Amongst Kamiya Satoshi's many sterling qualities which included an eidetic memory and an above average talent with swords were two that were less so. Satoshi was both a gambler and a thief. While thievery wasn't as bad a vice for a shinobi as it would be for a civilian, as one of the more ancient definitions of the word shinobi itself was "theft", it was severely frowned upon when it became detrimental to the successful completion of a mission. Knowing that his student was a habitual thief, Shimura Tetsuo clearly should have kept better track of the team's travel funds on their first C ranked mission.
For their first C ranked mission, the team had been hired to escort a merchant who was going to visit a cousin of his in the Land of Rivers. It was September, and while the weather hadn't yet started to turn cold, the leaves of the trees of Fire Country had started to turn spectacular colors. The scenery was incredible, and because they were keeping pace with the civilian, Tetsuo had actually been able to enjoy it rather than catch glimpses of it as it blew by. At the start of the mission Suzume and Satoshi seemed to be enjoy the scenery as well, and Naruto who had never been out further than the woods surrounding Konoha was took in each new sight with wide-eyed wonder. All in all, it had appeared that it would be a rather relaxing C rank, much better than the tension filled ones Tetsuo had remembered from his early Genin days during the tail end of the Third Shinobi War.
Eventually however, even the most beautiful scenery begins to bore and even the most open minded of people begin to become inured to new experiences. When that happens with children, especially shinobi children, mischief tends to happen. If Tetsuo had remembered that fact, he wouldn't have been half as surprised as he had been when he'd been forced to pay out of pocket for the team's lodgings when he discovered that the traveling allowance he'd been given for this mission had mysteriously vanished.
Normally, such missions didn't include such travel funds but, as the journey had required stays at multiple inns, the funds had been included as part of the price for the mission as Genin tended not to have the funds necessary for such journeys, and Jounin weren't expected to pay for their students out of pocket during missions.
Stealing the traveling funds from Tetsuo-sensei had been a snap as far as Satoshi was concerned. Like Uzumaki Naruto, he had scored high on the stealth portion of the Academy graduation exam. Unlike the Uzumaki however, he'd been Rookie of the Year as well. Satoshi had stolen from Jounin before, and sometimes he got away with it, sometimes he didn't. Fortunately, his youth and the fact that he was considered adorable by most grown-ups had worked for him so far, and he hadn't been seriously injured when he had gotten caught by the ninja he had been stealing from. He'd been scared out of his wits so badly that he'd pissed himself on one occasion but, he'd never been seriously injured.
The fact that Tetsuo-sensei had a habit of slinging his vest across the most convenient flat surface when he slept indoors made his job alot easier as far as he was concerned. The only real problems he'd had in stealing from his teacher had been entering and leaving the room of a Jounin who had been trained to be at least somewhat alert 24/7. Ninja who didn't wake up at the slightest disturbance, often ended up dead. Those who did wake up at even the tiniest noise however, often ended up seriously sleep deprived which brought on a whole slew of its own problems. Most who survived to the rank of Jounin had found a happy compromise where they trained themselves until they awoke every time they felt a foreign Chakra presence in the vicinity or heard a sound that was out of place for their surroundings. Apparently, after nearly a year together, Tetsuo-sensei had grown so acclimated to his presence that it didn't really register anymore. Had he had something other than larceny in his heart that evening, that could have turned out to have been a fatal oversight.
Eventually, after deftly navigating through his sensei's darkened room and rifling through the pockets of the man's vest, he came away with his prize of several thousand ryo. He then snuck out of the man's room and made his way to the nearest gambling hall, looking over his shoulder the entire way. Tetsuo had been threatening to teach him a lesson for nearly as long as he knew him, and this could've been it.
Upon reaching the gaming hall unmolested, he sighed in relief as he headed inside. He had always been a gambler. It had started in his early childhood on the playground with a "I bet you my new yoyo that you can't...". When he was a little kid, the things won and lost had been things that were only important to a child, toys, candy, pocket change, and prestige. When he'd become a Genin, he had started earning a disposable income that he could use as a cover for the source of his other income without getting into serious trouble with his parents, and a whole new world of gambling had been opened to him. None of it legal, as the hitai-ate he'd been given upon graduation from the Academy only gave one a limited adult status. Genin couldn't buy alcohol, but Chunin could, and well, the age of consent was the age of consent for a reason, and a headband wouldn't change that, though he'd heard rumors about missions where...Well, he'd heard rumors, and not all of them good.
