That Most Heinous of Crimes
By Andrew J. Talon
Disclaimer: I do not and probably never will own Naruto or any other copyrighted works mentioned in this story. I am not writing this for profit.
Author's Note: Every fanfiction author writes a horrible self-insert fic first. The truly bad ones keep writing them. The insane ones try to write one that isn't crap.
I'm still not sure which one I am. But, you the readers have spoken, and as you liked this story a lot in Ramen Doodles, here it is in it's own fic. Enjoy... But don't say I didn't warn you.
You know, you'd think being in an entirely different universe would involve a lot of transition. A lot of denial, a lot of freaking out.
Probably some therapy. Lord knows the folks around here could use it.
But when it comes right down to it, Konohagakure is a city like any other city. It has people. Fat people, tall people, beautiful people, ugly people. Mean, hateful people, kind and generous people. Hardworking and lazy, private and public. There isn't a kind of dark malaise that hangs over the city-A kind of oppression of the darkness there. No, there's a different spirit here, that of a populace between rural and urban. Fortunately without most of the problems of suburbia.
Hell, it reminds me a lot of the naval base housing I grew up in when my father taught at the naval academy. Everybody there had someone in the military, or was in the military themselves. Everybody had an opinion on history or the government. Everyone wanted their husband, wife, son, daughter, whatever to come back safely after their next mission.
Even me. Well, this me. It was the little things that let me stay sane the moment I woke up here, memories of two worlds bouncing around in my brain.
My father: Retired military, math genius, and a bit absent minded. Despite the change in the setting and the culture, he remained my father. My brother the closeted homosexual: Working as a lawyer, dressing up as a woman and going down to the red light district when he thought nobody was looking, still a total and complete bitch to me and anyone he found beneath him. A bit exaggerated, and a bit more disturbing, but the fundamentals remained the same. The crossdressing was a new one, I'll have to admit.
And me. There were differences. Good ones, bad ones, but still, fundamentally... No change. The probabilities were insane, the implications disturbing.
Still, I think the thing that made the transition easiest wasn't my neat, awesome powers. Nor the respect I had, earned through hard work. It was, quite simply, the fact that I had a purpose. A reason for being. A direction in life beyond meandering through college trying to figure out what to do.
I stare into the mirror. Age 27, freshly minted jounin of Konohagakure. Due to head down to pick up a genin team from the Academy, and see if they have what it takes to go the distance. I adjust my glasses, run my hand through the same messy brown hair.
I find myself looking at my reflection, and smiling like I haven't in years. I'm somebody here-Not in rewards or empty service but to people.
Really, is there anything else you can ask for?
Aside from a girlfriend. Or a wife.
Both of which my other still lacks.
Ah well, I decide, the memories fusing together. I have time... I have the means... And best of all... I grinned.
I don't have Team Seven!
Whew! Being responsible for the destiny of the Elemental Continent was not on my priority list, nor on my other's. My other simply wanted to be the best he could be. He had no aspirations of manipulating the timeline... Though he wouldn't mind getting the girl who became the wife of one of our friends.
That also held between realities.
Guess you can't have everything.
But! A fresh perspective, a different viewpoint, a new world and life laid out in front of me. So, I was going to take it and do the best I could.
I would find greatness in my students, even if it killed them! No matter who they were!
My name is Tsume Andoryuu. And even with the dangers of this world, I have to admit-I'm looking forward to the future.
"... Uzumaki Naruto, Haruno Sakura, and Uchiha Sasuke. Team 7! Your instructor: Tsume Andoryuu!"
All eyes on me. Awkward cough.
"... Great! I'm... Happy..."
I am so dead...
After my... Outburst, I managed to calm down enough to order my new team to the roof. A quick use of Shunshin outside got me up there before they arrived, and I sat down in an effort to try and slow my racing thoughts.
Most of which consisted of I'm screwed I'm screwed I'm screwed...
I needed to focus. I needed to not panic. After all, I wasn't lost here. I knew the events of the manga and the anime. I knew the characters... Well, what Kishimoto had deigned to share with us.
My other's memories had numerous instances of seeing Naruto around the village (running after pulling a prank), and had even been victim to one such prank himself.
