Pearl: (Sigh) What has happened to me? I totally just ditched this story and stopped working on it. Well, I know for one, there was school that came back in the way. (frowns) Oh well...other than that, I guess I could've at least even worked on it even if it was just a little bit. I'm glad that I still have chapter ten from where I left off at least. I guess leaving a story and coming back to try and finish it is a hard thing, but I'm glad I'm here anyway so let's get to typing!

Naruto: I think I have kids now...I've waited too long.

Pearl: Oh! Who's the wife?

Sasuke: (knocks Pearl on the head) Idiot! It was sarcasm! What took you so long to come back anyways?

Kakashi: Yo!

Pearl: (crying) Owie...s-sorry...I guess you guys are mad at me?

Naruto: Well, a little, at least you came back.

Kakashi: I'd have to follow Naruto on this one.

Pearl: Yay! Hey, where's Sakura?

Naruto and Sasuke: asked if us GUYS were mad at you...

Pearl: ...oh.

Chapter Ten: Rain

Naomi sat quietly in her house and thought about the past events that happened. Earlier today, she helped some sick villagers, but nothing came now. Everything seemed so quiet, but Naomi's mind was exploding with loud thoughts. Remembering, the water bottle incident with Kakashi, Naomi asked herself softly, "What was I thinking?" Slowly shaking her head, Naomi placed a hand over her heart that beat nervously. "I just keep thinking about him. I know I've got to stop this…somehow." Naomi finished solemnly. "Heh." Naomi chuckled weakly as she realized, "It's the same feeling when Jiro laughed."

Suddenly, there came a knock from Naomi's door. Glad to get out of the mess in her head, Naomi joyfully opened the door, and to her surprise, it was that jounin messenger from the time Naruto and Naomi were on the rooftop. "Lord Hokage wishes to speak with you again." he said seriously.

"Again?" Naomi asked. "Do you know what it is this time?"

Shaking his head, the jounin apologized to Naomi, but informed her that the Hokage needed to see her for something important.

"Ah, alright." Naomi sighed as she stepped out of her house and locked the door behind her.

Lord Hokage turned around, faced Naomi, and said, "I see that you have refused to aid Jiro."

Understanding her reason to be called, Naomi nodded her head and said, "He wants to kill Prince Katsuro for revenge, but I cannot fight for revenge."

"Hmm." Hokage thought as he fiddled with the hair on his chin. "Yes, Naomi, I understand your reason perfectly, but you must know that he cannot survive without your help." Naomi became discouraged at these words.

"Is he…really not strong enough?" Naomi asked suspiciously.

"Yes, Jiro's strength alone is not strong enough." Hokage confirmed.

Sighing, Naomi looked at Lord Hokage with sad eyes under her spectacles, but she knew that she must do the right thing.

"Lord Hokage, I see why I have to aid Jiro-sensei. He would...die if I didn't help him." She started hesitantly. "Alright, I will go, but…may I go as an order?"

"What do you mean?" Hokage asked questionably.

"Like I said, Lord Hokage, I don't want to go for revenge. Is it possible if I go as an order from you?" Naomi asked as she explained.

Laughing softly to himself, Lord Hokage said, "Yes, Naomi, this is a rank B mission for you." Then clearing his throat, Lord Hokage instructed in a serious tone, "Irunaki, Naomi, you are here by under my order of assisting Toshakatsu, Jiro in his revenge for Toshakatsu, Yuri's death."

Yuri's name rang in Naomi's head and pausing, she answered, "Yes, Lord Hokage!" After quickly arching over a bow, Naomi hurried away in a flash.

She ran to one of the forest clearings her team trained in, but this one was where Naomi and Naruto first encountered Jiro. Oddly enough, he stood casually under a tree waiting for Naomi.

When Jiro turned his head, he said with a smile, "I knew Lord Hokage could convince you!"

"Hmm, well, I felt like I needed permission." Naomi said with sarcasm.

"Are you ready Naomi?" Jiro asked with the sudden change in tone. "You must be prepared for this dangerous journey."

