LunaescenceLunaescence
 
"Blinded" by PurpleElephants


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Oh-kay, it's up! I know it's kinda long, but I hope it's enjoyable either way~!

“Team 7: Uzumaki Naruto, Haruna Sakura,” The orange clad ninja pumped his arms up. “Uchiha Sasuke…” Naruto’s arms fell, and were replaced by Sakura’s. “And Seiyuu Kei.”

“Who?” Almost everyone in the class spoke as one. Iruka pinched the bridge between his nose and continued, too busy to bother explaining. “Team 8 is…”

“Hey, hey, Sakura!” Naruto whispered, not even bothering to notice Iruka’s twitching brow. “What is it, Naruto?” Sakura spit his name out. He flinched, but continued. “Who’s this Kei girl?” Sakura’s glare faltered, and she shrugged. “Heck if I know.” Cha! That’s like, the ONLY thing I don’t know!

“Do you know, Sasuke-kun~?”

“Hn.” Sakura blinked, but nodded enthusiastically anyway.

“Alright. Now that you know your teams, there’s no more ninja school. I recommend having lunch with one another to get to know each other. After all, you’re going to be together for a while.” All of the other kids started filing out, but Naruto turned right to Sakura and asked straight out, “Um… Sakura, would you like to have lunch with me?”

“Like hell I would!” She then turned herself to Sasuke, who answered “No.” before she even asked. Sakura pouted, and looked around. “So where’s that new kid? Seiyuu Kei?” Naruto shrugged. Looking to Sasuke, they found he had also left, but out of the window. Naruto held up a fist. “That guy…” But Sakura had hearts around her head. “He’s so drea~my.”

Sasuke walked down the path, hands in pockets, head cast downwards. Hearing the leaves rustling, he tried to ignore any stalking fan girls. When they seemed to back off a little, he made a run for it- but of course they didn’t see anything. Just a shimmer in the air, and he was gone.

Making his way around another trail home, he heard the leaves rustle again, but not by the wind. Turning with a kunai out, he spotted a girl, sleeping in the branches.

Waking up slightly, she opened her eyes, and Sasuke stifled a gasp. The only eyes he’s ever seen like those were Hinata Hyuuga’s, and that was due to her Kekei Genkai. Did this girl have some sort of relationship with the Hyuuga’s, or was it her own special technique?

“Who are you?” Sasuke called, and the girl’s pupil-less eyes turned to him, sending a shiver down his spine. “Who are you?” She asked, raising an eyebrow. He smirked. “I believe I asked you first.” She sighed, and jumped down. “Is it really such courtesy to be so rude towards teammates?” Sasuke didn’t answer, so she sighed again. “I’m known as Seiyuu Kei. May I please be graced with thy’s name now?” Sasuke frowned.

“Uchiha Sasuke.” Kei smirked and bowed deeply. “It is a pleasure to be in thy’s divine presence, Prince Sasuke.” His frown deepened- he couldn’t tell if she was serious or sarcastic. Walking straight pass him, she whispered, “It’ll be a privilege to be able to work with you.” Sasuke scoffed. He now saw the sarcasm dripping off her words.

“See you tomorrow.”

“Well it’s not my fault… When’s that damn teacher gonna be here any ways?!” Grabbing an eraser, Naruto started closing the door, locking the eraser in the top, so that it would fall down when someone opened the door. “Heh, heh, heh…”

“Naruto! Don’t think that someone like a Jounin would fall for a stupid trick like that!” CHA! He better get here quick, or I’m gonna beat the hell out of him!

“Hn.”

“Shuddup! Here he comes!” The door opened slowly, and a head peeked through. The chalk eraser fell and plopped him on the head. Everyone was silent for a moment, before Naruto burst into uproarious laughter.

“I tried to stop him, sensei, honest!” CHA! Hahaha, that was awesome! I can’t believe that got him! Sasuke sighed into his hands. This was their Jounin?

The man, who had the majority of his face covered by a mask, and his left eye covered by his headband, looked lazily at the four of them, only just noticing the pretending-to-be-asleep girl in the back row. “Hmmm… my first impression of you all… I hate you.” Naruto and Sakura sighed, and Sasuke looked passive. In the back, Kei was smirking slightly.

“Alright. Let’s start off with some simple stuff. Your name, you goal, hobbies, like, and dislikes. Or something like that.”

“Hey, hey, why don’t you go first yourself?” Naruto whined. They were all seated by each other, going from right to left, Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke, and Kei. Their sensei, known as Hatake Kakashi, was leaning against the metal bar.

Pointing to himself, Kakashi spoke lazily. “Me? I’m Hatake Kakashi. I have no intention of telling you my likes and dislikes. As for my dream… I have a few hobbies.” He paused, and Naruto and Sakura glowered at him. Turning to Naruto, Sakura whispered, “So now, all we know is his name. Still.”

