Chapter 6 A little bird

The warmth of the day was slowing fading away. The sky had darkened to a reddish purple, like a large bruise that you knew people were going to notice and wonder for weeks what you did to deserve it.

A very big, noticeable bruise.

Failures were like bruises to Sakura. Fat, sickly bruises plastered over her face. She admitted that she was some sort of a perfectionist.

They failed. All of them failed. It didn't matter if Sasuke and Naruto failed. The fact was, she failed. What went wrong? She was positive that she remembered each and every sign with the half second delay in between each one.

A wail broke her concentration. Sakura blinked and realized that she had been standing in the fields with her fists clenched tightly ever since their sensei had left. She looked at her teammates. Sasuke was the obvious source of the cry that could break a thousand mirrors. The boy was currently alternating between looking up the sky and shouting "Why me?" and stomping around in circles while rubbing his red eyes. Naruto was sitting under a large tree nearby, fiddling with a piece of dried leaf while glazing listlessly at the sky above.

Sakura took a deep breath and tried to calm down. Easy there. Just need to go to the library and read it up. She must have gotten the theory wrong.

"Sakura! What did we do wrong? I am positive that I did everything aniki did!" bursted Sasuke as he started to gesture frankly at the sky.

"Willingness to give unconditionally? Of course I am willing. Every time someone asks me to help with their homework or when an old lady needs to cross the street or when Oka-san needs help with groceries or when some of my cousins want to have a friendly match but I don't understand why they always aim for my face or when a cute kitty is stuck in a tree which doesn't make sense as most of the kittens are nin-cats….and I would never even harm a fly or a cat or a horse or a person!"

Sasuke was obviously a lost cause as he started to pull on his hair and seemed to be on the verge of hyperventilating.

Sakura sighed and rubbed her temples. It was obvious that they were didn't take failure easily. Sakura turned her head to look at Naruto who was currently tearing up pieces of dried leaves and throwing them into the air.

Wait, cross that out, two out of three. Naruto didn't seem to care at all.

It suddenly struck Sakura that since they became teammates, this was the first time they stayed back after being dismissed by their sensei. Usually, Sakura and Naruto would turn around and ignore Sasuke's shrieks for after-mission-happy-session, creepy and it sounds.

It took a few moments for the revelation to sink in. And to be dismissed.

"Leaving." Was all she stoically announced as she turned around and stomped home. The library was likely closed anyway.

"All hail, the great medicnin! Fearless! Regal! Without fault! The one and only…..Uchiha Ita…Ouch! That hurt Itachi!"

Itachi gave another bash on the back of Shisui's head just for good measure.

"Permitting you to join me does not equate to permission to broadcast my presence. Be silent." Itachi said as he quickly walked towards Konoha Administrative Building.

Once they arrived, Shisui followed Itachi 's lead and they both hid in the musty and dark rafters. Shisui had to try hard not to sneeze at the stench.

Why are we here. Shisui signed in ANBU sign language. Itachi paused for a second and then nodded towards the floor below them where the Hokage and some other administrative workers sat while ninjas came in and out. This was the room where the Hokage would assign missions.

After waiting for 10 minutes, Shisui was about to ask Itachi why they were there when suddenly, Shisui heard a very familiar chirpy yet irritating voice echo throughout the building. On reflex, he shuddered. It didn't take a Uchiha to be able to recognize that voice.

"Yes! The great team 7 has accomplished yet another mission! What's the next one?"

The whole of Konoha village had a love/hate relationship with that little twit named Sasuke, including Shisui. If only he could jump down and start pulling at those adorable cheeks and maybe feed some cotton candy that would glue his lips together, the world would be a better place.

In came a bouncing figure who raced over to pose victoriously in front of the Hokage. A few moments later, a few more people walked into the room at a much more leisurely albeit resigned pace.

The Hokage took a look at Sasuke's victory pose and chuckled heartily before taking a puff from his pipe. "What mission was your team assigned?"

Even from the rafters, Shisui could see little Sasuke puff up his chest like a peacock about to outshine the rest of the world with his oh so lovely feathers.

"D rank mission. We were assigned the duty to watch over the children in the orphanage and take them out to the playground!"

"Interesting." The Hokage said has he puffed out another cloud of white smoke. "Tell me young Uchiha, what other missions have you completed in this month?"

A single question lead to a gushing river-like reply.

"Yesterday we rounded all stray animals from the civilian sector for baths and brought them to the vet for injections the day before we helped out at the farms outside the village the day before that we helped sweep the main streets and the day before that we helped bake bread for gave them out for free in the village market and in the previous week we did the laundry for the hospital and…" Sasuke spurted happily while he waved his hands around for good measure.

A book appeared on top of Sasuke's head and firmly pressed down. To Shisui's amazement, the little chatterbox actually closed his mouth, ending the awful chatter with a tearful look at his sensei. It would seem that this was a practised routine.