Naomi's eyes fell on Jiro, and she said with determination, "Believe me, Jiro-sensei! I'm more than ready!"

"Oh, by the way," Jiro said as they began walking, "can you take off those silly glasses? Along with that headband?"

Hesitantly, Naomi said with a small hint of annoyance, "Fine, fine, but just for this mission, okay?"

"Okay." Jiro answered.

With that, Naomi ripped off her glasses, shrunk them with a spell, and placed them into her pocket on her arm. "But I'm not taking this headband off! Instead, I have a better idea." Naomi untied her headband and readjusted it to where it hung loosely around her neck.

"Now there's the Naomi I know!" Jiro teased. Naomi's blue eyes blinked and sparkle at the scenery before her as the two began their journey.

Kakashi strolled along in the forest with his eyes focused on Icha Icha Paradise. Finally, he looked up from his book and spotted the same herb tree that Naomi had fallen from. "Hmm, funny how I ended up here again." Kakashi thought. Then returning to his paradise, he continued on walking, but it wasn't long before he reached the area where he first met Natsumi. "Well, here we are." Kakashi said putting up his book. He sat himself down on the bench with the vending machines and waited for Natsumi.

Raising his head and watching the clouds above, Kakashi remembered catching Natsumi the other day as she wandered the forest in that same summer dress. Lately, Naomi had been walking through the forest and wandering to Naruto's secret place, but was discovered by Kakashi. Luckily for Naomi, she was "disguised" as Natsumi. He was spellbound when he saw her again and wasn't sure if she was really there or not. From then on, Natsumi promised Kakashi that she would meet him there everyday at noon. They would talk, and Naomi learned so much more about Kakashi.

Now, Kakashi glanced at the sun and figured it was well past noon. Standing up, he sadly gazed into the forest around him with the thought of Natsumi's face imbedded in his mind.

"Where are you?" He asked. All he wanted now was to see her smile again.

Even so, Kakashi forced himself to leave the place and return inside Konoha, but as he walked a few feet away, Kakashi slowly turned around and waited a little longer. His heart raced as it pounded inside him, but no one came. No one was there. Finally, he left the area and found his arm intertwined with Fumiko's.

"Why were you so late?" She asked as they walked down the streets of Konoha together.

"I…was lost on the road of life." Kakashi replied hesitantly.

Laughing softly, Fumiko said, "You're so silly with that remark. Come on, Kakashi, let's go. We wouldn't want to waste anymore time on our date."

The two have been traveling for a day and a half now. The hidden palace that housed Prince Katsuro wasn't far…according to Jiro's map.

"Are you sure you know where you're going?" Naomi asked that day.

"Yes, yes, now don't make me loose my concentration!" He fussed as he narrowed his eyes on the map.

"Concentration on what? You're looking at a map...just follow it." Naomi said sarcastically. "Oh, be quiet!" Jiro snapped fed up with Naomi's attitude.

Finally, the two stopped to rest in a grassy area near several hills. Pointing at the green bumps before them, Jiro said, "The castle is just over those hills."

"Well, that wasn't long. Just a day and a half, right?" Naomi inquired.

"Yep, that's right!" Jiro exclaimed then unexpectedly, he asked Naomi, "So…Naomi, have you met your true love yet?"

The question banged into Naomi, and her face flushed a deep pink. "What? What do you mean?" she stammered nervously with the thought of Kakashi pounding in her head.

"Well, I'd say you're well over me, and probably someone else has stolen your heart. Is it one of your teammates?" He badgered.

"There's no one!" Naomi quickly blurted out.

Blinking twice, and then shrugging, Jiro said, "Alright, whatever you say."

Closely eyeing her former sensei, Naomi quietly and slowly asked, "W-wait a minute, Jiro-sensei, you would know more about love than me right?"

Clearing his throat, Jiro said, "Hmm…I see you still insist on calling me your sensei. Well, in any case…" After a slight pause, Jiro watched Naomi steadily. "Yes, Naomi, I would probably know more about love than you. Why do you ask?"

