Been a while since I updated, huh? Well, had a gigantic writer's block, but I'm okay now. Er… I mean, I have plenty of inspiration? Yeah, that.

"Er, sensei, what the hell am I supposed to do with this?" I asked Konohamaru-sensei, who'd handed me a rubber ball and was staring at me expectantly. I shook it, to find that it was completely empty. He lit a cigarette before starting to explain to me what it was I was supposed to do.

"Well, ya got the rotation part down pretty good, but you also need power to be able to make the Rasengan a good technique, and-"


"And don't interrupt me, brat. I ain't done yet, ey." he snapped, and I pouted, trying to stay patient. I was sitting in the field behind our house, on the grass. It was a sunny day, though there was also a lot of wind. It had been three days since my first mission (the stupid cat mission) and I'd been training all those days, mastering my chakra control. Now Konohamaru-sensei thought I was ready for the next step, apparently. "Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. You need to try and burst the ball." he eventually stated. I gaped at him.

"How?" I asked gawkily.

"Using your chakra, of course."

"Yeah, but how?" Konohamaru scratched the back of his head.

"Well, you're supposed to be a genius, you figure it out, ey." he said with a smirk. I furrowed my eyebrows. Yeah, so I'd passed every written test I'd ever made and had never gotten a lower score than 90, but this guy was supposed to be my sensei, right? A little guidance was to be expected.

"I'm not "supposed" to be a genius, I am a genius! And you're the worst sensei ever." He hit me upside the head. "Ow! I was just joking, geez. Fine. I suppose… what were you talking about earlier? Power?" I said, decided to eventually try and come up with the answer myself. Konohamaru nodded, sitting against a tree as he took a drag, and exhaled the smoke. "Power… uhm… well, to make chakra more powerful, you'd need to make it denser. The more density, the more impact it would have. So, I need to get my chakra as dense as possible to break this thing. Okay… that shouldn't be too hard, right?" He chuckled.

"Smart kid. But talking about it and actually doing it are two different things, ey." I scoffed.

"I know that!" I stared at the red, rubber ball that fit right into my palm as I concentrated. Or at least tried to. I didn't have a very long attention span, so I was trying hard not to get too distracted. How the hell did you make your chakra denser, anyway? I frowned frustrated, and resorted to glaring at the ball for over thirty minutes, letting my chakra float around in the ball, not accomplishing anything. No matter how much I tried, it wouldn't burst.

"Kid, you ain't doin' anything."

"Gaah!" I exclaimed. "This stuff is so hard!" I really felt like pulling my freaking hair out. How the hell had dad learned this? Oh, right. Shadow clones. Well, never mind that, I was going to have to do this without shadow clones! It was going to be harder, but I'd have to pull it off somehow. I was nearly squeezing the ball as I tried for the nth time. I could feel the air in it moving around a bit, affected by my chakra, but my chakra wasn't nearly dense enough to let it burst. Dammit.

"Katsuro-kun!" I heard a familiar voice yell my name and glanced over my shoulder. It was Natsumi, and she had a basket with her. I smiled, waving at her.

"Yo, Natsumi-chan! What's up?" I asked, completely forgetting the rubber ball and tossing it (accidentally) on Konohamaru's lap as I stood up and she walked over to me.

"I'm okay, I just came to check on you. Hiroki said you'd been training the whole time… and… I thought you'd like some lunch? I made it for you." Natsumi said with a smile, showing me the sandwiches she'd made which were in the basket.

"Wow, thanks!" I said, not suspecting a thing as I grabbed one and ignored Konohamaru-sensei's glaring at me. It looked pretty good, so I took a bite. It was salty… tasted pretty okay, but then the most sour and disgusting taste overwhelmed my mouth and I spat it all out, gagging, trying to get rid of the awful taste. I scowled, looking at Natsumi, who seemed disappointed.

"Didn't you like it?" she said with a pout. I blinked, knowing how sensitive she was sometimes.

