A Song for Them @nihilistic_bunny
New Leaf Arc, Smells Like Duties

Naruto Fan Fiction!

Adventure! SI-OC!

(Title)

"A Song for Them"

A/N: Does this count as a time-skip? Sorry, not sorry about the name. I thought of it as a joke and literally COULD NOT think of another one. So... *Shrugs* HOLY SMACK! We're hitting 10,000 views people! Each week, you guys do not fail to blow me away. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

(EDIT) 1/20/2019: Cleaned and fixed the issues with distinguishing the POV switches.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own 'Naruto' or any of the canon characters! ...do I have to keep saying this?

WARNING! RATED M! For... language and mentioning of a butt? Heh.

New Leaf Arc,

Chapter Ten: "Smells like Duties"

"Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." -Winston Churchill

Perspective:

(Sky)

January 24th, Day 1: Getting Our First Mission

I woke up this morning with a killer of a chakra induced migraine, courtesy of my new jonin-sensei. With a glance out the window, I could see it was still dark outside. Knowing that sleep wouldn't come again even if I tried, I sluggishly pulled my carcass out of bed and began my daily routine. I did my morning stretches and then washed and dressed in my usual blue attire, tied up my hair in my red ribbon, adjusted my hitai-ate over my scar and strapped on all my gear. Then I began preparations for lunch. I made Naruto's, Sasuke's, and mine and briefly contemplated making Kakashi a lunch but ultimately decided against it. We had known each for all of two days after all. I roof jumped across the districts to Duckie's apartment and dropped off the lunch without being spotted, the cool morning air doing wonders for my poor head. By the time I made it back to home, the sun was rising and everyone was starting the day. Except, of course, for one blonde to who was snoring like a log.

I walked directly into his room and took a moment to admire how innocent looking the Hero was in his blue PJ's and silly walrus cap.

Then I ripped the blankets off his bed.

"WAHHH!" 'THUMP!'

...he'd been quite wrapped up in them. It might've seemed a bit harsh, but trust me, it would've taken far longer to wake him up otherwise. I've tried. With the Hero awake, I slipped into the kitchen and began breakfast. If it were up to Naruto then he'd probably have ramen morning, noon and night and... no. Just no. I like ramen just as much as the next guy but I just can't do that. When he came out of his room looking groggy still, I directed him to the stove where the eggs were waiting for him to be cooked. I whistled a cheery tune as we made breakfast, when we finished eating Naruto was awake enough to get excited about today. As I was waiting for him to get dressed so we could go meet the rest of Team Seven for our first duties, I pulled out a cheap corner store book and began filling it with a story from Before.

I think I'll do... Emma, this time. A half hour or so later the Hero came out smelling like daisies. We left and the way to the Missions Desk was oddly quiet, apparently Naruto remembered that he was giving me the silent treatment. He was still pouty that I'd banned him for life from using any sort of explosives.

You're so mean... Terra was on Naruto's side, but that's only because she found some sort of joy in seeing him with scorch marks.

I rolled my eyes at her, 'It's his own fault really. He shouldn't of been treating them like toys.'

We arrived at the Academy and went up to the third floor, a place students weren't typically allowed in, and Duckie was already there waiting for us. I waved and signed a 'Good Morning' to him, he didn't acknowledge me and the Hero was insulted on my behalf.

"HEY! Don't be rude and ignore Sora-chan when she's being nice, bastard!" he shouted, apparently forgetting he was upset with me.

Duckie slowly lifted his onyx eyes to meet the Hero's cerulean.

"Hn."

Then he looked away.

Did Lord Duckie just 'Hn' us?

'I think it was more for Naruto's reaction than for us.' And as predicted, Naruto puffed up and was about to begin arguing with Sasuke but before that could happen I placed my hand on his blonde hair and gave him a calming smile. He frowned but settled for glaring at the floor. An hour after the scheduled meeting time, Kakashi appeared in front of us with a 'poof!'.

"Morning!" he chirped, the man then ignored the Hero's shouting about his arrival time and headed towards the large wooden double doors. "What are you all waiting out here for? Hokage-sama's expecting us."

