Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Naruto characters
Sakura needs one last step in her training to be considered for Jounin testing, but does she have the guts to go through with it? With Tsunade's help, maybe she can finally learn the art of seduction. KakaxSaku
"You want me to..." Haruno Sakura felt faint as she tried to echo the Hokage's task for her. Tsunade's grim expression did not waver, though Sakura could have sworn that her eyes grew a little softer; sympathy for her treasured apprentice, perhaps?
"I know, Sakura. This won't be easy for you. But this is another step in your development as a kunoichi, and I expect you to take it seriously. This is a task eventually assigned to all shinobi males as well as females, so you're not being singled out; it is important for all growing jounin to learn." Sakura perked up slightly, though it seemed impossible to recover from that kind of shock.
"Growing...jounin?" she repeated, surprise and pleasure in her voice. Tsunade smiled warmly, briefly allowing her affection for Sakura to break through her seemingly cold exterior. Ah, her poor little kunoichi. How could she expect anything else, when under the Hokage's tutelage? "Shishou, I'm not advanced enough for that, am I?"
"You're already being considered for testing," said Tsunade proudly. Hatake Kakashi had been the youngest jounin to ever be tested, but after him there had been no others. At seventeen, Sakura was approaching the age generally accepted for testing, and her expansive skillset had already impressed the board. She had no doubt that her apprentice would make jounin within the year. However, she had neglected one particularly important skillset, and one that she suspected had also been neglected by her student. As Sakura's excitement over her prospective testing began to wane though, the conversation they had been having began to return full force, and she paled slightly.
"But shishou, I don't want to...to...learn that kind of stuff. Not for this, not this way." She blushed hard as she tried to avoid thinking about it. Ever since Sasuke, she had pretty much given up on boys. She hadn't had the time for them, not under Tsunade's domineering schedule. Once she had realized the depth of her own talent, she had thrown herself into training in lieu of flirting, and the progress really showed now. She was an accomplished medic, a powerful shinobi, and an extremely intelligent woman; she was miffed at the idea of using her body instead of her skill. Even though Tsunade said that the males had to learn it too, she doubted that they even used this kind of skill very often.
Tsunade seemed to read straight through her, as she usually did. Her catlike gold eyes narrowed.
"Sakura-chan, you would consider me an accomplished ninja, would you not?" she asked sweetly. Sakura hesitated for a moment before nodding, sensing the trap. "How often to accomplished ninja wind up in troublesome situations?"
"Um...pretty much all the time," admitted Sakura, recalling how many times she had patched up members of the Hidden Leaf ANBU. She could probably recognize them by body parts at this point.
"And if you were facing a life or death situation, would you rather have extra tricks up your sleeve, or not enough?"
Sakura sighed and hung her head in defeat. "Extra, shishou..."
Tsunade smiled, though it lacked triumph. It seemed more sad than anything else. She wanted nothing more than to knock out every intern that shot a double-take at her young apprentice, and yet here she was, assigning her this awful task herself. But she remembered having to do it, as did every jonin. It was pretty much a requirement once you got to a certain level; for some it was a particularly easy mission, and for others it was monumentally difficult. Tsunade knew it would be the latter for Sakura.
"Okay. Here are the details of your mission..."
Sakura groaned quietly as she sat at the bar, the scroll tight in her shaking fist. She had read it so many times that she could almost recite it word for word, but each sentence was made her heart sink a little more. Though she didn't dare open the scroll again, her mind ran through the details mercilessly.
'Your mission is to seduce a member of Konoha's Leaf Village. This mission does not require sexual intercourse, though it allows for it. Something of high personal value must be taken from the victim, to prove the success of the mission. Details as follows:
1. Must be a shinobi of at least jounin level
2. Must be of legal age
3. May be of either gender
4. Must not be someone with whom the holder has had a prior or current sexual relationship
5. Holder's choice must be approved by the Hokage before he/she begins the mission'
It was a short scroll, hardly worth the wooden rollers, but Sakura cursed it repeatedly. She wasn't like Ino, who flirted effortlessly with multiple boys. She wasn't exquisitely pretty like Hinata, who naturally drew the eye regardless of what she did. Sakura had developed into quite the tomboy. She ran through a list of jonin she knew, but it was painfully short. Jiraiya, Kurenai, Gai!, Tsunade, Genma, Anko, Ibiki...she couldn't imagine most of them being approved by Tsunade, or being open to advances. Jiraiya and Genma were too easy. There was no way Tsunade would approve them. She tried to think of older men she knew, but her mind continuously drew blanks. Kurenai was definitely out; with Asuma gone, it would be absolutely inappropriate for that kind of thing.
