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Konoha ~ Bonds [private]

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Once, not so long ago, the world was a place of discord and danger. During this long and violent period the countries of the world were uniformly small, and constantly battled each other for control of land and power. So as not to risk their own lives, and that of their citizenry, the countries enlisted the aid of mercantile shinobi clans to fight their battles for them. Shinobi at this time were loyal only to their own clan, and of course to whoever offered them the highest bid. This period was known as the Warring States Period.

Of all the clans that participated in this bloody period, in what would one day be called the Land of Fire, three shinobi clans stood out from the rest. The Senju clan were renowned for their balanced skill in all the shinobi arts. The Uchiha Clan were famed for their battle prowess and their unique and mysterious Dojutsu, the Sharingan. The Hyūga clan were known for their uncontested Taijutsu skills, as well as their own secret Dojutsu, the Byakugan.

The three clans, being the most powerful, also naturally became bitter rivals. They lost many lives in fierce battles with each other, as well as fights with other clans and other countries. In the end the bloodshed began to take its toll on the world, the strain was tearing every clan apart and collapse of the world became almost inevitable. The Hyūga clan and the Uchiha clan’s feud was becoming so fierce that they ran the risk of destroying each other completely.

At this time, the leader of the Senju, Samanosuke, came to both clans with an offer. Samanosuke revealed that his clan had been working to pledge itself with the Daimyo of the country, to swear loyalty to one country in exchange for ensured survival of their clan, and rights for their people. Samanosuke plead for the two rivals to set aside their difficulties and join as one. However, both sides agreed that this was impossible.

Samanosuke did not give up, however. The Uchiha were narrowly ahead of the Hyūga in their ongoing feud, and so the Senju made an offer privately to the leader of the Hyūga clan, Hyouin . Reluctantly, with the real risk of losing his clan before him, Hyouin agreed to ally with the Senju. With the two clans fighting together, even the mighty Uchiha stood no chance against them. In the ultimate battle, Hyouin and the Uchiha leader, Retsu faced off against one another, but ultimately Hyouin was the victor. The Hyūga leader went to end the life of his rival, but Samanosuke stepped in and saved Retsu’s life.

The result was a three-way fight between the great shinobi leaders. However, in the end, Samanosuke stood victorious over the others. Hyūga Hyouin and Uchiha Retsu both understood Samanosuke actions, and his desire for their clans to be strong and prosperous together. Reluctantly they agreed to ally with the Senju, and swear their allegiance to the Land of Fire. That is the story of how the Warring States Period ended, and how the first Shinobi Hidden Village was born. To this day it still stands, deep within the heart of the Land of Fire, the village hidden in the leaves, Konohagakure.

While the clans remained autonomous within the village, it became clear that one true leader would need to speak for all of them. Naturally Hyouin, Retsu and Samanosuke all thought that thy should lead. This dispute went on for a long time, as no decision could be made. However, the Uchiha and the Hyūga were secretive, and distrustful of outsiders. The Senju, on the other hand, went to work at forming new relationships with other smaller clans. In the end, when the discussion of leadership again came to a head, Senju Samanosuke had amassed a large following, and with all the other clans loyal to him, his leadership could no longer be contested.  

Samanosuke made arrangements with the Daimyo of the Land of Fire, and it was agreed that the Daimyo would have final say upon the leadership of Konohagakure, but that he would heed the advice of village elders and faction leaders. With that settled Samanosuke became the first Hokage, and brought Konohagakure into an age of prosperity. Yet like all men, Samanosuke eventually passed away. In his place came his son, Mifune. Mifune carried on his father’s vision, but he was young and did not carry the same respect that his father had earned by bringing peace to the clans. His relationships with the other hidden villages that were forming became unstable, and the threat of war loomed.

Eventually there came a time known as the Great Shinobi War, when the five largest and most powerful villages went to war with each other. During this time Mifune lost his life in a battle with ninja from the Iwagakure and the Tsuchikage. Without leadership Konoha was thrown in to turmoil. The two oldest and most renowned clans, the Uchiha and the Hyūga, once again began to bicker over who should become the next Hokage. When a member of the Hyūga clan was eventually chosen as a candidate, it was though that much needed stability would come to Konoha during it’s time of need.

However, the candidate was murdered in the night by an unknown assassin. The Hyūga clan were immediately grief stricken and outraged, and they allowed old wounds to open. They blamed the Uchiha Clan for the assassination, sparking outrage which resulted in a war between the two clans, and Konoha fell into chaos. As the two strongest clans of Konoha warred with each other, Kirigakure saw opportunity. It sent its greatest warriors to lay waste to Konoha; The Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist.

 

 

[Different Sky]

Rain pattered pitifully in the miserable darkness. Smoke billowed from dwindling fires, illuminating the wreckage and devastation. Homes were reduced to rubble and charred wood. Roads and paths were upturned and blocked off. Bridges over the canals had collapsed, and makeshift barricades had been crafted through main streets. The backdrop of the village in ruin was a large mountain, with two proud faces carved in to the stone. Konoha was crumbling under the weight of its own arrogant pride.

Blood dripped from the tip of a long, silvery blade that resembled a large needle. The petite, tall woman hid her face behind a white, featureless mask with only the symbol Kirigakure etched in to it. Her hair was dark blonde and fanned out behind her mask in a giant, frizzy main. She was dressed in dark, tight fitting clothing, and stared at her bloody weapon with a quiet sense of thrilled excitement. “Well this has been fun.” She said with a deep, lustful tone.

“Hell yeah!” Said the figure behind her, a man with a large broadsword held over his shoulder. He was dressed in similar garb, but his frame was leaner and more muscular. He had three small horizontal, perfectly uniform scars on his left cheek, and his eyes were bright blue, his hair short and jet black. “Been a while since all seven of us hung out!” He added, chuckling heartily.

“We’ve never ‘hung out’ ever, Kazue.” The masked woman replied.
“Yeah, I know.” Kazue replied, “But that’s what everyone thinks, right? That we’re all a bunch of comrades, right?”
“Is that so?” The masked woman replied, sounding amused. “I assumed they would realize the truth; that no two-bit blade wielding shinobi can match even one of us, let alone all seven. Although, this mission almost fulfilled itself. I could have handled this myself, no need to call in the rest of you butchers.”

“Says the lady who stitches corpses together like a kebab, eh Yashiko?” Kazue replied, rolling his eyes. “Anyway, you say that but I doubt even you could have handled this on your own. If the Uchiha and Hyūga weren’t busy fighting each other, we’d have our hands full.”
“If the Uchiha and Hyūga weren’t fighting each other we wouldn’t be here, idiot.” Yashiko replied. She suddenly whirled on the spot, and moved with unnatural speed as she heard noises coming towards them. She was already brandishing her needle-like sword to strike when another figure emerged from around the corner.

 

“Don’t shit your pants, Yashiko.” The man said with a smirk. He was carrying a peculiar sword on his back with a long handle and a large, curved edge blade that looked like an over-sized cleaver. He was older than Yashiko and Kazue, perhaps in his 40’s. He had greying hair that was likely once black, that was long and slicked back. His face was covered in scar tissue from a variety of small nicks and cuts, and his dark eyes were relaxed, almost appearing bored.

“Oh, it’s you Tanabe sama” Yashiko replied, her voice suddenly taking on a respectful air. “I thought you were a clumsy leaf ninja running to their grave.”
“Better I announce myself early than accidentally sneak up on you.” Tanabe replied. “Wouldn’t want to get myself cut, hm?”
“Y-yes, Tanabe sama.” Yashiko said, her voice wavering.
“Where are the others?” Tanabe asked

“Geko and Shinji are thinning Konoha’s reserves. Kagutsuchi is leading a strike on the Uchiha stronghold while they are distracted fighting the Hyūga. Saya is leading a force to strike the Hyūga as well.”
“Good.” Tanabe replied, “And you two?” He inquired, his eyebrow raising.
“Cleaning up the dregs.” Kazue replied for her. “Kagutsuchi said the new recruits don’t get the fun jobs.”
“Hmph, he’s right. You two are nothing compared to your predecessors.” Tanabe said.

“You should have more faith.” Yashiko replied, her tone defiant. “They say the young are in their prime, so we hold the advantage.”
“True.” Tanabe said with a nod. “But youth is always overconfident. It lacks the wisdom and foresight that comes with age and experience.”
Yashiko frowned at that statement behind her mask. It didn’t sound like Tanabe. What’s more, hadn’t he received a cut on his cheek the last time she had saw him. Where was the blood? She tensed suddenly as the realization came to her.

[Cave]

Tanabe barely had the chance to react as Yashiko suddenly lunged forward, plunging her needle through his chest, spinning around him and yanking the thin blade from his other side, a thin wire trailing behind it. She brought it back through his neck, causing him to cry out and gurgle in pain, then she yanked the needle out fiercely, and pulled away from him, the wire cutting through his flesh and causing him to let out a final, blood curdling scream of agony, before his eyes rolled back in his head, and Tanabe fell to the floor. Yashiko smirked behind her mask. “Not so wise now, old man.” She said with a satisfied chuckle. “Damn leaf thought he could get the drop on me with a transformation jutsu, hm Kazue?” She turned to her partner. She paused.

Kazue was just standing there, looking back at her. He hadn’t reacted to the fight at all. He was just standing there with his sword over his shoulder, grinning like a damn idiot. Yashiko felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up as a creeping realization began to dawn on her. She looked around at the ruined buildings, and the empty streets. Nothing was moving, nothing at all. She looked up at the clouds which no longer moved slowly in the sky, and at the frozen droplets of rain. Then she saw it, the giant eyeball hovering in the sky above her. That piercing eye stared at her, seeing right in to her soul. A crimson eye, with three tomoe swirling in synchronized harmony around the pupil. “Sharingan!” She gasped.

[Reverse Situation]

“Yashiko!” Kazue’s scream finally penetrated her hearing as the genjutsu wore off. Yashiko suddenly realized they were surrounded by ninja, all dressed in black, each wearing white masks fashioned after animals. Kazue was busy trying to fend off five ninja, who were expertly maneuvering around him, each taking turns demanding the skilled swordsman’s attention, tiring him out.

“Took you long enough.” The ninja in front of her said. The man was wearing a mask that looked like a hawk. He was an anonymous member over the elite shinobi force known as ANBU. Yet his eyes betrayed his identity as a member of the Uchiha clan. “I’ve got all I need from you now, though.”
“Damn Uchiha!” Yashiko spat, preparing herself for a fight. “Shouldn’t you be off fighting against your own allies?”

“Hmph, unlike you I’m not very chatty.” The hawk-masked man replied. Then they were moving around each other in a blur. Yashiko’s needle and wire thread twinkled in the moonlight as the pair countered each other over and over, dodging and blocking until finally they separated and slid back across the dirt. The hawk-faced ANBU’s hands moved in a blur, and suddenly a huge ball of fire came surging towards Yashiko. She dived to the left and narrowly avoided the flames, but felt the heat burn her up her right side. Hissing in frustration she made a bee-line for the Uchiha, counting on her incredible speed to catch him off guard.

“I can see!” The Uchiha said as he spun to face her, ducking to avoid the deadly strike of her needle. Then Yashiko brought her knee up to his chest, taking the wind from him. The ninja doubled back and she lunged forward, driving her needle through his chest. He whined in pain, but then he looked at her with those unnerving, confident eyes. Then the ninja exploded into a flock of black ravens and disappeared in to the sky. Yashiko shivered in dismay, and then gasped as she felt a kunai blade slice across her exposed neck. “Falling for the same trick twice…I guess I was right about the young.” The Uchiha said from behind her, as Yashiko felt her life quickly slipping from her. She tried to open her mouth to curse him, but all she could do was let out a final gasp, and then her world went black.

--- --- ---

Hyouhaku]

Two corpses lay on the ground, with two legendary swords stuck in the ground next to them. As the ANBU began to sweep the area and prepare for the next fight, another ninja descended from the rooftops and landed with a soft tap. The woman was dressed in a black poncho that covered her entire body, except for her platform-heeled sandals. Unlike the ninja around her she did not wear a mask. She had jet black hair styled in a short pixie cut. She wore a black eyepatch over her right eye, and heavy burn scars could be seen on the skin around it. Despite her grizzled appearance, the woman wore bright red lipstick, and had a distinct, black beauty mark on her cheek.

“Taka.” She said with a calm but projected voice. The hawk-faced ANBU came to her without a word. “Report.” She said more quietly as he drew closer. The man relayed the information he had taken from Yashiko, and the woman nodded in understanding.
“Trying to collapse the Uchiha and Hyūga in one fell swoop. Konoha’s two strongest clans…how does that make you feel, Taka?”
“I…” The man hesitated. “...ROOT do not have feelings on such matters, Asuna sama.”

“Correct.” Asuna replied, her eyes narrowing on her subordinate. “We do what is necessary to ensure Konoha’s survival.” She cast her eyes on her surroundings. “Needless to say, we haven’t been doing a very good job. That changed with this success, well done Taka.”
“My team deserve all the credit.” Taka said with a slight bow.
“Nonsense. Do not deprive yourself credit where it is due.” Asuna replied. She could see the tension in the young man’s posture, the nervous twitch in his eyes. He was such a terrible liar, at least to her.

