Hi, here is the new chapter. Happy reading.

First C Rank Mission

It was the end of the first month and the three jonin senseis for the rookie teams met in a bar. They had planned on reviewing their success in training their teams over the last month.

"I am really satisfied with how far my team has come. While there is still much work to do, they are a well-working unit and know how to combine their clan techniques to reach good results in my fake missions." Kurenai said.

She had not taken as many missions as the other teams; instead she simulated some to train her team's specialty, tracking, better.

"By the way, I think they are ready for some resistance seals now. Kakashi, would you mind coming around tomorrow to place them?" She asked.

"Sure, I can leave my team alone over lunch break. So I can get to it around one tomorrow. Asuma, do you also want the seals for your team?" He asked.

"Yes, I have already forewarned them. While Shikamaru thinks it is troublesome and is thoroughly unmotivated, forcing him to train even if he doesn't want to can only be good for him. The only one motivated on my team is Ino and she only wants to not lose to Sakura in getting Sasuke's attention. She thinks if she and her team are weak Sasuke will never notice her." Asuma sighed.

"I see, well, placing the seals doesn't take more than five minutes per person, so I could do your team after I did Kurenai's. Hm, seems like my team gets a longer lunch break tomorrow." Kakashi mused.

"That's something I also wanted to know. How comes you are following such a rigid schedule with your team? And why are all the missions you take practically completely out of public sight?" Kurenai asked.

"Ah, I just need to get Sasuke away from the worship of the villagers. He needs to realize that nobody will just fall to his knees because he is an Uchiha in a fight. The villagers put that idiotic idea in his head. The Uchihas were also always very arrogant and arrogance can lead to death on a mission. Sasuke's father Fugaku especially was a very proud and arrogant man and convinced that being an Uchiha made you practically royalty. As the villagers treated Sasuke like a pampered Prince after the massacre, he didn't learn that nobody outside the village would give a damn about it. My harsh training and keeping my team isolated from the villagers is meant to remedy that idea quickly.

"I also don't want to have Sakura think she could slack off on missions. Those missions your teams do are ones that would give her too much time swooning over Sasuke without repercussions. If she does that on higher ranking missions, it can get her or her team-mates killed. I won't let that happen. Sakura is one of the worst fangirls I've ever seen. I know that girls crushing on one boy or another is normal at that age, but if they want to be ninjas, they have to know when they can act on it and when not. Sakura was raised with the goal of her mother to have her daughter marry into a rich clan and Sasuke as the sole heir of the Uchiha fortune is a prime candidate. Asuma, while Ino is also crushing on Sasuke, is lucky that Ino is from a ninja clan and knows that she has to put her missions first and not to completely neglect her training. He has a better base to work with.

"And you are the really lucky one, Kurenai. Hinata never showed any signs of being a fangirl and wants to become strong enough to prove herself to her father and her clan. While she is timid, with the right support and good team-mates that show her they have her back, she can get over that. And I have the feeling your team is well-suited for it. Kiba as an Inuzuka was raised with the mentality that the pack is the most important thing to protect, which for him includes his clan and his team. Shino as an Aburame knows about hive mentality and while he needs to get better in social contacts, he will always protect his team-mates and will work to improve the overall strength of a team. You have known Hinata for years and are well-suited to help her with the confidence issues." Kakashi said.

"Yes, I am glad I got such a good team. And since Naruto pointed out the potential dangers Hinata puts her team-mates in by holding back in taijutsu training, she is getting better. I tested them on their elemental affinities and Naruto was right, Hinata is a water element. I looked up a few taijutsu styles that are based on water to help her adapt her gentle fist to her element. She seems much happier now that she can develop her own version of the gentle fist. It will need some time until she has it workable, but the first few katas she adjusted work well enough." Kurenai informed them.

"I am curious, what elements did the other two have?" Asuma asked.

"Shino is an earth element and Kiba a lightning element." She answered.

"Did you also test your genin on their elements, Kakashi?" Asuma asked.

