Hinata watched as her teammates bickered with each other. The redheaded girl – Karui – was shaking Omoi by the collar, angered at his hyper-exaggerated scenarios of doom. Each and every one of them tended to accelerate through various events until the result was a destroyed Kumogakure.

Karui did not enjoy hearing practically the same thing over and over again even if the variation could be amusing at times. Hinata certainly thought so and she giggled as Omoi gave off an impression of a dying fish.

The Raikage had split up the former Konoha villagers. Each genin had been placed in a new team to facilitate their growth and to form bonds to Kumo-nin. It was necessary in order to have them become totally subservient to the Raikage, even if a few of the genin did not like doing so.

Tsunade and Jiraiya had both assured the genin nothing bad would happen to them, and the Raikage had reinforced their words.

So, the Hyuuga had found herself in a team with the hot-headed Karui, the overly-cautious Omoi, and the cool, quiet Samui. All three Kumo ninja were friendly to her and she found the hole in her heart slowly closing. She knew the wound would never completely heal, but her new team did their best to alleviate the pain.

It was... nice, she supposed. It reminded of when her own team used to meet, when they all trained and ate together. Hinata shook her head, purging those thoughts from her mind. Thinking about the past would only make her depressed and she was determined not to be like that.

Getting away from her darkness had been difficult enough.

"Oi, Hinata," Karui called, jerking the Hyuuga from her introspection. "You hungry? Let's get something to eat. We've trained enough, haven't we Samui?"

"If you mean you strangling Omoi, then sure, we have," the blond replied.

"H-Hey! We did train! It's not my fault this idiot breaks my rhythm more often than not!"

Samui sighed. "Fine. Come on, let's go. We'll have to meet Bee-sensei there, anyway."

As the three younger genin followed Samui, Hinata asked, "Um... who is Bee-sensei?"

Karui huffed. "Raikage-sama's brother. He teaches us usually, but he has this annoying tendency to skip out on team meetings..."

"His enka concerts are something to be afraid of," Omoi added, an almost invisible shudder running through his body.

"Bee-sama is one of the most powerful shinobi we have," Samui chided. "In fact, only Raikage-sama can control him."

Hinata stiffened, suddenly feeling nervous. Only the Raikage could control him? How powerful – or how dangerous – was this Bee-sensei?

Noticing the Hyuuga's anxiety, Samui said, "Don't worry. He's very nice to people he likes. He does come across as... odd, though, so please don't hold his eccentricities against him."

Although she was still nervous, Hinata nodded. So far, people in Kumo had treated her kindly. However, Konoha and Kumo had had bad blood before, so she could never be too sure.

When they reached the restaurant after a bit of marching, the four ninja were nearly bowled over by a group of men burst out from the doors. They were all mumbling about terrible singing, with various statements about how they would never be dining at the restaurant again.

"Sounds like Bee-sensei's already here," Omoi muttered. "What if... what if the restaurant owner gets really angry at losing customers and decides to attack Bee-sensei? Their battle would destroy parts of Kumogakure, which would result in Iwa attacking us, and then-"

"Shut up!" Karui hissed, smacking her white-haired teammate across the back of his head. She kicked the doors open and yelled out, "Bee-sensei! Are you in here?"

A large, burly man had been rapping – much to the owner's annoyance – to a crowd of displeased villagers, but stopped when he noticed one of his students. "Yo! Little Karui's coming here to eat, so let's get some chow for the elite!" he said.

Karui stared at him, her eyes narrowed. Hinata peeked in, covering her smile at the man's odd pose. He didn't seem like he'd act dangerous.

"Bee-sensei..." the redhead growled. She then sighed and shook her head. "Never mind. Did you order anything for us?"

"Of course!" The large man folded his arms and nodded. "I got extra for ya'll and I know we're gonna have a ball. 'Specially with bright eyes over there and I ain't gonna say lies!"

Hinata actually giggled at that, at ease with Bee's silly way of speaking. The man flashed Hinata a wide, gleaming grin, happy that someone enjoyed his rapping.

"Hinata, allow me to introduce Bee-sensei," Samui said, sounding utterly bored with the situation. "He teaches us in Kumo, but if we have to go and carry out missions Darui acts as our overseer."

"Why?" Hinata asked, tilting her head curiously.

"Bro can be a real jerk who's full of dirt," Bee answered, folding his arms and sticking his nose up into the air childishly. "Seriously, guy will leave me out to dry..."

"Bee-sensei helps protect the village," Karui explained. "He's pretty powerful, but Raikage-sama is also very protective of him."

