Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Training for the Job ❯ Volume 3 Chapter 39 ( Chapter 49 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Volume 3 Notes: I made a slip-up last chapter, switching Genma's and Aoba's names in an early paragraph. I'll have to go back and fix that at some point, but yes, Genma is dead and it was Aoba's team that was on a mission. The TONFA (The Original Naruto Fanfic Archive) Awards (open to all fanfics, those on TONFA and, more often, not) have opened voting, now through mid-February of 2006. Training is nominated in two categories -- Romance and Epic. Normally, I would call for you to go in and make fair review of each fic, and then vote for whichever you like best. Seeing, however, that the fic currently winning 'Romance' has (according to some voter's comments in the author's own livejournal) a number of people voting for it who have NEVER READ A NARUTO FIC IN THIER LIVES, I figure asking people to go there and vote their conscience will be futile -- after all, I don't have a livejournal community to compete with that! The fair-minded voters are going to be swallowed up by the 'popular' people in high school who use school computers to get all their classmates to vote for them without knowing what it is they're voting for. So, instead of asking you to be fair, I'm going to ask you straight out to vote for me -- I'm not saying that I know for a fact I have the best written fic in the contest (I've read only about five or six of them, after all, only one of which outside of my own actually appears in the Romance category, and there are over two hundred fics in the contest), but I feel confident that if you're voting after reading this review, you at least have read a Naruto fanfic at SOME point in your lives. If this is going to turn into little more then a popularity contest... well, I'll match this fic's popularity with any other. It might not win, but it should place! (For all categories outside of Romance, including the Epic category I'm also entered in, I think you should make more careful consideration of each entry. I haven't noticed any massive swings in those categories from people who don't read Naruto fanfiction, after all, and so they MIGHT not be just popularity contests) I am not happy with the 'review replies' feature, since it doesn't allow for me to make public comment on some things. Also, it only works for signed reviews, so I can't answer all the questions I want to as I want to. Hurrah for another ffnet screwup! However, these are not 'review responses,' but rather announcements made because of the reviews. There IS a difference -- these are messages for everyone, after all, not for individuals, regardless of the fact that they may have been in reaction to reviews. One point from a reviewer I want to cover right away: Naruto the boy and Naruto the kyuubi are different... people. They share the same body, however -- which means the same hormones, same senses, and same physical tastes (in women, at least), and they share the same name. Kyuubi is Naruto, yes, and so is the brat, yes, and they're one shared name, yes, but 'Naruto' as Ino understands him (meaning the brat) is not the kyuubi. Argh, I complicated things a bit, there, didn't I? Well, it'll come up again, although it's not exactly THAT important -- it was largely to show how kyuubi shared brat's feelings for Sakura, rather then having their shared feelings show they were the same person. It was also intended to help show why there might be added confusion by the people of Konoha as to why Naruto could be the kyuubi -- because they have the same name for one reason or another -- a few people who might not know Naruto of the village could be calling on Konoha to talk about Naruto the kyuubi of legend at some point, and could cause some confusion in that regards. The brat side of Naruto doesn't think he's the same, though, and niether does Ino, nor does anyone else who knows both Naruto the demon and Naruto the brat. Sakura definitely knows they're different beings (as she has part of him inside her), but also knows that the seal is truly controlled by Naruto, and therefore the demon couldn't do anything that Naruto doesn't want him to do, even when kyuubi is dominant... including, one would suppose, have sex with Sakura. So, her 'rutting' isn't exactly cheating on him. To those who think that kyuubi is the demon fox's name (and a demon fox -- or really, just fox, but normal foxes and fox-demons share the same word in Japan, from what I can tell -- is a kitsune, so that isn't a name but a superspecies; I think of it as 'fox' is the species, 'demon' is the group, and 'nine-tails' is the breed, just as 'dog' is a species, 'terrier' is a group, and 'boston terrier' is a breed with dogs) in the manga... well, I suppose it's possible, but Shukaku (Gaara's demon) was called 'one-tail,' and kyuubi means 'nine tails,' and they weren't treating 'one-tail' as Shukaku's name, but rather as its description. Let me make another thing clear: There will be a lemon scene. It will NOT be on ffnet, but it will be on mediaminer. I thought I was making that point clearly enough. These authors notes are intended for both the audiences on mediaminer and ffnet, so sometimes I will refer to things going on or intended for the mediaminer release here, even though there's nothing relevant to the ffnet release. So far, there have been no censored chapters (there are a few nitpicky differences, as I made a few corrections on the ffnet version through ffnet's document editor that I didn't on the mediaminer version, because I only noticed them only as I was putting in new line breaks, but that's it), but there will in the arc AFTER the one I'm starting in this chapter. Not likely in this one, however, as this one deals with the Academy students mostly.