Good job Kakashi. Shishui thought to himself in relief. I should use that trick from now on.

"Hokage-sama, if you don't mind me asking, what is the purpose of this question? Other than to torture our ears." Kakashi asked as he scratched his head tiredly.

The Hokage coughed loudly and gave a quick look at the rafter, in other words, where Itachi and Shisui were secretly hiding, and turned back to give team 7 a resigned look.

" A….. little bird informed me that you have done your fair share of charity work and should go on to something more complex to train your…..ah….hidden skill for selfless sharing and caring."

The black haired bundle of sorrow moved forward, no doubt in preparation to squeal in happiness and accept the wonderful gift, when suddenly, one of the silent members of the group roughly pushed him to the side and took his place instead.


The blond boy who had started to vent at the Hokage hysterically was suddenly punched in the back forcefully (with so much force that the boy tipped forward and crashed into the ground, oddly sending bits of paper and brushes all over the place, Shisui noted) by a petite little girl with pink hair.

Sasuke, his jaw wide open, pointed at her in shock. "Sakura! could you? Nartuo is our teammate, you can't just push him like that. He is part of the team, this is bad for team spirit, you hear me? Bad! How are we going to complete further missions like this? We need to work together and keep a healthy working relationship…"

Sakura vehemently poked her finger into Sasuke's chest, making him move a step back in fear. "You. Shut up." She hoarsely whispered. She then proceeded to place her right foot on Naruto's back and pushed down hard . "You. Respect the Hokage."

Little Sasuke's female teammate was….beyond sannin. Shisui watched with awe at her as she bowed to the Hokage and murmured an apology on behalf of her team mates while Kakashi sighed loudly. Mother had always said violence was the cure to unruly children, including himself.

The Hokage gave all three team mates hard looks, including Naruto who had decided to just sit on the floor and ignore everyone. "Right. Coming back to the topic, is team 7 ready to accept a C rank mission? No charity work this time. You will be paid."

C rank mission? Shisui looked to his cousin in confusion as he signed for an explanation but received no reply. Was this part of the little bird's plan?

After watching team 7's agreement to accept the mission, mainly Sasuke while the rest of the team did not comment, and meeting their hirer, Shisui and Itachi left the building and started heading back to their home compound.

"So what gives? Shouldn't the little bird be worried that Team 7 might not be able to handle a C rank mission?" Shisui finally asked as they sprinted across roof tops as Itachi had ignored his pointed looks.

"The little bird believes that something more difficult and dangerous may be the cure to awaken ignorant gennins of their wayward thinking." Itachi replied carefully with a warning look .

Shisui sniggered at Itachi's comment. Such a dotting big brother yet unwilling to display his affections like a normal person.

"The little bird should give up being a medicnin and become a fortune teller instead hey Itachi! How many times do I have to do tell you not to hit me on the head? You are not my mom and you have no right to hey! Stop it!"

Kakashi sighed for the umpteenth since he became the leader of Team 7 as he trudged along the village road towards the direction of the entrance to meet his students.

Life was tiring. Being a nin was tiring. Missions were tiring. Moving was tiring. And...isn't that Naruto at the ramen stand?

Ten minutes later, Kakashi, in tow with Nartuo who was being dragged by his collar, was greeted by an energetic Uchiha kid and the stoic yet fearfully strong female student.

"Morning kids. I found Nartuo having a after breakfast snack at the ramen store and had drag him over." Kakashi said as he dumped Naruto on the floor.

A man walked out from under the shade of a tree, tsking loudly along the way. Tazuna, their mission objective, glared at Kakashi with distain.

"Half of the team is an hour late. I wonder if hiring you bunch of lazy people was a good idea." He mumbled as he pulled his straw hat down angrily.

"Well sir, you don't have much of a choice as the Land of Wave doesn't have a nin village." Said Sasuke righteously. He then turned around and pointed forward. "All right Team 7, I spent the whole night reading the maps and guidebooks to the Land of Waves. I know the fastest route there and all various stop points and towns and tourist attractions along the way! Let's go! "

"Hey kid, this isn't a holiday…" Kakashi's warning fell to deaf ears as Sasuke speeded off at the speed of light while Tazuna trailed behind, huffing to himself.

As Kakashi watched Sakura give Naruto a firm kick to get him to stand up, Kakashi prayed to any gods above that their mission would be as trouble-free as possible. Somehow, he had a bad bad feeling. The same bad feeling he had when he first met his team.

Maybe a white rabbit would appear and start a series of unfortunate events leading up to rogue nins and maybe saving a whole country from destruction. Kakashi thought mournfully to himself as he followed his team from the back.

Damn, now he sounded like Uchiha Itachi. The whole village knew how much of a hard time Uchiha Shisui gave his cousin for sounding like a fortune teller.