“Now it’s your turn. You, Blondie, you’re up first.”

“I’m Uzumaki Naruto. I like cup ramen, but I like the ramen at Ichiraku’s best! I hate the three minutes I have to wait after I put in the hot water. My hobby is to eat and compare cup ramen! And my dream is to become greater than any of the Hokage’s!” Kakashi perked up at this. “I’m going to make the villagers recognize my existence.”

I see. He grew up in an interesting way… “Okay, next, pinkie.”

“I’m Haruna Sakura! I like… well, the person I like is…” She glanced Sasuke’s way. “And my hobby is… Well, my dream is…” She looked Sasuke’s way again, squealing.

“And? What do you hate?”

Malice filled her voice, making Kei snort. “Naruto.”

Kakashi sighed. “You, next. Duck-butt.” Kei snorted again, and Sakura called out to their sensei, who only shrugged in response. Sasuke sighed, his brow twitching, and talked through his hands. “My name is Uchiha Sasuke. There are many things that I hate, and a few things that I do like….” Sakura’s smile faltered. “Also, I have an intention that I have no intent to leave as just a dream… The revival of my clan, and to kill… a certain man.” They all stared at him, the mood completely stomped upon, Naruto’s and Sakura’s breathing becoming a bit shorter.

“Umm… Awkward Turtle?” Kei placed one hand on top of the other and started spinning her thumbs forward. Naruto looked her way and burst out laughing, while Sakura huffed. Sasuke didn’t say anything, and Kakashi’s knowing eye traveled to her. “You, last girl.”

“Seiyuu Kei.” She nodded. Naruto and Sakura tripped, yes, sitting down, and Kakashi chortled. “Your likes and dislikes?”

“Oh. Yeah. I have them.” They tripped again. “Dreams?”

“Every night.” Naruto stood and pointed a finger at her. “That’s cheating! We all had to give out some information, so it’s only fair that you do too!” Looking right past his finger and into his face, something sparked in Kakashi’s mind. Is she…?!

“Fine, fine! I’ll tell a bit. I like training. I dislike rude, lying people. There, happy?”

“Your dream?”

“I’d rather not say. You’ll just have to find out, just like the rest of the world.” Kei stood up. “Kakashi-sensei? Anything else before we leave?” Nodding, he said, “Alright. We have survival training tomorrow at 5.00 AM sharp. Oh, and don’t eat breakfast, or you’ll barf.”

“Survival training? But we passed that during ninja academy!”

“This is no ordinary training.”

“Then… What kind of training is it?” Naruto asked accusingly. Kakashi chuckled lightly. “Well, if I say this, I’m sure the four of you will be surprised.”

“Huh?”

“Out of the 27 graduates, only 9 will become genin. The other 18 will be sent back to the academy. In other words, this will be a very hard test with a 66% drop-out rate.” Naruto and Sakura looked slightly brain dead, while Sasuke looked passive, and Kei was looking up at the sky.

“See? You four are surprised!”

“No way! I went through all that trouble… then what was the final exam for?!”

“Oh, that?” Kakashi snorted lightly. “That was just to pick out those who could qualify as genin.”

“WHAAAT?!”

“Anyways, I’m the one who will determine whether you pass or fail tomorrow at the training ground. So, make sure to bring your ninja equipment!”

They all shook slightly, thinking of their own possibly demise.

I’m not going to get dropped by a thing like this…I have to make him recognize my abilities for real!

If I fail this, I’m going to be separated from Sasuke-kun! This… is a trial… for LOVE!

Should I not have eaten so much chocolate from earlier? I’m getting a slight sugar rush…

“Alright, then. Dismissed. Oh yeah, don’t forget not to eat anything.” They all stood up, and Kei’s shoe made a slight squeaking noise from the sudden pressure. She walked straight forward, when her shoe made another squeaking noise, and she jumped, one foot onto the railing, before walking straight off.

“The hell?!” Naruto and Sakura ran to the edge, where the grabbed the railing and looked over. Instead of seeing a scrambled Kei, she was a few yards ahead, walking leisurely ahead. “How’d she…?” Sakura and Naruto continued to gape, while Sasuke hid his curiosity. Kakashi just shook his head, chuckling.

“Kei~!” The small kitten squealed. “You made a scene again!”

“Did I?” Kei chuckled, continuing to walk with her hands in her pockets. The small, fluffed up grey kitten peeked up from his place in her bandana. “Yeah! The other two guys, Naruto and Sakura, were freaking out! And that Sasuke kid, he was curious too. I could smell it!”

“Suuta, calm down.” She whispered. He ducked back down silently, sniffing the air. “I’m fine.” He looked back up at her, but Kei didn’t return his gaze.

“I never ask this…” He asked in his small voice, “But… does it hurt…?”

