An analytical boy with long black hair, sharp eyes and a knack for detail surveyed the area before him. He was known for his deductive abilities, for being able to decipher troubling situations and quickly deducing a conclusion with an appropriate solution. It was because of this that the young man was having such a hard time figuring out this particular scenario. Why again was he here at this meaningless place? Said boy with midnight colored hair and charcoal eyes watched as the surrounding children played their various little games throughout out the yard. Honestly, he was a genin; he should not have to be here with these…children.
"Now Itachi, please try to play nice while I talk to the women over there, we will not be long and then we can go home," spoke the boy's mother.
Itachi looked up at his mother with a glare, "I can take care of myself mother; I do not need to be here."
"Nonsense, I haven't spent the day with you in ages. I just need to do this for your father. It will only take a minute," came her reprimanding voice.
His mother then left and walked through the doors that lead inside the building. Itachi once again looked around at the children of all ages surrounding him. He supposed it was somewhat necessary to be here. The Uchiha clan was rather wealthy and the orphanage was in dire need of funding. It would not only look good for his clan, building them a nice reputation, but it would provide these people with obvious necessities.
He understood now what their purpose was. If there was one thing his father had made sure to teach him it was that everything one did had to have a purpose. He had learned this lesson multiple times over when attempting to play with the other children when younger. There was no purpose in play and a few smacks across the face had taught him this quickly.
"Do you want to play ball with me?" asked a little girl with blond hair and blue eyes.
Itachi did a quick study of the girl before answering. She was almost his height and probably his age if not a year or two younger. From her choice of clothing and her obvious lack of strength she was of civilian decent and held no ninja capabilities. Over all, she was not worth his time as their definition of playing ball was undoubtedly different.
"No," he replied before walking away.
He quickly walked around the nearest group of children as he avoided the blonde girl who was intent on following him. Girls were strange. They were always attempting to talk to him. It was usually about the most mundane and irrelevant things too. Itachi abruptly stopped his feet when he contemplated the situation further. His mother had told him that when a girl his age blushed and stuttered like that it meant that they liked him.
He scoffed at the idea. Being flustered showed intent and no ninja worth anything displayed their moves beforehand.
"Umm, do you dink you could move?" asked a random voice.
Itachi, noticing that the voice was different than the blond haired little girl, decided that maybe he should pay attention to whoever was talking to him. Once he searched the area he found a small pink haired girl with abnormally bright green eye's standing before him…hopping on one foot. "Is there something wrong with your leg?"
The girl continued to look at him while hopping, "No, can you move now?"
"Why?" he asked.
"Cause yours in my way, I don't wanna bweak the wules," she answered calmly but with a slight slur on some of her 'r's.
Itachi looked around the surrounding area to see he was indeed in the way of what she was doing. He saw large squares with numbers in them that she had been hopping on, still was hopping on. He finally looked down to see that he was indeed standing in the middle of one of the squares.
"You are a child," he said mockingly, like he saw both her and her game foolish.
"You are kind of mean," said the girl just as quickly.
"What are you? Two?" he asked, realizing that she wasn't backing down.
"I'm three you jewk," she countered, "now pwease move my leg is getting tired."
"Just go play with the other children and do something stupid with them," he said while narrowing his eyes. He didn't know why but this girl was making him extremely frustrated. Had he spent his day like this is clan would have had his head. Why wasn't she leaving, all the other girls eventually left when he argued with them enough. What was this kid, just abnormally stupid?
The girl's slightly larger than average forehead wrinkled, "The other kids don't like to pway with me, so I pway by myself."
"Is it because you are annoying? Because you are," he said while smirking. Somewhere in his mind Itachi knew he had won. No girl could ever tolerate being told that they were annoying, they always left crying. Something about her completely rubbing him the wrong way and in sighted anger he didn't know what to do with.
Then something unexpected happened. The small three-year-old little girl caught the Uchiha prodigy off guard and did what no civilian child should have been able to do. She unexpectedly leaped into the air and went flying over his shoulders. Itachi turned around just in time to see the light shade of pink land on the square behind him. While he continued to watch she stumbled briefly before continuing to play her game.
The small girl quickly completed her game of hop scotch and turned back around to start her next round. She picked up a pebble and attempted to throw it on the squares. Itachi, seeing that she was intent on ignoring him took a few stomps forward and stepped on the stone with his foot. With a small burst of chakra he turned it into dust with a heavy crunch.
The girl stomped over to him and glared, "That was mean."
"You are not a civilian," he spoke calmly.
The girl's forehead seemed to grow larger in her confusion.
"This is a civilian orphanage, but you do not show the character traits of a civilian," he then leaned forward and pressed his index and pointer finger to her temple. It was something he normally did to his brother but it seemed appropriate at the moment. It opened the mind of the victim to the user, thus making it easier for a proper genjitsu to be cast in the future.
He watched as the little girls green eyes grew wide as she followed him. As soon as her eye's seemed incapable of growing any larger he felt a blinding pain in his left shin. He hadn't felt pain like this for a long time, almost two years now. He let out a small wail as the girl began to scream at him.
"You jewk!" he briefly noticed the slight waver in her speech that she spoke with as she yelled at him. He had noticed it before but back then it had just been an annoyance. Now she had hurt him, now she was worthy of hatred.
Even in his pain he started to analyze his enemy. It seemed she was not completely done learning her pronunciations, and it became more noticeable when angry. She isolated from others either through her choice or theirs. The girl did not recognize the need for fear of him as someone older which indicated she had defended herself on more than one occasion. She was confident she could either get away or suffer through any retaliation he could give. Her opponents had probably been civilian children which is another reason as to why she did not run. Even at her age she more than likely had been able to hold her own or bear it.
"Itachi!" yelled a familiar voice before he could finish his analysis.
He suppressed a groan as the voice drifted closer and closer each passing second. Great, now his mother was here.
"What happened honey?" she asked as she knelt next to him while inspecting his leg. She had some very brief medical training and was able to heal a few small injuries. This injury was of course nothing minor. Nothing that could cause this much pain could ever be considered minor.
"This brat kicked me," he said bitterly, while he was desperately trying to convince himself that it didn't hurt as much as it did. Luckily he had his pain to fuel him, thus taking his mind away from the shooting sensation and on the soon to be dead little girl.
"He made that glowy stuff go into my bwain!" yelled the small girl in defense of her actions.
Itachi's eyes widened. How had she known what chakra was? How did she recognize it? He had incredible chakra control! His own brother didn't even know what he was doing and he was from a prominent ninja family. Yet this little scrap of a disgustingly pink fruit caught him?
Suddenly he heard his mother gasp, "Itachi, your leg is broken in three places!"
Being that she was so small, so innocent looking, no one would have suspected that she had harnessed the very same chakra that Itachi had been attempting to use on her earlier. No one would have guessed that something that had frightened her so easily came naturally to her, even if she didn't know it. It was medical jutsu that went well beyond her years, let alone her experience. Unfortunately she was someone with impeccable control and naturally drew upon the power when threatened.
