Blah= whatever

"Blah"= talking

Blah = different language

'Blah'= thinking or emphasis

(Blah)=Me or extra blah blahs

Blah= Flashbacks

Blah= Change of place, time, and POVs


Chuunin Exams/Kaori's POV:

I sat in my assigned seat, fighting off the urge to shiver as my eyes flitted over to the frightening genin seated next to me before fixating my gaze at the front, then to Tsubasa, Makoto, etc- before returning to my desk partner, and back to my test paper.

I inhaled deeply as I tried to bring out the more cheerful disposition I had before strolling into the room for the Chuunin Exams with Tsubasa and Makoto. After just simply walking past the illusion made by some other genin (although Makoto is convinced that they were illusions of some kind as well) we strolled into the room along with the majority of the people I knew from academy days. It was a pleasant surprise and I actually had some ounce of confidence before that Jounin examinor came and ruined it.


I sighed, we had just passed by the two rude little genin/illusions/chuunins/etc. and my teammates continued to pester me with their warnings and whatnots as we walked down the corridor.

"And remember, there are a lot of competitors from other countries so you have to watch out for different techniques. There will be a lot of jutsus you've never even dreamed of!" Tsubasa advised, pausing to observe other genins who were entering the exams, particularly those of the female gender.

"But because of that, we have an advantage as we should know the landscape here better." Makoto added, rolling her eyes at the Toriwa, who had winked at an earth ninja earning flirtatious giggles in return.

"Oh, and you must be prepared to face any attackers and fight through an unbelievable amount of ambushes or other brawls along the way, Kaori-chan."

"Considering the fact that you're the healer of our squad, our lives solely depend on you to survive, so you have to be extra careful, now."

"Even though there's not as much of a need, since you're an Amakusu and all- but still, no taking chances! Right Suzu?" His replies were lazy twittering, and I could guess the bird was scolding me as well.

I nodded glumly as we turned a corner. I was already aware of all these rather obvious information and being reprimanded again and again… My frown deepened and I suppressed the sick feeling of apprehension that threatened to show. Was I truly that unreliable? Would it have been better if I had not entered the exams?

Is it too late to quit?

"Sensei! What are you-?"

I looked up, and to my surprise Hikaru-sensei was standing there, leaning against the door to our destination.

"Yo! Glad you guys could make it!" He cheered and with a whoop, opened a couple dozens of party poppers as confetti and party strings shot out at us. "I'm glad you guys aren't idiots!"

We stood there, dazed and covered in party decors. By now, even Suzumaru had even grown accustomed to sensei's rather eccentric ways.

"Seriously sensei. What the hell are you doing here?" Makoto deadpanned, not amused.

We sighed, waiting through the waterworks as sensei blubbered on and on about the delicate state of one's soul and other blah blah blah.

Five minutes went by and I was feeling very grateful that no one else noticed the genjutsu from before, as I sure wasn't in the mood to explain this situation to any other random passerby.

Another three minutes and he finally perked up.

"Ahh! That was a good cry!" Sensei sighed blissfully. He glanced back at us and I willed myself to at least look confident rather than my present downcast mood. He heaved a sigh. "Oh, right! Ahem! Okay, so I'm going to tell you all that I know about the exams. Well, the first test is going to be a physical, and-."

I gasped. "!!!"

"What? Ph-Phy-Physi-?!" I spluttered, horrified. "And you can't just blab about these things! What are you-?"

He winked.

I paused, and let out a giggle. Past hesitation was now gone as I scolded myself for my naiveté. "Not funny, sensei."

"I was just checking to see how you guys were doing so far. I'm glad Kaori-chan's fine now!" He patted the closest head he could reach, which was Makoto's who wasn't really comfortable with it.

"I know you guys won't disappoint me." He said, now that he was in mature mode again. "I'm proud to have you guys as my subordinates." He made a motion to wipe a tear comically, and stepped aside, giving us the okay to pass through the doors. "Alright guys, I'm done messing with you. Now get your Chuunin-wannabe butts in there!"

Tsubasa gave him a quick salute and pushed against the doors forcefully, holding them open for us. I waved at sensei one last time as he cried out his own tearful dismissal.

The door finally closed and our gaze flitted from face to face in the packed room. I fought to keep my jaw in tact and away from any possibilities of making contact with the floor. There were a lot of…


After I finished scanning the room and the majority of my fears, my gaze landed on the colorful assortment of familiar ninjas that were huddled around some glasses guy.

As we strolled closer to the groupie, a series of gasps erupted from them. "He returned from a B-rank mission unharmed?" Shikamaru had repeated, taking no notice of us, as he stood there baffled.

Tsubasa quirked a brow, and peered over the group, interested. "Who did?"

