Welcome to Chapter Twooooo O:!

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NARUTO! MASASHI KISHIMOTO DOES! I also do not own any of the OCs, except:

The Tsukuyomi Clan

Nero

Hajin

Ayano

Zoki

A/N: I was about to put a warnings sign here…. ;D

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Chapter Two: Chuunin Selection Examinations! Rotten Luck.

"All right," Akira declared, thrusting a finger in the air, his other hand on his hip as he glanced at his teammates, who both yawned sleepily, "We can't waste anymore time! The Chuunin Exams officially start in two days, and since Kazuya wants us to rest the day before, we're going to train our butts off today!" Nero stifled another yawn, reaching up and rubbing his watery eye, slumping a little. He didn't even bother with a pervy joke as Ruriko's head tilted onto his shoulder, her eyelids hanging near closing.

"Akira, it's five thirty in the morning…There's no way we're in any shape for training if we can hardly keep ourselves upright." He mumbled drowsily, almost stumbling only to have Ruriko grab his arm and give it a tug before she dropped her head back onto his shoulder. Nero shook his head to get his bearings. Akira pouted, folding his arms over his chest and facing them as he tapped a foot.

"I don't care what time it is! It's your faults for staying up! Besides, five hours is plenty of sleep, now come on! Let's do something!" He insisted stubbornly. Nero felt his eye twitch, whether with lack of sleep or annoyance, he couldn't tell. Ruriko growled low in her throat and pushed off Nero's shoulder, nodding.

"Akira's right and I know just what I want to do." She stated. Akira looked at her curiously.

"What?"

"GO BACK TO BED." Ruriko deadpanned, her face completely straight like a brick, making Akira flail his arms to keep from falling backwards in despair. Nero stood up straight, stretching his arms over his head and yawning widely now.

"Oooh, forget it, Akira. We'll train later tonight… We're not morning people like you and Happy-sensei." He responded as he made a spreading gesture with his hands, a picture of their sensei basically bubbling up above his head. Akira sweat dropped, hunched over with defeat before he perked up with an idea, beaming innocently with a small smile as he pointed beside Ruriko at the dew-coated grass of the training field.

"Did I mention that there's a type of spider that likes to come out this time of day and cling to anything that happens to be moving through the grass?" He asked. As soon as the word 'spider' left his mouth, Ruriko's eyes were wide with horror as she almost leapt ten feet in the air with a high yelp before she grabbed onto Nero, making him gasp and flail to catch his balance.

"SPIDER? Oh my god, I hate you, Akira! I hate spiders!" She yelled, looking worriedly down at the grass as Nero groaned, squeezing his eyes shut as he tried to regain the hearing lost due to Ruriko's screaming in his ear. Akira waited, watching with the same smug look on his face as Nero finally caught his balance.

"Ruriko, he's bullshitting you! Jeez, calm down. There's no spider like that." Nero snapped, brushing himself off as Ruriko took a step back with a nervous sweat drop, twiddling her fingers. Nero folded his arms over his chest, averting his eyes before Ruriko twitched and whipped around to shove a fist in Akira's face.

"You're such a jerk! I swear, I'm going to throw you in a river!" She shouted angrily, flailing a fist around while the other kept shoving against Akira's nose. Akira laughed nervously, waving his hands in surrender.

"At least you're awake now, right?" He cried. Ruriko glared at him some more before leaning back, huffing as she put her fists on her hips, turning her head the other way stubbornly. Nero looked at Akira flatly.

"Well, all right, whatever. You have our attention. So now what did you have in mind for training?" He asked dully. Akira beamed and reached into his pocket, taking out a map, making Nero frown and Ruriko cock a brow as she glanced out the corner of her eye.

"What the hell is that for?" She asked, poking the map, still keeping a fist on her hip as Akira gave the map a little wave, a grin still on his face.

"This is a map of Konohagakure! I've hidden something for both of you guys, things that you'll really need to get back, but you have to find out what it is yourself. Kazuya did the same for me, so I have to go look for it on my own. We'll have to split up too. If you finds the thing that you're missing, you win and get to take the rest of the day off. Can't find it and you're screwed." He explained simply. Nero blinked.