"Sakura!" yelled another voice. He watched as the pink haired girl's eyes widened and she shrunk into his mother's form. It seemed even the rebellious little hellion knew when to be afraid. Soon a woman who looked to be in her early fifties stepped in front of him. Off of first glance she appeared to be angry but upon further inspection he noticed that it wasn't just anger that she was radiating. She was malicious and all of her attention was focused on the child…Sakura. Yes, that was what she had called the brat.
"You insignificant child. How dare you act out in such a manor!" the woman quickly grabbed Sakura from behind his mother and harshly pulled the girl over to her side by her upper arm. Obviously the small girl was in pain, the adult arm obviously not caring about any possible bruising. "These are the people who feed you, and you disgrace them like this? You will get no supper tonight you hear me? Go straight to your bed and don't even think of leaving, I will deal with you later."
As soon as she was released Sakura ran inside and to what Itachi could only presume to be upstairs like she was ordered.
"Please accept my apologies Lady Uchiha, I am sure Sakura is sorry-" but his mother cut the woman off before another word could be said.
"Please, from what I can tell this was my son's fault. My boy was using chakra and he scared her. If anyone should be punished it will be Itachi. I think this break shall do. We will leave it to heal on its own," she said sternly while surveying her son's reaction.
For the first time in a long time Itachi felt the need to question his mother's sanity, "Mother, the chuunin exams are next week. I cannot miss those. I will need a medic to heal this today if I even wish to stand on it by the end of the week."
"Then you shall just have to wait until the next exam because you are not participating with a bum leg that is broken in three places."
Itachi's eye's narrowed. He was not going to be taking the exams? The council elders had been very clear about their expectations and frustration with the Hokage for not letting him take the exams earlier, despite his young age. He should have been promoted years ago, he was already doing C and B class missions on a regular basis. Now that he had this chance it was being taken away? Then there were the other factors. He was going to be bed ridden for a good two months and his mother was mad at him? This was all that Sakura girl's fault.
Sakura was a hard working woman who earned everything she had. Nothing stopped her from pursing her goals and it did not matter who she had to get around in order to reach them. Sakura had overcome every obstacle and barrier sent her way. Over the years those barriers had changed. Initially they had been her life circumstances while growing up; people who had come in and out of said life altered things greatly. Her team had also been a barrier as they traveled together but eventually Sakura had found her place among theme. Over time she had developed her mind and body into something she was proud of. She was still opinionated if not a bit insecure; was a dedicated worker with a ridiculous love of reading that bordered on obsession; she continued to keep parts of her life separate if only for her own sanity and she had developed a rather forceful temper that very few challenged.
So as she sat there trying to control said temper Sakura desperately called upon those other parts of herself. The compassionate, nurturing and friendly bedside mannered Sakura who worked with sick people regularly. But to say she was angry was an understatement. To say she was pissed was putting it lightly. So say she was fucking furious was just skimming the surface of a very deep pool of water. If it was the last thing she did, she was going to kill them. No, she would more than kill them, she would obliterate them. She would personally make sure they were properly tortured and if that meant she would be the one slowly pulling off mounds of flesh from their bodies as they screamed in agony, then so be it, but they would be punished for this…severely.
"But Sakura, we didn't know you were sleeping!" yelled Naruto as she looked at him fiercely.
Like she believed that one, Sakura thought while internally rolling her eyes.
"Yeah, because I regularly lay under a tree with my eyes closed for the heck of it," she looked over at her teammates in question. "Naruto I can understand because he is oblivious to most things but Kakashi Hayate, genius of his generation, couldn't put something as simple as that together? Sasuke Uchiha, of the infamous Uchiha clan's Sharingon couldn't see properly through the leaves why I wasn't moving?"
None of them could look her in the eye, not even the normally arrogant beyond reason Sasuke, and she knew she had her answer.
She was trying really hard not to blow up at them, she really was, but it was just so hard. It wasn't like she could expect them to know about her last couple of days after all. It wasn't like they knew that she had just gotten off of her latest hospital shift. Her latest shift that lasted a grand total of three days. Three days of no sleeping, no eating and no breaks whatsoever. Three days of constant chakra use and reuse. Three exhausting days that left her too tired to argue about it.
She sighed heavily, "What is it?" she finished in a deflated tone.
Kakashi's only visible eye caught her own bright green ones, "What?"
After a few more calming breaths and a self-talk about anger management, she replied back, "What is it? I'm guessing you guys ruined my favorite spot to tell me something of significance."
Naruto, of course, being as exuberant and eager as he was born to be, was the first to speak, "We wanted to know if you were hungry? We're going to get ramen."
She closed her eyes once again, too tired to fight with them. As annoyed as she was, because she was defiantly annoyed, she knew they were trying to help her. She knew they just wanted to take care of her and make sure she was okay, but…sometimes they were way to extreme.
She looked back over her shoulder to her now ruined spot.
Her poor tree.
Once again she looked at 'her boys', as they had been dubbed by the citizens of Konoha. Sometimes she wished they were someone else's boys. Why did she always end up with the damaged beyond repair ones anyways? The socially inept ones without a clue seemed to latch on to her like leeches and she had no idea why.
Then again, Sakura knew she was hungry, she knew she hadn't eaten a meal in over three days, and she knew that they knew it had to have been a while since real food had touched her lips. While they didn't know her exact schedule they understood she was busy, and for that she would love them forever. Even scowling know-it-all Sasuke would forever be one of her own socially retarded leeches.
"Alright, I guess I'm kind of hungry," she finished with a weak smile.
That seemed to be exactly what they wanted to hear because as soon as the words left her lips she was linked arm in arm with Naruto, him dragging her to the stand, both Sasuke and Kakashi a few steps behind, attempting to act aloof with in the presence of others.
On her way towards what was most likely the staple ramen stand Sakura saw Shikamaru casually walking towards them. In an effort to not ruin his day with horrible news she smiled weakly. Once they were close enough and still being pulled by the exuberant blonde Sakura stated, "I am so sorry. You know how they get. I will make them plant another one."
He just stared at her while she was pulled further away. By the time Shikamaru looked up to where he was heading he stalled in his steps.
Shikamaru carefully surveyed the area before him with a slightly wider eyed expression than normal. The area that was usually so peaceful, so tranquil, so undisturbed…was no more.
Before him stood nothing short of a disaster. The large oak tree that on more than one occasion provided him with enough shade to fall blissfully asleep during the middle of the hot summer days was now completely uprooted…literally. The tree had been yanked upwards and was resting on its side, and was charred with multiple attacks from a fire based chakra summoning. The area could not really be called a clearing anymore. Various holes and piles of dirt were scattered throughout the field…it looked like a war zone. In some aspect the lazy boy expected to see dead shinobi bodies strode about.
