Naru woke up with a shout. It was that dream again. The one where she died by her own hand. But the sword didn't look normal.
She looked at the clock and scowled. Yet another day of hate and anger for something she didn't do. She threw open the curtains and took a breath of air. She hated that nightmare...it woke her up far too early every time!
She gave the ceiling and floor a cursory glance. Nothing had been moved, which was why she kept it so messy. She took a cautious step on the floor, and to her surprise nothing happened. So her home hadn't been booby trapped for a change. That was good.
She carefully opened the door to the kitchen and ducked without thinking. A senbon flew past her and skewered a bird that was flying near the window, hurting it's wing. It would have trouble flying if she didn't save it from the nasty fall.
She grabbed the bird...which turned out to be one of the message hawks the ninja employed.
The hawk cried in pain, and she carefully removed the needle.
"Hold on, I'll take you to Hana-nee-san," said Naru. She grabbed her coat and once she put it on she ran to the clinic. It was one of the few places she wasn't thrown out of.
Her luck was in.
"Another one Naruto?"
"Senbon launcher got a lucky hit. Any new pets Hana-nee-san?"
"Take a look in the back. I'll make sure the bird gets taken care of," said Hana waving the girl off.
"Thanks, Hana-nee-san!" said Naru.
"That girl...when will she ever stop hiding who she is?" muttered Hana. She knew Naruto was really a girl, but in respect for her safety she said nothing. The sad fact was that she was safer as a boy.
That didn't stop her from taking classes as her real gender. Kiba often complained that the Haruno girl shrieked far too often because a mysterious kunoichi-in-training kept stealing her spot as the top student in class.
Naru wandered the back of the vet's office, which doubled as a shelter for all the loose animals in the village. In order to give the animals their best chance, they were often trained as nin animals. It worked rather well.
Naru looked at all the animals with interest, but once again most of them shied away from her. Some came near her, but they didn't want her too close.
She was about to give up when she found a cat that didn't shy away from her. Which was odd because most cats wanted nothing to do with her.
She held out her hand, and the cat actually came up and allowed her to pet it. Her smile was wide as she carefully picked up the feline.
"Any luck Naruto?"
She bounded up to the Inuzuka girl and proudly displayed the cat that had allowed her to pick it up.
"We just recently found that kitty. It's shown a large amount of intelligence, but we don't know if it's been trained yet. You sure you want her?"
"Yup! She's the only animal not scared of me!" she said happily.
"I'll get the paperwork. If anything happens you come to me first okay?"
"Sure thing Hana-nee-san!" said Naru.
She walked out with a bag full of things for her new cat, and a collar. After removing the bandage Hana had placed on the cat's forehead (unsure whether the odd marking was a wound or not) she decided to name the cat Tsuki.
The collar around the feline's neck had a small bell held by a crescent moon.
"Oh no! I'm going to be late for class!" said Naru in horror.
She ran to her house, pulled out a blank scroll and bit her thumb hard enough to cause it to bleed. The cat watched in interest as the girl created a small storage scroll and placed the new items in it.
"Hmm...let's see...I did that last week. I know! Hehehe...that'll be perfect!" said Naru.
"GET BACK HERE! WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU!" yelled a female ANBU.
Naruto the prankster had struck again. In order to keep her secret safe, she used an odd ability to make solid clones that she had discovered by accident. On one hand, Naruto would prank the ANBU while her clone would take the place of Naru the mystery student. Unlike Naruto, Naru had perfect attendance and was the strongest kunoichi in the school.
The only problem was that very few people even knew who she was or where she lived. All they knew was that she held the top spot for the females and wasn't a Sasuke-fangirl.
Oh, and that she was the only real friend the Hyuuga heiress had. The two were often debating cooking recipes and books.
Naruto laughed and evaded the ANBU with practiced ease.
Suddenly Iruka appeared and grabbed Naruto. Naruto gasped a bit, but didn't complain. Iruka was the only person that she allowed to capture her in that disguise.
"Naruto, I can't believe you. If you keep this up you'll never pass the graduation exam!" said Iruka exasperated.
"Bah! Like I need that thing to tell me how good I am!" said Naruto.
Unknown to Iruka, Naru had already passed the exam last year. But because of her teammates, she had been forced back in the academy. It helped that old man Hokage had allowed her to learn one jutsu from the big scroll in his office as a reward.
Regular clones were too hard for her, but the shadow clone wasn't!
