• Kakashi cleared his throat again. I let out a loud sigh. "I have to go train again. See you later, Akane. Wanna meet me and Kiba for ramen later?"
    "sure," she said.
    i turned back to Kakashi, and we moved back to our fighting stances. He stared at me for a long while, and feeling slightly dizzy, I leaned on my knees. "What?" I asked, wiping my brow. "Let's go, already. I'm waiting for you to say start or something."
    "Are you feeling alright?" he asked warily.
    "Hunky dory," I said with a smirk. "Let's go."
    "Alright. Try to get the bell off of my belt..." he held up a small silver bell, jingling it slightly. "I used this with my own team. It's very effective."
    Kakashi suddenly flew at me after I said this, and lashed out with a fist. I ducked, and pivoted, just to see him launching a high kick at my chest. i bent backwards, set my hands on the ground, and made a sorry attempt at a backwards cartwheel. it worked, however ugly, and I was out of range. But then suddenly he was crouching, leg swinging at mine. I scittered out of the way and launched a roundhouse kick at his head- which he ducked, and he immedietly countered by lunging at me, ramming his shoulder into my chest. I hit the ground, skidded, planted my hands on the ground, and righted myself. As Kakashi straightened I jumped at him, and feinted a punch to the jaw. He jerked his head out of the way, and as I hit the ground, I whirled away from his punch and aimed at his side, reaching for the belt. But suddenly he had clamped a hand around my arm and swung me over his head, before letting go. I slammed into the ground with a loud grunt.
    Feeling blood welling in my mouth from where I had bit my tongue in the crash, I rolled onto my stomach. My head spun and dots swarmed in front of my eyes. momoko chittered angrily from where he had been watching on the bench. Kakashi walked over. "Maybe that's enough training for today."
    he reached down and took my arm, heaving me up even though I angrily told him I could stand by myself. "i'll practice that move on my uncle," I laughed then, stooping to pick up Momoko, swooning when i straightened. "He won't know what hit him."
    he nodded. 'Well, see you tomorrow. Get some rest."

    Watching Matsuo go back to training, I decided to get cleaned up at my house, before meeting her, and Kiba at Ichiraku's. (I think that's the ramen bars name anyways.) Finally getting there, I opened the door, then jumped when I came face to face with, Juro my brother. "What are you doing here again?!" I questioned seeming as this had become normal finding my brother in my apartment.
    "I wanted to visit my baby sister," Juro said with a pout. "Is that such a problem?" I sighed, starring at him for a moment.
    "No it's not, but you really do have to leave soon," I told him. "I'm going to meet with some friends for ramen," He flopped down on my coach next. "You need to leave once I'm ready, okay?" I asked him very slowly seeming as he wasn't listening to me.
    "Okay," he said waving his hand at me to continue with my business. Grabbing clothes I ran into the bathroom, and took a quick shower to get rid of the sweat, from training. Getting dressed I ran out to get my shoes on. I ran back to the tiny living room, to find Sho, and Miki jumping on Juro in happiness of seeing him.
    "Out," I told him pointing my thumb over my shoulder. Miki and Sho came back over to me while he stood up. He walked up to me, and gave me a hug. Analyzing him for a moment something seemed a bit different.
    "Did you grow?" I asked in a surprisingly confused tone.
    "Yes I did. Seeming as I was able to get out today, the only thing you're concerned about is me growing, and you're being so rude to your brother too!" He said walking to a window.
    "Yeah I just needed to know you were alive, for my liking and as seeing as you went willingly I will not go after the people who took you either," I opened my door to leave, and he was already gone from the window which he left. Exiting the apartment I left to go meet Matsuo and Kiba.

    I hurried back to Iruka's, thinking the whole time -late, I'm going to be late! i had to hurry to meet Kiba and Akane - hopefully he wouldn't be ticked off that I had invited Akane along. Ducking into the house, I passed by Iruka, ignoring him when he asked how my day had went. I hurried to shower and I changed into black sweatpants and a nice, pale green shirt with dark green sleeves. I brushed my hair but from being in a braid for so long and so often, it was wavy despite my efforts. I went back into the kitchen, swiping ten dollars off of the counter.
    "I'll be back soon."
    "Matsuo, wait."
    Iruka's voice was demanding. I turned. "What?"
    He stood, arms folded nearby. He didn't look half as angry as he had sounded. "You can't just ignore me like that," he said, mouth set in a firm line. "where are you going?"
    "I"m going to the ramen bar to meet Akane and Kiba." I said. "Can I go now? I'm running late as it is."
    "I suppose," he said quietly. "But I want to talk to you when you get back."
    i lingered hesitantly. "Is something wrong?"
    "Well, it's about someone..."
    "Do you finally have a girlfriend?!" I exclaimed, beaming. "I need to meet her! who is she? That nice girl from the ramen bar?"
    He blushed. "No, I don't have a girlfriend. Just...I'll tell you later."
    Great. Only Iruka would make me worry when I was supposed to be happy. Shaking my head slightly, I tugged the door open. "See you then." Slipping outside, i hurried to the ramen bar, not nearly as weak as I had been after leaving practise. Maybe the shower had helped, even though I was slightly stiff. When I got to the bar, Akane and Kiba were sitting, talking quietly. they turned as i walked up.