"Yes. Interestingly Sasuke is a lightning element, but due to his fire element training from his clan he also has a strong secondary fire affinity. Sakura is an earth element and Naruto, well his primary element is wind, but he also has a strong secondary affinity for water and a nearly equally strong affinity for lightning. Normally you only get that after years of training and training up your affinities. And if I say he is a wind element, I mean he can control the wind instinctively." Kakashi said.

"Really? Impressive, even I am not that good with wind manipulation. I wonder where he got the information on how to train those affinities. They aren't part of the normal library. Seems he is more of a mystery than everybody thought." Asuma commented then sinking into deep thought. Kakashi suspected he might be up to Naruto's disguise as he had been the one to test the blond's abilities.

"Indeed. By the way, how did the matches of your teams go?" Kakashi asked.

"Shino won against Choji, Shikamaru won against Kiba and Hinata won against Ino." Kurenai said grinning.

"So we have four victories for my team from Sasuke and Naruto. Each of them has two. Then Kurenai has three victories, two from Shino and one from Hinata. Asuma has two one from Shikamaru and one from Ino." Kakashi summarized.

"Yes. And next month we wanted to have them do team matches. Or would you rather have them do a task?" Asuma said.

"I think a team obstacle course would be a good exercise. You did teach them tree walking, right?" Kakashi asked.

"Yes, they all can do it by now. So we could include that in the course. If you want, I will design a course and show my ideas to you in three days." Kurenai offered.

"Sounds good to me." Asuma said.

"No complaints from me either." Kakashi answered.

At nine in the morning on Monday morning Team seven stood in front of the Hokage and the chunin on duty in the mission office.

"Team seven present for a C-rank mission, Hokage Sama." Kakashi announced.

Sasuke and Naruto perked up. They would finally get a better mission than those D-ranks. Sakura just hoped she would get by. The last month of training had been hell. She hadn't thought that ninja life was so taxing. In her mother's plans it always sounded so easy and glorious. You went to the academy, got placed on a team under a jonin sensei, got taught a few things over one or one and a half years, in the best case you had one or two cute and rich boys from an important clan on the team, seduced one and in the end you retired and raised your children. During missions the boys did all the hard work, while you were a proper lady and only needed your female guile to do the job.

That was complete rubbish.

While she was on the same team as Sasuke, the richest and cutest of all the boys in her class, she simply didn't have any time to even ask him out on a date. She couldn't take care of her body like she did in the academy and instead of letting her hair open so Sasuke could admire its length and silkiness, Kakashi had ordered her to either tie it up or cut it as it would only get in her way. She would never just cut it and so she now wore her hair in a ponytail. She hated that she looked more like Ino this way. And while she had tried to follow the low fat diet her mother had come up with, it just didn't work. If she kept to vegetables, fruit and low fat meat, she didn't have the energy to last through training and Kakashi sensei didn't care at all. He just told her she knew what she should eat and if she didn't follow her sensei's instructions she had to deal with the consequences.

So she had told her mother that she needed normal rice balls and sushi for lunch to get through training and not look weak in Sasuke's eyes. While her mother hadn't liked her decision, she had complied. The change in food helped, but as it only came up to the amount of food a normal civilian who did physical work for half a day, she still felt powerless at the end of the day while she could see that Sasuke adjusted to their level of training after two weeks. He was even occasionally discussing strategies with Naruto. With Naruto of all people. Why did he accept Naruto and not her? The only explanation she had was that he saw her as too weak for him. So she had started to make her own lunchboxes. It was more or less the same food Kakashi had given them over the first week of training.

It helped her get through the days. If she ate properly for breakfast, for which her mother still slept, and lunch, she had no problems to eat low fat and mostly salad and fruit in the evenings. She just hoped she wouldn't become ugly from all the muscle she was building up.

