Hello, thar. Meinos Kaen here!
“I guess I'd prefer staying near the village, if possible. I have been far away for three years, after all.” Naruto replied with a nod.
“I understand. The green scroll it is, then.” Tsunade put the blue scroll back into the drawer, closing it right after. He then threw the green one to Naruto, who deftly caught it with one hand. “Here's your mission.”
“Let's see.” Naruto unfolded the scroll...
C-Rank Mission – Condemned Settlement (Team Mission)An old settlement in Konoha's outskirt is to be demolished to make space for a camp for foreign refugees. There's the need of checking and evacuating any abusive settlers and then help with the demolition itself.
"Hmm, sounds easy enough." He settled the scroll on the Hokage's desk, allowing himself a grin. "Also, I'm always up for destroying something."
"A past as a troublemaker, right?" Tsunade sighed, remembering some of Sarutobi's old reports about Naruto's shenanigangs. Not much got destroyed, but the blonde genin seemed to be fond of mayhem. Harmless mayhem, but still mayhem. “You have to meet the rest of your team at the east gate in two hours.”
Naruto spent the two hours before meeting time doing a bit of shopping, since it was probable that the mission would take most of the day. Demolition also included clean up, after all. Once again, Naruto felt immensely lucky for knowing Kage Bunshin. 'I guess that's also the reason why Baa-chan gave me this mission.' As he approached the gate, he laid eyes on familiar faces. One in particular made him slow his step, since he had a close encounter of the emotional kind with her just the previous day. "Hey, guys!"
"Ah? So you're our fourth team member, Naruto?" Kiba exclaimed, Akamaru barking seemingly in approval of his presence.
"Fitting. Muscle." Shinobi commented, nodding in Naruto's direction.
"N-Naruto-kun. Good morning." Hinata stuttered out, a bit flustered as usual. Although, now that he knew why, he had to make an effort not to become flustered himself.
"Well, I guess you're going to be the sweeping team?" Kiba grinned at that.
"Heh, don't underestimate our fire-power, Naruto!" The Inuzuka declared. "Let's go! The place is about half an hour away!" Akamaru and his partner started walking out of the gate, Shino by their side. Hinata fell into step a couple meters behind, joined by Naruto, who suddenly felt very self-conscious about the lavender-haired girl's presence.
"Hmm, so... Everything alright, Hinata?" His question earned a surprised expression from the shy girl. This was probably the first time he had ever tried to make small talk with her.
"Y-Yes. Thanks, Naruto-kun." She let out, catching glimpses of his face with the corner of her right eye. "And you, Naruto-kun?"
"Well, I've had no more incidents of the fainting sort. Didn't want to scare anyone again." He grinned, and Hinata let out a chuckle. 'Huh. I think this is the first time I hear her laugh.' "Thanks again for the last time. Also, what about that dinner?"
"D-Dinner? Ah! Ehm, I still-I mean, I don't... Huuu..." Naruto suppressed a laugh of his own. There was something amusing at seeing a grown girl fidget.
'Well, I guess she couldn’t find the guts to ask me.' "Hmm... Let's think about it this way. When are you free?" The fidgeting spell was broken, substituted by a healthy blush and a partial stiffening of her posture. "What about tomorrow night?"
"T-Tomorrow-Yes!" Remembering how it had ended the last time, Hinata let not the chance pass. Even if the next day she had a family dinner scheduled. Her sudden, energetic burst of enthusiasm as she stopped and spun around so that she was shouting her agreement directly in Naruto's face made him instinctively bend his body backward. Noticing this, Hinata blushed and calmed down, acquiring a normal posture again, head held low. "I-I'm free, Naruto-kun."
"Good!" He was tempted to add 'then it's a date', but he had the feeling that it would cause another fainting spell. They still had a mission to accomplish, after all. "Can I trust you to find a nice place? I'm not that much of an expert on picking places."
She gave a simple nod as a reply. Finally all those hours of fantasizing and planning would become useful. All those days of gathering information about Naruto's tastes, the places he liked to be, the places that liked him to be there-the dislike some people showed towards Naruto hadn't gone unnoticed to the young Hyuga-, who to avoid or to incapacitate-“Hinata!” Naruto's voice broke her out of her daydreaming. “You coming?”
“Ah! Y-Yes, Naruto-kun!” He rolled his eyes at her antics, finding them quite cute now that he knew the reason. Also, his messenger started vibrating.
“Well, this is the place.”
“Old settlement, huh?” 'I think Iruka-sensei talked about things like this a bit in the academy.' Naruto took in the various abandoned buildings, focusing his attention on the big warehouse right at the end of the small village's main road. “Who lived here, anyway?”
“Farmers, mostly. Back when Konoha still had some.” Kiba stretched, pulling on his arms and flexing. “Alright. Let's split up. You all have a map of the village with the assigned area?” His team-mates all held up their copy of the map. “Good. Other guys have already found the weak points and placed red marks all over the place. Put paper-bombs where you see them and we're set.” He patted Akamaru and started heading in the direction of his sector. “Don't take too long. Remember that we have clean up after this!”
“Alright. Seems easy enough.” Naruto observed the map. He had the southwestern part of the city, mostly old residences. 'Ten Kage Bunshin and we're set.'
“Aaaand this is the last one.” Naruto exclaimed with a grin as he plastered the last paper-bomb on the red cross painted on a weak point of the house near the entrance of the settlement. He had left that one for last on purpose. As the last of his Kage Bunshin dispelled and he absorbed its memories, the count of the decorated weak points rose to twenty. The amount detailed on the map. “Ok. I'm all done as well.”
“Finally, Naruto. And here I thought you'd be the first one to finish.” Kiba mocked, and Naruto rolled his eyes.
“Well, it would have helped if someone put the locations of the paint-marks on the map. I can't smell paint like you do, mutt.” The two grinned at each other, a silent promise of payback on payback exchanged. “Well, are we ready to detonate?”
“Hmm... Guys?” Shino nodded in reply to Kiba's inquiry, while Hinata kept her silence, focused on something only she could see. “Hinata? Hinata!”
“A-Ah! Y-Yes, Kiba-kun?” Kiba groaned. He should have seen that coming, on a mission with Naruto.
The blonde shinobi instead laughed nervously at Hinata's absentmindedness, probably caused by their earlier agreement. Then, something hit him. Just how long had she been absentminded? 'Should I propose a second look-over? She may get offended, though...'
Meinos Kaen out!