A/N: Whoa. Two updates in one day. I feel majorly accomplished! Hooray for random sick days giving me time to write! Seeing how many hits I've gotten so soon after updating with chapter 3 has also been super motivating! You guys are awesome! And to all of you who reviewed, you're awesome too! Anyway, this chapter flowed pretty easily for me, so I'm rather proud of it. I hope it isn't super long winded or anything considering I wrote it all in one sitting...Hope you all enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. If I did, Nao would be an actual character.


The first thing I noticed when I pried my eyes open was that I was still in Kiba's hospital room. I rubbed my eyes and pushed myself us so I was sitting. During my sleep I had somehow curled into a horizontal position on the couch. I had also been covered with a thin sheet and a pillow had been carefully tucked under my head.

"Geeze, what time is it?" I muttered to myself as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes.

"3:24 AM"

My head snapped in the direction of the voice. Kiba was awake, sitting up on his bed and writing something in a notebook on his lap.

"Huh?" was all I could manage as I examined my surroundings.

The view outside the window next to the bed was dark. The room itself was dimly lit; small amounts of light coming from a tiny lamp next to the bed. I also became quickly aware of the fact that no one else was in the room, not even Akamaru.

"It's 3:24 in the morning. You've been out for nearly fifteen hours," Kiba said as he closed the notebook in his lap and turned to face me.

"Oh," I said lamely, attempting to overcome the idea of allowing myself to fall asleep in the hospital room of a guy who was practically a stranger. I stood from the couch and smoothed out my shirt, "well, sorry for intruding, I'll just get out of your hair now."

The response I received started out with a deep laugh, "you're not bothering me, if that's what you think. It was actually pretty interesting to see a shinobi sleep through the twenty plus people who came through here, especially considering how damn noisy they all were."

I shrugged, trying to cover up the disappointment in myself for sleeping so long, "if they weren't a threat to me then of course I wouldn't wake up."

Another laugh, "point taken. But hey, thanks again, for, you know, saving my ass."

I raised my eyebrows at how uncomfortable the words sounded coming out of the brunette's mouth, "y-yeah, no problem," I replied.

A toothy grin spread across his face at my stutter, completely replacing the bashfulness that had come along with his apology, "what? Falling for my charm already? I'm flattered."

My cheeks grew warm and I was secretly thankful for the dim lighting, "you wish," I scoffed.

"I kid, I kid," he chuckled, "Nao, right? Well, really, thanks. "

I furrowed my brow in frustration, "why is everyone thanking me so much?"

Kiba's expression dropped, "what do you mean?"

I sighed, and at the back of my mind I wondered why I was still here, talking to the man in front of me, "I mean all I did was my job. I get told to do something, I do it, I get paid, end of story. That should be it. This is the first mission I've had where there's been a, um, uh, an after taste, I guess."

Kiba snorted, "an after taste?"

"Oh, I don't know how to say it," I huffed impatiently, "I guess I'm trying to say that it's the first time the mission hasn't been cut completely off. Like it's the first time I've gotten so many people saying thanks for it. Usually when I finish a mission it's done. I don't stay around to see the clients, I don't hear from them, I don't hold conversations with them outside of the mission… I just…" I was blabbering. I knew I was, so I bit my tongue to keep anymore words from tumbling out of my mouth. Why was I trying to explain myself? I should have already left. I allowed myself a last look at the man on the hospital bed before I made my escape, but was surprised to see a deep frown adorning his features as he stared at me full on. "What?" I said uncertainly.

"You don't get thanked?" he asked softly, frown still prominent on his tanned face.

"Not this much," I said, crossing my arms and cocking my head as if I had already made that fact very obvious. "I do espionage, so my clients don't usually like talking about whatever they get me to do. Top secret stuff."

"That's sad."

I raised an eyebrow at that, a bit confused, "why? I get paid. I don't get why it's necessary to thank me so much. I didn't do this of my own free will. I do it because I get something out of it. Why should I expect any thanks?"

