Chapter 1: Snake Eyes' Fault

It was supposed to be a retreat. We were supposed to go on a ridiculously long hike in the middle of the mountains and learn something. I was supposed to somehow teach Kamakura a little about what I thought I knew about being a ninja. But if anyone had seen us by the end, they would have thought something totally different. I swear it was all Snake Eyes' fault.

Really! I mean, Kamakura is his apprentice. But he somehow roped me into this deal that both of us got one of his apprentices, and we were going to hike up opposite sides of a mountain. Once we'd generally killed ourselves walking uphill for days, we'd be meeting at the top. If one of us got there and waited a whole day, and the other group still didn't show, you would head back to the bottom of the mountain and wait to rub the fact that you'd won in the other team's face when they arrived.

Well, seeing as he hadn't gone anywhere remotely mountainous for awhile, I was confident that if nothing else, I could beat Snake Eyes at mountain climbing. In fact, I was so confident that I had even chosen the more difficult side.

I confiscated all of Kamakura's unnecessary equipment before we left for the mountain and chewed him out about it all the way there. When we arrived I searched him again and realized he'd stashed extra food and even a pillow in his backpack instead of water. I shoved them back in his backpack and spent the next two hours traveling uphill lecturing him on the danger of replacing water with pop tarts and trail mix. We had no hiking trail, so we bulldozed our way through several thousand bushes, trees and various other things that tend to live in forests.

Finally, when I had run out of things to say about water and a certain apprentices' lack of it, I turned around and leaned against the closest tree. "How about a break?" I suggested.

He sat down on a rock, looking frustrated. That's not really surprising. I've never really liked lectures myself, if I'm not the one giving them. "What?" he sighed.

"This is our first training spot. I want you to put this on," I said, flourishing a bright red poncho, "And sneak up on me while I'm looking at you. You can use trees and boulders, just don't let me see the red."

He nodded and stood. "Great. No problem."

I wasn't sure if that was sarcasm or not- maybe he was just grumpy still. "Oh, and no covering up the poncho with dirt or leaves or whatever. Use your skills, nothing else."

He nodded and left. I leaned against a tree and closed my eyes.

"Kamakura!" I shouted, "You can start now!" I glanced into the forest occasionally. I mean, if Snake Eyes was expecting me to actually train his apprentice, I wasn't being bribed enough. Kamakura and I have issues when it comes to most anything. Maybe it has something to do with my past attempts to murder his sensei. (Hey, I never said I was a psychologist...) As I glanced into the forest for the third time in a minute, I thought I saw…. Nope, just a red bird.

I turned and refocused on the trees. Just then, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned, and there was Kamakura. He cleared his throat. "I couldn't get any closer, so I slipped off to the side about fifteen feet ago…only because there was no cover. Does it still count?"

I nodded. "On one condition."


"Take off that poncho. It's frying my eyes," I crabbed.

Kamakura rolled his eyes. "Whatever," he said, pulling it off. Well, sort of. It got caught on his backpack and tore in half. "Oops. Um, sorry Sensei, I ripped my poncho."

No kidding, I thought. Oh, well. I shrugged. "That's ok. We're not going to need it again anyway." At least, I hoped not…

"Storm Shadow," Kamakura ventured, "Shouldn't we be setting up camp?"

"Not yet," I said shortly. The hill was getting steeper, and I was going to save my breath for the real challenge, up ahead. We'd probably reach it around mid-afternoon the next day. Now I know this sounds ridiculous, and maybe it was just an excuse not to talk to Snake Eyes' stupid apprentice, but let's just ignore that implication…

I stopped at a clearing. "Okay," I said, "This is where we stay."

"Are we setting up a tent?" Kamakura glanced at my backpack, obviously wondering what I had in there besides water. Unfortunately for him, I didn't have a tent.

I pulled it off and thunked it on the ground. "Actually, we're going to lay down a blanket, pull another one over us, and ignore the mosquitoes." I pulled out two blankets, threw one haphazardly on the ground, draped the other one over my legs, closed my eyes and tried to doze off. Unfortunately, Kamakura had other plans.

"Perfect," Kamakura snorted, "I get to sleep on the cold, hard ground, with only two blankets?!"

"Yes, now shut up. I'm trying to sleep," I shot back.