Even though the Kyuubi had taken my Other's mother (as cancer had taken her in my own reality), he bore no ill will against Naruto for his burden. He wasn't a saint though-He found Naruto annoying, and that part of me was looking at this assignment with some dread at what kind of student he'd be.
However, it ceased to be an issue with my knowledge of the manga and anime. After all, I knew how to turn Naruto into a very powerful ninja. I knew how to turn Sasuke and Sakura into powerful ninja, thanks to a wealth of ideas from TFF, the canon and various fanfiction. Now that I really thought about it, I was actually kind of lucky. All three of my students had enormous potential, that a teacher who put in even a modest amount of effort could bring out.
Though there was still the issue of having the fate of the Elemental Continents on my shoulders if I did something wrong. If I let Sasuke go to Orochimaru, then he becomes his Post-Time Skip douchebag Mary Sue self.
What could I do to keep him from going? Training alone wasn't enough-Kakashi had sprung for The Strong Fist knockoff and the Chidori and even that wasn't able to keep Sasuke from defecting.
I sensed my students clambering up the stairs, so I decided to shelve these thoughts for later. They appeared, and I gave them a smile. Sasuke naturally didn't return it, Sakura flashed a polite smile back, and Naruto looked a bit dubious.
"Sit down," I said. They sat, just as they had in canon. It was more than a little surreal, actually. Particularly in their phenotypes.
In an anime, it's difficult to determine ethnicity aside from really obvious cues, like skin color, due to the limitations of art. In the world itself though, everything was real. Naruto, for instance, was more European in his appearance. The anime made his hair much brighter than it actually is-It was a darker blonde, slightly lighter than Mark Hamill's. You could lose him in any city in the US, really. Closer observation though hinted at some Asian features, particularly around his eyes.
Sasuke looked like a protagonist out of a Final Fantasy game-Again, that odd mixture of European and Asian features, though the Asian aspects dominated slightly. Sakura was slimmer and more delicate than the boys, naturally, but European features dominated. She reminded me a bit of a French girl I once met on exchange, only in better physical condition. The anthropologist in me was furiously speculating about the ethnic migrations and possible reasons for this, when Sakura cleared her throat.
I got out of my reverie and covered my wandering thoughts with a bright smile.
"Sorry about that. Now that you're here, let's go around and introduce ourselves."
"Introduce ourselves?" Sakura asked. I nodded.
"Name, interests, goals, likes, dislikes, that sort of thing."
"Well, shouldn't you go first then, sensei?" Sakura asked. Her voice had a kind of... Hermione-ish quality to it. Which made it slightly annoying.
"Nope," I said simply. "Go for it, Pinky."
Sakura looked annoyed, but went with her canon spiel.
"I'm Haruno Sakura, I like..." Look and blush at Sasuke, "I dislike Naruto," she glared at him, and he looked hurt, "My goal is..." another blush and look at Sasuke, along with a giggle. "And I hate Ino-pig!"
"... Great to hear, or not hear, as the case may be," I observed wryly. "Naruto?"
"I'm Uzumaki Naruto! I really like-!"
"Do you have ADHD?" I interrupted. Seriously, he'd been twitching and shifting around like he couldn't sit still. I knew what it was, but hey, I really wanted to use the line.
"What's that?" Naruto asked.
"It's a disorder. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder," I explained. "Put simply, you have too much energy and your brain works too fast."
"Works too fast?" Sakura asked incredulously. I nodded.
"Oh yes. Your thoughts race without allowing you to adequately process the information your senses are trying to tell you. You get bored unless there's enough going on around you to take it all in." I smiled. "On the plus side, it means you operate well in crisis situations since you're now 'caught up'."
Naruto grinned happily at this.
"Unfortunately, you operate rather poorly when nothing is going on," I added. "Or when subtle things are occuring."
Naruto, naturally, scowled.
"I can be subtle!"
That got an incredulous look out of even Sasuke. I nodded.
"Yes, I've heard... But things get missed out on. Anyway, where were we? Right. Naruto, got any likes? Hobbies? Goals?"
