Chapter 3: Maybe, I'm Home

The four shinobi finally arrived at Konoha. As Aimi looked around, she began to think that many things had changed. But it was strange, she felt the exact same way that she did before. She felt as if she never left the place. It felt like the feeling that you can't explain because you've deprived yourself from that feeling for a long time. It made her feel really good.

She looked all around. Of course the place had changed; after the invasion it was really torn apart. She looked around and saw the famous hokage faces carved onto the mountains. There was another face added, it was Tsunade-sama, and all around Aimi, all the shops got new coats of paint and everything looked wonderful. There was nothing else Aimi could have said about the place, except it was beautiful. Kakashi couldn't help but notice Aimi's fascination about Konoha.

"It feels like you've never left, right?" Kakashi said as he walked behind Aimi.

His voice startled her, so she turned her head to him and said with a smile "Yes."

"But, we have to go now." Kakashi said breaking Aimi's amusing gazes.

"I know, I have time to see what I missed." Aimi said with a reassuring tone.

The shinobi left to go to the Hokage's mansion. As they walked in her office, Aimi was surprised to see the office again. It looked the same as before but, it felt different. The desk was the same, the cabinets were the same; the whole room looked the same but, the vibe was different. The room gave Aimi a fresh vibe, it was like a completely different office. The Third's presence was more full of wisdom and the Fifth's was a lot more intimidating. It was like you couldn't predict what she would and could do. Aimi's back straightened up when Tsunade shot her a look that made her feel intimidated.

"Jiraiya says you're a very reliable source of information about Akatsuki." Tsunade said as she drank from her cup of sake.

"You could say that." Aimi shot back a glare at Tsunade.

"Shikamaru, Ino, the two of you can go now." Tsunade ordered.

"Yes, Tsunade-sama." Ino and Shikamaru replied.

The door closed when the two shinobi left and quickly the tension in the room heated up.

"How much information do you know as of now and how reliable are you?" Tsunade said as she gave another intimidating look at Aimi.

"A lot and very reliable." Aimi replied.

"Listen, if you think I'm associated with Akatsuki because I know a lot about their actions, then you're wrong. I've been very loyal and will always be loyal to Konoha. I made promises and I always keep them." Aimi reassuringly said to Tsunade.

"Very well then, you can leave now" Tsunade dismissed Aimi. "Oh and by the way you should get your house keys from Shizune, she's the one at the front."

"Arigato Tsunade-sama." Aimi said.

She closed the door and headed down the hall to retrieve her keys. On her way out, she saw Shikamaru waiting for her.

"Why are you still here? Weren't you dismissed already?" Aimi said irritatingly as she asked for her keys.

Tsunade-sama said I could go, she never said I had leave the building now." Shikamaru replied back at the annoying kunoichi. He felt that he made his point across, sounding much more clever than Aimi.

"She also never said you had to wait for me." Aimi said as she walked, playing with her house keys.

"That's true but, I have my own free will, I could do whatever I want." Shikamaru said trying to outsmart Aimi, again.

"If you have free will, then why are you still a ninja, if you have free will, then why do you still let Tsunade-sama choose your missions?" Aimi shot a glare at Shikamaru.

"If I wasn't a ninja, who would do the missions set out for me?" Shikamaru said with a shrug.

"True, so you won that argument, but, discussion about Akatsuki won't start until tomorrow. So you can go home now." Aimi said dismissing Shikamaru.

"Fine by me, I'm tired anyway, as long as you show up tomorrow." Shikamaru stated as he walked away.

Out of nowhere, there was a sudden blur beside him. He hadn't notice the figure until it stopped. It was Aimi, her speed caught him off guard. Her foot stood in front of his and her hand rested on his spine.

"Don't worry about me showing up, worry about yourself being prepared. Five in the morning, tomorrow at the training grounds, don't be late" Aimi whispered in his ears.

Both were silent for a minute or two and then they began to part ways.

Aimi walked away and headed to downtown Konoha, where all the shops were. She noticed a flower shop and decided to buy flowers. To her surprise, the lady working at the cashier was no one other than Ino. Aimi was glad that Ino was busy with another client because she didn't want Ino to see her.

Aimi picked up two lilies and two sunflowers, she walked over to the cashier and saw another lady.

"I guess that's her mom, she's lucky she can still see her mother and be able to talk to her. I wish I can still see mine." Aimi began to think sad thoughts when she saw Ino's mom. Aimi felt her eyes getting watery, so she wiped off her tears right away and forced out a smile.

"So what can I do for you today?" the lady asked.

"I'm just paying for these." Aimi smiled and gave the lady the flowers.

"Oh, lilies and sunflowers, nice choice."the lady said.

"Thanks." Aimi replied.

"And here you go, have a good day." the lady waved as Aimi walked away.

Aimi headed off to the K.I.A memorial park. It was very emotional for her, she never believed anyone when they said that her parents were gone. She never believed them, she always thought that her parents just left here, they cared for her but, they had no choice. Now, Aimi can see the proof, her parents are truly gone. Aimi always thought that her being left alone thinking that her parents were somewhere else, was better than to think that they were killed off.