"So you think your team is ready for an easy C-rank. Let's see what I have here. Ah yes, this one should only take you two days and considering the training you put them through, it should be easy to do. This is a protection and transport of important supplies for our village. We get a new delivery of medical herbs, rare poisons, special earth and water every month for our hospital. The new delivery has arrived just yesterday evening at the port in Tea Country. You are to take your team to Tea Country, take over the shipment and seal the boxes with the goods in sealing scrolls. After that you are to bring the scrolls back to Konoha." The Hokage said.

"Mission accepted, Hokage Sama. Team, get your equipment for a C-rank mission, we are meeting in thirty minutes at the main gate." Kakashi said.

"Understood." All three answered and left through the door.

At the announced time the three genin stood at the main gate, waiting for Kakashi. He appeared in a body flicker.

"Okay, show me your equipment." Kakashi said.

As this was the first C-rank mission, he wanted to make sure his genin had the proper equipment. Sasuke was first.

"Thirty shuriken in my thigh pouch, twenty kunai in my back pouch, three spools of ninja wire, five explosive tags and one first aid kid sealed in a scroll also in the back pouch. In my backpack I have four sealing scrolls. One for clothes, one for camping equipment, consisting of a sleeping bag, a pot for cooking, metal plate, cup, fork, knife and spoon and a two person tent. The third one is for various boxes and the fourth one for extra weapons. I have three days' worth of Jakonato's best ration bars and some basic toiletries." Sasuke listed.

"Good work. Next, Sakura." Kakashi said.

Sakura gulped hopefully she wouldn't be scolded. Her equipment was nowhere near as complete as Sasuke's.

"I have twenty shuriken in my thigh pouch, twenty kunai, one spool of ninja wire, two explosive tags, a flash bomb and a first aid kit in my hip pouch. I have a change of clothes, a sleeping bag and a one person tent in a sealing scroll, some toiletries and a set of extra shuriken in my backpack." Sakura listed.

"Take an example from Sasuke what you forgot to pack. While this C-rank mission is a short one and will only take two days and we will be able to eat in Tea Country, you always have to be prepared for the unexpected. On a mission it can happen that you are forced to take alternative routes while transporting something valuable. So don't rely on being able to get food easily. Last, Naruto." Kakashi said.

"Practically the same things in my pouches like Sasuke except that I have two thigh pouches, one with shuriken, and one with senbons. My first hip pouch resembles Sasuke's, my second one contains my sealing supplies and two ration bars. I have ten pre-made normal explosive seals, five modified ones, five flash seals, two chakra storing seals, and two mass storage seals with water. In my backpack I have totally six filled storage scrolls and five empty reserve storage scrolls Of the filled scrolls one is for various weapons, one for sealed food, one for camping equipment, version J-3, one for transport devices, one with additional sealing supplies for greater scale fuinjutsu and one for clothes. In the pockets on my vest I have my selection of poisons and a container with food pills and one with blood replenishing pills." Naruto listed.

Sakura's mouth hung open. What the hell was camping equipment version J-3 and those seals Naruto had mentioned and where did he get them? And why did he have mass water storage seals with him?

"Well, they say you can never be overly prepared." Kakashi commented. "We will travel as fast as we can. We will run for three hours then we will rest for half an hour and run another three hours. After that we should have reached the border to Tea Country from where on we will travel at a slower speed to not appear hostile to the military forces of the country. For this mission I will give you control over the resistance seals. In case of a fight, which isn't that probable, but I won't take any risks, you can release your seals and use your full speed and strength. Once we return, I will take that control away again."

Kakashi made a few handseals and put his hand on the seals of Sasuke and Sakura.

"Leave the seals activated until you need to release them. You are still in your training phase after all. I will give you full control over your seals after we have done training for four months. At that point you should have reached high chunin speed with the training we are doing." Kakashi said.

"I have a question, sensei, well, it's more a question to Naruto. How good are you really with fuinjutsu?" Sasuke asked.

"I need to wait for a specialist to really evaluate my skills, but I am way better than I showed until now." Naruto said.

"Ah yes, now that you mention it, he will arrive in one week for your test." Kakashi said.

Naruto nodded.

"Are you willing to sell me some of those specialized seals you mentioned?" Sasuke said.

