Hira's eyes cracked open reluctantly, giving him a face full of the man-who-is-supposedly-sensei's unamused face not three inches from his own.

"Holy-!" He jerked up, instantly, kunai in his fingers, trembling in shock. Over to his left he heard Aki and Rin waking up with equally startled oaths, followed by the sound of coarse swearing as –Gin? Yes, Gin.- cuffed them more awake.

Shikamaru rose smoothly and wandered over, absently relieving the boy of his weapon in the process.

"Wake up time."

"Uh, Sensei?" Aki squinted up at the sky hesitantly, Rin glaring up next to her ill-temperedly.

"It's nighttime. Why're you waking us up?" He grumbled.

In a flash, Shikamaru was by his side smiling a little half smile with eyes that were pleasantly dazed and gleaming with madness. "Because I said so, pup. Got a problem with that?"

Rin flinched away instinctively, shuddering just a little too hard to be faked. "No sensei." Bad. Ass. Awesome.

A knife-edged grin flashed briefly. "Good."

"Now get up. We're leaving."

Hira got up at the command, while Rin took time to hastily crack his back before scrambling to his feet. Aki stayed on her back for a second then closed her eyes, took a breath and rolled upwards, landing perfectly.

They picked their packs up and looked at their sensei. He raised an eyebrow at their synchronization and took off towards the Gate.

Gin looked at them for a second before leaving as well, and Rin had started before Aki and Hira registered what was going on.


"Trickster's balls Rin, how are you awake?" Aki demanded irritably. She yawned and rubbed at her eyes, letting her pack fall off her shoulders with a thump.

Rin grinned at her, teeth suddenly seeming sharp. "I'm used to keeping odd hours."

Hira twitched. "How?" He grumbled. "You just became a genin. Like us."

"Your point?" Rin lost his smile, and looked seriously at his teammate.

"My point is," Hira snapped, "why do you guy seem to have missions already no your record when you shouldn't have even been let out of the Academy yet?"

Shikamaru blinked at the Controller's lack of knowledge. Let them handle it, he mouthed to Genma. He wanted to see how the rest of his team would react.

Aki looked at Hira in disbelief. "You're telling me that you didn't know about the runs?"

"The what?"

Rin snorted. "Obviously he doesn't sweetheart. Here, lemme try."

He faced his teammate seriously. "OK Hira. In the Corps, to attain Blue ranking, you go on a mission. It's not going to be ranked higher than C, but things always happen. Me and Aki are both Blue ranking members of the corps. That means that we've been on a mission already."

Hira scowled childishly and looked away.

"Are you. . .pouting?" Aki asked him, amused.

Flushing, her teammate denied it.

"Liar!" Rin called him out on it, and Hira cast around for something to throw into the concersation.

"What do the colors mean?"

"What colors?" Aki asked quizzically, after exchanging a glance with Rin. Behind them, Genma nearly stumbled at the sheer stupidity of the genin.

"The ranking colors." He called out, annoyed. Shikamaru grinned knowingly at him behind their backs. Rolling his eyes in return, he nodded and veered off from the group. The genin didn't even notice.

"Oh." Rin said blankly. "Well, you start out green, then rise to red, then blue, then purple, brown, black, yellow, white, it goes on for a couple more. To be a Master in the Corps you need ta have a gold rank. That's how it goes."

"So," Hira said after thinking about that for a second, "you and Aki are still low down?"

Aki was about to answer that, when Shikamaru butted in. "Yes, so you don't need to worry about being extremely outclassed by your teammates," he interrupted. "We're almost at the Gate, so shut up now."


Behind them, Shikamaru started to whistle softly, the noise camoflauged by the dialog. Receiving an answering flare of chakra down his bond with Genma, he picked up the pace, quickly overtaking the brats and leading them directly towards the Gate, already visible in the distance.

Landing softly at the large entrance to Konoha, the jounin handed over their papers. Looking over the documents, the chunin's partner started asking questions.


The Doku genin looked up at the question, unashamedly eavesdropping. Shikamaru noticed it out of the corner of his eye and made a mental note to teach subtlety to the brats.


The chunin guarding the gate looked up from logging the party out. "Full name." He amended.

Shikamaru looked at him steadily.


"No family name?" The chunin pressed.

". . . No."

Mouth tightening imperceptibly, he looked down and wrote the name.

"Point of Origin?" The other one asked. The genin all shifted at that one, wondering as a whole if it was safe to give out the name of their village.

"Dokugakure." Obviously Sensei didn't have a problem with that, so they relaxed. Shikamaru made another note: BEAT subtlety into them. The genin were laughably readable. Hardly benefiting shinobi underneath his command. By the time he was done with them they weren't going to broadcast anything. He smirked to himself.

"Reason for visiting?"

"Diplomatic relations with Watashi village."

The chunin booking the departure looked up again, mildly tenser and infinitely more wary.

"Wari? That's a small village."
"It is."

But it's not on the list of villages protected by Konoha. In fact, it's completely independent of it's local Hidden Village. So, Doku's capitalizing on that. Deal with it, bitch.