Kamakura muttered something unintelligible. Then, pulling two blankets out of his pack he spent fifteen minutes getting them perfectly smooth and then pulled out his pillow. He flopped down and lay still for about fifteen seconds. Then he shifted over to his side. And then rolled on his back. Then his stomach again. "I can't get comfortable." He whispered, rolling back onto his side.

"Too bad," I snapped, "Stay on your bed."

"What bed?! If this is a bed than I'm a--!"

"Moron? Idiot? Oversized rat?" I suggested helpfully.

"Never mind," Kamakura muttered, rolling over, and shifting around again. Then he sat up, re-smoothed his blankets, plopped down and shifted again. "Can I have a pop tart?"

"No," I said. "I wish you'd thrown them away. I hate pop tarts."

"There aren't any garbage cans in the middle of the forest, and-- you hate pop tarts?" Kamakura asked, intrigued.

I sighed. "Shut up and lie still."

"But I'm hungry. Can't I eat something? Pop-tart... please?"

"No!" I snapped.

"Trail mix?" He wheedled.



"Not unless you don't want it tomorrow," I snarled, turning my head to glare at him.

"Can I please get up, or do I have to stay flat on my back? I have a rock poking my butt!" He snapped, squiggling on his back like a worm.

"Too bad!" I hissed. "Deal with it!"

"I would, but I'm too busy lying still!" He snapped. He finally stopped moving, and soon his breathing settled into a rhythm I easily recognized as deep sleep.

I was finally alone, unbothered. And I was happy to simply lie awake and contemplate the many constellations wandering on their paths in the skies above.

I awoke just before sunrise the next morning and immediately headed off to find some sort of nutrition- we weren't all that high up in the mountain, and we needed to save the food for when we might need it. I returned to where Kamakura and out backpacks were, and sighed. Why was he still asleep? I'd hoped he'd woken up, maybe made a fire, or something.Ah well. At least he wasn't eating pop-tarts.

"Kamakura," I whispered, shaking him, probably a bit more roughly than Snake Eyes would, but you wouldn't catch me losing any sleep over that.


"Kamakura, get up!" I snapped, resorting to kicking him awake. What was he, a rock?!


"Kamakura, you don't want to see how I wake up disobedient apprentices," I snapped, aiming a particularly hard kick in the general direction of his groin…

One eye popped open and saw my foot chambered, ready to fly loose. "I'm up, I'm up!" Kamakura exclaimed, squirming, half sitting and promptly falling back over again in a tangle of limbs.

It was so pathetic I almost cried. How the heck did he ever expect to be a ninja if he slept like a slab of granite?! Trust me, no enemy's just going to stand there and wait until you've had your beauty sleep.

"Glad to see you finally figured out what's good for you," I snapped, handing him some of the food --If you could call it that-- that I had gathered. I swear, if he dared to whine…

"What's this stuff?" Kamakura asked, wrinkling his nose, glancing longingly at his pack, full of pop-tarts…

"Breakfast. Eat it." I snapped, shoving the rest in his hand until the berries smushed against the leaves, leaving a berry paste of goo on his hand. He could lick it off if he wanted, I didn't particularly care.

"Thanks…" he mumbled, eyeing the plants warily.

"Don't worry," I sighed, "They're perfectly fine."

"I prefer meat," Kamakura muttered irritably. Well pardon me, your majesty, so sorry for awaking you before your normal rising hour. Don't blame me for this, blame your precious Sensei, Snake Eyes. After all, that's what I always do…

"I don't care if you think vegetables are the most effective torture device in third-world nations, or whatever. Eat them. Now."

"Don't we have trail mix, and dried fruit and stuff?" he demanded, glaring at me.

"We're saving that for when there aren't other options," I replied, barely refraining from adding the phrase 'duh' to the end of my sentence. "Now, come on, let's get going," I said, standing.

A/N: Well then... this is kind of a random story idea I've had for awhile... sorry if it's OOC... I'm trying to combat that in practically everything I do. Anyway, please review, and tell me what's awesome and what's not... please? Thanks, in advance. Ooh yeah... you can make up your own reasons as to why Stormy's good... and asterisk78, you be the AWESOMEST BETA THIS SIDE OF... eh, dunno where I was going with that, but you're great nonetheless!! (woo-hoo!!)