"You came up with that?" He asked. Akira nodded confidently, beaming in Nero's face.

"Sure did! You guys are timed, by the way. You have to find the item by dinner time tonight or you lose. I got a map for each of us too, since we're new to this place. I basically gave you a big hint too." He added as he pulled two more maps from his weapons pouch, handing them to both his teammates, who looked down at the maps, then at each other.

"Ready, set, go!" Akira announced and shot off with what sounded like a very pleased giggle. Ruriko twitched and glared after her brother, clenching the map in her fist.

"What the heck? This place is too…! Oh, never mind," She sighed and looked at Nero, who folded the map and stuffed it into his pocket, "We have to find something we're missing? Like what?" Nero dug around in his pocket, shrugging.

"Heck if I know, probably- Shit." He cursed and turned his pockets inside out, patting himself down. Ruriko raised an eyebrow.

"What?" She asked. Nero scowled darkly, standing up straight.

"Tch, I figured out what I'm missing."

"What's that?"

"My lighter."

"Oh, for the love of gods." Ruriko muttered, then reached into her weapons pouch, but she found that nothing was missing. Curiously, she dug into her kunai holster, but the twin kunai were still inside. She glanced at Nero, who was still patting at his pockets with an unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

"I can't tell what I'm missing." She huffed, folding her arms over her chest. Nero glanced at her, then gave up on his search for his lighter in his clothes and took the cigarette from his mouth, sticking it back into the box before shoving it into his pocket.

"Maybe it's something back in your room? I don't know, but you're gonna have to look for it yourself. I need a smoke and I need a smoke now… And I need that lighter back, it's not mine."

"Who's is it's?"

"… I ripped it off my aunt before I left."

"Nero! Do you have a death wish?" Ruriko demanded angrily as Nero shrugged, waving a hand at her to calm down.

"So what? She'd probably still smack me around anyway. I could make her dinner and clean the apartment and she'd still throw a hissy fit about something. Anyway, just keep looking. I'll meet you back at the hotel around lunch time. Good luck trying to find whatever you're missing." Nero muttered and turned, heading off toward the town.

Ruriko watched him go and groaned, slumping over rather dramatically before she perked back up, scanning the map. She narrowed her eyes in frustration as the map wasn't all that easy to read.

Akira's ability to draw was atrocious! The streets were drawn with what looked like a blue highlighter, the alleys with yellow highlighter, and the buildings drawn with crayons as well as a trio of stick figures at the top, a little heart drawn by Akira's name.

What a child. Ruriko thought with a snort as she crumpled the map and shoved it into her weapons pouch. She turned and shot off, kicking up dirt as she bolted into the village, jumping off the ground again to land on a rooftop. She took this way to the apartment, walking inside and avoiding the creepy old man at the counter, who was smoking heavily on a pipe.

She made her way to her room, pausing as Kazuya seemed to step out of his room with a smile, humming about something. She turned to face him partially halfway down the hallway.

"Oi, Kazuya!" She yelled. Kazuya jumped a little and pressed a finger to his lips.

"Ruriko, it's still too early to be shouting." He shushed, walking over. Ruriko merely rolled her eyes and folded her arms over her chest, looking up at her brother past her dark hair.

"What the hell am I supposed to be looking for?" She asked. Kazuya smiled.

"Can't tell you. A true ninja must learn things on their own sometimes. This is a solo mission."

"But, that's unfair-"

"No," Kazuya interrupted, holding up a finger matter-of-factly, "If this was a real solo mission, you wouldn't have anyone to help you. Pretend you're doing a job for Hioshi, if it helps. What would Hioshi want you to search for? Once you figure out the object, think of all the places where you'd find it."

"But, Hioshi would know where the-"

"No, Hioshi doesn't know everything, Ruriko." Kazuya pointed out. Ruriko puffed out her cheek in a pout, averting her eyes.

"Yea huh." She mumbled. Kazuya merely smiled and patted her on the head before turning and giving a little wave.