I rolled my eyes, while Naruto gaped and Sasuke glared at the tardy man. He pushed open the doors and we walked into the spacious room, there were many ninja present around the long tables, busying themselves with scrolls and papers, Iruka-sensei was even among them. I flashed him a quick smile when his eyes landed on us. But, in the center of the longest table was a familiar man with a funny hat.

Hiruzen looked up from his papers as we entered, a warm spark in his old eyes. "Hello, Team Seven. I'm glad to see you've passed your test."

"Hokage-sama. Reporting for Team Seven's first official mission." Kakashi said then bowed formally, Sasuke and I followed suit. Though Duckie was a bit stiffer and definitely didn't have a warm smile on his face like I did.

Naruto waved with a face-splitting grin, "Yo, Jiji!"

Many a chuunin frowned at the Hero's familiarity. I gave a small wave myself. Hiruzen smiled at us, "Hello Naruto-kun, Sora-chan." he said warmly. The old Hokage then looked down towards the pile of scrolls in front of him, he picked one up, "Your first mission as genin shall be..."

Naruto started bouncing with excitement as the Sandaime's eyes trailed over the scroll.

"...helping Mrs. Higoshi with her grocery shopping."

Naruto took a moment to absorb that.

"EHHHHH!?"

January 28th, Day 4: Returning From Mission 'Weeding Mr. Nakasano's Garden'

I was walking down the street, Naruto chattering on and Sasuke and Kakashi were trailing behind us when I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. Curious, I took a couple steps backwards and looked at the store on my right once more. It was a dumpling shop. Not a very busy one from the looks of it. I frowned up at it, the sight being vaguely... familiar. I took another couple steps away and to the left to see it at a better angle. I tilted my head and squinted... I think that—

"What're you doing Sora-chan?"

I blink. Then look back to my teammates who are looking at me like I've lost my mind. Quickly, I made a show of smiling sheepishly and placed a hand over my stomach, letting them come to their own conclusions. Kakashi gave me an unimpressed look, Sasuke rolled his eyes and Naruto looked thoughtful. No doubt wondering if he could cajole me into eating at Ichiraku's with him again. We'll probably be downing char misu before the day is over.

"You can eat after we turn in this mission complete." Kakashi-sensei told me before turning back around and walking away. The Hero and Duckie followed him and I made a mental note to come back here.

It's worth another, closer look.

The sky was bluer and the sun warmer on her skin than the last time the Girl visited, she noted. The Girl had chosen a breezy, white sundress this time. She wondered why it really mattered what she wore in her mind-space. Her mind palace? Hm. That solitary place where she can ponder the path of her future and that of her loved ones in peace and tranquility.

"Even if we can't find heaven~ I'll walk through hell with you!" a Woman's voice sang out, echoing off the borders of her mind.

Well... in semi-peace and tranquility then.

"Good morning, Terra." the Girl called over the uplifting sounds of... of... hm. She found she didn't quite remember. The brunette woman, dressed in naught but a revealing red swimsuit and a thin see-though shawl, didn't acknowledge the Girl as she continued to sing from her hammock under her... was that a cabana? When did she put in a cabana?

"Love, you're not alone... 'cause I'm gonna stand by you!" she finished, the music quieted down as she did. Sapphire eyes landed on the Girl, one side her mouth quirking up into a smile. "Sky-girl... I wonder what ever you could be here for?"

"We need to discuss our plans." the Girl said primly.

"Mmm... I'd say so." Terra drawled dryly. Sora frowned delicately at the tone of voice Terra used, but didn't comment. She didn't come to fight after all.

"We should plan for our mission to Wave country. There is no guarantee that we, Team Seven, will still be getting the mission with the change in the roster, but we can't afford to not plan for that possibility. Not anymore. Naruto can only put up with so many uneventful D-Ranks after all..." the Girl murmured to herself.

"So what'cha wanna do, Sky-girl? There shouldn't be much to plan for though, Sakura barely had to lift a finger during that Arc." she stretched her arms above her head, arching her body off the chair. "All we have to do is sit back and watch the show!" she said with a lazy smile.

The Girl's frown was more prominent now.

"You mean sit back and watch as people die?" she said a tad sharply.