He sighed as he turned back towards his other cloud watching spot. He muttered one word at the tragedy before him.
"Why do I continue to associate with you?" asked Sakura as she finished off her bowl of ramen.
Naruto looked at her in question, mouth agape with various ingredients protruding from his lips. "I don't know, all the girls like Sasuke, I guess it's one of those girl things."
Sakura watched as said Uchiha rolled his eyes, "She was talking about you dobe."
Naruto quickly slurped down the remainder of his bowl, "Nu-uh. She likes me way more that she likes you. I'm her favorite person ever!"
"You are an idiot," said Sasuke as he pushed his bowl aside, already knowing what would result out of their little talk.
Sakura, having seen this particular scene play out before, jumped off of the stool and grabbed Kakashi's hand, dragging him away from the encounter. The last thing she wanted was to get roped into paying for another set of stools.
"Is there a particular reason you are dragging me across town Sakura?" asked Kakashi, nose still buried in his book completely oblivious to the outside world, namely Sasuke and Naruto's destructive tendencies towards each other.
A loud boom was suddenly heard coming from behind them. Both shinobi immediately turned around just in time to see a very large cloud of dust rise into the air and over the various buildings. Sakura sighed as she watched multiple jounin sprint to the area. It was only a few more seconds before she heard Naruto's furious yell which was directed at Sasuke, then at the patrol.
"Hey, I wasn't done kicking his ass!" she heard echoing off the buildings.
Sakura turned back around and continued to drag the man towards the town market, "No, no reason at all."
She quickly made her way around the corner and headed for the nearest vendor, "Mind helping me? I haven't gone grocery shopping in a while."
Kakashi stalled for a moment before putting his book down in order to look at her properly. He gave her a slight raising of the eyebrows as she continued to look at him with hope in her eyes. They continued to stand there in the middle of the street for a few seconds more, determined to make the other one crack.
It was Sakura who gave in.
With a sigh she briefly closed her eyes, taking in her loss, "Don't worry, you don't have to carry anything."
Kakashi immediately put his book away and into his pouch, "I would be happy to help you Sakura," he said in his deceptively passive like manner.
"And you wonder why you're still single," she grumbled as she made it to the first stand while grabbing a basket near the checkout counter.
"I'm single because women are annoying and it is much easier to have one night stands than put up with something you don't want anyways. I work long hours, and have three annoying brats to take care of. What woman would want that?" he continued somehow keeping that same carefree and lazy attitude he was so known for.
"Don't you dare blame this on me Kakashi. You don't have a wife because you're a commitment phobic and you work too much," came Sakura's reply as she placed a couple of carrots in the basket.
"Perhaps, but unfortunately my youngest seems to have picked up my habit of working too hard, now hasn't she?" he said while reaching over to the book shelf and placing the latest Icha Icha Paradise book in her basket.
"I do not work too much," argued Sakura while placing a fresh roll of bread in her basket and taking out the Icha Icha book, then inserting it in someone else's basket inconspicuously. It was moments like this that ninja skills came in real handy. Of course, it would be incredibly embarrassing for the individual once they made it to the checkout, but that wasn't Sakura's problem. No, hers was much worse. She had Kakashi to deal with.
"Yes, because you never work yourself to the point of exhaustion, or place others above your own safety to an unhealthy degree," said Kakashi while grabbing a bag of dango and placing them in her basket.
"You're one to talk. When was the last time you went in for a checkup at the hospital when not unconscious? Six, maybe seven years ago? Tell me if I'm giving you too much credit," she laughed as she took out the pre-packaged dango and replaced them with strawberries.
"No, that sounds about right, and why didn't the dango make it?" he asked lazily.
"Because Naruto's nutrition intake is lacking. He can't afford them right now," came her reply as celery and peanut butter were put in the mix of food inside the sturdy basket.
"So you punish the rest of us?" he asked.
"You want junk food then all of you need to be up to it. I would never hear the end of it if I gave you and Sasuke junk food and Naruto had to watch," she answered back easily. This type of interaction between them was rather common after all. After so many years you know the arguments by heart.
Kakashi made a small 'hn' noise and returned to scanning the isle for what he wanted. With reflexes that would make his past Anbu days proud he dropped in a couple of bags of chips and some dip. With a questioning gaze he looked towards Sakura for approval.
She glared at him briefly and then relented, "Fine, but only because I love you so much. You haven't exactly been getting your daily nutrients either you know."
"Perhaps it is because the woman whom I normally have cook for me has been working herself to the brink of death. She has been extremely busy and because of that I haven't been getting my regularly balanced three meals a day," replied Kakashi as he walked to the next isle, hands on the back of his head in a casual manner.
Sakura nearly knocked him out as he gracefully walked away. He was so not pinning his lazy ass on her. He was a big boy, he knew how to make a sandwich. Just for that she was going to get him back. Oh just wait, she was making spinach tonight, his absolute favorite.
While marching over to her surrogate father she grabbed a handful of kale and placed it into a bag. She carefully looped her arm through the bag so he couldn't steal it without her noticing. He was not even going to be given the chance to place this back on the shelves. Then, with an evil glare she walked past him, making sure the clear bag of freshly grown greens was in his sight.
Sakura watched as Kakashi's one visible eye widened to a degree that even a genin would notice and that was saying something about his response, considering his reputation as one of Konoha's best ninja's.
"Crap," she heard him mumble.
Oh yes, kale was his favorite. It was so good that she usually had to force feed him. See, this is what you get when you mess with the woman who cooks most of your meals. You would think by now that he would know not to mess with the pink haired woman, she was feisty as well as devious, never a good combination.
Suddenly there was a blur behind her and she turned around to see her favorite Uchiha standing to her left. Sakura suppressed a frown as she took in his uncaring stance. One of these days he was going to find himself in a position where his Uchiha ranking didn't get him out of trouble.
"Where's Naruto?" asked Sakura.
"Jounin took him for property damage," he said quickly while scanning the isle for his favorite foods.
"And they didn't take you because…" she didn't need to finish her sentence.
Sasuke smirked, "Because I'm the second in line as Uchiha clan heir."
She growled, "Sasuke, I swear, you have to stop picking fights with him in public if you know he's going to get in trouble."
"Why would I do that? The dobe is the one who's stupid enough to fall for it every time," said Sasuke while putting in a couple of tomatoes. He stopped when he saw the kale hanging from her arm. He looked at Kakashi who seemed to still be mulling over the blow. "You piss her off?"
If he didn't know his carefully controlled teacher as well as he did Sasuke would say that it almost sounded like a whimper came from the man's masked mouth, "Apparently our little Sakura doesn't like being reprimanded."
Sasuke's eyebrow lifted but he decided not to push it any further. He turned back to Sakura, "What is for dinner?"