"Well, I like to train, eat ramen, and garden," Naruto admitted. His grin grew. "And I want to become the Hokage!"
"All right. Now, you," I said, looking at Sasuke. The Uchiha survivor was in the Gendo position, and lifted his head only a little to make sure he was heard.
"Uchiha Sasuke. I have few likes, many dislikes, and it's not so much a goal... As an aspiration... To kill a certain man," he said. Sakura stared in some disbelief, though Naruto merely gave Sasuke that foxy scowl of his. Mentally I sighed in some relief. At least they weren't different from their canon selves.
Unfortunately... They were their canon selves.
"Good... Well, that was informative."
"You still haven't gone, sensei," Sakura said, with just the hint of a whine. I looked at her with a flat stare, and she averted her eyes. I then smiled.
Well... What the hell...
"My name is Tsume Andoryuu," I began. "I like many things, I dislike many things, and I have a number of hobbies which are related to my goal. Which is..." And here I stood up dramatically and gave them all a manic grin.
"To take over the WORLD!"
Needless to say, my students were... Weirded out.
"Really?" Naruto asked. I shrugged.
"Nah. Too much work. But I'll be satisfied with you three becoming the best ninja you can be. How's that sound?"
"Um... Better?" Sakura said. I shrugged again.
"Well, if you'd like to help me take over the world, just say the word and we'll do it. I'm rather flexible that way. Also, the two goals kind of overlap, as I'll need the best ninja I can find to conquer the world."
"Ooh! Could I still be Hokage if you took over the world?" Naruto asked.
I nodded. "Definitely!"
"Cool! Let's do that!" Naruto grinned. Sasuke clearly had the look of a man surrounded by madmen and idiots, and Sakura was not much better.
"All right! But for right now, let's have some lunch!"
As far as first impressions go... Well, it was weird, but it would teach an important lesson. Looking underneath the underneath.
Oh, I was going to have so much fun!
The Elemental Countries are very, very weird. You thought your glimpse into them from the manga or anime side was weird? You haven't even touched on the weirdness.
For one thing, just as Naruto ninja are very unlike traditional ninja, so too is the Daimyo very unlike a traditional Daimyo. The closest approximation I can draw is a kind of mix between king, chairman and prime minister.
Fire Country itself is like if the Greek city-states joined together into a semi-democratic state, with each state being regulated to keep what they were best at what they were best at. And the central government had a lot of influence from modern China. These prefectures/states had a lot of autonomy, as long as they kept up certain quotas of taxes and kept to established regulations and laws, and even got a say in the day to day running of the central government. There was a constitution and a sort of "contract" between the Daimyo and his citizens, not that dissimilar to the Magna Carta or a Bill of Rights, that essentially stated that as long as the Daimyo did a good job as the commander of the armed forces and the chief executive, he kept his job. Suits that he was not doing his job properly could be brought before a high court, and a council of judges (who were maintained by popular vote through their version of a legislature) would examine the Daimyo's record. If he was not fulfilling obligations, the government would negotiate and work out a new contract with the Daimyo for him to keep to his obligations. If he couldn't fulfill his contract, he'd be dismissed and a new Daimyo candidate (generally a member of a wealthy family or a highly ranked military commander) would be applied for general election-But the judge's council had the final say on the Daimyo's appointment, which could be overruled by the Head of the Diet calling for...
Pbbt. Just thinking about it gave me a headache. It was an odd amalgam of democracy, oligarchy, autocracy, corporatism... Their constitution was a mess. And yet, somehow, it all worked. Trust me though, I think the manga was better off not getting into all of this.
Which brought me to my team. Naruto was pouting that we weren't eating ramen for lunch (I'd seen a beef bowl, and dammit, I wanted some), but was enjoying his food. Sasuke had gotten something simple and was eating methodically, while Sakura (who had been given an extra big bowl-The girl needed some meat on her bones) was picking at her food and trying to eat as little as possible.
And me? I was thinking about how I got into this mess. Rumor had it that Hatake Kakashi was going to get Team 7, and in a ninja village, the more denied a rumor, the more likely it was true. I also had my own knowledge of the manga and anime-Kakashi was the guy they picked in canon, and the reasoning held up in theory.
