A Song for Them @nihilistic_bunny
New Leaf Arc, Ninja 101

Naruto Fan Fiction!

Adventure! SI-OC!

(Title)

"A Song for Them"

A/N: This is so long... I barely finished before Sunday... so many words...

So... y'all know who 'Neko' is, huh? It was when he said 'Senpai' wasn't it? Damn it! Alright, something to mention, this is where the alternate POV's begin. Sora's story cannot be fully told with only her POV, she isn't omnipotent after all. Wow. Just wow. The response to the last chapter was incredible you guys! I cannot even begin to tell you how happy you made me with all your reviews and follows and faves and—Squee! I do read them. I do love them~

(EDIT) 1/19/2019: Cleaned and fixed the issues with distinguishing the POV switches.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the canon characters! Or the explosives. Just sayin'.

WARNING! RATED M! Mentions of blood, violence, and child abuse: Kakashi Hatake-style. That man... I swear!

New Leaf Arc,

Chapter Nine: "Ninja 101"

"Teamwork means never having to take all the blame yourself." -Anon E. Muss

Perspective:

(Sky)

It was stupidly early in the morning. Too early for sane people to be awake.

At least that's what Naruto had told me when I woke him up today. I had smiled wryly at the blonde but didn't remind him that this was the usual time I was up and about. The sun had just barely risen when all three of us were assembled at the training grounds Kakashi wrote down on the paper, packs and all. I was sitting in the shade under a tree, re-reading an old Funinjutsu theory book on the structure of a thirteen layered barrier. I think it was written by Jiraya, or at least had some of his notes. It's not old enough to have been written by an Original Uzumaki and some of this stuff was far too thorough for the average explosive tag maker.

I brushed my cool fingertips over the skin of my left ear, it was still a bit swollen after last night. As soon as I stopped sniveling and Neko stopped freaking out I had told him about my family tradition and asked him to pierce it for me. I now had two round, metal studs in the middle of the outside of my ear. Just like Kaa-chan had. After the deed was done I had hugged my ANBU friend again, flustering him to bits.

He couldn't stop babbling, I'd almost thought we'd broken him. Terra said with a laugh.

It was around nine in the morning now, Kakashi was four hours late today and I was on the twelfth chapter when my Hero decided to come and bother me. He plopped down on the grass next to me and laid his head on my lap. I raised one eyebrow at him, amused by his actions.

"Soraaa-chaaan..." he whined, "I'm booored..."

I stuck out my bottom lip, 'Poor baby.' I signed.

Naruto's face scrunched up, crinkling his eyes as he squinted at me, then his baby blues lit up in that way whenever he gets an idea. The Hero smiled slyly at me, "Hey, hey! Can you play a song?" he asked excitedly. I looked at him blankly, then held up my book pointedly. He groaned, "Haven't 'ya already read that one, 'ttebayo? C'mon~" he bat his eyelashes up at me, "Just oooone song...?" he clasped his hands together and I had to roll my eyes.

He knows how to play you like fiddle. Terra sighed. Can you even tell him no?

'Yes?'

Why did that sound like a question?

With a exasperated sigh, I closed my book and stored it away in the back of my little black storage book -it had all the essentials in it- and reached into the small holster on my right leg, pulling out my metal Ocarina. The face-splitting grin he has on his face was totally worth caving. 'Requests?' I asked.

The Hero folded his hands behind his head and made himself comfortable on my lap, "Mmmm... the Lullaby, dattebayo!"

Of course, 'Zelda's Lullaby'. But with how much the blonde loves to listen to it, I'd might as well call it Naruto's Lullaby. Turns out that he loves the stories about a blonde boy destined for greatness who, more often than not, saves the beautiful princess and all the land. Who woulda thought?

I raised my instrument to my lips and began to play the old tune. Naruto relaxed the moment I played the first note, even Duckie, who was across from us leaning against his own tree, lost some of the tension in his posture and the prominent annoyance with Naruto's whining and Kakashi's tardiness coming from his chakra toned down. If only a little bit. I know that both of them were really worried about the test, Scarecrow made sure of that much, but it made me glad to see that I could do something to help calm their nerves. About three songs later, I suspected that our miscreant sensei would be showing up soon, so I set down my Ocarina and flipped open my storage book. After finding the appropriate page I placed my hand and pulsed my chakra into the seal, and in a 'poof!' I had a handful of calorie bars. The same scentless, tasteless kind that Iruka-sensei had told us to always have on hand in case of emergencies. It's funny how I'm the only one here that remembered his lecture on the importance of staying fed and well-rested whenever possible, especially when you expect to be sent out on a mission. i was one of poor Iruka-sensei's worst students.

"Eh? You have food, 'ttebayo?!" the Hero exclaimed, popping up from his prone position to drool. We hadn't eaten this morning because Naruto was still wary from Kakashi's warning yesterday, so I decided to wait a while for his hunger to begin to make itself known before trying to convince him to do anything. Can't have my Hero thinking with his stomach and getting tied to a log, now can I? Naruto's brows furrowed as he frowned, "But... Kakashi-sensei told us not to eat or we'll throw up."

'That's only if we ate heavily.' I signed to him. Or, if the man punches us in the gut really hard. Then sure, we'll throw up. 'As it is, we can have a light snack so we aren't distracted by our hunger later during the test.'

After explaining that, the Hero got excited and had a silly grin on his whiskered face. "Ha-ha! You're so clever Sora-chan! Thank you for the food~" Naruto cheered as he held his hands out to me. I handed him two and looked at him expectantly in return, he was about to take his first bite when I began tapping my finger impatiently. He blinked at me innocently and I nodded towards Sasuke, who was pretending like he wasn't paying attention to us and that we didn't exist right now.

The Hero followed my line of sight, then he looked back at me with a pleading look.

Do I have to?

I leveled the blonde with a look.

Yes, yes you do.

