In the Northwestern region of Konoha, Anko Mitarashi waited outside of the front door to an apartment square. She tapped her foot onto the hardwood floors impatiently with her arms crossed, before deciding to bang on the door again.
"God, what's taking you so long? Hurry up already!" She barked through the door.
"I-I'll be right there!" She heard the slightly frazzled voice of her friend on the other side of the door. Anko rolled her eyes and leaned against the wall across from the door, using this time to daydream about anything other than food, though she was failing miserably.
Soon enough, the door to the apartment opened, revealing Anko's good friend, Kurenai Yuuhi. She wore her normal attire, though her hair wasn't what would be considered perfectly combed. Behind her emerged her lover, Asuma Sarutobi, who wore nothing but boxers and an inside-out t-shirt. They mischievously whispered to each other before pecking each other on the lips as a sweet goodbye. Kurenai stepped into the apartment hallway and closed the door behind her, giving her friend a coy smile.
"Sorry Anko, I guess I lost track of time." She apologized.
Anko shook her head, "I'm sure you did. Let's just hurry up and go before they close."
Kurenai giggled at her friend and walked with her out of the apartment building, "Somebody's cranky."
"You're damn right I'm cranky!" Anko grunted, "We planned this two weeks ago, and today is not a day where I can go without dango. I swear, if they close before we get there, that's your ass, Kurenai."
The red-eyed Jounin rolled her eyes with a grin on her face, "Sorry, geez! I didn't realize the sun was starting to set already."
"Yeah, because you were too busy getting pinned down by Mr. Chin Strap in there."
"That's inappropriate, Anko." Kurenai said with a playful sigh.
"But am I wrong?"
Kurenai said nothing.
"That's what I thought." Anko grunted with a shake of her head.
Kurenai could only laugh, despite her slight embarrassment, "Hey, sue me for wanting to enjoy the relationship I have with someone I love."
"I don't care if your horny little self wishes to ride Asuma's dick off into the sunset. Which, by the way, is clearly something you're already working on. All I'm saying is that you should manage your time better." Anko crossed her arms, pouting at the ground, "We rarely get to hang out like we used to."
At this, Kurenai gave her a sad smile, "I know, Anko. You're still my best friend. Our schedules just don't sync up like they used to."
"I've had the same consistent schedule that I've had for years, Kurenai." Anko said, "You're the one with the changes. Don't get me wrong, it puts a smile on my face to know that you're getting some good lovin'. You're just one of my only friends, and I'm finding it harder and harder for us to hang out lately."
Kurenai had to admit, she genuinely felt bad. It had been over two months since the friendly pair hung out with one another. They used to hang out every other day. It was almost a requirement for shinobi to seek out leisure and have fun while not on duty, considering the stresses that come with the job. But lately, Kurenai had been too caught up dating Asuma to consistently follow up on plans with the purple-haired Jounin, much to her obvious frustration, "I understand your viewpoint, Anko. I'll definitely try to do better about us hanging out."
"I'm holding you to that." Anko declared. Just then, Anko arrived at her favorite restaurant that served Konoha's best dumplings and soups. Any amount of mild frustration with Kurenai was whisped away once the smell of good food graced her nose.
"Good news, Kurenai. I won't be kicking your ass today." The snake summoner said with closed eyes, her nose in the air, and a smile on her face. Kurenai rolled her eyes playfully to her empty threat.
"You never do anyway."
About thirty minutes later, Anko and Kurenai had spent time catching up inside the restaurant, though Kurenai was forced to do most of the talking since Anko was very busy shoving dango skewers in her mouth. Kurenai had ordered an exotic tea, as she was not very hungry, while Anko ordered an abundance of Mitarashi dango and sweet bean soup, as usual.
Anko fell back into her chair and patted her buldging stomach, "Oh yeah... a fed Anko is a happy Anko."
"And a hungry Anko is a force to be reckoned with." Kurenai mocked with her chin in her palm, "I'm glad that you're tame now, but you're paying the bill this time."
Anko burped just as her tab came to the table, "Yeah yeah, I was going to anyway."