"W-well… uhm… N-Natsumi-chan, you see it was… it was… not really for me, you know? I prefer sweet things."

"Oh, so it was too salty then?"

"Yeah, yeah! That was it, just a little too much salt!" I said, nodding my head fervently.

"Actually, he thinks it was disgusting, ey." Konohamaru remarked offhandedly. I gaped at him, and horrified, looked at Natsumi. She stared at me for a few seconds, perfectly blank, then her expression darkened.

"Disgusting?" she whimpered.

"A-ah, I swear, N-N-Natsumi-chan, he's totally… aw, come on, please don't cry!" I sighed when she started crying loudly. She really was the most melodramatic, sensitive girl I knew. I glared daggers at my sensei, who just chuckled, not at all bothered that he'd made a little girl cry. "Really, it wasn't that bad, I'm sure you'll get better eventually!" I uttered, trying everything to just make her stop crying. I couldn't handle girls crying, I always panicked. She stopped sniffling for a moment and stared at me.

"You mean that?" she asked hopefully. I nodded. No way I was stupid enough to screw it all up now.

"Yeah, you have great potential, you know. So, uh, thanks for the sandwiches! But I need to train now so…." Natsumi smiled meekly, wiping her tears away.

"Okay, I guess I'll leave then. Bye, Katsuro-kun!"

I sighed relieved as she left again, then shot a dirty look at Konohamaru.


"…What? What did I do, ey?"


"Would ya stop glaring at me, kid? You're creeping me out."

"I hope you're proud of yourself for making a twelve year old girl cry."

"Damn right I'm proud." I facepalmed and he roared with laughter, obviously not taking me seriously. God, this guy was such a prick sometimes. "You just keep on focusing on your rubber ball. It isn't going to explode by itself, ey." I rolled my eyes, catching the ball he threw at me, and lied back down on my back, hoping I could concentrate better like that. I grabbed the ball with both hands and closed my eyes, focusing on my chakra. It was… wild, like an animal, and hard to control but thanks so that stupid Uchiha whose name shall not be named, I'd figured out how to direct it. Now only to make it denser.

I don't know how long I lay there, but it must've been quite a while, because when I opened my eyes for a second I saw the sun had been beginning to set. I sighed and sat up straight. One more time. I concentrated the best I could, pumping as much chakra in the ball and suddenly it broke. My eyes snapped opened in surprise, and I grinned widely.

"HA! See that, old fart? I finally did it, in just one day! I AM a genius! OW! DAMMIT!" I rubbed the back of my head, scowling deeply.

"I ain't old, ya snotty brat." he said crossly, but then grinned widely at me. "Good job. Just in time for lunch, too." He stood up, stretching and yawning loudly. "Well, sorry ta say, kid, but tomorrow I'll be on a five-day long mission, so you'll have to wait before I can teach you the final step."

"FIVE DAYS?" I shrieked. "Dude, you know how long that is? What am I supposed to do in the meantime?" I said outraged, getting up.

"How 'bout you practice some taijutsu? Or ask yer dad to teach you some elemental jutsu. You could also train with weapons, or… well, the possibilities are endless, ey." I groaned, not interested in any of that.

"Fine… I'll figure something out. Though… what is the final step, sensei?" I asked, out of curiosity.

"Simple, combining the first two steps. Anyway, gotta go, kiddo. I'll see ya in five days!" He ruffled my hair, then disappeared in white smoke. I pouted, displeased with the way things were going. But I guess there wasn't much I could do about it now. I sighed disappointedly, and trudged towards my house, when suddenly I saw very faint movement from the corner of my eyes, between the bushes. It could've been the rustling of the leaves or simply a bird or other small animal, but my gut told me someone was there, watching me. I didn't freeze, however. I simply continued walking, my face perfectly blank, as if I hadn't seen anything.