"Uh-huh." The chunin read the subtext loud and clear. "You stayed in Konoha for. . . thirty five days?"

A nod was his only answer. Genma landed silently behind his master, amber eyes gleaming in the dark like some kind of demented hellcat. The chunin gulped quietly and wrote down the information.

"The genin have been in Konoha for. . ." He looked at the papers and frowned. "That can't be right," he muttered to himself. "They only stayed one day?"

"Yes. One day. It was all that was needed."

Another small tightening of the lips, but the chunin logged them, stamped the papers and waved them on out.

"Thank you for visiting Konoha," he drawled, almost sarcastically but still maintaining his respectful tone. "I hope you had a good time."

Genma smirked at him, a flash of teeth and a glitter of metal. Then they were gone.


"Alright," Sensei said as they leaped through the trees. "Introductions."

"My name is Shikamaru. You will refer to me as 'Sensei'. My usual codename is Ranmaru. I hold the rank of your jounin sensei. I like the dark, I don't like stupid useless brats. I specialize in assassination by weapon."

Well. . .a little exaggeration about the codenames never hurt anyone. He didn't have an official one anyway, it was about time he chose one.

The genin looked at their sensei in a new light.

He was only a few years older then them, but he was already a jounin, getting a team and specialized in a dangerous field.

His build was slender almost to the point of being skinny. They knew that it was lined with muscles, and he was almost ungodly in his flexibility. He wore a long shirt, dark in color, with wide sleeves that fell well past his fingertips, loose pants with no discernable pockets. Red stained bandaged wound around his stomach. Longish, dark brown hair was held back from his face with a hiate-ate, the metal plate proclaiming his loyalties hidden from sight.

His ears were pierced, and with two hoops in his left ear and two studs in his right he looked a little lopsided. Dark, intelligent eyes that were half closed, finished off his look.

"My name is Genma. You will also call me 'Sensei'. My usual codename is Gin. I am Shikamaru-sama's direct subordinate, as well as his partner. I hold the rank of tokubetsu jounin. I like the rain, and I don't like fish. I specialize in assassination by seduction."

With long, light brown hair, and a dark smile and laugh, the older of their two sensei seemed both more approachable and more detatched. He was stockier than Shikamaru, but he was most definitely not muscle material. He had a dancers grace, and Aki could tell that he was also very flexible. His torso bore the jounin vest of Doku, dark tan cloth covering thick padding, no neck guard, and several pockets.

His headband was worn with the metal guard cocked against his head.

Rin jumped in feet first. "My name's Tsuiro Rin. I don't have a codename yet, but the Dollhouse is going to assign me one soon. I'm a Blue ranked member of the Seduction Corps. I use my clan's ninjutsu. I like dango and I don't like tight spaces."

Shikamaru nodded. He'd read all of that in the kids Academy profile.

"Girl, you next."

Aki startled but caught herself in time. "My name's Shiaka Aki. I also don't have a codename, but the Dollhouse is going to give me a codename at the same time as Rin." Hira listened carefully. This was one of his charges, kinda, so he had to know this stuff. Genma noticed this, and approved.

"I'm also Blue ranked member of the Seduction Corps. I use explosives and fans. I like rabbit and I don't like restraints."

Even Rin slanted a look her way at that last comment, but Aki ignored it. Shikamaru made a mental note about explosives. He didn't remember reading that in the report.

As Hira pushed off a branch, he started his introduction.

"My name's Yashika Hira. I'm a red Controller of the Seduction Corps." He started off strongly, taking a secret sort of glee in the disbelief in Rin's face. "My codename is Nora-If you use that for fun Rin, I swear that I will kill you and no one will ever find your body. I use basic seals and I have an interest in wire. I like fire and I don't like nicknames." He stressed the last bit, looking straight at Rin.

Unfortuanately, looking at Rin meaningfully was a bit counterproductive, because as soon as Hira looked at him, Genma-sensei's hand shot out and saved him from ungracefully plowing into a tree.

"Pay attention, gaki."

Rin snorted a laugh. "Yeah boss-man. Pay attention." He wasn't quite fast enough to escape the cuff that landed around his head.

"That goes for you too, smartass."

Aki smiled quietly and kept on moving.

"At the rate we're going, we should end up in Doku in, say, four days. That's if the brats don't burn out or anything. Do you want to speed it up or just increase the hours?"

A small smile creasing Shikamaru's eyes, he looked at his subordinate. "Both."

He sped up a bit, once again taking the lead. Genma chuckled and fell back to form the rear guard.


Author's Note:

Hey! So, this time I'm trying to use scene breaks, because my story used those a bit and it gets kinda confusing if I don't have any in.

Thanks to Marechen Freunde, who reviewed!

Sorry that this chapter's late (coughcoughAGAINcoughcough), but when I realized that I was gone for 3 weeks, and am leaving for another 3 weeks tomorrow, I just couldn't leave you all hanging! So I wrote this.

In case you were wondering, that's probably why it's crappier than usual.

So as always, feel free to review! Like, dislike, etc. More reviews inspire more chapters! If you spot a typo don't hesitate.