Authors Notes: Hello everyone, I suppose you could count this as a second fic. Maybe not, don't really know sense this is a rewrite. A few have questioned this decision, and it is a valid point. With Naruto Redefined as my first fic, I was both unsure of direction and lacked organization. Now that I finished volume one, I have reread and have located many things that are in need of being removed, altered, and added to the story. One such factor would have to be character development and interaction. I believe that the rewrite of this chapter has evolved the story into something grander than the original. Once I am through with the rewrite, I'll be moving on to the sequel. I hope y'all give this a read and follow me through this. Thank you all for reading to both returning and new readers. I hope y'all find it enjoyable.


Benjiro Orphanage, Girls Dormitory:

Twitching in her sleep, a young girl shifted uncomfortably under her covers. Eyelashes and skin jerked about, the orbs held within in constant motion passing to and fro. Flinching back in fright, the brunette's eye's fluttered open. A pair of emeralds glanced about, the room she found herself in being veiled by a mesh of shadows. Taking in the objects that surrounded her, the six-year-old gradually came to recognize the large dorm she resided in. "I. It was just a. D. Dream?" Shaking her head, the girl brought her knees to her chest. Shivering, the girl focused her attention on to the slits on the wall. A chilled breeze wafted in through the ventilation ports.

Sat atop her bunk, she gazed out to the rows other beds that filled the chamber. Minutes ticked by, her mind still restless from her dream. Sighing, the girl uncoiled and made for the ladder. "Hm... Is it awake?" Dressed in a worn t-shirt and flannel bottoms, the child surmised over the thought as she descended. Peeking out from the bottom bunks covers, a solitary chocolate eye blurrily gazed out to her bunkmate. "Tenten? Wha. What're you doin?" Rising from her sleep, the preteen yawned quietly.

Blanching at being caught, the child rubbed her arm. "O. Oh. H. Hey Kie." Rubbing the grit out of her eyes with her forefinger and thumb, the older teen took in her companion. "Well, where are you going?" Leaning her head to the side, she glanced to the pendulum clock on the far wall. "Geez, its two in the morning." Looking down at the floor, Tenten rubbed her foot apprehensively. "I. I couldn't sleep. I just wanna walk and get some water." Sighing, the strawberry blonde absentmindedly stretched. "You want me to come with you?"

Shaking her head, the child made for the exit. "No, I'm fine." Kie observed the small child walk off. "Alright, hurry back." At the closing of the dormitories door, Kie laid back down onto her firm mattress. Outside the room, Tenten peeked down the halls for any sign of a wandering caretaker. Not finding anything out of the ordinary, the brunette quietly crept down the hallway. Pausing at a corner, she peeked down a flight of stairs. Seeing the coast clear, she scampered down the steps. In little time, the child began to meander about the ground floor.

Spotting a door off to the side, she promptly approached it and hid in the corner. The ambient whir and crackle of the basements coal boiler filled her ears. Wrinkling her nose, the familiar stench of something akin to kerosine wafted to her. Knocking softly on the door of the boiler room, she called out to the creature held within. "H. Hey. You in there?" Thumping once more, she tried to reach the beast entrapped within. "It's me. Tenten." Patiently she waited for a response. Within moments steps could be heard ascending the flight of stairs, and with them, a smile blossomed on to her lips.


Benjiro Orphanage, Boiler Room:

A small bundle lay upon the stone floor, a mess torn and differing rags were the only barrier between it and the granite. Hearing rap strike against the rooms sole entrance, a single ear twitched. Exposing an eye to the hot and humid environment, the figure gazed over to the rigid barrier that entrapped it within. Catching another series of soft blows strike against the door, the creature rose from its perch. Slinking over to the steps, the beast waited for any other racket.

"It's me. Tenten." Surprise etched itself across the figures face, having not expected for her to appear at this hour. Nevertheless, a lopsided smile revealed the beasts sharp canines. Gradually it staggered its way up the steps. Coming to rest beside the entrance, he gently struck back onto the wooden surface. A commotion of movement responded to the creatures greeting. "I know it's late, but I couldn't sleep." In her pause, the figure relaxed against the doors cool surface. Leveling its gaze by the keyhole, it peered out to the silhouette of its only solace.

"The bad dreams. T. They're back again." A sigh followed her words, not to thrilled by the predicament. "But, at least your here. You're always here." No response came from her statement, they rarely did. The comforting voice halted once more. Yearning to know more of the individual on the other end, it wiggled the door. A hushed eep came from the beasts efforts. "I. I can't open it. Y. You know that." Scratches at the door followed by a whimper met her ears. "I. I'm sorry. Lady Kudo said not to."

Ebony tears dripped from the creatures sapphire eyes, stained from the soot and filth that coated its features. Gripping at the exposed timber door frame, the beast silently cried. While the disembodied voice brought a sense of comfort from its imprisonment, it also brought a sense of resentment at her unwillingness to provide assistance. Clawing at a sizable crack in the wooden structure, one formed by its claws as it pled for freedom. Just another among its many attempts to persuade her to listen, to open the door.

