Thank you all so much for the reviews and likes! I was overwhelmed! I tried not to stick too much to the original Bell Test, but it did kind of fit, you know, and I liked what Kakashi meant by - In the Ninja World, those who break the rules are scum, that's true...but those who abandon their friends are worse than scum! Love it! Anyway, enough of my rambling :P

Mou'Ikka, I don't really like gushing, lol, so what you said is fine :P

The votes so far -

Shikamaru : 5

Haku : 1

Sai : 2

OC :

Here's Chapter Four,

Phoenix Flame x.


The next three weeks were filled with minuscule missions, ones that Kakashi-sensei said ' built up team work ', but Naru considered the thought that he was purposely torturing them. They'd been tasked with painting a fence for an old lady, though the said fence was about one hundred feet long, so Naru turned it into a paint war. Baby-sitting little children for a couple who'd gone out for the day, leaving behind their demon triplets. Delivering food to the Amikichi Clan House. Bathing the Inuzuka dogs, but Team 7 were kept an eye on because Naru had once pulled a prank on the Inuzuka property. Walking numberous dogs, with Naru demanding that she take the leashes of the big dogs, only to regret it when they ended up dragging her through bushes. Fishing was also a mission, which Naru quite enjoyed because she got to stand at the top of a waterfall.

Still, the missions lost their fun after the second day of the silly tasks.

For the third week running, Team 7 received the one mission that all ninjas feared doing: The Tora Mission. Tora was the demon in the form of a cat that belonged to the Damiyo's wife. She was notorious for escaping and evading all attempts at capture, even from the most skilled of ninja. She must run away at least five times a week, some times just after she was caught and taken back to her own.

Team 7 agreed on one thing for the first time ever; the cat was better left alone. Leave it to the wild. Tora's personallity was that of a feral cat, anyway.

It was a Thursday afternoon, the sun was shining brightly through fluffy white clouds, from in amongst a sea of clear blue.

" Sakura, it's coming your way! " Sasuke said through the ear-piece, watching from his place in a tree as Tora the cat toddled innocently through the forest.

" Are you sure it's Tora? " Sakura's voice came back.

" There's a red ribbon. " Sasuke confirmed.

Naru's voice crackled over the ear-piece. " It's in my sight, but it's closer to Sakura, so she can handle this, " she said happily, leaning against the tree she'd climbed into a few minutes previously.

" Use your code names! " Kakashi's shamelessly cheerful voice chirped over the ear-pieces.

There was silence on all ends, then, reluctantly, Sakura's voice came.

" Pinky here, Tora is closing in on my position. "

A giggle told them that Naru was finding it amusing.

" Shut up, Fox-face! " Sakura raged, but she only received another laugh.

" Brooder here. Shut up, or you'll scare the cat away, " Sasuke said.

" Sorry Brooder, " Naru said in an unapologetic voice, " Fox-Face is better though, it sounds cool. "

" Tora is heading in your direction, Na-Fox-face! " Sakura said suddenly.

Naru looked down from her perch in the tree. The demon cat was indeed passing by her tree. " I'm on it, " she whispered, and pushed away from the tree trunk. As soon as Tora had walked underneath the tree, she dropped from the branch and to the floor, intent on grabbing the cat. She missed by an inch. She had felt the fur before Tora'd launched herself in another direction.

" Dammit, it got away! " She said, " Kakashi-sensei, it's heading your way, I think. "

" This isn't my job, Fox-face, " Kakashi said brightly, " you catch the cat. Scarecrow out. "

Naru huffed. " What happened to this being team work, huh? You are the sensei. " She didn't expect an answer back from him, which was good, because she didn't get one.

Sasuke dropped from his tree and approached where Naru was standing. " It'll be better if we search for it on ground, " he said, assuming the position of leader, as he had been since they'd become Team 7.