The Woman was frowning now.

"And what is it YOU plan to do against a, what? ANBU level missing-nin and a, at LEAST, high-chuunin level fifteen year-old? Killer or not, he's better than us." she countered with narrowed sapphire orbs. The Girl pursed her lips, her brows knitting together. Terra thought the girl looked very much like aggravated squirrel with those round cheeks of hers.

"Naruto and Sasuke are going to get hurt..." she whispered.

Terra let out a great heaving sigh. "This again..." she muttered disdainfully, "Sky-girl, you aren't their Mommy. You can't protect them from the world. Especially when their jobs are to save it... eventually."

"I will not stand idle as they are being used as pin cushions."

"What then, pray tell, are you planning to do? Someone has to offer the bridge-builder protection, even if it's basically non-existent against the sociopathic Swordsman."

Sora had to concede that Terra had a valid point... she usually did. Sakura, although she wouldn't of stood a chance, was guarding Te... Tu... uhm, the client against Zabuza and Haku. The Girl couldn't stand by and protect the client and help her teammates at the same time. What was she to do then? ...if only she had—Sora's eyes widened and she slapped her palm against her forehead. She thought she was such an idiot sometimes. Terra's blue eyes widened as well and she looked sharply at the girl.

"...if only I could create a barrier to protect the client so we could be free to help out." the Girl drawled wryly.

Terra only gave a considering, "Hm."

January 29th, Day 5: Mission 'Clean Up The Waterfall In Training Grounds Twenty-Four'

I look at the crashing waterfall in front of me with intense curiosity. A vague idea forming in the back of my mind.

"What're you doing, Sora-chan?" I heard Naruto shout over the crashing of the water.

I turned to my friend and signed, 'Think I can seal this?' I gestured towards the waterfall, he scrunched up his whiskered face and gave the majestic aspect of nature a considering pause. Then he shrugged and went back to collecting trash for our D-Rank mission of the day.

I saw it as a challenge. My mind automatically started sifting through all the variations of storage seals that I knew of. I want to keep the velocity the water was falling at, yet I have to do it without ruining any seal I come up with...

How do you capture a rushing waterfall?

January 31st, Day 7: Training Grounds Three

"Kakashi-sensei, can I ask you something?" I wrote. Scarecrow and I were off to the side of the clearing while the boys were currently busy beating the crap out of each other in a 'friendly' spar. Well, Duckie was doing the beating but the Hero just kept getting back up. They'll both get tired of it soon enough. I was more than glad to be left out of it this time, Kami knows that I've gotten pulled into too many of their spats back in the Academy.

"Yes, Sora?" the man answered without taking his eyes off the page in his own book. I glanced down at my page then back up to the man, irritated and amused at the same time.

"I want to create a seal that'll help if we were ever to get a escort or protection mission. A barrier that could withstand most attacks." ...like during a mission to Wave.

"And what do you need from me? Fuinjustu isn't exactly a specialty of mine." he drawled, still not looking up from that perverted book.

"That's alright, I already have a formula but it just needs thorough testing."

Finally, he gifted me with a curious glance, "You want me to break your seal?"

I smiled and nodded happily. That was more or less what I was asking for, more on the helping me find out how not to break it, but, whatever. Scarecrow observed me for a moment before flipping his illicit book shut and crossing his arms over his chest.

"Sure." he said. I smiled even wider, then he continued, "...if you tell me more about 'Tera'."

My smile fell, the color draining from my face a bit. He was there for that. I'd forgotten he'd seen all that. Yikes.

That was over a week ago! ...the man sure is patient.

'Yes... he is.' I agreed. What do I do here? I haven't ever actually spoken with an adult about Terra before. I never even told Neko! What is he going to do? What if he thinks I need to be locked in a looney bin?

MAKE UP A LAME EXCUSE! came Terra's bad advice. I knew better though. Kakashi wasn't going to let this go. At least he was being nice about it and waited for an opportunity, he could've dragged me in for a psych evaluation as soon as he found out.

I... have to trust him.

Right?

Right. I picked up my pen, swallowing my nerves. "Terra does not have control often. Only a few select times where I've been unconscious."