"I... I see," the Hyuuga said, sounding a bit more demure. Her family hadn't ever been close – not after her mother and uncle had died, and it had been a childish dream of hers to help heal the rift between them. That dream had evolved into fixing the Hyuuga Clan in general.

It wasn't really pertinent anymore.

Seeing the expression on the girl's face, Bee said, "Oi! Owner dude! Let's get some grub and chow down!"

"No need to be so rude," the owner huffed in reply. After a few minutes, the food was handed out and quickly devoured – all five of them were quite hungry.

"Not bad, eh bright eyes?" Bee whispered, leaning down to Hinata's level. She jumped slightly and closed in on herself before glancing up at the Raikage's brother. "Aw, come on! Don't be like that! Kumo's cuisine is somethin' to snatch!"

"U-Uh, no, it's..." Hinata stammered for a moment and then collected herself. "I was just thinking about something..."

Bee stared at the young girl. He tutted to himself and said to the others, "I'm going to walk Hinata home. I think she's a bit tired, eh? I'll see ya fools tomorrow."

If his students were surprised by his declaration they didn't show it, for all three nodded in compliance and left the bill for their teacher. Bee paid for everyone and left the restaurant with Hinata walking by his side.

"No need to be nervous, bright eyes," Bee reassured. "I may sting like a Bee but I sure don't bite! But seriously, what's got ya down? Do I have to act like a clown?"

When she didn't reply, Bee sighed and folded his arms. "Look, my brother told me what's happened to you and your friends. That shit's sad, but you can't let it keep you on the ground. In Kumo, there's always going to be someone to back you up. It's happened to me, my brother, and every single man, woman, and child out here! We don't abandon our own, even if they're from elsewhere. That's what my brother believes, and that's what I believe.

"T-Thank you, Bee-sensei," Hinata quietly replied to the man's heartfelt speech. "I know my old village and yours have had bad relations in the past, but... um... I hope I can be a good student to you."

"Ah, I know you'll be a good girl, bright eyes," Bee said, ruffling the Hyuuga's hair.

"Why?" Hinata asked, wondering why her new teacher thought that was so. Her father hadn't thought as much... she had been weak in his eyes.

"Ya like my singing skills!" Bee crowed. He struck a pose and began to hum an off-beat tune right in the middle of the streets, much to the exasperation of the nearby villagers.

Elsewhere, a group of rather oddly-dressed individuals eyed a pale-skinned corpse. Its brown hair was splayed messily over its face, with blood and dirt dirtying the corpse's torso.

"Were we too late?" Naruto asked. He scratched the book of his head and looked around. "Do you guys think that talking head would know where that other guy went?"

Gaara scoffed. "You smashed that head earlier when it kept up that annoying screaming."

"Oh yeah," Naruto said with a blink. He grinned at his brother. "Think the other guy's head will act the same?"

"It would be cool to see how it acts when we kill the other Akatsuki members," Fuu chimed.

"They won't be able to do the same," Han rumbled. "They hold Itachi, Kisame, and that other man was Kakuzu. Had they displayed anything like this, then tales of their immortality would've been more common."

"Aw," Naruto replied, stamping the ground. It looked quite odd considering he had hit a growth spurt recently. "So then should we go after him? They did get another uncle."

"They will head to the west next," Han said. "Another one of us is spawning in a lake near the edge of the Land of Fire. They will be too preoccupied to adequately defend against us."

"Really? Who?" Fuu questioned.

"The Sanbi," Han drawled. "Its jinchuriki must have been killed. Don't you three sense it as well?"

The three younger demon containers stopped for a moment, standing perfectly still as they used their Tailed Beast's chakra to hone in on anything even remotely similar to them. Naruto's eyes snapped out and he turned westward, peering intently into the distance.

"Found it, found it!" he exclaimed, thrusting a finger out.

"Isobu's isolated in a lake...?" Gaara breathed, sounding remorseful despite how stoic his tone came across as.

"We should get her out," Fuu remarked. "Maybe into the ocean so Akatsuki can't keep going after her as much as they possibly can. Oh, and while we're there let's do what Uncle Han asked and kill some of our enemies. Less people to harass us, right?"

"That sounds like a good idea," Gaara murmured.

"Let us go, then. They who reside in the east won't expect their former prisoner to come back," Han said.

Shorter than usual, I suppose. Future Diary probably contributed to that, but there will be a bigger confrontation next chapter. If there are any errors, please let me know – this isn't completely error-checked.