A/N: You guys must hate me for making you wait this long. I'm sorry to say that Life Happened and that I had to focus on stuff that wasn't writing. But! I'm back and with a vengeance! Writing is just gonna be a hobby for me, I think. At least story writing. I'm working on some comics, silly and serious. Fanfiction writing should keep my brain active!

Now, on to the story! When we last left our intrepid heroes...

XXxxxXX

Maruha listened intently as Deidara told her his story. Apparently, he had been up to as much trouble as he could get himself into. He gesticulated with his hands as he described his various close-calls, laughing like the child he was. There was a part of his story that caught her notice, though.

"Wait," Maruha said. "You said that the ninjas were blaming you for the death of our village leader?" Deidara flashed a toothy grin up at Maruha.

"Hilarious, right? They never even knew it was you!" He laughed. Maruha dropped to her knees and pulled Deidara into a tight hug.

"Oh, Dei... I'm so sorry. I thought you were dead. I- I never wanted to abandon you." Deidara hugged her back.

"'s okay, Sensei. I'm here, now." He nuzzled her shoulder affectionately. Maruha patted his head, then stood up.

"So tell me about your new art!" she said.

XXxxxXX

Kakashi's eyes flew open. He sensed something he hadn't sensed in a long time. It was a brief flash, but it was unmistakable. She was still out there. He jumped out of bed, then suddenly remembered that he couldn't stand without his crutches. He rubbed his now sore face and pulled himself along the ground on his belly until he got to the crutches.

He limped himself out of his apartment as fast as he could. Kakashi figured Sasuke would at least have felt it, too. Potentially even Naruto and Sakura. He decided to stop by their houses to get them. He came to Naruto's apartment first.

"Geez, Sensei. It's three a.m." Naruto said as he answered the door. "Sensei?" He looked up at Kakashi. "I'll be ready in a few seconds." Naruto shut the door, then popped open again. This time, he was not wearing his pajamas. Sasuke landed next to Kakashi, closely followed by Sakura.

"Sensei? Did you sense-?" Sasuke asked with a pause. Kakashi nodded. Sakura stifled a yawn.

"Are you guys going to tell us what's going on or not?" she asked.

"It's Maruha," Kakashi said. "I felt her chakura blast not too long ago." Kakashi started limping off.

"Sensei? Why do you even care?" Kakashi turned around to face Sakura. He looked at her. "I- I mean, she's been gone for so long. And she was dating this guy. And if she's still aliveā€¦ Do you really think she'll want to see us? I mean, we didn't part on the best of terms." Kakashi lowered his gaze.

"No, you're right, Sakura. I guess I just thought something might be different." Kakashi started limping off again.

"Wait! Kakashi-sensei!" Kakashi slowly turned around again. "She's still my friend!" Naruto said. Sasuke nodded.

"Mine, too." Sakura looked at her feet.

"I guess she was mine, too." Kakashi looked at his three students. Again. He probably needed spectacles, since he had to keep looking to see them.

"Well, then I guess we should go pay her a visit," Kakashi said. He turned around. Again. Then paused. "You're not going to say something that'll force me to turn around again, are you?"

XXxxxXX

Short, I know. It's been a couple years, in my defense, though. I'm suuuper out of practice with writing. And I'm not sure that I remember all of what I wanted to happen in this story. But, anyhoo! I'm going to try to update it again, regularly! I want to find out about the mysterious death of Shichi, same as you guys!

And to my subscribers: I ask your forgiveness and that you please don't summon a demon to eat my soul.