"As long as you pay the normal prizes, sure." Naruto answered.

Sasuke nodded. He had the money and as long as he could get those seals easily, perhaps even some that weren't readily available at Jakonato's or restricted for higher ranks it wouldn't matter to him.

"Okay, now that that's done, let's go." Kakashi said and had his team move out.

The journey to Tea Country had gone without problems. Konoha and Fire Country were on friendly terms with Tea Country, so when they changed to visible travel after passing the border, they weren't stopped by the Tea Country military. They reached the harbour of Tea Country around six in the evening. Kakashi told them to find an inn where they could eat, after that he would show them a place where they could put up their tents.

While Sakura wondered why they couldn't just stay in the inn overnight, she knew better by now than to question her sensei. Kakashi went to check the shipment for Konoha so they could seal it in the morning. After having a nice dinner in the inn, Kakashi showed them the place where ninjas from Konoha normally camped on this mission. As it came up every month once or twice, the local administration had just reserved a spot for the team that got the supplies. Sasuke and Sakura were tasked with setting up the tents, Kakashi checked the area for any nasty surprises and Naruto secured the area with some seals that would keep enemies out and give them some nasty injuries if they tried to force their way through. If any of the local military members wanted to talk to them all they would need to do was calling out to them after all.

The night was quiet though and at seven in the morning Kakashi let them have breakfast from a few supplies he had got in the village last evening. Milk, a few eggs boiled in a pot, some rice and vegetables. After eating and a short morning warm up of running up and down a tree ten times and then a few exercises Kakashi led his students to the harbour. There they were greeted by the head merchant who coordinated the shipments for Konoha.

"Ah, good morning. Is that you, Kakashi? I think the last time I saw you, you were about the age your students are." The old man said.

"Yes, it's me. I didn't think you would remember me after all this time." Kakashi said.

"That hair and that mask are nothing you easily forget. And you did this mission pretty often during the war when the other two were still too inexperienced to go to the front lines. Even if your sensei normally didn't accompany you. Now why don't you introduce me to your team?" The old man asked.

"Sure, this is my genin team, team seven; from left to right they are Sakura Haruno, Sasuke Uchiha and Naruto Uzumaki. Team seven; this is Marakomo Takamishi, the head merchant that has been supplying Konoha with the goods we are going to transport for decades." Kakashi said.

"Did you say Uzumaki? A real Uzumaki?" Mr Takamishi asked surprised.

"Did you know the Uzumaki clan?" Naruto asked.

"Indeed. I travelled to Whirlpool Country quite often as Uzushio was allied with Konoha. It's a shame what happened to the village. I had thought they got all the Uzumakis back then. But as I see one must have survived in Konoha. Who are your parents, Naruto?" Mr Takamishi asked.

"Sorry, I don't know. I'm an orphan. The Hokage only told me, that Uzumaki was my mother's name." Naruto said.

"Ah, too bad. Great ninjas the Uzumakis. Devils with those seals they created. And damn good with a sword as well. I once had a guard for my ship from Uzushio in the second great war. I was a young sailor back then. We were attacked by Kiri nin. But even the sword fighter they had with them didn't stand a chance against Zoria Uzumaki. It was one of the most impressive fights I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot." Mr Takamishi said. "Well, enough of the past, you and I have jobs to do. Kakashi, you inspected the goods yesterday, was everything in order?"

"Yes, like always everything we ordered is there in top quality, Marakomo." Kakashi answered.

"Okay, are your students trained in sealing things in scrolls?" Mr Takamishi asked.

"They are. By the way, Naruto, we need three more scrolls, I checked the ones we got at the mission office yesterday evening and three are too old that I can safely say they can be used." Kakashi said.

"No problem, Kakashi sensei." Naruto offered and took out three of his five empty storage scrolls.

Kakashi coordinated where they got to work and after one hour all the crates and boxes were safely sealed away and the scrolls in the genins' backpacks.

"It was nice seeing you again, Kakashi." Mr Takamishi said when team seven was ready to leave again.