Naruto sighed heavily but he took two more of the bars and sullenly marched over to the brooding Duckie and held out them out to him. "...these are for you 'ttebayo." he mumbled without looking at the other boy.

Sasuke gave the food a disinterested glance before looking off into the distance again, "No thanks." he said condescendingly, like it wasn't worthy of his attention.

The Hero puffed up indignantly, he pinned Duckie with a glare. "Sora-chan wanted you to have these so you don't get distracted by your stomach later, you ass!" Sasuke didn't respond outwardly but his chakra swirled in curiosity. Naruto scowled further and forcibly shoved the bars into the other boy's chest, Sasuke grabbed the bars out of pure reflex, and he stormed back over to my side. He looked up at me, defiant blue eyes just daring me to comment on how he handled that. I pat his fluffy hair with a content smile, just happy it didn't come to blows between them. This time, at least. We ate in relative silence and I noticed that after a while even Duckie started to take discrete bites of his bars.

Sasuke was prideful, yes. Emotional, most definitely. But was he stupid? No. Stupid he was not.

"Good morning!" chirped Kakashi, who just now showed up out of nowhere.

"YOU'RE LATE!" Naruto shouted as he jumped to his feet.

"Maa... you see... a black cat crossed my path and I had to go back and come another way." the ex-ANBU said without a hint of shame. The boys looked like they didn't believe a word he said.

He seems genuine when he says it though... Terra noted.

'I doubt he actually came across a black cat on his way here.' I scoffed internally.

We watched as the silver-haired man pulled out an old-fashioned alarm clock, "Okay, it's set for noon." he turned to us and held up his hand, something jingled. "Here are two bells, your task is to take these from me before the times up. Those who don't have a bell by noon get no lunch. I'll not only tie you to one of those stumps..." he nodded towards them, "...but I'll also eat right in front of you."

Sadist... Terra whispered.

Kakashi continued, unfazed by the dark looks Naruto and Sasuke were sending him. "You only have to get one bell. There are only two so one of you will definitely be tied to a stump and..." his face darkened, making him seem more ominous. "the person who doesn't get a bell fails, so at least one of you will be sent back to the academy."

There was tense silence as he let that sink in.

Then he added in a far more chipper and casual tone, "If you want you can use shuriken and kunai. You won't succeed unless you come at me intending to kill."

"Ha!" the Hero laughed, putting his hands behind his head. "You'd die if we were to go all out on you! You couldn't even avoid a blackboard eraser!" he shouted boisterously.

The look Kakashi gave Naruto could only be described as 'deadpan'. "In the real world, those with no talent often bark the loudest. Well... ignore Mr. Deadlast and start when I say..." he said dismissively. Naruto grit his teeth and clenched his fists, he slipped his hand into his holster and pulled out a kunai. He twirled the weapon around his fingers once before charging headlong at the jonin.

I couldn't even see Kakashi move he was so fast.

One second Naruto was yelling and running and the next, the leaves were kicked up and Kakashi was behind him and had turned the blonde's knife on himself. Sasuke tensed up in preparation and my hand unconsciously slipped into my own kunai holster.

"Calm down... I haven't said start yet." the ex-ANBU drawled, slight amusement coloring his tone. "At least you're coming at me with the intent to kill. So that means you've acknowledged me, huh?" he then looked over each of us, I felt a sort of thrill shoot up my spine. "...I think I'm starting to like you guys."

I won't admit to feeling a bit warmer inside when he said that.

"Begin!"

I made to jump away like Sasuke but jerked to a dead stop, knowing better. I slowly turned around to see Naruto standing cockily in front of the elite-of-the-elite. I took a few steps back to him, keeping my eyes on Scarecrow and tugged a bit on his orange jacket. He turned to me with a confident smile, "Don't worry Sora-chan, I'll get those bells!" he proclaimed.

Kakashi's chakra twitched the slightest bit in response. In amusement or irritation? I wasn't sure. He was still suppressing and that was still unsettling. I gave my friend a look from the corner of my eye and tugged more firmly, still watching Kakashi. The jonin had been watching us with aired disinterest but who knows if he'll just get tired of watching and start this thing himself.

"Sora-chan." Naruto said in a tone that was hardly ever used on me.

I blinked in surprise and finally gave him my full attention.

"You know—" Kakashi started slowly but halted when I raised one finger to quiet him. His chakra reacted negatively, it was freezing.

'Oooh... so that's what irritation feels like...'

Brrr! Don't do that again. Who knows how that sadistic Scarecrow will retaliate? Terra chided me. I made no promises and turned my attention back to the Hero.

Naruto wasn't going to listen to reason today? I raised one eyebrow at the Hero.

Really...?

His blue eyes were determined and his lips were in a hard line.

Really.

Yep, he was serious. He was going to do this. If he really wants to do this then even I won't be able to stop him. Whether Naruto actually thought that he could do it was another matter. I rolled my eyes at him and let go of his clothes. 'Find me when you're done being cool, Hero. I'll come up with a plan in the meantime.' I signed as I backed away.

He gave me that foxy grin of his before he faced Kakashi again. I jumped away into a nearby tree to watch what happens next, a plan already forming in the back of my mind. I hadn't ever planned for taking the bell test from Kakashi before and it was a major error on my part. I had only planned so far for things to act according to what I already knew.

Another mistake.

I can't make mistakes like that anymore.

Naruto started to charge forward but stopped when Kakashi slipped his hand into his back pocket. "Shinobi fighting lesson number one. Taijutsu. I'll teach you about it." the man drawled. Naruto waited, watching the jonin's hand warily.

The man's first move was to pull out a familiar orange book. My friend's chakra skyrocketed with annoyance as Kakashi so blatantly taunted him while I could barely feel our new sensei's flicker with a sadistic amusement. Well, haven't felt that one before.