"That's the only time she's... here?" he asked slowly.

I shook my head negative, "She's always with me. I can hear her in my head."

His eye carefully did not widen, "You hear her? In your head?" he repeated aloud. I wanted to applaud him for not sounding too skeptical. I nodded. "And what does Tera tell you?"

I shifted my eyes away, "Terra is... inappropriate." -OI!- "She is terribly blunt and cynical, with no sympathy for who her words hurt. She has a terrible sense of humor, always laughing when people fail or make a fool of themselves or making fun of them herself. Has no tact whatsoever and she's selfish and she doesn't care who she hurts with her actions! And she's REALLY embarrassing sometimes!" as I wrote, I got more and more riled up. I was glaring at my page now.

"Does she tell you to do things you know you shouldn't?" he asked casually.

I looked up at him in confusion, then shook my head. "Terra's like an annoying older sister. Very protective of me, she usually nags me about taking better care of myself. All bark, no bite. She's quite harmless."

"And does she usually attack her comrades?" he asked wryly and I blinked. What? Why would—ohhh. Right, the thing that happened with Naruto.

I shook my head with a humorless smile, "No. She just likes to give Naruto a hard time. Given the chance she'd harass anyone within range."

Tension I didn't notice was there before loosened from the man shoulders as he relaxed against the tree. He was quiet for a moment, "And Tera... she's a part of you, right?"

I averted my eyes again but reluctantly nodded. She was every part of me as I was her. Every embarrassing, cynical bit. "We're the same person, just... split." I chopped my hand to emphasize, "We are opposites but not separate. She is everything I am not and the other way around."

My sensei nodded again, apparently satisfied with my answers. Standing up, he slipped his hands into his pockets and we strolled over to the two boys who were panting. Sasuke looked fairly put together and was still standing but Naruto was gasping for air on the ground. Kakashi clapped his hands together to get their attention, "Okay boys, we're going to do something a little different. Sora has something she wants to test, so for the rest of the day we'll be running a practice escort mission!"

For hours after that Kakashi-sensei had me scrapping and redesigning my barrier formula for each time him or the boys wrecked my shield, which, happened an embarrassing amount. By the end of the day I'd gone through another ten different variations before Kakashi dismissed us for the day. My Hero had to drag me home with how exhausted I was. Putting up those barrier again and again had left me seriously low on chakra. Which only served as a hard reminder for me to get back to working on my self-regenerative barrier designs.

February 4th, Day 11: 'Young Lotus' Tea House

"So? What d-do you think, Sora-chan?" came the sweet voice of the Hyuuga-hime. I didn't even correct her nervous stutter I was so stunned by her thoughtful gift.

We were at lunch at a popular Kunoichi hotspot, catching up on what the other had been busy with. Sharing what little, totally boring gossip we had when it inevitably came around to Kurenai-sensei and how Hinata had seen her jonin-sensei looking quite friendly with another jonin whom she recognized as Sarutobi Asuma who would occasionally teach our math classes. Talking about Kurenai had caused the younger girl to suddenly remember something, she then rummaged through the pockets in her yellow short-sleeved hoodie and pulled out a small scroll and handed it to me.

Curious, I opened the scroll enough to see the flowery writing on the top, 'Beginner Genjustu Techniques' it had said. It was filled with instructions on how to create a non-invasive Genjutsu outside of combat. Simple environmental changes and easy sound manipulation. Things like making a wall where there shouldn't be or hearing a voice from someone who isn't there. Nothing at all like the Demonic illusion techniques you could learn from the Academy library.

The sweet girl was looking bashful again, pressing her finger together, "I know that you wanted to learn before b-but didn't have any harmless techniques to try so... I knew that Kurenai-sensei's specialty is Genjutsu, so I brought it up once with her to ask if she had any advice for someone who wanted to learn and she told me about this."

I turned a wide grin on the girl and wrapped her up in a hug, causing her to blush rosy.

'Thank you, Mouse.'