Sakura stopped mid reach as she contemplated her answer, "Umm…I'm thinking soup with pork stew. If I have time I'll make some sides to go along with it, maybe grilled tomatoes. We'll also need some greens so I'm thinking salad. That way I can be sure Kakashi get's his daily amount of the superfood that is kale."
Sakura grabbed a bag to hold a couple of peaches as she saw Kakashi flinch at his favorite word. Honestly she had no idea what was wrong with the stuff, it wasn't like they really tasted like anything and it would undoubtedly be drenched in sauce anyways. That man really just was a big baby.
"Don't count on desert though. I'm tired and will probably go straight to bed afterwards," she finished. In all actuality she was very thankful for her little powernap. It would probably be just enough to eat dinner, send the boys home and start on some of her paperwork.
"Sakura! Can we get some instant ramen?" screamed a voice from behind her.
Sakura immediately swung around in order to face the loud blonde, "No Naruto, you already eat way to much ramen as it is."
The blonde slowly walked up to her with a large pout adorning his face, three boxes of Ramen in his hands, "Come on, just for when you're not around?" he pleaded.
She sighed in defeat, "Alright but only if you promise not to get in some many fights with Sasuke."
Naruto joyously put the ramen in her now overflowing basket, "It's not my fault bastard has to have the others finish his battles like a sissy!"
Before another fight could be instigated, which she was sure Sasuke would love to happen, she intervened, "What did Jiraiya have to say this time."
"The old man? Oh, just normal stuff. That I need to be more respectful and stop destroying so much property," he said half-heartedly. This particular meeting did tend to happen on a weekly basis after all. Undoubtedly Jiraiya had his speech memorized.
"So nothing new?" asked Sakura again as she headed for the checkout counter.
"No, just said that I need to beat bastard over here before anyone shows up," said Naruto happily as all the items were priced by the cashier.
Sasuke humped in annoyance but let the comment slide. Sakura quickly paid for the bags of food. She effortlessly picked up two bags and handed them to the still talking Naruto, then picked up another one and gave it to Sasuke. This left both her and Kakashi grocery bags free.
She watched as Sasuke looked at his own bag and then at Naruto's. The blonde seemed to be doing the same, "Sakura!" whined the demon container, "why isn't Kakashi holding anything?"
Due to how familiar this argument was Sakura did not respond. She just pointed to her home and assumed her boys would follow.
Perhaps it was her imagination, perhaps she was just seeing things but…they were not leaving. "Why are you still here?" she asked Sasuke.
"Family dinner," said Sasuke quickly while skimming her books as if medical jutsu's interested him.
Naruto looked up at her as he took in another bite of the stew, it being his fourth helping this evening, "Like I would ever make you face Sasuke alone."
Sakura sighed and looked towards Kakashi, "Well?"
He looked up from one of his famous orange books, "Better reading light."
"You three do still have your own apartment's…right?" came the inevitable question.
"Of course," came Kakashi as he flipped the page.
"Stacked full of ramen," said Naruto.
And of course there was no response from Sasuke, but that was to be expected. As long as the Uchiha clan was around he would always have a roof over his head.
"Then I'm doing some paperwork," came her tired response as she headed for her book bag.
Before she could reach it, the oversized and overstuffed container was kicked out from her grasp. She looked up to see Naruto's foot lazily stretched out before her, said boy having a stupid smile on his face. It was a familiar look, and one she knew better than to think of innocently. Instead of being the playful smirk he presented it as Sakura saw the determination behind it.
"Oops?" was all he said.
"No, not tonight you guys. I have too much work to play medic in the middle." Sakura countered their obvious plan to prevent her from further fulfilling her hospital duties.
Sakura reached over in front of Sasuke only to have the bag once again thrown from her reach. She glared at Sasuke who now held the bag above his head as he casually tossed it to Kakashi. In a flash Kakashi's outstretched arm held the bag tight. "You are going to bed Sakura; you are too tired for work. We can play this all night if you really have that much energy."
She glanced at her three former teammates. Everyone but Kakashi was doing what they had been up to previously. No, she took that back, Kakashi already had his nose back in that god awful book of his. Naruto was eating and Sasuke was staring at a book title as if he could read the forgotten language of lightning country from over 300 years ago. Sakura knew from experience their full attention was on her and her perceived lack of awareness for her general health. Fine, if they weren't going to let her work legitimately then she was just going to have to do things the sneaky way.
"Fine, I'll go to bed. Happy now?" she said defiantly.
"We will be when you give us that pile of paperwork you have stashed in your closet," came Kakashi's reply as he very ungracefully dropped her book bag down on the ground, its contents now scattered in various piles. It took all her willpower not to go over there and pick up the mess he had created. The only thing that stopped her was the realization of what he had just said.
Her face dropped. How…what…when? She glanced from face to face of her three ninja friends. Their expressions betrayed nothing. With a furious shriek she stomped into her bedroom and opened up her closet. Quite carefully she pulled out the hidden shoe box that contained next week's rounds along with various other paperwork she needed to finish. Quite quickly she contemplated hiding just one or two documents further into her closet but a sudden tap on her shoulder made her turn around.
Bright and vibrant green met a dark gray.
With a huff she shoved the box into Kakashi's hands as that triumphant crinkle surrounding his visible eye appeared, "You all are impossible."
He didn't say anything as he quietly took the box from her grip and headed out the door. Before he exited her bedroom Kakashi turned around to face her, "One of us will stay until you fall asleep to make sure you don't try anything…Sakuraish. You can come and get your paperwork tomorrow…after you have rested."
With that said he turned back around and shut her door, ensuring that she wouldn't be able to do anything but sleep.
Sometimes she really hated how well they all knew her.
Almost regretfully she slipped into her oversized black t-shirt and a pair of her black spandex shorts. Without another moment's notice, and of course a few curse words on behalf of the three men sitting in her living room, Sakura slipped under her covers and fell asleep.
Her morning had been uneventful and as much as she wanted her boys to understand her need to get that work done, Sakura was incredibly grateful for their interference. She undoubtedly would have had far worse sleep had they not ambushed her the other day. But that was yesterday, today she had no time to procrastinate.
Sakura quickly stepped out of the shower, intent on tracking down at least one of the three men in her life. She had rested, she had eaten, she had even cleaned herself up and gotten the three day old dried blood splatters out of her hair. Now it was time they gave her all of her stuff back.
The real question was which one was she going to con her things from? Sasuke? No, he was probably at his clan house and she had made it her personal mission to never set foot inside of the Uchiha walls. It was of course a silly notion, one that she would inevitable have to break but as long as it was possible she was staying as far away from the Uchiha clan as possible. She had watched them dictate her teammate's life for too many years to talk to them civilly. Then of course there was that other factor, namely Itachi Uchiha. The bastard had been her personal nemesis all throughout her childhood. She didn't even remember what started it; just that Itachi and her had a mutual understanding of loathing that was reinforced throughout time. Thankfully she had gone to study with Tsunade when she was about seven. Sakura was quickly shipped out of the village and away from what she dubbed as her personal terrorist. When she eventually came back he left her alone. They hadn't ran into each other once and she prayed to the high heavens that he didn't remember her, that or he had matured enough to leave her alone. Of course, she would prefer the lack of memory scenario better. Maybe like a good blow to the head or something. Hence the not taking a chance and stepping onto Uchiha devil ground.
