A/N: So here's the second chapter, this is technically where the story line finally begins and the events unfold. So enjoy!

Again, beta'd by Alice J

Chapter 2 - Dango

We started the official Academy when I was five and Itachi six, after Sasuke was born. I was pretty sure that the Academy was just a formality for father, an official way for Itachi and I to get our genin status. In fact, I was sure that father would have pushed Itachi to enter the Academy a year ago, but I guessed mother convinced Father to let him stay for a year so that he could go to the Academy with me. Father expected us to graduate within a year, and I doubted we would fail.

The 'Homeschool" in Uchiha compound was not a joke, I could shamelessly say that my skill level was definitely on par with a genin, and if my previous life's experience in black ops was added, then I would have a large amount of experience in drawing blood as well. After some training from Shisui, my body flicker technique had gotten a lot better; now I was able to use it to get into close vicinity with my opponent in short range, and if used right, I could snap their neck before they even realized how they died. It was a lot of 'if' though, seeing shinobi were a lot more alert than normal humans. The ninjutsu training was also going well. I learned basic ninjutsu such as transformations and clones and I got tested my nature affinity using the chakra paper. Of course, affinity did not necessarily mean the limit of my ninjutsu elements, but it would be a good place to start with ninjutsu in elements that I had the affinity for.

The paper showed that I have fire and lightning affinity, thus the elders started me on their famous Uchiha fire jutsu. I had to say, the sharingan worked wonders with learning jutsu, since it had the ability of copying jutsus. Although copying jutsu didn't necessarily make it yours, but it gave us a feeling of how a jutsu was supposed to work and helped a lot when we tried to practice and master them. Currently, I had learned several fire releases already, including the signature Great Fireball technique. But whatever I learned, Itachi would have learned it already and moved on to something new. It would have been frustrating, except that I had already long accepted the fact that he was just that amazing.

Since the Academy was a waste of time in our father's eyes, he picked up the pace for training whenever we got back to the compound. At this point, I thought Father had finally accepted that I was never going to be as good as Itachi in kunai and shuriken. To be fair, I could hit a target more or less when we were talking about moving targets in open field, thanks to my kinetic vision. However, the fancy stuff that Itachi did with two shurikens and letting one hit the other in midair thus hitting two targets in different directions at once, I sucked at that.

So one day, Father brought me to the armory. I was pretty sure he thought that I definitely needed to master some form of weapon, and if long range projectiles were not going to work for me, then I might as well start on something else.

There were some strange things in this world, and my natural attraction toward kenjutsu was one of them. I couldn't explain why I chose the bokken, a wooden training sword, out of all the weapons available in the armory, as I'd never used it in my past life. Usually, swords were considered outdated, and its length was considered disadvantageous for assassination missions. For that reason, I'd never as so much as touched a sword, let alone training in it. But the strange long piece of wood just spoke out to me, and for once, I did not stand there and analyze their pros and cons, I just went out and grabbed it. So now, I had a bokken strapped on my back, and I had no doubt how weird it looked. Uchiha clan didn't have many great kenjutsu masters, so father told me that I had to wait until he could find someone for me. That I had no qualms with, seeing as I already had a lot of skills needing practices that would keep my hands full.

The trips to Academy were almost ritualistic, we came to Academy on the first day, the teacher saw our Uchiha clan crest, and he took us straight for evaluations. By the end of the day, we were led to the fourth year classroom, the highest year.

"Everyone, we have some new students today, this is Uchiha Itachi, and this is Uchiha Maiko. Let's get along." At the teacher - Fuji sensei's motion, Itachi and I nodded our head toward the class and none of us said anything.

I looked around the classroom and analyzed the students. Most of them were from shinobi clans. There was one Hyuuga, one Yamanaka, one Nara and even two Uchihas. I had never seen them in the compound before, but with their signature high collar t-shirt and their arrogant expressions, they were definitely from Uchiha clan.

