Chapter Six: A History Lesson
"Thanks again for coming and helping me, with most of the staff being re-assigned with the last graduating class all of my paperwork has been piling up."
Shino simply nodded as he and his teammates handed the stacks of papers back to Iruka.
"It was our mission, after all."
Iruka looked mildly surprised for a moment, before a realization crossed his mind, which brought back his smile. "Of course."
Behind Shino, Chouji could be seen fishing a bag of chips out of his belt pack and Hinata stood next to the quiet bug-user, not quite as nervous-looking as she appeared even a month and a half ago.
"Is that all you needed, Iruka-sensei?" the pale girl asked.
Iruka scratched the back of his head in thought for a moment.
"Well, the paperwork is all that I really needed, but if you want to stick around I'm getting ready to give my new class a history lecture."
Chouji swallowed his chip before speaking up.
"History? What time period?"
Iruka smiled again. Ah, I nearly forgot that history was Chouji's favorite subject.
"It's just a general overview. This class is an introductory, and, like I said, most of the staff has been re-assigned after your graduation."
Shino turned to Hinata, who gave a small nod, then to Chouji, who shrugged his shoulders before returning to his chips. Turning to face Iruka again, the sunglass-clad ninja nodded.
Several minutes later, Iruka walked into his classroom followed by Team 8, the later taking seats off to the side of the class, as the teacher looked over his class.
"Alright, since everyone is here and seated, let's get started. Yesterday, we talked about the lessons we could learn from the past, so today we're going to go over a general overview of history."
There were several groans from around the classroom, which were quickly silenced by a glare by the scarred Chunnin.
"Now, as I'm sure some of you are thinking, 'What good is this stuff going to be on the battlefield, after all, the past is done and over with?' Well, I'm here to tell you that the past is infinitely instructive. To use an ancient saying, those who are ignorant of history are themselves doomed to repeat it. To a shinobi, this can mean using a tactic that had been proven faulty years ago, causing not only a mission failure, but possibly the deaths of his or her entire squad."
Allowing his statement to sink in, Iruka moved to the blackboard, and started to write several dates upon its surface.
"Now, we won't be going fully in-depth with this lecture, but we will be doing a general overview of history as we know it. Now, can anyone tell me what the event that occurred two hundred years ago is called?"
A brown haired kid wearing green goggles and a long scarf in the middle of the back row raised his hand.
"Uhmm, sensei, isn't that event called 'The Split'?"
Iruka nodded, writing the term under the appropriate date on the board.
"That's correct, Konohamaru. The Split was a cataclysmic event that happened two hundred years ago, and from surviving records, we know that in a single day and night more than half of the human population was wiped from the world. Along with their deaths, humanity also lost a lot of its technological skills. That said, there still exists a large amount of technology from the 'Before-Split' era. Now, who can tell me what the four families who retained a large amount of their technical skills and history from before the Split are called?"
A girl with black hair and pure white eyes answered, but didn't bother with raising her hand. "That's easy, they're the Old Clans."
Iruka shook his head. "I'm sorry, Hanabi, but that's incorrect. Does anyone else know?"
Hanabi sputtered slightly in indignation as another young girl, this one with short brown hair, a high collar coat, and black sunglasses raised her hand this time. "Sensei, those clans are referred to as the 'Ancient Families'. The four are our own Nara, the Namikaze, the Kariya, and the Kyuubito family from Mist."
Iruka continued to write on the blackboard. "Very good, Shiji. The Ancient Families are indeed the Nara, Namikaze, Kariya, and Kyuubito. As all of you are aware, the Nara Family is the first family to dwell in Konoha, and Kariya Kokishiro-sama resides over Hi-no-kuni as Daimyo. And, as I'm sure you all know, the last of the Namikaze Family was our own Yondaime Hokage, Namikaze Minato."
After writing the next date on the blackboard, Iruka turned back to the class.
"Alright, does anyone know what the time period from the year 25p.s. to 110p.s. is known as?"
A boy in the front row, with black hair, glasses, and an eternally runny nose raised his hand.