"Today we're doing a review for the replacement jutsu. Pay attention Naruto!" said Iruka. Naruto humphed, and turned his head.
By the time class had ended, Naruto had escaped easily enough and Naru was still hiding under a very weak henge trick. People knew she was a blond with blue eyes but never saw the whiskers or any other real distinguishing features. It was more of a blurring than anything, which was why most didn't pick up on it.
Her new cat was under her desk sleeping away.
Naru checked her new cat for wounds just in case. Hana had mentioned the feline had been found inside a crater unconscious.
The cat looked her dead in the eye and then did the one thing that would cause Naru to blink in shock.
"Where are your parents?" it asked.
Naru blinked, then looked at the cat dead in the eye and tried to dispel any genjutsu. While she wasn't very good at the art, she was very good at seeing the illusion placed on others. Hell, she placed one on herself every day!
"I'm not an illusion girl. Why are you alone and why did those other animals shy away from you?" demanded the cat.
"The hell if I know why they don't like me. And I've never had parents before. Don't even know who they are," she replied tartly.
The cat looked at her in disbelief.
"Why is it that you aren't living in the orphanage and disguise yourself as a boy?" she asked. The cat was definitely female with that voice.
"One, the orphanage threw me out when I was five and I had to live on the streets until Teuchi from the ramen stand told the old man. And two, it's safer to be a boy than it is a girl if people look at you like they want you to drop dead on the street," she said deadpan.
Naru gave the cat a very strong look, and the kitty took the hint.
"My name is Luna. My job is simple enough. I was to locate four girls who were the reincarnated forms of the Inner court of the Moon. So far the only one awakened to any real extent is the final one, and that only because my partner got to her in time," said Luna sourly.
"What do they look like?"
"I have no idea. I can barely remember that as it is. However I do know what some of their abilities are. Wood, flame, water, wind and light. From what I understand the first would be the hardest to find, since the only report of wood chakra was from the Senju clan and the only survivor of that is far too old."
Naru paused, and thought hard. She could actually think of one person who fit the wood bit, or at least the ice one.
"I think you would would have better luck waiting until the graduation exam and the girls to be kicked back to the Academy. Kami willing, some of them will drop their damn crush on Sasuke," said Naruto sensibly.
"So I noted," she said depressed.
"Is there any way to help speed things along?"
"There is. I made sure to place a command center in the village...though it was a real pain doing so with all those creepy abandoned areas..."
"Oh? Can you show me a few? I earn some cash if I find any of those places while I'm hiding and the old man lets me keep any weapon or scroll that catches my interest that isn't bad to practice with."
Luna, in the interest of helping her new owner, showed her exactly where the rather creepy labs were that everyone (including Naru who would have found them eventually if given proper motivation) had missed after a certain snake went rogue.
The Hokage was so impressed that she found more than two that she ended up with an entirely new arsenal of sharp pointy weapons, scrolls, and the promise that she could keep one of the labs once it was cleaned out of anything of importance. (Anything not of note were hers for the keeping.)
While Naru swiped scrolls left and right from the piles (the old man turned out to be the Hokage, and after showing her the shadow clone she turned out to be the most efficient at sorting things to his surprise) Luna got her to tell her more about her living situation. Not that she didn't have suspicions after seeing the looks her male form got in the village. She would have had to live off nothing but ramen if she didn't have that fake personality for the villagers to vent their anger at. They left her alone and didn't over charge her as Naru.
When Naru finished (keeping a hundred and fifty scrolls that caught her interest and didn't count as classified) she sealed the rest in four different storage scrolls and handed them over to the ANBU outside. Her next task was sorting through the weapons. It took her two hours to get through those, and she had kept fifty of them for herself.
"I don't understand why you even bother doing this. From what I've seen your patience isn't very good," commented Luna. She was rather surprised no one really reacted to the fact she could talk. Not even the rather twitchy ninja outside made any worrying moves after the old Hokage heard her speak when Naru accidentally stepped on her tail.
"I get to keep some new tricks and toys to train with later and best of all I get paid for it. Even though I'm not an official genin cause of my crappy team last time, I still get paid A and S rank for discovering and sorting for the old man so he doesn't have to get the civilian council involved. Besides, I get to skip out of class legally without Iruka coming after me."
"I don't get why he is the only one around here that can actually catch you..." Luna muttered.