“…No. It’s just… total darkness.” He shivered slightly, and looked around, his eyes catching the sharp colors and shadows that no normal human could see. He spotted a few people coming down the alley and waited for Kei to move before popping his small head out from his hiding place. He purred slightly as the cool air hit, and Kei smirked.

“C’mon, Suuta. Let’s go home.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The three genin approached the training ground at approximately the same time. “G’morning…” Sakura rubbed her eyes, while Naruto, still half asleep, approached with his arm outstretched, like there was something to lean on just out of grasp. Sasuke, as always, approached stoically.

“W-…where’s Kei?” Sakura looked around half-heartedly, and Naruto opened his eyes slightly to see. A few minutes later, Kei came up the road, stopping a few feet in front of them. “Kei?” Without another word, she plopped down in a small heap and slept. Naruto and Sakura sweat dropped. “Was she even awake in the first place?”

A few hours later *snigger*~~

Naruto and Sakura were sitting on the ground, half asleep. Kei never moved from her bundled heap on the ground, barely making a sound, and Sasuke was too cool to stop standing. The joy of friendships.

“…He’s here.” They all slightly looked at Kei, who they thought was asleep. She didn’t even move. “Was that even her?” Sakura muttered.

“Hi fellows. Good morning~!”

“YOU’RE LATE!”

“Well, a black cat crossed my path…” Kakashi waved his hand in the air, coughed lightly, and continued on. The four genin were now all on their feet, Kei looking the liveliest. Sasuke gave her a sidelong look. Was she actually up the whole time? “Let’s move on.” Walking over to a tree stump with an alarm clock on it, Kakashi placed his hand on top of it. “It’s set to alarm at twelve PM.” Pushing down on the clock, it started ticking softly.

“What’s that in your hand, Kakashi-sensei?” Kei asked quietly.

“There isn’t anything in his-oh.” Sakura died off as Kakashi dangled the bells in front of him.

“The whole point of the exercise is to retrieve one of the bells from me.” He jingled them together to make his point. “Whoever can’t, well, they won’t have lunch.”

“What?!”

“I’m going to tie you up and sit there and eat it in front of you.” There were three tree stumps with rope on top, waiting, almost calling out, to tie someone up. Naruto gulped, and the other three made faces. “So that’s why he said…” They silently whispered as their stomachs growled.

“But wait!” Sakura stood up straight, thoroughly confused. “Why are there only three bells?” Kakashi chortled lightly.

“Well, I guess one of you will be tied to a stump, then.” Naruto and Sakura gaped. “Then of course, that person will fail because they failed to complete the mission. That person,” He jangled the bells tauntingly, “will go back to the academy.” All four gave him sharp looks. “It might be one, or, who knows, all four of you. Oh, you can use your shurikan and such. You won’t be able to get these unless you come at me with the intent to kill.”

“B-But, that’s too dangerous, sensei!”

“Ha-ha, yeah, you couldn’t even dodge that chalk eraser!” Naruto threw his hands behind his head, trying to stay calm. Sasuke stood with his arms crossed, glaring Kakashi down. Kei leaned with her weight on one foot, and hand on her waist. This was going to be a pain…

“In society,” Kakashi started again, “those without many abilities tend to complain more.” He turned to Sasuke, Sakura and Kei, and smiled jokingly. “Just ignore the one with the lowest scores.” Naruto let down his arms and glared at Kakashi as well.

“Alright! We’re going to start when I say ’Ready, start!’” Without even waiting, Naruto drew his kunai and attacked Kakashi. The next thing everyone knew, Kakashi held Naruto’s hand with the kunai to the back of his own head. The blonde idiot growled, and looked down to see he hadn’t taken more than two steps. Sasuke and Sakura had thrown away their relaxed postures and stood tensed, while Kei stared right past them. “Don’t get so hasty.” Naruto tensed a little. “I didn’t even say start yet.”

Sasuke and Sakura backed off a little, and Kakashi released Naruto, who stumbled forward a bit. Kei didn’t move. “But~, it looks like you have the will to kill me now. We’re going to start now.” All four tensed. “Ready…” They all crouched down lightly. “Start!”

“Kei~! Are we gonna summon anyone?”

“Suuta, hush!” Placing her hand over the spot where the small Snow Leopard kitten was hiding, his muffled words came out softer. “No, I’m not going to summon anyone. You’re enough for now.” He nodded, and watched as Kakashi surveyed the ground and area around.

“Kei?” Suuta hesitated. “Do you want me to help you? Or…”

“I need you to give me basic direction. He’s a Jounin, and can probably hide his presence. I’ll just use the others to find him first, then we’ll try to tag-team with them.” Suuta nodded his small head vigorously, shaking the bandana around her neck somewhat. Grabbing him, she tried to calm him down. It’s been a while since we’ve really fought, huh…?