A number of the group dismissed their shock as they acknowledged our arrival.

"Yahoo! Kaori's here! Guess our rookie count went from nine to twelve, eh?" Kiba cheered. He stared at me for a few seconds and another grin appeared as he reached for my head. "Oi, you. Why do you have confetti in your hair?"

"Eh?" I blinked in surprise when he pulled a few colorful pieces out of my hair. My heart throbbed painfully at the friendly gesture but I made a smile. "Oh, it's nothing, Kiba-san. Thank you." I finally made up with Kiba. I had been genuinely surprised at how absolutely infuriated he really was at me for avoiding him, but I finally made it up to him and he gradually got over it. Although we don't spar much these days, we were friends again.

I'm happy...

During this exchange, Ino quickly glided over to Tsubasa after loosening her hold on Sasuke to squeal over his arrival. Despite her loyalty to Sasuke, she and Tsubasa would sometimes flirt for fun (maybe another ploy to get Sasuke jealous?) as both seemed to be skilled and would get a good kick at it. Makoto herself would simply offer a nod to every greeting that she was given. Shikamaru grumbled about how troublesome the whole thing was altogether.

The others simply disregarded our appearance as they diverted their attention back to the megane. The megane, or Yakushi Kabuto-san, as he established, calmly explained pretty much all that had happened during the time when we weren't here.

"Heh, so who is this unbelievable rookie? If Sasuke-kun's so interested, then I might as well see for myself." Tsubasa smirked at the Uchiha, getting a mirror response as they gave a silent challenge of their manly manliness and all that ridiculous blah (worsening more when Naruto tried to intervene) our Toriwa slid through the crowd to get a closer look at the cards and I looked as well.

Sabaku no Gaara.

Flashback over:

I concentrated on the questions once more as one thought pierced my mind. 'Sabaku no Gaara-san was it…' I looked to my left and faked a smile when making eye contact. He glared and I quickly looked away, choosing to instead copy on the problems once more.

Quite a few happened since then. Naruto idiotically taunted the whole room (resulting in divine retribution soon after from Sakura), some Sound ninjas attacked Kabuto-san, and while I healed him, Makoto fixed his glasses with some other time jutsu, and he seemed to observe both with interest. Giving Makoto-chan bad vibes. (Why?) The inspectors also appeared, gave our seats, and proceeded to the first trial.

A written test.


I suppressed another groan. I thought I was done with these when I graduated the academy. And this test was impossibly difficult to be for a genin. I could only answer one of the problems on my own, and those questions were health based. How was I supposed to pass the exams if I can't even finish the first stage?

I had one of the special perfume balls from my slashers clenched in my hands in a desperate attempt to let out the stress.

'I need to concentrate.'

I looked at my clenched fist and smiled. 'Good idea…'

I imagined both the fresh floral scent of bergamot and mild, spicy basil in my mind while sending small chakra signals into the perfume mass. Hoping a bit of aromatherapy would help ease my mind to come up with an effective solution. Almost immediately the combination of herb and citrus fruit was stimulating my mental clarity and helping me to concentrate.

'Much better.' I sighed. I was more relaxed and more able to tolerate both the test and the seating arrangement, which wasn't so lovely either.

In fact, they were terrible. I was the last of this row, and my only desk partner was-

"The optic nerves are connected…" He muttered in a raspy voice, as he held two fingers against his left eye. "Open the third eye."

Gaara of the sand.

From the corner of my eyes, I saw an eyeball forming in his open palm. Its pupils dilated and exploded in a small spray of sand when he clenched his hand.


I shuddered.

I have to watch out for that guy.

I looked around lazily, hoping for an inspiration when I found that same orb hovering over a student's test as he rubbed his own irritated eyes. I looked over at that Gaara, and I saw his left lid still covered.

When he started writing, my eyes widened as realization hit me.

Oh my god, I see now!

It's all making sense… The insane test questions, the examiners, the rules, the system, everything! The point of the test wasn't our knowledge of physics and all that, but our data-gathering abilities. I looked around once more, and I confirmed it. I had thirty-five minutes to cheat so I had to make this fast.

I frowned. I couldn't help but feel displeased.

I hate cheating.

I shook my head. 'NO. You've got to pass. They need me to pass. It's not cheating if that's what you're graded on doing.' I scolded.

But still...

I paused when I heard birds chirping from outside, four rows down was Tsubasa, he was nodding and scribbling down answers as he hummed a peculiar melody to himself. The window, the birds... Ahh, I see.

Tsubasa-kun was humming to enchant the birds into giving the answers they saw. I remembered this when he demonstrated the technique before. It was a Toriwa family technique, and when sung correctly by a member, any feathered creature in earshot would have an increased brain function and be able to think more abstractly- much like a human, until the song stops. This would be enough for them to decode his message and give him the answers from their view.