Our reputation preceded us. In the Uchiha clan, I doubt there was anyone who did not know of the two prodigious children of their clan leader. Even outside of the Uchiha clan, major shinobi clans must have at least heard of the elders bragging due to their damn pride. It's only the children from civilian families that wouldn't have heard of the rumors in the shinobi world. I imagined it must be quite strange to see a five-year-old little girl in a classroom full of eleven and twelve-year-olds. I understood, but that didn't mean that I tolerated their huge masculine ego. So when one of these twelve-year-old boys tried to trip me by sticking out their foot at the last minute, I molded chakra in my feet and smashed subtly into his ankle. Next day at Taijutsu practice, I beat him to the ground.

It was the day before the graduation exam, and we had nothing better to do other than messing around… I mean training with Shisui and Itachi.

I curled my body onto a tree branch, the three tomoe in my sharingan spun furiously as I tried to take in all the information. The brushing of grasses against the wind, the abnormal tell-tale signs of someone moving, and the concealed chakra signals of anyone here.

Something caught my attention at the corner of my eyes. Even with my sharingan, I didn't catch the full shape, so it was definitely not a hare. Without any hesitation, I did a quick hand seal and blew a great fireball in the direction it disappeared to. As soon as the fireball left my mouth, I planned to use body flicker to get out of there, since my position was pretty much as good as exposed.

Before I could get away, two shurikens sailed towards me, and I was only able to dodge by a fraction of a hair. When I saw the wire attached to the shuriken, I cursed at my luck. This was no doubt Itachi's work, only he could throw something at this accuracy against all the obstacles and still managed to keep the wires untangled. If the wired shurikens were here, then that meant….. I grabbed the branch and swung down without a second a hesitation. When I landed on the ground, two great fireballs soared above me following the pathway of wires and crashed into the trees, letting the fire burning the trees into a fiery bonfire. Fine, you want to play this way, let's play.

I gathered chakra around my feet and ran toward the direction where the wire came from. I couldn't beat Itachi in long range combat, but if I managed to get him into a close combat, I might had a chance. Usually, it was stupid to run up to your opponents, but I believed that I could dodge whatever Itachi threw at me as long as I'm in the hyper-aware states with sharingan. We'd been at this for fifteen minutes, because of the sharingan, none us had been able to hurt anyone so all we'd been doing was throwing fireballs or shurikens at shadows or casting genjutsus. I was taking a risk since we would be here all day if all we did was hide from each other, and I was a proactive person.

I didn't even bother to cast a genjutsu on myself to hide from the surrounding, sharingan would see right through it. Like I expected, not even five seconds after I started, a stream of shurikens flew towards my face. Gymnastic and body flicker, my best tools to get away from this flurry of sharp objects. After a few twists, flips, and flickers, I finally moved past the shurikens. Soon after, the fire bullets arrived, it was Katon: Phoenix Sage Fire, a skill both Itachi and I had mastered. Unlike the shurikens, those fire bullets move at unpredictable pathways, I had to use the branches to carefully maneuver around those fire bullets. My best hope was that Shisui was far enough that he wouldn't have time to interrupt me; if he was smart enough, he would wait until Itachi and I had started fighting, and then deal a blow to both of us.

After a few more waves of attacks, I finally caught sight of Itachi. He was just standing there, but with my senses opened to the max, I could see his muscles tensed for the upcoming battle. I charged in first, I thought about using the bokken for better attack range, but I decided against it as I wasn't very good at it, training with scrolls was not a very effective method. I rushed towards a tree and sidestepped onto the trunk, then I propelled myself towards Itachi. My first strike was welcomed with empty space, Itachi and Shisui seemed to figure that the best way to beat me was to make sure that I never touched them. However, I was proud to say that only Shisui was successful in that. After a year of training with Shisui on body flicker, my short distance body flicker became faster than Itachi's. Unlike Itachi who was able to flicker a greater distance, I invested most of my time in trying to perfect the short distance maneuver.