“LET’S HAVE A MATCH FAIR AND SQUARE!” Kei practically fell off of her branch when she heard Naruto scream that. Shaking her head, she felt Suuta shake with excitement.

“Let’s see what he can do, eh, Suuta?”

“Hey, aren’t you a little weird compared to the rest?”

“What’s weird is your hair style!” Naruto yelled and rushed forward, but only to stop as Kakashi reached into his pouch. “Ninja tactic know-how number one, taijutsu. I think I’ll teach you that, first.” He continued to pull whatever it was out of his pouch to reveal…. A book. Icha Icha Paradise, as it’s most well known. Naruto, being the newbie his is, gasped and planted a stupid- yes, stupider- than usual look on his face.

“Well? Aren’t you going to come and get me?”

“But, but, um, why did you take out that book?!”

“Why? I got curious how it would develop and end. Oh, but don‘t worry. It‘s the same whether I do this or not.” Kakashi shrugged, and glued his eyes to his book, not a matter in the world that could stop him. Except, perhaps, a few attacks on the village… The possible deaths of loved ones… His own probable death… yes, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?

Making a fist, Naruto ran forward, screaming loudly as he went, “I’m going to pound you!” Sprinting forward, he threw a fist… and was caught by Kakashi. What?! Roundhouse kick! [1] That too was caught by Kakashi. “What?! Take this!” Throwing one last fist, Naruto stopped mid-throw. “What?” Kakashi… was gone.

“A ninja should not let the enemy get behind him multiple times. Idiot.”

In the trees above, Suuta whispered urgently into Kei’s ear, “That’s a tiger seal he has going on! That kid could really die!”

“RUN, Naruto! You’re gonna die!” Sakura revealed where she had been hiding to scream this at Naruto, who stared simply back at her.

“You’re too late!” Eye flashing, Kakashi brought his fingers up, yelling, “Hidden Village of Konoha’s secret taijutsu master art…!” His fingers… then led to a very disturbing face. Naruto’s face mirrored the experience. “A Thousand Years of Pain!”

“YEEOOWW!”

“…It wasn’t a ninjutsu…” Sakura mumbled.

“The two idiots…” Sasuke tried to regain his cool composure, eye twitching.

“You mean… he didn’t die?” Kei mumbled, looking a bit troubled.

“You sadist…” Suuta sweat dropped.

Naruto landed with a loud splash into the river, and Kakashi resumed back to his book. Reading, Sasuke and Sakura thought for a fleeting second as shurikan flew out of the river that Kakashi wasn’t prepared for the onslaught. Contraire to their thoughts, he caught them on two fingers. “What’s wrong? You won’t get any lunch like this if you don’t get a bell by noon.”

“I already know!”

“You say that you’re going to surpass any of the Hokage’s, but your actions prove otherwise.”

“..Damn it, damn it! I can still fight, even if I am hungry!” Everyone deadpanned, noticing their grumbling stomachs. In the branches, Suuta sniggered before being muffled, a little more violently than necessary, by Kei.

“I-I was just off-guard a little while ago!” Naruto screamed at Kakashi as he walked away, seemingly uninterested. “Damn… I’m hungry so my powers… but… I have to get a bell no matter what!” He gripped the dirt. “I can’t… I can’t lose in a place like this!” Naruto stood up. “I’ll become a ninja!” Clones jumped from out of the river and joined him on the bank, rushing Kakashi. Screaming about this being his best technique, Suuta turned to Kei and spoke a little louder then normal, “It’s show time, Kei!”

“Right!”

Kakashi, who seemed too interested in his own thoughts about Naruto’s real shadow clones, didn’t even notice her until last second. She jumped out of the trees and aimed a kick at Kakashi’s head. Suuta, whispering urgently into her ear, remained hidden, trying to stay as a hidden advantage. Kakashi dodged, barely, and was pushed straight into Naruto’s clones. “You take then down, Naruto!”

“Right!”

Naruto’s still Naruto… he can’t take me down with that technique… Trying to ignore Kei, who almost landed a hit, he focused on Naruto… and felt a grip under his arms. “What? From behind?!”

“A ninja shouldn’t let the enemy get behind him, right, Kakashi-sensei?” Kakashi just stared in shock for a second, before turning to see the other clones latching onto him so that he couldn’t move. He wouldn’t have gotten me if Kei hadn’t-!

“I’m going to pay you back for that attack on my butt!” Naruto dramatically threw back his fist, then rewound and threw it forward… back into… his own face?

“…what?” The Naruto’s started fighting, while Kei had already run back to hide.

“How… the hell did he mess that one up? I gave him Kakashi!” Kei frowned, and tried to sense Kakashi.