“Do not worry, Taka.” Asuna said finally, a wry smirk forming on her lips. “Kuma’s team is already en route to support the reserves. Your team is tasked with subverting the strike on the Hyūga stronghold, and ensure that no harm comes of our friends.”
“The…Hyūga…do you think that’s wise?” Taka asked hesitantly, “Surely I sh-“
“Surely, considering your lineage, a favour from you to the Hyūga clan will go a long way, hm?”
“Asuna sama…” Taka replied

“Don’t worry, I’ll be ensuring the Uchiha clan are also taken care of.” Asuna said with another smirk. “I will deal with that personally.” This seemed to considerably relieve Taka’s tension. He nodded in agreement.
“Thank you, Asuna sama!” He said gratefully.
“Thank me by doing your job.” Asuna said, and she motioned for him to leave. He did so without question, and quickly began barking orders and rallying the other ANBU. In moments, they were gone without a trace, leaving behind Asuna, who looked off in the other direction. “Hmm…Kagutsuchi…not a slouch like the three we’ve already taken out, this should be interesting.” And then with a flicker, Asuna disappeared into the night.

--- --- ---

13 years later

[Kakashi’s Theme]

“-and so Asuna defeated Kagutsuchi and he fled back to Kirigakure, along with 3 other members of the Seven Swordsmen. However three died that night at the hands of Konoha’s finest special ops ninja. The Uchiha clan and Hyūga clan were both rescued from their sneak attacks, but the struggle didn’t end there. Only through the debt they owed Asuna and her ROOT, and the surprise birth of a child born of both and Uchiha and a Hyūga, ultimately led to peace among the clans once more. Asuna led Konoha to victory and ended the Great Shinobi War, and that is how she became Hokage.”

“Uhuh…” Came a rather bored reply. The teacher, a young man with spectacles and short blonde hair, looked defeated as he stared forlorn at his bored student. The young girl was as pale as a ghost, and had wild, ash white hair that was spiky and unruly, except where she had shaved it bear on the left side of her head. She had three black piercings in her exposed ear, and her bored-looking eyes were a striking blue, almost white.

“Omitsune chan- “Her teacher went to say but she cut him off with an annoyed frown.
“Omi!” She snapped, “It’s just Omi, got it? Omi. Not Omitsune. Not san, not chan, not kun. Just Omi.”
“Er…right.” Her teacher said. “Look, were you listening to what I said. It didn’t look like you were?”
“Yeah, kinda, I mean I’ve heard it before.” Omi shrugged, not looking at the teacher. “Everyone knows this story. How mom saved the village and became Hokage. Who gives a crap?”
“I do, very much.” The teacher said. “Your mother has tried three tutors before me, and you’ve been expelled from the academy. If you don’t apply yourself how do you expect to get along in this world?”

“I already told her to let me join ROOT.” Omi said defiantly. “Don’t need friends to be a top-secret assassin. No name, no identity, no nothing. The village would be happier without me anyway.”
The teacher was silent for a moment, but he certainly made no attempt to argue with her. That was nothing new though, she’d already chased off two tutors, not to mention her entire class. She’d noticed that no adult every corrected her when she said that she wasn’t wanted.

“Your mother is the Hokage, and she has tasked me with your continued education.” The teacher said, pushing his glasses up his nose. “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior from a child.”
“Call her my mother again and I’ll jam this pencil up your nose.” Omi replied threateningly, picking up the pencil in front of her on the desk, and gesturing it at him as she cracked a grin and revealed a row pointed teeth. She watched as the teacher tensed up upon seeing her smile.

“I-I..I will not be threatened, young lady.” The teacher snapped back, forcing some confidence back to himself, “If you give me any more back talk your mother-“
The chair scraped loudly against the floor as Omi came out of it like a bullet from a gun. The teacher’s screaming could be heard all the way down the hall.

--- --- ---

[Survival Examination]

Omi sat in a chair in the Hokage’s office, her arms folded in resolute defiance, her chin pushed out and her face pulled to an incredibly exaggerated frown of annoyance. Gentle rings of wavy smoke drifted around the room. The placard on the desk read: Kiryuin Asuna – Hokage. The woman herself was sat behind the desk, quietly reading over some paperwork and smoking from a small pipe. Her was shoulder length and wild, with streaks of grey running through it.

“Are you even going to talk to me?” Omi asked impatiently. Asuna looked up with her one good eye and gaze Omi a murderous glare. Omi returned it with childish petulance. Asuna’s eye twitched in annoyance. Clearly, she was a woman used to striking fear and respect from those around her. Not from her daughter, however.
“There are no more tutors in Konoha who will have you.” Asuna said finally, and went back to going over her paperwork. “You’ve left me no choice…”
“Finally…you’re going to send me to ROOT, like I’ve been asking?” Omi asked.

“Hah!” Asuna seemed genuinely amused. “ROOT is a special branch of ANBU specifically for the most focused, loyal and dedicated ninja in Konoha. You are not fit to clean their boots, you insolent little brat.”
“Tch! Who even gives a crap about all that stuff?” Omi scoffed, “Just ask my ex-tutor how good I am at inflicting pain.”
“Jamming a pencil up some poindexter’s nose does not a shinobi make.” Asuna replied, although she was struggling to conceal her amusement. “You know…when Samanosuke became the first Hokage, his son was so dedicated to his father that he worked night and day to uphold the honor of his family name.”

“What a loser…” Omi replied, rolling her eyes.
“Yes…yes you are.” Asuna said, shaking her head. “Like I said you’ve left me no choice. I’m sending you in to the field.”
“ANBU!?” Omi gasped excitedly, jumping out of her chair.
“A supervised genin squad…” Asuna said, her eyes narrowing in disbelief. “Conditionally, I might add.”
“Genin!?” Omi yelled, slumping back in to her chair. “I have to hang with the scrubs!?”
“Newsflash, kid, you’re not even at the level of a scrub. You got expelled. I am seriously abusing my powers as Hokage on this one.”

“Gee, what a swell parent you are.” Omi said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. “I wonder if my real mom would do that for me.”
“Your real mom is dead, kid.” Asuna replied coldly. “And your dad. So, you’re stuck with me, and I’m stuck with you. Unless you screw this up, that is.”
“What do you mean?” Omi asked, frowning.
“You’ve got 1 more chance to make something of yourself.” Asuna said, puffing on her pipe. “Report to your Jounin leader tomorrow for a test. If you pass, you’re a genin. If you fail…then I’m disowning you. No more house, no more food, no more clothes.”

“What!?” Omi snarled. “You can’t do that!”
“Of course I can.” Asuna said with a smirk, “I’m not your mom, remember?”

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[Rainy Day]

The morning sun was enshrouded by dark clouds. Rain fell in heavy sheets. In the distance, the sound of thunder followed the occasional flash of lightning. The weather was miserable, yes, but it didn't dampen people's spirits. Stores and market stalls opened as usual, though the stall owners set canopies out to encourage people to browse their wares while escaping the rain. A small crowd of people began to gather, eager to get their daily essentials and run back home through the rain. Two children were playing in the puddles rapidly forming in the dirt streets, while a shaggy black dog darted down the street.
Kiyoko Hyūga let her bedroom curtain fall back in place, drenching her room in shadow once more. She'd had enough of watching the morning markets outside her house. After all, she couldn't be wasting time. Not today. Today was the day she became a Genin. She had worked hard in the Academy, and was considered a star pupil, in spite of her 'failings' as some would call them. She was the child of Hidemi Hyūga and Shiro Uchiha. Kiyoko was tall for her age, slender of frame, with long dark blue hair that fell down past her shoulders save for her fringe which was cut short, just above her eyebrows. Her eyes were dark, unlike those of her mother, Hidemi, who had the instantly recognisable white eyes of a Byakugan inheritor. While she shared her father's eyes, and her mother's hair, she had inherited neither of their clan's eye techniques. Both the Byakugan and Sharingan remained well out of reach for her. However, she had not allowed that to stop her climb to the top of her Academy class.

"Kiyoko-chan!" Her mother called from downstairs. Kiyoko checked herself one last time in the mirror. She was wearing a white kimono with black trim, long sleeves that covered her hands while at rest and a pair of black form-fitting shorts. Her legs were bandaged, with a single tool pouch strapped to her left leg, and her Konoha forehead protector tied around her waist in place of a belt.
"Kiyoko-chan you're going to be late for practice!" Hidemi called again.
"I'm coming, mom!" Kiyoko called back, sighing. It was good enough. She took a deep breath, walked to her bedroom door, put her hand on the knob, and twisted it. As she opened the door, however, she felt a presence. Something was coming right at her. She had to move.

[Bad Situation]

A body came crashing through her bedroom door, blasting it open as she darted out of the way.
"Wh--hey!!" Kiyoko growled, turning to see the assailant charging back at her, forcing her out of her room. The attacker was small, but fast. He raised a fist and threw a punch, Kiyoko dodged it expertly, leaping back onto the landing, but as she reached the railing, she felt a pair of hands grab her by the ankles.
"Gotcha!!" A wily voice yelled. "Now, Aki, now!!" Kiyoko glanced behind her and saw a young boy, dangling over the side of the landing, holding onto her. He had short black hair and the featureless white eyes of the Byakugan. His name was Taki, one of her younger brothers. The other, who was rapidly approaching her now, was Aki, a boy with dark eyes and long dark blue hair.
"I've got her this time!" Aki roared, "CHIDORI!!" As his right arm sparked with electricity and he leapt through the air, leading with his electrified arm outstretched. Kiyoko smirked, leaned back, and grabbed onto the railing. Then with all her strength, she yanked her legs up, pulling Taki up from the edge and throwing him forwards in her place. Taki squeeled as he was thrown into his brother. Kiyoko back-flipped onto the top of the landing's banister, as Aki's chidori struck Taki and they collapsed in a heap.

[Kakashi's Theme]

"Well..." Kiyoko hopped down from the banister and walked over to her two younger brothers who remained on the floor. Aki had a glazed-over expression on his face. Clearly the amount of chakra it required to form even the smallest amount of electricity had taken it's toll on him. As for Taki, his hair had frizzed out in every direction from taking a bolt of electricity, and his right leg was twitching. "... good morning." 
"Don't say good morning like you're a good sister!" Aki grumbled.
"You're a monster!!" Taki added. 
"Am I?" Kiyoko raised an eyebrow, looking at her two brothers.
"You never play with us!" Aki groaned with a sigh. She leaned down, grabbing each of them by the scruff of the neck and hoisting them up. "Well maybe i'd be nicer if you weren't trying to knock me out every day."
"Well how else are we supposed to get stronger?!" Taki asked with a huff. Putting them back on their feet, Kiyoko took a step back and examined each of them, a smirk escaping the corner of her lips as she looked at Taki's frazzled hair.
"What?" Taki frowned, looking to Aki. His brother noticed his hair at that point, and burst out laughing. 
"Alright, well i'm late now, I hope you're happy... later." Kiyoko turned and started down the stairs. On her back, unknown to her, was a small white piece of paper. On the paper, was a message. It read, quite simply, 'Hit me, i'm stupid'. Kiyoko vanished downstairs while Aki and Taki turned to face one another, and shared a fist bump.
"Success!" They cheered, in unison.

[Morning]

Meanwhile, in another part of Konoha, a young boy dressed in a blue hoodie was perched at a wooden feather-board fence. He was crouched in front of a hole just large enough for a small animal to get through. On the other side, he could hear a quiet whining. He took a step back and assessed the fence with a thin-lipped smile. His eyes were narrow, and his grin wide. If you were to describe him, you might call him 'fox-faced'. He had short, scruffy blonde hair and pale skin. His name, was Sora Sakai. The whining increased in volume and urgency.
"Right, right, i'm comin'..." Sora replied calmly. Looking to the top of the fence, Sora leapt high into the air, grabbing onto the top of the fence, and using it to flip over to the other side. He landed in a small abandoned lot. For a moment, his eyes didn't detect the source of the whining, but then he saw it in the far right-hand corner, shrouded by a small bush. A little, cream-coloured squishy-faced dog. He couldn't remember the name of the breed. A bug? It was something like that. Bug made sense, it was tiny. As he approached the little animal, it recoiled in fear. 
"Now, now, i'm jus' here ta help ya, look--" Sora reached into his blue hoodie and pulled out a small cereal bar. He unwrapped it, took a large bite and then knelt down, holding it out for the dog to smell. It took immediate interest in him. The sound of rustling wrappers was obviously familiar. This had to be someone's pet.