February 8th, Day 15: Housing District's Main Road

It was our day off today. Sasuke was doing whatever Sasuke does, -probably training- and Naruto was doing who knows what that involved a worrisome amount of ninja wire. Finding this to be a good time, I decided to stop by that dumpling place I'd seen last week. After some asking around I found that 'The Golden Treat' just happened to be a great place to fix anyone's sweet tooth. Their Daifuku was highly recommended by Mrs. Wayabashi at the fruit stand. I walked under the blue curtains hanging over the front door and was met with the delightful smells of fresh dango and a little lunch room looking area. There were wooden benches like you'd see at the park. Behind the counter was a young woman with curly brown hair and freckles. She looked undeniably bored catering to an empty shop.

I was dressed in my casual clothing today, a simple shirt and shorts and a high-collared jacket paired with my dark Kunoichi boots. My hitai-ate safely stored away in one of my many pockets. When I approached the counter the girl looked up from the magazine she was reading to smile at me. It was a practiced smile that didn't reach her eyes but, it was more than some would bother to do. "Hello. Would you like to eat with us today?" she asked me. Tempted by the inviting smells of sweets I nodded, a grin on my face. "What would you like?"

I pulled out my note pad and wrote, "Your Daifuku was highly recommended." she looked at the pad in surprise, when she looked back at me her brown eyes had softened, sympathy swirled in her small civilian chakra. When she smiled again it was a bit more genuine.

"I'll get you some fresh Daifuku and hot green tea, then."

February 10th, Day 17: On The Way To Training Grounds Three

The three of us were walking side-by side on our way to training. Or, what it should be called, PE, considering there wasn't much actual training going on. Most days Kakashi would just sit back and read his book as we did laps, either on the ground or in the trees. And when we weren't running in circles then we were 'sparring'. Translation: Naruto and Sasuke kick my butt in Taijutsu and then they just punch each other until one goes down. That one usually being Naruto. So it's perfectly understandable why the Hero was complaining about our sensei.

In sign language.

'—such a lazy ass!' he signed.

'Language.' I chastised with a frown. He may curse aloud but he didn't need to go out of his way to sign it.

"Sorry, 'ttebayo." he mumbled, then continued, 'All he ever does is sit around and read his perverted book all day until we're too tired of running! Or he just ditches us when we have to pick up garbage.' he complained, referring to the mission we'd gotten the other day. Where Kakashi actually had ditched us at some point.

Sasuke was quiet but he was paying attention, his sign language had gotten better over the past month. Though he hasn't said anything, he doesn't look stoically clueless anymore. I glanced back towards our silver-haired teacher, he was trailing behind us and had his nose in that book he's probably read a thousand times before and it seemed like he was paying us no attention at all. I had a sneaking suspicion it was otherwise though. He was suppressing his chakra again, after all. I've learned since meeting him that he only does that so I won't be able to tell when he's being sneaky, like when he gave us the babysitting mission for the Jiro triplets last week. I just think he really likes seeing the looks of despair on our faces.

The sadist.

'Ya really think he knows? Terra wondered.

'It's been over two weeks now. I think that would be plenty of time for him to learn a new language!'

Such faith. Well, Whiskers here is mocking him right in his face yet he hasn't made any reaction to it. she reasoned. That was true. I couldn't think of a reason why he would be pretending he didn't know what we were saying only to not act on it.

'He should be turning us into even more amazing ninja! Not just babysitting us like we're kids! He's so lame!' Naruto complained.

I looked at my friend. Then apologized in my mind to him if I was wrong. A terrible, burning curiosity was compelling me to do this, 'Well, he's not all bad...' I signed, smothering my grin. 'I think sensei has a cute butt.'

Sasuke made a noise of disgust, Naruto gaped at me in wide-eyed horror, and Kakashi stumbled. I then rounded on my sensei in a very Naruto-esque manner while he was still recovering his balance. The Scarecrow was slightly hunched over when he looked in surprise at the finger pointed a couple inches from his masked nose.

'I knew you could understand!' I told him with a triumphant grin. He blinked his grey eye at me, then it narrowed dangerously, White Hot chakra going Cold.

Holy smack! He's pissed again! Terra cried in fear.