We're not even started yet and the Scarecrow is already teaching us new things. Terra commented. I didn't acknowledge my other half as I was busy watching Naruto engage in some beginner Taijutsu. The Hero continued to attack and attack, Kakashi dodging and deflecting effortlessly. I could feel Naruto's chakra getting increasingly frustrated. The blonde huffed and raised his hands into his new favorite hand seal and made just about fifty shadow clones to run after Kakashi, and then they all pulled out—OH MY KAMI, ARE THOSE EXPLOSIVE TAGS?!

'BOOM!' went the clone, causing clods of dirt and grass to go flying. More clones began to follow in it's footsteps.

WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

Heh... 'Intent to kill' alright. Terra chuckled, ...y'know this is totally your influence, right?

I... I didn't respond.

I watched in horror/awe as some of the Naruto clones kamikaze'd after Kakashi. The ex-ANBU still had that fudging book out and looked entirely unconcerned but after the first explosion he let his hold on his chakra slip and I could feel that he was just as surprised as I was. One after the other, clones launched themselves. Some with explosives, some without. I blinked when I saw it. It probably was harder to tell from the ground, what with all those explosions kicking up dirt and such, but from my spot in the tree I could see a pattern in which clones were diving after him. The Hero was herding Kakashi. There, on the far side of the clearing a couple of Naruto's were hiding in a tree, lying in wait. Kakashi was almost there, just a little more, almost aaaand...

'BOOM!' "WAAAAAHHH!"

OH MY KAMI, HE JUST BLEW HIMSELF UP! How do I know it was him? BECAUSE ALL THE OTHER NARUTO'S WENT POOF AFTER HE HIT THE TREE! I readied myself to jump down and check to see if Naruto had just killed himself when Terra spoke up. Calm down woman! He just got caught in the aftershock is all! At MOST he'll have a mild concussion that'll heal in ten minutes flat. she assured me. I waited for what seemed like forever until Naruto eventually groaned in pain.

"Auuuughhhh..." I sagged against the branch. He picked himself up slowly and shook his head quickly, like that would get rid of the dizziness. The Hero gave his blonde head one last good shake before charging at the jonin once more. He threw a fist... and Kakashi was gone and suddenly crouched behind Naruto, his hands forming the Tiger sign. I closed my eyes briefly.

"A shinobi isn't supposed to get caught from behind... idiot." Scarecrow chastised.

'Oh dear.' I sighed.

Oh yes! Terra squealed.

"Konoha's Hidden Secret Taijutsu Technique: One Thousand Years of Death!"

And... yep, there goes my Hero...

'SPLASH!' As soon as Naruto dunked I slipped my hand into my tools bag and threw three kunai with paper bombs attached to the hilts towards the ground at Kakashi's feet in a triangle, he remained still and I panicked for a moment when his gangly form became engulfed in fire. But when the smoke cleared I was relieved to see only a charred log where he was previously standing. Now with my position revealed -as if he didn't already know where I was- I jumped away as quietly as I could and headed further into the training grounds. I had at least half a plan after all. I could make it work. I found a somewhat decent clearing and reached into my tools bag on my back and pulled out paper, wire and my vial of chakra infused ink and a brush.

I set to work.

Naruto would find me as soon as Kakashi was done 'teaching' him, then the two of us would go find Duckie and we'll somehow work together long enough to pass the test. I drew a quick four-pointed barrier formula, each with a corresponding seal and paper, I set them in four different locations creating a capture zone. For the actual taking of the bells I set up an extra layer function on top of the barrier, a modified version of my night-light for temporary blindness and a prototype taser design for incapacitation. The blindness was suppose to do most of the work while the taser was set to 'mild stun'. It was still a prototype and, well... I didn't want to fry my new teacher. Crispy Kakashi didn't sound too good. Once we grouped up, hopefully Naruto or Sasuke could come up with a way to lure Kakashi into the trap. They'd have a better chance at baiting him then I could. I have plenty of kunai and paper bombs, some fake ones too. I'm sure we'll be able to come up with something.

I didn't even sense him approach.

"Sora... behind you." whispered a voice from right behind me!

'That was fast. Too fast actually. Shouldn't he have let me find him, like with Sakura?'

Smack... think he's still mad about you shushing him?

I turned around and see my silver-haired teacher looking mighty creepy and folding his hands into the Snake then Rat signs before he disappeared into a rush of leaves. 'Demonic Illusion: Hell Viewing Technique', one of the basic Genjutsu techniques I recognized faintly, it was getting really hard to think all of a sudden. In the Academy they hadn't actually taught us any Genjutsu, they had the materials to learn, yes. But all that was taught was the identifying and breaking of Genjutsu. I may have checked out a few beginners manuals on the basic concepts of creating a Genjutsu, but I've never really had a chance to practice before. Definitely not on Naruto and especially not with such a messed up technique like this one.

Demonic Illusion: Hell Viewing Technique: The user casts a Genjutsu that affects both sight and auditory senses. The user sends a probe of chakra into victim's mind, into where the mind processes fear more specifically, and... just, really has it's way with the victim honestly. It digs up a person's worst fears and projects them for their viewing pleasure. The leaves cleared and it's night now, with a blood-red moon and, oh look... there's a reanimated Uchiha Madara standing on a mountain of corpses made up of my loved ones. Obito-Zetsu has impaled Kakashi on his hand, Rin-style. There's a snake-y Kabuto and back-from-the-dead Orochimaru cutting up Sasuke and Neko and doing who-knows-what to the pieces. And, oh... ha-ha-ha... Naruto's broken and bloody body is in Kaguya's grasp and she's draining the very light from his blue eyes.

"Sor—ah... chan... help..." my Hero whispered to me with a broken voice.

Ha-haa...

Did you know that the better the imagination the victim has, the more powerful the illusion tends to be? Lucky me. My vision began to spin and I... I think Kakashi might have used more chakra than should've been entirely necessary for the technique, because I... I feel really light-headed now. I... my... senses have been assaulted and I think that, my body is trying to overcompensate for the attack on my cere...