He was the strongest ninja in Konoha save the Hokage and the Sannin, he had the Sharingan, he had that connection to the Fourth Hokage... Really, with the rookie of the year being Sasuke, how could it be anyone BUT Kakashi?
Which left me wondering how the hell I got stuck with Team 7. Did God consider it ironic? Well, it was. Horribly ironic. Downright funny, if you thought about it.
"So, um, Sensei... What will you be teaching us first?"
Sakura, once again, broke into my thoughts. Naruto looked at me eagerly.
"Yeah, what? Is it going to be something cool? Something awesome? C'mon, tell me!"
Naruto's voice wasn't exactly grating... Okay, it was grating. Mainly in how he had trouble in volume control. Even speaking normally he sounded loud.
"Well... First I'll need to see where you all are as ninja," I said. "Then we'll proceed from there and-"
I managed to resist the urge to twitch, and plastered a happy smile on my face as I looked up. "Hello, Ben."
The genin turned their heads to gawk at the bear-like man in woman's clothing who stood before our table. A smile was plastered on his face that didn't quite make me want to vomit given how his make-up was applied.
"Aw, is that all you have to say to your brother? Especially when I've brought something great!" Ben pouted. Sakura, Naruto and even Sasuke's eyes all widened.
"Br-Brother?!" Sakura squeaked. I gave a little shrug.
"This is Benji, my brother. As you can see, he's a very... Colorful individual," I said calmly. Benji smirked at me.
"So diplomatic and reserved, it's rather cute." He looked over at my students with a wink. "Don't buy it, he's actually a nutjob."
"He's the nutjob?" Naruto blurted out.
"Now now, Naruto," I said. "No throwing stones. I know all about your 'Sexy jutsu'."
The blonde looked indignant. "That's different! It's for use AGAINST perverts, not some-!"
"WHAT?! That's the most perverted jutsu ever! And it's stupid!" Sakura butt in. Sasuke looked as though he'd rather be anywhere else. I have to admit, I agreed. So I decided to try and nip this in the bud.
"Ben, you had something for me, right? What is it?" I asked. Ben grinned, and produced a box from his dress.
"This!" He set it down with a beam. "Just got it from the publishers."
"You were going through my mail again weren't you," I sighed. Ben shrugged.
"We are brothers... And besides, you do it to me all the time!"
"I do it because I know how to tell the difference between a bomb and a box of chocolates from your latest paramour," I said flatly, quickly checking the box for any traps. Jounin training said it was safe, so did instinct. So, with a slash of a kunai, I opened the package.
"What's that?" Naruto asked. I opened the box, and picked up the book within. I allowed myself a little smile.
"So, he published a new one huh?"
"Yep!" Ben said brightly. He took the book and presented it to us all, like a butch, cross-dressing Vanna White. Ooh, now there's an image for you.
Suffer dear reader, suffer.
"Strategic Considerations for Future Conflicts, by Tusume Rei?" Sakura read, her eyes widening in realization. "Wait, you're that Tusume?"
"No, that's my father," I explained patiently. Sasuke and Naruto both looked lost, and Sakura looked like she was about to have a nerdgasm.
"I-I did a whole report on his book Treatise on Joint Operations! I love his writing!"
"Huh? Who? What?" Naruto asked. Before Sakura could rant at Naruto for being stupid, I quickly interjected.
"My dad was an officer in the Fire Army and acted as a liaison and strategic planner during the Third Shinobi War," I quickly explained. "He also taught mathematics and some strategy classes, and writes books about how wars are fought and managed."
"I didn't know you two were related," Sakura said happily. "Can-Can I read this book?"
"Sure, it is my copy after all," I said, handing it over to her. Naruto frowned.
"Strategic... Joint Operations...?"
"Yeah... Put pretty simply, there's a lot more to fighting than just, you know, fighting," I explained. "Though it depends on what level you're planning at. It is a good thing to learn, however, if you're going on to, say, Hokage." I grinned at the eager light that glinted in Naruto's eyes. Sasuke was only marginally interested.
"Tell me more!"