Neither girl really cared, well, Naru did, because the teme was too smug and arragont, but as long as he didn't over step his bounds, then she was fine with him sometimes taking the lead. It saved her the hard work.

Naru nodded. " Dropping from a tree takes too much time, " she muttered, reluctantly agreeing with her rival.

It was then that Sakura joined their little meeting, having decided that Naru was spending too much alone time with Sasuke.

They set off after Tora.

Ten minutes later, Team 7 emerged from the woods. Kakashi was reading his book; Naru was nursing a scratch on her cheek; and Sasuke had a few cuts on his arms and legs. Sakura was happily cooing over Tora, who was sitting snuggly in her arms.

" That cat should be put down, " Naru said, glaring darkly at the ginger ball of evil. " It will be the humane thing to do. "

" How is it humane to put a perfectly healthy cat down? " Sakura asked.

" I didn't mean humane for the cat, I meant for us humans, " Naru corrected, " seriously, I swear I've heard of people who are like fifteen years older than us catching that cat back when they were genins. "

" That's not possible! " Sakura protested, " normal cats don't live for that long. "

" Well, that cat isn't normal, is it? " Naru said, " that cat is the devil reborn into a small form, sent to torture us. "

Sakura turned to their sensei, hoping to get his information on this and to prove Naru wrong. " Kakashi-sensei, Tora wasn't around when you were young, was she? "

Kakashi didn't answer, too lost in the memories of him and his former team spending hours trying to catch Tora many years ago. The devil in cat form indeed.

They soon reached the Hokage's tower, where an eager Damiyo's wife was waiting in the mission room, looking worried for her little ' smoochums ' as she liked to call the cat. As soon as the door opened, and Team 7 walked in, she nearly defeaned everyone with her happy shriek. " Oh, my baby Tora! " She crowed, " come to mummy! " She held out fat arms to receive her baby, who began to struggle in Sakura's arms as the pinkette handed the ginger mass over.

Sarutobi and Iruka were sitting behind a long desk, with the academy teacher going through missions to be taken. The Hokage smiled warmly. " Well, let's see what we have next, " he said, holding out his hand, and Iruka placed a scroll of D-Rank missions in the old, wrinkled hand, which he began to scan through. " Next, you have many choices; painting more fences; walking more dogs; feeding the Inuzuka dogs - " He was cut off by a loud scream of " No! Tora! Come back! " from the Damiyo's wife. " Or catching Tora again. "

Naru'd had enough. " Iie! " She refused, crossing her arms over her chest in a show of stubborness. " I refuse to do anymore of these missions! They're not missions! They're chores that people are too lazy to do! That old, batty woman wants the fences repainted every single day! She should stick with brown! The Inuzuka's have had dogs for how long? It's their dogs, they can do it! And that cat is an abomonation who should be put down to put us out of our misery! " By the end of this, she was breathing heavily, and glaring angrily. " Give us something better to do. "

Sakura huffed. " Naru, don't speak to Hokage-sama like that! " She snapped, but she was ignored.

Sarutobi blinked. " You really feel very strongly about this, " he mused.

Iruka, however, was not as calm as the Hokage. " Naru! You can't speak to the Hokage like that! Missions are given ranks for a reason, and genins are given those ranks for a reason..." He continued on with his lecture, but, by now, Team 7 had ventured off into their own little worlds, each thinking of something else.

I wonder if Sasuke'll accept my offer of a date? Sakura thought, giving a little giggle.

I could be somewhere much more interesting than this, like training to kill him. Sasuke thought darkly, glaring at the floor as if it had wronged him in some way.

What to have for dinner? I still have ramen in the cupboards at home...then again, I've been doing so well that Iruka-sensei might be sympathetic and take me out for some ramen, and get me some pocky on the way back, I do like pocky. Naru thought, looking thoughtful as she stared at the ceiling.

Kakashi chuckled slightly.