"Naruto said you're fairly new here, to Konoha, I mean," he said, hoisting himself up so he was now sitting with his legs dangling off the side of the bed and facing me completely.

I shrugged, pushing back my annoyance at the sudden change in subject, "I've been here for a year, give or take."

"He also said you don't have many friends."

I felt my entire face heat up. The dim lighting wouldn't be doing me any favors this time. I was sure my complexion was a lovely tomato red by now. "Naruto needs to learn to shut his mouth," I muttered.

Kiba cracked a smile, "hell yeah, he does." He then reached over to the notebook he had previously been writing in and tossed it to me.

I caught it and stared at it, back to Kiba, then back to the notebook, "what's this for?"

"My mission report. Mind handing it in for me when you hand in yours?" he asked as the corner of his mouth turned up in a smirk.

I scowled, "and why should I do that?"

"Because that's what friends do."

That statement stopped me short. I pressed my lips into a fine line, completely at a loss as to what to say. A long silence stretched between us until I finally broke it, "I'm just gonna go now." I turned on my heels and headed for the door. Just as I was about to close it behind me, Kiba spoke up.

"Hey, we're friends now! That means you have to visit me!" I didn't turn back around to look, but I could hear the smile in his voice.

The door shut behind me with a small 'click' and I made no hesitation as I headed for home. The hospital was dark, and the nurse at the front desk looked at me questioningly as I left; it was obviously past visiting hours.

My trek home was short, but gave me some time to think about all that had just taken place. I decided that the next time I saw Naruto I would definitely need to pulverize him. The blond idiot talked way too much for his own good, but I couldn't help but smile at the thought of his actions; he only did it for my benefit, which I appreciated despite the embarrassment that came along with it.

It was true that I didn't have a very large circle of friends within Konoha. Heck, Naruto was the only one who really fell into the 'friend' category. Well, him and now Kiba, I guess. I wasn't too sure about how I felt about the latter though. I looked at the notebook in my hand and then quickly pushed the thought away. I still didn't know the guy well enough for him to be friend material.

I considered everyone else more under the title of 'acquaintance'. It's not that I didn't have friends because no one wanted to be my friend; it's just that I wasn't particularly fond of the idea of having many. I didn't see the point in developing affection for so many people who could be killed or kidnapped in a matter of seconds. Unnecessary relationships were more trouble than they were worth. That's what Grandpa had taught me at least.

I had grown up with my grandfather, my mother's father, in a very small village. My father, a shinobi from a neighboring village, had abandoned my mother, a civilian, when he had found out that she was pregnant. Having lived in such a small place, there wasn't much available in terms of medical care, so my mother had passed away due to complications when giving birth to me.

That left me to be raised by Grandpa. Grandpa had been a shinobi of Konoha up until his early thirties, when he met my late grandmother on a mission and settled down. He trained me from the time I could walk, swearing that he would make me into a "real shinobi," one that was better than that "bastard father" of mine. He was good to me though, and I appreciated all the effort he had put into raising me.

When I came to the door of my apartment I dug my keys out of my pocket and jammed them into the keyhole. I pushed the now unlocked door open, stepped inside the apartment, and shut it behind me. An involuntary smile met my lips as my senses accepted the familiarity of my surroundings. I loved my apartment. To be completely honest, it felt more like home than the village I had grown up in ever did. I missed Grandpa from time to time, but we exchanged letters and I was confident that he could take care of himself.

My apartment wasn't anything super big or fancy, but it was nice. The front door opened up to the living room on the right and the kitchen on the left, the two rooms separated by some counter space in the kitchen that hosted two bar chairs. Branching out from the north wall of the living room was a hall way with a bathroom and master bedroom on the right, a guest bedroom and utility closet on the left, and a storage closet at the end of the hall.

I kicked my shoes off, not even bothering to set them on the little rack I kept next to the door, and headed straight for my bedroom. I threw the notebook on my bed only to have it bounce off and land open on the floor. I didn't even spare it a glance.