Kurenai watched as Anko laid out the bills onto the reciept for the server to take away. An idea popped into her head as she recalled their conversation on the way to the restaurant.
"Hey," Kurenai called, "I'm really glad we found time to hang out. You're always good company to have."
Anko looked at Kurenai through the corner of her eyes, "...What are you up to?"
Kurenai's features twisted into a confused and slightly offended expression, though she tried to hide her smile as best as she could, "What do you mean?"
"You always try to butter me up before trying to convince me to do something or get a point across." Accused Anko. Kurenai shook her head.
"I think the TI department has you paranoid."
"The TI department trained me to know human psychology and social patterns down to an art-form." Anko stated, not backing down, "What is it that you want to say to me, Kurenai?"
Kurenai laughed, knowing that it wouldn't be easy to get one over on one of the best interrogators in Fire Country, "Well... I was going to tell you that I really do enjoy hanging with you, Anko. But... it's not going to be as easy for me to do so as it used to."
"Yeah, I know." Anko said matter of factly, "Because you're dating Asuma. I was giving you shit about it earlier, remember?"
Kurenai nodded, twindling her fingers together, "Yeah, but that's not exactly what I mean..."
Anko squinted her eyes at her friend as a cue for her to get to the point.
"Aha... I'm um... I'm pregnant."
Anko's eyes widened. The air between them was quiet for quite a while.
"Are you serious?!" Exclaimed Anko. Kurenai modestly nodded and Anko rushed out her chair to hug her friend. Kurenai hugged back, happy that she got a positive reaction out of her.
"Congratulations, Kurenai." Said Anko genuinely as she sat back into her chair, "I'm really happy for you, truly."
Kurenai smiled, "Thank you, Anko. I knew for about a week now, and I decided to finally tell Asuma the news today. He's just as excited as I am." Kurenai said happily.
Anko nodded and looked off in the distance momentarily. She realized that was probably why she took so long to come out and hang out with her. She was happy, and was sharing that happiness with her lover. Now she's on her way to bringing new life into the world, and Anko couldn't blame her for wanting that for herself.
Anko gave a short snort, "So you're pregnant, huh? I can't imagine you dealing with all those hormonal patterns that pregnancy comes with when you're already an emotional wreck."
"Hey, I am not that emotional." Kurenai said with a slightly offended but playful tone.
"When we were Chuunin, you cried to me for an hour because you accidentally killed a ladybug during training." Anko stated flatly.
"We were teenagers! And that ladybug's life is no more important than ours!" Kurenai defended.
Anko shook her head, "I'll agree to that the next time I see a ladybug defend us during an invasion." She replied sarcastically, "Anyway, I really am happy for you. Don't worry about me and start your family. I'll find something to do in my spare time."
Kurenai then gave her a slightly mischievous grin, which was something Anko didn't necessarily enjoy.
"I know I've said this before, but... why not try putting yourself back on the market again?" Asked Kurenai.
"No." Was Anko's simple answer.
"Come on, why not?"
"Because it's like I told you, I don't have a desire to be 'with' someone. I do better when I'm flying solo." Stated Anko, "Besides, what man do you think can put up with my personality?"
"You have a great personality!" Encouraged Kurenai.
"That's not an answer to the question, Kurenai." Said Anko passively.
"Um... what about Kakashi? If anyone can take your attitude in stride, it'd be him."
Anko sneered, "Nah, he's too boring. Besides, I barked up that tree when we first became Jounin. I think he might be into men."
Kurenai laughed, "I don't think so. You say that about every guy that isn't interested in you."
The Jounin with the trench coat rolled her eyes, "Yeah, well... then it just eludes back to the question of what kind of man will be interested in me. I'm not particularly the sweetest grape out of the bunch, ya know." She said with a short shrug.
"You tell me about dozens of men all the time that try to get with you, but you turn them down." Said Kurenai.
"Yeah, but all those men are either weird, creeps, or weak. And I admit that the bar is set pretty high, but it's for a reason."
A shinobi hanging around in the restaurant mustered up the courage to approach the pair and looked at Anko with a smirk.
"Pardon me ladies, I would just like to introduce myself. I'm—"
Anko looked at the man through the corner of her eyes, "You're. Walking. You're walking. Like walking away. Right now."