Anko? Sakura was pretty sure Anko was dead set on men, and she knew that Anko would catch on quickly. This mission would be extremely difficult, as all of the jounin had already dealt with it themselves. If they caught on, they would without doubt make it impossible for her to complete it. That meant that Anko and Tsunade were absolute no-gos...
Sakura sighed in frustration, turning around on her stool to lean back against the bar. Maybe somebody she didn't know yet? But then, how would she know what to take from them? She ground her teeth in anger, scanning the room with a predator's gaze. She recognized some members of ANBU from their scars and chakra signatures; maybe a mask?
ANBU agents would be a serious gamble, though. While she doubted that any of them would hurt another Leaf shinobi, she didn't know any of them personally, and they all seemed to be kind of insane. On top of that, they were remarkably closed to advances. She had seen Ino throw a few batted lashes whenever she visited Sakura at the hospital, but to no avail. Relationships in ANBU were often painful and dangerous, and many of them avoided cavorting with the opposite sex.
Sakura sighed and turned back to the bar. She waved a crisp bill, and the bartender was all ears.
"Shot of sake, please," she muttered. A small cup was pushed over to her; as Tsunade's apprentice, she was recognized all over the Hidden Leaf Village. It really paid off, since shinobi weren't supposed to carry identification of any kind. She downed the liquor and cringed slightly as it burned down to her stomach. Immediately feeling warmer, she turned back to survey the bar again.
Sakura flinched as though Ino had thrown a fist, and jumped to her feet to find an escape. Too late; the blonde grabbed her arm and slammed her back into her bar stool. She gave Sakura an exasperated glower before plopping into the seat next to her. She waved down the barkeeper and ordered a martini. Accustomed already to the pushy shinobi, he mixed her a drink without too much fuss. Sometimes it just wasn't worth a fight.
"No need to seem so excited to see me," pouted Ino grumpily. Her moodiness faded with the arrival of her pink girly-drink. Ino's mood shifted like the tides. "I just wanted to congratulate you on your new mission!"
"Y-yuh...how did you know?" gaped Sakura, her face immediately turning beet red. Ino quirked an eyebrow and pointed to the scroll still clenched in Sakura's fist.
"Clearly it's a new mission, or you wouldn't be carrying the scroll around," said Ino pointedly. She sipped daintily at her drink as Sakura let out a sigh of relief. If Ino knew exactly what the mission was, there would be no possible way for her to complete it. Everyone in Konoha would be braced for the horror of Sakura's amateur attempts at seduction. She flushed even harder at the thought. "So, what is it?"
Sakura shook her head and shoved the scroll into her bag. "I-it's nothing, Ino!" she insisted. "Just some stupid delivery this weekend!" Ino seemed to buy it for the moment. It had been a small scroll. She shrugged and continued to sip. But Sakura recognized an opportunity when she saw it, and though she wasn't allowed to tell anybody what she was doing, it wasn't technically against the rules to glean for information...not if they didn't know that was what you were doing.
"So...how's your love life going?" asked Sakura timidly, anxious that Ino would be suspicious at her sudden change of conversation. She should have known her friend better, though; Ino instantly launched into her latest affair, apparently she had finally gotten her claws into a member of ANBU.
"Kim is wonderful, he really is, but honestly he's almost impossible to deal with. All the secrecy and constant disappearing, one night he'll be staying at my apartment, and then I'll wake up in the morning and he's just gone! And trust me, it's pure misery, Sakura. I can never tell if he's lying to me, he's so secretive...and noncommital, too. Let me tell you, it took me ages to convince him just to be my boyfriend! And don't get me started on trying to hold a conversation with the man..."
'Well, that strikes out ANBU members,' thought Sakura sadly. She was nowhere near as skilled as Ino when it came to men, and if her friend was having difficulty, it would be damn near impossible for Sakura to hold one. The best she could hope for was Jiraiya, Konoha's pervert, and even then she was pretty hopeless. He liked women like Tsunade, with the kind of bust that broke men's necks.
Sakura sighed as Ino carried on, going way too in depth about her sex life for Sakura's tastes. As much as she knew she needed this information, she couldn't bring herself to imagine doing any of the raunchy acts Ino described.
"And he...but I didn't...so he...and when he licked!...crumbled...thought I would burst! So I...but he didn't stop..."