This lead her back to her debate though, which teammate did she seek out first while avoiding that whole portion of the village?
Kakashi? No, the lazy idiot was too smart for anything she might pull. In fact, he was probably expecting her to head for him first knowing how much he loved being the holder of information. No doubt he had already decided that one day of rest wasn't enough of a healing period. That was how it usually worked after all.
Naruto? They are probably expecting her to inevitably go after Naruto. He was by far the most gullible out of all three of them; which meant that he probably didn't have a clue where all her stuff was.
Sakura smiled to herself as a realization hit her. Well there was a good idea. She loved it when she had her brilliant moments.
Time for some back up because she was going to need a little bit of help. Turning towards the messenger hawk that the landlord left for the residents Sakura scribbled a quick message to her friend. After watching the bird fly in the proper direction Sakura quickly headed to the three areas she knew Naruto frequented the most. On her second stop one of her teammates joined her, the very one she had messaged. Knowing now where Naruto was bound to be, he was rather predictable, Sakura continued her plan forward. When she finally made it to team seven's favorite training ground blue eyes met her own.
"Naruto!" yelled Sakura as she made her way to her longtime friend.
Sakura watched as Naruto's eyes went wide when he saw her. She immediately ran up to him and gave him their traditional hug. "What'cha doing? Training? Sasuke here too?"
"Umm…I'm not supposed to talk to you until you talk to Kakashi," came his abnormally timid voice.
Sakura quickly processed this information. So she was right, Naruto was a dead end. Kakashi on the other hand was who they wanted her to see so that meant that Sasuke was who the two sharingon wielding experts wanted her to avoid…meaning Sasuke was her target.
"Sensei? But I just saw him, he wanted me to give a message to Sasuke," she pushed.
"He did? Oh…" Sakura watched as Naruto processed the situation, "alright. Hey bastard come out."
Suddenly Sasuke was standing before her in a flash. His speed had only grown over the years and to most it looked like the flicker step technique. It was not, as his cousin kept that move very much to himself, but Sasuke did a great imitation of it. His chakra lightling also boosted him naturally with the amount of stored energy it provided. If it had not been for her own training Sakura would have thought him faster than light itself. "You want something?"
Sakura smiled joyously at his soon to be predicament. His arrogance had always been tangible when younger and very few people other than his brother could quell it. Thankfully Sakura had accounted for this major weakness of his when planning this escapade. "Why yes, I want my stuff back. I know you have it."
If she hadn't of known him so well she never would have seen the small dilation of his eyes, or the quick twitch of his right hand. "You're annoying, go and do something girly."
"And you're avoiding the question, where is my stuff? In the tree?" she was given no response, "under the tree roots?" and then she was given her cue. While it wasn't much to go on she saw his finger twitch again.
"I hope you don't mind, I brought you two some sparring partners. I figured you were probably pretty sick of each other," she smiled as she walked over to the large tree where there was a known burrow between the roots.
Sasuke stepped in front of her but was halted suddenly when another hand grabbed his own. Sasuke looked up to see the very last person he ever wanted standing before him. Seriously? Sakura had went to him?
"Neji," he growled.
"Quite civilized Uchiha. Miss Sakura has informed me that you have been rather incorrigible towards her as of late. I am finding this a perfect opportunity as grounds to have a rematch, since ours was never properly finished." The long haired brunette spoken evenly towards her friend. Neji and Sasuke had never gotten along, both were to proud and worked too hard to keep the division up between their clans. Sakura had learned a few years ago that the best way to keep Sasuke out of her way was to distract him with his honor…or ego. Sometimes it was rather difficult to tell the two apart. Neji had always been a perfect catalyst for this which she utilized when needed.
"This is low Sakura," said Sasuke as he watched his pink haired teammate pick up her bag from under the tree. "Naruto, stop her."
Suddenly a large yellow and orange blur rushed towards her…but never quite stopped. The figure went right over Sakura's head and strait into the tree. Sakura smiled as she watched her friend, "Great toss Hinata!"
Naruto slowly got up from his position on the ground to look at the figure who had thrown him into the giant oak. "Hinata?"
The shy girl looked at him almost cautiously through her bangs. Her eyes looked on guilty and her formal wear indicated some family event she had missed in order to support her friend. "I hope that didn't hurt, but Miss Sakura must finish her work. I would personally like to know my volunteer schedule for next week."
"You work at the hospital?" asked Naruto in a baffled manner.
"Idiot! Stop talking to her and attack!" yelled Sasuke as he dodged a quick kick from Neji that was aimed for his head.
Naruto looked at his best friend like he was crazy, "You have got to be kidding! I can't attack her! She's not even an active ninja anymore! And she's…Hinata!"
Sakura smiled as she walked away from the ongoing battles, well, battle. She had already won the fight against Naruto. There was no way he would ever truly attack Hinata. Even if he did, while Hinata was no longer publically on active roster, she was still more than capable of handling Naruto. Contrary to popular belief she went on plenty of missions and was more than up for this fight. As Hinata's captain Sakura had ensured that all of her team members were up to the challenge of their missions.
Oh, the joys of winning. Before she could properly gloat Kakashi flash stepped in front of her. Clutching the bag to her body she pouted defensively. While she was confident with her ability to topple Naruto and Sasuke she was far less certain about her ability to take on Kakashi. Every time she thought she had a win on him he surprised her either through tactic or force. "Your boys lost, I won fair and square."
Kakashi looked at his former students as they were effectively stalled from joining the conversation. It had been well played of Sakura to summon the Hyuga's as Sasuke and Neji had a long standing rivalry and Naruto was too much in unrequited puppy love to hit Hinata with any true force.
With a wave of dismissal, and appropriately acknowledging her tact, Kakashi waved her through. He waited another five minutes before interfering in the matches knowing that when it came to strategy neither boy stood a chance against her.
After the battles had commenced and proper verbal lashing had been given Kakashi looked at his poor excuses of former students, "So she got her stuff back."
It wasn't a question, or even a statement. It was more like an accusation.
Sasuke looked to the left while Naruto scratched his head in a guilty fashion. "Well technically not all of it. You still have some of it you know."
Kakashi's only visible eye rose.
Naruto's confidence plummeted, "Okay, yeah, she got all her stuff back."
Suddenly another voice made itself known and effectively interrupted their conversation. This voice was cold, calculating, predatory, "Sasuke."
