Chapter 39~ Good Old Leaf Hospitality

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Suzume's POV

   "I'm going to the Leaf for a few days," I said to Gaara, Temari, and Kankuro. "

   Temari gave me a quick glance. "A mission?" She asked, tying up the last of her four sections of hair (I have no idea why there are 4...). I nodded, gathering up a few supplies, just in case- shuriken, senbon, kunai, etc.

   Gaara pretended not to care, but it was obvious that he did.

   They might come after you again.

   I looked at him and we exchanged nods. "Don't worry," I said brightly, walking past him to flick him on the back of the head.

   I aware, for at least a moment, I saw a small smile come from him. For him, they're few and very far in between.

   "Don't get yourself killed," Kankuro joked as I walked by. I grinned, and he frowned.

   "Huh?"

   "I'm not kidding," He stood up, and slowly walked over to me. "The higher-ups in the village are going to be watching. They despise your brother, so no doubt aren't going to trust you. Why else would they send you on a mission... alone?"

   I looked down at my feet. Kankuro had never really expressed concern for me. I tried to lighten the mood. "What do you think I'm gonna do, come home with 5 boyfriends and a baby? It's 3 DAYS."

   I fended them off once, what's the big deal this time?

   My oldest brother ruffled his fingers through his hair. "If you say so..."

   "See ya!" I waved, stepping into the dusty road outside. Clutching the scroll for the Hokage in my hand, I walked to the edge of the village, and ran down the sandy path leading to the Leaf.

***

   The venture there was rather easy- no enemy ninja were found, no higher-ups of Suna were evaluating me, like Kankuro warned me about.

   When I walked up to the entrance to the village, I presented my ID and proof of permission to the 2 ninja waiting at the gate, and they let me pass.

    I made my way toward the Hokage's office, passing a few familiar faces along the way TenTen, Kiba and his dog, even the kid with all the bugs.

   A shinobi in a mask was guarding the door to the Hokage's building. "State your name and your purpose." A man's voice recited coldly.

   "Suzume of the Sand. from Suna. I've come to deliver a letter to the Hokage." Once again, I presented my proof of permission, and I took out the message, too.

   "Very well." the man knocked on the Hokage's door a few times, then opened it. He allowed me to enter first.

   The Hokage sure wasn't the one from before, the serious old man with wrinkles and a white beard. The new Hokage was a woman with blond hair, a marking on her forehead.

   I bowed my head, then held out the scroll. "From the Kazekage," I stated.

   She smiled a little. "Thank you," She said before pulling out a slip of paper. "There should be a squad waiting outside to show you to your place. Here," She handed me the paper. "This will be your ticket. to leave once it's time."

   "Thanks," I bowed my head once more before leaving.

***

   The masked shinobi lead me outside, then disappeared. The Hokage was right- a squad WAS waiting for me, and I recognized them immediately. It was Hikari's squad. with Naruto, Sakura, and their sensei, Kakashi.

   Naruto's draw dropped in surprise that it was me, not someone else.

   Sakura looked horrified, probably still terrified since I knocked her out last time I saw her.

   I really left a lasting impression, didn't I?

   Hikari glared over toward her mortified comrades. "Come ON, how cowardly can you possibly be?"

   Kakashi gave me a closed eye smile. "Don't mind them..." He looked over to his students. "Naruto. Sakura. Stop overreacting." He Scratched his head in embarrassment. "Welcome to the Leaf. We'll show you to your room."

*** 

   Once I got all my stuff situated, Naruto and Sakura had finally calmed down, and Hikari was talking to me.

   "Sasuke still hasn't returned..." She murmured. The mention of Sasuke brought Sakura to tears.

   I looked down. I never really knew him, but I felt bad for them.

   After a long silence,I changed the subject. "Is there anything planned for today?"

   Kakashi shook his head. "No. There's a joint mission tomorrow, but I'll explain that when it's time. Speaking of, there isn't anything else I have to say, so you all can go."

   Hikari grabbed me by the arm. "Let's go for a walk!" She said, taking me into the forest, then letting go of me.

   As we walked and talked, the trees echoed the sound of training ninja, yet one sound stopped both of us in our tracks.

   A voice.

   "So I see you've returned."

   Hikari and I both turned around quickly, only to see what Fumiko had once called my "rival".

   Neji.

***

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~Michelle

  

  

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