"Good luck! See ya at dinner tonight!" He called and walked on down the hallway, Ruriko watching him leave with a scowl before she whipped around and stomped to her room. She threw open her door and slammed it shut behind her, scanning the room closely. She folded an arm over her chest, taking her chin between her thumb and forefinger as she moved her eyes from left to right, up and down.

An object that I'm missing… Something Hioshi would want me to search for. That doesn't make any sense. Hioshi doesn't really take material objects into consideration… The only thing I've seen him baby was his records, but I don't have any records with me. She thought and walked over to her bed, looking down at it.

What would Akira and Kazuya know of to take from me? Something important… Important so that Hioshi would want me to lose it… Did he give me something to take with me and I don't remember? Wait… Records. Hioshi always kept track of his records; based on missions, how his day went. Like a journal… Shit, my journal! Ruriko realized and dropped to her knees, giving the mattress a push, but there was nothing underneath, making her wince.

She scrambled to her feet and ran to the window, throwing the panes open and jumping up onto the railing of the balcony. She pushed off and shot out the window, landing on a nearby roof. She stood up and scanned around, her lavender eyes flashing.

That moron! He could've taken something less important! Ugh, no, no. I have to calm down. He wants me to get worked up so I can be panicky, frantic to find it. Lose track of time, lose, and have my journal gone forever. I need to stop and think. Kazuya told me that the object could be hidden where you'd normally find something like it… A bookstore, maybe? But, Akira didn't label any of those stupid buildings on his dumb map! How am I supposed to find my journal on a map that looked like a two-year-old drew it? She thought angrily, then sucked in a deep breath and let it out before hopping off the roof into an alley. She walked out into the bustling street, looking around.

People were walking or crowded into groups, some laughing and chatting away without a care in the world. Shops lined the streets as well as some carts selling trinkets, food, and drinks. Some people seemed to be setting up for the exams, tying lanterns outside their doors and windows, putting up sale signs in their displays. It seemed like an average place, just a bit too crowded.

Ruriko started to walk down the street, looking left and right for some kind of bookstore in hopes of hurrying this idiotic training lesson. She turned a corner to a less populated street where a large billboard was advertising barbeque chips. She stopped to look up at it with a frown, then blinked as she heard an odd bell ring behind her. She turned and jumped a little to see a bookstore sitting across the street, although, the books on display didn't look all that great.

Ruriko walked up to the window, peering inside before heading to the door, walking in and wincing at the annoying bell that rang as she came inside. It was quiet and warm, rather cozy with multiple shelves of books and magazines. Ruriko started forward, peeking down an aisle, then another, and another before she groaned in distress.

"I can't go looking through all those books!" She cried in exasperation, dropping her head into her hands.

"Ssh!" Came a voice from behind her and she yelped, whirling around to see a boy standing behind her with a book in his hands. His pale blonde hair was tied in a low ponytail and his eyes a pale gray to match. He wore an ocean blue kimono-like top with the right sleeve torn off and the golden imprint of an eel etched across the front of said top, matching a bracelet of fish teeth on his right arm. Seashells went around his neck while his headband was tied around his waist above black Capri pants matching his ninja shoes.

"Sorry." Ruriko muttered. The boy shrugged, closing his book before smirking a little.

"Hey, you're from Sunagakure. You're here for the exams, I take it?"

"Uh, yea. Name's Ruriko."

"Sora. So what're you doing in a bookstore two days before an exam?"

"My stupid teammate tricked me and stole something of mine as a training exercise. I can only guess its in here." Ruriko explained. Sora blinked, then smirked.

"Let me guess, he stole your diary?"

"… Sadly."

"All right, well, good luck on finding it then."

"Hey! You're not gonna offer to help?" Ruriko demanded, putting a fist on her hip. Sora sweat dropped, taking a small step back and waving a hand as if in surrender.

"Well, no. It's an exercise to help you become a better ninja. You have to do it on your own, sorry."

"Well, jeez, you're not help." Ruriko muttered.

"If you want a hint, I can tell you right now that your journal isn't where you'd expect it to be, probably. If your teammate is clever like that."

"Huh? But… Why would you put it somewhere-"

"Less obvious." Sora replied. Ruriko twitched and clenched a fist.

