Mar awoke the next morning to Sakura trying to sneak out. "It feels so weird to be on the other end of that." Mar mused aloud, bemused at Sakura's guilty look at waking her. "I get up around this time anyway, Sakura-chan, so don't worry about it." Sakura seemed about to protest, but changed her mind when she noticed the time. "Oh! I've got to be going Mar-chan. Have a good day." Mar chuckled as the girl fled the room. "We'll see, Sakura, we'll see." Everyone was gathered at the door, sans Naruto, when Mar walked out of Sakura's room. "He's pushed himself to the limit, he won't be waking up until later tonight." Kakashi was saying, looking at Mar as she made an appearance. Mar tilted her head in a perfect imitation of Tobi, giving Kakashi a questioning look. Well she was sure he'd be bringing up his concerns eventually. Sasuke was also staring at her, which was very unnerving considering his general disinterest in anything that won't help him in his training.
"Can I help you?" Mar eventually asked, gazing back at him impassively. Without deigning to answer Sasuke turned away, heading out the door. 'He's just a little punk, relax.' Mar told herself, feeling several facial muscles twitch in response. "Well, if everyone is here we should be going." Kakashi finally said when Tazuna came into view. The bridge expedition set off, and Mar had a conundrum. The thugs were going to show up at some point after Naruto left, but did Mar want to be here when they did? She could always go for a walk, conveniently not being here when they arrived. Mar hesitated at that thought though, unwilling to leave Inari and Tsunami behind. How to get them to believe her, however? Head hanging in defeat, Mar reached her decision.
After the three of them finished breakfast, and were cleaning up, Naruto came barreling out of the boys' room in his pajamas. Frantically searching the room, his eyes finally came to a stop on them. "Where is everyone?!" Naruto demanded. "Your sensei said that you would be exhausted, and let you have the day off." Tsunami explained, a bit alarmed at his energy level. "They ditched me!" Naruto shouted, spinning about and slamming the door shut behind him as he got dressed. Fully clothed, Naruto then raced out the door in an attempt to catch up to his team. "That boy sure is energetic." Tsunami hummed, going back to the dishes. "I would say highly excitable, myself." Mar agreed, drying the dishes as she finished them. Tsunami had protested when Mar had offered to help, stating that as their guest she really had no need to pitch in. Mar had counter-argued that seeing as how they were allowing her to stay for free during obviously hard times, she should be allowed to help out in any way she could. Tsunami could not argue the logic, and had bowed to Mar's superior debating skills.
It was as they were just finishing up that the swordsmen made their appearance. The toilet had just been flushed, making Mar wince slightly, and the door opened behind them. Back stiffening in suspense, Mar slipped out the side door Inari would later be appearing in before their new guests could spot her. She found Inari just as Tsunami screamed. "Mom?!" Inari called out in concern, trying to get around Mar. Mar made a grab for his arm, but the squirt proved to be more nimble than she expected and ducked around her. Chasing after him, mouth dry from her own fear, Mar stumbled through the door into the kitchen behind Inari. "Well, well what have we here? No one mentioned another girl would be here." Scars said to his partner, hefting his sword in anticipation. "Enough, we just need the daughter. Grab her and let's go." The other said, obviously bored. Scars didn't seem all that keen on letting the two of them go, and Mar tugged Inari behind herself in a vain attempt to shield him. Inari's legs gave out from under him, as his mother pleaded for both their lives and Mar grit her teeth in irritation. Never before had she felt quite so useless as she did now.
Tying Tsunami's wrists together, the two thugs led her out of the house as Inari and Mar watched helplessly. Making sure they were out of sight, Mar turned and knelt down to Inari taking his chin in her hand. "Listen, little brat. I know we've only just met, and you don't know me, but I can tell you this. Your mother is going to be fine. We just need to provide a suitable distraction." Mar squeezed his chin slightly to be sure she had his attention. "Do you have anything we can use as a weapon around here? Say, a bow or staff?" Inari just sat there for a moment, tears running down his face as he trembled from shock. "Or were you just going to sit there and cry, while those thugs took your mom?" Mar sneered, hoping to snap Inari out of his little pity party.
Something in his eyes changed, growing more determined, and Inari nodded as he stood up. "I have something we can use!" Mar followed him as he led the way to his room.
"Hey! You can't have my mom!" The shout echoed slightly in the still morning air, causing the three people walking away from the house to pause. "You again? I thought you were just a crybaby." Scars said, turning to face Inari. "You leave him alone! Or I'll bite my tongue, I swear-" Tsunami's thought was cut off, sadly, when Bandana decided that knocking her out was preferable to listening to her. "Just go to sleep already." Inari saw red, and with a battle cry he completely disregarded Mar's carefully thought out battle plan and charged at the two of them.
Mar cursed as she saw Scars swing his blade in a downwards arc, much too early for Naruto to have already arrived, and reacted. Jumping out of the hiding spot she had found for her master plan, which had just died before it could really live, Mar dove at Inari in an attempt to push him out of the way. What kind of grateful guest would she be in she let Tazuna's grandson get killed by these punks? Shoving Inari out of the way just in time, Mar rolled onto her back in time to see the blade continuing it's descent. Athletics were never her thing, which she vowed to rectify if she lived through this particular lapse of judgement, Mar couldn't move out of the way fast enough. Closing her eyes in an attempt to block out her imminent doom, Mar felt a sudden rush of movement before hearing an alarmed shout. "Where'd she go?!"
'Oh thank you god, it's about time Naruto!' Mar opened her eyes and saw Tsunami sprawled out on the ground to her left, and Inari sitting to her right. With this hero worship look on his face. "Sorry I'm late, but the hero always waits until the nick of time to save the day!" Naruto exclaimed, turning back to the enemy just in time to watch his clones knock them out. "That doesn't mean take your sweet time!" Mar snapped, heart still thudding in her chest. Never before had she been so sure that she was going to die. Mar wasn't planning on reliving the experience anytime soon. Or ever. "Sorry Mar-chan! Are you guys okay?" Naruto asked, checking her over. Mar grumbled a bit, but then sighed before shoving him gently towards the road. "Yeah, we'll be fine. Don't you have a bridge builder to guard?" Naruto grinned at her before taking off through the trees.
"Okay Inari. Get your crossbow. We've got a village to rouse." Mar said seriously, jaw set in determination. "It's time we all fought for those precious to us."
They didn't remember her, but she remembered them. Mar couldn't just stop loving her boys as though the last few months had never happened, even if she bothered to try. So she would help defend them, at the end when they were too worn out to defend themselves. Mar would just need some help.