Chapter One

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. I own Rosie and her panther, and Sana belongs to ShineYourOwnWay.

A/N: Finally! Beginning another one of these! I hope you guys like it, my writing style is drastically different than the last OC stories I have done.

..

"Whose there to save the hero,

when she's there left all alone,

and she's crying out for help.

Whose there to save the hero,

whose there to save the girl,

after she saves the world."

..

The lady sat comfortably on the couch, wrapped up in a million and one blankets, her legs and feet curled up underneath her, pillows scattered by her head and side and feet and a few tossed onto the floor. A white mug with blue flower print was warm, held in both of her hands. Steam rose from the milky brown coffee, wafting up and curling into the air, though she paid no mind to it. Her blank green gaze stared straight ahead at the pale lavender wall, not moving and barely blinking. She looked as if she hadn't moved in weeks, not uttering a single sound or shifting any of her body. In fact, she looked dead.

Her usually shiny, perfect hair was tied loosely in a messy braid that fell over her shoulder and down her chest onto the blankets wrapped tightly around her. Though, suddenly as if unpausing a movie, she brought the mug to her lips and sipped from it, pursing them in thought. The only thing that seemed to unnerve this peaceful woman was the sudden, rash, knock at the door. Slowly she peeled away the blankets, revealing her black shorts and white tank top before she gently set the mug onto the glass topped coffee table, sliding off the dark blue velvet couch and seeming to float to the door, her raven-black braid slipping off her shoulder and swinging across her back, past her waist in a slow movement.

Opening the door, her cheeks instantly flooded crimson as the chill hit her face, snow falling onto the white blanket across her porch and yard and further out, the rest of Kohona. She turned her gaze away from the sparkling snow to the man that was dusted in it, indicating to her that he had been walking or standing in the snowing for a while. "Yes?" she asked, her voice warm and friendly, contrasting against the cold and chill of the air and ground around them.

"He's been found." the man replies in a low, raspy tone. She seemed to recognize the voice but never got the chance to think on it for as soon as the words lingered and disappeared into the air he seemed to vanish with it. She stepped out, her pale feet sinking into the snow, though she didn't seem to mind. She looked about, her gaze not finding the black spec among the white. She stayed there for a while until the child got to her and she returned inside, closing the door gently behind her. She seemed a completely different person now. Her eyes shined and she walked with a bounce in her step, not gliding in a moping manner. Up the stairs she went, taking them two at a time and disappearing inside of her bedroom. Stripping from her clothes, she kicked them aside and opened the bottom drawer of her dresser, pulling out a long sleeved fishnet shirt, which she pulled over her head so it fit snugly against her. She pulled a black, simple short sleeved shirt over her head and then slipped into black shorts that came to her knees, all of her clothes tight to her and clinging to her body, making it easy for her to move quickly. Soon her black, silver buckled knee-height boots were added to the outfit and she closed the drawer with her foot, walking over to her bedside table and opening a drawer.

She retracted her black fingerless gloves and pulled them onto her hands, wriggling her fingers into the holes until she was comfortable. Lastly, she removed a black hood from the drawer and clipped it easily onto the back of her shirt, pulling it up to rest on her dark hair, the braid still messy and falling off her chest. Now, dressed in all black, she looked deadly and precise, the way she liked looking when she was off for a mission. She picked up a grey bag by the door and swung it over her shoulder, sauntering out of the bedroom and into the room right across, opening the pale white door to reveal something that would be almost startling to a stranger.

"Come, Mitsie." the woman called into the room. A large, sleek and shiny black panther rose off it's haunches, looking up at her and giving a slow blink of her large yellow eyes. She trotted over, rubbing against the woman's legs and emitting a soft purring sound in answer. The woman turned, leaving the now empty room and walking back into the other, abandoning her cup of coffee on the table and walking out of the house, swiping her keys off the kitchen counter as she went. Mitsie swiftly moved onto the snow as the woman locked the door, sniffing at it as if it were something vulgar before they both headed down the steps and off down the road, the snow falling and clinging to the black clothing. She continued to walk, not passing many people in this type of weather. The woman made sure to stop by the Inuzuka household and say her goodbyes before eventually reaching the Hokage building,

..

"Unizuka Rosellynn." the woman said to the guard in front of the large beige double doors. With a stiff nod he turned the silver handle and opened the door, allowing her and Mitsie to walk through and into the dimly lit room. The mahogany desk held many papers, bending just slightly under all the height and wear that the desk had earned over time. Behind it said a tall blonde woman with blonde hair, a pink, plump pig sitting in her lap. Beside her stood another woman with short black hair. She recognized them both, having been in the office so much for missions like every other shinobi, as Tsunade and Shizune.

Standing in the far corner was a shorter woman with short pink hair whom Rosellynn had come to dislike over the years, though she still put up with her. After her observations the woman moved farther into the room, coming to stand beside a shorter girl, about 17 or 18 in age, with long brown hair pulled up into a long pony tail that fell a little past her shoulders, and bangs covering her forehead. She turned her head, her hazel-eyed gaze landing on Rose and she gave a smile and a nod in greeting before they both turned their attention to the Hokage.

"Yamanaka Sana and Unizuka Rose." Tsunade said, glancing up at the two girls from her papers. "You've both arrived because Shino told you Kankuro of the Sand has been found, yes?" she asked them, her gaze shifting between the two as they both gave a firm nod before she continued. "And you're both going to bring him back to Suna, or Kohona, whichever is easier. Nara Shikamaru will be traveling with you, as he works very will with the mind jutsu. Ino, unfortunately, due to her pregnancy, has opted out of going on this mission with you three. You're welcome to add more people into this team, if you wish, but I think three will be enough."