Sakura downed another shot in an attempt to distract herself. Ino's musings made her face burn, and she was desperate for an escape at this point. She regretted initiating this conversation at all. 'I'm going to fail this mission, Tsunade won't put me in for jounin, my career ends here...all because I'm too shy to flirt with boys!'
"Why did you want to know?" Ino's one mild sentence surfaced finally, among the gruesome details of her current relationship. Sakura shrugged, her panic dimmed by alcohol.
"Oh, no reason," she sighed. "I'm kind of interested in someone older, but I don't know if he'd be into me. I think he thinks I'm too young for him." She secretly applauded her own sneakiness as Ino immediately launched into fierce approval.
"Don't even think that, Sakura-chan! Trust me, older men are just as easily swayed as younger, you just have to start coming off as more mature. You're kind of skinny, but you have the hips to show for your age, you just have to start accentuating your more...feminine features." Ino smiled and began to pile Sakura's hair in top of her head. "See? A nice updo, some makeup, and you'll have any man's attention, no question about it. Older or younger, men always like to look at a fresh pair; even if they're as modest as yours!"
Sakura felt a vein twitch in her forehead as she realized that Ino was talking about her breasts, and was at the moment pulling the V-neck of her medic shirt deeper. "Ino-piiiiig..." she growled menacingly. Ino rolled her eyes and huffed, though she drew back in defeat.
"Whatever, but if you want to attract an older man, you need to start...well, not looking so naive."
Sakura felt more of a failure than ever as she dragged her drunk butt back to her lonely apartment, an apartment that had never had a male pass through its doors before. Only Ino, Hinata, and Ten-ten had ever crossed the boundaries of her apartment door, and that was a depressing thought to Sakura. How had she not realized how neglected her love life had been up to this point?
When Sasuke left, Sakura felt heartbreak as she could never have imagined as a girl. She'd thought that maybe, after training as a team, he would have felt enough of a bond with her, or at least Naruto, to stay, to give up on his absurd life mission. She knew now that what she'd felt as a twelve year old girl certainly wasn't love. Infatuation? Yes...she had been infatuated. But she had also been his friend, and when even that wasn't important to him, it had crushed her.
Sakura had never looked at another man the way she had looked at Sasuke. She had never really recovered from that total rejection, had never opened herself up like that again. And now here she was, being asked to look at her own body the way Sasuke had looked at his; only a tool.
She opened the door with a hiccup. A small apartment on the outskirts of town; it had always seemed homey to her, but tonight it seemed a hovel. If only she had Ino's skill, Ino's voluptuous body, her come hither blue eyes. How was she supposed to look more mature? She had pink hair! Cute was all she had! In frustration, she slammed the door behind her and stomped all the way to her room. The sake ran powerfully through her veins, but not in a bad way; her high chakra level meant she burned off alcohol quickly. As she stomped, she stripped off clothes.
Switching on the light in her room, she took a deep breath and turned to face the mirror.
'Not terrible,' her brain said quietly. Her green eyes scrupulously examined every inch of her own body, starting from her smallish feet. She had always liked the size of her feet, as they concentrated chakra in a way that men's just didn't. But looking with Ino's eyes, she saw fashionable, delicate shoes. Strong calves and hard thighs; these weren't bad either, but many men liked a woman's soft, pliable legs, if Ino's grumbling was true. She bit her lip and moved on. It wasn't as though she could change her legs. A tuft of cotton-candy pink hair at the apex of her thighs, a flat stomach with rolling abs underneath smooth skin, and two breasts that looked bigger than she'd expected, proportionally. They were usually tightly bound, as she didn't like to deal with them bouncing during combat.
Sakura sighed in defeat. She had skin smooth of flaws, but she was hardly an image taken from one of Jiraiya's novels. Those women were all lush curves and sultry eyes. She couldn't look sultry if she tried. She tried pouty, but even she cringed to look at herself.
Giving up, she threw on some old sweats and an oversized T-shirt before crawling into bed.
Sakura shifted in her bed, a warm flush creeping over her as a deep male voice moaned her name.
Goosebumps rose on her skin. Sasuke's face surfaced in her mind, calling to her gently. His voice would be so deep now, and when he called her name...
"Please wake up."
Sakura's eyes abruptly opened. She sat up in her dark room, senses instantly tingling. It was strange for her to sleep so deeply; it must have been the alcohol. She scanned her dark bedroom, but saw nothing. A heavy sound from her living room had every hair on her body quivering. She switched instantly to the stealthy shinobi, rising from the bed and padding across the floor without a sound. Her hand was already tight around a kunai, ready for a very, very unlucky intruder. 'I've had a bad night, so you'd better get out of my apartment...'
