Survival Test

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The next day...

"Wake up, Naruto, or you won't have time to eat breakfast!" April said, shaking him awake. She had come over to make sure he didn't sleep  through his alarm by mistake since they weren't used to waking up this early. Even though it was technically morning, it was still dark out.

"... Huh?" Naruto grumbled sleepily, rubbing his eyes. "What're you talkin' about? Kakashi-sensei said to not to eat 'cause we'd throw up..."

"If I throw up, I throw up," April said carelessly with a shrug. She'd just do it real quick and keep going. She wasn't afraid to look stupid. "I'm not skipping breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day!"

"Suit yourself... I'm getting more sleep..." Naruto said, rolling over. April sweat-dropped. Well, that whatever. If he'd rather sacrifice fuel for sleep, that was his choice. Personally, she was going to have herself some oatmeal and orange juice—something filling to give her energy without weighing too heavily on her stomach.

Following the instructions given to them the day before, Naruto, April, Sakura, and Sasuke all arrived at the third training area at 5 A.M. and waited for Kakashi-sensei to arrive and start the test. They waited... and waited... and waited...

"Hey guys, good morning!" their tardy teacher greeted them with a smile as bright as the sun shining in the blue sky above.

"You're late!!!" Naruto and Sakura shouted angrily at him.

"Um, Sensei," April said, raising her hand, "I realized after it was too late to ask you yesterday, that you didn't mention anything about lunch, so I made some bentos just in case. Is there someplace safe I can leave them while we train?"

"What kind of bentos?" Kakashi asked curiously.

"Grilled chicken shish kabobs with rice, peas and carrots, and some pineapple for dessert," she replied, holding out the bag of stacked bento boxes.

'That sounds a lot better than the ones I brought...' Kakashi thought. His had just been picked up from the convenience store on the way there. "All right, Sensei will take good care of them for you," he said, taking the bag. "Be right back."

"Ah, that sounds so good..." Naruto said, drooling. He was starving. He couldn't wait for lunch! "But fruit isn't much of a dessert, you know..."

"I knew you'd say that, so I put some brownies in yours," April said with a wry smile. Of course, those brownies secretly had an extra serving of pureed carrots mixed in, but he didn't need to know that.

"When did you have time to make all of that?" Sakura asked, a little impressed. 'Cha! I should have thought of that!! She'd better not be trying to win Sasuke's heart through his stomach!!' Inner Sakura said aggressively.

"Last night," April answered nonchalantly.

"Ok, now that that's taken care of..." Kakashi said with some noticeably empty hands. He pulled out an odd-looking clock and set it down on the stump next to him.

'That was fast...!' April thought. She hadn't even realized he was gone! She furrowed her brow slightly. 'As I thought... He let the eraser hit him on purpose!!'

"... Okay, it's set for noon," Kakashi finished, pushing down the button on top of the clock to start the timer. He had only used this test on groups of three up until now, but should work just as well with four.

"?" the others said, wondering what he was up to now.

"Here are two bells," he said, holding a couple of bells on strings up for them to see. "Your task is to take these from me before noon. Those who cannot get a bell by noon... get no lunch. I'll not only tie you to one of those stumps, but I'll eat right in front of you," he added, pointing to three tall and thick poles off to the side.

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