Sasuke looked towards the new voice to see none other than his father standing in the doorway. It was not often that they coveined in the Uchiha district as Naruto was far to loud for the majority of its members and Kakashi received mixed reviews. It was a well known fact that Fugaku Uchiha had a deep seeded dislike for his youngest son's former teacher. Most in the clan were warry of showing Kakashi respect or admiration for fear of Fugaku's retribution. This of course lead Sasuke to invite him at any chance he had if only to see his father's discofort. Kakashi typically declined but homemade food and shade had been to much for him to pass up after Sakura had bested them.
Fugaku Uchiha was not known for kindness, not even towards his own family members. He was a hard man who followed the unwritten rules of what it meant to be an Uchiha. In his mind there was only one way of doing things, and that was to be the best. If anyone fell short of that they were deemed not only inconsequential but as a failure never to be forgiven. Obviously, the man had impossible standards; standards which he expected his sons to follow. It was with all of this in mind that Sasuke responded, "Yes father?"
"Your mother and I are expecting you for dinner tonight, to make up for last night of course," said the figure in the doorway. His posture was straight as if anything else was offensive to the human body.
The others gave no comment to the situation, even though both of them knew that Sasuke had been with them last night and not training. "Yes father, I understand. Thank you for letting me train last night," answered back Sasuke.
Fugaku glanced around the room as if multiple things in it displeased him. After a few more minutes the man came to a conclusion to share his additional information. "Your brother will also be joining us. He is back from his mission in Wave, so I suggest you show up."
The eye contact between Kakashi and Fugaku was brief put powerful. Neither boy truly noticed the moment as the oppressive air was overwhelming but had one been looking it would have been given comment. Disagreement was the only description that could have done that moment justice.
When the man left Naruto was the first to share his opinion on the abrupt exchange.
"Your dad is such an ass, I don't know how you stand him," said Naruto while scratching his head.
"He really hates Kakashi, that's all," said Sasuke while looking at his sensei that was already imbedded in his book. It appeared that during some point of the conversation with Sasuke's father, Kakashi had pulled out the familiar orange book of debauchery. No one questioned it; it was just Kakashi's way. Naruto was to clueless to look at it other than a man reading porn in public and Sasuke was to scandalized to be seen with someone who had anything to do with sex in public, even if it was reading material. His clan was very clear on that remaining in the bedroom between spouses and was to never be spoken about in good company.
Naruto looked at the silver haired man, "Why? He's just a perv who reads those stupid books."
Said silver haired man looked up at his students while contemplating their unasked question. Both had been pushing for some time to know why Fugaku hated the Copy Ninja so much and Kakashi was beginning to think it would be easier to just tell them rather than evade the question for so many more years.
Kakashi sighed, Sakura really was getting to him if he was willing to share, well…anything.
"Your father and I have never gotten along. Well, he has never liked me anyways. He was always competing with me when he was on active roster even though he was older than me. I guess he felt the pressure to be better. It did not help matters when his son decided to look towards me as a goal to reach versus him. When Sasuke was assigned to my team it caused quite an argument among the council," he answered while getting back to his book.
Naruto looked at his friend and started to laugh, "You actually look up to Kakashi as an idol?" and then the laughing continued.
Sasuke glared and tried to answer back but Kakashi cut him off, "It is actually the older of the two brothers that I was referring to."
Both Sasuke and Naruto turned their attention back towards Kakashi in disbelief.
Kakashi gave them one glance over and then decided it was time to make an exit. He had spent enough time with them for the day. With that he was gone in a small puff of gray smoke, without a word and without a good-bye.
That night the entire Uchiha head household sat at the dinner table. There was no laughter, no sharing of the day's adventures just the silent scraping of food being shuffled around on plates. It was of course during this silence that a certain Sasuke Uchiha felt it necessary to ask his question. Despite his proper upbringing Sasuke was friends with Naruto and sometimes troublemaker just rubbed off on a person.
"Father, how long have you known Kakashi?"
His father looked up from his meal in order to stare properly at his son, "Long enough. Why do you feel the need to ask Sasuke?"
"You just don't seem to like him very much and I was wondering why," asked Sasuke skeptically. All in all he wasn't sure he wanted to ask this question, he knew all too well how his father's temper could get.
"I have no quarrel with Hayate son," the man said stiffly, in direct contradiction to his statement. Of course no one pointed it out. Fugaku obviously wanted this conversation over with and what he wanted, he got. So the topic was dropped in an instant, unfortunately leaving the room in an awkward quietness. The room was silent once again and Sasuke immediately felt the tension in the air thicken. Perhaps he should have kept his mouth shut.
"Itachi dear," came his mother's sweet voice, "I heard that you agreed to do a job for Jiraiya at the school, an at home mission. Is that true?
Itachi nodded his head, "It is, I will be supervising a group of academy students for a while."
"That is perfect. You have been so busy lately, now you will finally have time!" she said excitedly as she took a sip of water.
"Time? For what mother?" asked Itachi
"Well, the Uchiha elders have been talking with your father and I, they are wondering when you will settle down and start a family," she stated simply.
His father spoke next, "We must carry on our line, which is your duty along with ruling the clan."
His brother said nothing for a few moments before he looked at his mother, "I haven't found anyone suitable yet."
"Nonsense," waved his mother, "I think you haven't been looking. There are plenty of eligible and prestigious women in this town. Just this morning I was talking to Keiko. Her daughter is just a few years younger than you. Shi, her daughter, is currently trying to get an internship at the Konoha Hospital. Our medics are very prestigious you know."
"That is a foolish match. Shi is not worthy of our blood if she is only some intern," countered Fugaku.
Sasuke watched as his brother said nothing to their parent's matchmaking. Maybe Itachi was used to it, but Sasuke knew he would have a much harder time keeping his patience if people were picking his wife.
His mother turned towards her youngest, "Sasuke, perhaps you know a medic who can help Shi out. There must be someone in your old class that you are close to. I heard quite a few of your old classmates went into the field when Tsunade returned to the village."
Sasuke's mind immediately went to Sakura, but he kept his mouth shut. He could honestly say that he didn't know what Sakura did in that hospital of hers. He just knew that she worked long hours, she was always tired and she went on missions every now and then.
"If that girl cannot get in on her own then she has no business being part of our family. How hard could it be, after all, getting into a medic program? She is what, perhaps twenty or twenty one?" scoffed Fugaku. "They are trained early these days, starting in the academy years. She should have been working there long ago."
"Dear, Konoha medics are world renouned as the best. That is why they have a separate field and school," countered his wife.
"The medics have a separate field because the ninja of our village needed to keep the females out of the way so they built a school to keep them from interfering," argued Fugaku once again. "No female ninja could handle what a male ninja does."
Sasuke could see his mother's face fall at her husband words but said nothing. When he was fourteen a new law was placed by the village council. They dictated that women and men should be trained differently and in different schools of thought. Women were to be trained as medics or part time ninja's, men as full on ninja's. They were given different mission types, classes and were rarely seen working together.
