Hello, people. Those of you who know me know that I was supposed to write another chapter of The Healer and the Interrogator this week, but this little baby was just itching to get out of my head, so…yeah. It's not related to any of my stories and takes place shortly after the teams were created. By the way, this is intended as a one-shot, unless imagination decides to kick me in the face once again, which is highly probable, knowing me. Still, I hope you enjoy!
The sun shone bright above Konoha on the warm summer day. Yet, for all that it was bright and sunny, shadows would soon encase a certain man's heart. In fact, despair was probably a better word. Yet, at the moment, he was happily unaware of that fact.
At the park, two girls conversed in hushed tones, occasionally nodding firmly or shaking their head frantically.
"A-Are you sure t-there's no one else?" whispered a timid voice.
"Positive. He's the only one we can ask."
The first girl shuddered, murmuring fearfully: "T-there's really n-n-no one else?"
"Stop shaking, Hinata-chan! We have to be strong! Come, let's go ask him!"
The purple-haired girl was hauled off by her pink-haired friend, protesting rather loudly.
"S-Sakura-chan! I-I'm not s-sure now is t-the b-b-best time!"
"Now's the only time, Hinata-chan! He's…just…there!"
The pastel-haired girl stopped running, the Hyuuga heiress panting next to her, and looked at the bent form of her friend. Shaking her head, she pointed at a bar across the street. The very man they had been looking for had just entered it and the door was slowly closing behind him.
"Now we just have to enter the bar without being thrown out. How good are you at henge, Hinata-chan?"
"Eeeh? G-good enough, I s-suppose…" stuttered the Hyuuga fretfully as she watched the conspiring grin on Sakura's face grow even larger.
And so, less than five minutes later, two young kunoichi, disguised as women in their early twenties, entered the dark bar, scanning the room quickly to find their target in the farthest corner booth of the establishment. Without a glance at anything else, they walked to him, Hinata slightly behind Sakura and less confident. It was probably due to her countenance that two local guys, well on their way to getting wasted, approached the two girls, intent clear in their leering eyes. With stale breaths and wandering hands, they circled their naïve preys lustfully.
"Hiya, girls! Fancy joinin' us for a drink?" asked the baldest of the two with a toothless grin.
"Yeah! Pretties like you can't drink alone!" continued the other drunk suitor invitingly.
Sakura and Hinata huddled together, sharing uneasy glances as the two men crept even closer.
"T-this was a b-bad idea, S-Sakura-chan!" whispered Hinata, fear radiating from every pore of her body.
"Stay behind me, Hinata-chan! I'll get us out of this!" hissed Sakura, putting on a brave front. She squared her shoulders and pasted an indifferent look on her face.
"We are not interested," she said in an arctic voice.
The men, actually surprised, stopped advancing for a moment, suddenly unsure. The easy preys may actually have teeth, unlike they had first thought. However, undaunted, they shared a look and grinned nastily, fully intent on pursuing the two beauties.
"Don't feed us that. Two gals coming into a bar clearly spells out what you're looking for, so unless you've got a man waiting for you, you're all ours, babes."
A shadow fell upon them and a menacing aura that screamed bloodlust choked their throats.
"They do, actually," rumbled a dark, velvety voice that sounded like chocolate rolling on leather from behind the two men, who both turned around, only to come face to face with the imposing man who served their village as Head of the T&I Department. Faces blanching, they trembled, cold sweat pouring on their foreheads.
Struck by sudden inspiration, Sakura wrapped herself around Ibiki's arm, like she had seen so many girls do with their boyfriends, and pasted a bright relieved smile on her face.
"Finally! I was looking for you, Ibiki-kun!"
Following her lead, Hinata clutched Ibiki's other arm with a blush.
"T-Thanks for c-c-coming…"
With a snort of disgust at the two cowering men, the dark shinobi wrapped his arms around the girls' shoulders and led them out of the bar, promptly glowering at them as soon as they exited the small establishment.
"Lose the henge now, girls!" he growled irately, rounding on them once they had put some distance between them and the bar.
Trembling, the two young girls obeyed, soon returning to their normal child selves.
"Y-You knew?" murmured Hinata frightfully behind her bangs.
Ibiki snorted, looking decidedly unimpressed with them.
"Of course I knew! Like any self-respecting ninja would! What the hell did you two think you were doing? I knew youngsters are impatient to enter bars and drink, but I didn't think that applied to freshly-graduated genin!" he exclaimed angrily.
Sakura reddened at the words, because Ino had once tried to make her accompany her to a bar–under disguise, of course–while Hinata, who had never even imagined breaking the rules to that point, imagined what her father would say if Ibiki told him what she had done. The thought of her already disappointed father brought tears to her eyes.
"P-Please, Morino-sama! D-Don't t-tell Otou-sama!"
The scarred man looked at them for a long while with an illegible face. It seemed he found what he was looking for, because soon enough, he motioned for them to follow him, which they did, and led them to a small teahouse where he ordered sake for himself and kaisheki and sencha for the surprised girls. At their slightly incredulous look, he glared at them, somewhat embarrassed, and said gruffly, "What, you didn't expect me to do that?"
