A/N: Okay, I have no clue how long it has been since I last updated, all I know is that I actually got another review! I was sooo happy! It really motivated me to update! Anyway, if you guys want me to update more, then review! It makes me feel all fuzzy inside. :)
"Well, that went better than expected." Riku flopped onto a nearby couch. She fluffed up her pillow and smiled at the ceiling. Mitsune laughed as Emiko sat upside down on a chair and started fiddling with her new made flute. At the sight of the flute, Mitsune stopped laughing and clutched at her stomach.
Riku looked over at Mitsune and saw the serious look on her face. Abruptly her spirits sank at finding a place to stay, and sat up to face her friend. "What is it? Is your stomach hurting?" Mitsune shook her head and shot a look over at Emiko.
"I think we need to talk about what's been happening so far." Emiko fidgeted in her chair, she could feel the others staring at her but couldn't bear to look up. She knew she had messed up, she had run away when they were in trouble. But she had come back hadn't she? Didn't that make up for it? 'No, of course not.' Emiko scrambled upright, crossing her legs and placing the flute to the side.
"You're damn right we need to talk about it!" Riku glared at Emiko who flinched at her harsh words. Mitsune just stared. Usually Riku wasn't so blunt when she talked to the blonde girl, but today was definitely an exception. She glanced over at the blonde and sighed. Damn those puppy-dog-anime eyes.
"That's not what I meant." Mitsune gently pushed Riku over so she had a place to sit. She cuddled up against the arm of the couch so she could keep an eye on them both. It had been a very trying day and there was no telling whether they were going to start fighting or crying first. Mitsune took a deep breath before speaking again.
"I meant that we need to talk about what we're going to do next. We have to figure out how to get home." Riku immediately stopped glaring daggers at Emiko, who looked like she had just gotten tasered and stared at her like she had two heads.
"You really think we can get home?" Mitsune felt her heart wrench at how hopeless Emiko sounded. She was always so full of energy it was painful to hear her speak to the contrary. Mitsune caught Riku rubbing at her eyes before she turned her glare to her instead.
"Speaking of home, why did you tell that scary old lady we were going home in a year? There's no telling how long it will take us to get home! What happens when a year has gone by and we're still here? What'll happen to us then?" Riku's eyes started to water again but she quickly wiped them again and turned away. Emiko's eyes seemed to do the same at the idea of being in the Naruto world for longer than a week, but she didn't hide it. She only looked down at her flute and started fiddling with it again, trying to find some comfort.
"I'm sorry I added that. It just seemed like the rational thing to say at that time. I mean, wouldn't people going on that kind of mission be given some kind of time period? Like, if they...got lost...while they were gone, then the government, or whoever could send more people." Mitsune stumbled over her words, trying not to mention death. But her friends understood anyway. Tears started to gently fall down Emiko's cheeks, never taking her eyes off her flute. Riku continued to stare at the wall.
Mitsune scrambled to stop Emiko's tears. "But look on the bright side! We have a freakin' amazing opportunity here! How many times have you ever thought of going inside your favorite anime?" Emiko gave a weak smile, slowly wiping away her tears. "Or ever dreamt of being a ninja, a real ninja?" Mitsune saw Riku's shoulders relax. Mitsune smiled. "I'll tell you one thing; I can't wait to walk on water."
Emiko laughed and Mitsune's smile grew wider at the sound. One down. "Yeah. I wanna try making clones." Mitsune laughed at Emiko's silly grin and they both ended up laughing uncontrollably.
"Like we need more of you around." Their laughter was immediately cut off. Cautiously, Mitsune looked over at her friend. Riku was glaring back at the both of them, no sign of laughter on her face.
"I mean, how many demon Sailor Moons can one town take? We've already killed a bunch of puppets, not to mention that poor gate!" Emiko and Mitsune shared a look, stunned. Riku continued to stare at them with a straight face before bursting out into laughter.
