Even Ino was starting to get creeped out by Kurama's insistent flirting and barely concealed innuendos. She usually avoided him, but they were taking shifts in keeping the Noblemen safe, and so Ino was forced to stay by his side for three hours everyday. Ino was seriously losing her patience. The fact that they were on a boat meant that it was a lot more tedious to hide in the shadows, and completely pointless anyway when the man talked to her regardless.

Although it made fooling around with Naruto so much more exciting.

Not to mention Sasuke would give them this disapproving look when they returned from whatever it was they were doing—they weren't complete horn-balls after all—which made Ino want to constantly sneak around in his presence.

"...its really rather unfortunate that I'm unable to take my family with me all the time, but I'm sure that smothering them isn't healthy, but sometimes I can't help it I mean—you've seen my twins, they're adorable. Here, I have a couple pictures that just bring out their cuteness," the Third Noblemen, Hiroki, rambled, brandishing a small bound book from within his silk kimono, and opening it to a rather worn page that spoke volumes. Ino could do nothing, but gush right along with him because his set of twins had been unbearably cute in their terrible twos.

They were interrupted when the Noblemen Kurama and Takami reached the deck, Naruto and Sasuke trailing after them, Naruto yawning.

"I-I wonder why he s-seems so t-tired?" Hinata wondered aloud, the konoichi having gathered to gush over Hiroki's children. Sakura, sitting across from them—at the breakfast table the crew so graciously provided—grimaced, and squinted at Ino, her suspicions remaining strong when Ino merely rose an eyebrow in response. Kurama spotted them, and walked over, leaving Takami in the dust, and gaining what had to be a flirtatious smile as he reached them.

"Ladies, how are you fairing?" Kurama asked in a gentlemanly fashion.

Hinata stuttered out an answer while Sakura merely nodded, and Ino grunted, hoping that the less ladylike she appeared, the less Kurama would want her. The man was all kinds of annoying, and it was only because it was their job was to protect him that Ino had left him alive.

All bets were off if he tried groping her though.

"Who's switching with me?" Naruto asked.

"I am," Sakura answered. "But not until after we arrive at the port." Naruto pouted at the answer. Ino almost smiled at the reaction, but it turned into a grimace when Kurama's attention seemed to latch onto her.

She turned away, more aggravated than usual.

Oh crap—it was her time of the month.

"In-" Before Kurama had a chance to finish, Ino was gone.


If things weren't annoying enough.

Ino sighed, a cramp hitting her before passing. Compared to dislocating a shoulder, cramps were nothing, but it was still an inconvenience and annoyance. She'd forgotten to pack any of her ingredients she normally carried to make her period much less of a hassle due to the fact that she was on a mission with Naruto. She tended to forget about trivial things when she was with him. Luckily, a quick trip to the ship's doctor, and her problem was solved, hygiene-wise.

It was embarrassing to say the least, to be so completely caught off guard by something that was a regular occurrence. She felt stupid and overly emotional, and it was all Naruto's fault.

Who, at the moment, wasn't even paying attention to her!

"Can you believe it Sakura! We'll get to see Yuki again!" Naruto prattled on excitedly. It seemed the gloom he had been exerting earlier was lifted with the near end of the mission. Ino knew that it was the idea of things going wrong. While the mission was classified as an A-rank, it was only classified as such because of the amount of money the Nobles were willing to pay and how many jounins they wanted. Technically it was a C-rank and Ino was fully aware of the luck Team 7 had with those—though maybe it was just Naruto.

"Don't get too excited. She's a princess. I doubt she'll have time to see us for more than ten minutes," Sakura chastised.

"Um—guys—we have a problem," Hinata said from the back. Her voice somehow managing to reach them despite how soft it was. Looking at her, Ino noticed that her Byukugan was activated.

"Damn it! We were so close!" Naruto yelled, nearly pulling out his hair out. Ino rolled her eyes and began to scan the forest for chakra signatures. Normally she took point, but they didn't have any formation going on. Naruto and Sasuke were arguably the strongest shinobi in the world. Sakura was the Hokage's apprentice, and both Hinata and Ino were clan heirs.

It was reckless, however, so she moved closer to Hinata who nodded in wordless confirmation. Team 7 was the powerhouse. Ino and Hinata were there for back up—they probably wouldn't even get to do anything.

The group they were protecting was unaware, however, and so they all went into different degrees of panic when a massive rock came barreling their way from ahead of the road they were on.

"Don't move!" Ino snapped, glaring back briefly at the few peasants that were trying to bolt into the forest. It would be harder to keep them safe if they scattered.

Sakura ran into it, punching it with her fist and breaking it into shrapnel that scattered all over the place. Hinata, already in position, twisted and expelled her chakra throughout the pores of her body, making it go much farther than Ino was used to seeing to protect the people behind them. Ino rose an eyebrow when Hinata didn't even seem winded at the amount of chakra she just used for the abnormally large kaiten.

I don't remember Hinata having that much chakra... Ino decided to file it for later.

"Keep the destruction to a minimum, Forehead!" Ino called out. Honestly, she expected that of Naruto, not Sakura. Speaking of, Naruto was already spreading his clones around the caravan—because Nobles apparently could not travel without their entourage—and created a protective barrier of clones.

Ino pouted. Team 7 had all the fun.

They watched on as Team 7 made mince meat out of random shinobi that attacked. It was interesting to say the least.

Ino had never had the privilege of seeing Sasuke and Naruto work together. Team 10 hands down had the best team work—not that she was bias or anything—but it was weird to be on the receiving end of wordless communication. Watching it in action really gave her an insight to their psyche. It was interesting because while Team 10 had years worth of training and fighting together, Team 7 hadn't been together often—were apart for years, and still managed to have their synchronization down to an art form. Naruto and Sasuke especially.

Brothers indeed.


"And here I was hoping to use my new technique," Ino murmured. It was rather odd to find that so many ninja had been gathered to attack a measly caravan. More than half of their numbers were gone, thanks to Sasuke, and the rest had fled once they realized they were losing. Team 7 didn't usually take prisoners, so she was without a source of information.

Paranoia kept her scanning the caravan, looking for any inconsistencies. Just about all the faces she looked at had varying degrees of fear, amazement, shock, and relief.

But something's off, Ino thought, frustrated with her paranoia.

The collective emotions of the caravan was spooking the horses, so they were taking a break to collect themselves. It was then that Kurama's wife decided to exit the carriage she'd almost religiously kept herself in the whole way. It was then that Ino thought she saw a disappointment as the woman scanned the area.

Ohh, Ino blinked before grinning.


Holy crap, is this an update? Yep. Sorry to have disappeared for so long, but I had completely lost my touch with writing and I've just barely started back into it. So while the next update might not be anytime soon, it surely will not take another year and half. That at least I can promise. If you would like to see my thought process or random ramblings, I have a twitter account. You'd probably be able to bug me more in there for an update. Its on my profile if anybody cares.

Let me know how I did with this chapter. I need the critique.