"Very perceptive of you Sora." he said very calmly as he straightened up, I shrunk a bit. The feeling of victory fleeting. "Y'know... maybe I have been a bit lax in your training." his chakra was open now... and it had that dark amusement I've come to associate with my sensei. I gulped loudly. The Hero and Duckie perked up with varying degrees of enthusiasm. The fools.

The man 'smiled', "I think I know just the thing to fix that..."

Later that day, we three genin ended up without a feeling in our limbs at a training course Scarecrow had told us was regularly used by a very Youthful friend of his. I swear I felt a part of my soul leave my body when he said that we would be coming every day after our long list of D-Ranks. I ended up learning something new, after all.

Do not piss Kakashi off.

February 16th, Day 23: One Mile West Of The Naka River

It was another of Team Seven's designated 'rest' days and I decided to follow-up on one of my old projects. Today, on the far outskirts of the Village proper, I found myself on the steps of the Naka Shrine. It was bigger than some of the other shines that litter the outskirts of the Village and even after years of disuse it stood tall and only looked a little worse for wear. I wonder if the village has someone come and clean up once in awhile. I didn't really think that Sasuke made it a habit to come by and sweep.

I passed under the Torii gate and over the stone steps, not even the sounds of birdsong to keep me distracted from the eerie feeling creeping into my bones. This place has always unsettled me whenever my curiosity became too much to bear and my feet would bring me here. It was so... quiet. Unnaturally so. Like the animals and even the wind knew that something wrong resided here. I pushed the wide wooden doors open a crack, just large enough for me to slip through. My bare feet didn't make a sound as I lightly stepped over the dusty tatami mats, I went directly to the seventh one from the far right and pulled it up and was met with frigid, stale air.

With a small leap, I descended into the darkness. My feet hit the cold stone in a crouch, I reached into my bag and pulled out my Nightlite tag. I held it in front of me pulsed my chakra into it, lighting the near-empty room in an eerie pale blue glow. Across from me, I could see it standing there. The braziers were as cold as the rest of the room. I figure it's likely that Sasuke hasn't been back here in a while, can't think of a reason he would. I stood and crossed the spacious room, memories of the first time I snuck in here flood up. It had been a month after the massacre had happened. I remembered how I was shaking from the traces of chakra that was leftover from the last people that were here. I'm not one to believe in ghosts sticking around on mortal coil, considering I know better but... I still get chills when I think back to that day. My eyes rested on the stone tablet. A simple stone whose words have caused so much suffering.

The words of Ōtsutsuki Hagoromo himself.

...and the lies of Black Zetsu.

The characters on the tablet were strange, almost foreign. I briefly wondered if the Sharingan could decipher languages, finding the patterns where others couldn't. And if this was an alien language? I put a pin in my musings for a later date and pulled out a piece of coal and the empty scroll I'd brought along with me. I unrolled the scroll and placed it over the tablet, I brought my coal to the paper and dragged it up and down, copying the characters onto the scroll for further study. When I finished copying the first sentence I pulled down the paper to check my work. I felt myself frowning at what I saw. I look up again to check the-yup. Those are different now. The characters changed, they are not the same ones from a minute ago.

Uh, what is happening? Terra asked.

'I... have no idea. Gimme a sec...'

I lifted the paper and copied the first part again and when I compared it, it had changed again! Chakra. Has to be, I decided. Anything in this world that circumvents a logical explanation involves chakra. I scrutinized the tablet closer, but after a minute or so of scanning the stone my eyes began to hurt, causing a headache to begin. It wasn't the usual migraine but a more familiar ache...

My eyes widened when I remembered it. Dyslexia. The stone is causing me to have a form of Dyslexia and that's why I've been getting a headache! Before I'd had Dyslexia that's why I could recognize the feeling now! Wow, I'd forgotten how annoying that was. My mind began to spin with thoughts. What could possibly be capable of doing this? Chakra, yes but... I closed my eyes and laid my hand on the stone.

It felt coarse under my fingertips. Cold as ice. But it was alive with chakra, in a constant state of movement. I focused. Where was the chakra coming from?

There.

I opened my eyes and held the light closer. I couldn't see anything but I could feel it. The tablet used to be in a forest right? The years and weather must've washed it away but I could still sense the chakra that was used in the ink.