Scraping at the crevice, a fragment split off from its brethren. The chip finding purchase in its finger elicited a sharp cry. A fumble on the other side caught the creature's attention. "I. I said, no!" The harsh whisper came before the unmistakable pitter-patter of feet ran off. Tapping against the oak door, it tried its best to call for the voice to return. Pulling the sliver out from its finger, the beast wept in its new found solitude. With a tilt of the head, it focused its misty blue eyes to the vents of the coal furnace. The fading amber light shimmering off of the figures desolate form, the sliver held firmly within its fingers.


Inner Residential District, Boarding House:

Sat atop of a stool, a young female laced up her black combat sandals. Completing the knot, her figure perked up in response to a boisterous commotion on the other side of the room. "Izumi? What in the world are you doing?" Rising to her full stature, she crossed her arms in wait. A hand reached out from behind one of the chambers beds. Finding purchase, said appendage pulled another girl out into view. "Nothing. Just some stuff got in my way." Her explanation only brought forth a roll of the teen's eyes.

"You know, things like this will stop if you put any effort into tidying up." Shrugging off her roommate's criticism, the girl sat atop her bed. Lifting a scabbard from between her feet, the sixteen-year-old fastened the blade to her belt. "It's fine, and you know I don't have the time for it, Hana." Said brunette quietly sighed in frustration, whispering to herself. "Well, I beg to differ." Not bothering to answer to the youths rose brow at her mumble, she headed off to her personal desk.

Reaching for an instrument hung above the table, Hana brought down her the final armament she has yet to secure to her person. Applying the cord to her recurve bow, the teen anchored it to her gambeson vest. "You ready to head out Izu? I want to get to the academy by sunrise." Grabbing a helmet off of her bedpost, she made for the door. "Yep! Oh, I can't wait!" Unleashing a quick jab to her friend's ribs, Hana silenced the teen as they descended to the complex's ground floor. "Oph, what was that for?"

Hana gave her a soft glare, pointing to the other rooms strewn about the building. "Quiet down and be a little considerate." Izumi only grumbled at the request. "Fine. Do you think the test's going to be hard?" Pushing the front door open, the pair were greeted by the rays of a new dawn.

Breathing in the sharp air, Hana reminisced in the morning dews varying scents. "I don't believe so. It should be like any other. It might be longer than usual though." Together, the duo traversed the cobblestone of their local market.

"Hm. Do you think we'll get to know who our teammates are?" Crossing her arms over her midriff, Hana glanced over to the Uchiha's pensive gaze. "Well, I think they'll pair people together that'll compliment each other." A smile stretched on to Izumi's lips at her words.

Lightly elbowing Hana in the arm, she expressed her thoughts on the matter. "Then it's good that we're great together!" Chuckling at her exuberance, Hana spotted the school up ahead another bend. " I suppose. It'd be nice to be on a team together." Turning around midstep, Izumi proceeded to walk in reverse. "Right!"

"Izu, what did I tell you about yelling in the morning." Her reprimand only earned her a giggle as Izumi sped up her pace. "Oh, relax! Today's a special day!" Waving the Inuzuka to follow, the Uchiha went off to the academy in a swift jog. "Come on Hana! We're are so gonna ace this test!" Mildly flinching at her energetic dash, she called out in objection.

"Hey! Class doesn't start for another twenty minutes. We don't. Need. To run." Seeing Izumi's figure shrink off in the distance, Hana sighed in resignation. Hurrying after her companion, the Inuzuka quickly closed in on the amber-hued academy.


Grass Village, Northern Border Outpost:

"Does everyone understand their roles?" A middle-aged male whispered to a trio of teens. "Yuki, I. I don't think we're ready for this. Shouldn't we wait for the messenger to return." The man shook his head somberly in the negative. "I'm sorry Shinko, but the Nin are beginning to mobilize. We can't wait any longer." Bowing her head at the news, the brunette felt a hand grab her shoulder. "Shinko, we've trained for these situations. We're ready." Looking into the boy's eyes, she turned her gaze to their target. "How. How can you be so sure Tenma?"

Offering the girl a calming smile, the teen stood up from his kneel. "We're a Konoha Squad, we look after our own. What we can't take on ourselves we can overcome together." She offered him a broken smile for his attempt, her concerns still present. "Lets' move, we're wasting time." Shinko jumped at the interjection, still not entirely accustomed to the fourth member of their scouting group.

"Itachi's right, we need to get going. Alright, does everyone remember their roles and positions?" Receiving nods, Yuki motioned for them to move. Springing from beneath a sycamore, the group began to separate. "Tenma, P. Please be careful." He offered the young woman a nod and a small smile.

Breaking off from his teammates, Tenma sprung onto the tops of a nearby oak. Watching as Shinko and Itachi raced off into the thicket, he refocused onto the building a sixteenth of a kilometer away. "One, two. Two guards. Shit, that's more than yesterday." Sighing, the child waited for a signal to mobilize.