Still flustered, the girls shook their heads negatively, but thanked him for the food and drinks. Satisfied, Ibiki nodded.
"Now you girls tell me. What were you doing in that seedy bar if it wasn't for the thrill of entering it and having a drink at your age? Was it a bet?"
Once again, the girls shook their heads.
"Iie!" protested Sakura. "We just wanted to see you, and you entered the bar, so we followed…"
She trailed off nervously as Ibiki's unsettling gaze focused on her, letting Hinata breathe a sigh of relief.
"And just why were you following me, girl?" asked Ibiki.
"We wanted to ask you to teach us to become strong!" explained Sakura, using a lifetime's worth of courage to do so.
"Please teach us!" added Hinata, bowing deeply, which Sakura quickly imitated.
So there sat a bemused Ibiki with two bowing girls in front of him who were waiting for an answer with baited breath and cold sweat. The Head of the Torture and Interrogation Department closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose in an annoyed move, a vein ticking on the side of his head.
"You two girls…entered a bar under a henge…to ask me to become your sensei?" he said in an aggravated incredulous voice.
After a moment of silence, Ibiki shook his head and downed his sake cup, after which Hinata refilled it gracefully, earning her a glance from the corner of the scarred man's eyes.
"Well, at least you have some manners," he remarked. "So tell me. Why should I teach two brats who only want to become strong to impress the other brats they have a crush on?"
"That's wrong!" blurted out Sakura angrily before she could restrain herself. Her outburst caused Ibiki to raise an eyebrow inquisitively.
"Oh? Then you're not obsessed with the young duck-haired Uchiha and that one isn't just as obsessed with the village's troublemaker?" he asked with a sneer, causing both girls to blush violently.
"That has nothing to do with this!" exclaimed Sakura. "Both of us know that our love is futile, but that's not something we can change! We can't control other people's hearts! We want to be stronger for ourselves! For me, it's to prove that just because I come from a civilian family, it doesn't mean I'm any weaker than people who come from ninja clans and have clan techniques and for Hinata-chan, it's to prove that she's not a mistake, that she's fit to be part of her family!"
Hinata put a calming hand on her heaving friend's arm and gently motioned for her to regain her seat. Meanwhile, Ibiki scrutinized them silently, finally sighing loudly.
"Nice speech, girl, but you both have teachers. Go ask them to make you stronger. And you, Pinkie, I know for a fact that you're supposed to be at a team meeting right now, so scram."
Sakura snorted and crossed her arms angrily.
"Pshh! Everyone knows that pervert won't show up for at least another two hours, and even if he did show up before that, he'd still not teach me anything! He's all about Sasuke-kun. Sometimes, he teaches Naruto something, but me? I'm ranked even lower than the dirt on his shoes. At least he cares about dirt and gives it enough attention to notice it. Never me. I might as well be invisible."
Hinata passed an arm around Sakura's shoulder as the latter wiped at her eyes angrily and looked pleadingly at Ibiki's impassive face.
"Please, Morino-sama. We're hard-working. We won't make you ashamed or make you lose your time. If anything, think of it as an investment. Besides, we're allowed to look for teachers to specialize in some branch or another, as well as having a regular teacher. You wouldn't be the only one to take on an apprentice. Please think about it?"
Just then, a certain kunoichi strolled down the road and, seeing them, grinned sadistically as she pranced up to them.
"Well, well, well. Would you look at that. Why, I didn't know you were a cradle-robber, Ibiki!" she exclaimed, looking at the two genin girls with appreciation. "Though I have to say you have good taste. They're awfully cute!"
Ibiki took a sip of his sake seemingly disinterestedly.
"Keep your hands to yourself, Mitarashi. They're mine."
At her superior's serious tone, Anko lost her crazy grin and contemplated the trio speculatively.
"Ohooooh… Will I get to play with them? Teach them the ropes? Doll them up in proper fashion? I promise I won't maim your cuties…"
Ibiki smirked in his sake cup. This may be interesting.
"Sure, but don't forget you answer to me, Mitarashi. Try to teach them your tricks without scarring them for life. Girls, welcome to the T&I Department!"
"Hell yeah!" yelled Anko exuberantly, pumping a fist in the air. She smelled fun in the air, and it was only the beginning.
Alright, people, a few notes. First, as you may have noticed, I don't use plural forms for Japanese words, simply because in Japanese, those don't exist, but it doesn't make my stories any harder to read, so bear with it. Second, yes, this is a one-shot, but I may expand on it if I feel the urge. Feel free to comment. For those of you who aren't familiar with general terms in Japanese (and for the more specific terms), I enclose here a translation.
Otou-sama: formal way of referring to a father, much like Father in English
Kaisheki: a Japanese traditional food or tea ceremony dish
Sencha: green tea of a higher quality than bancha because the leaves are plucked sooner.
Bancha: common green tea. It is considered the lowest grade of geen tea.