"Simple. I like him and actually respect him. As such, he is the only trained shinobi I allow to catch me when I prank someone important...like the female ANBU agents in the cat girls suits last week," said Naru.
They paused as the ANBU outside started coughing in a very fake manner, clearly remembering that incident. Naru grinned.
"Always great to know I have admirers. Any requests ANBU-san?"
"...Can you replace Anko's dango with something she hates?" he suggested. He wasn't a big fan of the kid, but then again it would totally be worth it to hear Anko's scream of rage if he pulled it off.
"Can do!" chirped Naru with a grin.
She finished the last of the sorting and handed the scrolls to the ANBU agent. She could sense his grin and grinned right back. Just in case she marked his ANBU mask so she could set the blame on the one who set her on the insane snake lady.
Luna watched with interest as Naru performed the request perfectly. She successfully switched the hot dango with some rather foul low calorie, fat free snacks the same shape...and then managed to get out before Anko took her first bite.
In a second flat the woman screamed bloody murder and started running after a laughing girl who was in her male form. Anko kept sending a disturbing number of poisonous snakes at her, though they missed her each time.
"Why do you prank so many people?" asked Luna.
"Have you seen the genin and academy students around here? Who else is going to keep me on my toes and inadvertently give me proper stamina training?" retorted Naru.
Luna thought about that, and conceded the point. The chunin and jounin were rather good at running, and it only meant the girl could fight longer than most of her classmates. It also meant she was most likely to make a real name for herself before she was twenty and a jounin.
Say what you will about shinobi, but Luna knew for a fact that the Moon Kingdom could have done worse than have a few on their side during the last battle.
When Anko finally caught up to the girl and cat after she allowed it, she grinned evilly at her.
"You have some stamina brat. A pity you must die for the travesty you unleashed on me."
"Special request. One of my fans dared me to it," she shrugged.
"Name?" asked Anko eagerly.
Naru smirked in a way that made Anko proud.
"He's the current Mouse ANBU."
"Oh him. Fricken' pansy! You're pretty good girly. You ever think of bein' a hunter nin?"
"At the moment I'm more concerned with graduating without blowing the fact I'm really a girl to my classmates. Wait a minute, how the hell did you know I was female? People always assume I'm a guy!" she said surprised.
"No guy is naturally that flexible at that age, and that breast band of yours isn't nearly good enough to hide that movement under the jacket," snorted Anko.
"Why do you think I like this jacket so much?" she smirked.
"I like you kid! Tell ya what, come visit me after I'm done with a certain doomed ANBU and we'll hang out!" grinned Anko.
"You got it crazy snake lady!" said Naru.
Once they were out of the forest, which had never scared Naru because it protected her a few times from the mobs, she looked at her amused cat.
"You know what Luna-chan? You must be my good luck charm!" said Naru.
"Perhaps you're mine," said Luna grinning. While Anko was a bit terrifying, she was a nice person once you got past the insanity.
Though if the woman turned out to have senshi powers she was going to bang her head on something repeatedly just to save herself the trouble of asking the universe why it hated her so.
"Naru," Iruka called out. He had always suspected that Naruto was hiding something big, and he fully believed Naru had something to do with that secret.
Aside from being the top kunoichi ever since she enrolled (annoying Haruno in the process because that was supposed to be her spot) no one knew much about her...except for the fact that she was best friends with the Hyuuga heiress and knew how to cook.
"Henge and substitution," said Iruka.
The girl turned into a passable version of him, though the evil glint in her eye gave him the shivers, and then substituted herself with Mizuki who suddenly found himself with a nasty shock tag on his back.
When he sat down, Iruka was trying hard not to laugh his ass off because the man's hair was standing on end, literally.
Naru walked out with her shiny new headband, as her clone walked in with a chakra suppression seal on his back. She held back a frown and went to talk to Hinata when they heard the clone complain loudly about his poorly made bushin. Not for the first time Naru was glad the old man let her learn the shadow clone. Hyuuga and their damn bloodline.
As she was walking to the ramen stand for her well deserved reward, she got a message from her clone.
Mizuki wanted her double to take the big scroll from the old man and run off with it while avoiding being caught by Iruka. She grinned and decided to have some fun before she revealed to Iruka the fact that she was already a genin and that she was a girl. Oh, and beat the hell out of the traitor as well.
And then she spotted the dango stand and a really evil idea came to her. The cackle that it came from the idea sent a shiver down Luna's spine...