I looked behind me towards Makoto, pretending to look at the clock that coincidentally hung on the wall directly above her. I let out another sigh of relief, when I noticed a flash from her Bunsegan eyes. Of course she knew the principles too. What was I so worried about?

She probably used some sort of genjutsu to slow down the reactions of the examiner assigned to her row (giving the other students a break as well). She was gazing intently at a student who was sitting near her and was probably using her eyes to see through the grass ninja's next move while speeding her own time as she predicted every stroke, pause, and order. She smirked, scrawling it all down.

I smiled. I could feel a glow of pride radiating towards my teammates. They would definitely make fine Chuunins if- no, when they pass! If they can do it fine, then I have to catch up to them. I can't drag them down into failure! I have to suck it up.


How exactly am I supposed to do that?

I suppressed a groan, and bit the second knuckle of my forefinger as I aggregated through every idea I could think of.

'I need more basil. More bergamot. I need to CONCENTRATE.'

None of my abilities could be used for information gathering. I should've known it would be one of the criteria! This is a test for ninjas, not little schoolgirls!

Just what am I supposed to do? Explode the paper? Heal a smart student for answers? Or what? Channel chakra through the desk and feel whenever some idiot's pencil makes contact through the paper and onto the stupid thing?



I spared a moment to thank my lucky star as lay my open palm flat against the desk. 'This could work. This could actually work!' After making sure that I didn't look suspicious (how could I? According to them, I looked like every other scared, bambi-eyed test taker) and channeled a thin ribbon of chakra through the desk and right under the paper of the closest person with the answer.

I prayed that he didn't notice- that Sabaku no Gaara person. He looks like he could kill anyone without having any qualms against it. Like I said before, I should watch out for him.

I refocused my attention back to my task as I willed the chakra ribbon to swell and spread until it roughly covered the surface area of the sheet. With that done, all that was left to do was concentrate and decipher the markings. I closed my eyes and focused my senses.

Tap tap, tap, scribble...

I smiled, and copied the movements.

Tap tap, scribble, tap, scrawl, etc.

I wrote again and peeked open an eye and brought my paper even closer to my face when I realized the writings had made sense. It worked! With that, I continued. Onward to question seven!

Scratch, scratch, tap, pause, tap, erase, scrawl.

Next question. I nodded. So far so good, at this rate I was going to pass the first stage. I felt a sense of tranquility tingle through my tense nerves as I relaxed.

Yes, Makoto-chan and Tsubasa-kun, were going to pass, I wasn't going to fail them. I would have killed myself if I had stolen this opportunity from them. I love them too much. I was practically glowing with the relief and adoration.

Scritch, scritch, tap, pause, tap, erase, scrawl. Pause.

I sat there, patiently waiting for the markings to continue when I realized they weren't coming.

Startled, I opened my eyes only to catch the icy stare of the sand ninja. I gasped slightly but found I couldn't look away.

I could hear nothing but my own heart beating furiously as I tried to comprehend why this Gaara of the sand, who had accomplished several B-rank missions unscathed, was glaring so fiercely at me. I cringed, but couldn't tear my eyes away from the intensity of detest in his stare. My breathing shallowed as I sat frozen in place.

He narrowed his eyes one last time and did… nothing. He simply turned back to the assessment, ignoring me.

I inhaled warily, having accepted this lucky slip of fate. I resorted back to my previous task hesitantly. I definitely didn't want to continue but I had to keep stealing answers off of him if I wanted to pass. He… didn't seem to mind so much now. Even if he did, he was only a genin.

What's the worst he could do?

I figured I might as well get as much done till then-- even though he had no real reason to really kill me as far as I could see. After all I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do. He shouldn't have even noticed in the first place.

I prayed to my star again, saying my mantra. 'This is for Tsubasa-kun and Makoto-chan. Tsubasa and Makoto. Tsubasa and Makoto. Tsubasa and Makoto…'

I exhaled. Sabaku no Gaara. Just what is he?


Yep yep. That's numero thirteen y'all. Sorry it took so long… a full year, yepp. I had the shittiest block to go over, and I got lazy- again. But non non! Those ah merely excuseez! Tsk tsk.

Oh yeah, I also want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIBA!! Yep yep July seventh is that lucky day! Hehe, of all the days to post too! I so didn't plan this! Heehee. Celebrate if you can!

Well, you know the deal. If you like, review. If you hate, PM me. And so on and so forth. If you're a new reader, then thanks for trying it out! I hope you liked it! Please don't be afraid to give suggestions either! And if you didn't read my prof. Then I NEED A TITLE SUGGESTION!!

And I'm done with that! So yeah, happy Kiba day guys!