Mitsune waited until she had caught her breath before she stood up and wandered around the couches. "Now, I don't know about you guys, but I'm insanely curious what the rest of this place looks like." Not waiting for the others to catch up she began to wander the suite, opening every door she came too. Including closets. Geeze were there a lot of closets.
In true anime style, the apartment suite they had been assigned was on the second floor, all the way at the end of the hall. In true Naruto style, it was probably the only room in the entire complex that could be invaded by shinobi directly from the Hokage's office. Mitsune arched out through an open window in the kitchen, trying to see if the roofs were connected. The buildings were so close that if they were invaded, they probably wouldn't bother using the windows if the roof was that much closer.
She was still leaning out the window when Riku yelled from the living room.
"Mitsune! Come here! Quick!" Mitsune sighed and closed the window behind her. Just when she was starting to enjoy the view. Konaha really was much prettier in person.
"What is it?" Mitsune eyed the cabinets wondering what kind of supplies they had for dinner and how much they would have to buy themselves.
"We have a visitor! Get in here!" All thoughts of food flew from her mind. A visitor. The vaguest way possible to describe the impending doom at their doorstep.
Mitsune scrambled around the corner trying to remember her way back to the living room. The apartment was small, but at that moment, it could have been the Minotaur's maze for all she knew. It could be anyone at their door. Shizune, not a problem. Lee, slightly annoying, but manageable. Just about any other character...not so good.
She screeched to a halt when she heard Emiko's high pitched voice coming from around the corner. Wouldn't be a good first impression to have her careening around a corner, dis-shelved and out of breath. If there really was a shinobi in the other room, they needed to look as professional as possible. Mitsune took a deep breath and walked into the room.
"Really, I thought I trained you better Naruto. Beaten by one shinobi?" Kakashi sighed as they walked towards the Hokage's office.
"It wasn't just any ninja! That guy was nuts!" Naruto yelled, waving his arms in the air.
"Hmph. And by nuts you mean better than you." Neji scowled at the ground as the passed through the doors of the office building. He couldn't stop thinking about the fight they had been horribly creamed in earlier. They were shinobi of Kanoha; they were supposed to be able to handle themselves in fair odds. They were trained to at least injure their opponents mortally. But instead, they had gotten their arses handed to them.
"Come on Neji, were we any better? We all lost one-on-one. They couldn't have been normal ninja; even Akamaru thought they smelt funny." The little puppy barked in agreement, poking his head out of Kiba's jacket. Neji fumed for a few steps before turning to Kiba.
"What do you mean, 'they smelt funny?'." Kiba shrugged. Neji pinched between his eyes and sighed, these two idiots were going to be the death of him. Naruto was still ranting and waving when they entered the Hokage's office.
"NARUTO! Would you at least try to keep your voice down! You're ruining the alcohol!" Neji's headache worsened at Tsunade's added yelling. That woman had lungs of steel. "And you! Keep it down!" The glass worker flinched and apologized profusely before turning back to the ruined window.
Kakashi sighed while Naruto sulked. "You wanted to see me Lady Tsunade?" Tsunade 'hmphed' and sat back down in her new chair, sipping sake to sooth her nerves.
"Yes, I have a special mission for you. We managed to recover a spear from the Forest of Death. We think it is made of the same material as the puppets that the ambassadors were talking about. I've already had the Science Department run a diagnostic, and have been able to narrow down where they might have come from. Most of the Anbu teams are still out, so I need you to get together a three-man team and see if you can't track these rouge shinobi down." Tsunade passed Kakashi a list of all the possible suspect villages for investigation. Kakashi took one look and sighed, this was going to take a while.
"Anything else, Lady Tsunade?"
"Yes, do me a favor and drop by next door and give the new ambassadors the basic rundown, would you? I've got too much paperwork to do."
Kakashi saluted before poofing out of the office, leaving the other three shinobi with the temperamental woman.