Positioning himself accordingly, the grey-haired teen analyzed the tree line. Squinting at the intrusion of a scarlet blaze and explosion, Tenma leaped into the air. Angeling his descent, the teen descended at considerable speed. His ebony eyes narrowed as they locked onto the member closest to his position.

Touching down atop an adversaries shoulders, he plowed the man into the balcony. Pulling a kunai from the base of the man's neck, he threw its brethren at his female associate. "Roku!" Despite her efforts to escape the volley, she felt a knife pierce her thigh. "One down." Leaping from atop of the deceased, Tenma ran toward's the woman limping to the door. Unsheathing a Tanto, the Kunoichi committed to a horizontal slash. Bowing to avoid the swipe, he spun and grabbed one of his thrown kunai with his chakra laced feet. Completing the turn, he swiped at the Nin's wrist.

Severing her tendons with the tip of his blade, he completed his roundhouse to her midsection. The kunai affixed to his foot embedding itself into her Kidney. The woman cried out in pain, yet was quickly silenced by another kunai piercing through the side of her skull. The tip penetrating through bone and finding purchase on to the door's frame. His hand left affixed to its handle, Tenma relaxed momentarily.

Exhaling, the boy lifted himself from his partial crouch. "Two down." Removing the kunai from their targets, he quickly wiped and returned them to their holsters. Slinking into the building, the teen glanced around to the office he had wandered into. "Now, where the hell is it?" Concealed from view, a silhouette of a figure observed the Nin from the shadows.


Benjiro Orphanage, Boiler Room:

A decrepit figure lay near a mound coal, a splinter of wood held firmly within his fingers. Flinching from a loud sound, it observed as a woman filled with purpose closed and locked the door behind her. Descending the stairs, the females olive irises scanned the room. It didn't take long till she spotted a dull cerulean meet her own.

"Here's your scraps imp." Lifting a bucket in her arms, she tossed it into the darkened room. Watching as the creature came forth and dug through the bucket, she snarled in revulsion. Placing another pale at her feet, she crossed the distance between them. "I should kill you, spare us both the torment."

Looking over the cowering figure, her snarl deepened. Grunting with effort, she kicked the petite creature's torso." Yelping from the sudden pain, it spun into the heap of coke. A few of the ebony chunks rolling over it. Whimpering at the towering woman, the little beast silently pleaded for a respite.

"I. I don't care anymore, fuck lady Kudo's orders." Getting onto her knees, she lifted a fist into the air. A solid thunk preceded another wail, yet it was quickly silenced by another to the chin. "T. This is for Is. Isas! Thi. This is for A. Ai. Aiko!" Sobbing onto the bloodied figure beneath her, the woman unleashed one more blow onto its ribs.

Panting from the exertion, the woman gradually lifted herself from atop the beast. Wiping blood and soot from her knuckles and clothes, she spat on the fallen. Looking down to the bruised figure at her feet, she growled at the single defiant eye observing her. "Y. You ungrateful a. Ass. You jus. Just want to die this week? Don't you! Well fine"

Grabbing the bucket of scraps, she deftly threw it into the simmering furnace. "You happy now?" Huffing at its shocked visage, she kicked over the other bucket. The water filled within spilling onto the floor. Marching up the stairs, she paused at the door. "Do us all a favor and rot."

Unlocking the door, she slammed it in her wake. Weeping to itself, the little creature stared out into nothing. Minutes passed by without it migrating to another spot, solely shuddering in symphony with its cries. Gradually the wails stopped, labored breathing taking its place. The little being gingerly rose from its prone position, forcing itself to crawl.

Coming up to the toppled bucket, it looked on at the meager pool of water still held within. Shakily, the fiend reached out and lifted the pale to its lips. Greedily, it drank whatever remained within. Finishing off the impoverished supply, the creature maneuvered to the floor. Lapping up any trace of residual moisture, the beast relented after when it failed to drink.

Sitting back onto its rump, the little creature took in the sorry state of its resources. Placing its hand onto the ground for support, the beast felt the splinter between its fingers. Lifting it up to for a better view, the blue-eyed fiend contemplated over the piece of timber's value. Leaning back onto a support beam, the figure gazed up to the door. Not being able to place why it was drawn to the barrier, the beast simply stared on for minutes on end.

However, after some time, a memory of the females key came to mind. Glancing back down to the sliver of wood, a thought slowly began to develop. Forcing itself to move, the fiend crawled its way across the room and up the stairs. Panting from the strenuous movements, it placed the sliver into the keyhole. A familiar click bringing a broken smile onto its face, an inkling of hope sprouting within its chest.


Konoha Combat Academy, Training Grounds:

Exhaling to relieve a modicum of stress, Hana released her hold on a taut cord. A clear sound of a thwip accompanied an arrow before it found purchase. Quickly following the first strike, the teen delivered a volley of its brethren. "Well done. Let's see, you've managed to hit nine of the ten shots within the yellow. Very good, Hana." Offering the examiner a small bow and smile, she went to reclaim her spot amongst her peers.