Good niiiight~

The last thing I felt before passing out was my face meeting the dirt.

Perspective:

(Moon)

Damn it! ...this is the difference between us? I tired to move my body to free it again, but no. I was completely immobilized. I'd almost gotten a bell from him, but because I hurt his pride he dragged me down into the earth neck-deep and left me here. That Kakashi is a vindictive bastard. I can't let this stop me though. I have to figure out a way to get a bell. I can't afford to fail here and risk getting sent back. I have to get stronger if I'll ever be able to kill that man.

A twig snapped.

I stopped struggling, turning my ear towards the direction it came from and listening closely.

Footsteps?

Someone is headed this way. Ugh, don't let it be Naruto. If that Idiot sees me like this I'll never hear the end of it. I narrowed my eyes at the trees and saw a form emerge from the shadows. I recognized that annoyingly bright hair color, It was Sora. I hadn't seen her since she threw those paper bombs at Kakashi in retaliation for what he did to the Idiot earlier, and from the looks of her it seems Kakashi had already paid her a visit.

"Sora?"

She seemed to only notice me when I said her name, her purple eye darting around until she finally spotted where I was buried. She stared blankly at me for a moment then walked right up to me and looked down, an uncharacteristically smug smirk on her face. She closed her eyes and waved, mocking me. I scowled. She pulled out her notepad and began to write, when she was finished she turned it around for me to see, "I'm going to help dig you out and then you're going to help me find Naruto so we can get those stupid bells from that stupid Scarecrow."

I didn't respond as she bent over and began to dig at the dirt around me. Once I was out of that damned hole I brushed off my clothes and looked up to Sora, I tried not to grimace at the reminder that she's always been at least half-a-head taller than me. "Does that mean you have a plan then?" I asked skeptically, she nodded. "...and once we have the bells? How is it going to be decided who goes back to the Academy?"

I will not be going back. I have a goal to accomplish.

She paused thoughtfully, then wrote, "You and Naruto can have the bells." I looked at her in suspicion. She would willingly leave the Idiot behind? I don't buy it. She rolled her eyes upon seeing my expression, writing again. "I'm serious, you two can have them. I never wanted to be a ninja in the first place."

My brow knitted in confusion. What does that mean? If that was true, then why is—

"There you are, 'ttebayo!" interrupted the Idiot's voice. Both turned just in time to see him come barreling through the trees and stumbling on his landing.

Idiot.

Sora turned to him and moved her hands to speak, '—time you—up.' was all that I understood.

The Idiot scratched his head and smiled, "Ehh, sorry Sora-chan. I got, uh... tied up!" I rolled my eyes, remembering what he did after he'd gotten out of the water. I still can't believe anyone could've fallen for such an obvious trap. Wait, that's right. Naruto could've.

She waved her hand dismissively, 'Whatever, got a—need you to—Duck—I don't—write everything—all get the bells—and pass this stupid—'

The Idiot scowled and glanced at me, "...if you're sure, Sora-chan." he mumbled and she nodded. If I cared, I would've been insulted that they thought I couldn't understand what they were saying.

'I set up a—from here—need from you two—and I'll set off the—and... we pass.' she smiled confidently when she finished.

The Idiot smiled at her and then, without facing me, "She said—"

"I know what she said." I cut him off, irritated by this whole thing. They both blinked and turned to me. Like it actually hadn't occurred to them before that after six years of sharing a classroom that I'd have some idea what they were saying.

"Huh? You KNOW!?" the Idiot shouted, Sora and I both slapped a hand over his big mouth. Then I glared at him because we were supposed to be hiding.

Sora turned to me and started signing, looking unreasonably angry, 'Why—you not say—I've been writing all this—'

I put my hands in my pockets and shrugged, tone casual. "Not my fault you never asked."

Hm. I don't think I've ever seen her red-faced angry before. That's kind of funny. Eventually Sora settled down and huffed exaggeratedly before marching off towards the south. Naruto followed her without hesitation, I paused for only a moment, considering my options. I decided to at least see what the rest of her 'plan' involved. After three or so minutes of walking we came to a small clearing where she explained her plan in full and what she needed from the Idiot and I. As we were discussing ways to draw Kakashi out, -I was discussing, Naruto was being loud- Sora began absently playing with the end of her ponytail, twirling her fingers in the hair. I hadn't thought anything of it, but when she started chewing her bottom lip the Idiot narrowed his eyes at her.

"...you alright, 'ttebayo?" he asked oddly. She looked up sharply, then closed her eyes and smiled a bit too widely to be believable. Naruto was frowned.

It happened fast. One second everything was fine, and then Naruto swung at Sora, his fist stopped inches from her face. She failed her arms and fell backwards onto the ground. I rounded on him, "What are y—"

"Sora-chan knows that I'd never hurt her, dattebayo." he said angrily. Naruto was scowling now as he glared at Sora? I never even seen him raise his voice at her before. The Idiot reached down and grabbed the front of her shirt, pulling her up to her feet so that they were practically nose-to-nose. He growled, "Terra, what did you do to Sora-chan!?"

...what?

I watched as Sora's eyes drooped and her expression became the picture of complete disinterest. She stood up straight and pried the Idiot's fist out of her shirt, then signed. 'It wasn't my—went crazy on the chakra—out—I woke up instead.' I didn't really understand all the signs, but I understood enough to be confused.

"Bring her back dattebayo!" he shouted in her face.

'It's not that easy and you know it.' she signed with a sigh and a weak glare, looking like she'd rather be anywhere but here.

"I'm NOT jokin' around here, Terra! Get Sora-chan back!"

Wait... Tera? "Tera? Your imaginary friend from when we were eight?" I heard myself ask. I briefly remember Naruto shouting at the whole class when they made fun of him for talking about Sora's 'Terra' and how she was real person. They both turned to me and blinked like they'd forgotten that I was still here. The idiots probably had. I felt myself frowning again.

