Sakura Fanfic by Delial
Slug Master - 01
Sunday, and Haruno Sakura was all a-flame with intellectual curiosity. She had spent the night before reading some really neat scrolls on cell-regeneration theory because she was a hard-working kunoichi and she would work every hour of the day to make herself stronger! Hell yeah! And now she wanted to visit her sensei to clarify a few theoretical details.
The morning was clear. The birds were singing. Sakura hadn’t been woken up in the middle of the night to observe emergency procedures being carried out on ANBU members who had been maimed in particularly creative ways. All was right with the world.
(Certainly, she had NOT been reading scrolls on cell-regeneration theory on a Saturday night because she was alone and dateless, after telling Lee that she was too busy washing her hair to go out. HELL NO. She, Haruno Sakura, was gorgeous and popular. If Ino-Pig wanted to waste her time going on fancy dinner-dates with a handsome, well-paid Jounin while Sakura wasted away in her room going over scrolls that made even her feel like a dork, then… then… well, Sakura didn’t know what then. Except that it involved Ino LOSING.)
Really, she should have known better. The guards let her past without comment, but… yeah, she really should have known better. Especially on a Sunday morning.
Sakura knocked on Tsunade’s door, and received no answer.
She knocked again.
Shizune walked by, and shot Sakura a pitying look. Unfortunately, Shizune had dark circles under her eyes, so Sakura knew that it was going to be one of those days.
Sakura greeted Shizune with grace and good manners, because unlike someninja in this village, she had been raised to be polite. Then she punched the wall in frustration, and accidentally battered a hole in the plaster. Um. Heh. It would probably be a good idea to get into Tsunade-sensei’s office before anyone noticed that Sakura had done that, as opposed to someone who could be expected to damage village property with random violence. Like, uh, Kiba. Or lots of other people that Sakura knew, now that she thought about it.
Sakura stealthily slid the door open and shut, and stole inside Tsunade’s private study. She brushed rubble off of her hands as she went, and was secretly glad that she’d decided to pack a spare pair of gloves in her pack that morning.
Unsurprisingly, Hokage-sama was sprawled over her desk in an extremely undignified position. Empty sake bottles littered the floor, and the room reeked of spilt wine and stale sweat. Sakura wrinkled her nose, and padded over to open the window.
Of course, Tsunade woke up as soon as cold, fresh air disturbed her private ecosystem. Tsunade was not the Godaime Hokage for nothing.
The Hokage snapped her head around, to look at Sakura with bleary, unfocussed eyes. A small stream of drool had dried on her cheek, and one of her breasts threatened to pop out of her kimono.
“S’kura?” the Godaime winced, and gestured at Sakura half-heartedly, before starting to knead her temples. “Close th’damn blinds, girl.”
Sakura did as she was told. After all, she was a responsible girl with a healthy respect for her elders and her Hokage. Also, she valued her life.
“What time issit?” Tsunade complained, while re-adjusting her top. “An’ where the hell’s Shizune? I wan’t m’goddamn coffee. SHIZUNE!”
Outwardly, Sakura sighed. “It’s ten in the morning, sensei.”
Inwardly, Sakura fumed. What the hell? Seriously? What the hell? Tsunade was a Legendary Sannin! Sure, the OTHER two Legendary Sannin were either perverted or EVIL, but Tsunade was a woman! She should know better! She should take her teaching and Hokage responsibilities more seriously! That kind of extreme behaviour was totally unacceptable in a high-level ninja. Why, if it wasn’t completely inappropriate and also impossible, Sakura would… she would… she would … well, she couldn’t, so there was no use thinking about it. But if that moron NARUTO thought that HE was getting away with this kind of crap when HE was Hokage, he had another thing coming! Sakura would kick Naruto’s ass so far into orbit that he would fall into the sun! Yeah! He would either shape up and be a proper Hokage, for well-mannered and law-abiding ninjas like herself to look up to, or Sakura would BEAT HIS SORRY ASS into the GROUND!
Sakura coughed, and Inner Sakura stopped shaking her fist. Fortunately, the Hokage was too hung-over to notice that her star pupil had spaced out for the last two minutes.
“No lessons thisssmornin’,” the Hokage slurred, and waved Sakura out of the room. Tsunade stretched, and her back audibly cracked. Alertness returned, begrudgingly, to her features. “I have work to do. SHIZUNE!”
Shizune raced into the room, coffee in hand and TonTon at her heels.
Sakura edged towards the door. If it was one of those days, and Tsuande did not feel discussing a new technique with Sakura, that could only mean one thing. Hopefully, she would be able to escape before Tsunade thought of it.
“Jiraiya’ll be back soon. Work on Kuchiyose no Jutsu.”
Ever since the Fifth Hokage took Haruno Sakura under her wing, the young ninja had learned so many impressive new jutsus that it felt as though her extra-wide forehead was packed to the rafters. With a spark of chakra, Sakura could make fish breathe on land. She could scramble nervous systems. She could knit tissue and mend bones, or demolish buildings with the back of her hand. She could clot blood, or make sure that it never ceased to flow. She could cripple, or restore. She could save lives, or end them. Tsunade’s jutsus imparted a level of control that only a fellow med-nin could ever understand.