“He must have transformed into one of Naruto’s clones to disguise himself. And, Naruto being Naruto… didn’t catch it…”

“A BELL?!”

“What?! What is it, Suuta?” Suuta leaned forward a bit out of the bandana and his small eyes widened before becoming half-lidded.

“Don’t go for it…”

“Ahhhh!”

“Heeee went for it.”

“Suuta.” Kei growled, and trying to find Kakashi, she started to move through the branches silently. “There was a trap. One of those old ones, where you step in and are pulled up by your feet. As much as this comes as a surprise, Naruto got caught by one.”

“Right… Got him!” Quickly hiding behind a tree, Kei waited for her chance.

“-and, don’t fall for a trap, stupid.” Kei listened on, and heard a few leaves rustle up ahead. “It’s Sasuke, Kei. He’s readying for an attack.” She nodded, and kept her head straight forward, avoiding being seen or sensed. The leaves rustled again, and kunai and shurikan flew out to greet Kakashi warmly with a sock on the arm… and a few other places.

“Oh gosh! He got hit! Sasuke, you overdid it, you idiot!” Kakashi fell towards the ground, but before he could hit, he poofed to reveal a log. [2] Sasuke, wasting no time, started through the trees and brushed right past Kei, not even noticing, too lost in his own thought. Looking down, Kei saw Sakura dashing through the trees after Sasuke. Sighing, she turned back to Naruto, who was still dangling by his feet. Suuta whispered in her ear again, and she took off, landing on the branch above Naruto.

“Please don’t hurt me- Kei?”

“No, the boogeyman.”

“What are you- ah!” The rope, almost sliced, was half connected, half not. “I’m not going to make it easy for you. I want a bell too. But it’s not any fair to leave you out like this.”

“Hey, thanks-”

“It would’ve taken another year for you to have gotten loose anyways.”

“Hey, you, wait, I’ll get you-!” But Kei had already taken back off in search of the others. Crossing his arms, Naruto felt the half-sliced rope give a little under his weight. “Leaving me here like this…”

“AHHHH!”

“Sakura?”

“Mmhmm. Kakashi probably found her.” Suuta sniffed the air a bit before calling Kei to stop. “Kei? Is it really such a big deal if I come out and help? You’d do much better-”

“Suuta, there’s no reason for it, and it’s not like I want to go prancing around like I am!”

“But, we would work so great together! I mean, you use the other’s help without really helping them, wouldn’t it be better if we all worked together? We’d get the bells quicker!” Suuta’s whiney voice rang up to Kei, helping her plans to get a bell for themselves. Suddenly, the wheels started turning.

“Working together…Suuta! Wait a second… That’s it!”

“What’s it?” Kunais clanged, and Kei jumped out of the branches, Kakashi not far behind her. Standing poised to attack with her kunai in hand, Kakashi stood relaxed with his book in his hand. But, suddenly, it didn’t seem all that interesting.

“So… What’s it?” Not bothering to answer, Kei instead turned and flung her kunai at a tree. “Yo! Sasuke! Get down here and help me!” No one answered. In the tree, Sasuke was staring at the kunai that could’ve impaled him. She’d just bring me down…

“…Then don’t answer, idiot. You wont get a bell if you’re on your ow-Mmph! Suuta!”

Kei!

“Who… rather, what is this?” Suuta swiped at Kakashi’s hand with no avail. Kei’s eyes were darting everywhere, but she didn’t move any other muscle. “Want to tell me?” Kakashi, who had moved suddenly, had rushed forward and snatched Suuta right out of his place in Kei’s bandana. He continued to swipe and try to bite at his hand, but the skin on his neck lowered him down a good few inches, leaving his mighty paws and teeth to snatch nothing.

“Kei! In front of you!” Turning to face Kakashi, she tensed for a second before running forward. Kakashi side-stepped, and Kei stopped, head swinging left and right before turning to Kakashi, who waved his other hand in front of her face briefly. “I see…” Suuta yowled, and Kei ran forward again. Kakashi, hiding his presence, jumped back even more. Sasuke, who was in the tree, looked confusingly onto the scene. What’s wrong with her…?

“You’re blind.” Kei stopped dead in her tracks and turned her head over towards Kakashi. “Yes,” she spat. “I’m blind. Now may I please have Suuta back?”

“Suuta? This little kitten?” He held him up to his face, where Suuta was growling. Kakashi stared him down with a half-lidded expression, and Suuta followed in suit. Finally, all hell seemed to break loose… as Kakashi rubbed his face against Suuta’s fur. “He’s… so… SOFT!”

“T-the hell?!” He meowed in protest, and clawed Kakashi’s face. Dropping him, Suuta made a mad dash for Kei, who picked him up and placed him back onto her bandana. Kakashi, now with razor claw marks going down his cheek and into his mask, almost resembling Naruto’s, gave the two a deadpanned look.

