Andrew J. Talon and The Ero-Sennin
DISCLAIMER:This is a non-profit fan-based work of prose. Naruto is the property of Shueisha, Viz Media and Masashi Kishimoto. Please support the official release.
The next morning, a silent Team 7 met at their usual meeting place: The bridge in the center of Training Ground 42. Naruto was blushing heavily and avoiding everyone's gaze, Sasuke was looking down at the ground with a scowl, and Sakura was looking up at the sky and humming her happy denial song.
Damn this is awkward, was the same thought on everyone's mind.
Just stick to the plan, it will work, Sakura thought.
Right, right, focus on the plan, Naruto thought as well.
Avenger's log: So far all going according to plan, Sasuke thought. Will wait for right moment to strike. In meantime...
"So," Sasuke said.
"So..." Naruto answered. Sakura coughed. Sasuke grunted.
"So..." Sakura tried.
"... Hn," Sasuke eloquently put.
Great, Naruto thought flatly. How am I supposed to do anything with all this awkwardness? I mean if even I can pick up on it...
"... Kakashi-sensei is late again," Sakura managed.
"Yep," Naruto agreed. "Sure is."
"Hn," Sasuke concurred.
Naruto decided, screw it. He had to get things back to normal somehow if his plan was going to work, and this was kind of his fault, so...
"SEXY JUTSU!" Naruto cried, poofing into his babelicious female form and glomping onto Sasuke. The Uchiha heir's eyes widened as Sakura's jaw dropped.
"NARUTO!" Sakura shrieked. Naruko grinned over at Sakura.
"What? I'm not doing anything Anko-nee-chan wouldn't!" He defended himself. He felt Sasuke go limp, and looked back at his best male friend. "Er... Sasuke?"
Sasuke had passed out, suffering from a severe nosebleed. He was also smiling.
"... Ew," Naruto muttered, letting Sasuke drop to the bridge as Sakura continued to scream at him. Maybe this wasn't the best idea.
Inside his head, Libido Naruto just smirked and smoked his cigar.
Kakashi walked up to the bridge, checking his watch. He smiled in approval behind his mask. Yep, his students had actually made it worth it for him to show up early.
Well, for him.
This day was just looking better and better...
Tsunade sighed as she leaned back in her chair. She looked between the gathered ninjas, and then over at Jiraiya in the back of the office. The old pervert gave her a thumbs up. She schooled her features so she would look utterly serious. Team 7, 8 and 10 were all gathered. Team Gai was out, as their participation wasn't that critical.
Besides, Gai was probably having to deal with a crying Lee and she didn't have nearly enough booze to handle that right now.
"So, Granny, what have you got for us this time?" Naruto asked, arms behind his head. He looked rather eager.
"You have been asked to do some bandit clearing in the nearby mountains," Tsunade said. "Shouldn't be too difficult. However, extensive recon on the surrounding area is vital. The bandits may have the support of a few missing nin. Therefore, I am assigning a specialized team for this operation."
"What sort of specialized team?" Sakura asked.
"Naruto, you will be the leader of team alpha," Tsunade stated seriously. "You will choose teammates who will be effective for scouting."
"Well I-" Naruto began, before he felt bodies pressing against him from either side. He looked back and forth, seeing a grinning Ino and a blushing Hinata.
"We're all yours, team leader~," Ino said happily.
"Y-Yes," Hinata said.
"Ah...?" Naruto tried.
Why the hell am I so disappointed? Sakura thought to herself as she eyed them with envy.
Truly, Anko has taught him well... Godspeed, Naruto, Shino thought.
Avenger's log: Will have to tread extra carefully. On the other hand, Naruto is attracting former annoying fangirls. Might be useful, thought Sasuke.
"Shino, you will command team B," Tsunade said. "Your primary objective will be to scout missing nin positions."
"I will take Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno," Shino said.
"And Shikamaru, you will command team c," Tsunade said. Shikamaru shrugged.
"I suppose I do get the least... Distracted members of this group," he said.
"And Shizune is going along as medic," Tsunade said. "She will also be evaluating you all for skills in leadership. Don't mess this up."
"Right, Granny!" Naruto said cheerfully, trying to give the V-sign... But unfortunately, his hand was being held by Ino. "Ah... Ino... I need my arm..."
"Do you?" Ino asked with a smile.
After the ninjas filed out, Jiraiya sighed and shook his head.
"Well that's just not going to be any fun at all, Tsunade-chan," he said dryly. "A normal mission out of the village?"
"How is this not fun? I'm sending those pinheads out into an area where they will be responsible and with all that awkwardness from before! Not to mention Shizune will be along," Tsunade said defensively. "It's a great idea!"
"Yeah, but it seems like a bit of a strange detour to take in our plans," Jiraiya observed. "How am I supposed to write a good book out of this?"
Tsunade threw her hands up in the air.
"Well you wanted Naruto and Shizune to be isolated! What more do you want, Akatsuki involved?!"
Itachi hummed thoughtfully as he inspected the map. Kisame looked over his shoulder.