But today, Sakura was not going to working on one of those jutsus.
Today, she would be summoning slugs.
On an intellectual level, Sakura knew that she should feel deeply honoured. Hokage-sama had seen fit for Sakura to learn the jutsu that marked Hokage-sama as the Slug Master of the Sannin. It confirmed that Sakura was talented enough not to be left behind by her former team-mates. It said that Sakura too could be dragged - screaming, crying, and snot-nosed - into greatness.
Unfortunately, the irrational teenaged part of Sakura’s brain drew certain obvious parallels between the kunoichi and the creatures that she was meant to summon. The slugs were pink. Sakura was pink. The slugs were ugly and slimy and nobody would ever want them for a pet because they had big hips and no boobs. Other animals went off into the world for adventures but not slugs because they were weak and oozed tears and could only move at the rate of a few inches per minute. The speed of their taijutsu was really terrible because they had no apparent arms or legs and even if they did have legs those legs would be really scrawny and not as nice as Ino’s.
In short, slugs sucked.
As far as Sakura knew, they didn’t even do anything useful. Sakura’d tried to ask Tsunade-sensei about it, but the Hokage had just said to ask the slugs.
Sakura was suffering from a serious lack of motivation, here.
The medic-nin stomped into Training Area 10, kicking up a cloud of dust in her wake. Training Area 10 was Sakura’s favorite training area. Therefore, it was a now a dusty, crater-ridden, godforsaken wasteland. The Konoha parks authority wouldn’t let her take another one. She thought that it must annoy the slugs because there was no water, but then Sakura remembered that she didn’t like slugs so that was okay.
Once she’d found a relatively pleasant crater to practice in, Sakura removed her gloves, and cut her thumb with a spare kunai. She formed the hand-seals and moulded her chakra, in an extremely half-hearted manner.
“Kuchiyose no Jutsu,” Sakura said, dryly.
A breeze ambled.
Butterflies fluttered by.
Somewhere in the distance, Lee was screaming about the beauty of youth. Or maybe that was merely some of the local wildlife in heat.
Finally, a slug the size of a small terrier poofed into existence. Slugs always took their time.
It didn’t look too happy to be there either.
It turned out that the slug’s name was Katsunori. Katsunori liked damp forests, rotting wood, and neoclassical literature from Earth Country. Katsunori also liked rambling about all three of these subjects, as he travelled from one end of the training area to the other. One hour and a large trail of mucus after summoning, Sakura and Katsunori had barely completed a lap.
Sakura’s patience was wearing thin. Considering that she’d managed to retain her sanity while spending the better part of a year on a team with Uchiha Sasuke, Uzumaki Naruto, and Hatake Kakashi, that was really saying a lot.
“So,” Sakura finally interrupted the slug, forcing herself to put on the sort of friendly face that bought praise from elderly relatives. “You’re a ninja slug.”
The slug was slow to respond.
“… that would be why you summoned?” The slug sounded confused. Or maybe even sarcastic. Augh. How did it even talk? As far as Sakura could tell, slugs didn’t have the equipment necessary for speech. Like a tongue. Or lips. Or lungs.
Talking to slugs was always uncomfortable, which was why Sakura tried to avoid it. How was she supposed to talk to a slug? What could she say? Katsunori looked so gross and slimy, and it had no face. Should she pick it up? What if the salts on her skin hurt it? She didn’t want to pick it up. But what if it was insulted? Stupid slug! She bet that INO was working on summoning some SEXY animal like a CAT or a FOX right now, JUST so she could show up Sakura and was Sakura going to allow that? Hell no! She was the skilled and beautiful apprentice of the sannin Hokage-sama! Hell YEAH!
“So what do ninja slugs do?” Sakura asked, boldly, hands on hips.
The slug’s eye-stalks waved gently. If the slug’s voice hadn’t been so odd and squeaky, it might possibly have carried a zen-like air.
“… all things come in time. Can’t you enjoy the moisture? I enjoy the moisture. It’s nice, feeling the dew against your slime. Reminds me of a haiku I read by the eleventh-century poet Shinohara Tetsuya, which went a little something like…”
Sakura frowned, and released the jutsu. Katsunori disappeared in a puff of steam.
Clearly, she was missing something. Sakura hated missing things. She prided herself on having an encyclopaedic memory, even if she did not possess Nara Shikamaru’s brilliant improvisational mind.
What wasn’t she getting?
Meh, Sakura would rather be reading about useful jutsu. Naruto would be back soon, and she had to prove to him that she could keep up! Then they’d go after Sasuke. Sakura could not afford to be dead weight on such an important mission. If she’d been strong or loveable enough to stop Sasuke in the first place, then none of those would have happened. They’d all still be together., and happy, in their own way.
She could figure the slugs out later
training (practice makes perfect :P)
Everytime the wind blows I feel it tearing us apart...