“So that’s why you were helping Naruto… not to help, but to benefit yourself…” Kei nodded stiffly and grabbed another kunai. “But now I know-”

“Know what?” Kakashi held a kunai under her chin, but Kei suddenly disappeared. Replacement?!

“Doton: Falling Wall Jutsu!” Two slabs of earth rose from the ground on either side of Kakashi. He stared wide-eyed at them until they began to fall. Using his superior speed, he dodged the falling and collapsing slabs of earth and landed on the other side. Immediately, Kakashi tried to retaliate. Genin…shouldn’t have enough chakra for ninjutsu! Rushing at her with kunai, the two jumped in and out of the clearing, Suuta’s calls of Kakashi’s position the only voice heard.

“Kei! Behind you!”

“What?!” Kakashi, creating a clone of his own, grabbed Kei. The real Kakashi rushed forward, but Suuta held him off. He leaped from her shoulder and into the fake Kakashi’s face, destroying the clone and setting Kei free, but not without a scratch. The kunai slit a small scratch on her arm, and Kei growled. “It seems… I have to get serious…”

Becoming relaxed for all of a second, Kei called out again, “Oy! Duck-butt! Help me out here! The only way we can get bells is to work together- ah!”

“Work together? How will you get your own bell then?” Kei glared up at Kakashi, and he couldn’t help but shiver. Her eyes went right through him. “Now,” he bent down and patted her head. Kei tried to bite him, but he pulled his hand back. She was sitting on a large branch, tied to it with nylon rope. Suuta was dangling beside her. “Sit here until lunch. I doubt you’ll be getting out soon.” Kakashi was gone the next second, and the ropes were cut clean through the next second.

“Forgot the kunai… is he getting clumsy?”

“It’s possible. Or, maybe he wanted you to escape?”

“…” Kei cut Suuta down, and took off in the direction of Kakashi.

“AHHHHH NOW IT’S A SEVERED HEAD!!!!”

“Sakura… again?”

“No, it was a bird, Suuta.” He growled, and directed her forward. Eventually coming upon the clearing, Suuta almost burst out laughing. “What? What is it?”

“S-…S-…Sasuke is buried u-underneath the g-ground! Hahaha, and S-Sakura fainted a-after seeing him!” Suuta was laughing uproariously, and Kei was laughing by now too. Sasuke just growled and tried to dig himself out. Shaking her head, Kei jumped down to help him out.

Once he was free, he leaned over Sakura and shook her, trying to get her to wake. She gradually opened her eyes, blinking in the sunlight. “S-Sasuke-kun?!” She rapidly sat up and gripped him in a tight hug, yelling out, “You’re alright!”

“Don’t get so close! Get off of me!” He pushed her off, and glared at Kei, who was sniggering at the scene. “There’s little time to get a bell before noon. I’m going.” His glare deepened at Kei when he remembered that she couldn’t see his anger, and just stared right past him. “You shouldn’t even be here. You’re blind.”

“What? Who’s blind? And what’s that cat doing on your shoulder, Kei?” Suuta grumbled at Sakura, who flinched, and Kei didn’t move her un-gazing stare from Sasuke.

“I can assure you that my current status is no liability to myself or others. You, on the other hand, are an air-headed prick who needs to get his priorities in check.” Kei snarled, and if looks could kill, Kei would be sixty feet under from Sasuke’s scowl. “Besides, you’ll never get a bell on your own. It’s simply impossible. We need to work together.” Sasuke scoffed and replied with “Of course I can,” and Sakura apparently didn’t even hear her.

“Wait, Kei, you’re blind?!” She waved a hand in front of her vision and gasped when she received no other reaction than Suuta threatening to bite her. Kei turned her sightless gaze to Sasuke and scoffed.

“Well then, great Sasuke, shouldn’t you be getting a bell all of your own around now?” Tilting her head to a side, Kei had a dangerous smirk on.

“Wait, Sasuke-kun, are you really still after the bell?” Sasuke turned around and took a few steps forward.

“I was able to touch one a while ago. I’m sure I can get it next time.”

“’Cause he’s just awesome like that.” Sasuke looked back and scowled at Kei.

“Oh, are you really?” Sakura shot a wasted glance back at Kei. “You’re amazing, Sasuke-kun.” SHOOT! I cant get a bell of my own from that teacher! A-At this rate, I’m going to be separated from my precious Sasuke-kun! “U-um, you know, since we have some time, why don’t we try harder next time and give up for now?” That was a bad move on Sakura’s part. Sasuke turned his glare to Sakura, who flinched at the look.

“Only… I can kill that man…”

“I doubt it…” Kei sniggered to herself and Suuta. Either Sasuke didn’t hear them, or pretended not to.