"Uh, Sensei, that's the 'Warring Clans' Period, that ended when Daimyo Kariya Kazuki made Konoha Hi-no-kuni's military center."
Iruka smiled. "Very good, Udon. We'll get back to the end of the Warring Clans Period in a minute, but for now, who can tell me which two clans were most responsible for helping establish the five major nations?"
For a moment, no one raised their hand. Just as Iruka thought no one was going to answer, a pale, orange-haired boy in the back raised his hand. "That was the Senju and the Uchiha, right? And they were two of the four families that founded Konoha."
Iruka nodded as he turned back to the blackboard. "Very good, Nekumaru. And now we shall get back to the end of the Warring Clans Period. During the year 105p.s., the Senju and Uchiha clans, after decades of fighting one another, came to an understanding and encountered the Nara and Namikaze Families, who offered the two clans sanctuary in the largest ruin on the continent. Five years later, in 110p.s., the newly established Daimyo of Hi-no-kuni, Kariya Kazuki, approached the allied clans, who by then had restored and fortified a large portion of the ruins, and asked them to serve as the country's standing military. This event established the still-standing precedent of one Hidden Village per nation."
On the blackboard, Iruka wrote down five names, Fire, Wind, Water, Earth, and Lightning. Next to each of these, he also wrote Leaf, Sand, Mist, Stone, and Cloud, respectively.
"After this precedent was established, the other four nations each founded their own Hidden Villages. Now, since we're short of time today, we'll only mention the two Great Hidden Wars. All we'll cover today is the dates. The first occurred in the year 130p.s., between the allies of Konoha and Suna against Iwa, Mizu, and Kumo. The second occurred in 182p.s., between Konoha and Mizu against Iwa, Kumo and Suna. Tomorrow, we'll go more in-depth on the wars, and look at the military strategies applied in each. With that, we'll break for lunch, and start with some basic physical exercises in the training yard."
As the students all filed out of the room, Team 8 approached Iruka.
"Cool lesson, Sensei." Chouji complimented.
Iruka scratched the back of his head and smiled.
-Yamanaka Family Flower Shop-
Inoichi was wiping the front desk of his family's flower shop when he heard the door open.
"Welcome to Yamanaka's Flowers." He began his normal greeting. "How can I help-, oh, hi Shikaku."
Nara Shikaku walked up to the desk, hands in his pockets and a rather dejected look upon his face.
"Inoichi, I got a problem that I could really use your advice on."
Inoichi immediately stopped cleaning, all his attention now focused on his old teammate. "What's up?" He asked. "And should we move somewhere more private?"
Shikaku nodded his head. "It's pretty big, if you've got a place?"
Inoichi returned the nod. "We can use my office." The blond locked the front door and then motioned for his old teammate to follow him as he walked back to the private office.
Once behind closed doors, Inoichi offered Shikaku a chair as he pulled a pair of shot glasses and a bottle of amber liquid out of a filing cabinet.
"Care for a drink?" the blond asked, setting the drink ware down on the desk.
"Thanks." Shikaku nodded in appreciation. "I think I need it."
Inoichi sat down after pouring the brandy. "So, what do you need?"
After downing the contents of the tumbler, Shikaku poured himself another finger length.
"I've got a big problem. Shikamaru's starting to ask questions about four and a half years ago."
Inoichi sat his tumbler down, contents momentarily forgotten. "What do you mean, 'he's asking questions'? He was there, after all-"
Shikaku waved his hand, cutting Inoichi off. "Sorry, let me explain. He's not asking about the events of that night, he's already dealt with that. No, he's asking about what led up to that night. As he puts it, it doesn't take a genius to see that Uzumaki is treated differently by this town. I tried to give him the runaround, but I think that might have made it worse."
Inoichi ran a hand through his hair, sighing. "Well, isn't this just wonderful. What has he been asking, specifically?"
Shikaku eyed his brandy as he replied. "At first, it was pretty routine, for him anyway. He was trying to figure out some of Uzumaki's early history, where he came from, that kind of thing. Then, two months ago, he came in asking me about telepathy."