The man frowned and raised an eyebrow, "That's a bit harsh, don't you th—?"
"Excuse me, Mr. Walking, why aren't your feet moving yet?"
"Hey, I just—"
"If you're not gone in the next three seconds, bad things will have a significant chance of happening to you. I'd get moving if I were you."
The poor man decided to just cut his losses and leave Anko alone. Not before murmuring a few terms to describe Anko that would definitely not sit well with her if he wasn't saying it under his breath.
Kurenai shook her head, "He could have been the one. You didn't have to be that rude to him."
Anko crossed her legs, as well as her arms, "I don't appreciate guys who just walk up to me while I'm clearly in the middle of a conversation. His poor timing was his downfall from the very beginning."
"Then how would you like men to approach you?"
"That's the thing; I wouldn't want them approaching me at all." Anko said before shaking her head, "Kurenai, I am not afraid of dying alone. My tombstone could literally say 'Here lies Anko, the loneliest bitch in Konoha' and I'd be okay with it. I don't need anyone, and I'm not looking for anything in someone. All I want is a friend I can grab lunch or a drink with every so often."
Kurenai shook her head. Anko always was a stubborn one.
"I hear you, Anko." Although, Kurenai figured she'd give it one last shot, "I just think, if nothing else, you could use someone who could... 'take the edge off' for you, if you catch my drift."
"The only thing that 'takes the edge off' for me is food." Anko refuted flatly, "Besides, I have plenty of things in my dresser that can do that for me. All in different sizes and shapes, too."
Kurenai chuckled and crossed her arms, giving her a sly look, "But you know its not like the real thing."
"Me going solo is much better than the real thing, trust me." Anko scoffed, "Men are disappointing beings in pretty much every aspect, especially in the bedroom."
At this, Kurenai looked off with a slightly dazed expression, "Not when it's the right one..."
Anko leered at Kurenai with crossed arms, doing what she could to not feel even the slightest bit of envy, "As I said, I'm happy for you. I just don't think it's in the stars for me."
Kurenai nodded at her dismissive response, deciding to leave it alone for now. But Kurenai was Anko's friend. And she's gotten to know Anko more than anyone else in Konoha could ever manage to know her. And Kurenai could tell that Anko was slightly envious of her relationship with Asuma because deep down she wanted something like it for herself, even if she didn't want to admit it.
"If you insist, Mitarashi-san." Said Kurenai with a sarcastic tone.
After finishing up at the restaurant, Anko and Kurenai went their own seperate ways, as Kurenai had more plans with Asuma to celebrate Kurenai's pregnancy. Anko, figuring she was out of things to do today, decided it'd be in her best interest to get some training in. It had been a while, and she figured she could always sharpen up on her aim with target practice. Besides, her conversation with Kurenai was beginning to make Anko think too much about... certain matters, and Anko was always determined to stop that from happening as soon as it occured.
Training Grounds Seven was the closest training ground to her, and she decided to use that as her area to train. As she walked into the clearing, she saw two figures standing in the middle. Even at the distance she was from them, she recognized them immediately. How could she not, considering how there was a tall scarecrow looking man with silver hair and a young man with an orange jumpsuit standing there?
Naruto stared at the sliced pieces of paper in each of his hands, "So... that means my chakra is wind nature, right?"
"So it seems." Kakashi nodded, rubbing his chin, "That's actually pretty shocking to see. Most shinobi in Konoha have fire nature chakra. Wind is more of a Suna thing."
Naruto grumbled, "Wind doesn't seem as cool as something like fire or lightning."
"Fire and lightning style jutsu may be a bit more flashy, but each of the elements hold an equal amount of pros and cons, depending on the situation." Lectured Kakashi.
"I guess. So what comes n—?"
"SHIT." Exclaimed Naruto, almost literally jumping out of his pants. Naruto had fallen onto his ass, and clutched at his chest as he leered at the woman who spontaneously poofed into existence behind him, "What the hell?!"
Anko began lightly chuckling, "Your guard was down. What if I was an enemy? I could have slit your throat before you would have even known what was happening."