"Hana, you did great!" Offering an abashed smile, she sidled beside Izumi as the teen hugged her in glee. "Hopefully, it will be enough." Looking over, her companions slight frown met her. "Of course it will, why wouldn't it?" Sighing, she brought forth the factor that worried her. "We both know that I'm not the best at Taijutsu."Shrugging off her worry, she countered with her own thoughts.

"So, you're better than most of the people here." Crossing her arms, Izumi observed as the instructors finished grading the last student on their armament specialization. "Just. Don't worry about it, alright. Your best is good enough." Hana nodded in gratitude at the encouragement, fortifying herself for the fights to come.

An instructor approached the crowd of students, preparing to announce the next set of directions. "Alright everyone, we're are going to be moving on to the Taijutsu portion of your Graduate Exam. Now, we will randomly select two students to display their aptitude in a one on one taijutsu match." Tuning the rest of his speech out, Izumi turned to the Inuzuka.

"Say we're on a team together, who'd you want to be our third member?" Hana pursed her lips at the thought, glancing around the field. "Hm. Toshiro might be a good fit or Kazue." Cocking her head at the names, she inquired further. "What makes you say that?" Shrugging, Hana offered an explanation.

"Well, the two of us have Bukijutsu and Ninjutsu down. The only thing we need is someone good in Genjutsu or Taijutsu." Acknowledging her reasons, Izumi opened her mouth to speak. "Can we have Izumi Uchiha and Saisu Kamano come to the front. Sighing at the interruption, she trudged on toward the ring. "Just give me a sec."

Finding her way to the center of the ring, the teen caught sight of her adversary. Raising a brow at his appearance, she took note of his notable change in attire. "What's with the new look Su?" The boy's eyes narrowed at the Uchiha's nickname for him. Not responding, the boy gave a sharp look to the teacher before acquiring a relaxed stance. "Huh, no comeback. Fine, let's do this."

A professor approached the center of the ring, arm held high. "Are both combatants ready?" Receiving dual nods, he waved his hand as he sprung out of the ring. At first, neither moved. Having enough of the stalemate, Izumi charged ahead with a jab. Shifting to the side of the initial strike, Saisu dodged the follow-up.

Maneuvering beneath her guard, he jabbed into her midriff. Buckling at the impact, Izumi sprung back to acquire space. "W. What the hell?" Despite voicing her confusion, Izumi was forced to guard against an incoming backhanded fist. The blow hurled her back a few paces. Righting herself, she course corrected.

Dodging a reverse kick, the Uchiha punched at his exposed knee. Buckling at the joint, Saisu went in for a role. The drop providing him with the necessary momentum, he sprang back with a sweeping kick. Having been knocked off balance, she was ill prepared for the low hook. Collapsing to the ground, a fist came into view before striking her eye. The closed hand eclipsed her sight, the point of impact forcing her consciousness to falter.


Benjiro Orphanage, Boiler room:

Another click echoed off of the chambers masonry. Growling in annoyance, the imp took another look at the sliver of wood. It whimpered in despair, the splinter displayed fractures and a whittled down end. Leaning against the wall, the creature closed its eyes in thought. Imagining the frightful woman, it tried to recall the item between her fingers. Within sight of its mind, a familiar and dark silhouette appeared.

After moments on end, an eye opened and searched its surroundings. Lifting its body off of the stairs, the beast gradually limped its way down the steps and on to the floor below. Staggering its way over to the center of the room, the imp analyzed all of the components. Not seeing anything of value, it maneuvered itself closer to the furnace.

The creature wandered by the boiler, stopping for a moment to lean against the stone wall. Shifting its head up, its eyes blinked. Confusion and curiosity set in as it gazed up to a dark knob sticking out a timber post. Reaching for the protrusion, it felt its smooth and cool texture. The imp tugged on the object, yet nothing occurred. Taking a moment to look around at the timber frames, affixed atop the stone foundation, it found a longer sliver closer to the furnace.

Step after step, the little creature made its way over to the beam closest to the steam pipes. Grasping at the elongated piece, it jumped back in surprise. The sliver of metal fell to the ground, moistened wood encapsulating it. The softened timber having splattered onto the ground, a nail loosely joined to the largest clump. Picking the item up, it gently peeled back the rot.

Eager, it made its way back to the door. The little being placed the steel nail into the small opening, wiggling it in an attempt to force a pleasurable outcome. Seconds passed by, the only persistent note being the occasional click and tap of metal contacting metal. Growling in annoyance, the imp placed its head on to the oak door. Frustrated, it tried to remember any detail from the object held between the keeper's fingers.

Not immediately recalling any aspect of use, the beast sought to force its way through. Minutes drew by as its anger and frustration took hold. The imp pressed the nail in with its body but was ill-prepared for the material to give. Slamming its head into the door, the creature yelped in pain. The figure rubbed the afflicted area as it examined the now bent nail.