"Come on now, I ain't gonna harm ya!" Sora tore off a small piece of the cereal bar and laid it on the ground, "There ya are." Then he sat in silence and waited. It took a couple of minutes, but eventually, the little dog stood and cautiously approached him. It was walking strangely. There was something wrong with it's front-right paw. It tried not to put any weight on it, there was clearly something wrong. As the dog approached and put its head down to eat, Sora gently laid his hand on the ground beside it. Once the dog was finished eating, it looked over and smelled his hand, then gave it a lick.
"Good doggie," His grin widened and he gently picked the dog up and put it on his lap, where it seemed quite happy. He raised the dog's right leg, careful not to touch the dog's paw. Up close, he could see what the problem was. He just had to use his medical ninjutsu. He took the dog's paw between his hands, and activated his chakra, extending its reach through his palms and engulfing the dog's paw. The dog had a small fracture. After a few minutes work, he released the dog's paw and sighed with contentment.
"There, all better." Sora patted the dog on the head, and then put it on the ground. The dog cautiously tried to walk back to his lap, but then realised it was able to put weight on it's paw without pain, and then quickly grew in excitement. It made little yappy barks and leapt up, trying to lick his face. 

Sora laughed, "Now, now, I--" Suddenly, the dog stopped. It's lips pulled back in a snarl. "Ya gonna bite me, little dog?" Sora asked. But then a figure leapt over the fence and landed a few feet away. Sora was short, and very slender. There wasn't much muscle to him at all. So to say that this other boy was the complete opposite of him would not be an exaggeration. This boy was tall, broad-shouldered and was significantly well-built. Really, he didn't look anything like Sora's age, but he knew this kid was, because they were in the same class.
"Hey!" The boy snarled, "What are you doin' with my dog, Sakai?!"
"Oh this is yer dog, Taichi?" Sora asked, standing up to face him.
"Give him back or i'm going to beat you." Taichi started towards Sora, intent on retrieving his animal.
"No, I think he's happier with me, aint'cha?" Sora asked, and virtually on cue, the dog barked, wagging it's tail.
Taichi grabbed Sora by the arm and used his other to ball up his hand into a fist, presenting it to Sora as a clearly-defined threat. Sora tried to gently pull his arm back, but Taichi held onto it firmly. The two boys stared one another down. Taichi's face almost red with rage, while Sora remained apparently unaffected by the boy's threats. The same smile remained on his face as it had done throughout the entire exchange.

"Ya should be lettin' go a'my arm, now." Sora suggested, pulling a second time.
"Gimme my dog!!" Taichi yelled, then brought back his balled-up fist, and threw a punch. Sora moved so quickly, that Taichi wasn't quite sure what had happened. The smaller boy managed to duck under his punch, twist around and sweep out his legs from under him. He collapsed to the floor as Sora reactivated his chakra, channelling it to his hand as he had done before, except this time, it formed a soft point in glowing energy.
"Hey!!" Taichi yelled, in a mixture of anger and shock at seeing what Sora was about to do, "Don't--" 
Sora jabbed Taichi in the knee with the tip of his hand and then quickly leapt back and deactivated his chakra. Taichi roared and tried to get up but found his right leg was completely numb from the knee down. He couldn't stand on it, he couldn't move it. It was as useful as dead wood.
"Give it a few days, it'll heal, okay?" Sora said with a smile, and then held his arms out to the dog. It barked again and happily leapt up into Sora's waiting arms where the boy cradled him, studying the little, cream-coloured pup. "I'll call ya Katsu. Come on, Katsu, time to meet the others!" Katsu barked and Sora leapt back over the fence onto the street once more, leaving Taichi to lick his wounds.

[Naruto's Daily Life]

The rain was finally letting up. She had that to be thankful for at least. Kiyoko stepped out from under the canopy of a ramen shop, thanking the owner for the food before stepping back out onto the street. A few drops were still falling, but it had mostly cleared. Puddles were everywhere, and kids had started splashing around in them. Kiyoko was focused, however. She had to reach the meeting point just outside of the village. She had been told there would be a large, old, dead tree with a table and three chairs laid out beside it. Three chairs, for three Genin. Strange. She was a Genin now. Passing the academy and becoming a Genin was a big step for her. Something brushed her shoulder and it drew her from her thoughts.
"Oh, sorry sorry, wasn't lookin' where I was goin'." Said a boy with short blonde hair. 
"It's fine." Kiyoko replied, noting the dog in his arms.
"Name's Katsu," The boy said, "The dog... My name's Sora Sakai."
"Okay?" Kiyoko frowned, taking a step away from the strange boy as they continued to walk towards the Northern gate. A few seconds passed and then Kiyoko felt a sharp pain in her right shoulder. She recoiled, clutching it as she saw Sora withdrawing his fist. "Ouch! What's wrong with you, I should--!!" Then she realised.

Kiyoko reached over her shoulder and plucked the note off her back, "Mhmm..." She growled, bunching up the paper into a little ball. Just then, she noticed Sora was still watching her with a smile on his face. Kiyoko grit her teeth and tensed up, but thought better of getting into a fight with this kid. She was just about to meet her Jounin teacher, and the rest of her Genin squad. She couldn't be picking fights with every idiot she came across. She was better than that. She threw the paper ball over her shoulder, which soared through the air and landed in a nearby bin.
"OoooOOooo!!" Sora clapped.
She frowned. Kiyoko couldn't tell if the boy was being obnoxious, or genuine. In fact, she couldn't read him at all. For someone who seemed to show his emotions so openly on his face, he was without a doubt, the definition of an enigma. She didn't like him. She couldn't say why. She just didn't. He was creepy.
"Cereal bar?" Sora offered, holding one up to her as they passed through the North gate. 
"No." She replied. Sora shrugged his shoulders and resumed eating.

Around a minute after she'd set out, Kiyoko looked over at Sora and Katsu. They were still walking beside her. They couldn't possibly... was Sora one of her Genin teammates? So who was the third and why weren't they here? Then her eyes darted down to Katsu. The little dog looked her dead in the eye, and let loose a little squeaky fart.
"No. There's no way!" Kiyoko burst out as she saw the old, dead tree and the table with three chairs ahead of her.
"What's that, Kiyoko-chan?" Sora asked.
"How do you know my name?!" Kiyoko challenged him, putting her hands on her waist, "What's your game, huh? And what's the dog about?!"
"Yer Kiyoko Hyūga. Daughter of an Uchiha an' a Hyūga. But, ya don't really have any special abilities..."
"Wha--" Kiyoko tried to interrupt.
"--an' i'm Sora Sakai. I'm gonna be ya medical nin. Then there's Omitsune Kiryuin. She's the third."
"She's late. Later than we were, and..." Kiyoko paused, glancing around, "Come to think of it, our teacher isn't here either..."

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[Sasuke’s Theme]

The pair were interrupted by the sound of footsteps in the grass behind them. The man approaching was dressed in the standard dark blue trousers and jacket associated with Konoha ninja, with a tool pouch strapped to his right leg, blue sandals on his feet, and a green flak jacket over his chest. The man walked at a leisurely pace with his hands in his pockets. His hair was a dark brown, shaggy hair that was trimmed shorter at the sides, but stood almost on end at the top, the ends flopping only a little to the left. His face was framed by a metal happuri style forehead protector with Konoha’s leaf symbol branded at the top.

The man stopped as he drew close to the two Genin, and his red eyes lazily moved from one to the other. He sniffed once and scratched at his nose, before holding his hand up beside his head with an empty palm out. “Good morning, my name is Hakirama Senju. I will be your Jounin leader. I am very excited to be working with you both.” He had introduced himself with perfect politeness, but had done so without even a hint of enthusiasm, and his eyes were still half closed and bored-looking. Eventually he turned his head and looked around a bit further.

“Hmm…Kiryuin san is late. That is, unfortunately, not unexpected. So that means you two are Sakai san and Hyuga san.” He shrugged and gave them both a half-hearted salute. “Nice to meet you both. I’m sure you’ll both do your best.”
"Yo!" Sora gave a casual salute, "Nice ta see ya, Teach. The Senju are an interestin' Clan. Honored t'have ya."
"Where's the other one?" Kiyoko added, ignoring Hakirama's introduction. She crossed her arms and asked, "Who's this Omitsune anyway? I don't remember anyone called that at the Academy."

“Kiryuin san?” Hakirama asked. “Well, truth be told she was expelled from the academy, and is only being conditionally allowed the rank of Genin and to be part of this team due to her mother taking advantage of her position.” Hakirama sniffed again and wrinkled his nose. “Kiryuin san is the daughter of the Sandaime Hokage.”
“Adoptive!” another voice yelled.

[Lee Dash Lee

A branch of the old tree shook as a slender form dropped from it, grabbing the branch on the way down and swinging once, before letting go and dropping to the ground. Omi was dressed in black sandals with fish net stockings covering the length of her legs, with a very short pair of black shorts on, with a single blue stripe at either side, and a tool pouch attached to a belt, positioned at the base of her back. Fish net covered her otherwise exposed midriff, and she had on a sleeveless, short jacket that barely covered her flat chest. Her arms were bare apart from white bandages wrapped around her hands and wrists. She had also chosen to wear her Konoha forehead protector around her neck, tied loosely.

“Hm, you were actually pretty well hidden…” Hakirama said, for the first time showing a hint of surprise.
“Well yeah, I’m a delinquent, not a scrub.” Omi replied. She turned her attention toward her new comrades, and folded her arms across her chest, raisied her head and pointed her chin out. “Sup.”
"Ahoy hoy, Omitsune-chan!" Sora raised his arm in a half-wave, then went back to stroking Katsu. "Nice ta meet'cha."
"You're late." Kiyoko added, "And a drop out. Do you think you should really be on this team?"

“It’s just Omi, and if you ‘chan’ me again I’ll bite your nose off.” Omi said with a smirk. Then she turned her attention to Kiyoko, and her eyes flashed with a mix of anger and challenge. “You wanna go, Yoko? If I kick your ass that means I get to embarrass two clans for the price of one, right?” She grinned widely, revealing her pointed teeth.

"Now, now," Sora chuckled, raising his hands defensively,
"You can try, drop-out." Kiyoko retorted.
"Aaah haha," Sora stepped in-between them, "Please, don't be fightin', girls. We're all a team now, yeah?"
“I didn’t drop out, I got kicked out!” Omi snarled, “Because I kept beating punks like you in to paste. Don’t cry when it’s over, Yoko!” Omi suddenly made a beeline for Yoko, and the girl seemed to respond in kind. As they closed the gap towards each other, both raising their fists to strike, a figure streaked in between them.

[Fake]

There was a long moment of silence. The grass blew beneath their feet. Hakirama stood in between the two genin, his hands gripped firmly around each of their wrists. His unimpressed, bored expression remained as he let out a sigh. “Hyūga san, Kiryuin san, this is no w-“
Omi’s other fist came flying towards his face. In an instant Hakirama had let go of Kiyoko and pushed her away with a palm press to her chest, then his free arm came up and casually slapped the blow away. He released his grip on Omi’s wrist and she immediately snarled and leapt at Hakirama with a sweeping kick.

The Jounin ducked with leisurely grace, and his hands came up and grabbed her leg, swinging her around and tossing her back to the ground quite gently. The ease at which he had done so made Omi’s blood boil. She’d make him flinch, she had to now. In an instant, she had reached in to her tool pouch and retrieved three shuriken. As her hands moved to throw them at Hakirama, she froze as he was suddenly inches from her. He snatched the shuriken from her hands with a single motion, and then threw a punch that stopped just inches from her face. Omi’s eyes were wide with terror. She couldn’t do anything against this guy, he could kill her with barely a breath.

“Ow!” she cried as Hakirama flicked her hard across the nose with his finger, before releasing her. She clutched her nose in her hands, and her pale skin began to burn a hot pink. “What the hell!?”
“We will not be fighting each other outside of organized sparring matches.” Hakirama replied simply. “Until you are capable of preventing me from doing so, I will decide when and who you fight, and I will not tolerate violence towards your team mates.” He turned his attention back to Kiyoko. “I’m sure you understand, Hyūga san?”

"I understand perfectly. But when she loses her temper again, will we be in the field? Maybe in a delicate situation? In a battle?" Kiyoko then turned from Hakirama, to Omitsune, "A team is a chain. You're a weak link. I can't trust you." She paused, and as if as an after thought, she then looked to Sora, "Or you."
“Bite me, Yoko-hime!” Omi snapped bitterly, “Like I need your approval!”

 

[Confrontment]

“Well…” Hakirama said with a pause to sigh audibly. “Now that introductions are over, it’s time to have an appraisal. I believe in being honest with my team, and so here it is…” He pointed at Sora first. “You, so far, are the only one I’m convinced might make a half decent ninja given time.” His finger moved to Kiyoko. “You seem to be carrying all the worst traits of the two most obnoxious clans in this village. You’re correct, a team is a chain, but you fail to see where your link is. The first thing you did when meeting your comrade was cast doubt as to her being allowed on this team. Not only did you show lack of faith in your comrade, but also in your leader. If you do not trust my decisions, then you are also a weak link.”

Omi let out a snort of laughter, but then she caught her breath in fear as Hakirama’s ever-judging index finger fell upon her, and his eyes narrowed when he looked at her, his brow furrowing with annoyance. “Omitsune Kiryuin – the girl who has had each of her tutors give up on her, even the Academy cannot handle you. So much so that the Hokage herself applied pressure to me in order to ensure your place on this team. However, I am not one of her dogs. You are here because I decided to give you a chance, one that you are quickly using up. Out of all the members on this team, you impress me the least.”