Chapter 39
To say that things went smoothly upon the return to Blossom would be an understatement. Gashir was heavily secured, and escorted back to Konoha proper by the five jounin who had merely been standing by for the completion of the chuunin exams. Naruto's acting promotions had been rubber-stamped without complaint -- much to several people's shock, since it had been noticed more and more that a tension was building between him and his former teacher -- and so Moegi, Hanabi, and Futaba were all recieving pay as chuunin. They had yet to take a single chuunin-level mission, however... although apparently, Blossom was preparing to accept a limited number of very low-end B-rank missions now that they had the personnel to handle them.
Things were a bit tense between Naruto and Sakura, however, once the soldier pill had finally worn off. The libido of the kyuubi in check -- and no longer setting off their own hormones -- embarrasment set in. Sakura still wasn't ready for the physical advancement of their relationship they had almost succumbed to -- in full public view of several people they both knew quite well, mind -- while the pill was making their blood race. "At the very least," she'd pointed out, blushing, when Ino had asked for at least one good reason she was still holding out, "the only effective birth control techniques I'm willing to use require a full month to start working." That she wanted to have that sort of a physical relationship with him wasn't in doubt -- as certain activities they had participated in, both before and since, could attest to. However, it had been harder and harder restraining themselves... and Sakura, just in case something happened a bit earlier then she expected, had begun those birth control techniques. Once things were set, she would have complete control over her ability to get pregnant -- well, as much control as any kunoichi had, which was considerable... there were even techniques to be fertile with one person and infertile with another on the same day, once the initial set of techniques had been accomplished -- not that she ever intended to use that particular subset of the medical ninjitsu, although she suspected she would have to teach it if they didn't get in a professional courtesan trainer from Konoha before Blossom needed one. She couldn't force herself to get pregnant, though, and sometimes she would have to drop the pregnancy guard completely in order to refresh the techniques, but she'd be safe as long as she remembered to do that.
It was becoming... a bit of a strain, however, having to pull away when things were getting too hot. She had explained the need for time (in terms she hoped Naruto wouldn't embarrass her with, later), but that didn't keep them both from getting frustrated. Cold showers were becoming a common occurance in Naruto's apartment, and Sakura was spending more and more nights at her former room in Ino's place just to avoid temptation. It didn't help that there was nothing to do -- her work at the hospital was becoming even less demanding, and Naruto -- for some unknown reason -- was still essentially unemployed. Ino's own job was being downgraded as well, curiously -- she had been asked to start training one of the new chuunin to take over as liason to the Wave, and so she had been spending most of her time making sure Moegi learned the fine art of diplomacy.
So, it was a great relief when Hanabi delivered three letters, notifying the trio that there would be three seperate missions for them waiting for them in the office of the Jounin-Oyabun 'at their earliest convenience' late one night. Meaning, of course, at the crack of dawn. None of them even bothered to speculate as to what kind of mission they would be getting, although all three would have been able to figure it out if they'd even tried to think about it. They were brought in, together, and sat down... although Kakashi himself was, of course, late. Naruto casually mentioned a few pranks he could pull on the older man for being late, but it was clear his heart wasn't in it. He wanted the mission more then the distraction of a few pranks. Finally, however, he arrived.