A shower was calling my name.

Snatching some clean underwear and an oversized t-shirt from my dresser, I dragged myself over to the bathroom and turned on the water. The small room was soon filled with steam, and I let out a content sigh as I stepped in the shower and warm water began to beat against my tight muscles. I frowned after realizing how gross I was. Then again, what did I expect after being away on a mission for over a week?

I doused myself in body wash and shampooed my hair at least three times. Once I felt I was sufficiently clean, I turned off the now cold water, dried myself with a towel, and pulled the t-shirt on over my head. I dumped my dirty cloths into the washer in the utility closet before heading back to my room, where a tiny chickadee was pecking determinedly on the sliding glass door that led out to a small balcony.

"Kenny!" I cried happily as I padded over to the door and swung it open, allowing the little bird to fly in and land on the perch hanging from the corner of my ceiling.

He twittered happily at me as he hopped around, obviously overjoyed to be back inside.

Kenny, like Tiny, the hawk who had brought Kiba and I back to Konoha, was one of my many shinobi birds. My grandfather had worked with birds back when he was still active duty, and had gotten me adjusted to them from an early age. They were like my extended family. Kenny especially was close to me. I'd been with him for as long as I could remember.

I whistled softly at him and held out my finger as a perch. In response, the little bird flew over and landed gracefully on my index.

"I bet you're hungry," I said, patting his little head, "I am too, let's go see what's good in the kitchen."

Kenny chirped happily in response and flew ahead of me down the hall. He was perched patiently on the back of one of the bar chairs and looked at me expectantly as I fetched some seed from the pantry, poured some on a saucer, and set it on the counter. Once I knew the little bird was content with his meal, I turned to rummage through the fridge for something for myself. Unfortunately, everything with an expiration date had pretty much been spoiled during my absence.

"Just my luck," I muttered darkly as I went to go find a garbage bag.

By the time I finished cleaning out the fridge, the sun was up and filling the apartment with morning light, and the sounds of the village getting ready for the day were meeting my ears. I ran outside to dump the now spoiled food in the dumpster at the back of the apartment building, waving to the landlord as I went.

When I was back inside I grabbed a box of cereal from the pantry and began to eat it dry as I made my way back to my bedroom. I decided restocking my fridge would be a good way to kill the morning hours, so I replaced my oversized t-shirt with a hoodie and some shorts, and pulled my short hair up into a sloppy bun. I analyzed myself in the mirror, noticing how much like a civilian I looked. It had been a good seven months since I had taken some time off of work, so seeing myself in something other than my shinobi gear was a bit foreign.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Kiba's notebook still lying open on the floor. I let out a frustrated sigh, realizing that in it was his mission report, and that I still had to write mine. I went over to retrieve the notebook from the ground, and leafed through the pages. A smile made its way to my lips as I read the notebook's contents. Kenny had long finished his meal and landed lightly on my shoulder as I continued to read. He gave a few nips at some pieces of hair hanging around my face, letting me know that he wanted my attention.

"Hey Kenny, I think I have two friends in Konoha now," I said as I closed the notebook and grabbed my wallet.

Kenny cocked his little head to the side and let out a confused chirp. I just shook my head, smile still in place, and headed out to town with Kenny on my shoulder, my wallet in one hand, and in the other hand, the notebook in which Kiba had written up not only his mission report, but mine as well, signed at the end with a simple statement; because that's what friends do.


A/N: Hooray for progress! I feel like this chapter is giving me the leverage I need to make the story line pick up a bit. It's gotten me super excited about writing upcoming chapters! So what did you all think? Review and let me know how you're liking it so far! I would so start working on chapter 5 RIGHT NOW if it weren't for the fact that I have piles of AP chemistry make-up work waiting for me...so keep reviews coming to get me motivated to write as soon as I'm done! I'll do my best to make updates in a more timely manner:) Once again, you guys are AWESOME, and your support is AMAZING!