"Rumour has it, you are getting … your very own genins Anko?"

She stopped circling her finger along the rim of her sake cup. The morning sun was back-lighting her friend, giving her hair a fiery quality and enhancing her best features. From the subtle smirk appearing on Yuuhi face this was very much intended. Her narrowed eyes didn't bode well however.

The Hokage had only summoned her a couple of hours earlier, before dawn, his wrinkles prominent in the soft candle light. She first thought she was going to be reinstated in ANBU. Then dismissed the idea, if the situation was that dire they needed her she would have heard of it by now. Thus, she was slightly apprehensive when she bowed to her leader.

She tried not to fidget like a wet behind the ears genin as she faced the most powerful man in the village. Life after the death of the fourth has been hard on the man. Even more so than his betrayal. He had only looked stricken then, regretful certainly, even guilty somehow. Not dead to the world.

The glassy look he'd had after his reinstatement had faded over the years, giving place to a constant weariness, and the distraught grandfather who'd watched his best and brightest children die from the hubris of his successor left on his wake an empty, hardened, shell.

"I have a problem," he said, and waved her to a chair. "One, you will have to solve, I'm afraid,"

To say that doesn't bode well is the understatement of the century, she thought bitterly.

The Hokage eyes shone with mirth for a fleeting instant. Some of her feelings must have shone on her face making her hastily smooth her features. Still seeing him more human even for an instant made her feel for the person that was the closest thing she had for family.

"Due to your … rather unique skillset, I need you to take over the training of one of our genin," he said, pain in his voice. Pity, even. She hadn't expected that. She must have been looking incredulous, for he added, "Her circumstances are somewhat similar to yours at the same age,"

Oh.

Oh.

Poor thing.

She hesitantly asked, not used to question her orders, "Shouldn't she be seeing a Yamanaka or something? My specialty is more breaking minds; not putting them together." She flailed around with her hands, trying to convey some sort of haphazard process.

If she thought he was looking weary before, she was wrong. His whole demeanour slumped slightly as if he was suddenly bearing all the weight of the world. Somehow that was worse than a rebuke.

She immediately felt guilty when she realised that she was slightly pleased that he allowed himself to show weaknesses in her presence.

"Quite," he said after a while. "Here is her file. How you train her and to what extent is up to you, there is no particular deadline. As long as it doesn't impair your regular duties. You may take her on missions at your discretion. I want a report twice a week for the next few weeks. If you have any specific questions ask me directly," she stood to go, recognizing the dismiss as such.

"Mitarashi-san," he sighed, "Depending on how this mission ends I would have no choice but to promote you to full jounin," She could definitely see mirth in his eyes now. Hers widening as much as they could until she started to cackle madly.

She let herself out with a bang and the wide, wide grin on her face sending shivers down the spine of everyone in the tower and beyond.

"Anko? Are you with me?" Yuuhi was waving a dango stick before her and she reflexively ate it before coming back to her senses. "You had enough sake," she said. Anko eyed her sake bottle – now conspicuously empty – and graciously accepted the cup of steaming tea that was pushed in her hands. "Is that rumour founded?" her friend insisted.

"Yes," she said, "I am so looking forward to being a teacher," she added a sheepish smile to complete the picture.

Yuuhi pushed back from the table and leaned back in her chair. "Who are you, and what have you done with Anko?" she demanded.

A small smile graced her lips when she answered, "Well, it'd be awfully remiss of poor little me to contradict Konoha's well of wisdom. Tell me, Yuuhi, how is that already common knowledge when I got informed only a couple of hours ago?"

Auburn eyes widened before narrowing in suspicion. She scoffed, but was controlling her features too closely to let anger show anywhere but in her eyes, "You have uncanny luck for landing yourself in the middle of the worst of minefields," she said, "When I first heard, I was jealous, you know. I thought, 'how could she', you got a team to train without even trying! I mean you're … you. No offense," she said.

"None taken," she answered mouthing around the dango she just stole from her friend's plate.

"If that was the case I would have heard of it from you, not the grapevine. I dismissed it as a fluke or a joke." She said before taking a deep breath before hissing "But you're telling me, not only is it true, but you're the Hokage plaything for some ploy? "The table groaned in protest from the grip she had on it.

Her violet hairs tufted when she rubbed sheepishly at her head, "You know me, I always like a good challenge now and then." She said. "Besides, it's only one genin girl, not a team. I wouldn't have volunteered otherwise."

Yuuhi eyed her friend carefully while smoothly stirring her tea without making a sound nor a ripple, daintily took a sip and said, "Alright, let's overlook the fact you're lying through your teeth to your best friend," Anko nodded while munching on her last dango, that was as much an apology as her friend was going to get, "What's in it for you?"

Anko shrugged delicately, before a wide, wide grin graced her features and stretching over the table she whispered slowly but a single word in her friend ear, "Jounin,"

Yuuhi stood frozen for a minute, before looking her friend in the eyes, "Really?" She asked.

"Really," Anko purred.

Then a wide, wide grin appeared on Yuuhi's face and she started to laugh. Rapidly joined by the cackling from the woman in front of her.

In the street children cries could be heard.