"Oh, don't let him start, kid," Ben interjected. "He'll talk your head off about how this general did such and such, and how population numbers mean something something. It'll bore you to tears."
"But I want to learn! What would you know about it anyway?" Naruto demanded.
"Well, I know that orange clashes so badly with your skin I'm getting a headache just from looking at you," Ben replied glibly. "Can't be helpful as a ninja-Your enemies just shoot to end the pain." Mentally I groaned. Shit, Naruto, you fool, he's going on a rant!
"Speaking of, the broody one! He looks like an anemic vampire, he's so pale! You aren't going to let him stay that way, right Andoryuu? And his hair! His dress sense! UGH! He could be smiling brightly right now and he'd still be taken for emo!"
Sasuke glowered. Ben prattled on, Sakura his next target.
"But you darling! Oh! I love your hair, truly I do! You take such good care of it!"
"Oh? I-I do?" Sakura was interupted from defending her crush by the flattery. "Well, um, th-thank you!"
"But the dress! Oh, the dress. Quite a risk dear, you look like a... How shall I put this delicately? Like you decided to work early at the red lantern district," Ben said. Sakura gaped.
"I WHAT?! M-My mother made me this dress!"
"Oh yes! And the pink hair... Oh my! You're Sachiko's little girl, aren't you? Oh, I meet her up downtown all the time!"
"Downtown?!" Sakura gasped. Naruto blinked.
"Hey, wait... Does this mean Sakura's mom is a prostitute?"
"MY MOTHER IS NOT A PROSTITUTE!" Sakura screeched, whacking Naruto over the head.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of, dearie! Sachiko does wonderful things!" Ben tried.
"MY MOTHER IS NOT A PROSTITUTE!"
I sighed, and looked across the table at Sasuke. He looked back. I shot him a look that told him I knew exactly where he was and how he was feeling... And, strangely enough, I got one back.
I guess those with siblings do have a connection... Even if one is a crazed genocidal maniac, and the other is a crossdressing asshole.
Benji had gone off to terrorize some other victims, leaving me with my team. Alone. Again.
Still, the tension was a little lower thanks to the fact that we all now had something in common-Namely, an intense dislike for my brother. I owed him an angora sweater or something.
Oh, wait. Angora didn't exist here. Damn.
"So, what was it you were saying about stuff a Hokage should know?" Naruto asked. He was avoiding looking at Sakura, who was shoveling beef and rice into her mouth as quickly as she could with a look of misery. Sasuke was actually paying attention, which I took as a sign of progress.
"Well... Summed up, mostly what my dad talks about is how wars are fought and managed, from the squad level up to a theater level conflict," I explained.
"Theater? What's this got to do with movies?" Naruto asked.
"It's not that kind of theater, idiot," Sasuke snorted. Naruto scowled back.
"Fuck you, bastard!"
"Hey, hey, focus guys," I interjected. "You want to know this or not?"
"He insulted me!" Naruto whined. Sasuke snorted.
"I'm stating an obvious fact."
"Yeah well, you're a pale, anemic vampire!"
"Oh good, stealing from the transexual. I always knew you were weird."
I sighed, and in an instant, an idea appeared in my head on how to resolve the situation. Before I could stop myself, my hands were forming seals. A slip of my kunai got me some blood, and I pressed my hand down on the table.
"Kuchiyose no jutsu," I spoke, and in a poof of smoke, my summon arrived. My intent transmitted to it over our linked chakra, and the next second, a spider the size of a dinner plate had jumped up and latched it's legs onto Sauske's face.
"And another-ACK!" Naruto cried out. Sakura dropped her chopsticks. Behind the spider, Sasuke's eyes were widen in frozen horror.
"Now that I have your attention," I said calmly. "May I continue?"
Sakura and Naruto slowly nodded. Sasuke was still totally frozen in fear, which I alleviated by having my summon jump back to my hand. Strangely enough, I didn't feel horror, repulsion or the need to scrub my skin with steel wool until I was clean at the spider's touch. My Other's experience with his summons took care of that.
"Hey boss, how's it going?" Ringumo asked, clicking her mandibles. I smiled back at the summon, quite aware of my team's continuing horror.
"All right, Gumo-chan. How about you?"
