapped to his back while there's a bandage-wrapped bundle showing over the girl's shoulder.
They stop as soon as they realise they've been noticed.
The man eyes Sensei warily.
The girl glances at his team dismissively and Hiruzen seethes inwardly. She's not wearing any clan symbols so he has no idea who she thinks she is.
Sensei gestures for them to come over and they obey swiftly.
"These are my genin: Hiruzen, Homura and Koharu," he says, pointing them out in turn. "Children, this is Chikamatsu Monzaemon of Suna."
They want to protest at being called children but Sensei is using his shut-up-and-be-polite-brats tone. Also, he gave the other shinobi a full name and village introduction so that means that he's important and strong.
The girl comes to stand next to Monzaemon and he introduces her as his apprentice, Chiyo.
They keep to their respective sides of the border after that but occasionally he catches Chiyo watching them. After the fourth time, he decides to stop pretending that she's not there.
Chiyo looks around, annoyed. The boy had disappeared suddenly and she really doesn't trust him out of her sight.
She turns to see if he's gone in another direction and finds him far too close to her face for comfort.
Her attempt to step back quickly fails as she loses her balance, having managed to discover that the only protruding rock in miles was directly behind her.
Hiruzen has a moment to study her face and take special note of how red her lips are before the arm she'd flung out in an attempt to keep her balance fists in his shirt and she uses him to stay upright.
Unfortunately she's just that bit heavier than him (Sensei always frowns whenever Koharu eats more than him which is surprisingly often but he can't help being a picky eater) and he ends up on the ground with her on top of him, lips pressed together tightly.
There's a funny tingly feeling in his lips and she's blushing slightly. The sensation spreads to the rest of his body rapidly and he glares up at her accusingly.
"Idiot. You're lucky that I only wear a mild paralysing one normally," she snaps at him before throwing him over her shoulder.
She deposits the boy on his side of the border and tries not to think how foolish she'd been. The poison will wear off in a matter of hours and teach him a lesson about the hidden dangers of kunoichi but being noticed by him is a far worse punishment.
Puppeteers cannot afford to be seen in the open and this has proven how lacking her stealth skills are.
Still, she touches her lips and smiles. Maybe her first kiss wasn't that bad after all.
This was a present for Nymbis who wanted more Chiyo fic. It's also a nice chance to explore the dynamics of Team Tobirama as well.