I'm still alive. Sorry it took three quarters of forever for me to write, but I cannot stay focused on one thing (such as story or hobby) for more than a few days at a time, at least not with fanfiction. The novel I'm writing, maybe, but not fanfiction… too many different ideas floating around.
Konoha was huge.
Yuriame had seen big. This was much bigger. It was all she could do to remember that there was a restaurant on one corner and a shop on another – much less which restaurant and which shop – as Kiba was pointing them out to her. Luckily she could remember all of the important things: academy, Ichiraku's Ramen, training grounds, hospital, Hokage Tower, as well as the largest shinobi weapon shop in the village, in case she ever needed it.
She also tried to remember the names of some of the people Kiba introduced.
Good luck with that.
Names had never been Yuriame's strong point in the past and never would be in the future. She was more likely to memorize the entire periodic table!
Okay, that may be stretching it a bit, but you get the point.
The tour around the Village Hidden in the Leaves was over surprisingly quickly and the two of them, three if you count Akamaru, were spread out on the ground, chatting with Nara Shikamaru, one of Kiba's friends and a very dangerous person to talk to if you were hiding something.
…Yuriame unfortunately happened to be doing just that. She was hiding just about everything, even her name.
Before Shikamaru had much of a chance to observe her, thank the heavens, a Chuunin came saying that the Hokage requested Yuriame's presence and he, the Chuunin, would escort her to the Hokage Tower. Yuriame quickly stood up from her spot on the ground and followed the dark-haired shinobi after saying a quick 'good bye'.
"Do you want to start at the academy now or would you like to wait until the new school year begins? It would be best for you to start as soon as possible, but you can wait and work with a tutor if you want."
Yuriame stood in front of the Hokage in his office, working out the details of schooling and living arrangements.
"I'll start before the year ends. I want to know as soon as possible what skill level I am and that's easiest if I go to the academy."
"Okay then, I'll set you up to start at the academy tomorrow. Now about your living arrangements… there are a few possibilities I've come up with. Haruno Kiku has offered to house you. She is a civilian, but she has a daughter a year older than you who is currently going to the ninja academy by the name of Sakura. She's the same age as Inuzuka Kiba, who you've already met.
"The second option is Mitarashi Anko, a Jounin who lives on her own and doesn't have a Genin team.
"The third option is another family, Akanobara Shuuro and Mareko who have a daughter your age by the name of Nami who is going to the ninja academy. Shuuro is a shinobi, but his wife isn't."
'I don't want to live with Anko, for sure. I know nothing about the Akanobara except what the Sandaime has already told me. I'll hopefully end up in Sakura's year anyway…'
Yuriame quickly made up her mind, "Could I meet the Haruno family?"
The Hokage smiled and nodded, "Kiku gets off work at four, so you'll be able to meet her and Sakura around that time. I'll have a Chuunin show you how to get there."
Before Yuriame could reply, someone knocked on the closed door of the Sandaime's office before entering.
"Hokage-sama, I have the results of Yuriame's blood test. What we have as far as clan history goes is… interesting," spoke the nurse that had been the one to check up on Yuriame earlier that day.
The nurse stepped forward and held out a manila folder to the Hokage which he accepted and started looking through after dismissing the nurse, his eyebrows steadily rising as he read the information.
Yuriame, meanwhile, focused all her efforts on looking curious and avoiding fidgeting even slightly. It was inevitable that they learned about a little of her heritage, but that didn't mean she liked people knowing stuff about her that could lead them to learn things she didn't want anyone to know. Knowing some of her heritage was okay, but she really hoped no one learned about her… unfortunate past, if only of her time in this world.
"Did your father ever mention whether you looked like your mother?"
Well, that's one way to ask 'Was it your mother or was it your father who was a Nara?'
"He commented once or twice that I looked a lot like my mother except for my nose and the shape of my eyes. Why?"
'Keep acting the curious, ignorant child. Keep acting… I wonder if he'll beat around the bush or if he'll cut straight to the point…'
The Third's eyes scanned her face, obviously noticing some resemblance as he seemingly nodded to himself.