“Like I ca-“ Omi started but she was cut off.
“You should care!” Hakirama snapped, his eyes suddenly fierce, “Every person in this village, be they ninja or not, works hard to preserve what we have. You, so far, are nothing but a drain on this village. If I cannot change that, then you will have no more opportunities ahead of you.”
“Yeah, whatever.” Omi rolled her eyes. “I’ve heard this one a thousand times.”
“Then hear this; you have until the end of this day to gain the support of your comrades, If either one of them will not support you by tomorrow, then you will be banished from the village.”

Omi went to speak, but she paused, her lip quivering, and then she bit down on it and her head sank to the floor. Kiyoko remained silent, listening to Hakirama. When he was finished, she walked over to the table and sat on one of the chairs. Leaning back, she crossed her arms and sighed, "I can accept my mistakes. But not trusting you does not mean i've made a mistake. I don't know you. You might be a Jounin, so you've been given a title that says you're skilled, so what? There are lots of Jounin, and they die every day. Trust is earned, not expected. But..." She glanced at Omi, an expression flashed across her face, if only for a moment. Doubt? But in what? "Pff..."

"Give me a reason to support you, Omi-chan." Sora gave her a polite bow just with his head.
“I’m sure she will have plenty of opportunity to do so on your first mission.” Hakirama said nonchalantly. “Originally I was going to put you through a traditional bell test, but this mission came up quite suddenly and requires immediate attention.” Omi stood in silence, her stomach churning at the news. A mission? How was she going to be able to prove herself in that sort of situation? What if she screwed up? What would the cost be?

"Are you up to it?" Kiyoko asked. Sora made a startled noise, interrupting the conversation as heads turned. Katsu, the little squishy-faced dog, leapt out of Sora's arms and landed on the ground, then waddled over to Omi and sat at her feet. He opened his mouth and started panting - a sound akin to an out-of-breath senior - quietly, with a content look upon his stunted face.

"Omi-chan, Katsu supports you! Now you've just myself, and Kiyoko-chan to convince! Yatta!" Sora clapped his hands and beamed at her. "Ah--!" Then Katsu quietly lifted his leg, and emptied his bladder onto her boot. Sora's face drooped, yet somehow he maintained a modicum of cheer despite his mortified eyes, "Ah, sorry...."

Omi’s knuckles cracked audibly as her fists clenched in an otherwise quiet rage. Her teeth grinded as she fought to keep herself from snarling. “Don’t…worry about it.” She said finally, her right eye twitching madly as she stared at the incontinent pug with a murderous gaze. “Yo, sensei…what’s our mission?” She asked to keep her mind off her anger.
“Well I’m glad you asked…” Hakirama said with a smirk.

--- --- --- ---

[Fooling Mode]

“This sucks!” Omi declared as she jabbed a metal litter picker into the river she was currently standing knee deep in. She pulled the litter picker back up to reveal a sludgy old sandal, and she wretched in disgust, before tossing it into the pile of junk on the bank.
“What did you expect?” Hakirama asked from the deck chair he was sitting on near the bank, “Genin ninja are only qualified to participate in D-rank or C-rank missions. Get used to manual labour, you’re going to be doing it routinely for quite a while.”

“This isn’t what being a ninja is about!” Omi scoffed, frowning. However, she continued with the work begrudgingly. She had to admit that Hakirama’s threat was serious enough that she had been forced to comply with it. Even though, deep down, all she really wanted was to set his hair on fire and see what he looked like bald.

"Hard work is an essential trait of a good ninja, Omi-chan!" Sora waded past her and stopped at a spot that he seemed happy with, "If ya work hard at working hard, y'all will fight fer longer, hit harder an' learn more." Sora held the litter picker an inch above the water and then began jabbing. The flurry of strikes was so fast that he was forced to stop after a couple of seconds because his entire picker had been skewered with trash. Sora grinned at Omi, then dumped all the trash into his bag, pausing to stare at Kiyoko. She was staring at the water, picker in hand, doing nothing. Just... staring.

Omi considered Sora’s words. It hadn’t occurred to her to use ninja skills to get the work done. Sora had used his speed and reflexes from Taijutsu to maximize his performance. Perhaps if she could impress them then they’d consider keeping her on the team. With a wolfish grin she tossed her litter picker and trash bag aside, and clapped her hands together. She performed five hand seals; tiger, snake, rat, snake, tiger. She released her chakra and thrust her hands forward. The water of the river suddenly rushed back up the way it came, chaotically flying up into the shape of a wall, the excess water arcing down and around them.

“There…now we can see better.” She said with a satisfied smirk. She turned round to see what Sora thought, and then her heart sank like a stone. Kiyoko had been caught in the backlash of her ninjutsu, and was now standing and staring in the same position, only now she was drenched from head to toe in river water. “S-sorry…” Omi managed to squeak.

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[Bad Situation]

Despite his cheery exterior, beads of sweat glistened on Sora's face. He watched in silence as Kiyoko slowly turned to face them. She was drenched from head to toe. Long dark blue hair, sopping wet with river water, scattered over her face. Her pupils were pinpricks as she snapped the litter picker she'd been holding in two.
"Oi... slacker..." Kiyoko's voice was deeper, her tone was authoritative. "Come here..."
"Slacker!?" Omi snarled, but then she recoiled slightly, and then with a huff she stayed silent and stomped towards Kiyoko. "...I said sorry, alright?"
"Yeah, I heard you!" Kiyoko growled. As Omi stood before her, Kiyoko held out her hand, "Give me that. Now." She added, nodding at the litter picker Omi had left behind.
"Fine..." Omi rolled her eyes as she went back to the litter picker and bent down to retrieve it. "I wasn't the one who broke your one but whatever..." She stood up and offered the litter picker Kiyoko.
"Yeah, yeah." Kiyoko muttered, snatching the litter picker out of Omi's hand. "About that--" She turned the litter picker around, grabbed it with both hands, then snapped Omi's picker in two, throwing it at the girl's feet.
Omi's right eye raised up, her expression perplexed. She folded her arms across her chest and cocked her head slightly to the side. "Uh... as long as you're.... happy?"
"Hm!" Kiyoko smirked and mimicked Omi by folding her arms across her chest.

[Daylight of Konoha]

Her smirk, turned into a little grin and Kiyoko nodded, "Yeah. Good job. Using Jutsu to clear all this trash makes a lot more sense than using these stupid things."
"Kiyoko-chan?" Sora raised an eyebrow, "You're making more of a mess..." 
Kiyoko looked from Sora to the ground in front of her, it was scattered with the splintered corpses of the litter pickers. "Ah... r-right." She muttered, leaning down and starting to pick up the pieces. Sora's smirk widened and he shuffled over, adding his litter picker to her bag of trash.
"Uh....right..." Omi said hesitantly, nervously scratching at her arm.
"Well... get back to work then." Kiyoko raised her eyebrow with a look of expectation, then turned and walked off.
Sora cleared his throat and turned to Omi, "She's a funny one, hm? I know all about her, but she keeps surprisin' me."
"Funny? She's down right whacked o-" Omi cut her sentence off and frowned at herself, "I-I mean... not like... not in a bad way but..." She trailed off.
"That's a start, Omi-chan." Sora patted her on the shoulder and then bent down to start adding more trash to his bag, "So, where are ya from, Omi-chan?"
"Uh, hello, orphan?" Omi said with a roll of her eyes. "I don't exactly know my family tree very well."
"Mm..." Sora nodded to himself, "What's it feel like t'be an orphan? I bet it's lonely, ne?"
Omi stared at him for a moment, her eyes squinting in annoyance. Then she turned away from Sora, her fingers clenched at her side. "Yeah." She said simply as she stalked away from him.
"Omi-chan!" Sora called after her as she left, "Ya don't have t'be!"

"Yo, all of you!" Hakirama called over to them. Omi turned to where the Jounin was standing waving them over, and she walked towards him without responding to Sora. He waited until they had all arrived before continuing. "Looks like you're almost done. That's 500 ryō for each of you."
"500?" Omi almost coughed. "But... that's barely enough to get the Beef Ramen in the village!"
"We've been working for hours and all we get is 500 ryō?" Kiyoko grumbled in disbelief.
"Hm," Sora started patting down his pockets, as he and Kiyoko joined Omi and Hakirama.
"What did you expect? You're picking up garbage... spoilers; it does not pay well." Hakirama put his hands on his hips, "Why do you think I wasn't participating? I don't need 500 ryō that badly..."
"Sensei?" Sora raised his hand, "Shouldn't we do somethin' more fittin' to our abilities as shinobi? Logically, that this mission is only worth a maximum of 2000 ryō, it's a job any ol' guy could do. We may not do high-rank missions. But we should be doin' somethin' more appropriate, ne?" Sora cocked his head to one side expectantly.
"You mean C-rank missions like bodyguarding and escort missions?" Hakirama suggested.
"That's an excellent idea, sensei." Sora replied. Meanwhile, Kiyoko and Omi had started to watch the exchange between the two boys. "If we were t'get a mission like that, we could make a significant contribution to the village--" And without missing a beat, "--and our wallets." Kiyoko raised her eyebrows in surprise at Sora's sly conversation with their Jounin leader, then turned in expectation of Hakirama's almost guaranteed put-down.

"Sadly, I was hesitant enough about trusting you three with people's garbage, let alone their lives." Hakirama replied flatly. "However, you didn't screw this up, so who knows? Maybe we can move you up to dog walking soon."
Omi let out a long whistling noise that dropped down in pitch, before she ended it with a fart noise. "Are you really that earnest? I thought it was an act at first..."
"Hm?" Sora glanced at Omi, before returning his focus to Hakirama, "Sensei, I feel urged to tell ya there's more than a 95% chance o' Kiyoko-chan an' Omi-chan findin' a way to do a much higher rank mission. They'd be doin' it without'cha. Plus, as their medical nin, i'd be honour-bound t'go with 'em. So, it might be best t'do somethin' that'll satisfy their ambition, under ya supervision."
Leaning in to Omi, Kiyoko muttered under her breath, "He's dead."
"Persistence, a good quality in a ninja..." Hakirama said with a smirk. He walked past Sora and with lightning reflexes he flicked him on the nose before walking off, urging them to follow him. "However, while I appreciate your tenacity, I would appreciate your respect of my judgement more." He added. "Well now, look at the time. I think we should have some dinner. You said the Beef Ramen was around 500 ryō, right Kiryuin-san?"
"Damn it..." Omi whined, following Hakirama in a defeated huff.

[Paradise]

The sun was beginning to disappear along the horizon. Casting a slight orange glow upon Konohagakure. Kiyoko, Omi, Sora and Hakirama sat in a local open-air ramen shop, enjoying the simple pleasure of a hot meal.
"Aaaah..." Kiyoko sighed as she finished the last mouthful of ramen broth. "That's so tasty, I could eat a second--" A long slurping noise interrupted her. Sora placed his bowl down with a contented look on his face. Then placed the bowl atop the other five he'd already consumed.
"Eh?!" Kiyoko gasped, her eye twitching violently before she quickly regained her composure.
"Hm?" Sora turned to look at Kiyoko and then chuckled, "Oh, my mother says I have a quick metabolism."
"That doesn't last forever y'know." Omi said with a mouthful of noodles. She made a final slurp and gasped in appreciation. "If you keep eating like that you'll have a fat ass when you reach the other side of 25."
Sora smirked with a knowing look on his face. "Yes, sensei." He replied. Kiyoko leaned back on her stool and stretched, then something caught her eye and she leaned forwards so quickly that she almost fell over the top of the ramen chef's counter. She covered the side of her face with a hand, and leaned down onto the counter.

"Uh, what are you looking at?" Omi asked, craning her neck over to see. Quick as lightning, Kiyoko shot out her free arm, and shoved Omi forwards, back towards the counter.
"Don't." Kiyoko urged Omi, her expression had genuine need to it. "Just--"
"Evenin', Chief!" Sora called, raising his hand. All the colour drained from Kiyoko's face. A man dressed in a black kimono walked over. On the back of his kimono was the red and white paper fan symbol of the Uchiha clan. The man was tall, broad-shouldered, with a scruffy mop of raven-like hair. He had three long scars on his face. One that went diagonally across his forehead, through his nose and down his cheek. The other two scratched down the right side of his forehead in vertical lines, passing through his right eye, in which he was blind, and down through the diagonal scar. He had a touch of grey in his beard and smoked a pipe.
"Good evening." Makoto Uchiha replied, nodding to the boy. Makoto was the Chief of Police in Konohagakure. And, as Kiyoko was currently whispering to Omi, he was her uncle. He glanced across Sora and Omi, his eye lingering on Kiyoko for a moment before turning to Hakirama.
"Evening, Hakirama-san. I see you've students." Makoto took a long drag on his pipe and blew the smoke up into the air. 