Kakashi shook his head while Naruto pointed a finger at her, "Yeah, well you're not an enemy, you're a crazy snake lady who just scared the hell out of me! I'm honestly starting to question which one is more dangerous!" He then crossed his arms, "Why is everyone insisting on scaring the crap out of me today?"
"You make it too easy." Anko said, "Whatcha doin'?"
Naruto dusted himself off, "I was training until you made my heart almost fly out of my chest."
"Don't be a drama queen." She scoffed, "And you consider standing here doing nothing as training?"
"We were actually figuring out Naruto's chakra change in nature." Kakashi intervened, "He needs to do so in order to create a new jutsu for himself."
Anko looked at the scarecrow with a raised eyebrow, "He's just now figuring out his chakra change in nature? What have you been teaching him this whole time?"
"Finally. Someone gets it." Naruto grumbled under his breath. Kakashi sweatdropped.
"Anko, what are you doing here? You're interrupting Naruto's training."
"I'm here to train too, Kakashi. This training ground is big enough for us both." She scoffed before looking at Naruto, "And hey, I thought you said you weren't in the mood to train."
"Well, this isn't very intense training. All the stuff that comes after will have to wait until I get my seal situated." Answered Naruto.
"So you both feel that you need an entire training grounds to yourself just to figure out your chakra change in nature?" Anko questioned, "You could have done that at home."
Naruto looked at Kakashi who simply shrugged in response.
Anko shook her head and pushed the two men out of her way, "If you'll excuse me, I actually have some real training to do. Feel free to watch if you have nothing better to do."
A few minutes later, Anko finished up laying down her targets and posts, effectively hiding them in areas that were not immediately obvious or out in the open. She must have placed at least two dozen of them, all in different directions, altitudes, and distances. She stood at least fifty meters away from each target around her in the middle of the clearing, holding two fist-fulls of shuriken between her fingers.
The elite Jounin closed her eyes and took a deep breath. As soon as she exhaled, her eyes opened and she cocked her arm ready to throw a shuriken at her first target that was directly in front of her, approximately fifty-four meters away.
Then right after, she twisted her body to throw one at another target in the opposite direction, sixty-two meters away.
Before Naruto had even realized what he was looking at, loud 'thunk' noises was heard from each of the targets she was hitting, right on the bullseye. She threw the metal weapons in random directions at rapid succession; by the time one target had been hit, another shuriken was already flying to another target in a different direction. And if she were to run out of shuriken in one hand, the other would still be throwing kunai at another target as she grabbed more from her hip pouch. Her bodily maneuvers caused her to spin around gracefully as her arms were almost blurred due to the speed of her movements. Naruto was even beginning to wonder if she was even looking at the targets before throwing them.
As he watched Anko's exercise, he also happened to notice not just her agility, but her flexibility and posture. Watching Anko perform the task was almost like watching an exotic dancer, as her fast but graceful movements was captivating to watch. She made it look easy. And due to the flailing of her large trench coat, Naruto was able to see some parts of her agile body move and 'jiggle' ever so slightly, making him reminisce about how exactly he was feeling when first laid eyes on Anko at the bar the other day.
After a few more seconds, Anko had landed flat on her heels and let out a quick 'Whew!' as no more targets were left. All twenty-seven targets were successfully hit spot on, even if the target's bullseye was blocked by something like a bush or a tree branch.
Naruto gawked in amazement, as he'd never seen such exemplary precision with shuriken. At least not in combination with the speed Anko just exhibited.
"She's good..." Was all Naruto could say. Kakashi chuckled and nodded.
"Yeah, Anko was always known for her aim." Said the Jounin, "I'd even go as far as to say that she has better aim with weapons than I do."
"Really?!" Naruto asked incredulously, "I mean, that was cool and everything, but I've seen you do cooler stuff than that with shuriken!"
Kakashi could only chuckle again, "Oh, this is just a warmup for her."
"A warmup?!" Naruto's jaw was open. He turned his head just in time to see Anko approaching him, ignoring the look on his face. She wasn't even breaking a sweat.
"Hey, you're able to create lots of shadow clones, right?" Anko asked him.
"Uh, yeah? Why?"