"Hey... Are you sure those missing nin bases are in this area?"
"I did grow up around here. Of course I know," Itachi said frankly. "Besides, we might get to see Sasuke again. I've heard he has a crush..." He rolled up the map. "Maybe I can meet her, welcome her to the family."
"... You mean seduce her and then taunt your brother about the fact you've done it?"
"You're getting kind of predictable, Itachi."
"Nonsense. I can just-"
"Tsukiyomi them into thinking it's an entirely new move by you, thus preserving your badass mystique?"
"... Shut up."
"GAI-SENSEIIIII!" Lee wailed, hugging his beloved mentor with all the might an unnaturally strong teenaged boy could muster. Gai burst into manly tears and hugged his beloved student back.
"I HAVE NO IDEA WHY WE ARE CRYING AND EMBRACING!" Gai cried.
Tenten facepalmed. "I thought I'd be used to this by now..."
"This you have a problem with. The sex ed, you don't," Neji stated in total disbelief. Tenten looked over at Neji and grinned.
"Well... You do make for a very cute girl, Neji-chan~," she teased. "That Sexy Jutsu does wonders for you!"
Neji turned bright red and shuddered. "D-Don't remind me!" He hissed.
Tenten just shrugged smugly, as Lee ceased his blubbering long enough to get out some words.
"I-I TRIED TO SAVE YOU FROM ANKO-SENSEI'S CLUTCHES, BUT I FAILLLLED!"
Gai immediately stopped crying, and backhanded Lee into a tree. The bowl cut wearing boy bounced off the tree and slammed facefirst into the dirt.
"FOOL!" Gai shouted. "HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ALL I HAVE TAUGHT YOU?"
"O-Ow," Lee mumbled. He looked up, shocked and betrayed. "Gai-sensei... Why...?"
Gai smiled, and held out a hand to his beloved student. Lee took it, and was pulled up onto his feet. "A man will consort with a woman for many things, Lee. Sometimes the woman is indeed abusing the man... But a man needs challeges! A man needs pain, and strife, to appreciate the glorious explosion of youth that is a good relationship with a friend you have carnal relations with at times!"
"So..." Lee brightened. "You mean... I won't have to call Anko-sensei my surrogate mother, as I call you my surrogate father?"
"That's what he's been so worried about?" Tenten muttered in disbelief. Neji frowned.
"Well... Imagine if she started showing up at Gai-sensei's house in the mornings... Or greeted us when we came in for dinner."
Tenten had a sudden mental image of Anko in a frilly apron, greeting them with warm smiles... Gai-sensei with a pipe and a laugh...
"... That doesn't sound too bad, actually," Tenten mused.
"What is wrong with you?" Neji groaned.
"No!" Gai pronounced, swinging his arm about in a wide arc. "Anko and I are merely friends! You might think of her as an aunt... Except it would be weird and deeply disturbing! Neji could call Anko his aunt if he'd like since the Hyuuga are used to that sort of thing-"
"WE ARE NOT!" Neji shouted, fists clenched as his eyes twitched in strain. "WE'RE NOT INTO INCEST, I SWEAR!"
"Shame, you and Hinata would be rather hot," Tenten mused. Neji gaped.
"As stimulating a mental image that is, Tenten, it is not in keeping with the kind of youthful fires I would like you to tend and kindle!" Gai boomed. He rubbed his chin. "However, were Neji to be a girl, and his cousin Hinata to be a girl, the youthful stimulation levels rise exponentially."
Neji was even paler than usual as he twitched all over. Tenten looked into the air, contemplating the imagery.
"... Hot," she pronounced.
"Oh, Gai-sensei, must you continue to confuse me?" Lee whined. "I thought Neji was a girl when we first met, this isn't helping!"
"I hate you all," Neji mumbled. Gai laughed and clapped Lee on the back.
"So have no fear, Lee! I am in no danger from Anko-san!"
"Er... But Gai-sensei," Lee said, "what about Naruto and Anko-sensei? Is that... Normal?"
Gai blinked a few times. "Why exactly would it not be?"
His team stared up at him. Tenten then shrugged.
"Well, if Gai-sensei says it's all right, it's all right," she said. Lee sniffled.
"Gai-Sensei... I... I don't understand... But I must trust that you are right in this instance!" He hugged his mentor. "GAI-SENSEI!"
Neji threw up his hands. "That does it! I'm fixing Naruto right now!" He turned and stormed off. Tenten grinned.
"Not sure that'll help, Neji-chan~!"
"THAT PUN IS STUPID AND SO ARE YOU!" Neji shouted back angrily.
Hinata's room in the Hyuuga compound was a study in contrasts. On one hand, the sheets were fluffy and a cuddly rabbit plushy was sitting on her bed with a broad smile. The tones were warm and cheerful, with heirlooms from beloved family members made of brightly painted wood.
And on the other hand...
"Ah! There we go," Hinata said happily, carrying a box over to the bed. She dumped the supplies out, sorting her kunai, ninja wire, and shuriken. "Hnnn... Which one is better," she mumbled as she held up two kinds of wire. "This brand, or the other?"