"These papers say that your blood can be traced back to the Nara, one of Konoha's smaller clans."
Yuriame pretended to think for a moment. "So does that mean I'm related to Shikamaru?"
The Hokage's eyebrows rose and he nodded. "I take it Kiba introduced you?"
"Yes," she said with a steady nod.
Again someone rapped their knuckles on the door, and this time a Chuunin entered. Kamizuki Izumo, if Yuriame remembered correctly.
Izumo looked at Yuriame and then at the Hokage. "It's a little after four, Kiku should be at home, as well as Anko and Mareko. Are you finished, Hokage-sama?"
The Sandaime nodded, "Yes," he looked at the almost-Nara, "Meet with Kiku and Sakura, and get settled in with them if it seems there won't be a problem. I'll send a shinobi to check on you, so if it won't work out you can meet with Anko or the Akanobara family."
"Thank you, Hokage-sama," Yuriame stood up and went to follow the Chuunin.
'It looks like the other thing can't be seen in blood tests, unless the Third skipped over that matter. Not that I really expected it to show up, anyway: I'm just a little (or maybe a lot) paranoid and don't want to mess things up... I liked life better when I only had to worry about keeping up my straight A's and writing a fantasy novel for fun while procrastinating with fanfiction...'
"You'll be a year lower than me unless you manage to do amazingly on Iruka-sensei's test and then you might be in the same year as me which would be cool! I don't have a sister and me and Ino are rivals more than friends so it's nice to have someone to talk to even if you won't be in the same class as me though I really really really really hope you will! As long as you don't like Sasuke-kun anyway because I like Sasuke-kun."
"But if you are in the same year as me you'll need to watch out for Naruto he's annoying and dumb and always causes troubles for the class. I mean really he can't even do the basics like the Clone technique he somehow manages to fail with that even though no one else not even Kiba or Shikamaru has trouble with that jutsu."
"Sasuke-kun does so much better than Naruto does and he's Rookie of the Year and always gets every jutsu right on the first try and never gets questions wrong in class or anything not that I ever get the questions wrong but it does take me a couple of tries to get a technique figured out."
Yuriame felt the urge to pound her head against something, hitting said something very hard. It might shut out this annoying droning noise, at the least. It was like this girl had never heard of taking a breath. She even doubted Sakura would grasp the concept of speaking with words that could be written down on paper with commas rather than just the occasional period or exclamation point.
She sighed: now for the "Sasuke-kun" rant, most likely.
Maybe she should have told the shinobi that there was some problem and she couldn't stay with the Haruno family.
It might have saved a headache.
Maybe… Unless Anko was particularly sadistic like she always was.
And that was perfectly likely.
Yuriame sighed again. Next time she would definitely offer to stay in a tree for the night, no doubt about it.
It was official: Yuriame hated her academy sensei. It was driving her insane how he repeated things. And repeated things… and repeated things…… and repeated things………
She decided she no longer cared if being skilled might look suspicious. She would rather be in jail than in this classroom. At least in jail she's be able to think all she wanted, but in here, with the teacher's annoying voice that stabbed through her concentration…
Yeah, she decided to do all she could to move a year ahead. She wasn't a masochist.
Okay, not to that extent anyway.
Yuriame looked at the clock.
Four… three… two… one.
As soon as the clock said three o' clock, she got up and left the room even though Kayuro-sensei had only just opened his mouth to dismiss the waiting class.
Yuriame exited the front door of the academy, turned to the right, walked a couple steps, and sat down against the wall. Iruka-sensei was going to meet her to test her skills this afternoon.
She had only been watching the clouds for a matter of minutes when Iruka-sensei came.
"You ready, Yuriame?"
"Yep," she picked herself up off the ground and followed Iruka after brushing herself off.
The duo walked to the academy training grounds where Iruka turned to face Yuriame.
"First of all is taijutsu. You are going to fight me and I will determine what level of taijutsu you are at," he nodded at Yuriame who then took a fighting stance.
She took a deep breath and launched forward, curling her left hand into a fist which Iruka-sensei blocked. Yuriame wasted no time in bringing her right leg around in a kick, causing Iruka to release her hand.