"I swear I'm going to kill him when I get my hands on him." She growled. Sora shifted a little uncomfortably away from her, giving a nervous laugh.

"Aha, so anyway, good luck!" He waved and went off down the aisle. Ruriko watched him go, then groaned and slumped again, placing a hand on her forehead in frustration as she closed her eyes tightly.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse. Okay, well, where's the least obvious place to find a journal? There's way too many places to think of! And this village is huge, this could take all day and I've already spent an hour searching this far! She thought in aggravation, then whipped around and stormed out of the bookstore, carelessly slamming the door shut behind her.

She headed out of the street and into the main one, most people bustling on by. Ruriko watched them go by, her fists clenched tightly at her sides. She stepped out and headed down the street, her eyes scanning sharply from side to side and up ahead. She rounded a corner and headed back to the hotel, wanting so badly to punch something. With that thought in mind, she changed course to the training fields. As soon as her shoes were on the grass, she was weaving hand signs and thrusting her right hand out, her fingers tense as electricity sparked at her fingertips and exploded forward in a thick stream.

The jagged blue bolt crashed into the ground, sending rocks and rubble blasting through the air in a cloud of dust. Ruriko crouched low and pushed up off the ground, whirling around and kicking her foot into a flying chunk of rubble, sending it exploding into pieces before she hit the ground again. She stood up and cracked her knuckles.

"If only that had been Akira's face." She muttered to herself, then threw her hands back down at her sides, closing her eyes and huffing stubbornly. She waited a moment for the blood boiling in her veins to settle before she heard the sound of hands clapping heavily, making her blink and whip around, a kunai flying from her holster and into her grasp.

Standing across the field from her was the Amegakure boy, Hajin, his arms folded over his bare chest now. A wide smirk was spread across his face, those bright eyes of his narrowed in amusement.

"Somebody's in a bad mood." He taunted. Ruriko glared.

"You came at a really bad time."

"Personally, I think it's a good time. I get to see your talents before the exams." He stated, sticking his nose in the air confidently. Ruriko scowled and took a step forward, but a voice in her head made her halt immediately, her eyes widening slightly.

"Don't be an idiot, Ruriko! Jeez, you're starting to remind me of Akira. You don't go around flaunting your abilities unless you want people to defeat you." Hioshi scowled, his arms folded over his chest as he sat in his leather chair, his knees drawn up. Ruriko stood across from him, blinking and panting for air as she clenched her fists. She gritted her teeth.

"Why the hell not? They should know that they have no chance!"

"Tch," Hioshi closed his eyes and snorted, "Yea, sure. Show your enemy's what you can do so they can find the faults in your attacks."

"What are you talking about? I don't have any-"

"Everyone has faults, baby sister. For example, that lightening bolt technique that you favor so much? A) You use it way too often so people will easily know what to expect and hinder it. B) It takes up a lot of your chakra and only causes damage to a single point. And C) The damage done to your physical-self is also dangerous because you can't control the bolt as well as some people of the Lightening element can, which in turn, causes your fingertips to burn. Think of it as putting your bare hand on a hot stove."

Ruriko stood up straight, lowering her arms. Hajin's eyes flickered as he lowered his arms to his sides now, cocking his head.

"What? You're not going to fight me, doll face?" He mocked. Ruriko twitched and was tempted to throw the kunai and pray it hit him right in the mouth, but she kept hearing the list of flaws in her techniques, making her grit her teeth.

"Too bad, shorty. I don't show the extent of my abilities to those who aren't worth it." She retorted. Hajin blinked, then narrowed his eyes in obvious annoyance, his fists clenching.

"Tch, you're just saying that because you know you're going to lose."

"Put a sock in it, shrimp! You're just a cocky little rat!"

"Damn it, will you quit calling me that," Hajin barked, then smirked anyway, turning halfway around, "All right, doll face. If you think that way, I'll let you run off this once, but if we encounter each other in the exams, I'm not letting you off the hook. Of course, we can all evade this if you just go out on a date with me." He added at the end with a wicked grin. Ruriko twitched, feeling her cheeks warm up.