"Had to happen sometime I suppose." Hakirama replied with his usual, dull expression. He eyed them from where he was sat next to them at the bar. He waited a moment, and then his eyes narrowed. "It's impolite to not introduce yourself, you know..."
"Oh..." Omi replied, and then she waved half-heartedly at Makoto, "Yo, big chief. I'm Omi." Hakirama made a weird choking noise, before suddenly coughing all over his food.
"The orphan," Makoto seemed to allude to something with his tone, "Yes. I hope you're listening to your sensei, Hakirama is a wise shinobi, and you would do best to heed his advice."
"My name is Sora Sakai, Chief." Sora offered a slight bow, "Son of--"
"--Koji Sakai. Yes, I know him. And I know you, Sora-kun." Makoto turned his attention to Kiyoko and for a few moments he just studied her in silence. "Sit up straight, niece."
"Yes, uncle." Kiyoko did as she was told, but her expression seemed resigned.
"Project your voice, or nobody will take notice." Makoto added.
"Yes, uncle." Kiyoko repeated, this time focused in both tone and volume. She put her chopsticks down on her bowl and stood to leave but before she did so, she hesitated and turned back to face her uncle and bowed, then hurriedly left Sora, Omi and Hakirama alone with the chief of police.
"I expect you'll all be chuunin before long, under Hakirama-san's tutelage." Makoto nodded to them, and started to leave.

"Yeah, if the exam has a section on how to get garbage water out of your sandals... I might just become the freakin' Hokage!" Omi said with a soft chuckle. 
"Apologies, this one seems to have misplaced her manners at some point." Hakirama said to Makoto. "You give me too much credit, Uchiha-san. I'm already beginning to think teaching isn't my calling..."
"Stress is bad for the skin." Makoto replied simply, "It will turn your hair grey, Hakirama-san, if you let it." He paused and turned back to face the group, "Should you wish it, however, you are more than welcome to assign your team to my care. Kiyoko already balances her missions with you, alongside training from the Hyūga clan, as well as my own instruction. I'm sure she would welcome the free time that combining my lessons with her missions would allow. Failing that," He turned his attention to Omi and Sora, "Should you wish to train alongside your teammate, you are welcome to join us in her next session tonight." And with that, Makoto left.
"Sensei?" Sora raised his hand until Hakirama glanced at him, and then pointed at his teacher's head, "You have a grey hair now..."

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tsumetaki-tsuchi]

“Whoa…” Omi said as she walked with Hakirama and Sora through the garden outside of the Uchiha clan’s dojo inside their compound.  They walked a path of flat stones placed in a line toward the main building. The fenced off garden was brimming with green plant life with beautiful red colored flowering. A tree stood tall to their right, it’s branches shading a rectangular patch of sand, with a sparse amount of stones placed very carefully around the sand. Someone had drawn swirls and lines in the sand, in a flowing form through the rocks.

Up ahead the dojo building was lit with warm lanterns. They stepped up the steps and into the wooden building. Inside the dojo consisted of a simple, large open space for training in. However the matts on the floor were well made, and the sparse equipment looked to be of good craftsmanship. The walls were decorated by various depictions of the fan-like symbol of the Uchiha clan, and in each corner of the room stood dark metallic sculptures of tengu warriors with long beak-like noses. “…Whoa.” Omi said again.

A door on the other side slid open and Kiyoko walked in, closing the sliding door behind her. She didn't notice them until Omi spoke.
"Oh, what are you...?" Kiyoko frowned, looking at her team, "You shouldn't be here--"
"I invited them." Makoto interrupted, startling the young Genin from behind as he walked past them and into the dojo. "I thought your teammates could join you in our training session this evening."
"Oh..." Kiyoko nodded, but looked less than enthused.

“Oh, I don’t think you three have had nearly enough stress to form a close bond.” Hakirama said, “It is very kind of Makoto san to provide an opportunity for hardship for all of you.”
“How the hell is training going to help us get along?” Omi asked, raising her brow.
“The times that test us are the most defining”, Hakirama replied. “Besides, you were all too happy to fight each other earlier, maybe burning some energy is exactly what you need.”
“I don’t see how kicking Yoko’s butt is going to get her to like me.” Omi said, looking unconvinced. A few moments later she yelped and clutched her nose, which throbbed from another nose flicking from Hakirama.

“How about you listen to Makoto san and follow his instructions.” Hakirama suggested firmly, smiling.
“Fine…” Omi grumbled, still rubbing her nose.
"Your sensei speaks from a place of knowledge. You'd do best to listen to him, Omi-chan." Makoto walked into the centre of the dojo and turned to face the Genin. "However," He added, his tone now quite serious, "I never said you were to fight my niece." Makoto stretched, cracking his shoulders and cricking his neck before he rolled the sleeves up of his kimono, "Can I ask, Hakirama-sama, for non-interference? Training such as this needs to be seen to it's conclusion."

“My team’s safety comes first.” Hakirama replied, but sat himself down on the floor by the wall. “If I decide to intervene then I will.”
“Wait…we’ve got to fight him?” Omi asked, thumbing at Makoto. “How’s that fair?”
Makoto stared at Hakirama in silence for a few moments, then smirked, "That... will not happen." It seemed unclear whether he meant that their safety would not be in question, or that he would not allow Hakirama to intervene. "And Omi-chan... it isn't. That is the nature of this world."

"Uncle, this isn't--" Kiyoko started, but cut herself short as Makoto charged her. "H-Hey!" Kiyoko leapt back to bridge a gap between them, but he was too fast. He closed it in an instant and threw a punch directly at her face. Kiyoko leaned back, turning into a backflip as her hands touched the mat, and she kicked with all her force, knocking her Uncle's arm up and then as her feet touched the mat, she darted forwards, kicking twice. The first kick struck Makoto in the shoulder, and the second he blocked with his forearm, grabbed her leg and threw her across the room, past Sora and Omi. Makoto then whirled around, formed seals in a flash, took a deep breath, and then a jet of flame spewed from between his lips.
"Omi-chan!" Sora shoved Omi as hard as he could, knocking her out of the way, as the flames engulfed him. Kiyoko pulled herself up just as she saw the flames surround Sora.
"No!!" Kiyoko yelled, "Sensei?!" She whirled around to look at Hakirama.

[The Raising Fighting Spirit]

The flames petered out, dispersing until only smoke and a charred body remained. It's ragged black cloth covering the static form on the ground. Kiyoko watched in stunned silence until she heard a strange noise. A grinding, hissing, clicking noise, and then the ragged black cloth dispersed, and Sora stood up, untouched.
"What?!" Kiyoko mouthed. "What was that?"
"That'd be my clan's technique." Sora replied. Then held his finger up and a tiny black mass began to form as if from nowhere. "The Bakuhatsu Ari." His eyes lingered on his finger for a moment, before looking to Kiyoko and Omi, "Exploding Ants."

“Whoa… tough bunch of ants.” Omi said with a smirk.

"Thank ye, Omi-Chan." Sora beamed, "Each member o' the Sakai clan are born with 'em. They're a part of us. We give them chakra, they give us a miniature army, full o' all kinda tricks. Plus, they're really useful in medicine and tracking."
“Lucky.” Hakirama said, his eyes darkening as he spoke. “Be careful with my students, Makoto san.”
“Tsh! Give me a break!” Omi said with a toothed grin. She raised her fists up in front of her and faced Makoto. “C’mon old man, I wanna check you out!”

Omi went at a sprint towards Makoto and the pair clashed. She circled him, testing him with quick punches and kicks that he dodged and blocked with a steady grace. Makoto grew tired of her teasing and began to strike back. Omi weaved and dodged his precise swings with the speed and acrobatics of a dancer. Finally she jumped up for a kick, and Makoto drew his arm in to block her. Omi brought her feet forward and pushed off of his arm, sailing up towards the ceiling of the dojo, and she hurled a barrage of shuriken back down towards him.

With a quick inhalation, Makoto released his chakra with his breath and blew the shuriken directly back towards Omi, peppering her with her own projectiles. Sora and Kiyoko were quick to react. Kiyoko charged her uncle, leaping into the air to strike him in the back, but he was all too fast. He turned instantly and knocked her aside and then leapt out of the way as a small black cloud flew beneath him. Makoto quickly engulfed the tiny ants in flame, then landed as Kiyoko raised herself back up using the wall as support.

"This is too much, uncle." Kiyoko took a deep breath and started walking towards him. "We're obviously no match, you've proved your point.""I've barely begun." Makoto replied, then his eyes focused on Omi as she landed. In an instant, he was behind her. He grabbed her by the back of her neck, and lifted her into the air, "This isn't a game. You are in combat with a powerful enemy. Yet, you stand there explaining your abilities to one another. Asking for clemency when it becomes too difficult. Where do you think you are right now...?" He frowned, and then squeezed harder, choking Omi. She tried to gasp for air, but Makoto’s grip was too tight, and panic gripped her.

[GAMA]

Unable to draw breath, Omi felt herself getting weaker. Her hands desperately clawed at Makoto’s grip, but with every second she only grew weaker. She felt her vision beginning to swim. Something was beating inside her, it felt so loud to her, like someone hammering right next to her ear. Something boiled inside of her, something primal that was desperate to get out and wreak havoc. Then, suddenly, she gasped as Makoto’s grip was broken and she had fell to the floor.

Hakirama stood in front of her, a Kunai in his hand that was slicked with blood, and Makoto’s arm had a small gash on it. “…That’s enough.” Hakirama said with a quiet anger to his voice.
"I wholly disagree." Makoto replied with a sad smile. Kiyoko audibly gasped as she watched her uncle's one working eye flash a bright crimson red, circle by three tomoe. This was the Uchiha clan's eye technique. The Sharingan. This was not something that ever needed to be used against an ally. It had the ability to allow it's user to mimic the movement and abilities of anything it witnessed. It could see chakra, see through the illusions of a genjutsu, and was considered one of the most powerful techniques in the shinobi world. Her uncle now stood before her sensei, with a figurative sword unsheathed.

"Uncle!" Kiyoko yelled.

"You will be quiet." Makoto barked back at her, and then he leaned towards Hakirama. His lean deepened until it almost looked as though he was going to fall over, but then he burst forwards, tearing up the mats behind him as he crossed the dojo in a split-second. Hakirama was just as fast, raising his fists in response, but his movements were clear to Makoto's sharingan eye. He darted between Hakirama's thrusting fist and blocked his kick with one hand and with his other, he thrust his palm forwards as if he was going to smack Hakirama in the chest. But at the last moment, a blade shoved it's way out of the skin of his palm and impaled Hakirama. Makoto pulled his hand back, forcing the blade in deeper until he was able to grab hold of the emerging handle and yank it from his own arm. "Lesson over." He muttered, then shoved the blade through Hakirama's chest until the handle struck his chest. Makoto took a step back, and as Hakirama fell, he kicked him so hard in the gut, that their sensei flew across the dojo and smashed into the far wall, leaving a cracked stone indentation before collapsing to the ground.

[Orochimaru ~Fight~]

"Now then..." Makoto turned back to face the three genin. "Where were we?" His red eye beating down on them.
Kiyoko was speechless. She kept staring at Hakirama's corpse, expecting him to get up. But he wasn't going to get up. Not from that. Eventually, the reality of her situation penetrated her fear, surprise and confusion and she immediately lowered her gaze, "Don't look him in the eye!" She called out to her teammates, "He'll trap you in a genjutsu you can't escape from!"
"Kiyoko-chan?" Sora questioned.
"DO IT!!" Kiyoko shouted, her eyes wet with tears she refused to allow. Sora nodded, reaching into his kimono and pulling out a pair of goggles.

"Should be wearin' these things anyway, daylight's so strong..." Sora pulled the goggles on, and glanced at Makoto. He raised his arms, and black clouds formed around them, a mass of flying ants. "Ah well, looks like we've gotta get real serious now, i'll do what I can fer sensei, if we're still alive..."
"Enough talking..." Kiyoko snarled, her face screwing up. Kiyoko and Sora charged Makoto from different angles.

At the last instant, Sora's ants flew around the side of Makoto, forcing him away from Omi. He leapt away, blowing fire from his lips as any stray ants came within reach. Then Sora chased after him, spreading his ants thin and wide, so that Makoto was unable to penetrate the insect wall. Kiyoko dashed over to Omi and helped her up.
"Are you alright?!" She asked frantically, checking the girl's neck.

“He…!” Omi choked as she stared at Hakirama’s lifeless body on the other side of the room. She shivered in fear, then her eyes turned to Kiyoko, seeming only now to notice her. Then, finally, her gaze fell to Makoto, gritting her teeth in a vicious snarl. “…I’ll…I’ll kill him!” She yelled with a sudden burst of energy as she got to her feet. “I’ll…tear his….” She breathed in and out slowly, unable to speak.
"Centre yourself." Kiyoko cautioned, "I feel the same way, but we can't allow ourselves... we can't let fear and anger control us." She wiped her eyes and took a deep breath. Makoto tested the wall of insects for signs of weakness using his fire techniques. Every few seconds the room was cast in a brilliant orange glow and a flash of heat as Makoto destroyed more ants. "We're only going to have one chance, when Sora's wall fails, he'll... we have to work together... Omi-san?" Kiyoko raised her arm aloft and held out her fist to Omi.