"Likewise, Marakomo. I guess we'll do this mission again in the near future. So we'll be seeing us soon." Kakashi replied.

"Well, perhaps next time I can invite you for lunch. You were really fast with your work. It shows that you trained them well, Kakashi." Mr Takamishi said.

"Thank you. Goodbye." Kakashi said.

"Goodbye." The three genin also said.

Kakashi led his team out of the village and once they were outside he increased their travelling speed to low running speed. They would speed things up once they were out of Tea Country.

Team seven reached the gates of Konoha without interruption late in the afternoon. Kakashi signed them in and led them to the Hokage tower to deliver the scrolls and give the short report. Normally the team that got the mission would deliver the scrolls to the hospital directly, but with their animosity towards Naruto, he didn't want to give them the chance. When they entered the mission office Kurenai and team eight were just busy with debriefing.

"Team eight back from D-rank mission to weed the garden at Mrs Ukunari's. Mission successfully completed, the garden was clean after two hours." Kurenai said and handed over the signed mission scroll. "Performance of my genin will be in the written report."

"Okay, noted. Next." The chunin said.

"Team seven back from C-rank mission to get delivery from Tea Country for the hospital. No problems during the mission. We got to Tea Country harbour in about eight hours. The goods are the usual quality and are sealed in these twenty storage scrolls. Three of the scrolls from the armoury that were supplied to my team for the mission were too old to be safely used and were replaced by Naruto Uzumaki from his private stock. He needs to get them either back or replaced by new ones after the goods are unsealed at the hospital. I recommend a check of our stocked seals that are older, like the storage scrolls, by Dark Phoenix. Performance of my students will be in my written report." Kakashi said.

"Why did team seven already get a C-rank mission, Kurenai sensei?" Kiba complained.

"Because they got special training and Kakashi is one of the strongest jonin in the village. You will be taking C-ranks once you are proficient in the basic skills for the higher ranked missions and have done the required number of D-rank missions." Kurenai answered.

"What does the strength of Kakashi sensei have to do with the decision, Kurenai sensei?" Hinata asked. Her stuttering had lessened a lot, even if she still had a long way to go.

"In case something unplanned happens that is above the abilities of the genin, the jonin sensei will protect them. And the more inexperienced a team is, the stronger the jonin sensei needs to be to make sure the team will be safe. I was only promoted to jonin half a year ago; Kakashi has been a jonin since he was thirteen." Kurenai explained.

All the genin were impressed hearing that and looked at Kakashi in awe. Even Naruto was very impressed by that.

"Okay, team seven, you can go home, be at the gates tomorrow morning at six like usual." He said.

"Yes, Kakashi sensei." They said.

"Team eight, you're also dismissed. Meeting is tomorrow at eight in our training ground." Kurenai said.

"Yes, Kurenai sensei." Team eight answered.

"Dark Phoenix?" Kurenai asked Kakashi once the genin were outside.

"The new sealing specialist the Hokage has hired for supplying the village with seals. The former one died a few weeks ago and Dark Phoenix replaced him. For security reasons he is only known by the codename." Kakashi explained.

"So that's the reason for the new seals in the armoury and at Jakonato's." The chunin in the mission office said. "When I got the scrolls for your mission, Kakashi, I saw that the stock has been filled up and that some new variants have been added."

"Indeed. From what Hokage Sama told me, Dark Phoenix is really good." Kakashi confirmed.

"So you got to meet Mr Takamishi again. How was he?" Kurenai asked.

"Cheery as always. Told some old stories while we were sealing the boxes and crates. This time from when he had just started sailing on a merchant ship and they were entered by Kiri ninjas in the second war." Kakashi said.

"Ah, yes I remember when my team got that mission; he was always good at telling stories." Kurenai remembered.

"That he is. Well, I'll be off." Kakashi said.

"Me too, I have planned meeting Anko tonight." Kurenai said.

"Have fun." Kakashi said and left in a body flicker.

And done. Till next time.