I felt a breeze on my left and quickly I flicked to a small distance behind toward the left side. When I reached my destination, I could see Itachi's eyes slightly widen in shock, and before anything, I reached out and hit him on the side of his neck with my right elbow. The impact did not do as much damage as I thought, as Itachi already brought up his hand and blocked the attempt. Immediately, I spun around and used my other hand to grab onto his shoulder. I jumped up and swung my leg in a circle and forcefully moved my other hand to create a lock on his neck. Smash! One of my knees crashed into Itachi's back with full force, and Itachi grunted a bit before his body naturally curled backward due to impact. Using that momentum, I pulled my arms down and attempted to fling him over my back and crash him to the ground.

However, Itachi seemed to quickly recover from my hit at his spine. As he reached out his hands in midair, I could see the blazing fire chakra gathered at his hand. With a frown, I had to body flicker away if I did not want to get burned by his new trick. It seemed like a new jutsu he had learned, and I was definitely going to ask him to teach it to me afterward. Just imagine if I could burn my opponent upon contact and create an opening from the shock and the pain. While I flickered away, Itachi adjusted his posture and finally landed on his feet about five meters away from me.

Just as I was about to charge again, a wave of kunais and shurikens showered down upon me. Damn it, Shisui, do you have to come now? I cursed at him silently. Again, I had to quickly use the body flicker to get away…. And of course, Shisui would be waiting there, just when I flickered to the shade under a nearby tree.

I barely managed to move my head to avoid a strike coming for my forehead, but then I realized Shisui already flickered to a position behind me, then he dropped to the ground and swung his leg in a wide circle, sweeping my feet off the ground. I landed on the harsh forest ground with my back, the worst thing was, Shisui's fist was coming down right toward me. There was no way I could avoid it, so I instead, I let him hit me. I felt the impact on my stomach, and then I was suddenly hit with a wave of nausea. I bit down on my lip to keep nausea down, and then I grabbed his hand, swung my legs up to scissor choke around his neck. The sudden pressure applied to his neck made his hand loosen for a second, I extended my hand and hook onto his shoulder. I pulled myself up from the ground and rotated my body so that both my hands and legs were wrapped around his neck, pressing hard on his throat.

"Surrender Shisui, or I'll choke you until you are unconscious!" I yelled at him, obviously, I couldn't actually kill him, or the snap of the neck would be so much easier. But before I could hear an answer, I was pulled off of Shisui's shoulder and thrown onto the ground with a kunai pointing at my neck.

"It's over Mai, you move one bit and the kunai will kill you." Itachi said to me. I let out a sigh before proclaiming my defeat. Normally, we would go until one of us beat the other two, but both Itachi and Shisui decided to end the game early.

"I can't believe you two ganged up on me. You used Itachi as bait so you could ambush me!" I yelled at Shisui as I was getting up from the ground, hand rubbing at my stomach where I just suffered a power punch.

Shisui was still rubbing his neck, but he managed to give me a teasing smile and said: "All's fair in love and war, Hime, besides, both Itachi and I agree we do not want to experience your joint breaking anymore." Itachi nodded in agreement.

"Hold still Shisui, let me break your jaw, I promise I'll set it back later. Once more, I'm not hime!" I yelled in frustration, I told him that every time he called me 'hime', yet he never changed.

"Let's talk about happier topics! You two are going to graduate tomorrow right? Well, I'd say good luck but I don't think you guys will need it." Shisui said as we all stood up once more and started to walk back to the compound from the training forest.

"What are you going to do with this, hime? I've never actually seen you use it in a fight before." Shisui asked me as he picked up my bokken that must have fallen during our little struggle. I snatched the bokken from his hands and strapped it onto my back again.

"I'm working on it! It's not that easy learning from a scroll. I'll let Itachi deal with all the projectiles, and I'll work on something else." I said bitterly. Right now, I sort of understood the basics strikes in kenjutsu, after practicing the swings for hundreds of time each day. However, I had yet to make the motion fluid that it won't interfere with my taijutsu when fighting.

"Have you thought about what specialty you want to focus on? With that sword, maybe you should try ANBU." Shisui mentioned lightheartedly.

"ANBU?" I asked, unsure of what that is.

"The Ansatsu Senjutsu Tokushu Butai (Special Assassination and Tactical Squad), basically the black ops of the village. Usually, people shouldn't know about them, but oh well, I'm pretty sure every shinobi born in clans know." Shisui explained. My heart stopped for a second with the mention of black ops. My inside cringed at the stirred up memory of a past life.

