Kakashi and I left the Hokage's Residence and headed back into the center of town. "Come on," he said. "Let's celebrate. I know just the place."
We soon arrived at a place called Ichiraku Ramen. It was a small restaurant, but it had charm. We walked in and took a seat on the bar stools.
As I sat, an overwhelming fragrance of fresh food and ramen filled my nostrils. My stomach growled furiously in reply. I forgot, I haven’t eaten anything today.
An older man greeted us, "How are you two today? What can I get for you?"
Kakashi placed our order, "Hello Teuchi, we will just have two miso ramen. Thank you."
"Coming right up," the man replied. "Ayame! You heard the man," he called to the girl working behind the counter. They both got straight to cooking.
I watched the two chiefs prepare the food when I heard Kakashi's name being called. A man around Kakashi's age, possibly younger, who wore a similar uniform, approached.
"Ah, Iruka," Kakashi turned to greet him. "What brings you here?"
Iruka was average built with brown hair pulled up into a pony tail. He had dark brown eyes and a scar that ran across the bridge of his nose. "I was in the area and decided to stop by for dinner. Looks like I made a good choice." He smiled.
Kakashi introduced me and I gave a friendly smile. Iruka sat next to Kakashi and joined us for dinner.
"So, Kakashi, are you ready to meet your new students tomorrow? I got to hand it to you, they are a rambunctious group. Naruto Uzumaki is a handful by himself, but Sasuke Uchiha will also be in your group. For whatever reason, Sasuke seems to fuel Naruto's flame, making him even more boisterous, especially when the third teammate, Sakura Haruno, is busy admiring Sasuke."
Kakashi sighed, "It seems I will have my hands full with them, but we will see how successful they will be at my bell test. That will ultimately test how well they can work together."
Iruka nodded with agreement as our meals were served. My bowl of miso ramen was placed in front of me and my mouth waters. It smells so good!
Halfway through scarfing down my ramen, my attention was drawn toward outside. The three of us peaked outside the restaurant to see what the commotion was.
"It's Naruto, again! He's up to no good like always." Iruka complained, rolling his eyes.
I witnessed a small boy running away from multiple adults. He had crazy yellow hair that was somewhat maintained by a pair of goggles. He wore an orange jumpsuit. In his hands, he carried a paint brush along with a bucket of paint.
The wild boy ran into the restaurant, "Hi Teuchi! Hi Ayame! I hope you are both preparing a bowl of ramen for me!" he screamed.
Teuchi replied, unaffected by the pandemonium outside. "Yes Naruto, we have a bowl waiting for you just the way you like it. Extra pork."
The boy gleamed and realized he wasn't the only costumer. "Hi Iruka Sensei. Hi Kakashi Sensei. Did you see the artwork I did on the Great Stone Faces? They look much better that way!" He then stared at me "Who are you? You look new! I'm Naruto Uzumaki! Believe it!"
Before I could even attempt to reply, we all heard shouts coming from outside.
"Got to run!" Naruto yelled. And with that, he disappeared as quickly as he appeared.
I could see why Iruka called Naruto, rambunctious. That kid had way too much energy. He could probably run up a mountain without it fazing him. Heck, he could probably run across the country without breaking a sweat. What a wild child.
After we finished our delicious bowls of ramen and I shamelessly had a second round, Iruka said his goodbyes and explained how he had to go find Naruto to yell and order him to clean up his mess. Kakashi, after, escorted me to where I would be staying. My temporary home was in an apartment complex on the east side of the village. Kakashi and I walked up to the third floor as he juggled the keys.
He unlocked the door, "Home sweet home."
We both walked inside and I looked at my new home. It was small, very small. It could easily be defined as a hole in the wall. To the right of the entrance stood a crooked coat hanger and a bathroom to the left. The room soon opened up into the main living area. With the small kitchenette on the far right wall, a small round table that seated four was placed in front of it. Next to the kitchen were tall, floor to ceiling cream curtains. The other side of the room had the bed with two small nightstands with matching lamps. The finishing touch was the light fixture that hung over the kitchen table, with one of the two bulbs burned out.
As if he could read my mind, "It's small, but it has character. You see, this place has something special."
Curious, I followed Kakashi to the far end of the apartment to the curtains. He pulled them back to reveal a charming little balcony that overlooked the village. Lights glimmered in all directions. The nightlife was busy with entertainers preforming some sort of light show. Children were chasing after each other, parents calling them to not wonder too far. Everyone looked genuinely happy and content with life. It was a hidden gem, full of surprises.
I noticed that the other apartments didn't have balconies except for the one right of me but that one was smaller than my own. This place was certainly unique from the others.
"I left a pair of pajamas on the bed for you. Make yourself comfortable. Head to bed early because we will be meeting our teammates at 6 a.m. sharp."
I nodded and escorted Kakashi to the door. "Oh, by the way," as Kakashi opened the door. "I live in the apartment next door so if you need anything, don't be hesitant to knock."
Before I could react, he nonchalantly waved goodnight and closed the door behind him. I sighed, walked to my new bed and laid down with a heavy plop.
The Hokage had his concerns with me if he placed me next to Kakashi. I knew I was a mystery, but I was a weak, little girl. Did I appear that menacing?