"Um…" Naomi stuttered nervously as she poked her two index fingers together, "I'm not sure about…admitting whether I love someone or not."

"Yes, I see. Well, that should be the first thing you'd feel when you start to love someone." Jiro said as he casually scratched his head. Naomi looked dully at Jiro for accenting on the word start.

Abruptly, their rest was interrupted by sharp stones that flew at them in the form of stakes. Naomi skidded away while Jiro bounced into the air.

"Where did those come from?" Naomi questioned.

A raspy laughter filled the sky, and a woman slipped out from behind the hills. She was young and beautiful. Her red hair and green eyes lured any mans' eyes to her, and the armor that clenched onto her body were the same as the armor of Prince Katsuro.

"Well, we hardly get any visitors here." she started, "This is such a rare opportunity."

Jiro and Naomi stood in the same stance and dashed towards her.

"Well, well, it looks like actions first and words later." The woman said.

Unexpectedly, the red-haired beauty appeared behind Naomi and thrust a kick at Naomi's back, which sent her flying into a tree. Naomi managed to catch herself and make her landing light against the tree. Jiro threw punches and kicks at their enemy, but the woman easily evaded them. When she saw an opening in all of Jiro's thrusts, she threw another kick there, and he skidded across the dirt.

Naomi stood up, spat on the ground, and said with a cocky attitude, "Heh…you're pretty good."

"Why thank you. I hardly get compliments from someone I'm about to kill so this is definitely a first," the beauty said with a seducing smile.

Jiro stood up, and dusted some dirt off. "I believe your name is Kin. You're one of those banned ninjas from your home village, am I correct?" Jiro asked.

"Oh, I see you've done your share of studying." Kin said her smile slowly increasing. Swiftly pulling out shurikens from her holders, Kin thrusted them at Naomi and Jiro, and soon, all three were off in their battle again.

Not a moment too long did Kin somehow run out of shurikens, and the three found themselves standing on their sides facing one another.

"Well, looks like you're out of weapons." Jiro pointed out.

"Oh, don't worry." Kin said, "I've got plenty more of where those came from." With that, small craters formed near her feet and the loose rocks hardened and sharpened into the shapes of kunais. They floated before Kin, who sneered at the two.

"Hang on a minute." Naomi realized her eyes widening in surprise. "You're not…that Kin? Are you?"

"Yup, I'm afraid she is." Jiro confirmed. "It is that Kin. She has an unknown last name and is only known widely as Kin, The Beauty of Earth. She was banned from her village for having the ability to control Earth and abusing it. I guess she was just a monster to the villagers."

"Ha! Those fools!" Kin mocked, "They never saw the good in my powers. Heh, they'll learn soon enough, but first, I am ordered to take care of you two." Kin hurled the rock kunais at Jiro and Naomi, but they hopped away dodging them. Growing in her fury, the red-haired beauty forged a larger crater into the Earth controlling all the loose rocks that jiggled out. Dirt, boulders, and rocks began flying in all directions. They aimed at Naomi and Jiro chipping their arms and legs. "Let's see how you escape from my Earth Style: Tornado Jutsu!" Kin said as she watched her opponents amusingly.

The Earth began to shatter and shake as if an earthquake were to happen, but soon, Naomi and Jiro found themselves in a much larger crater with more rocks and gravel flying around them. Jiro and Naomi managed to escape to the edge of the crater, dodging and breaking rocks along the way. Before them, a brown tornado spun around dangerously hurling stone projectiles in every direction.

"Naomi!" Jiro called out, "Stay behind me!" Jiro's hands came into a formation, and he shouted, "Ogre Sheath Jutsu!" A green barrier appeared before him as he kept his position. It stretched into the sky blocking the dirt that swirled in the air. Jiro formed this green shield with his chakra, and Kin watched the man with interest. Naomi stood warily behind Jiro, swiveled around, and called out, "Stop, Jiro-sensei! Your chakra will be wasted!" Jiro let go of his formation, and they quickly ran and hid behind a tree. Naomi took a quick peek at the brown tornado that stood just on the other side of the tree.