"Y-You little pervert! Jeez, buzz off! As if I would be caught dead going out with someone who walks around half nude and big enough to fit in the palm of my hand!"

"Fine, your choice." Hajin snorted and turned, heading off into the shadowed forest, vanishing from sight. Ruriko scowled and whirled around, throwing her kunai into a nearby tree. She huffed and folded her arms over her chest before glancing up at the sky, wincing.

Damn it, it's already noon… I hope Nero's having better luck than I am.

Meanwhile…

Well, shit. I've searched every drugstore around here, but there's not a single place that stupid lighter could be. That thing is about the size of my damn pinky finger! How am I supposed to find that in a village this big? Nero thought in aggravation as he walked down the street, his fists shoved into his pockets, one toying with his box of cigarettes.

He sighed rather miserably, pausing near a pastry shop before he heard familiar laughter and peered around the corner of a tapestry hanging near the shop.

Inside around a table, Kazuya was sitting with a few other Jounin. One could be easily recognized as Kotori, holding up a small flask of what could only be alcohol. The other female Jounin had thick black hair and pale lilac-white eyes, wearing an eggplant kimono styled shirt with a sleeve missing, a red lunar month embedded in the back, and a slightly form-fitting fishnet shirt underneath, matching navy pants and black sandals. The other Jounin had silvery hair styled to the right with a mask hiding half his face as well as his headband tilted over an eye, wearing a very Konoha Jounin-like uniform.

"Nero, what're you doing here?" Kazuya asked, catching sight of the Genin out the corner of his eye. Nero winced, then put on a bored expression as he stepped out.

"Looking for something. I thought you were doing something important." He muttered, looking pointedly at the Jounin. Kazuya laughed a little nervously, gesturing to the Jounin.

"This is important! I'm catching up some a few friends of mine. You've already met Kotori. This is Hatake Kakashi and Hitsuki Mayu, a couple of my other friends from the village." He explained. Kakashi merely nodded in greeting and Mayu beamed, tilting her head and giving a small wave. Nero nodded to both of them, then looked at Kazuya.

"Have you seen my lighter?" He asked. Kazuya sweat dropped.

"Nero-"

"Oi," Kotori declared, sitting up straight and putting a fist on her hip as she gestured to Nero with a pinky as she held her flask, "You're too young to be torturing those good lungs of yours! Lighter, snighter!" Kazuya sweat dropped. Nero shrugged.

"My lungs. Besides, I have to find it or else I lose the game." He muttered. Mayu blinked, looking at him curiously.

"What kind of game?" She asked. Nero sighed. Kazuya smiled.

"Akira came up with it. He told me to take three things from each person that they find important, hide them, and have them search for them. If they lose, they lose the item. If they win, they get the item back and the rest of the day off from training." He explained, making Mayu nod thoughtfully.

"Well, well. That's pretty motivational. A smart Genin you have there." She complimented with a smirk. Nero twitched and slumped a little.

"Smart my ass." He muttered, then yelped as Kazuya bopped him on the head whilst scowling in disapproval before he smiled at the Jounin.

"Anyway, he needs to do it on his own, so go along, Nero. Remember, you have until dinner time." He added. Nero groaned, but said nothing more as the Jounin shared looks before they continued their conversation. Nero headed down the street with a sigh.

Well, jeez, they're not help at all… Tch, maybe I should just go back to the hotel and wait for Ruriko. I'll just give up or something… He thought as he walked by another drugstore, making him pause. He stared inside for a moment before his eyes widened.

Jeez, price of cigarettes is going up. He thought with a snort and started to continue on his way until he saw a small, torn ad stuck to the side of the window, catching his attention immediately as he stared at it. The ad was for a lighter at a somewhat expensive price; silver with an odd swirl and dotted design etched into the front.

Of course, he couldn't read the sentences, but the picture was unmistakable. Nero immediately tore the ad off and walked inside, his eyes searching around before they locked on the register where a tanned man was flopped forward, snoring and drooling onto a newspaper with a beanie cap sliding over his eyes.

"Excuse me." Nero slammed the ad down none too kindly onto the counter, causing the man to yelp and jump upright, drool running down his chin and his beanie cap hiding his eyes now. The man faced him, not pulling his cap up, but patting his chocolate hair so it stick up from under the cap and somewhat across his face.