"And you three," the shinobi in question stiffened to attention. "You have a lot of explaining to do."
"Hello ladies! It's nice to finally meet you! You're all quite the talk of the town, literally." The man in their door smirked happily. Not that you could really tell, his mask covered almost all of his face. Mitsune tried not to stare at his silver hair too much as she made her way towards the others.
It seemed as though Emiko was the one who had opened the door, she was still standing in awe of the man at the door. So it was Riku had managed to yell a warning; it seemed her control over her suspicious tendencies was easily thwarted by funky anime characters. She was currently trying to edge her way behind the couch while simultaneously glaring daggers and trying not to be too conspicuous.
Emiko shook herself a little and stared up at Kakashi, sparkles now dancing in her eyes. "Hi Kakashi! Wow! It's so cool to meet you! I mean just wow! You are, like, I mean, just-" Mitsune jumped in before Emiko could make a fool of herself.
"What she means to say is Tsunade mentioned that someone might be over, and the nurses at the hospital talked a lot about you." Mitsune glanced over at Emiko, who was still making googly eyes. She tugged her back a bit to give Kakashi some space. "Would you like to come in, sir?" Mitsune stressed the 'sir' part a bit, hoping Emiko would get the hint.
No such luck, her googly eyes were slowing developing into lovey-dovey; small hearts were starting to appear. I wonder if anyone else can see the anime animation? She was snapped out of her musings when Kakashi spoke.
"Sorry, I have to be somewhere, I just stopped by to give you these." He fished three plastic cards out of his vest pocket and handed them to Emiko. It was all she could do not to squee. Mitsune kept her eyes on the ninja, aware that Riku was still in battle mode behind her. "These are I.D.'s that Lady Tsunade had made for visitors such as you. These will pay for the rent, groceries and anything else you might need while you're here. Of course they won't work if you leave the village, but I would recommend the hot springs, personally." Kakashi smiled again and was about to leave when Riku spoke up.
"So, are we supposed to talk to you if we have any questions?" Kakashi laughed embarrassedly and scratched the back of his head. Riku's eyes narrowed.
"Ah, well, I have to leave for awhile, but I think Lady Tsunade had someone else in mind to escort you around the village. They should be here any minute—Oh wait! Here they are! Well, I'll just leave you girls to it!" Kakashi practically ran away from their doorstep. Mitsune was about to close it, when she heard voices from down the hall.
"Where is he going in such a hurry? You'd think he would have a little courtesy to us poor girls."
"D-Don't say s-such things Ino. I-I'm sure he h-had a good r-reason."
"Hey guys we're here, so be on your best behavior."
"Pfft! I know, I know, Billboard Brow.
Riku glanced at Mitsune worriedly. "Um, you're gonna break the doorknob if you keep squeezing it like that." Mitsune's knuckles continued to pale from the pressure as all the blood drained from her face. Oh no, not more!
Mitsune panicked. She practically slammed the door shut before the new voices could make it. She scanned the room before landing on Emiko, still fangirling in the corner. Emiko jumped when Mitsune grabbed her by the shoulders. "U-uh…hi?" Emiko stood stock still, wincing slightly at the other girl's tight grip.
"Emiko, I need you to listen veeeery carefully, alright?" Emiko nodded slowly. "We are ambassadors from a foreign country. We don't know anybody here, what they are, what they do: nothing! We know absolutely nothing! You got that!" Emiko nodded more vigorously this time. "And that means we cannot afford for you to go bat-fangirl-crazy. I need you to be sane, and collected when I open that door, alright?"
Emiko beamed and shot Mitsune two thumbs up. "You can count on me boss!" Mitsune still looked worried, but realized this was the best she was going to get. She glanced over at Riku and took a deep breath. A knock on the door almost sent her panicking again, but Riku opened the door before she could completely calm down.