Omi stared at Kiyoko for a moment, and then at her offered fist. Then she nodded and bopped Kiyoko’s fist with her own, giving a single nod as she did. “Alright then, Yoko, you know his weak points, I’ll keep him distracted.” She retrieved a kunai from her belt and placed it in her mouth, before resting shuriken in the gaps between her fingers. “Shhora,  don’ schwoo thish up, eh!?”

"Enough!" Makoto yelled over the sound of their chatter. For a moment, there was silence punctuated only by the background hum of Sora's insects. Then a flame spread out from the back of the room, engulfing the entire wall. Before Sora could replenish the breaches, a gust of wind blew so fiercely that he was knocked to the ground. He reached out, a black mass of ants swarming from his hand and attaching themselves to the ground so that he wasn't thrown away. While at the back of the room Kiyoko and Omi stood fast, being buffeted by Makoto's gust.

"Stop it, uncle!" Kiyoko yelled, and to her great surprise, Makoto stopped his assault. As she walked past Omi, she whispered, "Follow my lead." And walked towards Sora, as she did, she touched him on the shoulder and leaned in, "You've done enough." She said aloud, whispering something immediately afterwards before continuing on to her uncle. Makoto had never seemed taller to her than he did now. He towered over her, his presence and that sharingan, staring her down.

"If you can't defeat an old man, then how are you going to become a ninja worth her salt, hm?!" Makoto closed his fist like a vice and held it before her, "You're not strong enough. You're not fast enough. You're not smart enough. At this rate, you never will be. It's better I save you the agony of torture at the hands of our enemies."
"It's not my fault!" Kiyoko yelled at him in indignation, "You've trained me my whole life, my parents trained me, the Hyūga trained me! It's not my fault, it's yours! And yours!" Kiyoko's angry gaze turned to Sora, "And yours!" She focused on Omi, marching back to her as Sora began to object.
"Kiyoko-chan, i've worked very hard to--" Sora began.
"You're a disgrace!" Kiyoko snapped, getting right into Omi's face. "I'm not surprised your parents left you here!"
“Watch your mouth, Yoko hime!” Yoko snarled at her, “Don’t think I won’t kick your ass!”
"You couldn't if you tried!" Kiyoko bit back, shoving the girl forcefully. Makoto watched in disbelief, confused at the sudden in-fighting of the team that had stood against him just moments before. Sora walked over to join the girls, raising his hands and urging them to calm down. "You're no better!"

"Oro?" Sora pursed his lips in surprise.
"Bugs?!" Kiyoko growled, "Really?! That's the best thing you can do!?"

Sora hesitated, holding his finger up for a moment as though he was going to argue the point, "W-well," He chuckled nervously, "K-Kiyoko-chan..." Kiyoko pushed him. Hard. Sora stumbled back and held his hands out to her, "There's no need for all y'all t'get mad, we have more pressing ma--" Sora was cut short. Kiyoko lashed out. Her punch hit him square in the jaw, and he collapsed to the floor. Sora's lips curled back in anger and he vaulted backwards onto his feet, and without missing a beat, sent a volley of insects flying towards Kiyoko. At the last second, Kiyoko dove to the ground, and the black mass struck Omi instead. Knocking her to the ground. There was a horrible wet squelch as the insects collided with her.

"I've had about enough out of you!" Makoto growled irritably, raising his hands together to perform a jutsu.
“The feeling’s mutual!” Omi replied as she crawled to her feet, soaking wet and covered in Sora’s ants. She made a bee-line for Makoto, hurling her shuriken at him. Makoto leapt back and dodged expertly, his hands still moving to make the seals. Omi took a shuriken from her belt and threw it forward. Makoto dodged to the side and let it fly past him, and just as he was about to finish he saw Omi’s grin, and sensed the incoming danger.

[Breakdown]

He abandoned his seals and turned just as Omi came at him with a swinging kick. He dodged and cut through her with a kunai, but her body simply reformed from the injury. Then another Omi swept a kick under him and he jumped to avoid, flipping backwards only to find another Omi waiting for him when he landed. Suddenly the three Omi’s rushed him together, each one attacking him with rapid strikes, all of which he dodged and deflected with unimaginable speed.

Makoto finally grabbed and threw one of the Omi’s into another, and the two smashed together and disappeared along the floor in a puddle, before quickly resuming their form.
“You can see right?” One of the Omi’s said to him. “Those eyes can see water clones, but I’m close enough now.” Omi grinned, her hands already forming the final seal she needed. She was close enough to Makoto now, and her chakra infused water was all around him in the form of her clones. With a final thrust out with her palm, her clones melted into water and swirled around Makoto, mixing and writhing into one swirling ball of water. It was dense, highly pressured water, stopping the target from moving on the inside.
“Suiton: Water Prison Jutsu.” Omi said with a satisfied grin. “Doesn’t matter if you know how to copy it, good luck forming seals in there.”

 

[Isami Aru Monotachi]

 

"Yes!!" Kiyoko cheered, whistling as Sora chuckled, a smile spreading across his face once more, as he rubbed his sore jaw. "I can't believe we stopped him..."
"Mm," Sora nodded, approaching Omi and patting her on the shoulder, "Well done, Omi-chan." Kiyoko turned to look at the body of their Jounin leader still lying in a crumpled heap in the corner. She had to take a deep breath to steady herself before speaking.

"Alright... i'm going to inform--" Kiyoko stopped speaking as she heard a muted clapping noise. Makoto - still trapped in the ball of pressurised water which should have prevented him from doing little more than blink or breathe - was clapping. Then he stood, and the watery prison was forced to shift into an oblong shape to accommodate his standing position.
"Very good." Makoto said, his voice distorted from within the prison, "There's just one thing..." He reached into his kimono and pulled out a kunai. The three genin watched in disbelief as he moved with little restriction from within the prison. "Think fast!" He said suddenly, throwing the kunai. The bladed projectile weapon breached the water prison as though there was nothing there at all. The projectile flew directly at Omi, and she was forced to dive aside to save herself.

The prison of water fell apart with Omi no longer maintaining the seal, but as she opened her eyes, ready to deal with the threat Makoto posed once more, she was unable to move. Something nudged her and she looked over to see Kiyoko and Sora bound on either side of her.
"O-oro?" Sora looked around, confused.
"So fast..." Kiyoko muttered in disbelief, staring down at her bonds. Then she looked over and saw her uncle was wringing out his kimono.

"I really wish you hadn't used a water technique of all things, my daughter-in-law made this for me..." Makoto grumbled, patting himself down. "Oh, your friends look rather confused, Kiyoko-chan, perhaps you would explain what happened to them for me, while I warm up?" Makoto smiled politely and then walked over to a small fire that remained from his use of fire jutsu. Holding his hands out to warm himself, he listened with a smile on his lips as Kiyoko explained that the sharingan's genjutsu could be so convincing that he had actually tricked Omi into breaking the seal on the water prison by dodging a kunai that didn't exist. Both Sora and herself had been unable to stop Omi, as moments before, he had trapped them both in their own private genjutsu. So, this was it. They'd lost. They'd lost the battle, their teacher, and now their lives.

"We had 'im..." Sora sighed with a dejected look on his face.
"We never had him... it was just a matter of time." Kiyoko looked to the ground.
“Are you kidding!?” Omi scoffed, “Did you forget he killed Hakirama!?”
“I’d prefer if you referred to me as ‘Senju Sensei’, or at least just ‘Sensei’, we’re not that close you know?” The voice came from the doorway of the Dojo. All three students turned round and gaped. Hakirama stood in the doorway, very much alive and entirely unharmed. “Yo.” He said with a short wave.

[Konohamaru’s Theme]

“B-but…you…” Omi turned back to the corpse on the floor in disbelief. Then she let out a high pitched scream as the corpse slowly sat up and turned it’s head toward her. “Zombie!!” She screamed.
"N-No thank you." Sora added, shoving them onto their side. Then, between Omi and Sora, the two started worming the trio along the ground, trying to get away from zombie-Hakirama, while Kiyoko struggled on top of them, staring at the ceiling in confusion.
"Hey!" Kiyoko growled, "What's happening?!"

Their slinking along the floor was brought to a stop as Hakirama put his foot on them lightly.
“You know…I’d hoped to get some smart students…” He said with a smirk. The zombie stepped closer until it was standing next to Hakirama. Then the Jounin placed his hand on his doppelganger’s shoulder, and it’s skin slowly began to turn brown, and then became hard like wood. Slowly the clone of wood began to turn more organic looking, like a tree branch, as it was slowly sucked back into Hakirama’s palm.

“Eww….gross!” Omi said, and she made a retching face.
“Mokuton is the Kekkai Genkai of the Senju clean. It is not gross.” Hakirama said with a scowl of annoyance.
“It kinda is.” Omi said, huffing.
"It's unpleasant, sensei-sama." Sora added, as the ropes binding them snapped suddenly and fell loose. Then a black mass formed around the ropes and disappeared into Sora's top. "An' I know unpleasant." The boy smirked as he stood back up, rubbing his wrists from the tight bindings.

"You're all speaking like this is fine! This isn't fine!" Kiyoko growled angrily, marching up to Hakirama and jabbing him in the chest with her finger, "What kind of training is this, huh?! Do you think this is alright? Did you think you were being clever?!" Hakirama nervously tried to laugh it off but delicately pointed at Makoto.
"You!" Kiyoko snarled, turning on her uncle, flames erupted in her eyes. Makoto looked up from warming his hands with a genuine look of surprise on his face.
"Hm? --gah!!" Makoto yelped, as Kiyoko grabbed him by the collar of his kimono and threw him with all her force.

Outside, the dojo, was peaceful. Quiet, tranquil, the sound of cicadas calling. An elderly Uchiha clan member raked sand into a pleasing pattern, and just as he was making his final stroke the roof of the dojo exploded and he leapt out of his skin in fright, sending sand flying everywhere. The old man scanned for the source of the sound, and saw a man flying through the sky, screaming, as he became a blip on the horizon.

Patting down her hands, Kiyoko turned back to look at the rest of the team, "Well?!" She snarled, looking at Hakirama.
“…Scary.” Hakirama said with a haunted expression on his face.
“Guy got what he deserved if you ask me.” Omi muttered.
“Kiyoko san, perhaps you should calm down. Don’t you think you’ve learned something from this?” Hakirama asked.

[Friend]

Doubt wormed its way into Kiyoko's thoughts and a frown replaced her anger, "I've learnt I can... somewhat..." She crossed her arms across her chest and licked the inside of her cheek as she nonchalantly tried to validate Sora and Omi's abilities, "... rely on... you guys..."
"Yes!" Sora cheered, grinning from ear to ear. He walked up to Kiyoko and hugged her, but was quickly pushed away.
"Don't push it, bug-boy." Kiyoko muttered, but a smile lingered in the corner of her lips all the same. Sucking in air like she was trying to draw in a noodle, Kiyoko finally sighed and walked over to Omi. The two girls looked at one another for a moment, then Kiyoko playfully thumped Omi on the shoulder.

“I guess you’re not so bad yourself, Yoko hime.” Omi said with a sly grin. She turned to Sora.
“Seriously though, I’ll put up with your creepy crawlies any time if they’re always that helpful. Using them to gather water like that…I’d never have even thought of it.”
"They've many useful abilities, Omi-chan!" Sora got quite animated at Omi's fledgling interest, "It's not just obvious things like trackin' an' combat, but they have extremely powerful anti-toxin - didja know a single ant can lift over a hundred times it's own weight? Ants live longer than any other insect, an' if every animal was the same size they would be the fastest animal on the planet!" He just kept going, even as Kiyoko's eyes glazed over, "Didja know one ant species has the most powerful venom in the world? An' my ants are asexual, they don't need any males an' can jus' clone themselves, which I can increase by feedin' large amounts of chakra--" Sora grabbed Omi and Kiyoko around the shoulders and started to walk them out of the dojo, "Didja know ants can do more'n swim, they can survive up to 24 hours underwater! There's lots o' things that--"
"--help us..." Kiyoko mumbled to Hakirama as they were dragged away.

“Ah, to be a Genin again, there’s no feeling quite like when you start to form bonds with your team…” Hakirama went to follow them out of the dojo, “…and the inevitable discovery that they are just the worst.” He chuckled as he walked out in to the evening with his team.

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[Kikyou]

"Aaah..." Sora sighed, relaxing his shoulders and leaning back. He studied the contents of his tea cup as Kiyoko leaned over the table and grabbed a sweet bun and started munching. Omi seemed uncharacteristically quiet, and Hakirama was content with the silence that tea and snacks had brought him. The group sat around a large table as the sun was setting. The tea shop owner lit the lanterns outside, nodding to Hakirama with a smile as he went.
"Bun?" Kiyoko asked, holding the tray out to Omi. Kiyoko's expression was neutral, as though there was nothing to the gesture but being polite. But it was more than that, Sora smiled at the pair of them and took another sip of tea.
"Hm?" Omi said distractedly, "Oh... No thanks."
Kiyoko looked down at the tray and shrugged, putting it back on the table. Sora cleared his throat, "Mm, Omi-chan? Are ya alright?"
"Nothing I haven't experienced before..." She grumbled, her expression becoming slightly hostile. "Just get it over with already..."