Then the Idiot glared at me, "I told you guys that Terra wasn't imaginary, 'ttebayo! She's real and she's annoying!"

I look at... Sora, again. She was slouching and looking like she wanted to fall asleep on the spot. She has been acting strange since we separated but... another person? How is that even possible? The Idiot rounded on Sora again, pointing a finger in her face. "And you! Go away and wake up Sora! I don't like you, 'ttebayo! You're rude and say mean things!"

'You're still—because—last time?' she signed with a dismissive wave of her hand.

The Idiot looked livid now, "YOU DYED MY ALL MY CLOTHES!"

She shrugged with a smirk pulling at her mouth, 'You looked good in pink.'

He tackled her with a shout.

"GET OUT, TERRA! GIVE ME BACK MY FRIEND, I WON'T LET YOU POSSESS SORA-CHAN, DATTEBAYO!"

'Was a joke—idiot—'

They were rolling around in the dirt now. Trying to strangle one another.

"DON'T USE HER TO CALL ME NAMES, YOU HAG!"

'Stupid, stupid, stupid—'

I just stared at my idiot 'teammates' as they tried to kill each other. Hm? Oh, Kakashi was standing next to me now. "...what is happening?" he asked me quietly as we watched this bizarre scene. The Idiot now had Sora in a sort of headlock now. I think he might... no. No, she's biting him now. She just took the upper hand.

I shrugged, "Hell, if I know."

Perspective:

(Sky)

My head hurts...

...and I can't move.

That was, of course, the moment I also noticed that I'd been tied up.

To the Log.

"You know..." a smooth voice drawled, my head snapped up to see my silver-haired sensei standing, quite tall, in front of me with his arms crossed over his chest. "It didn't say anything in your file about having Split Personality Disorder..."

'What. Did. You. Do.' I growled.

...I'm so sorry! the brunette squeaked.

There was suddenly a fist in my face. I blinked at it. It was Naruto's fist. Why was Naruto's fist in my face? I looked to the person on my left, Naruto smiled and then was looking strangely ashamed of himself. He glanced away, "...I got into a fight with Terra, 'ttebayo... again."

Finding that I can't even move my hands to speak, I settled for turning on Terra, 'What is wrong with you?!'

I got the impression that she shrugged unrepentantly, Whiskers just makes it too easy sometimes...

Kakashi waved his hand dismissively, "Well, never mind about that. Oh, and about the training... you guys don't have to worry about going back to the Academy." he drawled.

Naruto perked up, "You mean?! So all three of us!?

He 'smiled'.

"Yup, all three of you..." then his face darkened, "should just quit as ninjas." he said bluntly.

There was a moment of disbelief before, "WHAT!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE SHOULD QUIT DATTEBAYO!?" Naruto shouted, "OKAY, OKAY! SO WE COULDN'T GET THE BELLS! SO THAT MEANS WE SHOULD QUIT!?"

"It's because all of you are just punks who don't deserve to become ninjas." Kakashi said seriously.

Okay. Ouch. Sasuke's chakra flared in anger and frustration and then he launched himself at the ex-ANBU. Again, he moved too fast for me to even see and now the jonin was using Duckie as a footrest. "That's why you're a punk." he informed the Uchiha-footrest, then he looked at Naruto and I, "Are you guys underestimating ninja? Huh? Why do you think you were divided into teams of three?" he asked.

The boys were oddly silent.

'Wait. Do you think they...? Do they get it?'

...maybe they do? We almost had a plan. We would've passed if you were there instead of me.

"What was the answer to help you pass this test?" the jonin asked us. I couldn't respond, he had tied my hands up and I'm thinking that this was exactly why. This was for the boys to answer. If they couldn't work together even once, then all of this is for nothing. When no one spoke up Kakashi sighed and shook his head, "The answer is teamwork. Yet you guys..." he looked at me, "Sora! You left and allowed your teammate to engage with an enemy that you know was way out of his league. You have a responsibility to your teammates, not their egos."

What!? But that's not—

Kakashi continued unapologetically, "Naruto! You didn't think about your actions and refused help from your teammate all because you wanted to prove something." the blonde scowled and looked away. "Sasuke, you thought the other two would slow you down and tried to do everything by yourself!" Duckie was glaring at the dirt now. "Duties are done by the team. Of course superior individual ability is important to a ninja. But what's even more important is teamwork." he told us. I felt my face burn with shame, because I knew that everything he was saying was true. I knew it before we even started but that didn't stop me from just letting the boys do what they wanted.

And for what?

"Individual play that disrupts the team can put your comrades in danger. And it can even get you killed... for example." Kakashi disappeared from my vision and there was suddenly something sharp and pointy against my temple, "Naruto! Kill Sasuke or Sora dies!" he demanded.

My Hero's chakra went haywire.

It started spinning wildly, Breezy turned into Whipping Gusts and it got dark—dark—too dark, and now I can feel something FLUFFY—Kakashi put away the kunai and I let out a breath of relief when Naruto started to calm the fudge down. "You see? If a hostage is taken then you will have to make tough choices and someone will die." he started to walk away, towards something just behind the bushes, "You will be risking your lives in these duties."

Wait, that's... the Memorial stone.

His shoulders sagged and his head lowered slightly as Kakashi took his place in front of the old polished stone, "Look at this. The numerous names carved on this stone. These are ninja who are recognized as heroes of the village."

Naruto perked up, nearly opened his mouth but I was close enough to lightly kick him in the shin, he frowned at me but didn't shout how he was going to become one of those names. Thankfully. Instead he looked over the stone again and saw how somber the Scarecrow suddenly became. For all of his shouting and bold words, Naruto is actually a very empathetic person when it comes down to it. He can understand people better than most.

"Ehh, what kinda heroes are they 'ttebayo?" he asked.