"Ah, sorry I'm late," he said. "But I had to--"
"Help an old lady across the street, or find your way back on the path of life, or some other bullshit like that," Naruto interrupted impatiently. "We've heard the excuses a thousand times, Kakashi-sensei. We don't care any more -- at least not right now. We just want our missions!"
Kakashi flinched slightly, although it went undetected by the other ninja. His work with the Cloud should not have anything to do with his relationship with Naruto -- after all, any work as a ninja required that one keep secrets and take actions which might not be well recieved by ones' friends and family -- yet somehow things had gotten sour between them. He didn't like how things stood with his students, and this new attitude of Naruto's wouldn't exactly help in any sort of reconciliation. Still, giving out a mission like this wasn't exactly the best time to re-establish those damaged bonds, so perhaps he could hold off on that for a while and make better plans. It might not just be their estrangement after all -- the fact that niether Ino nor Sakura reprimanded Naruto for his rudeness only showed how impatient they were, as well, so perhaps they were just tired of sitting around. Well, that could be solved easily enough. "They aren't excuses, you know -- at least, not most of the time. But if all you care about is the mission, so be it. Starting today, all three of you are acting-jounin. The Academy graduation is tomorrow, and each of you will be recieving a team. You will be required to conduct their post-graduate exam -- their 'Bell test,' if you will, although in this case it won't be a bell test. Hanabi-chan, Moegi-chan, and Futaba-chan will all also have teams for this test, as well, although we will only be forming three combat teams in the end, and you three will be the captains for each team. Here are the details. If you have any questions, I'm right here."
He handed each of them an information packet, and they started pouring through the information. Unlike in Konoha, these teams were not set up in their final trios -- instead, each team was broken up according to 'likely ability,' for one final two-week training session in 'specializations.' There was a team of students who seemed to be proficient with doujutsu (including Adaha), two teams of students who had particular affinities for certain animals (one of lower chakra capacity for animal training, the other of higher capacity for summoning), a team of students who seemed skilled with elemental techniques, a team composed of exceptional taijutsu talents (including, among others, Inari), a group of exceptional academic students who might be suited for medical ninjitsu, and so on. Each instructor was to select one team to work with -- the goal being to help these new ninja develop a set of techniques which could be passed down, just as clan techniques were passed down in Konoha. Teams would then be made up so that no two people with the same specializations were paired with each other, utilizing only the best nine graduates -- the rest would be sent back to the academy, and would study to become administrative ninja. And once that process was completed, Blossom would have proven itself 'self-sufficient,' and could begin to use 'proper' team selection.
Sakura grimmaced, seeing what was available. Obviously, she was the only one in Blossom qualified to work with the medical ninjitsu students. She wasn't exactly happy about being pidgeonholed into the role, however -- she did like medical ninjitsu, but she didn't want to teach it beyond a few pointer tips. She wanted to be a real, front-line ninja, and teaching students medical ninjitsu wouldn't exactly let her go out into the world. It would take forever to accomplish, as well.
"I have an addendum," Kakashi said as they read. "As Anko-san is currently forbidden from taking a teaching roll, we only have six instructors but seven teams. I had to call in someone from Konoha to provide assistance for the time being -- I've been holding off on beginning this mission set until they arrived, and they were unable to leave until the team of jounin escorting the criminal Gashir returned. Tsunade-sama sent over the only person she had available -- Shizune-san. She will be handling the medical ninjitsu students, as that is the only team she is qualified to handle. However, all of you may pick from any of the other teams."