"Get what over with?" Sora asked in an inquisitive tone, he punctuated his question with a sip of tea, "Don't ya like tea?" 
"I don't." Omi replied flatly, "But I meant... Just make your decision already. I know what's gonna happen." She leaned back and folded her arms, her expression defiant. "It's not like I care."
"Oh..." Sora was taken aback, his gaze wandered to Hakirama and then back to Omi. "Well, Omi-chan..." Sora put his tea cup down and cleared his throat, "Ya helped us fight Makoto, when we thought we were in real trouble, ne?" He held his palm to his mouth and chuckled, "... sorry." He shook his head, "I didn't need t'question yer loyalty, or ability. So, I can support ya, Omi-chan."
Omi's expression faltered for a moment, her features softening. When she realised, she quickly fixed herself with a scowl and pushed her chin out. "Well... I wouldn't have been able to do anything if it wasn't for you and your bugs." Sora gave her a thankful nod and then silence permeated the room. It didn't matter that the chatter of the customers around them, the music playing or the bustle of the owner and his staff kept the tea shop loud enough. For them, there was silence.
"Ah-hm!" Sora cleared his throat deliberately, nudging Kiyoko who glared at him in response.
"Fine." Kiyoko put her half-eaten bun down and shook her head, "I can't support you."

"Tch!" was all Omi could say, and her scowl worsened. Her eyes, however, looked wounded, and lonely. "... Fine by me, Yoko-hime." She said bitterly.
"I can't support someone that has nothing they care about." Kiyoko replied hastily, picking up her tea cup again, "Do you care about anything? Anything at all?" She asked, frowning in disbelief. "What do you care about, Sora?" Kiyoko asked, turning to face the young boy.
"Oh..." Sora hesitated but then smiled and answered, "My family. I love my mother an' father. An' I love my ants... an' I want t'catalogue all the insects in our world."
"I want to be Hokage." Kiyoko replied to him, facing Omi, "I love my mother. I love my father. I love my two stupid brothers and I love Konoha. I even love Uncle Makoto, and the rest of my strange family. But most of all, I want to be Hokage. That's what I care about. That's what drives me. What about you, huh?!" Kiyoko picked up a sweet bun and threw it at Omi with the speed of a deadly kunai.

"...Drives, huh?" Omi asked as she caught the bun in her hand, and crushed it, dropping the crumbs to the table. "...I dont have friends, and I don't have a family. All I have is being a Ninja. I want to be... a legendary ninja." Kiyoko looked at Sora and he shrugged. Her gaze wandered to Hakirama, but it was as expressionless as a face could be. The truth was, there were a million ways of defining a person's drive, or what they care about. Without something to drive them, they were worthless in Kiyoko's eyes. A drive to be someone, to do something, or to attain something they had previously found unattainable, is what makes a person. Until now, Omi had been little more than a void filled with sarcasm and bad social skills.
"Good enough." Kiyoko said at last, nodding to herself, "Yeah, i'll support you, Omi-san." 
"Eh?" Omi gasped, suddenly surprised as she stared at Kiyoko. 
"Oh well that's good." Hakirama said, finally showing signs of mild interest, "It would have been awkward if you had decided not to support Kiryuin san. I'd already decided she was staying, besides... I dont have the authority to exile her from the village even if I wanted to."
"EH!?" Omi almost coughed, her face a broiling picture of shock and legitimate rage.

Sora chuckled at the revelation, but Kiyoko looked equally outraged. The tea cup she'd been holding shattered into dust under the pressure of her grip, but she sat in silence, staring at Hakirama as though doing so for long enough would bore a hole through his head.
"Cheer up Hyūga-san, you've all managed to earn my mild approval. I now estimate you all stand a small chance of not being total failures." He said with a grin. "Today you've shown you can put your personal differences aside and work as a team. I guess I can trust you with your own lives... but can I trust you with the lives of others?"
Sora put his hand up, "Sensei... ya already have." Then he looked to either side of himself, clocking both Kiyoko and Omi, then looked back at Hakirama and smiled, "That's not a question any one o' us three need t'answer." He put his hand back down and Kiyoko couldn't help but smirk at the boy's observation.
"I guess we'll have to see tomorrow then... Report to the Hokage's office at dawn." Hakirama stood up as he spoke. "Our next mission is a C rank, bodyguard mission."
"No!" Sora exclaimed, Kiyoko watched in shock as Sora's eyes widened in surprise for the first time since meeting him. She hadn't thought him capable of pulling that kind of face. She almost laughed if not for Sora's genuine shock. "Oh no!" Sora said again, panicking and holding onto the table.
"Do you need to poop or something?" Omi asked, raising her brow. Sora leapt out of his chair and bolted for the door. 
"I think he might--" Kiyoko started as she took a sip of tea.
"KATSU!!" Sora yelled at the top of his lungs as he ran out. A jet of tea sprayed from Kiyoko's mouth, covering Omi and Hakirama.

[Beautiful Green Wild Beast]

Sora shot through Konoha as fast as his legs would carry him. People darted aside as his speed kicked dust up behind him, and the wind that followed blew through the streets of Konoha, knocking fruit from stalls, tearing things from citizen's hands and removing more than a single wig. An old lady up ahead finally finished putting the final touches on her new stall. She took a step back and sighed, sweat beading on her forehead. At last it was done.
Then she heard it. A terrible rumbling approaching. She turned and saw the young fox-faced boy coming at her like an arrow from a bow. Her eyes darted to her stall and she screamed in pained agony knowing what was coming. She threw her hands out, commanding him to stop.
"No! No not my--!!" 
But it was fine. Sora missed the stall entirely, colliding with her instead. The old woman screamed as she held on for dear life. Everything was passing her in a blur. Her old fingers could barely hold on, but she had to, for what would happen if she let go? She screamed for the boy to stop, but it seemed he could barely hear her above the sound of the roaring wind.
"Sorry, treasured senior-sama!" Sora yelled back over his shoulder, "Can't stop! Dog in peril!!" The old lady gasped, but then her shock turned to determination and that was that. She'd committed herself. The dog had to be saved! So she continued flapping behind the boy, holding on with white knuckles as his speed seemed to bring them into another dimension. Or, perhaps more likely, her cataracts didn't afford her much in the way of details at mach speed.

At last! The river was up ahead. It was the place he'd last seen Katsu. "I'm comin, Katsu!" Sora roared with passion, but saw an enormous fence ahead of him, blocking his way to the river. Buildings on either side. There was no time, he had to scale them. As he threw his arms up, the old lady cheered.
"That's it m'boy! CLIMB!!" She cackled but then shrieked in horror as bugs exploded from inside his sleeves and she reflexively let go. Of course, immediately regretting that decision. Sora directed his bugs ahead of him in a wave and they quickly formed in a pool, as he approached he leapt into the air and landed in the pool, braced himself and started to leap once more, but this time the ants carried him up and over the fence until he was able to leap the final stretch and land on the other side. Moments later he heard a muffled, 'Oof!' as the old lady hit the fence on the other side and finally came to a stop.

[Konohamaru's Theme]

"Katsu!!" Sora exclaimed as he ran up to the little dog with the squishy face. At last, he stopped just in front of the dog and bent down, "Katsu, i'm so super 'specially sorry, how can I ever make it up to ya?!" Large wobbly tears threatened to stream in the corners of Sora's eyes as he stared in expectation at Katsu. The little dog looked as though it hadn't moved more than a few inches since being left. It slowly looked up at Sora, then blinked each eye independently. Truthfully, it was really more like a couple of winks punctuated with little squeaks as it's eyelids moved. Then it stood up and walked over to Sora and after a moment's consideration, Katsu leapt up onto Sora's shoulder and collapsed, so that his legs were hanging over either side of his shoulder.
"Katsu!!!" Sora's lip began to wobble, and then a strange noise permeated the air. It sounded like a snare drum was tumbling down a flight of stairs. "Euch..." Sora's lips curled as he held his nose at Katsu's horrendous butt trumpet. Sora's expression returned to normal, "Ya disgust me, little dog." But Katsu took it in his stride, and licked Sora on the nose, and that single, solitary act seemed to smooth things over. 

[Chichi to Haha]

"Mum, dad...?" Kiyoko walked up to the family dining table the following morning. She was dressed, ready to go and stood before her mother, Hidemi, her father, Shiro and her two young brothers, Aki and Taki. The two boys were fighting amongst themselves while trying to shovel in toast and jam. Shiro was reading a newspaper to himself while Hidemi was delicately and expertly breaking up the fight between her siblings.
"Hmm?" Shiro looked up from his paper and upon seeing Kiyoko, laid it to rest on the table. "Oh, good morning, Yoko-chan."
"Darling?" Hidemi caught Shiro's attention and nodded at the two boys, then as Shiro turned his attention to breaking up their fight, Hidemi focused on her daughter, "Morning, Kiyoko-chan, are you ready for your big day?" Kiyoko swallowed nervously. She could see the look of unquestioning happiness on her mother's face. She didn't want to disappoint her. And - though Shiro would have said it would have been nice - she didn't need a sharingan to notice her father's keen gaze on her as well, despite his involvement as pacifier for the twins.

"I-I... think so." Kiyoko smiled and then shrugged, "No... m-maybe not."
"That's very honest of you, Yoko-chan." Shiro replied, nodding solemnly, "I wasn't ready for my--"
"Dad, please don't call me that." Kiyoko asked, her tone pleading. Her father had called her that for as long as she could remember, and it didn't matter how often she asked him not to, he still did it. Hidemi reminded him with a scowl, and Shiro held his hands up defensively with a chuckle. It didn't help now, that Omi was calling her that as well.
"Sorry, sorry," Shiro nodded and then continued, "But, I wasn't ready for my first mission either. Let's just say I--"
"Your father threw up." Hidemi interrupted. Shiro's face went pale as though he might go for round two right then and there.
"H-Hidemi!" Shiro growled.
"Aaaaall over the Hokage." Hidemi smirked as she noticed that Shiro was coping poorly with breaking up the two boys, so quick as a flash she kicked one of their chairs just enough so that it slid a few inches out of reach of one another and then wobbled, settled and the fight was over. "I was scarred." Kiyoko couldn't help but laugh, then found herself choking on it as she looked to her father, only to see Shiro's mortified face.
"A-Anyway, i've got to go..." Kiyoko turned and made for the front door.
"Good luck, Yoko-chan!" Shiro called, as Kiyoko left. Hidemi jabbed him in the ribs and he winced and apologised.

[Hokage]

Walking into the Hokage's office was a surreal experience. It hadn't been the first time she'd seen it. The academy had taken her on a trip here once, to learn about how the village functions in it's day to day. It wouldn't even be the first time she'd seen the Hokage, as she had seen her on multiple occasions. But this was different. She couldn't let it show, however. She had to remain professional. This was her first real mission. She looked over to her teammate's, Sora and Omi, and suppressed a reaction as she noticed that Sora was sweating profusely and she couldn't describe the expression on Omi's face, but it didn't look pleasant. Just then, the door opened and closed behind them and the Hokage walked in, swept around the side of her desk, and sat.
"All present and accounted for I see", the Hokage said, shooting Omi a glance in particular, "Are you all prepared to be briefed?" 
"Yes, Hokage-sama." Hakirama said with a respectful bow of his head. 
"The sooner we're done, the better." Omi said, folding her arms.
"Y-Yes, Hokage-sama." Sora nodded fervently.
"We're ready." Kiyoko added confidently, "What's our mission?"
"Escort mission." The Hokage began to explain, "You will travel to Ryukyu Port, a busy trade port. You will meet with a merchant who has special cargo. You will board the ship and protect the merchant, his crew, and his cargo at all costs, until he reaches his destination in the Land of Water."
"Hokage-sama?" Kiyoko stepped forwards, "What is the merchant's special cargo?" 
"Not our concern. The merchant paid for C rank ninja, which means it is nothing important enough to warrant any real risk. At most you'll just be protecting against bandits."
"These kinds of missions are fairly common, Hyūga-san." Hakirama explained. "Anyone travelling with something valuable enough to involve dangerous ninja or assassins would pay for higher ranked ninja." So that was it. That was her first mission. Kiyoko nodded and thanked the Hokage, and the team left with what must have no doubt been a number of conflicting thoughts and emotions. But that didn't matter. For Kiyoko, this was her first big step towards becoming the Hokage. A dream she had held for as long as she could remember. 

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[Konohamaru’s Theme]

“I just don’t see why we have to walk…” Omi complained. She was trailing a little behind Sora and Kiyoko, a pack slung over her shoulder full of travel gear.
“What’s wrong with a walk, Kiryuin san?” Hakirama asked, turning his head back to look at the troupe behind him. He gestured outwards with his hand, “It’s a lovely view.” Omi cast her eyes around. They were in a roaming grassland through wide valleys, with thick forest lands in most directions that went off the path.