"Bored," she said flatly. She scuttled around and looked back at Team 7. "Who are these people?"
"This is my genin team, Gumo-chan," I replied. "Uzumaki Naruto, Uchiha Sasuke, and Haruno Sakura."
"Hello!" Ringumo called, raising one of her legs in a friendly wave. Naruto managed to get over his initial horror fastest, and looked intently at the summon.
"Wow... A real live summon?"
"Yes," I said with a smile. "This is Ringumo, part of the Spider family. I'm fortunate enough to be her summoner."
"He's much better than our old summoner. My mom really loves him!" Gumorin said cheerfully. Sakura gaped.
"You mean... Um... There are... Bigger spiders than you?"
"Oh yes! My mom's really huuuge!" Ringumo said, spreading her forelegs widely. "Big as a house!"
"Gumo-chan, why don't you head home? I'll play with you later," I said, as Sakura turned white at the mental image of a house-sized spider. The little summon gave the spider equivalent of a nod, and poofed away.
"... Sp-Spiders?" Sakura managed. I nodded.
"Yeah... Sorry about that Sasuke. Perhaps a bit extreme, but I don't like being interrupted."
Sasuke managed to very slowly nod, and tried to regain his composure. I sighed and rubbed the back of my head.
"Where was I...? Eh, I think I'll save that lecture for another time. I nearly forgot-You all have a test tomorrow."
"What? Another test?" Naruto asked. I nodded.
"Yep. It's required of Konoha for a team to demonstrate whether they can operate together successfully. Put simply, if you can't work together, then you can't be a ninja."
"Work together?" Naruto asked flatly. I nodded.
"Yes..." I realized I was making it extremely obvious, but honestly, this was supposed to be the military, right? Teamwork is essential in any military unit.
Besides... If they didn't get the point of the test from these clues, then there wasn't much else to do but give them some hints.
They couldn't be that dumb or self absorbed, could they?
I decided to leave a Shadow Clone with my team, and instructed it to spend time with the team and find some kind of activity for them to do together. May as well hedge my bets in case they really were that thick.
As for me... I went to the Hokage's office, Ringumo re-summoned onto my shoulder.
"What are we going to do, Andoryu?" The spider asked. I simply smiled at every person we passed, every eye upon Ringumo. Subconsciously, my other was perfectly at ease with Ringumo and others of her kind. That biological imperative that stated anything with eight legs and fangs was something to get the fuck away from was simply not there.
It was actually due to just how my Other had gotten to sign the summoning contract. As well as most of his current skill set. It was a fear he had been forced to get rid of... Or go utterly insane.
Being reverse-summoned into a world of giant, sentient, chakra-using spiders for a whole year by your insane sensei tended to prioritize how you viewed the world.
But that was a different story that my Other and myself didn't really want to dwell on right now.
Or really, ever.
"We're going to see the Hokage," I explained to my summon.
"Ya want me to grab his face?"
"Why Gumo-chan, do you think I just summoned you for that?" I asked.
"Sometimes I think you just summon me for that," the little spider huffed. "You never summon me to play fetch or tag anymore! It's just to torment people!"
"Is there something wrong with that?"
The spider hummed thoughtfully, clicking her mouthparts. "No. It's kind of fun!"
"See, this is why you're my favorite," I said, patting the spider affectionately.
"Awww... You know, you haven't summoned Mom for a long time! She misses you," Ringumo said. I sighed.
"Gumo-chan, I'm not exactly comfortable with how much your mom... Likes me."
"Awww... Why not? She can take human form, you know," Ringumo said.
"That doesn't really help. I'd still know she's a spider."
"Aren't you though?" She asked. I thought about how best to phrase my answer.
"In spirit... I suppose I am. But not in the ways that might let me consider... That. Besides... I know what happened to your father."
"Awww! Mom likes you a lot more than she liked him!" Ringumo said. We had reached the doors to the Hokage's office, nobody giving me more than a glance. It seemed I was expected.
It didn't stop my Spidey sense from tingling though.
... Yes, I did have a Spider Sense. Sort of. Less ESP and more a simply heightened sense of situational awareness. Any jounin still alive had good situational awareness, very good, but it takes on a whole new meaning when training with smart, giant spiders.