"I want moving targets." She said, "So c'mon, whip a few out for me."
"Err, sure." Naruto created his signature hand seal, "How many do you want me to make?"
"About fifty should be fine."
"Fifty?!" Exclaimed Naruto.
Anko rose an eyebrow, "What? Is fifty too much for ya?"
Naruto shook his head, "No, its just that fifty is a lot of clones to use for target practice... Especially if you want them to move."
"Oh." Anko said before grinning sheepishly, "So I take it that you don't know about my little hidden talent, I see. I guess my reputation doesn't proceed me just yet."
Kakashi gestured toward Anko before taking out his little orange book, "Anko here has a proficiency with her use of kunai, shuriken, senbon, pretty much anything throwable. Her accuracy is good enough to rival Itachi's, and despite how he's younger than both of us, he was undoubtedly a prodigy in his time."
"Whoa..." Was all Naruto could say.
Anko smirked, but then tapped her foot impatiently, "Alright, so are you gonna create some clones or not?"
Naruto nodded, "Uh, yeah. Taju Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" He exclaimed before fifty identical copies of him came into existence.
"Good." Said Anko, "Now command them to go into the forest and either try to hide or outrun me. I'll only be using throwables to dispell them."
Naruto nodded and commanded them to do what she said. All fifty clones raced into the forest out of the clearing, all in different directions, "You might be in there for a while." Naruto commented, "That's a lot of clones and a lot of ground to cover."
"I bet five-hundred ryo that I'll get them all in under twenty minutes." Anko challenged, offering her hand to seal the deal. Naruto hesitated due to her confidence, but shook her hand nonetheless.
"Alright, you're on!"
Anko grinned and got in position, "Well then, feel free to start the clock."
Kakashi looked at his watch, "Three, two, one... go."
And with that Anko disappeared into the forest, hunting after Naruto's clones.
Kakashi shook his head, "It's unfortunate that you're about to be out five-hundred Ryo."
"What makes you so sure that I'm going to lose the bet?!" Naruto questioned.
Kakashi simply continued reading his book as he answered Naruto's question, "Anko is a Tokubetsu Jounin for a reason. Yes, she's in the Torture and Interrogation department of our forces, but Anko is also specially suited for tracking and assassination missions. Not only is her aim deadly, but she can track almost as well as an Inuzuka can. She has no special Kekkei Genkai, nor does she belong to any clan. But she's definitely someone that can track down and dispell all of your clones not only in record time, but without missing her targets even once."
Naruto only looked in amazement. He never would have thought Anko had these talents, but had to remind himself that she was not only a Jounin class kunoichi, but a Tokubetsu Jounin.
"Are you saying that she could be stronger than even you, Kakashi-sensei?" He inquired.
Kakashi chuckled, "Well... not to sound full of myself, but I wouldn't say that I'd go that far. She may best me in some areas, and she is undoubtedly a lethal kunoichi, but I'd say she could use some work in a few other areas in order to surpass me."
Naruto said nothing. He was still shocked and impressed with what he's heard and seen from her, and began to wonder how he'd fair if he were to go up against her like she wanted. The thought of it alone made him eager to want to start fighting again... but he had to remind himself that there are things he had to take care of beforehand.
*Seventeen minutes later*
Anko emerged out of the forest with a grin on her face, "I want my money."
Naruto sweatdropped and decided to just honor the rules of the bet, considering how he lost fair and square. He counted each individual time he heard his clones being dispelled in the forest, and undoubtedly counted all fifty of them.
"Told ya." Was Kakashi's small comment, which made Naruto grunt as he reached into his wallet.
Anko approached the boy and swiped the bills from him, stuffing them into the pocket of her trench coat, "Let this be a lesson to you; I don't make bets unless I'm at least ninety-nine point nine percent sure that I'll win." She said with a very proud smirk, "But I will say, your clones were pretty slippery. Some of them actually made me break a sweat hunting them down."
This made Naruto grin as well, "I'm faster than I look."
Anko nodded, "I see that. I can't wait to fight you."
The loudmouthed pair sent each other challenging looks before Kakashi cleared his throat, "Well, I'd best be heading off. Naruto, let me know when you get your seal situated so we can continue with your training. But until then, I'll be seeing you both around."