Shizune shuffled forward, handing Rose a yellow folder with information on the mission inside. "Shikamaru will be team leader, and you will find him getting ready at the Nara home." she told him before bowing and stepping back. The two girls bowed back to both Tsunade and her assistant, ignoring Sakura in the corner and with a wave to the pig they both turned and left, Mitsie following after with her tail swishing and paws padding almost silently on the floorboards. Once the panther was out of sight, the pink pig squealed and jumped down in relief, trotting over to her food bowl at the wall. The guard closed the door and nodded curtly to both women as they departed, eying the panther with obvious distaste - especially her claws.

Rose opened the folder, looking through it absently as they walked down the corridor, turning and moving through the open doors and into the sunlight. "I thought that when they found him, they meant that he was here." she grumbled, eventually closing the folder and handing it to Sana for her to read. The sun hit and bounced off of the girl's white shirt and her white, her black shorts and dark blue boots being the only thing that contrasted against the white.

Sana gave her a sympathetic glance before she too opened the folder and looked through it, following Rose as they veered right of the Hokage building and headed down the familiar dirt road to Shikamaru's house. "But you'll be the one to save him." she pointed out, her eyes skimming over the words and pages before she closed it and placed it in her satchel hanging from the strap over her shoulder. "It'll be oh so romantic and you'll fall happily in love and have ten kids."

Rose rolled her eyes, though she looked somewhat amused by her friend's comment about her love life. "Kankuro wouldn't fall in love with me if I was the last single girl he knew." she replied, her gaze tilting up to the Nara household, a blanket of snow resting over the roof and the grass, nothing except the dirt road was bare of the frozen water. They arrived shortly, shaking the snow from their boots and hair once they were under the cover of his porch, though Mitsie seemed content to roll around in it and get her fur wet. They didn't even have to knock before Shikamaru's mother opened the door, opening the two girls into the home.

"Don't stand out there in the cold!" she snapped, though her tone was warm and caring. She tutted about, not seeming to care at all as the panther leaped in, even going as far to pour warm milk and cream into a bowl and set it on the hardwood floor for her. "And Rosellynn! Girl, where is your cloak?" she asked, her hands falling on her hips as she observed the girls.

Sheepishly, Rose reached into her backpack and pulled out a navy blue tattered cloak, many holes and tears in it. "Here." she answers, looking down and studying the many flaws. Unlike Sana's, it wasn't fur lined and neat, nor clean. Shikamaru's mother tsk'd and swiped the cloak away, moving swiftly out of the room and soon returned with a dark green cloak, fur lined with soft animal fur, after reassuring her it wasn't any type of feline. She tossed it about the girl's shoulders, tying it under her neck for her as Rose patiently stood. Once down she wrapped her arms about the plump woman and hugged her tightly. "Thank you, Miss Nara."

She patted Rose's back and hugged her as well before moving to hug Sana too. "Oh, you two be careful. I worry about you almost as much as I do Shikamaru and his team mates. And with Ino pregnant! She isn't going on the mission, is she?" she rambled worriedly, plopping herself down in a chair at the table in the middle of the room.

"No, she's staying home with Kiba." Sana assured her, turning her gaze to the doorway as Shikamaru stepped in, wearing his regular outfit with a black bag slung over his shoulder, his own cloak already on.

"Are you nagging them, ma?" he asked somewhat affectionately, walking over to kiss her on the top of her head, his hair color several shades darker than her own.

"No, no, just taking care of them." she answered, smiling warmly as he kissed her. "You three go one, now, before it gets late."

They nodded, each giving Miss Nara one last hug before moving out of the room and saying their many thank yous. Once on the porch, Shikamaru shut the door and they stepped onto the snow, their footprints from arriving had already began to fill back up with the falling snow, even in the short amount of time they had been there. "Have you been briefed?" Sana asked him as they began to walk, their boots trudging through the sparkling landscape around them, leaving their footmarks flawing the perfect white ground.

The young man gave a short nod, eying the gate in the distance that the guards were beginning to open for them, after spotting them coming. "Yes, before you were." he answered, stuffing his hands into his pockets and then turning his gaze up to the cloudy, dark sky, watching the perfect snowflakes swirl around in the air as they fell to the ground. "Kankuro was found in the Snow Country. Perfect, ey? One of the Aubrame's group of beetles detected him huddled in a cave. One of the safe houses that was built during the last Shinobi War, so he has food and water and shelter, no need to worry too much. But it will eventually run out, and he is in no shape to return home just yet."

They nodded silently, processing the information. They stopped by the gate before continuing through and into the forest, turning to look out over the town they were leaving. It would take weeks to get to the Snow Country in this weather, and days more to find the cave Kankuro was living in. And the fact was that the man he had been sent to kill was only badly wounded, and was probably out looking for the Sand nin at this moment, which meant that they might not even reach an alive Kankuro, or he might be kidnapped from the cave and they wouldn't know. Or, they might run into the S-ranked criminal on the way to their friend, which could result in someone dying. They were all jonin level and very capable and skilled, but S-ranked criminals were something to be feared, and this mission was very dangerous, even between the three of them and the panther, which in itself was enough to scare a lot of low level shinobi away. So before they continued onto a perilous journey, their attention remained on their home, which they might never return to, though of course, they didn't think about that part.