" Naru! " Iruka yelled, bringing everyone back to their senses. Since it was usually Naru who ignored him, and who he had been mainly speaking to, he was going to blame her. Three weeks with the other two, and she'd turned them into people who ignore him. It was bound to happen...

Naru raised an eyebrow, a defiant look still gracing her features. She was going to win this argument. " Look, sensei, " she began seriously, shocking everyone in the room, even the random Jounin who had come in to get a new mission. " I get what you're saying, I do, but what I'm saying is that we're ready for a higher level mission! And frankly, sensei, I am quite insulted that you tried to argue against me, because that would be indicating that you think I'm too weak to go on a higher mission? " Que the puppy eyes.

Now, she definitely deserved credit there, thought an impressed Kakashi, who had even looked up from his book at that point. Maybe she would one day be Hokage with those skills at talking.

Sakura blinked. Had Naru just said something very smart, while imploring to Iruka-sensei's soft spot for her?

Sasuke's face did not chance, though on the inside, he was a bit shocked.

Iruka's eyes were wide. He was torn between scolding his former student at talking back to him, and then comforting Naru-chan and assuring her that he didn't think she was weak. Damn girl was tricky.

Sarutobi chuckled slightly.

" Hokage-sama, I agree with Naru, " Sasuke said, struggling to say his team-mates name instead of the normal dobe.

Sakura now seemed to agree with Naru, because she looked very accepting. " If Sasuke-kun thinks we should do it, " she said, nodding her head strongly. The fan-girl crush was helpful, then.

For once, the three were agreeing on something. They were working together to disobey their superiors. To disobey the Hokage. Kakashi couldn't have been more proud. His ducklings were growing up!

Seeing that the three genins were not going to give up, and that Kakashi wasn't doing anything to stop them, the Hokage gave up. " Very well, " he said in defeat.

" Demo, Hokage-sama! " Iruka immediately protested, but he quickly gave up when he heard Naru's cough, and he was reminded of her little speech.

She smiled triumphantly.

Sarutobi raised a hand. " It's ok, Iruka-san, " he said calmly, " if they think they're ready for a higher level mission, then I say we agree. Right, Kakashi-kun? "

Kakashi glanced up from his book. " Hai, " he answered shortly, and went back to his book, letting out a perverted giggle.

Naru grinned. " Oh good, I was thinking that I would have had to convince the team to fail every single mission you would have given us, had you refused me, " she said, grinning widely.

Everyone just gaped at her.

Oh yes, she was good.

" Well, we have an escort mission - a C-Rank, " Sarutobi said, opening the scroll that Iruka had just passed to him.

" Oh, oh, really? " Naru asked excitedly, " is it someone important? Like a Lord? Or a Lady? Or a Prince? Come onnnn! Tell meee! "

Sarutobi smiled, taking a chance to get his own back. " The Bridge Builder, Tazuna, " he announced.

The door slid open and a man in his late fifties stumbled in, his hair and beard grey and scraggly, his eyes bloodshot and unfocused, and he was swaying uneasily, but still managed to keep a tight grip on his Sake bottle. A Bridge Builder?

" That's a bridge builder? " Naru asked doubtfully, " he's...drunk. " Golden eyebrows furrowed. Sakura frowned as well, wrinkling her nose at the state he was in. Sasuke appeared impassive.

Tazuna turned bloodshot eyes to her. " This is who is supposed to be protecting me? " He slurred, " two snot-nosed kids and a brat. "

It took Naru a few moments to realise that it was her he was calling a brat. It took only a second to launch herself at the bridge builder, yelling profanities at him. A hand just managed to grab the back of her collar, effectively stopping her in her tracks, with her legs still going in a very comical way. " Let me go! " She looked up to see who had gotten a hold of her, and a flash of orange told her everything. " Kakashi-sensei, let me go! "

It was the first time that Iruka had ever heard Naru call another person sensei, and though he felt pride at her growth, it also stung a little to know that she was now relying on someone else.