There were seven bodies… their necks… their necks were twisted in unnatural angles… there was no blood… Then why was I seeing red… Red everywhere… no… there was only one body here… it's lying on the ground… a pool of blood… his neck… OH GOD… it's him… and then, it all exploded. OH GOD.

I didn't even realize I stopped walking until Itachi squeezed my shoulder. I looked up again, seeing Shisui's concerned and confused face.

"No, I don't think I will join ANBU. In fact, I will never join ANBU." I said, surprisingly calm considering my damned mental state. Shisui just shrugged my comments off, but Itachi seemed to be considering something. We walked toward the compound as the sun started to set in the west.

I want to survive, kill and live for myself this time.


The graduation exam was a breeze for us. I sat in the classroom with Itachi, staring at my hitai-ate, wondering what the hell was I supposed to do with it. After much debating, I tied it on my forehead like it was supposed to be, lifting my bangs and two strands of hairs on each side of my face so that they partially covered the hitai-ate. I tied the cloth behind my head, under the neatly wrapped hair bun Mother did for me this morning.

Soon, Fuji-sensei appeared and started to announce the genin team assignment. Supposedly, a genin team was supposed to be composed of a student who ranked high, a student who ranked low and a student who ranked in the middle in the graduation exam, to keep the team power balanced. Seeing how father drilled Itachi and me to perform well in graduation exam, there's no way either of us would rank low in the exam, besides, they were not going to put two sharingan users in one team. So there came the problem, seeing I actually didn't know anyone in my class except Itachi, socializing was always too much of a hassle. Our childhood consisted of training and training, and Father wanted us to come back the moment the Academy ended, believing it was a waste of time.

Anyway, before I could think of anything more, Sensei announced "Team 2, Inari Shinko, Izumo Tenma and Uchiha Itachi". Even if I knew the outcome, I couldn't help but felt a bit disappointed at it.

"Team 6, Tokugawa Daichi, Uchiha Maiko and Yamanaka Shun" I winced at the names, not because I didn't like them or anything, it's just that I really had no idea who they were.

Soon, team after teams were picked up by their sensei, and after a while, a man with sandy brown hair who wore the standard jonin vest appeared in the class. "Team 6! Meet me at training ground six in half an hour." Without any further explanation, he disappeared.

"Well, then, I should go. See you at home Itachi-nii" I said to Itachi before leaving the classroom and headed towards training ground 6, which was essentially a little clearing surrounded by the forest.

When I arrived there, there were two other boys already there, one of them sitting with a bored expression on a rock, the other leaning on a tree nearby. The boy leaning on the tree had orange shaded hair pulled up in a ponytail behind him, must be the Yamanaka boy, what's his name, Shuu? Shun?

I walked inside the training ground quietly, however, their eyes immediately flickered to me. I sighed, walking silently to one of the corners, hoping that they would stay silent.

"Aren't you the Uchiha-hime, the second prodigy of the century." The Yamanaka boy suddenly said, I was pretty sure his name was Shun. Of all the things to say, he just had to pick up those arrogant names the elders threw around.

"Teme! I can't believe you are on my team!" The other boy sitting on the rock just had to start a 'conversation' now.

"No and no." I said to Yamanaka Shun before turning my attention toward the boy sitting by the rock "I'm sorry, but who are you?" I asked innocently, I seriously didn't know who he was.

"Teme! You've got to be kidding me! Don't you remember what you did to me at the beginning of the year?" The boy screamed, and I was drawing a blank here. My innocent and confused expression must be really convincing because the Yamanaka boy walked towards us and explained: "You broke his ankle the first day when he tried to trip you and then you beat the crap out of him during our next taijutsu session."

"That's right, teme! Don't tell me you've forgotten it." The boy whose ankle I'd broken once shouted.

"Well, then, I am sorry for all the trouble I've caused you, but you see, if you had not tried to trip me, my foot wouldn't have crashed into your ankle." I said calmly. Manners, Mother said. Behave like a Uchiha clan member, Father said. Don't let your emotions show, it's always a weakness, OLYMPUS taught.