Almost immediately team Kakashi had been disbanded because of the ruling. In fact, almost all the teams with women on them were suspended indefinitely. That was around the time that Hinata had left the active roster, as well as Ino. Tenten only went on brief missions, since she wasn't able to take as many missions at first what with her needing to retest for her rank. Tenten now owned her own weapons shop due to the lack of income she initially had with the change over. He vaguely recalled Sakura rambling on about her friends and how hard the change had been on everyone; he of course wasn't paying any attention. The woman talked too much for his liking.
His mother turned back towards him, "Do you still talk to that girl on your team? I don't recall her name but if memory serves she was a medic was she not? Perhaps we should have a reunion for you, invite your entire team so as not to look suspicious."
"We are not inviting some incompetent girl into our house so you can set our son up with someone even more incompetent," argued his father.
Sasuke and Itachi's mother continued to ignore him, "Come to think of it, we never did meet her did we?"
"No, she has never been over," of course Sasuke left out the fact that Sakura had a strange aversion to everything Uchiha, and that her best friend was Hinata Hyuga, the heiress to their rival clan.
"She is busy," was all he said as he took another bite, "apparently there is a seminar on paternal lineage that she is attending this week anyways so she won't be here."
"Oh…" said his mother angrily, like it was his fault she was busy.
Sakura desperately looked at the moon that was rising above her. She couldn't believe how late it was and how her timetable had become so off. She had only meant to stop off at the hospital for a couple of minutes, just enough time to drop off the rounds for next week. But no, some ninja just had to get his liver sliced open with a blade. Honestly, ninja really needed to learn how to dodge because medics aren't as plentiful as people liked to believe.
She looked back up at the moon, her not so portable watch, and hoped Hinata wasn't too angry with her. Sure, she was an hour late but it wasn't like she had planned on healing someone that day. Then again, Hinata didn't really get angry, at least with her. She had only seen the woman angry a few times and luckily it was never directed at Sakura.
Without a noise she landed on the roof of the appropriate building, the Ninja Academy for Girls. After the initial separation a separate school had been built for the female nin's of Konoha, across town from the Ninja Academy for Boys. At the time the female population was furious about the ruling but now…it was rather nice.
Tsunade taken taken charge of the division and used it to her advantage. Shaping the new gernation in a way she chose fit right under the noses of those bastard village council members and Danzo. The current Hokage, while sweet, was to old to do much for the village. He did not check in on his former students and trusted their word on what they did. In true Tsunade fashion she had left out that virtually none of the female ninja were retired and many were far more powerful than what was told in the reports. They had been instructed to focus on politics, poisoning and medical skills though Tsuande was sure to teach more than the advised reading list.
The academy had found it's natural flow and ran with it. Women were naturally more prone to medical work over men, and this provided the perfect atmosphere to learn such skills. The teachers didn't have to worry about the male ninja's putting down their students and the students could focus on whatever they wanted to study, without any interference.
Sakura quietly slipped through one of the windows and landed gracefully into what she knew was Hinata's classroom. The light was thankfully on and the woman that she had known for so long was sitting at her desk, working on papers.
"Grading?" asked Sakura as she walked to her friend.
Hinata looked up and smiled, "Yeah…they are doing really well on their history of the nations. Lowest grade so far is an eighty three."
Sakura smiled, "That is good. Sorry about being late today, you know how the hospital is."
Hinata did know, she was a volunteer nurse there after all, "Are you sure you just aren't turning into your old sensei?"
Sakura growled, "Oh that is not funny…did you have fun with Naruto today?"
Hinata smiled too, "Yes, let me finish this last grading and we can leave for dinner."
Sakura put her hands behind her head and leaned back a bit, "Don't worry about it, I'm still gloating about you throwing Naruto into that tree."
Hinata let loose a small giggle as her cheeks turned a slight pink, "I hope I didn't hurt him."
"Naruto could get a pole thrown threw him and he'd still be walking around," Sakura countered.
"Oh," said Hinata as she put away the last test into the file cabinet behind her, "do you think you could come in some time and do a demonstration for some of my girls. I wanted to talk to them about choosing whether to be a medic or a ninja. Some even think they can do both."
Sakura smiled, "No problem, though I can't give a specific date, you know how my schedule is. I'm also going on a solo mission tomorrow, but it should only take a few days."
Hinata gave another laugh as she picked up her bag, "I'll just put aside whatever we are teaching at the time, and in case anyone asks, where exactly are you?"
"A paternal lineage conference out in Wave. Thanks for covering by the way. I can't image the chaos that would ensue if the boys really knew what I was up to." Sakura made a quick face, "Our little Sakura could get a splinter, she needs to stay home," she said mockingly while helping her friend lock the door behind her.
Hinata made no attempt to hide her laugh, "They are just protective over you. You know you are their whole world. You should give them a break."
To this day Sakura was still amazed at the differences in personalities Hinata had. When she was around her friends or in a comfortable environment Hinata was so much more confident. She took and gave orders, requested things and didn't stutter. It was always a nice switch. This all changed whenever she was around men who saw it fit to order her around needlessly. Then she became shy, submissive and unable to say her own name properly.
It was no secret that the more powerful traditional clans had spear headed the division among ninja's. It had probably been the one thing the Hyuga and Uchiha clan's had agreed on for centuries. Their internal politics and view towards women had quickly become the village's when they made the right threats.
Tonight was not about the men in their lives though, so Sakura refused to dwell on it further. Tonight they were celebrating nothing in particular, just the fact that they were able to see each other during the week, and Sakura didn't want anything to spoil it. Together the two walked out and headed towards the middle of the town, intent on eating something entirely awful for their figures.
Itachi was not in the best of moods. He had spent all of last night discussing his lack of a wife to his father for at least three hours after dinner, spent another two with his mother and now he was being forced to attend some academy disaster zone. He had been woken up by the abrupt smell of fire. The smoke was far off as far as he could tell, but the fact that part of the village was up in flames wasn't something he wanted to dwell on.
Immediately he was out of bed and pulling on a pair of black sweats. Without anything else on he pulled a mesh shirt from off the floor, which he had worn that morning, and jumped out of his window.
Being as fast as he was it didn't take an incredible amount of time to find the source of the flame. Even with his ability to keep a stone face under the most cruel of circumstances Itachi's mouth parted just slightly.
The Ninja Academy for Boys was up in flames…the entire thing.
Out of the corner of his eye Itachi saw three Anbu run into the building, obviously looking to see if anyone was inside. Figuring that they were more than capable of taking care of that Itachi began on the fire currently engulfing his old school.
Almost on instinct he summoned forth a water jutsu in order to take care of the flames, only to find out that this was no regular fire. This was chakra induced. Someone had been using a fire jutsu to cause this that was fueled with a ignite seal. For a second time he let loose another water jutsu, this one was more powerful and laced with his own chakra. He doubled the amount of hand signals while running around the building, water streaming from his hands. Smoke billowed from the various spots he had managed to put out but there was still more. Eventually more ninja's arrived on the scene, each adding their own stream of chakra filled water.
