[16] Let the Exams Begin!

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"Hana-chan, come here." Bunko's kind voice sounded like a melody to Kohana's ears. She missed it when she called her name. It had been years since she did so. Her outward appearance hadn't changed a bit, it even looked like she never even grew- not that she never saw her every day. But Kohana was sure she had grown inside, more mature, that is.

Kohana looked around, still uncertain if it was her she was calling out to. She curiously looked around but to find no one else approaching Bunko. So she smiled and jogged over to the young woman.

Her caramel brown hair seemed almost a dark blond under the bright rays of the sun and the clear blue sky up above. The clouds were lacking and that's just how Kohana liked it. Bunko's face was clear of any blemishes or stray hair, her bangs opting to frame her face instead. Her eyes were still a bright green but there was a small, blue-ish tint to them, giving emphasis to her over-all gentle face. Her skin was in between tanned and pale, she was a slender woman and fairly tall. It was a surprise to most people that she never had a lover, despite the many men that were willing to fall on their knees for her.

Bunko's thin lips curled into an almost sad, guilt-ridden smile. But Kohana, despite her perceptive eyes didn't notice them, she was too busy rejoicing at the fact that Bunko had finally spoken to her... after so many years.

"Hello, Hana-chan."

"H-Hi, Bun-chan! Do... do you need to-to talk to me about some...thing?" Kohana asked timidly, her tongue tripping over her words.

"Can I have a moment with you?"

"Uh... yeah, I got nothing else to do for now I guess... just finished training."

The smile stuck to her face as she gestured for Kohana to come with her. Like a lost puppy, which Kohana didn't mind at the moment, she followed obediently.

They sat themselves on a stone bench, there were children running around and it was quite an appeasing and peaceful sight. The shade of the tree above them was as perfect as the gentle breeze that blew at wisps of their hair. Bunko tucked a lock of her shoulder-length hair behind her ear whilst watching the children laugh and play around with an old woman.

"How have you been, Hana-chan?" Kohana's name felt almost foreign to her tongue and Bunko regretted that almost as much as she regretted turning her back on Kohana. That time... she was weak. She was selfish, afraid for herself. But when she had realized what she did was wrong, it was too late.

Kohana fiddled with her thumbs shyly and chewed on the side of her bottom lip. "I've been good, I guess."

One of the things that stuck to Bunko was her ability to sense Kohana's lies from thousands of miles away. That was how much they knew each other, how close they were. "Are you sure?"

Kohana grinned at Bunko, only for it to drop suddenly from just one look at the children. She looked away and sighed, resting her back against the bench. She crossed her arms over her head in an almost laid-back manner.


The brunette smiled sadly and leaned forward, looking back at Kohana. "Tell me about it... but first. I want to say... congratulations."

The troubled look on Kohana's face was replaced by a very much perplexed one. "Say what? Why?"

Bunko chuckled lightly at the girls reaction and leaned back, flicking the girl's forehead protector. "Congratulations on finally becoming a kunoichi. Also... tell Naruto and Sasuke I also said congratulations... I know what happened to Naruto... you were there weren't you?"

Eyes wide open, Kohana sat up straight and stared at Bunko with her curiosity at its peak. "How'd you know about that?!"

"I keep tabs on you, y'know. Through Iruka-san. That was nice of you... to give up your forehead protector to graduate with Naruto. I don't think anyone else is brave enough to do that."

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