When he left the gambling hall several hours later, he knew he was in trouble. He wasn't a particularly lucky gambler or a particularly unlucky gambler. He could read people well and know what to expect but, that was only part of the game. The other part involved chance, which he could not control if he wanted his hide to remain intact, considering the types of places he frequented. Sometimes luck was with him, and sometimes it wasn't. Tonight it hadn't been, and that meant that he couldn't replace the travel funds he'd stolen and pocket the extra, or even replace the funds and hope Tetsuo-sensei didn't notice that a little was missing, as he had lost the entire wad of cash.
Tetsuo-sensei was sure to notice, and sure to know exactly who to blame because, he'd caught him stealing several other times before. Besides, neither Naruto nor Suzume were the type to do something like that.
Tetsuo knew exactly who to blame when he discovered that the money he'd been given to cover the cost of renting rooms for the team was gone, as there was only one Genin on his team with sticky fingers and the skills to pull something like that off. While he was almost tempted to do so, he couldn't make the team sleep outside, as the mission called for sticking close to the client. While it would solve a number of problems, he couldn't afford to pay out of pocket because of the new baby that was due soon. He would have to recoup the losses somehow, and there were few legal options open to him to do so since he was already on a mission and didn't have time to do a couple days work.
Damn, and he'd sworn to his wife that he'd quit.
Back when he was growing up, he'd always wondered what the attraction between his father and his mother had been, as his father was rather straight-laced and conservative, much like his grandfather in that respect, and his mother, well...His mother had come from the Land of Tea, which had been bad enough in the old One-Eyed bastard's book but, he had a feeling that the One-Eyed bastard wouldn't have objected to his father marrying her so much if she hadn't been a con artist who had taken him for something like three million ryo.
When he was young, his civilian mother had taught him many of the tricks of the trade that she'd learned from her family long ago. While many of these grifter tricks had been quite useful in his shinobi career, others had gotten him into trouble with the comrades he'd used as marks and with his superiors when they had caught on to what he was doing. By the time he'd become a Jounin, he'd already had two black marks on his record and a number of warnings.
When he had married his darling wife, she had made him swear to her that he'd quit conning people, even if he felt that they had seriously "deserved it" as she had rather rightly feared that his habits would lead to his eventual dismissal from the ninja ranks. He could think of no other way to recoup the loss of the traveling funds that Satoshi had stolen however, unless...
Well, now that he thought of it, the missus hadn't made him swear to not teach the next generation a few useful if less than savory skills. All he needed to do was give his little Genins some instructions, and find the right mark but, he had all day to do that.
Naruto wasn't too sure about this. While he knew that he would be able to heal quickly and without too many scars, he didn't particularly enjoy pain, and his role in this farce was going to be extremely painful, even if he did what he set out to do perfectly. When this was over, he was going to be giving Satoshi a piece of his mind. If Satoshi hadn't decided to go stealing, he wouldn't be having to do this.
When they were setting up for the con that Tetsuo-sensei had said would get their traveling money back, they had selected a spot that was close to the town they were going to be staying in tonight but not exactly within sight of it. The person they were supposed to be "meeting" this evening would only be staying in town long enough for a meal and some after-dinner entertainment, and would be leaving along this road. Timing and good acting were everything, and he hoped that he wouldn't mess this up by failing on either point. He had what in his opinion was the most difficult role in this, and he wanted to get it right the first time so they didn't have to try again.
All too soon, he heard the sound of horse's hooves pounding against the hard-packed dirt of the road which was his cue. As he prepared to do his part, his heart hammered in his chest, and the little voice in his head called him stupidstupidstupidstupidstup id as he threw the ball they had gotten for this farce out into the road. His sensei had told him that there was a trick to not getting seriously injured while throwing oneself under a horse and had given him pointers but, he was still nervous.