Sakura breathed a sigh of relief and grinned. Good -- she wouldn't be stuck doing that. Perhaps her former master was looking out for her, after all... though why she'd sent away her top assistant when Konoha was obviously in distress was a bit of a mystery, but she wouldn't question it. And perhaps she could get out of being the assistant instructor for courtesan training, as well....
"In that case," Sakura said, glancing through the list quickly -- taking in the jobs, not the names. None of these students were likely to be exceptional talents in anything at this point, save perhaps Adaha and Inari, and she knew she wasn't qualified for either the taijutsu or the doujutsu training, so it didn't matter who she taught. "I'll take over summoning. Naruto and I are the only ones really qualified for that one, after all."
"Hm," Kakashi mused. "None of your students will actually manage to summon anything, you know. Your job will be to help them set up their summoning contracts and to teach them the procedure, and that's it -- it usually takes several months before a genin is capable of summoning even the smallest of animals, and there isn't one person in the summoning group who has shown anything better then average stamina."
"That's okay," Sakura replied, grinning. "I don't think any of them will be signing contracts with the greater summonings, after all, so even if they won't be immediately ready for combat they will have something to build on for the future."
"Very well," Kakashi said.
"Not really much for me, is there?" Ino sighed. "I'm no taijutsu expert, and Hanabi-chan's the only one of us qualified to teach doujutsu. I'm terrible with elemental techniques. I've never signed a summoning contract, myself, so that'd be a bit beyond me, too -- no point in fighting with Sakura-chan over that. I don't know medical ninjitsu -- not that I would be able to teach it even if I could -- so that's definitely out. I don't work with animals, so that's out, too. I guess all that I've got is espionage techniques, huh?"
"Your assessments are quite accurate," Kakashi agreed. "I'd assumed you would take that assignment. I'm also assuming Futaba-chan will take the animal training assignment and Hanabi-chan would take the doujutsu assignment, so I'll pencil them in there. I assume you'll take on taijutsu, Naruto?"
Naruto grinned cheekily. "Nah, anyone can teach that. Give it to Moegi-chan. Me? I'll handle the elemental techniques."
Kakashi raised the one visible eyebrow. "What elemental techniques do you know? Moegi has mentioned knowing a few earth-based techniques, so I figured she might be the best to teach that one."
Naruto looked confused for a moment, and then grinned. "Oh, right, you don't know anything about my training, and you missed the tournament, didn't you? Well, I've learned a number of earth and water techniques -- especially mist-based water techniques. I know one or two wind techniques, too, though not very well, and a single fire element technique that's not really good for anything more then campfires."
"Hm, some day Jiraiya and I have to sit down and have a bit of a talk," Kakashi mused. "Very well, you may have elementals, and we'll break the rest of the teams up as we said. Study those notes and get to work planning your lessons -- you have to meet with your teams at noon, today."
* * * * *
Sakura groaned, looking at her list of students. She really should have checked before she made her pick -- there was no way she was going to enjoy teaching this team. Ran Umiko, despite a rather... odd rumor going around about her sexual orientation, was okay, she supposed -- she loved horses, and so it wouldn't be a surprise what animal she tried to contract with -- but the other two... well, to say she had problems with them would be an understatement.
One was Hiniku Butakatsu. It was fairly obvious which creature he would contract with, as well -- not only did he eat like a pig, look like a pig, and smell like a pig, he acted like a pig, as well -- one of the male chauvinist variety. Whenever Sakura was his teacher, he would goof off and ogle her and the other girls in the class. He showed her no respect, even when she demonstrated her chakra-enhanced strength and her growing skills with ninjitsu and genjutsu. He was constantly harrassing the other girls, and nearly got himself expelled from the Academy when he groped Seiteki Pansuki -- the only reason he wasn't was that she accepted his apology... but only after forcing him to pay her off for her 'services.' Pansuki, thanks to her rather cavalier attitude towards sex (and if anyone was bucking for early admission into courtesan training, it was her) and arrogant pride in her own beauty, was another of the Academy students Sakura had troubles with. Pansuki was often teasing Sakura -- and even Ino -- about looking sexier then either girl, despite still not having 'developed' herself, and that made Sakura want to hit the younger girl sometimes, but at least she wasn't on this team.