The boy seemed flustered by my apology and the follow up 'analysis'. Too naive to figure out the real intent of the speaker, I thought, he was not suited for the killings and the deceivings. He looked like he was trying to figure out something to retort back to me, then after some thinking, he yelled: "I will beat you fair and square one day, just you watch!".

Interesting, I thought, he said with such a groundless confidence and genuine words that I couldn't feel any battle intent that was supposed to come with that. Even in training with Itachi and Shisui, we spread killing intent, the intent that promised bloodshed, so that we wouldn't be fazed by it in real battles.

"I hurt you and you promise retribution, so then why don't you have any malicious intent toward me?" I couldn't help but asked, it was so very curious.

"Malicious intent? Why would I be malicious toward you? In the beginning, I didn't like you because you seemed so arrogant. But we are classmates and now teammates. Don't get me wrong, I will still beat you for sure!" He scratched his head and said. Interesting. Naive, but interesting.

"Fair and square? You do realize that she is six years younger than you right?" Shun added, and the boy - Tokugawa Daichi, I believed - blushed a shade a red and yelled at Shun "Dude, you are not helping here!"

"Looks like we are all peaceful and cozy here. I'm Shinbara Akira, Team six's jōnin instructor, you can call me Akira-sensei." The man with the sandy short hair from earlier suddenly appeared on the field, and all the arguing between Shun and Daichi ceased. Like pre-choreographed routine, we bowed for our sensei and greeted "Please take care of us, Akira-sensei."

"However, you all need to show me that you are truly worthy of being in my team. I only take the strongest two as the students, so you guys need to decide, who will get to be a genin and who will get send back to the Academy." The team tensed up at Akira-sensei's words and I narrowed my eyes at his words. Konoha valued teamwork, an internal strife was frown upon almost immediately. Then why would sensei encourage such behaviour? It really didn't take a genius to understand the situation. Before I could speak up, Daichi spoke first. Might as well, I thought, then I activated my sharingan quietly, with years of practice, sharingan activation was like a second nature.

"I don't care about that, I know I said that I will beat that arrogant Uchiha hime, but I will do that fair and square as teammates! We are all here, and we can't just abandon anyone!" Daichi said, so naive and genuine, but I guess that was what they wanted. Sensei just stared at him for a second before his eyes towards Shun.

"A shinobi's strength shouldn't be dependent on who can throw a harder punch, the Yamanaka clan's skill is highly dependent on my teammates, and I want to support them." Yamanaka Shun said, there was less enthusiasm in his words, but considering his composed figure, he must have figured out the point of this test.

When all of them turned to me, they seemed shocked to see my bloody red eyes. Daichi seemed a little afraid of it, Shun was in deep thought, and Akira-sensei just stared at me, as if waiting for me to start.

"I cannot fail," I said that loud and clear, seeing the surprised and hurtful expression of my teammates, "My father and the clan would not allow it, However, I cannot simply let my teammates get disqualified, they worked as hard as I did to graduate." Shun and Daichi's expression softened, but I didn't finish, "Sensei, did you know, the corner of your mouth raised just for a millimeter when you heard Daichi's words, and the muscle on your neck relaxed a bit when you heard Shun's words. But when you heard my first sentence, your lips tightened, and your muscle tensed just for a fraction of second." Daichi seemed utterly shocked by my revelation, he muttered: "how did you…" I pointed toward my eyes, "sharingan" I said, as if demonstrating, the three black tomoe spun for a second. There was no point in hiding it, everyone would know my kekkei genkai the moment they hear my name.

"With that, I am ninety percent sure, no, your lips just parted a little now from the shock, it's barely visible, but now I'm ninety-five percent sure that the point of this test does not lie in fighting for the two spots." I concluded, Akira-sensei's stared at me for a second, then he sighed.