And with that, Kakashi disappeared from the training grounds, destination unknown as always.
"Hey," Anko called, looking at Naruto, "How you holding up?"
Naruto appreciated her concern, "I'm... doing better."
"Glad to hear it." Anko said genuinely, "I'm actually glad that you're at least doing some kind of training, and still have some fighting spirit. Part of me was sure you'd pussy out of our agreement."
Naruto laughed, "No way! After seeing you training, it just made me wanna fight you even more!"
Anko snickered, "If anything, I thought it'd make you want to fight me less."
"How do you have such good aim, anyway?" Naruto asked, "Kakashi-sensei told me that you don't have any kekkei genkai or anything, so how did you manage to have aim that Kakashi-sensei even said was better than his?"
"You can be the best at anything as long as you practice enough." Stated Anko, "Hey, what has Kakashi been teaching you for the past three years of your life? Why is he just now teaching you about something as basic as chakra change in nature?"
Naruto scratched his head, "Er, not much. He taught me how to walk up trees and some other basic training in the beginning, but most of the things I know now was taught to me by other people."
Anko didn't seem very impressed or happy to hear that, "And just why is that?"
"Well, I did go on a training trip with Jiraiya for a few years, but other than that, he was just busy training Sasuke." Naruto answered.
"The Uchiha..." Anko mumbled before shaking her head, knowing why it was Kakashi dedicated his time to the one who bore the Sharingan, "Of course."
Naruto raised an eyebrow, "What? Is there something I should know?"
Anko shook her head, "Nah. I'm just glad he's taking time to train you now." An idea suddenly popped into her head, making her grin, and thus making Naruto uneasy, "Hey, you want me to give you some lessons on how to better your aim?"
"Sure!" Naruto lit up only for a second, "Wait, there's a catch, right?"
"I wouldn't call it a 'catch' necessarily..." Anko replied a bit too innocently, "I'll teach ya a thing or two if you treat me out to dinner tonight."
"Oh, is that all?" Asked Naruto, "I thought I already agreed to that when you made me breakfast yesterday."
"Nah, that was it's own thing." Anko replied with a big smile.
Naruto deadpanned, "So... what you're telling me is that I'm gonna have to treat you to food twice now?"
"I think it's fair. I gave you food, you give me food. I give you pointers on how to sharpen your aim, you give me food." Anko stated, still smiling, "Hey, I'll even let you consider it a date if you want the street cred of managing to score, not just one, but two dates with a Tokubetsu Jounin."
This derailed Naruto's train of thought for just a second.
"A date?" Naruto asked, "You'd go on a date with me?"
Anko shrugged, "I mean, hey, we've already slept together in our underwear."
Naruto blushed, despite how she wasn't incorrect.
The Jounin saw Naruto getting flustered and shook her head with a small chuckle, "Look, it doesn't have to be a date if its going to weird you out. I was just making a joke out of it more than anything."
Naruto laughed nervously, and it made him wonder why he was being so awkward about it. After all, Naruto wasn't new to the idea of going on a date, even if he'd never been on a legitimate one. Perhaps it was the fact that the proposal was coming from someone who outranked him, and has proven she could assassinate him on more than one occassion. It may be that, or that, as their most recent interactions would prove, he was pretty attracted to her. Anko's sex appeal lied not only in her appearance, but her personality. While she did exhibit behaviors that would intimidate a majority of men, Naruto found himself a bit drawn to it. Not necessarily the fact that she was ready to hurt him at any notice, but that despite how cold she could be when face with something she didn't like, she wasn't a cold person.
The blonde Jinchuuriki had been so wrapped up in his own thoughts, it took Anko snapping her fingers in front of him for him to realize he should probably be giving her an answer.
Naruto gave an overcompensated grin to cover up his slight but obvious embarrassment, "Hah, well, whether it's a date or not, I'd love to have you teach me a few things!"
"Good. I'm craving barbecue tonight." She stated with a grin before grabbing a few shuriken from her pouch, "Alright, so the first thing you'll want to know is that these things never get thrown in a perfectly straight line."