Standing in the door were three other girls, just about their age. One was wearing a kind of purple dress and white arm bands, her long blonde hair almost covering her blue eyes. She was apparently the one who had knocked, because her arm was still raised, about to knock again. She blinked in surprise before smiling brightly.
"H-hi! My name's Ino and these are my friends Hinata and Sakura. We're here to show you guys around while you're staying with us. I hope we can be good friends!" Her smile was so sunny, it bordered on blatantly fake. With what she remembered about Ino, it might just be a perfectly constructed mask. For all she knew, Ino had just been fighting in the hall. Mitsune was so surprised by Ino's attitude she didn't really know how to respond. Riku was no help either; she was too busy staring at Sakura's trademark pink hair. The awkward tension was broken, unexpectedly, by Emiko.
"Hello, and nice to meet you. My name is Emiko, and these are my friends Mitsune and Riku. It is an honor to be here, please take care of us." Emiko bowed slightly and smiled her own 100 watt smile. The three shinobi were floored by Emiko's perfectly formal speech. Hinata was the first to recover and bow in return. The others quickly followed suit.
With the introductions out of the way, things quickly got awkward once again. Riku looked to Mitsune for advice on what to do next, but she just shrugged in a sort of "whatever" fashion.
"Well, we don't have anything to do, so, let's go see this town of yours." Riku motioned for the other girls to follow her and stepped out into the hall. Mitsune closed the door behind her and they all made their way out to the streets. So far, so good.
"Where should we go next?" Sakura looked around at the group, looking for ideas. So far they had shown the three strangers the Hokage Statue's, the grocery store and hospital. They already knew where the Hokage's office was, and the school wasn't very far from there. She had run out of important places they would need to know about and there was still a few hours of light left in the day. The blonde haired girl, Emiko, rubbed her stomach and made a face.
"Is there somewhere we can get something to eat? I haven't had anything all day!" Sakura sweatdropped at her pouting face. One of the other girls, Riku maybe?, rolled her eyes at the blonde's whining. The last one though, Mitsune, just smiled.
"I think food would be a great idea. Is there a place that has noodles or something?" For some reason the blonde got really excited over the mention of noodles, but Sakura decided to ignore it.
"Yeah, sure. It's not that far away. What about you guys, up for some ramen?" Sakura willed herself not to flinch at Emiko's squeal of excitement. Ino flipped her hair and agreed, saying how she couldn't leave the ambassadors with her or something or other; she wasn't really listening. Hinata blushed and looked down at the ground. Most likely thinking of another blonde who was probably there right now.
"Alright, Ichiraku it is." This time Sakura really did flinch, that blonde was gonna end up getting hit sometime soon, and apparently Riku agreed for she actually did hit the girl for squealing yet again.
"Emiko! Would you please keep the high pitched noises to yourself today? Thanks."
Emiko rubbed her sore head and pouted. "Party pooper." Mitsune smiled again and gestured towards her. "So which way, Captain?" Sakura rolled her eyes and started walking. Between the always hyper blonde, a ticked off brunette and the way too agreeable 'leader', the whole ambassador thing was turning out to be more trouble than it was worth.
"Aah! Awesome! Another round please!" Emiko carefully laid down yet another ramen bowl. The chef laughed from behind the counter and placed another ready and waiting bowl in front of her. The three shinobi just stared in wonder.
"Wow, her stomach is almost as big as Naruto's!" Ino watched in disgust as the other blonde downed the latest bowl of noodles. Sakura shook her head and turned to the others.
"Does she always eat like this?" The two brunettes stopped eating and replied in complete unison.
"Yup." Totally in sync and nonchalant, they continued to eat their own food, ignoring their third partner. Sakura hmphed to herself. A bunch of talkers you are. She tried to start another conversation when Hinata spoke up.
"H-Hi N-Naruto." Sakura looked over to see Hinata looking shyly at her noodles; next to her, Naruto loudly yelled for his own.