The third person on her team, however, was probably even worse then Pansuki would have been. Like a zombie raising its ugly head again, it seemed that Sakura couldn't get away from Komakai Chikan -- the only boy (still -- Naruto hadn't even seen the real her, yet) who had ever seen her naked. And the only person in Blossom who could possibly rival even Jiraiya in how great a pervert he was (Kakashi and Ebisu, the two others that she and Naruto had identified as perverts, were a full step below Jiraiya. Chikan was, perhaps, only a fraction of a step off -- and he was the only person the newly established Blossom Brothel had thrown out of their establishment for being too much of a pervert... although his age did have something to do with it). This was not looking promising.
"You don't look happy, Sakura-chan," Ino said. All seven of the 'sensei' were present, going over their rosters before their first meetings with their teams. "Something wrong?"
"I'm okay -- I'll probably just wind up killing my own team before they learn anything," Sakura sighed. "I've got nothing but perverts. You?"
Ino shrugged. "I don't think I've got that problem. I've got an all-girl team, though -- Pansuki, Munamoto Sousou, and Ekisutora Bangai. Pansuki looks promising -- as arrogant as she is, she really does have the natural seduction ability... certain kinds of kunoichi can exploit for espionage purposes. Sousou-san's got good grades, but I don't know if she has any talent -- she's much too shy. And Bangai-san... well, I figure she'll be a prime candidate for administrative ninja -- she seems to have no talent at all, and was stuck in my team because no-one knew what else to do with her."
"I expect my whole team will become admin ninja," Shizune, who they had been reunited with only a few hours before, said. "Medical ninjitsu is very hard, and even if any of them possess a talent for it, there is no way they will be skilled enough to go on missions until they've spent at least a year learning techniques. Most medical ninja start their career as administrative ninja, after all -- it takes a lot of time to get any good at it, and that time can't be spent going on missions."
"Don't I know it," Sakura muttered. "It can be an effective combat skill, too, but it takes a while before it becomes effective. Not that my summoners will be ready when I'm done with them, but at least they can be expected to be useful sooner into their career then your average medi-nin, and going on missions helps speed their training instead of slowing it. As long as they seem to show some skill with the technique, I suspect all three of mine will be competent enough to assign to a team."
"Who's teaching Inari-kun?" Hanabi asked, curious.
"I am," Moegi replied. "Why?"
"Well, I'm pretty sure he'll make it," Hanabi said. "He taught me a thing or two, after all, and that's saying something. I was just wondering if there's likely to be anyone else to rival him in his class. I've got both his best friend, Adaha, and his biggest rival, Okanemoto Akane, on my team."
Moegi shrugged. "I've never heard of these other two on my team, so I don't know. Looking at their grades and skill assessments, I'm guessing Inari will be the only taijutsu expert to come from this class of genin, though."
"At least you've got someone who might make it," Futaba snorted in disgust. "I've watched a few of the Academy classes. The three people I'm supposed to teach are utterly useless. I don't even think they're qualified to be admin ninja... and I rather hesitate to make them responsible for animal training! Why did I get all the bad ones?"
"How about you, Naruto-kun?" Sakura asked. "Who did you get?"
Naruto seemed rather stressed, rubbing his scalp as he read his own list. "I know elemental techniques, but how in the world am I supposed to train these guys?" he burst out, finally. "I've got Yowamushi Kasuka -- the only ninja any ninja academy class exclusively on his academic grades, since he's too much of a weakling to pass the physical tests. I've got Kainashi Rouhi, who I'm sure you remember, Sakura."