“I was…crying at the time. My…”

“Crying? What? What are you talking about?” The air felt even tenser than before, and Kei and Suuta had stopped sniggering.

“I’m an avenger. I must become stronger than he is.” Sasuke scoffed. “I don’t have time to stumble around here.”

BRIIIIIING.

“Damn it. I wasted too much time talking…” Sasuke muttered before walking off towards the tree stumps. Sakura stared off at him, and looked back hesitantly at Kei. She wasn’t even listening, and almost did a face plant at Suuta’s words.

“Should we trip him?”

Stomachs have never made such unearthly sounds. All four students were sitting by the stumps. Well, three, technically, for Naruto was tied to the middle. Sakura and Kei were on his left, and Sasuke on his right. Kakashi stood in front of them like a scolding parent, arms crossed and a look in his eye that spelled ‘you’re dead.’

“Ah, stomach growling, are they?” He paused. “Oh, and about your results for the test…” Kakashi held everyone’s attention. “None of you need to go back to the Ninja Academy.” Naruto gasped in happiness, and Sakura looked slightly confused. Even though I only fainted…? Sasuke smirked, but Kei held a straight face. Something was coming, she knew it.

“So, so, that means we become ninja?! That’s freaking awesome!” Naruto kicked his legs up from his tied up state on the log, and Sakura jumped up and down in joy. Kakashi smiled himself, and the air seemed less heavy all of a sudden.

“Yes. Instead, you four… should quit being ninjas.” The cheering stopped, and the air grew dense and heavy. “Quit being ninjas?! What the hell do you mean?!” Naruto shouted, enraged. Kei grinded her teeth together, and Sasuke glared like never before. Sakura stood motionless, shocked. “We may not have gotten a bell,” The blonde continued, “but why should we quit being ninjas?!”

“It’s because you four are just kids who don’t even deserve to be ninjas.” Kakashi’s smile was long gone, and his hands were on his hips in a relaxed position. Sasuke jumped and rushed him, pulling out a kunai.

“Idiot!” Making quick hand signs, Kei made the ground in front of Sasuke push up, tripping him (making Suuta snicker silently to himself) and making Sasuke land on the dirt, where Kakashi took hold of him before Kei could pull him back.

“Sasuke-kun!”

“See? You all are just kids.” Sakura freaked at anyone laying a hand on her ‘Sasuke-kun,’ and Naruto was still growling at Kakashi. Kei’s face was motionless, and Suuta was pawing nervously in her bandana. “Do you all think being a ninja is easy? Why do you think we’re training by breaking up into groups?” They started to question him, but Kakashi silenced them with a single glance. “In other words, you four don’t understand the meaning of this test.” Sasuke grunted under Kakashi’s foot.

“The answer?” Naruto asked dumbly.

“That’s right. The answer to whether you pass or fail.”

“W-We’ve been asking what that is…”

“Geez, are all of your brains empty? You don’t understand why you’re all in groups?” He turned to Kei, and his expression softened. “At least someone came close.” Sakura and Naruto turned to look at Kei, who didn’t even blink. Suuta yowled softly, uncomfortable. Sasuke, being the proud person that he was, looked the opposite way.

“Wait, what do you mean? What about people being in a group? Who came close? I don’t understand!” Three guess who yelled that at the top of their lungs.

Kakashi sighed. “Teamwork.” The three other nin looked shocked. “Y-You mean, cooperate with each other?”

“That’s what it means, pinkie.” Sakura shot a glance at Kei, who hadn’t moved her gaze from Kakashi’s direction.

“That’s right, and it’s too late, even if you realize it now.” His look hardened. “If all four of you had come at me at once, you might’ve gotten the bells.” Sakura looked surprised. “That’s what Kei…”

“Yes. And you all ignored her. But it’s too late now.”

“B-… but wait, why do we need to use teamwork when there’s only three bells? If all four people work hard to get the bells, then someone’s going to have to bite the bullet. The a group conflict will occur instead of teamwork!”

“Of course. That is the purpose of the test, to put you four against each other.”

“What?!”

“In this test we select those who can prioritize teamwork above themselves. That as the purpose, but all of you were pathetic. Sakura!” She gasped. “You cared more about Sasuke then you did Naruto, even though Naruto was right in front of you and you didn’t know where Sasuke was. Naruto! All you did was work on your own. Kei! Although you actually figured out the purpose of the training, you kept valuable information from the rest of the group that when in a real mission, could prove fatal. And you, Sasuke. You assumed that those three were only going to burden you and did everything by yourself. All of you, especially you, Sasuke, ignored Kei when she said that you needed teamwork to succeed.” Kakashi pushed a little harder with his foot before releasing most of the tension.