When she turned back around to Jiro, her eyes filled with horror. A stone kunai had pierced its way into Jiro's chest, and the blood was too much. It soaked into the bearskins and stained his boots. He sat panting as he held his wound.

"Heh…looks like I was a little too late in…forming that barrier." he said with difficulty.

Naomi quickly put her hands on his shoulder and exclaimed in panic, "Jiro-sensei! Oh, wait! I'll heal you just hang in there, please! M-my water powers can heal you!"

Jiro cringed at the pain and with one eye opened, he looked into Naomi. The corner of his mouth curled into a smile and he said, "Please, Naomi. Don't heal me. I want to die."

Those words overcame Naomi and her heart gripped them tightly. "You…want to die?" she asked her voice breaking.

Coughing, Jiro still kept his smile. "To be with Yuri, again. Heh...that Kin...she was the one...who killed Yuri." he replied.

The tornado evaporated and everything was still. A feeling of understanding swept through Naomi along with the feeling of sorrow. "It was good to see you again, Naomi. How well I've brought you up really amazes me." Jiro whispered quietly.

"Kakashi-sensei," Naomi said. Her throat tightened up and tears fell from her blue eyes.

Jiro's smile faded as his face filled with confusion.

"He is the one that I…love." Naomi finished between her sobs.

The smile reappeared onto Jiro's face, and he held out a hand to touch Naomi's cheek. Naomi's hands grasped and held it tightly.

"Please…don't go." she whispered, but she knew he had to, and…he wanted to.

"Your tears…I don't ever remember seeing…you cry." A hard cough interrupted Jiro, but he continued, "I'm sorry, Naomi. I hope the best would come…for you and…Kakashi." With that, his soul left his body and the smile listlessly disappeared. As he slowly shut his eyes, his golden spheres collapsed into the darkness with the last scene of Naomi crying.

"No! Jiro-sensei! Jiro-sensei!" Naomi shouted through sobs. She leaned against his shoulder as her tears kept falling.

The sky became dark and clouds loomed overhead. In the distance there was thunder, and at last, the gray rain came. It swooped across the grassy plains and splattered into the dirt and crater forming small puddles.

Kin hovered above Naomi in the shelter of a rock umbrella keeping her dry. She stopped the tornado long ago and was now clapping at the "entertainment" down below her. "Oh, how dramatic." she said with sarcasm. "These moments always happen after I pick off the first one." Rage exploded within Naomi.

"Shut up." She growled.

Then flying up to where Kin hovered by stepping on the raindrops, Naomi waved her hand and commanded the rain to bomb Kin. Dodging them, Kin exclaimed, "What? Impossible! You control water?" Naomi's sapphire eyes glared at Kin through her drenched bangs that hung over her face. The rain kept pouring, and even though Naomi was dripping wet and cold, she couldn't care less. "I'll let the rain hammer you to death!" Naomi threatened coldly.

Another piece of earth came out of the umbrella that shaded Kin, and it formed into a rock shield Kin held in her right hand. "Oh please, I control the Earth, but I think you might be worth some time to play with. I guess it looks like I'll have some fun before you die."

The anger boiled deep inside Naomi, who couldn't contain it any longer. "No, I'm going to end this quickly. I'll kill you!" Naomi lunged at Kin who dodged her and laughed.

"And how are you going to do that?" A couple of water kunais were attempted by Naomi, but Kin easily protected herself with her Earthen shield. Her laughter filled the rain, which boiled Naomi even more. "I will end it! Here and now!" Naomi exclaimed.