He did his best to remember everything Tetsuo-sensei had told him as he ran out beneath the horse that was making its way up the road. Soon, he was being rolled by a very unhappy animal that weighed about a ton and, after a couple of seconds of sheer terror, it was all over. It hurt badly but, not as much as he had feared it would.
Now, since his part in this was pretty much over, all he would have to do was lay here while Suzume and Satoshi did their jobs.
Kamizuki Suzume hadn't been too sure about this from the beginning. Any plan that begins with one of her teammates being trampled by a horse was bad in her book, and this one was just awful. The idea of conning someone like this rankled her sense of honor even though she would only be playing a small role in this since she wasn't all that good at acting. But still, she wanted no part in this whatsoever.
The scream she let out after Naruto had been run over by the horse as planned wasn't entirely faked. Naruto looked awful, and though she knew that most of it was damage to his clothing, and that he was just badly bruised, and that he might've had a couple of broken bones that would miraculously heal before the night was over thanks to some sort of Kekkei Genkai he possessed at worst, part of her was horrified at seeing him like this.
With a cry of "Otouto!" she raced out of the trees and over to her teammate, and started crying. She had thought that she would have to go out of her way to convincingly fake her tears when they had been planning this but, as she reached her teammate's side, she found herself crying for real.
The man who had finally regained control of his horse came over, looking concerned. As he approached, she could smell the alcohol from the heavy drinking that had made him their mark from where she knelt beside Naruto.
"I-Is he okay?" the man asked uncertainly.
"No!" she cried as Naruto let out a very real moan of pain.
It was at that point that Satoshi raced over, the cry of "Otouto" having been his cue to wait fifteen seconds before arriving so that they didn't appear to belong to the same group.
"I'll go get the doctor and the policeman!" Satoshi yelled after pretending to process the scene in front of him after coming out of his shock at coming upon such a scene.
He then turned towards the direction of the town to "go and get help" as had been planned. This was the point that would reveal whether or not the three of them had completely wasted their time. If the mark that their sensei had selected for them was an honest man, he would stay and wait for the authorities to arrive and accept his just punishment for his mistake. If the man was a total coward, he would get on his horse and flee. If the man was violent, one of the particular risks of this con had been virtually negated by the fact that they were ninja. If the man was the sort who believed that he could buy his way out of anything, like Tetsuo-sensei had thought him to be however, then their time had not been wasted at all.
"Wait!" the man called out, and with that, the haggling over exactly how much his friend and teammate's life was worth began.
Eventually, after some serious bargaining, the man was on his way, and Satoshi was up by roughly the amount of pay that would be given for the completion of an upper-level C rank mission. He honestly thought Naruto was worth a great deal more than that but, that had been all the man had been willing to part with. It had been more than enough to recoup his losses though, and he just knew that Tetsuo-sensei would be taking all of it rather than the portion he had stolen in the first place to teach him a lesson.
Naruto groaned as he woke up happy to be able to do so in this instance. His muscles felt stiff and sore but, he felt fine otherwise. He hadn't been able to walk the night before so, after Suzume had determined that he hadn't ruptured anything vital or broken anything that could puncture anything vital, his teammates had carried him back to the inn.
When he opened his eyes, it was to find Tetsuo-sensei sitting next to his bed, looking as if he'd been there all night. The man then set about 20,000 ryo on his pillow.
"What's that for?" he asked, since it was enough to pay for a mid-level D rank mission.
"Bonus hazard pay. Don't tell the others I gave it to you." Tetsuo-sensei said with a smile as he ruffled his hair fondly before getting up to go.
Danzo scowled as he read the report. The Boy was teaching his old tricks to a new generation. He'd once made a misguided attempt to connect with The Boy before he had learned that the child was just like his mother, and had almost gotten burned because of it. One of the ones who were now picking up this particular skill set was the weapon, to whom it would be absolutely useless, much like many of the other things the Jinchuriki would have to unlearn when he was finally able to use him properly.
Frowning, he set aside the report that detailed the first con that the boy's Genin team had pulled, and moved on to another one. As he made his way through the rest of his paperwork however, he found himself chuckling at the thought of the Jinchuriki conning Sarutobi out of large amounts of cash as a wide-eyed innocent looking child had once tried to do to him.