AN: This is an extensive rewrite of the previous "Two Spirits, One Soul". On paper it contains over 20 chapters and over 200 pages, but these take a while to type up. As such, the chapters will be posted in parts, likely 2-3 each. This was started way back, somewhere around 2006/7, so there will be a lot of inconsistencies with current the manga/anime canon storyline as far as certain character roles and some simple details. I realize this already, so don't worry about it. I just hope that you enjoy the story!
Chapter One, Part One
A teenage girl leaned against a lone tree in the middle of training ground seven. She had long, dark red, waist length hair that shifting gently in the breeze, and calm, forest-green eyes. On each side of her face she bore 5 long marks like tattoos. Her outfit consisted of a black, one-sleeved shirt that covered her entire right arm and left the other arm and shoulder bare, save the white bandages that covered the top half of her arm. The top stopped just above her stomach, and a black mini skirt with a slit on the right side, accompanied by a black, hanging belt and bandages that reached halfway down her thighs.
She stared blankly up at the sky: this was a new start for her; a new chance and an opportunity to right everything that had been nagging at her conscience. But, of course, the jonin who was supposed to test her for rank was an hour late. She sighed and closed her eyes. The silence swept over her and she relaxed, letting out deep breaths.
"Yo!" A voice echoed behind her. She quickly held up a kunai and held it to the intruder's neck.
"…" She opened her eyes and realized that she was holding her weapon to a Konoha shinobi's throat; definitely not any kind of enemy.
"Hmm…better safe than sorry, I guess." He said. She backed away and examined him. The male had silver hair and a headband that overlapped his face mask to hide most of his face from view. The clothing he wore was otherwise for someone of jonin or chunin ranked shinobi; a green padded vest over a navy sleeved shirt, navy pants, and matching metal plated gloves. "Sorry I'm late." He closed his eye and raised his hand to rub the back of his neck in a nervous gesture. "I found a goldfish on the bridge and I had to help it back into the water."
The girl glared at him as he stated his pitiful excuse. "Never mind why you're late. My name is Shi Ash." She said, holding a hand out in front of herself for him to take.
"Hatake Kakashi." The man replied, taking it. They shook hands and quickly let go. "Well, as you should already know, you're going to be tested for your rank as a Konoha ninja, due to your interesting circumstances. Depending on how well you do with my test, you might be tested again for a rank higher than jonin." Kakashi explained. "My test is simple." He pulled a small, round, silver bell from his pocket and held it as it jingled gently in front of his face. "You have one house to take this bell from me."
Ash grinned, looking smugly at the bell. "Easy."
"Do you have all your gear with you?"
"Then…" He pulled a small timer from his back pouch and set it on a nearby rock. "As soon as this starts ticking…begin!"
Ash immediately disappeared into the foliage bordering the clearly. Kakashi just stood and pulled out an orange book.
"…What? Icha Icha Paradise?" She rolled her eyes as she peered into the clearing from her hiding place. "A perv. Lovely." She sighed and looked on. "I'm not so sure a head on attack would work…I'll just have to catch him off guard. But…he's reading a book. Isn't that distraction enough? Unless he thinks I'm that weak. Jerk." She ran through a series of possible tactics in her head before moving from her hiding spot, reaching for another kunai as she did. She jumped back into the clearing and charged silently behind the silver-haired jonin. When he didn't even move in acknowledgement of her presence she threw the kunai and spun around for the man's expected response.
He lunged at her as she heard the clone poof away. She grabbed as his wrist and forearm and flipped him behind her, snatching at the bell as he soared over her head. Her fingers grazed it, missing it by only a hair's breadth as he shifted away from her attack. The man was gone in an instant after that, and she paused in her efforts. "Hmm?" She glanced around and a silver glint caught her eye. "Nice try…but I'm not that stupid." She said, flicking a shuriken to the ground in front of the bell. A rope snapped and dangled in the air.
"Not bad on your end, either." Kakashi's voice drifted from all directions like an echo, preventing her from pinpointing his exact location. The bell tingled as it vanished from its spot by the rope trap.
"Gotcha…" Ash hurried to the tree, three shuriken in each hand. The leaves rustled as Kakashi hopped out to meet her. She threw the shuriken, but he knocked them easily aside with his own kunai, causing her to change tactics again. She brandished the dagger that she kept hidden in her sleeve and slashed out. Kakashi blocked it and Ash ducked, kicking at his feet in an attempt to knock him off balance. He dodged this attack by leaping forwards and landing behind her. The redhead flipped forward, avoiding Kakashi's kunai and throwing more shuriken his way.
"Not much longer." He said, moving out of the shuriken's path easily. Ash glanced at the clock and realized that about forty-five minutes had already passed by. Fifteen short ones remained, which meant she had to hurry.
"Hold on…" She looked at Kakashi. He still had his book, she noted, an idea forming slyly in her mind. Quickly, she dodged another kunai and reached into her back pouch, pulling out a sheet of parchment with some writing on it. "Hey Kakashi, look." She unfolded it and held it up temptingly. Kakashi stopped in his tracks and leaned towards her.
"No way! That's…an autograph from the actress who played the main character of the new Icha Icha Paradise movie!" He said, hopping in front of Ash to stare at the squiggly signature.
"Do you want it?" She asked happily, her offer accepted with a quick nod from the jonin. He reached out and snagged the paper and his hand while Ash not-so-surreptitiously took the bell from its spot on his waist. She grinned as she held it up, though the man didn't appear to notice. "Thanks for the trade, Kakashi-san." He finally pulled his eyes from the paper and groaned.
"Crap, I need to quit reading that book during fights, it seems." He pocketed the paper along with his book. Ash laughed gently and handed the bell back over to its owner.