Her right hand extended in front of her and out came claws made of water from her fingertips. Blue feathers appeared on the back of her hand and began spreading upward covering her entire arm. They emitted a soft glow from her chakra, and the light danced in the cold rain. "Water Style: Phoenix Talon Jutsu!" Naomi shouted. With that, she charged at Kin stabbing through her stone shield. Not a moment too soon, Naomi pierced into The Beauty of Earth's chest, but in her anger, Naomi pushed herself even further until her claws reached through emerging from Kin's back. Kin's shriek of agony filled the air, but was drowned out by the rain. The rock slab Kin held onto disintegrated into mud and splattered onto the ground. Naomi then threw her dead enemy into the dirt where her body shriveled up and eroded away with the dirt. As her claws and feathers dissolved back into water, Kin's blood dribbled down Naomi's arm and dripped off her blood stained fingertips.

Through the rain, Naomi tried to haul Jiro's body back to Konoha, but her strength refused to do so. However, she did manage to make it to the edge of the woods where she and her team trained. There, Naomi dug Jiro's grave, and all the time of digging, her tears couldn't stop from pouring nor did the rain.

Suddenly, in the middle of covering Jiro with another layer of dirt, a headache pounded into Naomi's head. "What?" Naomi wondered wincing in pain. After noticing the thick blood that was still on her arm, Naomi thought, "Wait…this blood. It should have been washed away a long time ago." A second pulse pounded through her head and shivered down her spine. "AH!" Naomi yelped in pain. After lifting her arm to her nose and smelling the blood did Naomi realize that Kin had the last laugh. "Damn it, her blood…it's poisoned. It must have gotten into my body from those scrapes I got in battle with her. Damn her!" Naomi cursed. Then a third pulse pounded through her, and she yelped again. "Ah…every pulse gets…stronger…no, I'm just getting…weaker." Naomi figured. The rain never ceased itself as Naomi fell onto the muddy grass holding her body from the pain of the fourth pulse. "I've got to…finish this for…Jiro-sensei." Then, heaving herself up, Naomi forced herself to complete the grave of her former sensei.

Finally, she was through, but was weak and exhausted. It was no longer day and it was no longer night. Whatever time it was, it seemed to be an eternity of suffrage to Naomi. The pulses that pounded through her only drained out more energy as she struggled her way back to the Konoha. Her vision became blurred, and she staggered in her walk.

"Ah, I can't believe we've still got to work in this weather." a guard complained to his co-worker as he straightened his raincoat.

"Hey, don't look at me. I'm here to get paid, after all, I do have a family to take care of." he replied.

"Still," the first guard stated as he watched the rain, "someone can catch a cold if they stay out here too long."

"Yeah, I know what you mean…hey, what's that?" the second guard asked alertly.

"I…I don't know." the first man said as he squinted his eyes at a shadow in the rain.

It staggered and wobbled back and forth along the path, but it crept closer and closer.

"I think it's just a drunkard." the second guard assumed.

"Hmm…I'm not so sure, it looks like it's just a kid."

Suddenly, the dark shadow collapsed onto the ground.

"Whoa! Let's go check it out!" the first guard exclaimed.

Naomi lie cold in the mud breathing as hard as she could for air to circulate through her lungs. Her forehead was burning hot along with the pulses that pounded through her body. In her left hand, she held tightly onto several kinds of poisonous herbs.

"Oh my…" the first guard said in horror, "it's the Healer!"

"What's…what's happened to her?" the second asked in the same shock.

They both hesitantly eyed the black forearm that was now Naomi's right arm.

"I heard that she…was on a mission." the second said slowly.

"Well, come on! Don't just stand there! She's soaking wet and needs help!" the first guard ordered.

With that, he picked Naomi off the dirt and held her limply in his arms. Naomi's skin was as cold as a tomb when the guard touched her. It even frightened him a little, but he shook off his fear and carried her away.

Pearl: Ah, yeah…a little cliff hanger?

Kakashi: What happens next? What happens next?

Pearl: Are-are you…crying?

Kakashi: Huh? NO…I've just got something in my eye.

Pearl: …uh huh, did you enjoy that date with Fumiko?

Kakashi: …don't try and change the subject on me!

Pearl: So you did, right?

Kakashi: …sort of. (shifty eyes)

Pearl: AhA!

Kakashi: I knew reading this story was a bad idea...

Sakura: PEARL!!! IS THAT YOU?!

Pearl: (Gone)