There was Fuinjustu on this.

'Well.' I drawled, a smile creeping onto my lips, 'Seems like we have a new project.'

...oh, joy. came my other half's unenthusiastic response.

February 24th, Day 31: Training Grounds Three

I crumpled up my paper in frustration and threw away another failed regenerating barrier design.

"Don't litter~" sing-songed my sensei in his flattest tone. Out of pure spite, I balled up another piece of paper and threw it at his head. He made no reaction as it bounced harmlessly off his silver head and continued to read his pervert book. "Remember to pick that one up, too!" he said in a aggravatingly cheerful voice.

I sighed heavily and flopped backwards onto the grass. I closed my eyes and tried to calm my temper. I really shouldn't take it out on Kakashi, he's tried to help how he can. He's been really good about pointing out the weak spots in the barriers, it's just the fact that I have to constantly feed chakra into it whenever it gets damaged that has me so frustrated! It will never be usable in a real combat situation if I have to keep feeding it! And none of the regenerating formulas have showed any promising results so far and it's maddening! The sunlight darkened behind my eyelids and I knew someone was blocking my light. I opened my eyes to see my favorite blonde crouched over me.

"Still can't figure it out 'ttebayo?" he asked with a pitying half-smile, he offered me his hand. I took it and shook my head sullenly as he pulled me into a sitting position.

"At least I've ruled out the Elemental Manipulation branch as a stabilizing anchor." I wrote on a scrap of spare paper before reaching into my black storage book and unsealing a thick red book. Naruto nodded along, pretending to know what I was talking about. I tried teaching him about Fuinjustu years ago, but it just never quite held his attention for long, 'Too much writing' he told me. It was a shame, too. He actually had a really good understanding about the theories behind it.

"So..." his blond brows furrowed, as he looked over my scrapped formulae. "...you're tryin' to make the chakra go round and round, right?" I nodded distractedly as I scribbled into my big red book of Fuinjutsu designs, notes and my own findings on the Sealing Schools. One thing most don't understand about Fuinjutsu is that it's a fluid Art, not a simple skill to learn and master, it was always and ever-changing along with it's practitioners. I have to keep notes on whatever I'm working on to follow my path of thought at a later point, if I ever were to focus on -get distracted by, more like- another project.

"Then..." he mumbled. Then my notes were suddenly gone and I frowned at the empty spot in the grass. Naruto had taken and was flipping through my book, when he found what he was looking for he made a sound a triumph, "A-ha! I knew it was in here somewhere 'ttebayo!"

He turned the book back around to me and the first thing I noticed was that it was an old sketch of my early silencing seal formulas. I had discarded the entire idea because the design was totally incompatible with the base functions of the seal. It was supposed to seal in any traveling sounds waves and the spiraling layers just didn—Ooohhhhh. My eyes widened as I took the book from his hands and started connecting the logic. The spiraling designs were made for a situation like this!

Fibonacci. That is exactly what I've been missing! Overwhelmed with excitement, I grabbed my Hero's orange collar and pulled my Hero forward for a noisy kiss on his fluffy, brilliant blonde hair! He giggled and scratched his flushed cheek embarrassedly.

"Ehehe... so it helped, Sora-chan?"

I kissed his fluffy head again, then set to work.

March 7th, Day 42: Shopping District's Main Road

I narrowed my eyes at him. Duckie was looking insufferably smug for someone who didn't want to do this in the first place. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but Team Seven had gotten roped into playing some street games during the Festival of Lanterns. I believe it started with the Hero yelling at Duckie for some reason or another, then we came across a Wanage stall and it all went downhill from there.

Wanage in a Hidden village is basically ring toss on steroids.

Contestants with hitai-ate's had to play by special standards, standing farther and farther away with smaller rings. It was actually quite clever. It made it so that even young ninja could have a fun time. Somehow Kakashi-sensei and I were suddenly apart of Naruto and Sasuke's pissing match and were all now in a competition. Duckie soundly beat the Hero and after Scarecrow lost to me, -most definitely on purpose- it was now 'Sora VS Sasuke' and I wasn't planning on competing with Sasuke but then the Hero said that I wasn't allowed to let Duckie win by default. I particularly liked how the Uchiha's eyebrow had twitched when Naruto had demanded that I avenge his defeat.