"Never mind, should have seen this coming. But anyway, good show of teamwork and analytic skills. From now on, we are team six, and remember that we are comrades." Akira-sensei said as Daichi threw his arm up to celebrate. Personally, I had no comradeship except for maybe with Itachi and Shisui, and that's just because we'd been practicing together for so long. OLYMPUS taught us that sacrifices must be made in order to succeed in missions; given the initiation task they gave us, I doubt that teamwork had been high on their priority. But this was the accepted behavior in Konoha, and in order to survive here, I had to abide by it.

"Uchiha Maiko, I heard that you are interested in kenjutsu. I'm a master at kenjutsu so I will train you in that. Team training tomorrow morning at seven on training ground six, don't be late. Also, we are starting a mission tomorrow." That's the last thing we heard before sensei disappeared.

"Alright then! Good job everyone, especially you, Uchiha hime!" Daichi's enthusiasm never seemed to die, he jumped in joy before trying to hug us all. I gave him a glare as just he tried to hug me, he gulped and retracted his hand in fear. I was pretty sure my display of sharingan earlier scared him.

"Call me hime one more time and I will break your arm." I said coldly, I don't know who started this stupid nickname, but only Shisui was allowed to call me that and that was still debatable.


For the next two month, we started on D-rank missions around the village. It was quite boring, but I wasn't in a rush, considering the fact that I wanted to get my kenjutsu skill up a level before we went on any dangerous missions.

Akira-sensei agreed that when facing larger, adult opponents, the sword would give me a longer reach and draw blood easier. I showed him my practice instances, and he frowned.

"Your stance is nice, actually, it's almost textbook like. But it wouldn't do you any good if you couldn't incorporate it into your battle. I want you to think of the sword as an extension of your arm. From now on, I want you to practice swings while you are fighting, it's going to feel weird at first since it interferes with your normal fighting style, but the more you practice the more you will get used to it. Also, I want you to practice it with both hands until you are completely fluid with it." Sensei told me, and he gave me a dummy infused with chakra that can perform basic taijutsu movements. I was tempted to ask how to do that so I could practice with a living target at home, but then I remembered sensei had already told me once that it was some technology from the research and development division.

Every day, after we did an hour of team cooperation exercise, Akira-sensei would give me pointers on my kenjutsu, and then he would have me practice for the rest of the duration when he went and taught Shun and Daichi. Every week, I get a chance to spar with Akira-sensei in kenjutsu, although after the first time he accidently let me touch him and almost dislocated his shoulder, he would always beat me down before I could even reach him .

The dummy in front of me moved, one of its arms struck down with a bokken. I lowered my body and dived down, holding out my right arm with my own bokken. I slashed its leg and let it stumbled. Quickly, I twirled the bokken in a semi-circle and lined it along with my arm. Then I grabbed its sword arm and twisted, hearing the inhumanly crack of wood near its joints. I found that if I ever needed a quick change from sword to hand, twirling its end the sword would line up along my arm works just fine. After I disabled its right shoulder, for the time being, it tried to punch me with its other arm, while keeping me trapped with its legs planted on the ground. I dodged again, switching the bokken from my right arm to the left, and while it was trying to retract its arm, I stepped on its leg. Using it as a jumping point, I hooked my arm onto its neck in a familiar motion, swinging myself behind the dummy. At the same time, my knee crashed into it's back and the bokken in my left arm plunged itself into the place where a human's brain stem would be. Since I used chakra to enhance my bokken, it left a hole in the dummy all the way from the back of the neck to the forehead where my bokken was sticking out. Eventually, the dummy fell to the ground and had to be recharged before it could move again.

I was a bit disappointed in the power of the training dummy. Supposedly it was the strongest they could make for the time being, and it's said to be about mid-chunin level speed, form, and strength, but its motion was too rigid and unlike human, so it's not the same as fighting a human. I did not know why Akira-sensei kept on getting them for me even if I almost always broke one every three days, and that's when it was a good day, but I guess it may have something to do with the testing period for the R&D division.

"Maiko, come and gathering, we are going for a mission!" Akira-sensei yelled from the other side of the training ground. Quickly, I pulled out the bokken and starting to drag the dummy toward the others. It took a few minutes before I arrived since the dummy was not light to move. When Akira-sensei saw the hole in the middle of its head and the detached arm, he sighed and put his hand on his forehead.