" Naru, we do not kill the client, it doesn't work that way, " he said, as if this were a completely normal thing to be telling your twelve year old student. If it did, some past missions would have been finished a lot quicker and easier...

Naru settled down, but she continued to glare at the man.

Kakashi turned to Tazuna. " Tazuna-san, I am a Jounin, and I can assure you that no harm will come to you, " he said reassuringly, but he would have to keep an eye on his smallest student if he wanted to keep that reassurance.

Tazuna looked doubtful, but he nodded. " I'll meet you at the gate tomorrow morning, eight am, " he said, and then stumbled out of the room.

" I would've preferred someone like the teme than him, at least I know how to deal with that sort, " Naru said as as she looked at Sarutobi, unimpressed.

" So, what are we doing exactly? "

" Escorting him, duh, " Sakura said, rolling her eyes.

Sarutobi cleared his throat as the two girls began to glare at each other, and it brought their attention to him. " You'll be escorting him back to the Wave Country, and he'll need protecting from just the thieves and bandits that travel around. "

" Well, why would they attack him? He doesn't look like he's got a penny to his name, " Naru muttered, " probably spent it all on Sake. "

" Naru, don't insult the client, " Iruka scolded, but as usual, his former student ignored him.

When it looked as if Sakura was going to start asking questions, Kakashi finally decided to interrupt, and he showed an impressive skill of control over them. " Come on ducklings, let's leave these two to their jobs, shall we? "

Iruka's jaw dropped when he saw Naru sigh, roll her eyes, but willingly give up on the grilling. Even he hadn't had that much control over Naru.

" Let's go for some food! " Naru chirped, and she bounced out of the office. Kakashi and the rest of the team followed after the small blonde.

That left Sarutobi and Iruka staring after them.

" She has you wrapped around her little finger, doesn't she? " A voice said lightly, and both turned their heads to see a young man with spiky brown hair, sparkling green eyes and tanned skin. He wore a Jounin uniform, with his own little flare of black stripped down his legs.

" Kyo-kun? " Saurtobi asked, " how long have you been standing there? "

Kyo shrugged, a small smirk playing on his lips. " Long enough to know that if that girl wanted every shop to be turned into a ramen store, she'd get it in no time, " he said, and with a wink, he left the room.

" He's right, " Iruka said pathetically.


" Anyone up for Barbeque? " Kakashi suddenly asked from the back of Team 7, who had been walking ahead, though staying at least three feet away from each other. He wondered how long the negative emotions between them would last.

Naru's ears perked up at that, and she turned around so that she was walking backwards, but facing her sensei. " If you're paying, " she said brightly.

" Doubtful any of you could afford that place at the moment, " he said boredly, turning a page of his book. He would only bail out and leave them to pay at a cheap place, or when they could afford it with combined money, but at the moment, they'd just got onto Genin pay, so he could wait.

" Sure! " Sakura said happily, and immediately turned on the only male Genin of the group. " What about you, Sasuke-kun? " No-one missed the hopeful tone in her voice.

" Hn. " Everyone took that as a yes from the nearly always silent Uchiha, who only spoke when he ordered them around, or to call Naru a name. Either way, at least he was talking more than he did in the academy.

Team 7 made their way to the Barbeque restaurant and found a table in the corner of the room, far enough away from anyone who would interrupt, but close enough to not be ignored by the waitresses.

" I've only ever been for a Barbeque once! " Naru said excitedly, and that caused her to pause momentairily. She couldn't remember coming here before, but she could have sworn it was very familiar...

" Once? " Sakura asked in disbelief. She knew that Naru was an orphan, and didn't have a rich upbringing, but still. " Really? Was it Iruka-sensei who took you? "

Naru shook her head. " Iie, I can't remember who, " she said with a shrug. She had quite a good memory, but there was a big bit of her life that she couldn't remember: the space in between when she was six, up until she was eight. Those two years were curiously blank.