Yuriame swung her right leg around, blocked by Iruka. She shifted her stance and struck an elbow at his stomach which he dodged only to narrowly miss a leg sweep Yuriame had dropped into.
The fight had been going for another couple of minutes when Iruka-sensei called it off and complimented her. She was around the level of the average one-year Genin.
"Now it's time for the genjutsu test."
Yuriame nodded briskly before she brought her arms up and flowed through a series of hand seals.
Bird. Monkey. Ox. Rat. Dog. Ram.
"Magen: Kurai Yume." Demonic Illusion: Dark Dream.
Iruka's vision slowly blackened from the edges ending in complete darkness. There was a sound of wind past his ears bringing a strong and sweet but not unpleasant smell as the world slowly grew colder. He brought his hands into a reverse-Ram seal. "Kai."
The darkness faded and the world grew warm again. Iruka-sensei nodded in compliment to Yuriame. The genjutsu was above academy level, for sure. Most academy level techniques focused on one or maybe two of the senses, but this focused on four.
"Ready to try ninjutsu?"
"Yep," Yuriame nodded, "Does it matter what type?"
"No, just use whatever you have," Iruka smiled.
'Wind, maybe… yes, wind.'
Monkey. Dragon. Horse. Bird.
"Fuuton: Kaze no Kogatana no Jutsu!" Wind Style: Knife of Wind Technique!
Yuriame sent a blade of slicing wind slow enough that Iruka-sensei easily dodged it so it hit and scratched up a tree further away. Yuriame quickly continued with another jutsu.
Ram. Snake. Tiger. Cross-seal.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu." Shadow Clone Technique.
A second Yuriame appeared who started doing hand seals the same as the real Yuriame.
Dragon. Ram. Dog. Ox. Snake. Rat. Bird.
"Fuuton: Ni Tsuno Saisentan no Kaze no Jutsu!" Wind Style: Two Cutting Winds Technique!
Again, the technique was sent slowly to avoid harming her sensei. Iruka again dodged and the technique hit the same tree as the last, tearing the outer bark to shreds… that poor tree.
Yuriame released her shadow clone, "Are there any specific jutsu you want to see?"
Iruka nodded, "Can you do a Henge no Jutsu?"
Reverse Ram Seal.
"Henge no Jutsu." Transformation Technique.
Yuriame turned into an exact copy of Iruka-sensei before poofing back to herself.
Smiling, Iruka-sensei summed up how she did; "I'll talk to Hokage-sama, but I believe your skills are Genin level even though you should probably stay in the academy a full year to make sure you have all the necessary book-knowledge. You can go now and tomorrow you may be moved up a year."
"Thank you, Iruka-sensei!" Yuriame smiled, nodded a quick farewell and left to further familiarize herself with the- with her village. It was her home now, wasn't it, in a way? Granted, it was not like the forest she loved from before… it was warmer, further from any mountain, and definitely had different plants and a greater number of deciduous trees instead of mostly evergreens, but it was still a forest and it was friendly… now it was home.
Yuriame walked along streets, fingering the money in her pocket from before, occasionally considering buying something but deciding against it every time. No point buying an instrument; as useful as it might be for genjutsu, ninjutsu was her forte. She could get food at the Haruno's; Kiku was a good cook and always fixed dinner and breakfast and bento lunches. Yuriame didn't want to buy weapons until she knew what she would be given at graduation seeing as all new Genin were given a set of low-level supplies.
Sighing, Yuriame jumped into a tree near the training grounds and sat down on a branch, back against the trunk. She thought through her plans, coming up with details and reassessing which parts of the timeline she should or shouldn't change. Some could either be better or worse if meddled with and there was no way to know; those ones annoyed her.
'Deaths… Haku and Momochi Zabuza, Sandaime Hokage, Sarutobi Asuma, Jiraiya, Uchiha Itachi… not that many that I actually know the names of… I could probably save Asuma, and maybe Jiraiya, but not the others. But could I even save Jiraiya? Hmm…'
Yuriame glanced at the sun to see it was around dinner time and decided it was best if she headed back to the Haruno home. No point in missing dinner when she had all night to think and plan, right? There were times when her insomnia was a blessing, but usually it was just a curse, one she couldn't escape.