"Really, Maiko, already? I swear I just got you a new one yesterday." Akira-sensei grunted and I had to give him an apologetic look. Daichi and Shun looked absolutely horrified at the hole that went through the dummy's head.

"Never mind that, we are going to do another mission today, so follow me to the mission assignment desk." Akira-sensei said and led the way.

"Are we going to do a C-rank mission today?" Daichi asked with excitement. Honestly, I didn't know how he could keep the enthusiasm. Every time we did a mission, he always asked sensei if we could do a higher rank mission, but it never happened.

"No, we are doing D-ranks until the lot of you won't get killed in missions" Akira-sensei warned. When we arrived at the assignment desk, we immediately got a mission for sorting crops. I didn't even know why somebody would pay for this. I was tempted to use the sharingan to separate them faster, but then I decided that it was too petty of me to do so. In the end, we spent three hours on the farm separating the rice from the wheat among a few other crops.

"Geez, when will sensei let us do some fun missions." Daichi complained as he rubbed his shoulder. We were walking home from the farm, and since we are all heading towards the living quarters, we went together.

"We are still rookies, you know, they usually keep us from doing C-rank mission until we've done D-rank missions for six months" Shun explained, aside from being the sensor of the group, he seemed to the one who explained most of the stuff to Daichi. Unlike Daichi, whose skill as shinobi was pretty average in all area, Shun already picked a specialty in sensory areas. The Yamanaka clan's jutsus were ultimately built for information gathering and sensory abilities.

We walked past the commercial area and I suddenly saw a sweet shop on the side of the road. I stopped on my track and walked toward the shop, Shun and Daichi also stopped and looked at me.

"Mister, may I have five servings of dango please?" I asked the owner of the shop - a man in this forties - politely.

"Alright, little miss, coming right up" He answered with a smile, then he went and prepared it.

"I didn't know you have sweet tooth, Maiko." Shun said teasingly beside me as they waited for me.

"Ah, sorry about the wait. But no, it's for my brother. He went on his first C-rank mission a week ago, and he should be home today." I answered, remembering fondly of how Itachi always loved to eat sweets but was too composed to go get it himself.

"Uchiha Itachi?" Shun asked unbelievably, "That guy who graduated the same time as us? How come he get to go on a C-rank mission?" Daichi yelled.

"That's because he's Itachi, he's the best." I answered vaguely as if that explained anything. Itachi was, no doubt, the best I've seen in this generation, because of his potential, his teacher and my father might have pushed him to take on higher ranking missions. He was forced to grow up, unlike me, who already had a grown up's mind.

"Thank you, mister." I paid the money and took the dango from the owner, then I turned to my teammates, pulling out two serving of dango and held it to them, "Here, have some dango for your trouble, I'll see you two tomorrow" I said using my normal indifferent voice before leaving.


"I'm home." I said quietly to the empty house, Father was most likely in the elder's meeting, and mother was probably out with Sasuke. I put my equipment down and then walked along the hallway, soon, I reached one of the bedrooms.

"Itachi-nii". I opened the door to reveal Itachi sitting by his bed, organizing and sharpening his shuriken and kunai. His equipment looked worn and used, due to the fact that he was on a long mission.

"Here, your favorite sweets." I dropped the dango in front of them, it was always fun to watch the usually stoic Itachi try to control himself from snatching the dango straight up.

"Thanks, Mai, did you have some yet?" so rarely, he gave me a smile, then he picked up the dango quickly, looking tempted by the sweet aroma of rice dumplings.

"Mhmm, not yet, I want Itachi-nii to eat first." I said as I sat down beside him. I saw Itachi moving his fingers and I thought he would be reaching for the dango. Instead, he lightly poked my forehead with two of his fingers fondly. It was a light touch, yet I could feel the deep bond it made. It was a touch warmer than basking in sunlight, more comforting than the flow of chakra, reaching deeper than the hundreds of thousands of blood vessels in my body.

Is this what family feels like? If so, then I don't want to live without it ever again.