He's a few inches away from the tree, hiding between two bushes. With shuriken it'll take slightly less than a second to hit him… but if I'm not fast enough to catch him there's the risk he'll get away or counter and get me first. I had to time it exactly right. I decided on a tactic, and as quick as I could, grabbed three shuriken from my pouch and shot them towards the bushes. Without wasting any time I sprinted there, hearing a gasp, my shuriken having hit, but when I looked between the bushes, the person had disappeared.

He appeared right behind me, and he wanted to attack. He grabbed a hold of my arm and I saw a kunai coming down, aiming for my neck. Too bad for him, I'd put a preventive explosive tag on the very spot he was standing as I'd rushed over here earlier. It set off, and I, having been prepared, avoided the explosion easily by jumping back and out of range. Ha, what a dumbass!

When the smoke cleared up, I saw him lying on his back, covering his face with his arms. I quickly put a kunai to his throat with a proud grin. Man, I'm so cool! I bet that stupid Uchiha couldn't have pulled this off! I studied the man's appearance. He was wearing a mask, but not an ANBU one. This one was completely black and smooth. He was also wearing a black jumpsuit with black gloves and boots. Nope, definitely not ANBU, unless dad had decided to change the dress code all of a sudden.

"You better start talking or you'll be in trouble, no joke." I warned him, but then he suddenly dispersed into white smoke. Dammit, a clone! I cursed softly, and looked around. No sign of the guy. Crap. Had that asshole been spying on me? Well, evidently he'd been doing something wrong if he was lurking around in the bushes like a creepy pedophile.

I sighed, deciding to return home, and tell dad about it. He'd want to know if there was a hostile inside the village, after all.

"Where are you going?" Ryuuji asked me suspiciously as I put my shoes and jacket on. I sighed.

"The Hokage is going to give me and my team a new mission, and yeah, I have permission of dad to head out. Shouldn't you get one soon as well?" I asked with a frown.

"Tch, I've already been assigned one, but I'm waiting for additional information before I head out. Should be arriving any second now."

"What kind of mission is it?"

"Stealth mission. Can't tell you any more about it." I was surprised at this. Usually Ryuuji would be boasting about how dangerous his mission would be or how important it was to the village, but it seemed he did have a legitimate and highly classified mission this time. Of course, Ryuuji was an excellent spy above all else. Despite his temperament and rash behavior, he was incredibly stealthy and patient when needed. It was rare for them to send him out, unless it was a highly dangerous situation which required a lot of tact. I couldn't help but worry. He was my big brother, after all, even if I couldn't stand him sometimes.

He noticed my concerned look, and rolled his eyes, patting me on the head, a gesture which was probably meant to be reassuring, but we both knew these kinds of missions could be lethal. "I'll be fine, brat. Now run along. Can't keep the Hokage waiting, can you?" I scowled, but nodded nonetheless.

"Just be careful." I mumbled, and walked out, closing the door behind me. Neither of us said goodbye, as was the routine thing to do when he got these kinds of missions. I wondered if Kazuya knew what his mission was about, but then doubted he'd ever tell me anything. He still wouldn't tell me about our clan's history either, which was infuriating, as you can imagine.

In my contemplations I bumped right into a small kid, who fell down on the ground with a small yelp. I looked down, the first thing I saw was what looked like a bush of blond locks. Akio? What was that kid doing all the way here, near my house? He looked up at me, blinked twice, and smiled brightly.

"Hi, nee-chan!" he chirped happily. He'd always called me that, even though I wasn't actually his sister. I frowned.

"Akio, what are you doing here all by yourself?" I asked. Akio looked around.

"Uhm… I was following a puppy… but it ran away before I could get it… ow." I noticed he'd injured his knee, and sighed, picking him up in my arms.

"I'll bring you back home. Just don't go… following random puppies around again, okay?" Konoha wasn't that safe. It was getting pretty late for a kid his age to still be outside, and not everyone in this village was nice to small kids.

"Thanks! You're really nice, nee-chan!" Akio said happily, his small arms around my neck. I frowned, as I walked through the streets, which seemed to get emptier with the minute now the sun was setting.