Yuriame opened the door of her current residence, closing it behind her.
"Oh, you're back, Yuriame-chan. Perfect timing, dinner is almost ready," Kiku greeted.
Yuriame smiled at her, "Thank you, Kiku-san."
"Did Umino-san test you today? Are you going to move up a year, stay where you are, or what?" Kiku inquired.
Sakura chose this moment to pop in, obviously she had heard her mother's question and wanted to know the answer.
Yuriame took a breath, "I'll probably be moved up a year, but Iruka-sensei has to talk to Hokage-sama about it first."
Kiku nodded with a small smile before turning back to where she was cooking rice. Sakura grinned and ran back to her room and Yuriame followed at a slower pace.
As per usual, the moment Yuriame entered the room she and Sakura were sharing, Sakura started ranting from where she sat on the bed, this time with questions.
"Ooooh, I really really really hope you get in the same year as me? Did you use any cool jutsu? Sasuke has cool jutsu. Or did you just do the normal? Do you know Henge no Jutsu and Bunshin no Jutsu? Those are the easy ones but every ninja needs them because they can be really useful if you need a distraction or to intimidate the opponent or something. So what did you do?" She stared at me, her bright green eyes lit up with curiosity.
"I just did taijutsu, a single genjutsu, and a couple of wind-based ninjutsu along with Kage Bunshin no Jutsu. That's it."
Her eyes widened. "Wind-based?? You can use your chakra element?? And KAGE Bunshin? That's like, like Jounin level! Isn't it A-ranked? That's amazing! And it's cool that you can do genjutsu, a lot of people aren't very good at it for some reason though I've never had any trouble but Naruto has never actually used one successfully. But that's awesome, all the stuff you did!"
Yuriame stared at her. "Umm… thanks?"
"You're welcome! Between Kage Bunshin and wind jutsu you're almost sure to move up a year! You'd have to be worse than terrible at everything else to NOT move up a year!!"
"That sounds good to me."
Sakura was grinning like there was no tomorrow, apparently completely forgetting about the fact that every single girl, sans Hinata and a bunch of enemy shinobi, was in love with Sasuke, and, with their logic, Yuriame would have to be in love with him as well. But that forgetfulness was fine with her, she didn't think Uchiha were all that amazing and most definitely wasn't in love with the "avenger". She actually thought Itachi was much cooler, though she didn't think he was overly-amazing, either.
"Girls, it's time for dinner!" Kiku announced.
"Coming!" Sakura answered back.
The pink-haired girl gave Yuriame one final –huge– smile before hopping off of her bed and practically skipping out to the dining room. Yuriame just sighed and followed, again at a slower pace, not feeling the need to be overly excited.
'At least dinner smells good. I suppose it is a good thing that I'll be moving up a year, though. I'll be the same year as the Rookie Nine, which will be very helpful, especially if I squeeze my way into the Chuunin Exams. And I get to escape Kayuro-sensei, that's a plus.'
First of all, is the chapter length is okay, or do you want it to be longer? (This, not including author's notes, is 3,001 words.). I could make them longer now that I'm getting used to writing. Sorry the chapter took so long, it was lack of inspiration, lack of motivation, absolute busyness (between all sorts of little things from getting my braces off to going to my cousin's wedding, to general business in school). If you want this story to be closer to top priority, vote on the poll on my profile. So far this is tied with two other fanfics that have one vote each. When All Else Fails, Hit the Fangirl has six, Flip the Hourglass has five, and Unexpected Circumstances has four, so all three of those are higher priority.
Hopefully the next chapter will be more interesting. This was more for sorting everything out and getting everything together. Yes, I finally made an outline of the next few chapters of the story and from now on I will do my best to push through a section even if it turns out as crap if you people would prefer a little crap but an overall good chapter instead of a completely well-written chapter that takes half of forever. Sorry, long author's note. I'm done.