Aimi walked closer to the monument, she placed her fingers on her parents names. They were right beside each other, she began to trace the letters of their names. Tears began to fall down her cheeks, they were like waterfalls, they fell down so fast and they fell down too much. Her tears felt like acid, they burnt her. The sun shined heavily on her left side, the sun was setting. Aimi dropped to her knees and cried heavily. She never felt so lost and hurt her whole life. It was like everything that she had done, was nothing compared to what her parents sacrificed. It hurt Aimi that her parents couldn't be there to see her when she graduated from the Academy, it hurt her to know that her parents never saw her become a Chuunin and it hurts her the most, that her parents never got to see Akio, it hurts her to know that she could never introduce him to them.

She knew they were young but, he made her happy. She knew her mother would've told her it was just puppy love but, he made her smile at the darkest times of her life. She knew her dad wouldn't be happy to see her with a boy but, he protected her from everything. He made Aimi what she was now and no one can say that he wasn't a good person because if it wasn't for him, she would've killed herself back then. Aimi began to wipe her tears and dropped two lilies before she left.

"I love and miss you, both of you." Aimi whispered to the stone.

Aimi began to walk away, she walked and walked until she found the cemetary. Aimi didn't want to face him but, she had to. It wouldn't be right, after all that he did for her; the least she could have done was to visit him. Aimi bagan to have doubts when she was coming near his graveyard.

Aimi felt her heart hurt, it felt like it was burning, burning like acid. Suddenly, it was hard for her to breathe and her shoulders became stiff. Tears fell down again as she knelt down.

"Oh goodness, I can't see you like this, I can't imagine that you're gone. It's too difficult. I love you so much, I wish you knew how much I love you. I wish you knew how much I care for you. Goodness, I remember your face so clearly, it's like I can see you right here, right now. I love you so much, why...why...why did this happen? You promised me you'd stay with me forever and you would never let me cry again." Aimi began to think sad thoughts. Her tears flowed down her tanned face, it passed down her nose and her pink lips and it made it down to her neck, where it stung the most. Aimi had a breakdown, she had another one, Konoha made her have another breakdown. Now, Aimi clearly remembers why she left, she left because everything made her remember everyone. Everything the trees, the people, the stores and everything, it all reminded her of the people she lost. It was odd, when Aimi thought she was about to cry, it hit her. She decided on something.

Aimi stopped her tears, she bit her tongue and blood flowed on her thumb.

"I, promise to protect and care for this village for you. I promise with my own blood that I will do whatever it takes to keep the people here alive for a long time. I promise this with my soul." Aimi said these words as she drew Konoha's symbol on Akio's graveyard."You promised me happiness and you protected and loved me like this village, I promise with all of my life to keep your goals in my heart. You always protected me so, it's my turn now, to protect your home. I love you and thank you."

Aimi left a sunflower and stood up. Aimi began to walk home. She passed by a ramen shop and decided to get dinner. There, Aimi saw a young man about her age with blonde hair and blue eyes. He wore a black and orange jump suit, his hair was spiked and on his forehead was the infamous Konoha forehead protector.

Aimi began to mind her own business and stared at the sign outside.

"Ichiraku Ramen." Aimi whispered before she went in the shop.

"Hello" Aimi politely said as she looked at the menu.

To her left was the young man with blonde hair. Aimi looked to her side and waved at him. Her wave was just a simple and polite wave, nothing too much. Aimi thought she established a boundary between her and the young man, she thought it would be just a hi and that's it but, boy was she wrong.

"Hi, I'm Uzumaki Naruto. I don't think I've seen you here before, you must be new to the village. Anyway, this is Ichiraku Ramen and they make the best ramen in the world." Naruto said very happily. Naruto had this gift to make people really happy and it showed whenever he smiled.

"Well, is that so?" Aimi asked.

"Yes, Ichiraku Ramen makes the best ramen in the world." Naruto replied.

"Okay, then I'll have what he's eating" Aimi said to the woman in front of her.

"Oh, by the way I'm Aimi and I'm not new, I actually used to live here." Aimi said to Naruto.

"So Naruto, what do you do around here?" Aimi asked Naruto as she waited for her food.

"I train mostly, I want to be Hokage but, mostly I want to get my best friend back." Naruto said with eyes that pretended to be happy. Aimi saw his eyes and knew he was hurting deep down inside.

The two shinobi became silent for a second.

"Sometimes, I go out and hang with my friends. Mostly, I train but, sometimes I just hang out with Shikamaru, Kiba, Chouji." Naruto said to cut the silence.

"Shikamaru, you say?" Aimi replied back suddenly interested again.

"Yeah, Shikamaru. Why? Are you one of his fangirls?" Naruto asked Aimi suspiciously.

"Yeah I know him and no, I'm not one of his fangirls. But, I'll be working with him actually . So, what does Shikamaru like to do?" Aimi asked Naruto. She became very intrigued by Shikamaru.

"Well, like I said I hardly hang with them but, when I do we just usually sit around and do nothing. He usually likes to watch the clouds, I'm not really into that stuff, so I don't really pay attention." Naruto finished.

"Oh, cloud gazing, interesting." Aimi replied as her order came.

"Well, I have to go home now, thanks for the information." Aimi said as she grabbed her food.

"No problem, so I guess I'll see you around." Naruto said as he waved at Aimi.

So...Hey everyone sorry I haven't updated in a long time. I've been really busy. I meant to update during the March Break but, unfortunately I got sick. anyways, I came up with a new Saku/Sasu love story that will replace the other one I had in mind. But, the Saku/Sasu story won't be out for quite sometime due to a lod of projects and homework. Anyways, thank you for reading my story and please review!!! Also, watch out for the next chpaters because they weill become very interesting.