"Now if only your stupid brother would acknowledge that." I huffed.

"Hmm? Katsu-nii?" Akio asked. "But Katsu-nii really likes you, nee-chan! He talks about you a lot, you know!" he said with a bright smile.

"Oh? What does he say?" I asked, by interest piqued. Akio's smile faded away.

"Uhm… well… he wants to kick your… uhm… your butt."

"Thought so." The dumbass was probably still bitter he'd lost the last sparing match. But he was making improvements, mostly in his speed. His reflexes had always been excellent, but lately I noticed he was a lot quicker to react and more precise as well. No matter, I was still heaps ahead of him anyway. I then spotted Hiroki walking not far away, and called out to him. He turned around and smiled, waving at me, and waited for me to catch up to him. There was no sign of the bonehead or Minoru-sensei yet.

"Hey, Yukari, Akio." Hiroki greeted us, then glanced at Akio's scraped knee which had ruined his pants. "Oh, that doesn't look too good."

"I fell." Akio helpfully told him.

"Hmm… right. Well, you need to get that disinfected first."

"What's… what's difinsected?" Akio repeated poorly, and I chuckled. He was so endearing sometimes.

"No, no, dis-in-fec-ted. Ah, forget about it." Hiroki sighed, and then finally looked at me. "So, your dad let you out again, huh?"

"Yeah, finally. Anyway, I hope this next mission is going to be more challenging than the last one." Hiroki nodded.

"Chasing that cat was so boring. Hey, did you know Minoru-sensei is just obsessed with candy? Man, seriously, he dragged me right into the candy store the other day and bought like a whole basket filled with chocolate and lollipops."

"How is he not completely fat yet?"

"Che, hell if I know."

We eventually made our way to the Hokage's office. I happened to stumble across Hinata, Katsuro's mother, and handed Akio over to her as she fussed about her son and immediately tended his wound, after thanking me for taking care of him. I just hoped that kid heeded my advice and didn't go running around following puppies to god-knows-where again. Anyway, we knocked on the Hokage's door.

"Come in." To my surprise, I saw Katsuro and Minoru-sensei were already present, both looking at us expectantly. Don't tell me we were late? Well, at least I had a good excuse. "Finally decided to show up?" Naruto said with a grin. I frowned but didn't respond as I stood next to my sensei. "Well, now you're all here, I'm going to give you your super-ultra-mega-top-important mission!"

"Dad, we're not kindergartners, cut the crap alr- OW!"

"I said no cussing in my office!" Hiroki chuckled silently and I merely rolled my eyes, folding my arms and waited for the Hokage to continue. "Anyway, it is actually a pretty important mission, but I feel that you're good enough to handle it." Naruto said on a serious tone. "A few of my scouts have located an old tomb, which contains valuable scrolls inside we have to retrieve before anyone else. I gave the location to your sensei, so he'll know where to go."

"What kind of scrolls are these?" I asked curiously. Naruto was silent for a moment, as if he was contemplating something.

"Well, as far as info goes, one of the scrolls contains several Fuinjutsu techniques that were thought to have been lost. The other scrolls contains similar, very powerful techniques and even a few Kinjutsu, from what I understand. We cannot afford to lose them, understand?"

"But why didn't the scouts retrieve them?"

"There have been a lot of hostiles in the area. But don't worry, I have other ninjas that will take care of them as a diversion, so you can go grab the scrolls and get out without much difficulty. So, what do you say, Team Lucky? Are you up for it?" Naturally, Katsuro was the first to instinctively respond.

"Bring it on!"

Short chapter, I know, butttttt I had to end it here, since the next chapter is going to be all about how they start their first, REAL mission. Heh. And uh, yeah, you'll get to find out what the guy in black clothes was doing as well.

So this chapter was... like an intro for an arc? If you look at it from a manga-perspective, that is xD

So, hope you enjoyed! See ya next time! :D