"Ne, can I help you?" He asked sleepily, throwing his arms up in a stretch. Nero nodded and pushed the ad forward.

"This lighter, do you still have it in stock?" He asked. The man scratched his head and stooped, looking at the ad. Although, one would wonder how he could do this past the black beanie on his head, but Nero didn't bother to ask as the man hummed and nodded, leaning back as he picked up the ad.

"Yes, yes, I think we do. Costs about a thousand ryo, ya think you got that much, kid? … Kid, how old are you?" He asked, moving his face up and down as if scanning him. Nero glared at him.

"That's not the point, I'll pay you double if you hand me the lighter now. I promise I won't even say a word about it either." He bribed, but the man huffed, folding his arms over his chest, pointing at him.

"Oi, oi. You can't trick me. Go on, kid-"

"I'm not leaving until I get that lighter."

"Eh? Oi, you can't do that!"

"I can and I will."

"I'll throw you out!"

"I dare you." Nero muttered and stood his ground. The man shifted uncomfortably for a moment, then reached across the counter to grab the front of Nero's shirt, but a hand shot out and grabbed the man's wrist.

"Oi, what the…?" The man stopped as he faced the intruder. Nero's eyes widened immediately and he took a jolting step away from the counter. There was a light snicker as the hand pulled away, an aqua green sleeve falling over the outstretched hand.

"Ne, I'll buy the lighter from you, double." Botan stated with a wicked smirk, his white eyes narrowed almost dangerously. The cashier gulped and nodded, ducking behind the counter and opening a cupboard, taking out the lighter. Nero watched as Botan seemed to withdraw money from his sleeve, tossing it at the cashier, who yelped and threw the lighter at him to catch the money.

Botan turned and the deadly look immediately vanished from the man's face, replaced with a sweet and sugary smile as he stooped a bit to hand Nero the lighter. He cocked his head.

"Ne, Botan bought what you wanted. Can Nero give Botan what he wants?" He asked innocently. Nero leaned away from him, but found his back pressed against some shelves of cigarettes. Botan's smile seemed to grow a bit more eerie now, the corners twisting a bit as he held the lighter in Nero's face.

"What's wrong, Nero? Didn't you want the lighter?" He waved it in his face. Nero finally managed to move, snatching the lighter from Botan's hand and making a move to run for it, but Botan caught his wrist, jerking him back. Nero gasped and swung around, staring up into Botan's face as the man gripped both his wrists in his hands tightly, making the veins in his hands bulge with blood. Botan's eyes watched him so intensely it was making him uneasy.

"Give Botan what he wants and you can have the lighter."

"Th-Then what the hell do you want?" Nero managed to demand. Botan beamed and he gave his head a quirky tilt, tightening his grip on Nero's wrists.

"Cute, cute, you are Nero! It's so very good to listen to Botan… Yes, listen very carefully, carefully…" He mused and he seemed to be making some kind of purring sound in his throat, leaning forward and nuzzling Nero's ear. Nero cringed away and jerked at the man's grip, but found it inescapable, his eyes widening. Botan smirked and craned his neck, looking into those aqua green eyes across from him.

"Botan wants Daiki happy. If Daiki's happy, Botan's safe. If Botan's safe, he is happy, ne?" He asked. Nero just nodded, still staring at him and mentally cursing the cashier, who had ducked behind the counter with the cash. Botan grinned.

"Yes. Very good. Ah, but how to make Daiki happy, yes? Maybe if Daiki can get his hands on the one who killed his baby sister. Baby sister Kishiko… She was such a pretty and nice baby sister, but not anymore… It makes Daiki very angry," Botan's voice seemed to crack now and he winced, tugging Nero a bit closer and making the Genin gasp in surprise, "Botan doesn't like it when Daiki's angry. When Daiki's angry, he hurt Botan and Botan doesn't like to be hurt. Not at all… So all Nero has to do is give Botan the killer to give to Daiki and Daiki will be happy. No more pain… Yes, of course, Botan also wants something for himself." His white eyes locked with Nero's.