Inoichi's eyebrows rose slightly. "Telepathy? I had heard the rumors, but I didn't think that they were that accurate."
Shikaku sipped his drink before responding.
"Yeah, well, there not as accurate as you would think. That was just the beginning. A week or so later, he started asking about Itatchi and the whole Uchiha fiasco. I think I kept him running in circles for a little while, but when he came to me asking about eleven years ago I thought my heart was gonna stop right then."
Inoichi dropped his tumbler this time. "He asked about eleven years ago? What the hell did you tell him?"
Shikaku downed the rest of his tumbler. "I told him to lay off this one. In hindsight, that was probably the worst thing I could have said, but he's already toeing some S-class secrets. Your girl hasn't been asking anything out of the ordinary lately, has she?"
Inoichi shook his head as he processed Shikaku's last statement. "No, nothing that I wasn't anticipating, anyway. She's on another one of her pet projects, and all she's been asking me about is the genjutsu phycho-physical effect. What does she have to do with Shika's questions about four and a half years ago?"
Shikaku shook his head. "Just trying to figure out if that crazy kid of mine is in this alone or not. Don't get me wrong, I like nothing better than seeing him working on a team for the first time, but with this particular band, I've had to keep myself expecting anything."
Inoichi shook his head, letting out a slow breath as he did.
"Mitirashi may be a psychological prodigy, but she didn't think this team through very well."
Shikaku shook his head, chuckling lightly as he poured both of them another shot of brandy.
"I think you're wrong there."
Inoichi gave his former teammate an odd look as he accepted the tumbler.
"What do you mean?"
Shikaku continue to chuckle. "Think about it. Shika's already proven that he'll do anything to protect a friend. Hell, they never found four of the bastards, and of the two they did find, only one was able to talk."
Inoichi downed the entire tumbler in one shot. "Not to get off subject," he started. "But what did they do with that last son of a bitch?"
Shikaku's chuckle got darker. A LOT darker.
"Old man Hiruzen gave him to Ibiki, and Ibiki gave him to Mitirashi. On paper, he's in a non-existent cell in a non-existent wing of T&I. Personally, whatever she did to him wasn't near punishment enough."
Inoichi was starting to wish he had something a lot stronger than 170 proof in his office.
"Agreed. I supervised both Naruto's and Chouji's recoveries. I still have nightmares about what they did to those kids. I'm just glad that both they and Shika recovered psychologically."
Shikaku leaned back in his chair. "Yeah, well, unlocking a power that hadn't been seen in more than a hundred years, scoring your first five kills, and seeing two kids near your own age having that done to them would put some strain on a person. Like I said, though, he got over that part."
Inoichi stared at the now-empty bottle. "You think he's out for revenge?"
Shikaku shook his head. "No. I think he's got something else in mind. Something bigger."
Inoichi leaned onto the desk. "I can't tell you what to do, but if it were me, with everything you told me, I'd tell him the truth."
Shikaku stared at the blond. "What?"
"Look at it this way, coming right out and giving him the full truth is far better than him running around, finding half-truths and erroneous prejudices."
"We're still talking about several S-class secrets here, penalty of death and all that."
Inoichi leaned back in his own chair. "True, but I think we can safely say that Shika is going to find out all of this, one way or another. Read him in, and explain all of the risks before you do."
Shikaku rubbed his temples. "You know, there are times that being a parent is just so damn troublesome."
A/N: First up, some clarifications of terms.
p.s. – Time period, Post-Split
The Split – A cataclysmic event that changed the face of the world. (Will be important later)
Alright, I'm sure that some of you will want to know what exactly happened, both during The Split and four and a half years ago. You're all welcome to guess, but I highly doubt that you'll get it right. I will, however, give an Omake request to whoever gets closest. And, no, the kid in the class is not Neku from the game, he's just a random student I thought up. As always, constructive criticism is welcome, and flames will be added to my now very large nest of ashes. This is S.P., signing off.