"Hey Hinata! What are you guys doing here?" At least that's what Sakura thought he said; it was hard to tell with all the ramen in his mouth. He was on his third bowl when he finally noticed the three strangers at the end of the counter. He nearly choked as he jumped up from the counter, pointing at the girls, still calmly eating.
"What the HELL! What are they doing here? OW!" The three ambassadors looked up at the last part to see Naruto on the ground with Sakura standing over him, fist raised. Sakura smirked. "Didn't anybody tell you it's rude to point?"
"Nice one billboard-brow!" Sakura smiled at Ino who was smirking down at the fallen ninja. Hinata was still blushing, but was watching him to make sure he was alright. Emiko and Riku, on the other hand, laughed and went back to slurping their noodles. Sakura looked past them to see how the last member of the party had reacted. The way the first two had laughed suggested that these kinds of scenes weren't unheard of in their country; maybe random acts of violence were normal where they came from.
She was surprised to find that Mitsune wasn't even paying attention. Her hands were white-knuckled and gripping the counter for dear life. She was completely tense and staring intently at her bowl of ramen. Sakura saw her glance quickly from side to side before Naruto got up and started yelling again.
"What the heck Sakura! Why'd you hit me? And what are you doing with…these guys?" Riku grinned mischievously and waved. Naruto glared back.
"Haven't you heard?" Naruto looked to Ino who was preening with pride at something she knew and he didn't. "Heard what?" He asked suspiciously. Ino stood and gestured dramatically at the three girls still seated. "May I introduce, Kanoha's three newest ambassadors from the Land Hidden in the America's! This is Emiko, Riku and Mitsune."
Emiko smiled through her noodles and waved without missing a beat. Riku smiled, albeit a little evilly, and waved again at her intro. When Mitsune's name was mentioned, she jumped in her seat, almost as if she had forgotten where she was. Recovering quickly she stood and pushed her forgotten ramen towards Emiko. Smiling brightly, she bowed deeply at Naruto. Naruto jumped in surprise.
"On behalf of me and my partners, we would like to apologize for earlier. If we had known that you were a warrior of this fine country we would not have behaved in the manner in which we did. Again, we would be very grateful if you and your friends could forgive us for any problems we may have caused you." Mitsune bowed again, her long hair hiding the smile on her face. Naruto panicked and tried to get help from his fellow ninja who either smirked back or blushed at the ground. He panicked a little more before finally bowing in return and trying to sound as business-like as possible.
"The village of Kanoha is, uh, honored to have such…distinguished, visitors to our humble city…a-and we would like to…uh, apologize as well for any…inconveniences that you might have endured to come here. I guess."
"Wow Naruto, I didn't know you knew such big words." Naruto glared at Ino as best he could from his awkward angle, still waiting for the other girl to get up first. He didn't have to wait long. Mitsune practically bounced back up, another bright smile on her face. "Apology accepted!" Without another word she sat back down next to Riku, who was trying her hardest not to burst out laughing. Naruto stood up slowly, blinking. "Uh…what?" Riku burst out into full blown laughter, just confusing him more. "Okay, what just happened?"
Emiko turned around on her stool and patted him on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it, half the time I don't know what's going on either." Riku's laughter got louder. "Wanna have a ramen eating contest?" Naruto looked between the laughing brunette and the smiling girl in front of him before giving in. "You're on!"
Sakura turned away from the battling blondes and looked over at Mitsune again. She was tense, staring at her ramen again. Discreetly, Sakura scanned the streets behind them from the corners of her eyes. Using some of her ninja skills, she could just barely sense someone watching them. Apparently our new 'ambassadors' have some talents of their own.
A/N: Okay, I know it's been a long time, but I've had such a major case of brain block, I couldn't think of anything worth writing. I think this chapter is on the dry side, sorry to say. If there's going to be another chapter to this thing-between getting ready for college and being a beta (finally! :D)- I promise it's going to be more exciting. I'm gonna try to get some actual plot related things in here. ;) Til next time!