She frowned. "This brand says it holds fast... The other says it holds no matter what... This one was on sale... This one wasn't..." She smiled at the one in orange. "Mmm... I like this color though... So much... It reminds me of... Of...!"
"EEP!" Hinata cried, jumping slightly. She turned around and looked at her father. "Ah... Father! H-Hello!" She hid the orange packaged ninja wire behind her with a nervous smile. Hiashi Hyuuga nodded.
"Mm... Packing for your mission, I see," he said.
"Yes father," Hinata said quickly. She shoved both wire rounds onto the scroll, and with a quick application of chakra sealed her weapons into the paper. She rolled it up and tucked it into her pack. Hiashi walked around to the far side of her bed, staring at the orange painting on her wall.
"Not another seduction mission, is it?" He asked. Hinata blushed furiously, and held her hands up.
"Ah?! What?! What do you, I-I mean, I don't know what you-!"
"Trying to rescue the Uzumaki boy from Mitarashi's clutches, correct?" Hiashi asked, still staring at the wall. Hinata coughed, and looked down. She tapped her fingers together.
"I... Well... Y-Yes..."
Hiashi nodded. "And you will do this while stuttering and looking nervous?"
"Ahhh... Well..." Hinata said, "it... It is kind of what I do..."
Hiashi looked at his daughter sternly, and she wilted. "Have you ever asked yourself why Uzumaki prefers the pink haired girl over you?"
"... A few times," Hinata admitted. "I-I guess... She's not that... Weird."
"Yes. That, and she strives to take what she wants," Hiashi said. "She moves forward, never hesitating. You must find the same fire, Hinata, and conquer Uzumaki yourself!"
"C-Conquer?" Hinata asked with an even brighter blush. Hiashi nodded solemnly.
"You know... Once, I was much like Uzumaki," he admitted. Hinata gaped.
"Yes... I was reckless, stupid, poorly dressed," Hiashi recited. Hinata blinked. "Ignored your mother no matter how often she 'accidentally' ran into me in the shower... The hot springs..."
Hinata's jaw dropped and immediately wished her imagination was not so vivid.
"The bathroom... The kitchen wearing nothing but whipped cream..." Hiashi was looking out into space with somewhat glazed eyes.
"I-I think I get it, father," Hinata said quickly. Hiashi coughed, and regained his composure.
"Yes... You see, like Uzumaki, I was... A spirit focused entirely on the now," Hiashi explained. "Yes I had dreams, great dreams, and I worked hard to achieve them. But I did not think of building the future. Of building a home, a life with a wife and family. A powerful household. I wanted to establish myself."
"So... What did you do?" Hinata asked. Hiashi smirked.
"It was not what I did... It was what your mother did. She entered my life as though she'd always been there. Made decisions for me, and invited me to challenge her. She proved me wrong many times... More times than I would like to admit. I proved her wrong several times myself. We gave, and we took... But she had to make the first move. Had to shake me out of my..."
"... Stupidity?" Hinata asked.
"I thought you liked the boy."
Hinata's face resembled a sunset. "I... Well... Yes... But he can be a bit... Stupid."
"Yes... The right kind of stupid in some ways," Hiashi admitted. "However! If you are going to get him out of the clutches of that Mitarashi woman... You must make him think of a future. A future ruled by your mighty feminine will." Hiashi's eyes narrowed and his gaze hardened. "You must be... An Ojou-sama!"
"... A princess? I... I thought I already kind of was," Hinata said. Hiashi sighed.
"It is true, you are very princess like. I... Damnit, out! Out!" Hiashi pointed at the window. A few deer, mice, birds, bats and other assorted cute animals were gathered at the window sill. He walked over and shooed them away. "I've told you before, you can follow her around outside!"
"I'm sorry Father, I don't know why that keeps happening," Hinata admitted.
"Have you engaged in any musical numbers?" Hiashi asked sternly. The Hyuuga heiress looked aside.
"... Not... Recently...?"
"Well, you cannot just be a princess of gentleness and beauty," Hiashi said. "You must be one of strength, determination, and power! Make him recognize you as a strong kunoichi, with a future to build with, and he will not waste his time any longer with Mitarashi!"
"But... But how do I do that?" Hinata asked. Hiashi sighed, and pinched his forehead. He then reached into his robes, and pulled out a box.
"I was going to save this for your wedding night, but! I suppose the time has come," he said. He handed it to Hinata. "Here you are, Hinata. This was your mother's. Make her proud. Make me proud," he said.
Hinata blinked, and opened the box. Her eyes widened, and she reached in. She pulled out a fine coil of scented ninja rope, an elegant fan... And a riding crop?
"Ah... Father? What am I supposed to-?"
Her father was gone. Hinata blinked, and blushed...
And with a determined expression, pushed the box into her pack and slung it over her shoulders. She had a mission to complete!
Naruto just keeps pulling me back in like a relentless ex-girlfriend. Ah well, let's see how long this lasts.