Frowning in dismay, it stared down at the sliver of metal. However, a flash of a memory seeped into his psyche. The shape of the item within the caretaker's fingers wasn't entirely straight. At the end of the bar, it held a bit of material jutting out from the shaft. With a newfound interest, the creature placed the bent end into the hole. Wiggling it around, its tip found purchase on a lever.

Blinking in surprise at the turn of events, the imp pressed against the part. The piece of brass gave and sprung back at the release of tension. Trying to manipulate the piece for seconds on end, the beast grew tired of it and moved on to other parts of the mechanism. At this moment, it found the nail catch onto another piece. Despite, its many attempts to maneuver the item, it wouldn't budge.

Pulling the bent flat nail from the chamber, the imp analyzed the tool within its fingers. An inkling of an idea came to mind, what if two were used. With this thought in mind, the creature made its way down to the first nail it had come across. Scanning around the dimly lit cellar, its irises zeroed on a familiar item.

Acquiring a short coal spade, the imp placed the edge behind the studs head. Desperation filtered into its frail body after minutes without success, the frenzy elicited it to push against the beam. A loud creek followed by a clink evoked the gremlins attention. Staring at where the nail used to reside, it looked about till a glint caught its attention. Picking up the nail, a fractured smile spread across its lips. Rushing back to the door, it placed the pin into the lock.

Lifting its other pick, the imp recalled the manuever required to achieve the result. Driving on to the nail with its full body weight, the material gave once more. However, in this instance, the creature was prepared for the loss of support. Catching itself, the beast removed the bent pin from within the hole. Held within its fingers were now two bent but usable slivers.

Taking one into each hand, it used the two ends to feel around the chamber. Once more, it found the lever. Pushing against it, the creature searched for anything else of value. The nail's tip prodded and explored the cavity, then without warning it caught against the brass deadbolt. With wide eyes, the imp watched as the bar gave with a mere click.


Northern Border Outpost, Upper Floor:

Rifling through the assortment of papers, Tenma picked everything of value. "Come on, where are you?" Hearing the clash of steel on the other side of the door, the teen hastened his pace. Movement in his peripherals warned him of a retreating figure. Turning around, he spotted an unknown dash for the balcony door. "Oh no, you don't!"

Throwing a set of kunai ahead of the escapee, he halted the man's movements enough for a direct assault. "So, you're the one with the dossier?" Pulling out two more kunai, Tenma struck out. The nin did likewise, bracing himself so as not to be pressed into the wall. "That was a mistake."

The blades frequently clashed, sparks illumination the dimly lit room. Barring an incoming strike, the masked individual kicked out. Dodging the blow, Tenma undesirably offered the Nin space. Proceeding through a chain of seals, the adversary thrust both palms forward. The motion directed the surrounding moisture and little water to condense into floating droplets. "Shit. Just had to use a fucking jutsu."

Springing back, Tenma brought his hands together for a sign. Not offering the teen any time, the droplets shot off in a volley of highspeed projectiles. Seals lit up on his vambraces as he pushed both palms out. The action created a spherical distortion in the air. Said vortex of air roared as it created a spherical barrier between the two. Following the motion, Tenma roughly pulled his right hand back.

The orb collapsed and drew in a majority of the incoming rounds. The distorted atmosphere and fluid coalesced in on to a point in front of his palms. Rotating his body, the teen switched the positions of his arms. Thrusting out his hand, the rippling mass burst forth towards the frozen Nin. The shockwave tore through the rooms windows and fractured the walls.

Seeing an opportunity, the Konoha Nin converged on to the downed mercenary. Pinning the adult down, he dug the kunai within his flesh. "Wh. Where's the package? Tell me and your death will be quick." Peeking from his downed position, the man snarled in displeasure. "C. Couldn't think up a better incentive kid?"

"The package, where is it?" Driving another knife by his heart, the adversary grunted as the tip of the blade acquired a splash of crimson. "Shit. Serious much?" Growling in annoyance, Tenma tensed in preparation of a swipe. Closing his eyes in anticipation, the pair were disturbed by the entrance of another. "Itachi?"

Noting the lapse of concentration, the older male spun out from beneath Tenma's grip. Ripping the blade from his flesh, the figure placed it against the youth's jugular. "Now, this is better don't you think?" Itachi stared out at the scene impassively, wakizashi out and at the ready. "Stay put boy?"

The young Uchiha only narrowed his eyes, his muscles tensing. "Unhand my comrade, I will not say so again." A scowl marred Tenma's lips, his hands forming two independent seals. "Kid, your not in the position to make threats." Bound between the assailant's arms, the teen's vambraces glowed with power.

"I do not give threats." Darting forward, Itachi made to strike. "Shit!" Leaving no time to counter, a shower of blood accompanied a burst of light. In that brief moment, Tenma's widened eyes gazed into Itachi's scarlet Irises. Everyone stilled as the blade remained lodged within his target, with a quick pull the sword is relieved from its prey.