“Yeah, whatever.” Omi said with a shrug, “But we’re just walking the safe path like all the other travelers. I thought the whole point of being a ninja was to move quickly and out of detection?”
“We haven’t even reached the first part of our objective yet. Who, exactly, are we supposed to be hiding from?”
“Well…” Omi scratched her head and looked around sheepishly, “bad guys, I guess.”
Sora chuckled, covering his mouth with a hand, "Oh, Omi-chan, always ready for a fight!"
"There could be bad guys, right?" Kiyoko asked their sensei in an inquisitive and somewhat hopeful tone.

“Well…” Hakirama was thoughtful for a moment, “…The client probably just wants a bit of protection from bandits. However we should have little to no trouble with your average thugs, if that even happens.” He smiled, “This will probably just be a pleasant trip…which is why we should enjoy it.”
“Enjoy how?” Omi shrugging her shoulders, “There’s only so many times I can be awed by a tree.”
“Long journeys can be a time for conversation. You all are comrades, but you don’t really know each other. How about we talk about ourselves?”

“Hi I’m Omi and our sensei is the worst.” Omi said, smirking. Hakirama’s eyes narrowed toward Omi.
“Let’s start with favourite food.” Hakirama said, “Mine is Nattō.”
“Eugh, too sticky!” Omi scoffed, putting her arms up in a cross in front of her. “Sashimi is where it’s at.”
"Soy beans and raw fish?" Sora considered both of those. A shiver ran through him. "I would think a nice hamburger, and a tall milkshake would be pleasant."

"Where would you get a hamburger around here?" Kiyoko asked, frowning in disbelief. Sora's eyes widened in shock and he grabbed Kiyoko's shoulder.
"I will show you when we get back!" Sora clapped his hands together in excitement, "Yes! A hamburger banquet for when we return."
“I’ll take mine rare.” Omi said with a toothy grin.
“And what’s your favourite food, Hyūga san?” Hakirama asked
"Whatever's fine." Kiyoko shrugged off the question, focusing on the path ahead of them. "I guess anything."

“Are you for real?” Omi asked with a soft chuckle, “C’mon, Yoko! You must have a favourite?”
"Well, I don't." Kiyoko replied irritably. She kicked a stone off the path and into a bush, "My mom sometimes makes Purin after my training sessions. I eat that a lot, I guess. So... maybe that's my favourite?" Melancholy seemed to grip Kiyoko as she fought with something. A memory, or a feeling. Then she pressed on, walking ahead of the small group.
"I think," Sora began, speaking quietly to Omi, "That Kiyoko-chan does not have favourites..."

“Uh…huh.” Omi said, raising her brow. She smirked and eyed Hakirama, “Good idea, sensei, just look how connected we all are now.”
“….Shut up.” Hakirama said with a frown.

"Mutually-assured survival. That is a kind of connection." Sora added with a reassuring smile.
"I can still hear you all talking back there, y'know, i'm hardly a few feet ahead of you!" Kiyoko called back over her shoulder.
“So? Nobody asked you to stomp off because you’re triggered about dinner or whatever.” Omi rolled her eyes.

"I didn't stomp off!" Kiyoko called back angrily, "I just... I don't have a favourite!" She growled, adding, "And anyway, I'm out in front so that--" Before she could finish her sentence, Kiyoko stopped and froze, bringing the group to a halt a couple of feet behind her. Sora looked on ahead but couldn't see anything.
"What is it, Kiyoko-chan, do you--?" Sora asked, stepping forwards and going to put his hand on her shoulder.
"Don't touch me!!" Kiyoko barked, a bead of sweat trickled down her forehead. "I stepped on something, and it clicked..." What little colour existed in Sora's face, quickly vanished. He looked down, and sure enough, there was a small, flat, metal device, lodged in the ground, mostly obscured by the dirt.
“S-sensei?!" Sora looked to Hakirama.

[Glued State]

“Don’t…move.” Hakirama said slowly and calmly. He walked around Kiyoko carefully, before squatting down and examining the pressure plate she was standing on.
“…A trap?” Omi asked nervously.
“Hmm…” Hakirama stared intently at the device. He took a deep breath in, and let out a long sigh. “An old booby trap from the war, most likely. It’s definitely the craftsmanship of a ninja village…” He looked around the area cautiously. “It’s a wonder it’s been untouched for so long…”
“You can fix this, right, sensei?” Omi asked.
“Hmm…probably…” There was a momentary glint of optimism in his eyes, but then they became dull again, “Yes…probably not.”

"Ah." Sora muttered bluntly.
"Oooh, good..." Kiyoko added sarcastically, sweat pouring from her. She felt like her whole body was vibrating. The more she tried to remain still, the more her body rebelled. "Well, could you maybe find a way, before i'm a smudge on those trees over there." Hakirama felt across the ground, searching for a rope net, but instead he found a hidden wire across the ground from the device.
“We’ll have to disarm the trap.” Hakirama said, “It’s the only way.”

“No sweat.” Omi said and she knelt down, pulling a set of pick tools from her pouch, “Let’s see what’s inside this baby!” She scrambled over to the device with a mad, wolfish grin. However as she got near she caught sight of Hakirama’s face and she recoiled in fear. Hakirama was staring at her with gruesome, haunting expression, his eyes wide and maniacal, his forehead wrinkled, and his lips puckered like a fish.
“Wh-what the hell!?” She stammered.
“Do not test me, Kiryuin san…”Hakirama replied darkly, with dark shadows looming around him. “Touch that plate and you’ll have my frowny face burned into your retinas for the remainder of your short life.”

In the background, as Hakirama and Omi stalked around the device and talked out ways of disarming it, Sora was building a small fire. Then he placed a pot on top of it, and began assembling ingredients from his pouch.

"What are you doing?!" Kiyoko asked nervously, her eyes trying to dart down to where her foot was lodged atop the trap. "I need to see what you're doing okay, don't blow me up! Look, I really need you to not explode me, okay? I've got a bunch of plans and I really don't feel like exploding today..."

"Yer okay, Kiyoko-chan!" Sora called, waving his spoon at her, before going back to his preparation. A few minutes passed and he walked over with a bowl. "Here, this'll make ya feel better." He held up a spoon with something she couldn't quite see. It was a creamy off-white colour with a brown topping.

"No, no I really don't feel like food right now..." Kiyoko growled through closed lips as a spoon was pushed towards her. "Sensei!!" She yelled.
“What are you up to?” Hakirama asked, his eyes narrowing at Sora.
"I-I made Purin, sensei. Yeh can reassure a friend with somethin' they love." Sora replied, then lifted the spoon to his lips and swallowed it's contents with a smile. "It's good..."
“Why do you have baking materials?” Omi asked, but her question was ignored.

“How about you save the dessert as a reward for solving this problem, hm?” Hakirama suggested as he stood up. He looked to his three students one after the other. Then he nodded as if something had just occurred to him. “I just solved it.” He said nonchalantly, “Hm…sort of anti climactic…”

[It’s the Training]
“What do you mean you solved it!?” Omi demanded, screwing her face up.
“He mean’s he solved it, idiot.” A second Hakirama said as he emerged from the nearby wood. “Well…we did.” The wood clone turned to the real Hakirama and nodded. “Yo.”
“Yo.” Hakirama said with brief wave.

The sound of multiple sensei's behind her forced a confused scowl onto Kiyoko's face. "Hey, whats happening back there?!"
“Wood clones.” Omi said with a sigh, “He tricked us again.”
“I didn’t trick you, I just took action, which is what you all should have been doing.” Hakirama said
“Instead of making pudding…” The clone said, eyeing Sora disapprovingly.
“So I’ve decided to turn this into a teaching moment.” Hakirama said, and then he sat himself down on the ground and plucked out a pack of playing cards from his jacket.
“Oh cool.” His clone said and sat down next to him. Hakirama began dealing hands to his clone and himself.

"Excuse me?!" Kiyoko yelled angrily, balling up her fists and dropping her mask of nobility for a moment, "Get me off this damn thing!!"
"What kind of game, sensei?" Sora asked, kneeling down and studying the cards.
“A game for winners, which you are not.” Hakirama said. “Your team mate is in mortal peril. You should probably go do something about that.”
“But you said you figured it out!” Omi protested.
“I did…so I’ll sit here and play cards with myself until you figure it out.” Hakirama said frankly.
“Could be here for a while.” His clone added.

"I'm going to kill you, sensei!" Kiyoko yelled up ahead.
"Omi-chan, I think it'd be best if I sent some o' my ants t'check it out." Sora nodded confidently to Omi."They'll never find the body!!" Kiyoko added, letting loose a pent-up snarl. She stood there frozen and blinking out at the path up ahead. Then noticed an old man walking up towards her carrying a large box. "A-Ah, hey!" She called out.

"Oh, hello!" The man called back.
"Stop! Stop!!" Kiyoko yelled, "Don't come any closer."
"Look i'll not bother you, but i've got things to do!" The man replied haughtily, and then strolled past Kiyoko, then past the others, and on his way. Kiyoko watched in silence, then turned her head to one side, showing all the colour had drained from her face.
"Please get me off this now..." She said meekly.

“Can’t hurt to try.” Omi said with a nod. She thought about how she could contribute, but came up short. “Uh…I think I missed the trap disarming class.”
“Shocking.” Hakirama’s clone said sarcastically.
“Y’know I think his clone is ruder somehow…” Omi said to Sora.

Sora smirked before turning to face Kiyoko. He held his arms up, letting his sleeves drop back and then he slammed his palms into the ground, and suddenly ants were rising from tiny holes all over the ground, most of them concentrated at the trigger of the trap mechanism. Then they dispersed, flying into the air and as Sora stood back up, they vanished into his sleeves. "Alright, I believe there's a series o' pipes surroundin' the trap, an' they're full o' somethin' like a gas or a flammable liquid, I believe. She's stood on a pressure pad, so maybe replacing her, weight for weight, with something else in the exact same moment then maybe we could get away to a safe distance.

“Maybe sensei could-“
“Nope.” Hakirama said flatly.
“Fine!” Omi scoffed, “If I can find a lake or a pond I can make a water clone. I uh…” She scratched the back of her head, “I need to know your weight, Yoko.”
Kiyoko shook her head in disbelief, "I-I've no idea!" She frowned.
"Ah--" Sora nodded with a smile but then his grin turned to panic as he looked to Omi.
“Don’t look at me!” Omi snapped, folding her arms. “If I make a clone to match her weight I need to use just the right amount of water.”

"Hm..." Sora remained sitting in quiet thought, ignoring the calls and threats from Kiyoko. "I have an idea..." Sora looked up to Omi, "What if we increased the pressure?"
“So I just need to make a water clone heavier than Yoko, huh?” Omi asked with a smirk. “Give me a minute, I’m gonna go find a river…” She stalked off, but returned after a short time with a water clone of herself in tow. As they drew closer it became clear that the water clone of Omi looked a little unusual. The clone bounced a little as it walked, and while it had Omi’s features, it looked like a version of her where she had eaten a thousand hamburgers in the last hour.

“This should be heavy enough.” Omi said, then she smirked, “Just needs the finishing touch…”
“TRANSFORM!” The fat water clone cried, and then with a puff of smoke, it was now a fat clone of Kiyoko.
"Why are you laughing, Sora?!" Kiyoko yelled out and Sora stopped abruptly.
"Kiyoko-chan, Omi is goin' t'place a water clone on the pad, once its stepped onto the pad, ye should get off it, okay?"
"I'm not happy!!" Kiyoko barked back, but silently accepted her fate.

“e’scuse me!” The fat Kiyoko said as she popped her chubby foot on the plate next to Kiyoko’s.
“Alright take it slow, Yoko.” Omi said.
Slowly, carefully, Kiyoko raised one foot and let it touch onto the ground beside the plate, then slowly, very slowly, she lifted her other foot. The moment it lifted, she virtually teleported beside Omi and grabbed her, "We have to go, come on!" Sora stood up quickly, awaiting instruction from Hakirama.

“Go fish!” Hakirama’s clone cried.
“Again?” Hakirama frowned.
“Yo, sensei, we need to run!” Omi yelled urgently
“Oh?” Hakirama turned his head slightly, “Why’s that?”
“Because once my water clone disappears the trap’s going to explode.”
“Oh right…” Hakirama said before turning to his clone again, “Didn’t I say? I’m pretty certain it’s defective.”

"Morning!" A woman greeted the small group, smirking at them gathered around the piece of metal on the ground, "Oh, guys, don't worry about that thing, it's a relic from the war, just don't trip over it, okay?!" She waved to them with a smile and walked on. Kiyoko took a deep breath and clenched her fists. Her face started to turn red, but eventually it evened out and she stood there waiting.
"Alright, can we go now?" Kiyoko spoke through gritted teeth.

There was a thump as Omi flopped to the ground, roaring with laughter, occasionally pausing for breath and to point feebly at Kiyoko before buckling over in uncontrolled laughter again. Even Hakirama managed a soft chuckle as he dispersed his clone and got ready to resume their walk. As they walked Omi was still tittering a half hour later.

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