"Broke his leg while I was gone on a mission. It was too late for me to do much of anything other then rebreak it and set it when we got back. He completely lost all of his conditioning while he was in recovery, as I recall -- even some muscular atrophy, which seemed rather bizarre since he was only laid up for about two or three weeks," Sakura recited.
"And, finally, I've got Hiyowai Shiro," Naruto spat. "Who's so sickly he had the worst attendence record due to health in Blossom, or even recorded in Konoha's own records. In other words, I've got three people who are so sick and weak that they can't fight at all. How in the world am I going to teach them anything if they're too weak to go on a training mission, huh?"
Sakura winced. "Naruto-kun... you'll manage something. And if not, well, this isn't your final team, remember? You'll be a great jounin-sensei, I'm sure of it. We've finally set up all of the training grounds around Blossom, so you don't need to take these three far."
"But if I can't get any of them into a final team, will my promotion to jounin even stand?" Naruto asked plaintively. "How can I become hokage if my promotion to jounin depends on three people who couldn't do a push-up between them?"
"I'm sure you won't lose your promotion, Naruto-kun," Sakura said softly, patting his shoulder. "But if you're that worried about it... well, I've seen you do some thing I could swear were impossible, in the past, just because you made a promise. So promise me you'll get at least one of your students through, and I'll bet you that you will."
"A man doesn't take back his words," Naruto said slowly. "So I won't promise that, since I might have to if I do. But... I'll try. You think I only need to get one through, huh?"
"Don't neglect your other students just to concentrate on one, Naruto," Shizune cautioned. "It could really harm all three of them if you do. And if you pick the wrong one, and one of the others would have a talent for it with enough training, you might cause the very problem you're worried about."
"Nah, don't worry about that," Naruto replied. "I know what it feels like when your teacher decides he's going to spend all his time working with someone else -- especially when that someone else might be a certain rival of yours."
Sakura blinked. "You do?"
"Sasuke," came not from Naruto, but Ino. "Kakashi-sensei spent all his time in the run-up to the chuunin exam, our rookie year, teaching Sasuke and trying to pawn Naruto off to someone else. I think we all know why, now, but it turned out to be a bad decision anyway, didn't it?"
"Kakashi-san is a very good man," Shizune shot back. "What happened with Sasuke-kun wasn't his fault."
"No, it wasn't," Naruto agreed. "Looking back on it, I now think he was right, actually, to do what he did. It doesn't stop me from knowing what that feeling's like, though... and I'll never have one of my students learn that lesson the hard way. That is a promise."
Sakura grinned at him. "Well, then... it's five minutes until noon. What do you all say we go meet our students, huh?"
* * * * *
Notes: I made a VERY minor change to a previous chapter for this one -- namely, I adjusted the class size of this first Academy class a bit. I messed up -- I only did the math for those people who I needed to have appear in various chapters, not the number of people I actually needed to account for. Oops. This is really just an introduction to this next arc -- mostly filler and fluff, and it's short (compared to the last few chapters, anyway), but the next few should make up for that. The next several chapters can be written in just about any order, since they all are supposed to take place at the same time. I intend to do the training missions for Sakura, Hanabi, and Naruto (and possibly Ino, although nothing especially interesting is supposed to happen during her training -- her chapter would be all filler, if I write it, and the only purpose it would serve is bringing her back into the spotlight... which she's going to be in extensively through the final arc. I also considered a Moegi-centric chapter, but I can't even see a filler chapter with her team that would be at all interesting, and there's no reason to include her... although if I perhaps come up with a reason for her to appear that involves the kyuubi bits I snuck into her a couple chapters ago, maybe I will) over the next little bit, before I divide the students who pass (as you'll notice if you count the names of the genin mentioned, there are three who won't be passing at least) into their final teams. Then, the two-chapter NaruSaku romance arc (with lemony bits on Mediaminer), before we get to the Volume 3 Finale. Man, what a monster this fic has become.... Next chapter: Erm... (rolls dice) Hanabi teaches her students.