Duckie and I were now locked in a battle of attrition.

We were locked 2-2, I only having won the last game because Naruto had thrown Duckie off-balance by insulting his stance, saying it was very feminine, giving me a chance to tie us. So here we were, ten meters away from the wooden pegs, rings in hand. A few people had gathered and were watching us now. Some were taking bets, mostly on the Uchiha prodigy beating the demon's sidekick. I won't lie. It kinda spurred me on to wipe that smirk off his face. I prepared to throw my rings. Now, it's fair to point out that the street was fairly crowded, and it's entirely possible that it was an accident when Sasuke's shoulder 'accidentally' invaded my personal space and brushed up against me while I was throwing, causing me to flinch at the unexpected physical contact and bungle my last toss.

Oh, who am I kidding?

We're ninja. Ninja don't cheat. We ninja.

The first two rings landed on the 9 and the last one on the 7, I shot the Uchiha a dark look. He could win with that. From the stupid smirk on his face he knew it too.

Do the thing. Terra ordered.

'Really? Here?' I asked dubiously.

He brought this on himself... she said gravely.

Duckie squared his stance, preparing himself to throw. I casually folded my hands behind my back into the Bird seal and pooled my chakra, I mixed my physical and mental energies, I focused on the illusion I wanted to create, I pulsed my chakra, casting the Genjutsu over Sasuke on his last toss. It was one of the simple auditory techniques that were in the scroll Hinata had given me. The user recreates a sound or voice from memory and the victim hears it themselves. Over the last six years I have become intimately familiar with the voices of many of our old classmates. So has Sasuke, and that was exactly what I was counting on.

The Genjutsu cast and Duckie jerked his arm in surprise when he thought he heard the terrifying call of the wild fangirl.

The ring ended up hitting a street light. Naruto cheered and pulled me into a hug, the crowd jeered, Kakashi-sensei was looking at me with a knowing glint in his eye and Sasuke looked for any signs of a fangirl, but when he caught sight of me grinning ear-to-ear he scowled darkly at me. I perused over the many plush prizes and was a bit disappointed, but not totally surprised, to find no plush foxes. So, instead I went home that day with a little black Duckling plushie.

March 14th, Day 49: On A Red Bridge In Training Grounds Three

I was reading my the newest book to my growing collection, 'Genjustu and You' as I waited with the Hero and Duckie for our designated Scarecrow to show up with today's D-Ranked mission. After an hour of waiting, Kakashi showed up, sitting on the railing without even so much as a 'poof!'.

"Yo." he waved.

"YOU'RE LATE!" Naruto shouted.

"Maa... you see I came across a rabbit that been separated from it owner and I just had to help it find it way back. Turns out his owner? It's really funny. Is a leader of a traveling circus troupe outside the village walls."

The three of us stared blankly at him. I, in fond exasperation. Duckie in just plain exasperation. Naruto in supreme annoyance, then the Hero lifted an accusing finger at him and shouted; "LIAR!"

Scarecrow was very unaffected by Naruto's shouting, quite accustomed to it already. The silver-haired man then clapped his hands together, "Okay team! Today's mission we are tasked with the retrieval of Tora the cat, who has run away from her owner. Descriptive features... brown fur and should be wearing a red bow on it's ear."

Oh. It's that time already then?

New Leaf Arc,

Chapter Ten: "Smells like Duties"

END

A/N: THE END OF THE ARC! Hooray! Next time we will begin the 'Breaking Waves Arc' where Sora will be faced with a hard decision. Ooooh... Also, I will be taking a week off of posting because I am falling behind and, well... family is insane. And if you try and tell me that your family is pleasant and sane around the Holiday's then I am telling you now, that you are the crazy one of the bunch.

Author Question!

"What's your favorite part of this time of year?

Mine is the music. I love the crazy people I call my family but even they can't make comments on how many times I play 'Carol of the Bells' in a row.

Happy Holiday's all, stay warm. I'll see you all on the 7th of 2018! Wahoo! With love and extra cheer,

-Nanami

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