"They are all heroes who died while on duty." Kakashi said softly, the Hero's eyes widened, "This is a memorial... my best friend's name is also carved here..."

Does that mean...? Obito... his name is here, too?

Kakashi turned back to us, he sighed quietly. "You guys... I'll give you one more chance. But after lunch, I'll make it even tougher to get the bells. Those that still want to try again can eat lunch... except Sora. She doesn't get lunch. Anyone who gives her food will be failed immediately."

Wait, what?

"What!? How come 'ttebayo?" my Hero shouted. Yeah, that's what I wanna know!

"She bit me." the Scarecrow said flatly.

My face went blank.

'What.'

I'M SORRRRYYYY! Terra cried.

Kakashi turned to Naruto, "And Naruto... If you give Sora any lunch after I've said explicitly not to—" he leaned forward and leveled the blonde with a dead serious look, "—I will fail you both and I'll also make sure you two are never on the same team again. I am the rules here! Got it?"

Naruto went pale while I gaped at the jonin's pure audacity! He couldn't actually do that, but... Naruto didn't know that. Scarecrow left us and the Sasuke began to eat while Naruto stared guiltily at his bento. When his baby blues lifted to meet mine I smiled and nodded at him, mouthing 'Eat' to him. He reluctantly opened his bento and began to take small bites. So, this is a test for the boys, right? How is going to work? I'm not Naruto and Naruto isn't Sakura and Sasuke is still Sasuke... this'll never work! It was a miracle that Sasuke cooperated in the first place and that was when Naruto was tied to the log! Even then they had that weird 'we're the same' bond that I'm pretty sure I don't fit into! I'm half certain Duckie only acknowledges my existence because I'm not worshipping the ground he walks on. Plus, I'm not even really that hungry!

Of course, that was the moment my stomach growled, loudly.

I was properly mortified. 'Curse you stupid, crazy Uzumaki metabolism! I ate this morning! Is there no satisfying you!?' I cried inwardly, only slightly hysterical. My face felt like it was on fire and I found I couldn't look the boys in their eyes. Naruto's chakra was torn. He wanted to give me his lunch but the stupid Scarecrow has got him worried about being separated!

But then something a bit unexpected happened.

"Here."

I opened my eyes and there was now a bento in front of me. I looked over at Duckie in mild disbelief. He was not meeting my eye whatsoever.

"What are you doing, bastard!? Didn't you hear what Kakashi-sensei said!" the Hero whispered harshly.

Sasuke shot Naruto a sharp look, "Of course I did, idiot. But if she doesn't eat then she'll only bring us down when we try to get the bells later!" he spat. After a long moment though, it seemed like he was trying not to fidget under the Hero and I's wide-eyed stares. He was looking pointedly at anywhere other than us. "Besides, I don't sense Kakashi near, so... hurry up!" Duckie mumbled. I tried not to raise a skeptical brow when Duckie said that he couldn't sense the Scarecrow. I couldn't sense him and I knew he was somewhere nearby. It was a bit more than annoying if I'm being honest.

Duckie was still holding out his bento to me and I had to smile at him. Naruto was staring at Sasuke with wide eyes, mouth slightly agape. Something warm stirring in his chakra. "...bastard." he said softly, awe coloring his tone. Then the Hero smiled wide and scooted over to sit closer to Duckie so that we were facing each other in a triangle now. "Then here! You can have some of mine, 'ttebayo! Kakashi-sensei didn't say I couldn't share with you!"

Sasuke looked at Naruto oddly. I smiled so wide my eyes closed, warmth filling me from head-to-toe at the sight of these two.

Yes, this was... right.

"WHAT IS THIS!?" a voice boomed, shattering our happy little moment of peace. Then a surge of chakra and a dark cloud of smoke appeared along with our sadist of a sensei. Naruto shouted in surprise, Sasuke jumped up and readied himself for a fight and this time I know he was influencing my senses to make it seem like the world was ending! He was such a drama queen. "YOU GUYS..."

The smoke cleared and... the jonin was leaning over us, hands on his hips, his chakra as open and inviting as his body language, a genuine smile creasing the corners of his eye.

"Pass~"

There was silence.

Naruto was the first to recover, kinda. "Wha...?" he uttered, slack jawed and all.

"You pass. You guys are the first actually." the silver-haired man confessed, happily i might add. "Everyone else would just do whatever I told them. They were all morons. A ninja's job is to see underneath the underneath." then he straightened up, speaking seriously again. "Those who break the rules and codes of the ninja world are called trash... but you know what? Those who don't take care of their comrades... are lower than trash."

Kakashi truly and honestly believed that... I remembered why I admired the man. Okay so... he may be sadistic and finds unusual joy in messing with our heads, and he may have questionable taste in literature, but... he definitely has his moments.

He gave us all a thumbs up, "That ends the training. All of you pass! Starting tomorrow Team Seven will begin it's duties!"

"HOORAY!" my Hero cheered.

I heard crying.

That never spells anything good for us... Terra sighed.

I stopped in the middle of the road and turned towards the sound, it was coming from the direction leading to the walkway along the river. Naruto noticed that I left his side and he looked back at me. "Sora-chan? What is it?"

'I'll catch up.' I signed without turning back to him. The blonde hesitated a moment but continued to follow after Kakashi and Sasuke on our way to a late lunch. Kakashi's treat for accidentally knocking me unconscious. An apology without the actual words. Morbidly curious, I followed the sounds of choked sobbing. I walked along the stone path and found a familiar head of hair sitting alone on one of the many benches that lined the river. Watery green eyes snapped up to meet my violet ones when I approached.

"Za-Zakuro-san...?" Sakura spoke, her voice sounded raw like she'd been crying for hours.

I signed in Standard, 'Status, Situation, Requested' 'What happened? How are you?' I asked in the most direct way I could.

Her eyes fell towards the ground. A minute passed and I thought she wouldn't answer me when she spoke again, her voice barely a whisper. "I failed my Jonin test..."