Nero gasped and squeezed his eyes shut, jerking his wrists harshly from Botan's at long last. He whirled around and bolted from the drugstore, stumbling and almost tripping on his face as he ran out. Botan watched him go, his eyes slightly narrowed before he licked his lips, showing off a nice pair of sharp canines dripping with saliva as he smirked.

"Such a cute pet…"

Meanwhile, Nero bolted down the street, breathing heavily as he shoved the lighter into his cloak pocket, his eyes still wide as he tried to erase the image of Botan getting in his face from his mind.

The hell! That was so freaking creepy! That guy is psychotic! And what's he talking about? Who the hell is Kishiko…? It sounds familiar, but I can't think of it right now! Is that why those guys are here? To find whoever killed that Kishiko person? He wondered as he rounded a corner and paused to stoop over, panting for air as he leaned on the wooden fencing along the street. He stood up and fished out the lighter, hurriedly pulling out a cigarette and placing it between his lips. He struck the lighter and the small flame lit up brightly. He held it to the end of his cigarette before clapping the lighter shut, shoving it into his pocket. He stood there and smoked for a while before flicking the ash to the ground. He went to toss the butt of his cigarette, but stopped, staring with wide eyes at his wrists.

He flicked the cigarette to the ground and pushed the cuff link around his left wrist, revealing a deep, angry red and black bruise going all around. He looked at his right and tore the bandages off, wincing. The same bruise was growing there too. He looked down at his wrists, grimacing before he shoved his hands into his pockets and headed back to the motel in time to see Ruriko, who was sitting with her back against the building and her knees drawn up, arms resting on them.

Ruriko glanced up, then blinked at the sight of him and scrambled to her feet, clasping her hands behind her back and sticking her nose in the air a bit with a crooked frown before she reached a hand up to wave it in her face.

"Judging by that reeking stench, you found your lighter." She muttered to him dryly, making Nero roll his eyes. He reached into his pocket and took out the lighter, showing her.

"It's not mine, but it looks exactly like the original. A ninja should be good at deceiving, especially someone as dim as Akira." He retorted. Ruriko scowled, then blinked, her eyes widening as she caught sight of the bruises on Nero's wrists.

"W-Whoa, where'd you get those from?" She asked uneasily. Nero averted his eyes, shoving his hands back into his pockets to hide them.

"I ran into trouble. Did you find what you were missing?"

"Huh? What-"

"Did you find what you were missing?" Nero repeated. Ruriko frowned, glaring at him for a while before she huffed, turning her face the other way.

"Tch! Sure, I did, but I have no idea where to find it, so bleh!" She turned and closed her eyes, sticking her tongue out at Nero, who raised an eyebrow, unable to hide the amused smirk on his face.

"Well, I guess that means you have to keep looking around then." He answered and turned to head inside, but winced when he felt a powerful grip on the back of his cloak, one that made him reel backwards a few steps until he was looking into Ruriko's angry lavender eyes.

"Oiii, where do you think you're goin'? You're gonna help me find my diary!"

"Huh? But you're supposed to do it on your own-"

"Bull! You're helping me because if you don't, I'll kill you!"

"You suck at convincing, try a less violent incentive." Nero answered, shoving Ruriko off him and brushing himself off. Ruriko twitched angrily, clenching a fist.

"Fine, I'll give you one rule free wish if you help me find my stupid journal!" She snapped. Nero's eyes flickered, glancing at her curiously as he folded his arms over his chest.

"Rule free wish?" He asked. Ruriko nodded, still glaring, though, as the entire situation was giving her a headache. She put her hands on her hips before pointing a finger into Nero's face.

"Exactly, so now are you motivated, you jackass?"

"Where should we look first?"

"Excellent."

A/N: Sorry it took so long to post this (: I'm still waiting for a few confirmations and stuff as well as some better ideas for a Chuunin Exam, but I'm telling you right now, that there will be a final round. Don't worry, by the way, the exams are coming up quickly, maybe in the next chapter, even O:! Well, I think that's about it! Thanks for reading, hope the characters are in check, and your reviews are greatly appreciated!