"That's what I'm afraid of," I admitted to Ringumo as the doors to the office opened. I walked inside, immediately noting two people in the room.
One was the Hokage.
The other was Hatake Kakashi.
"Tsume-san, how nice to see you!" Sarutobi said, smiling as he smoked his pipe. Ringumo hissed at him, and fixed all of her eyes right on his face. He didn't look in the least bit fazed.
"Hokage-sama... Hatake-sempai," I said politely.
"We've been expecting you," the Hokage said unnecessarily. That he was actually speaking the obvious indicated he was giving me leave to be as blunt as I liked.
"Why have I been handed Team 7? Shouldn't Hatake-sempai be given them?" I asked. The Hokage's smile shifted, ever so slightly.
Keep in mind, this man was a 69 year old ninja. The older the ninja is, generally, the better they are at deception and conceit. It did not surprise me in the least that Sarutobi had the "grandfatherly old man" act down perfectly. It was only thanks to what I knew about him I figured he was cackling maniacally behind that smile of his.
"Hatake-san actually recommended you," he said. Ringumo hissed at Kakashi, who stiffened slightly at the sound.
"I feel you have what it takes to truly bring out their full potential," Kakashi said, granting me one of his infamous eye smiles. I have to say, I can understand Naruto and co.'s exaperation and anger with him easily. That smile just reeked of asshole.
"I don't have a Sharingan," I said flatly. "Nor am I a sealing expert."
"No, but you can understand them very well," Sarutobi said.
I got his implication immediately.
"And you know how not to teach," Sarutobi said. I mentally grimaced-He was playing that card.
"All the same, you're handing me two students with extremely... Special needs, who do not have families or clans to help them with said needs," I said.
"No jounin would think of refusing you assistance, Tsume-san," Sarutobi said. "But I have entrusted this team to you. Do you not think yourself able to handle it?"
I really, really wanted to say yes. I really wanted to say I wasn't ready for this, that I would probably fuck up the entire future of this world. I could find something, anything to say.
Even if it was futile, I could go down swinging. But they were both playing on the fact that, rather traumatic life aside, I hadn't turned out totally and completely insane. That I was a nice guy who would work to keep my students from getting killed.
"Andoryu can do anything!" Ringumo said defiantly. She hissed loudly.
She was always the least perceptive of her brothers and sisters.
With a heavy sigh, I shook my head.
"No Hokage-sama... I will begin training my team immediately," I said. Ringumo gave the spider equivalent of a big smile, which got another not-shudder out of Kakashi. I recalled his home address.
"Very good." And here, the Hokage gave me a genuine smile. You could tell with him, he made sure you knew. "I believe our resident Spider Sage can handle it."
"What?" I asked, eyes widening. Sarutobi held up the summoning scroll for spiders, the very same one I had signed all those years ago.
"You are the only signer of the scroll who has developed the skills gained from your summons to reach jounin level," Sarutobi said. "I believe there is no one better suited for the position of Spider Sage."
"We wouldn't accept anyone else! What took you so long?" Ringumo demanded.
"We recently recovered it from your sensei's estate. Legal troubles," Sarutobi admitted. He sighed. "I try to respect the rule of law as much as I can, after all."
"Th-Thank you, Sarutobi-sama," I said. Sure, it was little more than a title right now, but being a Sage was, well... It was the equivalent of being the Indiana Jones or Stephen Hawking of your particular field. I took the summoning scroll, almost reverently, and slid the shoulder strap over my head. Ringumo moved a little, and did her spider smile again.
"Good luck, Tsume-san," Sarutobi said. I bowed, and headed out, in slightly higher spirits than before.
Even Kakashi's smirk through his mask didn't dampen my mood. Sure, I had the fate of the Elemental Countries on my shoulders, but it didn't seem as bad as before...
And then my Shadow Clone's memories popped into my head. I groaned.
"What is it?" Ringumo asked.
"My Shadow Clone decided to have Team 7 bond by tying them all together with webbing."
"Is that bad?" Ringumo asked.