Konoha Combat Academy, Training Grounds:

A faint groan filled the air as a pair of flint hued eyes opened to the brilliant sunlight. Squinting at the unwelcome intrusion the girl tried to make sense of her surroundings. "Relax Izu, you're alright." Hearing the familiar voice, she unwound at the stroke of a few fingers combing through her hair. "H. Hana. Wha. What happened?" Having adjusted to the daylight, Izumi looked up to the concerned eyes of her roommate. "Saisu knocked you out." Groaning at her words, the teen lifted her head from the Inuzukas lap. "Damn, what the hell's gotten into him." Feeling a hand grab hold of her chin, she turned as it pulled her focus away from the others. "I'm not sure, but it seems he's improved in taijutsu." Stated Hana, her eye's deftly examining the maroon welt blemishing her face.

"No one improves that fast. Really, what gives. I kicked his ass two weeks ago." Izumi frowned at Hana's shrug. "That's it? Don't you want to know what's changed?" Instead of a response, she watched as Hana placed her hand over her injury. Pouting at Hana for disregarding the question, Izumi stayed quiet while a green glow emanated from the teen's palm.

"Hana, save your chakra for the test." Her comment did little to halt the radiant procedure, the technique forcing her body to break down and reabsorb the blood and to repair the ruptured tissue. "I'll do so once I'm sure your alright, the rest can wait." Flushing at the tone, Izumi resigned herself to the emerald chakra's comforting warmth.

Seeing movement in their periphery a few minutes later, Hana focused in on the crowd of students migrating toward a large clearing. Refocusing back on to the bruise, she scrutinized her work. "Hm. If only we had more time." Pulling out a small mirror from her pack, Izumi examined herself. "You did great Hana. Its pretty much gone. Thanks."

She offered her friend a hug and a smile for her effort, glad that the injury had been reduced to yellow discoloration. "It's nothing." Rising to her feet, Hana lent a hand to the Uchiha. "If you say so." Making their way over to the converging group, the pair came to a stop on the edge of the crowd. Izumi's mind wandered to the ramifications of her classmate's improvement as the teacher spoke.

"Now that the taijutsu requirement is complete, we can proceed with the final portion of the exam. When I call one of you up, you will have to display a jutsu beneficial to your career." Looking at his clipboard, the instructor called out the first participant. "Hm. I'm gonna need to do something bigger." The Uchiha whispered, garnering Hana's attention.

"Make what go bigger?" Blinking in surprise at the comment, the teen inquired about it. "Huh?" Rolling her eyes, the Inuzuka pressed further. "You said that you'll make something bigger." Turning to avoid her piercing pupils, Izumi chuckled in embarrassment. "Oh, I was just thinking of using a stronger jutsu." Frowning at the girls change in demeanor and response, she folded her arms.

"Why, you've mastered the fireball. There's no need to risk the exam on something else." Scowling at the suggestion, the Uchiha glared to a brunette within the crowd. "Thanks to him, I'm gonna have a low taijutsu score. I need the points." Shaking her head, Hana grasped her companion's hand and gave it a squeeze. "Izu, you did well on your taijutsu test. They'll give you a decent score. So, don't push yourself into doing something risky. Please"

Crossing her arms, the Uchiha focused on the clay ground. "You've got enough points to be in the top. If I'm not there with you, we won't be put on the same team." Feeling her distress, the brunette offered an encouraging smile. "Hana, Inuzuka." Sighing, she released her hold. "I'll be back. Please, don't worry about it anymore Izu. I know you'll do great."


Benjiro Orphanage, Playground:

"Come on Oki! You can do it!" Tenten called from her position below the slide. "N. No. I. I change my mind!"Turning in an attempt to leave her perch, the six-year-old is gently held in place by two slender arms. "Oki, what's wrong?" Finding the older girl by her side, the brunette clung onto her waist. "Kie, it's scary."

Holding the girl to her, the preteen delicately wiped a few stray tears from her turquoise eyes. "Oh, Oki. There's nothing to be afraid of." Not seeing the girl budge, a small frown marred Kie's lips. Despite the child's adamant refusal and fear, a twinkle formed within the preteen's eyes. "Well, if you don't want to go by yourself. We'll just have to go together."

Tenten stared up in mirth as Kie lifted the child onto her lap. "W. What! No!" Seeing the two begin their descent, the brunette cheered them on. "Woo, go Oki!" Catching the pair down at the bottom, she questioned the frazzled child. "How was it, Oki? Did you like it?" Seeing her teary cheeks only amplified the girl's mood. "N. No!" Turning her around, Kie inquired as well.

"You didn't? I thought it was very fun!" Crossing her arms, she shut her eyes and turned away from them. "No!" Noting as she wasn't in the best of moods, Kie rubbed her back affectionately. "Well, how about we do something you want to do?" The question seemed to spark delight back into the child as she sprung off from the preteens lap.

"I wanna swing." Seeing the girl bound off to the swingset brought an exasperated sigh to Tenten's lips. "She's afraid of the slide but loves the swings. I don't get it!" Rolling her eyes at her friend's display, Kie shook her head at the dilemma. Making her way to follow the youngest of the group, she turned to see Tenten staring back at the orphanage.