Should've seen that one coming. Terra said flatly.

I slowly walked over to her and sat beside her on the stone bench, an arms-length away, she made no move to stop me or move away. I pulled out my notepad, writing. "What are you going to do now?" I asked her. She only glanced at my question before the tears started up again.

"I-I... -hic- ...I don't k-know... -hic- ...I-I did—didn't think that I would fail!" she sobbed. Hesitantly, I reached out and wrapped my arm over her shoulders to give some sort of physical comfort. Apparently on some kind of instinct the pink-haired girl turned to me and buried her face into my chest. I blinked in surprise and tried very hard not to flinch away at the unexpected physical contact. I began to rub circles on her back with great amounts of awkwardness.

I'm curious... why does everyone want to use you as a tissue? Terra wondered.

'I have no idea but if you figure it out, please tell me so I can stop it. Snot stains are gross to wash out.' I pleaded. I let the girl cry herself dry onto my shirt, it was already covering in dirt and grass stains courtesy of the sadistic Scarecrow. When she pulled away her face was as red as a beet and she was very studiously avoiding meeting my eyes, which I thought was sort of amusing. I tapped at my page again. Sakura shrugged in a very un-Sakura-like way.

She discreetly wiped at her nose and spoke, "I have no idea." she confessed, "I haven't even told my parents yet—and they're both chuunin! I mean, retired but still! How can I tell them that I failed to become even a genin?!" she exclaimed, starting to hyperventilate. Before it got too bad, I grabbed her shoulders and turned her to face me, doing an exaggerated display of breathing in and out.

In...

...and out.

Sakura soon copied me, her breaths -albeit shaky- steadily calmed and she regained some of her composure. "S-Sorry..." she mumbled. Her gaze lowered again from mine again and she began to stare off into the distance.

Some part of me hurt at the sight of her so... lost like this.

What can we do? Her being on Team Seven and all their drama was what propelled her to grow up. Now that she doesn't have that she might never be anything but a fangirl. Terra commented. I frowned at her non chalant tone.

'You sound like you don't even care!' I snapped.

Well... that's because... I kinda don't.

I suddenly felt... cold.

Sakura's nice and all but... what did she ever really do? Naruto and Sasuke both WAY surpassed their mentors but Sakura only ever became another Tsunade. Yes. Tsunade is like, the baddest Kunoichi of all but-let's face it. Pinkie just has a bad habit of putting other people in harm's way! She got either kidnapped or knocked unconscious far too many times to actually be help—

'Enough.' I cut in sharply, 'Sakura is JUST as helpful as either of those two! At least she had the sense to stay loyal to the village-Sasuke went INSANE and wanted to KILL every man, woman and child in the village!' I yelled at my other half. When Terra didn't respond I continued. 'Sakura has the potential to be incredible. Look at her! She crying, and NOT over Sasuke! She's crying for herself! Sakura is actually sad and scared for her own future.'

Not waiting for a rebuttal I started writing on my notepad.

"Why did you want to become a Kunoichi?" I asked her.

She blinked and furrowed her pink eyebrows, thinking about her answer. "I... my parents... they're ninja. They were both injured in the Third War, th-that's how they met. They fell in love protecting their home and I... I wanted something like that too..." she mumbled shyly.

'Oh. She's a sweetie...' I sighed, eyes softening at the girl.

You really can't help yourself, you bleeding heart... Terra said disdainfully, Whatever! Adopt the girl if you must! I wash my hands of this!

"Do you not want that anymore?" I wrote, "Have you given that up then?" her green eyes widened, "You are still Kunoichi of the year. You have PERFECT chakra control. Your career as a ninja... your DREAM isn't over unless you give up here."

"But... wha... what do I do?" she asked quietly.

Here goes nothing. It's worth at least a shot, even if it's in the dark.

"You have excellent memory and comprehension skills, you could learn ANYTHING you put your mind to. And you are one of the quickest thinkers I know, add your perfect chakra control and you are a great fit for a support medic role."

"...medic?" she repeated softly.

I nodded. The girl just stared at me in disbelief, "...why?" she asked. Confused, I tapped the page again. I thought I explained it. She shook her head hastily, "No... why are you being so... nice to me? I was never nice to you!" she exclaimed, hands flailing.

Silly girl. I smiled at the flustered teenager, it's okay if she didn't understand yet. "You're still growing up. You are going to make mistakes and have regrets, that's just what happens. To everyone. But one day, you're going to become an amazing woman and... I'd really like to meet her one day."

The pink-haired girl stared down at the page, then up at me, with big, uncomprehending green eyes. I smiled at her and pat her hair, -it was very soft- then got up to find a certain fluffy-haired blonde, who was more-than-likely at Ichiraku's. Leaving Sakura to her thoughts.

Somehow I... wasn't too worried about her anymore.

Perspective:

(Moon)

When I made it back to my apartment after eating and leaving the others at that ramen shop Naruto never shuts up about, I noticed that the food from this morning was still on my step, and that there was now a smaller box on top with the note I left. I reached down and picked up the note.

I won't be eating lunch today. Thank you. Was what I had wrote, and below it in a distinctly feminine handwriting...

That's okay! Have a celebratory dinner then. Congrats on officially becoming a Shinobi by the way!

P.S. I made you some not-too-sweet dessert.

Enjoy!

There was also a crude smiley face drawn in the corner.

I looked back at the smaller box, it had big characters written on it that said, "Eat me!" I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, knowing that there was no one around to aim my exasperation at. That woman never listens. I pick up the food and hear a door opening nearby, I look over to see the old lady from the next apartment over. She noticed me first and then her eyes went to the food.

"Another package, Uchiha-san?" she asked. I only nodded in acknowledgement. Then she smiled that creepy smile of hers, the one where it's like she knows something that I don't. She always does that. "Ahh... to be young and in love again." she sighed.

