The girl gazed nervously at the gates to the Hidden Village of Leaves, her heart racing at the thought of recovering some of her lost memories. The Hidden Grass Village had been very good to her, had taken her in, had nursed her back to life. But she still didn't feel as though she fitted in.
They still hadn't worked out what had happened to her. An elderly woman from that village had found her while on a walk in the forest. She had had cuts and bruises all over her body and terrible internal bleeding, not to mention all her torn clothes and lack of memory. They only knew her name was Mika because it was tattooed on the back of her neck, covered by her purple top.
She took a deep, calming breath, tried to tidy her rich puce coloured hair and knocked. Almost immediately a man opened a small side door and gazed at her curiously, she smiled awkwardly at him, noticing the different symbol on his forehead protector.
Suddenly she got a flash of a memory in which she was a very small child, jumping up and down, trying to get hold of one of those head bands which an older boy was holding just out of reach. It only lasted a second, but Mika was thrown by the sudden flashback… and it clearly showed.
'Are you alright?' asked the man, watching her anxiously. 'Are you here on business or leisure?' he asked, trying to work out whether she was dangerous or not.
'I… err… I'm not sure.' she mumbled uncertainly, rubbing her forehead beneath her forehead protector. She knew the man only wanted to help her, but she had been thrown completely off guard. The woman standing behind her stepped forwards and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
'My name is Miyuki Aneko.' she said quietly, her voice shaking slightly as it always did, soothing Mika with it's familiarity. 'I am the girl's guardian since we do not know who her family is. That is indeed our mission.' she added smiling down at the apprehensive girl. 'We're harmless.'
The man smiled kindly and stepped to one side, letting them both through and bidding them both have a nice day. They went through the gates, watched by a couple more guards who nodded politely at them and smiled.
'Mika, what happened back there?' asked Miyuki uneasily. 'You looked as though you were going to be sick.' They walked slowly along the crowded market place, slow enough for Miyuki to keep her strength up; she was very old.
'I got another flash.' admitted the girl rubbing her left eye. She had had a couple of them before now, but none so vivid. 'It was the forehead protector.' she added.
'The symbol?' asked the ancient woman slowly, Mika nodded. 'Then we're in the right village.' she continued, smiling reassuringly at the worried girl. 'Would you like some ramen?' she asked, noticing what looked like a small ramen restaurant. Mika smiled gratefully at her and followed her to the bar where she sat down. Miyuki ordered and the absented herself to the bathroom.
Mika looked over at the boy beside her eating his ramen veraciously. He had blond hair, and orange and black track-suit and what looked like whiskers. She also noticed his forehead protector, helping her decide to talk to him.
'So… err… what exactly is in ramen?' she asked nervously, trying to sound non-chalant, but failing. The boy mumbled something incoherent with his mouth full, without looking at her. 'I guessed it had something to do with noodles, I just wanted to know what!' she giggled, a little awkwardly making him look up reluctantly.
He jumped suddenly and his face turned beetroot red as a huge sheepish grin stretched from one of his ears to the other. Mika grinned back uncomfortably as he scratched the back of his neck, his eyes darting briefly up to her forehead protector and the Grass Village symbol.
'Not from around here, huh?' he asked her, still grinning.
'It's complicated.' she answered looking down at the counter where the barman had placed a glass of water. 'In fact, would you know where I could get a forehead protector with that symb-'
'Never mind that!' interrupted the blond boy, surprising the brown eyed girl. 'The question is: Do you have a map?' he said loudly, his rasping voice hovering around them both. Mika raised an inquiring eyebrow, widening her eyes in disbelief. 'Because I err… I think I'm lost in your eyes.' he finished, blushing uncontrollably.
'I'm sorry?' she asked awkwardly, feeling her cheeks burn bright red and watched as the boys did too. 'I don't even know your name.'
'I'm Naruto Uzumaki.' he said quickly, his cheeks slowly fading back to tan. 'What's your name?'
'Mika… I kinda don't know my second name… that's why it's complicated.' she answered smiling apologetically. 'I lost my memory.' she explained, seeing his confused face.
'At least it wasn't your mind!' exclaimed Naruto loudly, laughing in a friendly way, making Mika feel welcome.
'I like it here.' she thought to herself as she and her new friend continued to giggle. 'I feel like I belong, somehow.'
'So who's this?' came Miyuki's voice from behind Mika. 'We've been her less than five minutes and you've already made a new friend!' she continued, smiling kindly at the couple of pre-teens.
'This is Naruto Uzumaki, Miyuki sensei.' explained Mika happily, glancing from one to the other.
'About the head band thing,' said the friendly boy. 'I can ask Kakashi sensei, if you like.' he finished, obviously trying to impress her by his good deed.
'Thanks, that would be great!' exclaimed Mika happily, excited of getting even more integrated into this community.