“Missions are done in groups. It’s true that ninja need well-developed individual skills of their own, but it’s teamwork that’s much more important. An individual action that disrupts the teamwork can result in danger or even death for a teammate. For example,” Kakashi reached into his pouch and swiftly drew a kunai and held it at Sasuke’s throat. He lifted his head up a bit to avoid the pointing tip, but Kakashi left no openings. “Sakura! Kill Naruto and bring Kei to me as a prisoner of war, or Sasuke dies!”

Naruto and Sakura gasped, while Kei grunted. Naruto looked back and forth between Kakashi and Sakura, worried that she just might kill him for Sasuke. “That,” Kakashi pulled the kunai away from Sasuke’s throat. “Is what may happen if someone is caught. After getting someone taken as hostage, you will be faced with a difficult decision, and someone will die.” Flipping the kunai, he showed off the sharp tip to the other two, but Kei stared straight ahead. Suuta was, by this point, agitated enough and climbed out of her hood to sit in her lap, paws laying on her legs and tail swishing anxiously back and forth. “You see,” Kakashi started as he stepped off Sasuke, “in every mission, you put your life on the line. Look at this.” He walked over to a large, blue stone with many names carved all over into it.

“There are numerous names carved into it, as you can see.” The silver haired ninja’s voice grew softer, and they all looked towards him with somber faces. “All of these names are praised heroes in this village.” Naruto’s face brightened, while Sasuke’s darkened. Suuta climbed back up and started to whisper to Kei again.

“Hey, that sounds good!” Naruto stated. “I’ve decided…. that I’m going to have my name carved into that stone! A hero, a hero! I‘m not going to die a useless death.”

“Then let’s hope that it’ll be a while then, eh, Naruto? Or have you grown tired of the living?” Kei asked solemnly.

“What?” Sasuke then decided to get up and joint them by the tree stump. Kakashi gave the four a sidelong look.

“These aren’t normal heroes, you know.”

“Oooh, really? What type of heroes are they?!” Kakashi turned back to the stone and didn’t answer. “Come on, come on-”

“Those who were K.I.A.”

“…Huh?”

“Naruto… that stands for those who were ‘killed in action.’” Sakura said quietly. Naruto’s grin dissipated, and he tried to look around the log to Kakashi, who was still staring at the stone.

“This is called a cenotaph. The names of my friends are carved in here, as well.” Kakashi didn’t move. All four students looked gravely over to him, sadness glazed in their eyes. Suddenly, something seemed to propel Kakashi to say his next words. “I’ll…give you all one more chance. However, the battle for the bell will be much harsher after lunch. Eat lunch only if you are up to the challenge. But!” The four stopped looking relieved for a second. “You cannot let Naruto eat. Naruto, this is the punishment for breaking the rules and trying to eat lunch early. If anyone feeds him, they will immediately fail. Remember, I’m the rule here.” Kakashi glared at them all before poofing away. Naruto looked to be in shock, and the other three picked up their bento. Naruto’s stomach growled pityingly, and he moaned.

“I-I’m okay even if I don’t eat-ah!” His stomach growled again, and Naruto cast a look downwards in defeat. He then looked back up to declare something else stupid, but was silenced by the rice ball shoved in his mouth by Suuta.

“Eat, idiot. Or you wont be able to help.” Kei mumbled, and Suuta, leaning in the folds of Naruto’s jacket like he would Kei’s bandana, pushed food in his mouth. [3]

“Hey, hey! Watch my paws, idiot. They’re not food!”

“Here.” Sasuke held out his own bento for Suuta to take and shove down the blonde ninja’s throat.

“B-but, Sasuke-kun, Kei, Sensei just said…!” Turning towards Sakura’s direction, Kei sent her a sightless glare, and Sakura shivered.

“Don’t worry. I don’t sense him near-by, pinkie.”

Sasuke grunted. “We’re gonna have to get the bells together. Naruto’s just going to be more trouble if he’s hungry.” Naruto looked thankful for a second, before yelling out “Hey!”

“Sasuke-kun…” Sakura looked down at her own bento before holding it out to Naruto herself. Naruto’s eyes lit up, and started to complain how he couldn’t feed himself.

“But Suuta’s doing it!”

“But he’s a cat, and he’s getting hair into my mouth!”

“Fine, don’t appreciate my services! Go starve!”

“See, Sakura? Please feed me!”

“Ugh, fine. I’m only going to do this once, understood?!”

“I understand~!” Naruto took one bite, and the entire field exploded.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[1] Resisting Chuck Norris reference… too late. : P

[2] LOGGED! XD

[3] I thought, that since Kei is blind, that of course she could tell where her own mouth was, but probably not where someone else’s is. I did think to get her to try to feed him at first and have it land in his face somewhere, but I figured to keep the moment. :P

Oh-kay, first story.... UP! :D I worked pretty hard on this, and really hope you like it. I'll do my best to get more chapters and stuff up, so please be patient, and enjoy the story!




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