I grimaced. That was not what this is. The woman who makes this food has been doing it since I was eight, not only would that make her way too old, but I've never seen her and she's never given me her name or made any other contact besides those silly notes of hers. As the old bat started chuckling I unlocked my door and closed it behind me a little harder than was necessary.

It was just a boxed lunch.

New Leaf Arc,

Chapter Nine: "Ninja 101"

END

A/N: Bell Test. Too long. Much too long but I couldn't bring myself to glaze over the important bits we've all seen and read before. I was half tempted to split it into two parts with how much happens in here, but, decided against it. Tell me how I did? Did I do it justice? Did it make sense? I need to know if I'm messing these CANNON events up correctly, no one seemed too out-of-character did they...?

Okay. Let's talk Neko... and Sakura... and basically everyone other than Team Seven. The next few chapters are going to just be Team Seven bonding and relationship building! I mean, Neko's got a job, Sakura has got things to think about and everyone else has their own teams. You probably won't see Sora fluffing around with anyone else until around the Chuunin Exams Arc -I haven't named it yet- so, just her and her Hero, Duckie and Scarecrow fluff.

All the reviews~ That was SO amazing you guys! Thank you, hoo boy, Kragh50, rickrossed, Angelicsailor, Girl-luvs-manga, xenocanaan, Noface, duchessliz, 431101134, DannyPhantom619, GingerFury, WhiteDogwood, ChuggaHunter, LXS, CassieInTheDark, AwesomePandaOh, juury, NightsBlackRose13, Cessau and Guests 1-2-3-4! Squee!

Author (answers a) Question! -Because Author can't respond to a guest user-

"Besides sealing, what is the most underrated skill in Naruto (puppets, illusion, trap, poison, etc)?" -LXS

I'd have to say Genjutsu. I know that there's 'Tsuki no Me' and Tsukiyomi but that's pretty much it. It's a skill that hardly ever gets used properly, and only by very few people. Kurenai for example, the Genjutsu Mistress, got knocked up and was taken out of roster. I mean, the Kurama clan could kill with their illusions, but there's only one of them left and she's in a crazy house.

Should I also mention here that Sora has some talent with Genjutsu?

Wuv yew~

-Nanami

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Prologue: Starting Over 1179 0 0 2. New Leaf Arc, Growing Pains 5710 0 0 3. New Leaf Arc, Hello World 5603 0 0 4. New Leaf Arc, Red Ribbon 5323 0 0 5. New Leaf Arc, About a Blonde 4280 0 0 6. New Leaf Arc, Hoodwinked 3920 0 0 7. New Leaf Arc, Kunoichi-to-be 4452 0 0 8. New Leaf Arc, ENTER, SORA! 5184 0 0 9. New Leaf Arc, Lucky Number Seven 5599 0 0 10. New Leaf Arc, Ninja 101 7283 0 0 11. New Leaf Arc, Smells Like Duties 5977 0 0 12. Breaking Waves Arc, Whats-his-face 5334 0 0 13. Breaking Waves Arc, Don't Lose Your Head 8216 0 0 14. Breaking Waves Arc, Our Roots 6882 0 0 15. Breaking Waves Arc, Precious Things 7963 0 0 16. Breaking Waves Arc, Tidal 6671 0 0 17. Breaking Waves Arc, Back-up Plan 7379 0 0 18. Breaking Waves Arc, Ripples 5523 0 0 19. Interlude, Hatake Kakashi Jonin-sensei 7396 0 0 20. Formula Arc, New Plan 8974 0 0 21. Formula Arc, Crossroads 9220 0 0 22. Formula Arc, His Word 4666 0 0 23. Formula Arc, Our Normal 7622 0 0 24. Formula Arc, The Art of Revenge 5170 0 0 25. Formula Arc, Kakashi Love Song 7416 0 0 26. Formula Arc, Arena 11642 0 0 27. Written Exam Arc, Chuunin Selection Exam 5540 0 0 28. Interlude, The Princess 8304 0 0 29. Written Exam Arc, Ache 7601 0 0 30. Written Exam Arc, Head and the Heart 6108 0 0 31. Dark Forest Arc, Bloodline 8738 0 0 32. Dark Forest Arc, Wake Up 9656 0 0 33. Dark Forest Arc, Fractured 5537 0 0 34. Dark Forest Arc, Day 2 4940 0 0 35. Dark Forest Arc, Distraction 9860 0 0 36. Dark Forest Arc, Dark Temptations 6455 0 0 37. Dark Forest Arc, The Day Icha-Icha 8984 0 0 38. Dark Forest Arc, Who Needs Sleep 10472 0 0 39. Dark Forest Arc, Match, START 8685 0 0 40. Dark Forest Arc, Life-risking Battles 5138 0 0 41. Dark Forest Arc, Monsters Afoot 7307 0 0 42. Interlude, Soldier-Mask-Man-Cat 9129 0 0 43. Montage Arc, Back into the Groove 7851 0 0 44. Montage Arc, New Development 8527 0 0 45. Montage Arc, Fritillaria Meleagris 6114 0 0 46. Montage Arc, Devil Woman 7410 0 0 47. Montage Arc, Sweet Thaaang 7387 0 0 48. Montage Arc, Back to Basics 6958 0 0 49. Montage Arc, Going With The Flow 3762 0 0 50. Montage Arc, Writer's Block 11988 0 0 51. Montage Arc, Moonlight Serenade 9331 0 0 52. Montage Arc, The Girl with Red Hair 10328 0 0 53. Montage Arc, Let's Talk 7039 0 0 54. Montage Arc, What is Love? Baby, Don't— 5310 0 0 55. Montage Arc, Now, theoretically… 5959 0 0 56. Montage Arc, Holster and Kunai 6835 0 0 57. Montage Arc, Cram Sessions 17057 0 0 58. Finals Arc, Let the Games Begin 18753 0 0 59. Finals Arc, SNAFU 9433 0 0