    "Matsuo's finally here!" Kiba exclaimed, while Matsuo took a bench in between us.
    "Sorry I'm a bit late, I had the training with Kakashi," She said trying to catch her breath from running here.
    "So how'd it go with the training?" I questioned. "It looked like you were kicking his butt, when I got there," I said smiling.
    "Yeah but once you left it kind of switched," Matsuo said looking at the menu.
    "So......?" I paused thinking if I should ask this question. "Was this meant as a date for you and Kiba?" I looked away quickly before I could get a glare from Matsuo.
    She was opening her mouth to speak, but a different voice came out. "Yes it was!" Kiba said proudly. I giggled for a bit thinking about them on a date. With the ramen arriving we started eating. I slurped some ramen up, to be met with the hotness of the noodles.
    "Hot! Hot!" I mumbled in a loud whisper. I quickly swallowed to get rid of the burning noodles. Once I was finished with my little charades I looked over to see Kiba and Matsuo looking at me oddly.

    i giggled at Akane and prodded my ramen anxiously, iruka hovering in the back of my head, and the violent spar with Kakashi. my tongue seared with pain every time I tried to eat, so i just focused on chatting with the others. "How's training with Guy-Sensei going?" I asked, turning to Akane.
    "we haven't had that much training with him." she mused. "Mostly we've been training by ourselves."
    "like you with Asuma," I remarked.
    Kiba turned to her. "Nice necklace," he commented, smiling.
    She looked at it, as if she had forgotten it was there. "Oh, yeah. Thanks! my brother gave it to me."
    We ate in silence for a few minutes. "We should go train as a group sometime," Kiba said, finishing off his ramen. I groaned.
    "No thanks. Between missions and training with Kakashi, I feel like I'm about to drop dead. I'll use that extra time to sleep, thank you."
    Akane laughed. "You're getting good at Taijutsu, though, so it's paying off."
    "Actually, I still suck. Even though I like to think of myself as pretty skilled with the Dancing Leaf Shadow." I added quickly. "That was his clone last time, though."
    "Ooh, thats a bummer." Kiba snickered. "So you can only beat clones."
    I turned and whacked him in the hand hard with my chopstick. He recoiled with a yowl. "I can beat you," I shot back. I turned back to see Akane laughing behind her hand.

    I stopped laughing, "I wonder what we're going to do next on our journey of ninja hood?" I thought allowed to the others.
    "More missions," Matsuo said.
    "Maybe we would get to fight some big evil ninja!" Kiba said excitedly.
    "And then we'd have to go find a goat!" I said smiling at them. They both looked at me again. "What?" I asked confused.
    "We actually had to go find a goat," Matsuo said, then trying to eat her ramen.
    "Yep, and it was easy!" Kiba said.
    "You wouldn't have found it so easy if you didn't ask for my help," Matsuo mentioned.
    "Well that's one thing to cross off your list!" I told them happily, smiling. They both agreed, noticing how I was right. I heard chittering coming from beneath us. "What's that sound?" I questioned both of them. Both Matsuo and Kiba, shrugged, and went back to eating.

    After another minute or so of eating (or trying to eat) I set down my chopsticks and stood. "I'd better get back home. It was nice hanging out with you guys."
    "I'll walk you home!" Kiba hopped up. "Bye, Akane."
    "Yeah. Bye, Akane." I waved at her and turned, hurrying away from the ramen shop. Kiba followed, and slung an arm over my shoulders.
    "That was fun," he remarked.
    I blushed. "Yep. Tons."
    He glanced at me curiously. "You...you did'nt mean that to be a date, did you?"
    I sighed. "No, not really. I just felt bad that we couldn't spar." I glanced at him. "I like you, Kiba, but...not like that."
    "you mean, not yet." He grinned at me. "You'll fall madly in love with me soon."
    Laughing, I elbowed him in the ribs playfully. "You're so full of yourself."
    When we reached Iruka's, he stood, hands in pockets, with Akamaru sleeping in the hood of his jacket. momoko had been left at the house, sleeping on the couch. "Well, that was still pretty fun, date or not. So, maybe we could-"
    Feeling braver then usual, I leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek lightly. "Thanks for understanding." with this, I pulled open the door. "Good night."
    Blushing furiously, Kiba stared at me as I closed the door. When i locked it, i could hear a murmured good night from him, before he walked off. I kicked off my shoes at the door. "Uncle Iruka!! Im back!"
    wood creaked from not far off. I crept into the living room warily. "Uncle Iruka?"
    Kakashi suddenly emerged from the shadows, with Kurenai aside of him. I stared at them in confusion, until I saw the furniture behind them. Ripped up, tossed aside, shattered.
    My worst fear came to mind. "W-what's going on?" I stammered. "What happened? Where's my uncle?"
    Kakashi glanced away. Kurenai stepped forward and set her hands on my shoulders. "Matsuo, Iruka's been taking to the hospital. We'll explain everything on the way. Come on."
    Feeling numb, I followed them out of the house. Both had a hand on either of my shoulders, leading me barefooted down the road to the hospital. Iruka's hurt, maybe badly... the thought bounced around my brain, but nothing made sense. He couldn't be hurt...he was IRUKA. Sensei. Uncle. Chunin. Academy instructor.