Kakashi looked at his smallest student strangely.

Just then, the waitress walked over, a bright smile on her face, and a notepad in hand, the pencil poised ready to write. " Hello, what would you like to order? " She asked, her eyes roaming the table, but once they landed on Naru, they frosted over slightly, giving Naru the feeling that all the people from five years older and above than her knew her secret.

" Ribs, please, " Sakura said politely.

" Spicy pork, " Sasuke said coolly.

Kakashi did not look up. " The same as the brooder, " he said, earning a dirty look from the Uchiha, " and you, Naru? "

" Chicken. "

The waitress jotted it all down, bestowed them with a smile that was less brighter than the previous one, and left.

The table fell into silence, with only Naru's drumming fingers, and the noise of pages being turned, being the sounds that filled it.

" Forehead? " A familiar voice said loudly, and Team 7 looked up to see Ino Yamanaka walking over to the table, her team in tow, the three of them looking noticably worn. Naru could guess that it was because of Ino and her loud mouth.

Sakura immediately jumped up. " Ino-pig, " she said, hands falling to her sides to clench into fists.

Sapphire eyes rolled as a whiskered cheek rested on a propped up hand. Why in the world did Naru think that their rivalry would be left at the academy? They still lived in the same village, so of course they would run into eachother. " Shikamaru, Chouji, " she greeted her two former friends with a small wave.

Shikamaru blinked sleepily at her, and Chouji managed a small wave back before his hand dived into his always present bag of crisps.

Their sensei, Asuma, wondered over to the side of the table that Kakashi sat on and smirked at him. " Treating your team, Kakashi? " He said in a deep voice, with a slight rasp that only came from years of smoking.

" Hai, " Kakashi said vaguely, " my team have gone three weeks without killing each other. "

Team 7 shared a look. To be honest, that was a big deal for them.

Ino snorted. " Well, you're stuck with Naru, " she said, using that reason as an insult, one that Sakura rose to quickly.

" Yeah, well your team isn't any better! " She responded, " at least I have Sasuke-kun! "

This sparked their long time fued over Sasuke, while the rest of Team 8 sat down at the table with the others.

Invite yourself along, Naru thought dryly, moving over to make room for Shikamaru and Chouji, who choose to sit on either side of her. She brought up her other hand so that her chin could rest in the both of them. She looked at Sasuke, who was brooding, at Sakura and Ino, whose voices were slowly rising, and to her sensei, who seemed to be in a conversation that was purely one-sided to Asuma.

" So, how have your missions been going? " Shikamaru asked around a yawn, as if the simple task of talking was once again too much for him. He looked ready to drop his head on the table and sleep for a good five hours.

Naru shrugged. " Good, " she said, " they're boring, and like chores, but they're missions. " They couldn't be called missions, because they were normal house-hold chores, or something a villager should be doing, but it got her money that she needed.

" Yeah, " Chouji said, nodding in agreement. " I heard you delivered food to my clan house the other day. "

She made a face at that. " Chores, I tell you, chores, " she muttered, and looked around for the waitress who should be bringing their food any time soon, but judging by that look she'd received, the waitress was probably spitting in her food.

A few minutes later, when Sakura and Ino's voices had reached dangerous levels, the waitress returned with a tray carrying their food.

Seeing this, Sakura stopped arguing and sent her once friend a glare. " We'll carry this on later, " she warned, and sat back next to Sasuke, who must've been frozen on the inside as Ino dropped down on the other side of him.

" Here you go, " the waitress chirped, setting the plates down on the table, before she whipped out her notepad and stared expectantly at the others surrounding the table. After she took their orders, with quite a lot coming from Chouji, which she expected, because she knew of the Amikichi's - she'd even served them a few times before. She bowed and walked away.

Naru happily dug into her BBQ chicken, well aware of Chouji staring hungrily at her food.