Almost immediately the fire was put out.
Suddenly an Anbu was standing next to him, "Lord Itachi, thank you for helping with the flames. We were able to get the boys out of the building while you did so."
"I am guessing that they were the ones to start the fire," it wasn't really a question and they both knew it, "How many?"
"Six boys sir," came the masked man's response.
The owner and current head of the school was quickly next to the two ninja. He was older, his white hair glistening in the moon's rays. Even with his age the older gentleman was well fit, strong and mentally as young as any ten year old boy. He also had the same mental capacities as one, at least in accordance to most of the female population, "Anyone hurt?"
"No Master Jiraiya," bowed the Anbu.
Jiraiya had become the head of the male shinobi school as soon as it had been founded; the Hokage had gone to great lengths in order to make sure the elusive man was found. Though, Itachi hadn't the faintest idea who was in charge of the female division. You would think he would, since his family was the major leading force in the initial separation of the sexes.
"Good, now I can properly skin them. Over half of the building is destroyed," said the Toad Sage in dismay. Honestly speaking Jiraiya wasn't sure what to do. They still had students to teach and no building to do it in. What's more, they were also integrating their new supervision program next week. High ranking ninja were coming in to show many of the students what it was like to be on a ninja team and what to expect. How was all of that supposed to happen now?
The three watched as more and more men came to aid in the field, picking up debris and putting out small meaningless fires. The field was a mess and it would take more than a couple of days to repair the damage. No, this was more like a couple of months.
A chuunin decided that now was the time to talk but mostly, place blame. With him he brought the six boys who were the cause of all this chaos. Said six boys, who were all attempting to hide behind this one chuunin, bowed their heads in shame. Obviously they knew what they did was wrong, and what's more, they had done major damage. Of course, that wasn't what they were really upset about. No, the boys were more upset over the fact that they had gotten caught. They were undoubtedly going to be punished severely for this.
Itachi quickly concluded that they couldn't have been older than maybe nine or ten. They were charred and short of breath, which was understandable if they were in the middle of the mess like the conclusion suggested.
Jiraiya stepped forth to face the six academy student in front of him, "You boys are lucky no one was hurt, and that Lord Uchiha was here to put out the rest of the flames before everyone else arrived. What were you doing practicing such an advanced level of jutsu?"
"We just wanted to try it," came one of the small boy's reposes, though Itachi could easily tell that none of the boys were taking Jiraiya's words seriously. Instead they were looking at him, the infamous Uchiha who graduated from the academy in a year. The same Uchiha who made Anbu at such a young age. They were looking at the legend that had cleaned up their mess.
"You wanted to try burning down half of our school?" asked Jiraiya.
The six boys immediately felt their blushes run from their cheeks all the way down to their toes. It wasn't just for being reprimanded, but for being reprimanded in front of their idol. Yes, the six had stupidly enough been trying to learn a fire jutsu and managed to burn down half of the building belonging to the academy. Overall, this was not good at all. There was no way the school or Council could find a place to train and teach the up and coming ninja in such a short amount of time.
A council man, old and gray from what Itachi could tell, walked up to the group. The remaining glow from the fire surrounded him, giving him a deathly sheen across his face. It was rather fitting since as a council member he would have a say in the children's punishment, "What are we to do Jiraiya, there is no school for you to lead."
Jiraiya sighed, "Unfortunately, I think I am going to have to ask for a favor…one that I am sure to regret."
The council men stopped to blink in confusion, "You have an empty building in mind?"
"No…not quiet. My old teammate Lady Tsunade runs the girls division across town. The only thing I can think of is to ask if we could temporarily share a building."
A soaring empty bottle of sake went flying through the room as a man in a jounin vest ran out, the bottle just skimming his head, "Thank you Lady Tsunade!"
A busty blonde woman stepped out from her office, "That wart-on-the-wall better not let me find him!"
Another woman, this one with bright pink hair, stepped out from the staircase that the man was sprinting down. She looked at Shizune, the woman at the front desk, in question, "Did Tsunade just throw a bottle of sake at someone?" she asked in disbelief. Her mentor was known for licking a bottle of sake clean so as not to lose an ounce of flavor. Tsunade must be angry as hell to let something like that go to waste.
Shizune smiled, "I assure you, it was empty. Lady Tsunade would never waste sake on someone other than herself."
Sakura smiled, "Any idea what it's about?"
Shizune shook her head, "Not a clue…you want to take a chance and go in there? You know you are the only one who can calm her down."
"Sakura! Get your skinny ass in here!" screamed the strangely sober voice.
Sakura sighed, "To late to run now…I'll see what I can do," she whispered to Shizune.
With that said she stepped into the cluttered and chaotic office, "Damn, Shizune and I just filed everything in here too."
Sakura quickly stepped up to her mentor who was glaring at the wall. Sakura briefly wondered if there was a crack, or a bug on it, since it obviously held her mentor's attention. Was there something she was missing? Perhaps Tsunade had finally given herself a nice healthy batch of alcohol poisoning and was hallucinating her ass off. No, the woman sounded sober just moments ago. Tsunade was good but she wasn't that good, "Anyone you want me to kill? Or would you like the honors?"
Tsunade spun around as quick as lightning, "I knew something was going to happen when I won that bet with Shizune last night, I just never thought it would be this bad! That stupid frog is coming to our school! His students couldn't handle a little fire jutsu and the building is burnt down. The idiot didn't even have the guts to face me himself! He sent it in a note! The 'request' is what he calls it. That's a load of bull. A request doesn't come with an order from the council if you refuse! The dumb ass!"
"I see you are angry…though I don't know why," said Sakura amiably, "just put them in the crappy building that we never use. You know, the one that they originally gave us."
Tsunade groaned as she flopped down into her chair, "I can't! The council has already done room arrangements! Some of my girls are even going to have to share a room with the Neanderthals!"
Sakura's face paled. So maybe this wasn't so good.
"That's not even the worst part…" mumbled Tsunade.
Sakura's eyes widened, "There's more?" she said in disbelief.
"Jiraiya in implementing a new supervisor workshop. Jounin's and even a few Anbu are being asked to come in and help supervise the academy students. He wants his students to see firsthand what it is like as a ninja. They will be put on mock teams so it isn't just the students and teachers we are housing but…actual freaking ninja!"
Tsunade immediately swiped her latest bottle of sake from under her desk drawer, taking a large gulp, "I need a favor Sakura…I need you and your friends to keep an eye on them and make sure none of those idiots burn down my school."
- I know almost no Itachi/Sakura interaction, but I promise there will be plenty. I wanted to give a foundation to the story first. Also, I want to make it clear that Sakura and Itachi know each other from when they were kids. The beginning part was their first interaction and you will see their relationship progress as the story goes on. Please review, it will make my day and help me update faster!