Half a dozen congratulatory sake bottles and dango plates latter, Yuuhi asked the question that has been bothering her for a while now. Anko could see she was happy for her friend for sure, but when the red eyes glanced at the jounin to-be she could see the anxiousness underlying her cheerful mood. She decided to wait for her to decide how she wanted to broach the topic of her concerns. More dangos to be had like this. "What's the catch? I have it bad with the team I'm going to get, but this is going to become ridiculous. I mean you're not qualified, it comes from nowhere, you are working in the sewers, …" she trailed off.

Obviously, she considered taking the gentle road – and would have it been anyone but her she was sure that was what she would have done – before deciding on being blunt. However, she was pretty much certain that she babbled the last part without meaning to, and regretted it already.

"Read her file," She said, handing the document.

She had nearly finished her stylized leaf in dango sticks in the concrete wall when Yuuhi closed the file with a frown. "I don't see anything wrong with it," She said, "Why would he give you a pool genin to you specifically? It doesn't make sense,"

"That's the catch," she punctuated her answer with a last stick embedded in the wall. "Especially has he told me that she and I had a lot in common at this age," snarling the last few words.

At this Yuuhi rapidly browsed the file again, narrowing her eyes, "Do you know what he meant by that?" she finally said, "You had several … particular circumstances if I recall correctly and the only point in common I can see is that the both of you are orphans,"

"No, I don't, which means that it is either classified for good reasons which means I have a potential ticking bomb in my hands or it is classified for bad reasons and I definitively have one," she said before widening her eyes in comprehension, "That's why he didn't sent her to a Yamanaka …"

"How come?"

"When he assigned me this mission I asked him why he didn't send her to someone whose specialty was more in line with the objectives," she said before grimacing at the remainder of the Hokage show of thrust, "Which means that she knows or has seen something … and she's going to be my charge for the next few years, " she waved away the concerned look, "What I don't understand is what's in it for him. Me finally becoming a jounin would be a nice slap to the civilian guilds for sure, especially if the girl has talent and raise in rank too. But it's not enough for it be worth all the stink that will raise," she said.

Kurenai hummed in agreement, "He used to play shogi with Grandpa and old man Shikamo. I think we'll never fathom more than half of his reasons. But," and here she received a very pointed look, "I think that teaching the girl will do you good. You're too much of a recluse for your own good."

"Anyway, could you remember me why I'm going to be envied by all the parade ninjas under the sun? I've never quite gotten what the fuss was really about with the jounin sensei position." Yuuhi raised an unimpressed eyebrow, apparently her not so subtle attempt at changing the topic of the conversation had been noted. Fortunately, her friend loved to lecture and she wasn't disappointed.

"It is a great honour, having a hand in the shaping of the most promising children of the next generation, you know. All that potential, you are the one to mould them toward realizing it. Being their model, mentor and seeing each and every of their step as they grow. Seeing their eyes when you teach them their first jutsus! You could very well teach the next Hokage or San … nin," realizing her blunder she smiled sheepishly.

She didn't remark on it, replying instead "Yeah, and picking the pieces up when they get broken. So much fun. I've always dreamed to cater to my own angsty teenagers every need. Now if you love to teach so much why didn't you apply for the Academy?"

"You know me, you know that I like to have a hands-on approach to things. In the academy I couldn't teach what I want, how I want. Plus, I can't wait to see them parading in line once team 8 members are announced. That will be the biggest cockroach's nest Konoha has ever seen." Her shoulders began to shake at the thought.

"Oh! Don't forget to take a picture please when they discover that this team has been put together especially for you, or I will never treat you to dangos ever again," she threatened, "You get the children of three clans in your team, all the politicking professionals will hate you with a passion," she said.

She couldn't help but feel pride for the success of her friend and tried to pass it off as bloodlust. She had a reputation after all. However, she especially felt anticipation to the idea that her friend had pre-emptively thwarted the plans of all these people that looked down on her and her friend each and every time they crossed their path. Not that it happened frequently. Obviously, they didn't frequent the same spheres.

"It is going to be glorious," she purred, "That and it's paid a lot more than being an Academy sensei without the risk of death that jounin usually encounters. I shouldn't have doubted you Yuuhi-chan,"

The jounin didn't have time to splutter an answer before she pounced for the kill.

"And it doesn't have anything to do with staying in Konoha more often than not? How curious that Asuma decides to apply the year that you make jounin," she smirked deviously when she saw her teasing hit his mark.

"It's not like that! We're not in a relationship." She was denying with all her worth, but the trail of smoke that was steadily coming closer from further down the street belied her answer.

She was careful to not show how much she was enjoying herself when she went for the kill. "Why are you playing so hard to get? He has been wrapped around your finger for years." If she had to put up with her friend's concern it was only fair of her to retaliate.

She didn't expect the narrowing of the eyes when she answered, "I'm not playing! It's … complicated,"

"You are too prideful for your own good, we both know you want this," she said. "You wouldn't have let him got this close if you had issues trusting him."

"Trust? I can't even trust him to be on time! He was supposed to be here nearly an hour ago," she seemed to deflate when she said this.

"Oh, that's why he has been doing the doe-eyes to me all this time. And here I thought he was trying to hit on me!" She teased. "Well I will leave you two lovebirds alone, aunty Anko knows when youngsters like you need to release all these hormonal urges," She flickered away, pinching Asuma's ass on the way just as he entered the restaurant. Letting them foot her bill.

After all she was way cheaper than a counsellor.