"Something wrong Tenten?" Scratching her arm, she turned back to the older child. "I'm getting thirsty, you okay if I get some water?" Nodding in acceptance, she waved her off. "Alright, but hurry back." With Kie walking off, Tenten wandered off back to the school.

Coming to a halt by the entrance of the establishment, she came to a stop before two women by a small barrel. "Hello, Himari, Maiya! Can I have some water?" Pulling a cup from the table, Himari ladled her a drink from the container. "Sure thing sweety, I see you and Kie got Oki down the slide." The brunette scoffed at the notion. "She didn't like it." Patting the girl atop the head, Maiya spoke to the girl.

"Well, not everyone's going to like it. I know you didn't like the seesaw when you were younger." Grumbling at the woman for pointing out her preferences, she walked off a few paces to enjoy her beverage. Her actions bringing forth a soft chuckle from the pair. "Hm. I wonder if she'll pick up on your reasoning." Maiya turned to her companion and shrugged. "If she doesn't, Tenten will understand it eventually."

Pausing momentarily, she probed her companion on a private topic. "Mari. Earlier today, I heard some noise from the boiler room. Did something happen?" Shaking her head, she waved her off. "Nothing that I couldn't manage. Besides, we won't have to deal with that cretin anymore if things go my way." Blanching at the news, she proceeded to whisper her concerns over the brash actions.

Despite their hushed voices, another pair of ears caught pieces of their discussion. Tenten's eyes widened at the spoken words, sneaking off into the building. She came to a stop, and face to face with the door that held her secluded acquaintance. The thought of the creature perishing made her quiver, yet so did its release. Before a decision could be made, a persistent ticking is vaguely heard followed by a soft click.


Northern Border Outpost, Upper Floor:

Sifting through the contents of a pack, a pair of obsidian eyes caught sight of the object of its desire. A small envelope is drawn from the bags confines. Checking to ensure its validity, Itachi picked up the Items Tenma had pilfered from the room. Stepping over a figure with dull grey hair, he made for the door.

Maneuvering his way down the stairs, he came upon the other two members of his team. "Looking up from his kneeling position, a bloodied eye looking up to the lone Uchiha. "Mission complete Captain Minazuki, I've recovered the package." Narrowing his eyes at the response, the Jonin scanned for his remaining subordinate.

"I. Itachi. W. Where's Tenma?" Glancing off to the side of Yuki, the teen made eye contact with the sole female of their team. "Itachi?" He paused momentarily, before heading for the door. "Tenma fulfilled his duties to Konoha, he attained an honorable end." The boy's final words tumbled through her mind as he left through the front door.

Forcing herself onto her feet, Shinko winced at the pressure forced onto her injured thigh. "Shinko. Wait!" Yuki called as he grabbed her arm, yet she merely ripped it from his grasp. Bowing his head in grief, he glanced up to his junior as she struggled up the stairs. Tears tracked down her face and intermixed with the blood dripping from her leg.

Staggering toward the gaping door, her eyes latched on to the vacant pupil of her comrade. "T. Tenma. N. No." Collapsing before him, she shakily reached out to touch his cheek. The sounds that emanated from her throat were no longer comprehensible, her mouth agape in anguish. Wailing and weeping, she brought his limp head on to her lap.

Hearing her cries, Yuki quickly manifested into the room. "Shit." Turning away from the scene, the man allowed himself a few tears for the deceased. Steeling himself, he walked over to the teen. Kneeling beside the girl, he pulled her into his chest. "I. I'm here Shinko." In the midst of her tears, he pulled a scroll from his pouch.

Itachi shifted from his post, eye-opening to find a figure exiting the building. On further inspection, Captain Minazuki could be seen carrying a shuddering Shinko. Coming up to the pair, he confronted his superior. "Should I dispose of the building captain." Sighing at the teen's question, Yuki looked back to structure in question.

"Sure. Proceed when ready." With a dip of the head, Itachi prepped a forward stance. Flashing through a short set of hand seals, he brought two fingers to his lips. Deeply exhaling, he discharged a torrent of blue flames that quickly devolved into wisps of vibrant orange. Contacting the exterior of the building, the tongues of fire lapped up the walls.

From her position within Yuki's arms, Shinko's inflamed eyes stared out at the spreading blaze. At that moment, she opened her eye to the scene. The golden flames reflected off of her corneas. Shuddering at the sight, she curled in on herself. Staring at a scroll within her arms, the teen embraced the role of paper.

Feeling Shinko shut herself off, Yuki turned around. "Come Itachi, we should set off." Glancing away from the blaze, the boy acknowledged the man's order. "Yes, sir." Making his way over to their side, the group walked off into the woods. The day remained clear and bright, unconcerned for the misfortune befallen on men and women.


Benjiro Orphanage, Corridor:

Surprised by the sudden noise, Tenten shot off behind a corner. Holding her breath, she peeked from her position. The door handle wobbled for a second before going still. Then without warning it, the handle quickly turned and gently pushed open. Biting her lip in fear, the child observes as the door was gently pushed even further.