Once the food of Team 8 had arrived, the only people who were actually talking were the two senseis, and even then, Kakashi only managed a few words in the space of twenty minutes, still managing to eat his food without taking off his mask, and Asuma was chatting away, apparently very used to the lack of conversation. Not too long ago, Sasuke had gotten up to go to the toilet, and when he'd returned, he had sat on the empty side of the table, making it clear that he wanted to be on his own while he ate.

Not soon enough did Kakashi decide that it was time for Team 7 to leave, and after bidding Team 8 a good-bye, they departed.

" Stupid Ino-pig! " Sakura scowled at the floor as if it had been the one attempting to sit next to Sasuke. " Just when I thought I had finally won! "

" What do you all want to do now? " Kakashi asked, sounding as though he was just asking out of politeness.

" Well, I for one, am returning home to get cleaned up! I still have dirt on my dress, " Sakura said, gesturing down at the small bit of dirt that was flecked on her pink dress.

" I have dried blood on me, " Naru said, giving that as her only answer, and with a small wave, she veered off course and down a small alley that would lead her to her street.

Kakashi's voice came from behind her. " See you tomorrow, eight o clock, remember. "

Naru waved a hand over her shoulder.


Once she arrived back at the run down apartment complex she'd lived in for as long as she could remember, she took the four flights of stairs up to the top floor, walked down corridor, and unlocked the faded red door. She walked inside, closed the door and locked it behind her, before she ventured further into the small apartment. She looked at the tree in the corner of the room.

" Maybe I should grow another one, " she murmured, and walked over to her bed. Kneeling down, she pushed the bed a few feet away, revealing a rug underneath. She pulled up the rug and put her hand down a seemingly strong floorboard, but it loosened easily and the other end came up. It was a place where she hid her most precious things, just in case her apartment was broken into while she was out. Reaching in, she grabbed the old Mokuton scroll, feeling her fingers brush over something smooth, and she withdrew the priceless scroll and set it on the bed.

Feeling curious as to what else was under the floorboard, she reached a bit further in and felt smooth edges of something - like a box. She grabbed it and brought it out, remembering to move the floorboard back to its previous place, and she set the box down on the bed.

It was completely smooth and made of oak, a swirl - her swirl - was a small symbol on the front of the box, while the top of it had the Leaf symbol on it. Tracing it with a fingertip, she felt a frown pull her lips downwards. She didn't remember this box - didn't remember buying it, or putting it in her hiding place. Still, it felt very, very familiar. Placing her finger against the swirl, she was startled when something cut her, and she immediately pulled her hand back.

" Ow! " She muttered, seeing the blood coming from her finger. It healed almost instantly, so she paid it no bother as her attention was drawn to the box as it made a little clicking noise, like a lock had been unlocked. She opened the lid of the box, and her eyes widened.

Lying inside, face up, was the porcelain white mask of an ANBU, a weasel face painted onto it. Underneath it seemed to be another one, and when she picked up the weasel mask, she saw a black porcelain mask of the ANBU, one that she had never seen before, and there were five silver tears painted down the left cheek of the mask. Something inside her head panged, and she remembered a time...

" Keep these safe for me, Naru-chan, me and your Nii-san won't be back in a long, long time, " a gentle, soothing voice that must've belonged to someone who was only in their early teens, and Naru remembered feeling safe because of that voice.

" Why not? " Naru had asked in her small, young voice.

There was a soft, sad smile. " Because something happened, and Nii-san had to go away, sweetie. "

" What about you? " A single tear had fallen.

" I can't bear to be here without him, Naru-chan, " the girl had explained, " and they'll come to me because I knew him so well. I need to leave to keep it a secret, and keep our relationship safe. "

Naru had nodded. " Will you come back, Nee-chan, once you've found Nii-san? "

The girl nodded. " Hai, we'll come back and be a family again, " she had whispered, kneeling down to face the younger Naru. She saw a cascade of dark, dark hair falling over a shoulder, pretty blue eyes that held pain, and a lovely face that held grief. " Forgive me, little sister, but this is for the best. " Her eyes seemed to become hypnotising.