She rounded the corner prepared to throw, but the sight on her floor made her arm instantly seize.
"Sensei!" she gasped, dropping the kunai. Her silver-haired sensei was kneeling on her floor, looking considerably more embarrassed than he usually did. Just from the silhouette, she could count four kunai sticking out of him. He had trailed quite a lot of blood coming in through the window, but Sakura immediately rushed to turn on a lamp.
It looked even worse in the light. The silhouette had fooled her; there were six kunai buried in her sensei. Sakura caught sight of a mask facedown on the floor and frowned.
"You're not part of ANBU," she said quietly, placing her hand beside one kunai as she began to pull. As she pulled, she also mended the wound, but that didn't make it less painful for Kakashi. He didn't protest, though, and only made a low grunt in his throat. "Why are you running around with them?"
"Helping with training," he groaned as the kunai emerged entirely. Sakura finished carefully healing the wound. "They asked me. New guy set off a trap in Hidden Mist." He spoke in rough sentences, and his voice sounded watery. Sakura moved quickly to the kunai in his chest, which may have punctured a lung.
"Why didn't you go to the hospital, sensei?" she asked him tiredly. He didn't answer her, and she knew why. Kakashi hated hospitals more than almost anything, and would obviously prefer to find his favorite medic to patch him up and release him. He made a sound deep in his chest as she pulled, and she knew that the pain must be agonizing. "You know I'm recording this anyways, right?"
"Stop...calling me...sensei," he panted, his dark eye glinting with what could have been humor. "Not...teacher anymore."
"Caveman now?" she teased, fully drawing the second kunai. He cringed, but handled this one better. Sakura sighed as she dropped it on the floor. Now that the shock had faded and she knew he would be alright, she mourned over the bloodstains all over her floor. She'd just gotten the carpet put in! "God, do you owe me for this one!"
"I'll buy you...dinner..." he gasped. She rolled her eyes and started on another kunai. This one was particularly deep, and she didn't like the way it angled in his ribs. Apparently he didn't either, as he could barely contain another low sound as she began to pull.
"Hospitals have pain killers you know," she muttered, and he quieted. His self control was impressive; Sakura knew that he felt relaxed enough around her to let it up a little bit, but she couldn't imagine the amount of pain he could withstand without a sound if he was inclined to. She felt a little bad for teasing him over it. "Honestly, an old veteran like you, getting filled up with kunai. No wonder you can't show your face to Tsunade!" The gentle scolding held little force. Kakashi's eye crinkled slightly.
"I'm not old," he said quietly. His breathing had evened since she had gotten rid of the kunai touching his lung, probably the worst one. He almost sounded peaceful now. Sakura rolled her eyes and yanked out another kunai. He flinched, but didn't yelp.
"Whatever, sensei," she sighed. "You're just lucky that your favorite student it such a good medic." He was silent for a little while as she worked the rest of the kunai out, giving her some peace of mind after her sleep had been so horrifically interrupted. Though he was intruding in her home, Sakura felt more than a little embarrassed to be in ratty old sweats, her hair still shaggy from her quick shower.
Quickly realizing what her mind was still focusing on, Sakura stiffened. She was not feeling self conscious around her old sensei! Huffing a low breath, she healed up the last stab wound. Her words came out more coldly clinical than friendly, and she could tell that Kakashi noticed the difference.
"That's all of them. I want you to stay here for the night and sleep, so I know you're not jumping through trees or something stupid like that. The wounds are knitted and they'll heal fully, but not if you're running around all night tearing them open, okay?" Her voice gentled towards the end. She could tell that he didn't like being told what to do, and knew that if he stayed, it would only be to humor her. "Please?"
"Alright, nurse," he joked, and the tension evaporated. She smiled as she cuffed his scruffy head, then rose. She didn't offer to help him up; no need to wound an old man's pride. He stood with grace though, as though he hadn't stumbled in through her window with six gaping wounds.
Knowing that he would never accept her bed, she began to lay out some blankets and a pillow on the couch. He shrugged out of his vest and slowly removed his shoes. Sakura pointed out the kitchen and the bathroom before returning to bed.
He was silent for the rest of the night, and Sakura could only hope that he hadn't left.
'Well...technically, he didn't come in through the door,' was her last sleepy thought before she finally drifted off.
:D yaaay! please read and review! I'll post more chapters soon :)