Slowly a figure crept out from behind the door. Its physique first brought fear but quickly converted into surprise and confusion. From the door did not crawl out a terrifying creature of the night. No, instead she came across what appeared to be a dirtied and bloodied child squinting in the presence of the daylight. Creeping out from behind the corner, Tenten edged closer for a better view.

Before her knelt a boy of an age close to her own, his bare and thin figure caked in the soot. Seeing motion at the edge of his vision, he cowered back behind the door. "W. Wait. D. Don't. Don't go." Tenten whispering out as she slowed her approach. "I. I won't hurt you." Recognizing the voice, the boy halted mid retreat. Approaching his form, Tenten gently took hold of his cheek.

Freezing at the contact, the boy blinked in an attempt to see the figure before him. "Hmm. You're very dirty." Whimpering at her touch, Tenten gently caressed his dirty cheek. "It. It's me, Tenten." Recognizing the name, the child leaned into her caress. It was then that she smelt the putrid scent of the coal residue, its kerosine scent stinging her nostrils.

Keeping her distance, she bit her lip in thought. "W. Why where you in there?" Not receiving a response, Tenten tried to ponder on what she should do. "Come, you need a bath." Taking hold if his arm, she led him up a flight of stairs to the girl's washroom. Aiding him to their destination, she gently lifted the child up and into a tub.

"I'll get the water." Now in a dimmer room, the boy's eyes gradually began to adjust to the light. Blinking away the haze, the child looked on as his companion filled pales with water. Returning to his side, Tenten prepared to pour its contents over him. "I'm sorry if it's a little cold." Spilling the fluid over his skin elicited a cry and a shiver in response. "Shush, its okay."

Seizing a rag, she dipped it into the water and drew it across the boy's stained skin. She bit her lip at, her fingers running over the bones of his bulimic figure. Easing at her touch, he watched as the water darkened as his complexion lightened. "Remember Kie, the one I told you about." Tenten mused over her words, gently forking his fingers through his ashen hair speckled with dirty blond. An occasional tear dripping from the state of his body. Feeling a wince from her strokes, Tenten discovered a blackened blotch mar his skin. One of many she uncovered, each with various levels of discoloration.

"When I got tired and dirty, she'd help clean me. Now, I help her with Oki sometimes." Retrieving another pale, her thoughts wandered over to Himari and her warnings over the child before her. "They did this to you." She whispered, pulling his drenched head to rest on to her chest. Taking a breath, she continued to bathe the child as he rested against her.

"Your no monster." She whispered under her breath, a dull ache forming within her chest. "I. I should've let you out. I. I'm sorry." Her embrace seemed to provide the child with the comfort he so desired. After seconds of indulging in her hold, she felt him unwind and nestle into her. An action she fully granted, her tears intermixing with his bath water.

Separating from him, she helped the boy finish and dry off. "Hm. You're gonna need clothes." Grabbing a dry towel, she helped to secure it around his waist. Leading him off to the boy's dormitory, Tenten led the towel draped child to an assortment of drawers. "Here, let's see if these fit." After a few attempts, she found a few that would fit with the aid of a belt. "Try a few more on, I'm gonna get you something."

Seeing her leave, the boy sat comfortably atop a bed. Relishing in its softness, he continued to peruse through the many garments Tenten had strewn about. Not having to wait long, the smell of rye and hen caught his senses. "Hey, I'm back." Approaching the slender youth, she took a seat by his side. "Here." Holding out a sliver of meat, she fed it to him. "Hey, slow down." Forcing him to feast at a steadier pace, she held out a goblet of water to wash it down.

The pair sat together in a comfortable silence, the only sounds being the occasional chew or swallow. Brushing her hands through his dirty blond hair, Tenten pondered on his existence and treatment. "W. Why'd they hurt you?" Again another question was left unanswered. Something she had come to a realization over. "Y. You cant talk. Can you?" Having silence great her again, she sighed as the knowledge sunk in.

Minutes passed the couple by, his second helping having to distended his belly ever so slightly. Tenten lay comfortably on the bunk-bed, her back resting amongst a pillow braced against its frame. Glancing down to the blond resting his head atop her heart, she mused over the current dilemma. With his limbs encompassing her torso, she switched her gaze to the bag she had prepared by the bunk beds feet. "Y. You can't stay here."

The alien thought evoking a scowl on to her face, never having before viewed her caretakers as dangerous or wicked. "How, can you be a monster?" The question never seemed to leave her, still not capable of comprehending their reasoning. As he slept within her arms, a faint chime of a bell rung from the courtyard. Widening her eyes, she looked out the window. "It can't be dinner time, not yet."

"Crap, I've got to get you out of here." Gently rising from the bed, she lifted up the bag and placed it onto her back. Turning back around, Tenten looked to the sleeping boy. "I'll be there for you. I promise." Lifting him up, she marveled at his weight. The fact that is was comparable to Oki's forced her to shudder. Pulling a hood over top his blonde locks, she exited the boy's dormitory.