All went blank after that.

Naru broke away from her memories, shaking her head in a bewildered manner. Who had that girl been? And what was that memory? She had no recollection of ever knowing a girl like that, nor did she have a brother and a sister, but being a family didn't necessarily by blood. So, who were her brother and sister?

Deciding she wanted to know more, she dug deeper into the box, finding scrolls and paper that were hidden beneath the two masks. Notes, sweet notes saying they would be back soon, signed by S.N and I.U. Scrolls with jutsus on, jutsus that had the potential to be lethal. Then there was a neckalace, a black string with small beads on, black and purple beads about two inches apart.

" Pretty, " she muttered, and on instinct, she reached up and slipped it on over her head. It settled around her neck comfortably, and it felt like it belonged there.

She continued her search, and found a letter addressed to her, in neat, slanted writing. Heart pounding with a deep feeling of familiarity, she opened it with hands that wouldn't stop shaking, and she began to read:

Dear Naru,

Hey sweetie, I've gone out on a mission with the others, while your Nii-san finally takes a well deserved rest! He should be along to see you later, but don't wait up too late, ok?

Love you will all my heart,

Your big sister, S.

So she did have a sister, but it couldn't have been her real sister, because in that brief flash of memory, the one that must've been from those two years she can't remember, the girl had dark hair, but then again, siblings could have any coloured hair depending on their parents. Though, she didn't get the feeling that the girl was her sister, especially with the intials S.N, but I.U might be her brother, because of the U, but she also got the feeling that he wasn't...

" Ugh! " She groaned, falling back onto the floor in frustration. Why couldn't she figure this out? It was all in her head, she knew it was, she could feel it! But it was like trying to remember a word you'd forgotten, or a name, and it was swimming around in there somewhere, but it was not coming to the surface.

After taking a few minutes to get over it, she covered the floorboard again and put the bed back to where it belonged, and then she sat on it. Putting the box to one side, she opened up the Mokuton scroll and began reading.


Half an hour later, she sat on her bed, legs crossed and her body relaxed. In her cupped hands was a small seed. Allowing her eyelids to slide shut, she took a deep breath and focused her chakra into the seed. It wasn't that hard to send her chakra somewhere in her body, it was just the fact of keeping it there, and in a small amount. The tree she had now started out as a seed, and gradually, her chakra had made it grow.

Finally, she felt a strong chakra emerge, but it wasn't strong in like the solid feeling of wood that she'd had on the first night of using Mokuton. No, it was warm...until it began to get hotter, and hotter, until she could feel such a strong burning, and before she knew it, it was too late to stop it. The burning sensation flowed through her veins like liquid fire, lighting her nerves on fire. The most intense heat was in the pit of her stomach, and in her hands.

A whoozy feeling came over her, and she decided that she needed to take a break.

Opening her eyes, she dropped them down to her hands, and her mouth opened for a scream that refused to come.

The reason for her surprise and horror...her hands were no longer cupping a small seed, but instead, a small ball of fire that was flickering red, yellow and orange. It was burning, brightly and scoldingly, but her hands were not being effected. She quickly dropped her hands, and the ball of fire dropped into...the water?

Looking up, she found that she was no longer in her apartment, but instead she was standing in what appeared to be a sewer. Old, rusty pipes lined the cold stone walls, running down the length and going off in different directions, down the different turns and corridors provided, and she was knee deep in murky water.

None of this seemed recognisable to her, but she felt something familiar coming from one of the corridors. Looking down, she saw that there was a crimson trail, not blood but energy, floating through the water, and it turned down the right corridor. Something urged her to follow it, so she did.