Saddened by the thought, I knew exactly what could cheer me up. A freaking shower!
I pranced into my bathroom with a towel and fresh pajamas and hopped into the shower. Warm water cascaded down my back as the layers, of what I thought were permanent, grime washed off. As I washed, I felt the structure of my body. I examined my skin, my curves from the slenderness of my legs to the broadness of my shoulders. Relearning this vessel, that was apparently mine.
Satisfied, I turned off the water, left the shower and changed. I was thankful that all the necessities I would need were already in my bathroom. I took my comb and brushed through my hair. When was the last time I brushed my hair? It was a giant rat's nest.
I was surprised it wasn’t dreadlocked.
As I brushed, I stared at myself in the small mirror over the sink. It was the first time I was really seeing myself since I had awaken. As I fought to detangle my knotted hair, I learned that it was very long, down to my waist, and wavy. Waves of a soft chestnut brown waterfall down my body. A few strands at the bottom curled like a stubborn pigs' tail. Fringed bangs stopped just below my eyebrows. My skin tone was olive and my cheekbones and jawline were pronounced and framed my face.
The most noticing appearance on my face were my eyes. They were large and piercing as they were light green, like the color of celery.
All of these features were unrecognizable. The long, wavy chestnut hair, the olive skin, the pronounced cheeks and angular jawline, were all new to me. I would have never known that the girl staring back at me was me. That this face belonged to me.
Every day, I was going to learn something new about myself whether it was physical or mental or even emotional. This unknown entity was mine and the thought that I had to discover everything on my own was scary and overwhelming.
In the mirror, a glimmer of hope rose within me. Even though my facial features looked lost, my vibrant eyes were full of promise and determination. Promising I will be alright and determined I will find myself, that I was strong enough to do so.
Ready to end my eventful day, I went to lie down and stared up at my ceiling.
Ready to end my eventful day, I went to lie down and stared up at my ceiling. I questioned how life was going to play out from here. Would it be possible to win the Hokage’s trust? If I unraveled the secrets lying dormant inside me, would that be reason enough to trust me? Would he let me stay then or will worry still fill his heart. Even if I did win his trust and he let me stay, did I even want that? The village was nice but I couldn't lie to myself and think that I belonged here. Not by a long shot. The villagers already looked at me, knowing fully well that I didn't. Their smiles were warm but I could read traces of concern from their eyes. Maybe no one would want me to stay.
With that thought, something dawned on me. How did Kakashi buy me a pair of pajamas and the other things when he was with me the whole day? He was with me the whole time and I didn't see him make a shadow clone. There could be dozens of ways how he got the pajamas. Pondering this, I knew it was false hope, but maybe Kakashi knew I could stay. Maybe he knew the Hokage would allow me to stay, even if it was temporary. Maybe he wanted me to stay.
Knowing fully well that that could be pushing it, it was enough to ease my mind and coax me into a deep sleep.
I was left alone to face my faith. It was cold and damp here. Water droplets hit the cement ground in the distance, echoing the silent room.
My perception of the world was thrown off balance as I laid sideways on the ground. Dirt and grime rubbed abrasively against my cheek. Heavy-duty chains wrapped multiple times around my frail body, binding me in place. No matter how hard I tried to focus, the room remained pitch black. I knew then, there was no point in struggling.
I laid in silence. Only the dripping water and my shaking breath accompanied me. All I could think about was how I knew I was going to die.
Heavy footsteps echoed in the distance, coming closer. My heart beating faster than a hummingbird's wings, with each beat hammering harder against my rib cage.
DRIP. DRIP. DRIP!
The footsteps stopped and I heard a person fiddle with some keys. The door to my dungeon creaked open slowly. A black silhouette walked towards me. I tried to move but I couldn't, not in the least bit. The figure loomed over me. Large, menacing, monstrous. The reaper before my eyes.
But, my panic breaths began to steady, in recognition.
The next thing I knew, my body was thrown into an upper-right position. My world began to spin as I felt the needle stab into my arm. Wincing in pain, I tried my best to focus. I wanted to see who this entity was. My eyes focused and only was able to capture the sight of eyes. Sea foam pupil-less eyes stared intently at me. Dizziness consumed me once again.
My body jolted upright causing me to fall off my bed, knocking the lamp off the nightstand in the process. The lamp, like my mind, shattered on the floor.
I wheezed. What in the world was that!? It felt like I was there. I thought I was… I thought I was going to die.
My body shook uncontrollably. I placed my hand over my jumpy heart and tried to breathe long and steady breaths, a failed attempt to calm myself. Where was I? Whose silhouette did I just see? Could any of that be real?
A knock from the balcony's glass sliding door snapped me out of my spell. Kakashi stood outside with anticipation.
I composed myself as best as I could muster and unlocked the sliding door.
"Are you alright?" he asked. His face expressed tiredness and concern.
Still shaking, I nodded, avoiding eye contact with him. Kakashi didn't look too convinced, but he nodded and jumped back over to his balcony.
I closed the sliding door, locked it and went to clean up the scattered glass on the floor. Then, I crawled my tired body back into bed where I spend the remaining hours of the night trying to calm my wired mind.