A distant explosion was heard through the window. I held a hand to my forehead.
"It is now..."
I don't normally get stress headaches. Hunger headaches, yes. Allergy related headaches, yes. Changes in weather headaches? Oh very yes.
Well... This actually felt like a hunger headache. As in "My stupid students have made me angry enough to consider eating them."
"So... Just to clarify," I began to my rather singed looking students, "you, Sasuke, threatened to use a Grand Fireball on the webbing."
The Uchiha survivor nodded slowly. He held up his arm, still bound in my Shadow Clone's webbing to Sakura's arm. Sakura, in turn, was bound to Naruto's wrist in a similar arrangement.
"And then Naruto pulled out an explosive note," I continued, my eyes going over to him. The soot-covered blonde growled.
"He started it! He threatened to burn us alive!"
"And when Sakura tried to intervene, the explosive note became unstable, and went off," I finished, my eyes going to my extremely embarrassed female student. She was down to her underwear-Everything else had been burnt off in the explosion.
"Y-Yeah... Your shadow clone took the brunt of the blast," she explained.
Ah. That explained why the last memories my shadow clone sent were of him yelling "Son of a-!"
In English, no less.
"Well... This just proves my point. Teamwork is paramount to a ninja team. That means cooperation. That does not mean threatening to kill eachother and then blowing eachother up," I said in very clear, very calm words. All three looked at me sullenly. I sighed.
"If this is how you're going to act, then I can see only one possible way you can pass tomorrow's test. Or even act as a team." I gave them all a very, very unpleasant smile. I was pleased to see them all, even Sasuke, look intimidated.
I was probably helped by Ringumo hissing, but all the same...
"Wh-What?" Sakura dared to ask.
"You're going to learn to work together, as one, as you are now."
Blank looks for just an instant, and then...
"For how long?" Sasuke demanded.
"Until you learn," I stated flatly.
"But-But Tsume-sensei, I'm a girl!" Sakura squawked.
"Why, so you are!" I gasped in faux surprise. "I couldn't tell!"
"Most can't," Sasuke grumbled. Sakura flushed. Naruto sputtered.
"B-But we have to stick together?! All of us?!"
"Yes Naruto, you do," I said patiently. "Now, Naruto's apartment is the closest, so I suggest you all head there. Rest up, tomorrow's going to be a big day!"
"Oh, and by the way... If any of you try to escape your bonds... Kuchiyose no jutsu."
Out of a large poof of smoke, a human-sized wolf spider appeared. All three of my students cringed.
"Then Kokubogumo here will have to drag you back and reapply the webbing. And she doesn't like having to drag things that struggle. She generally applies venom to things that do."
Kokubogumo (which could be literally translated as "cruel mother spider") gave my genin the equivalent of a spider smile. All three looked pale.
"It does make it more difficult to secure new webbing," she said. I immediately noticed all three of my students looking at eachother, and there it was-The beginning of a bond.
Sure, they would be making my life a living hell, but my making their lives living hells had a purpose-To turn them into a team.
... And possibly for my own twisted amusement.
"Well, I will see you all tomorrow," I said cheerfully, as I turned and leaped off.
"Wow, you're really going to run them through the ringer, Andoryu!" Ringumo noted, hanging onto my shoulder. I grinned.
"Well, boot camp is always the hardest part," I replied. "Besides-If I'm the bad guy, then they have a common item of hatred. Namely me."
"Are you sure it was a good idea to have Kokubo-nee-chan handle them?"
"Aw, she's really a sweetheart. She won't hurt any of them..." I thought about it. "Permanently."
Yeah, cardinal sin right here. Random idea hit me while I was in the shower, and my bitch of a muse, rather than listening to reason, forced me to write this and show it off. Clearly, she wishes me to commit artistic suicide and plunge to my death, my body caught by the pitchforks of the good people of TFF and Fanfiction dot net, who will pursue me to the ends of the Earth for this horrific idea.
But, as I am weakwilled when it comes to the whims of my muse, I present to you this horror of an idea. If you liked it, say so. If you hated it, say so. If you want to see Ringumo pulling an Alien and facehumping people Andoryu doesn't like, feel free to say that too.