As she turned one corner, then another, and another, the red trail grew and grew until it had the width of a tree trunk, and just as she thought, almost hoped, she would reach the end of it, something stopped her in her tracks. It wasn't a horrible something, more of a something that was powerful, and it didn't want her near the source of that red chakra.

A light grew, and grew, enveloping her senses, until she looked as if she were in pure golden white space, and just before she felt herself...waking up?

She heard a loud, terrifiying roar.

Naru's eyes flew open, an unnoticed glow of gold mixed with red fading, and she took a deep breath. Her hands felt hot, and a look settled her fears that her hands were on fire, but they were bright red, as if they had been subjected to heat. She took a deep breath.

She wanted to forget about that, and pretend it wasn't real, because surely it couldn't be, and a month ago, she would've done just that, but not know that she knew the truth about herself. The truth about what she contained, and held. The truth that could've caused her to wake up in a sewer.

After all, the Kyuubi No Kitsune was sealed inside of her. It had to be somewhere, and she thought that she might've just found where.


The next morning, after a rather restless sleep and a quick breakfast of instant ramen, Naru had hazardously thrown her things in a bag, packing quite a bit since she wasn't sure how long she was going to be gone for, and she left her apartment. All her things were hidden under the loose floorboard, and she knew that Iruka-sensei would check on her apartment while she was gone, and water her first tree, but she couldn't ever be too careful.

She met her team-mates at the gate. Sakura looked tired, no surprise, and her pink hair was immaculately brushed, while her dress looked spotless, and she had a small brown shoulder bag. Sasuke didn't seem fazed by the early time, which made Naru wonder if he ever actually slept, and he had a black bag on his back. . Tazuna wasn't here, which wasn't a surprise either, since she was sure he was lying in his bed, hung over. Kakashi-sensei wasn't there, and once again, no surprise.

There was no talking. Only the dirty looks Sakura shot Naru, as if it were her fault they were up this late, and in a way, it was, but Naru could've argued that Sakura didn't have to agree to take a higher ranking mission, she could've refused.

The ninjas on early shift at the gates were looking at the three Genins, smirking at their tired looks, and they traded amused looks. What it was like to be a Genin again - they didn't missed those days of waking up early.

Another twenty minutes, and Tazuna came stumbling towards the gate, no Sake bottle in sight, but it was obvious he was either still drunk from yesterday, or his hang over was causing him to stumble. Either answer would fit. His bloodshot eyes looked over them, and then around. " Where's that Kakashi person? "

" Path of life, " Naru and Sakura said simultaneously, and then looked at each other. Glares were traded, and then they hastily looked away.

Tazuna simply looked bemused.

An hour later, Kakashi did show up, a bag on his back, and his book in hand. He looked wide awake and alert, well, as alert as he can, since he had a bored and sleepy look most of the time.

" Where've you been? " Naru asked, raising an eyebrow, and expecting the same answer as she and Sakura had given Tazuna, but, rather surprisingly, he did not give that one.

" I was rescuing a cat from a tree, " he said seriously, choosing to use another excuse, as he had started to do a week ago. He had many up his sleeve, but he didn't want to confuse or annoy his ducklings too soon.

" You're lying! " Sakura screeched, pointing an accusing finger at him.

" Maa, maa, " he said, waving a hand idily. " Let's go, we don't want to waste day light! " He then walked off ahead, as he hadn't been the one who had held them all up.

Team 7, after an annoyed silence, followed their sensei.

Tazuna wondered what he had gotten himself into as he followed them.

There wasn't much words spoken as they travelled away from Konoha and towards their destination.


So, what do you all think of this chapter? I know it's quite a bit shorter than the others, but while it is an important chapter, giving hints to those two people, it isn't something I can drag out without you faithful readers becoming bored, so I made it shorter.

Please keep on voting for the pairing! By Chapter Seven, the votes will close and I'll set who wins as the pairing.

The next chapter will be up in two days.

Reviews are welcomed!

Phoenix Flame x.