As I Wake

Team Seven... Plus One

We're late.

It was the next morning. Kakashi and I headed to meet the graduating students, dubbed Team 7, at the academy.

When he said 6 a.m. sharp; I thought he meant 6 a.m. sharp, I mentally complained.

I crossed my arms and gave him a disapproved look.

"What?" He replied nonchalantly. "It's a perfect day for a stroll."

I sighed. There was no point in silently arguing with the man. And I got to hang it to him, it was nice out.

Shortly after, we arrived at the academy and walked towards the classroom where we were apparently meeting them. Before opening the door to officially meet my temporary teammates, Kakashi gave me a sideways glance. "Why do you look so nervous?"

I didn't realize that I was until he mentioned it. I hadn't formally met people my age before. I didn't know how they would react or how I was supposed to react. Would I like them? More importantly, would they like me?

I shrugged as Kakashi placed his hand on the door and pushed it open when a chalkboard eraser landed on his head.

I jumped back. What the fuck?

We were greeted to the sound of cackling. The Wild Child from yesterday, officially known as Naruto, was bent over with one hand holding his stomach and the other pointing at Kakashi. "Hahaha!" He started has he tried to control his laughter. "I got him. He totally fell for it."

Puzzlement crept onto my face. Kakashi had to know the eraser was placed there. He was a high ranked shinobi. Why would he let himself fall for it?

As Naruto continued his laughing fit, a long pink haired, green-eyed girl, who I assumed was Sakura, apologized parsimoniously. "I'm sorry sensei! I told him not to do it, but he wouldn't listen. I would never do anything like that!" Her sunken, dull eyes and unpleasant smile were more menacing with each syllable she spoke. Not convincing enough to be sorry.

Not sure what Kakashi intended to do, he picked up the chalk eraser. "Hmmm, how can I say this? My first impression of this group… you're a bunch of idiots," he said causally, as if it wasn't a complete insult.

I covered my mouth to conceal my devious grin. Naruto was such a prankster and Sakura seemed like a complete sociopath. From that huge smirk on her face, she seemed to enjoy Naruto's recklessness and loved to see him get into trouble. The girl could shatter a concrete wall with the twinkle in her eyes.

On the other hand, the last member of the team, hadn't shown any physical or emotional movements. Either he was the dark and mysterious type, or he was a stoner. I wanted to wave my hands over his eyes to see if he would blink.

Kakashi cleared his throat, "Right, let's go outside and get to know each other a little more."

Team 7, plus one, traveled outside to 'get to know each other a little more'. We settled at the bottom of a set of stairs. The students sat by the steps as Kakashi and I leaned against the railing of the balcony. It was too intimidating to be next to the trio.

"Hey, Kakashi sensei!" Naruto yelled. "I saw that girl yesterday at Ichiraku Ramen with you! Why is she here with us?" As he pointed to me, "I thought teams were only groups of four shoenobi!"

"It's SHI-nobi, you dunce," Sakura corrected.

Kakashi ignored Naruto's statement and introduced me. He explained how I was new in the village and was assigned to help me adapt to the shinobi life. "Just think of Quorra as an internee," he concluded.

I gave my temporary team a small wave.

"Alright, why don't you introduce yourselves one at a time," Kakashi said.

Sakura replied, "Introduce ourselves? Well, what are we supposed to say?"

"Things you like, things you hate, dreams for the future, hobbies... things like that," he clarified.

Naruto replied, "Why don't you tell us stuff first, so we can see how it's supposed to work."

"Me? I'm Kakashi Hatake. Things I like and things I hate, um, don't feel like telling you that. My dreams for the future, never thought about it. As for hobbies, I have many."

The four of us gave him a look as if he just did something completely inexplicable. Even Naruto was flabbergasted. Kakashi would bullshit with us.

After a moment for Kakashi's remark to sink in, Sakura summed up what we were all thinking. "That was totally useless. All you told us was your name."

We all nodded our heads in agreement. Yup, he's completely useless.

"Kakashi sensei, that didn't help us squat! Believe it!" Naruto accused.

It didn't faze Kakashi. "Okay, your turn. You won the right, you first."

"Believe it! I'm Naruto Uzumaki. I like instant ramen in a cup, but even more, I like the ramen Iruka-sensei gets me at the Ichiraku Ramen noodle shop! My hobby is to eat different kinds of ramen and comparing them. And my future dream is to become the greatest Hokage, then the whole village will stop disrespecting me and start treating me like I'm somebody, somebody important!"

Alright, this kid obviously had an unnatural obsession with ramen. And he wanted to become Hokage, the leader of this village. Yesterday he vandalized the Great Stone faces, which Kakashi informed me were the faces of the past and present Hokages of the village, and yet he wanted to be a leader. I doubt that would happen.

As I gazed at the hyperactive ninja, though, I couldn't help but see pure determination in his bright blue eyes. It made me want to believe it would happen... one day.

"Alright," Kakashi didn't give a shit. "Next."

Sakura began. "I'm Sakura Haruno. The person I like is, I mean." She stared at the boy who hadn't said anything yet. "Mmm huh my hobby is," she gaped at the boy. "My dream for the future is..." She severely gawked and squealed.

"And?" Kakashi asked. "What do you hate?"

Without any hesitation, "Naruto!"

Poor Naruto looked like he died a little on the inside.

Oh my. I shook my head. It was worse than I thought. The girl was completely obsessed with Stoner Boy and, by the looks of it, he never looked in her direction. Poor sap.

Still not giving a shit, "Last one."

Stony began to introduce himself. "My name" he paused, rather dramatically.

Sweet Jesus.

"Is Sasuke Uchiha. I hate a lot of thing and don't like particularly like anything. What I have is not a dream because I will make it a reality. I'm going to restore my clan and destroy a certain someone." With that followed a nice awkward pause.

Stoner just admitted that he was going to murder someone…great.

Kakashi, wrapped it up. "Good, you're each unique and you have your own ideas."

That's one way to put it.

He concluded, "We will have our first mission tomorrow."

Naruto interrupted. "What about Quorra? She didn't go yet." I tensed up.

"Oh, I forgot," Kakashi waved Naruto off. "Quorra is unable to speak at the moment. She had an accident and temporary lost her voice."

"What happened to your voice?" Sakura asked me.

"You see," he established. "She hit her throat and damaged her vocal chords trying to perform a stunt on the monkey bars."

My head slowly turned towards the smiling masked shinobi. I did what!?

I gave him the dirtiest evil eye. Sakura's facial expressions for Naruto were nothing compared to the glarethat was burrowing into Kakashi's skull right now. My eye twitched. Really, Kakashi? My throat just so happen to fall on a monkey bar? Are you fucking kidding me? Do I like that incompetent? The team probably thinks that I have problems now. Thanks a lot!

The trio stared blankly at me. Crickets echoed in the distance. I heard crickets! There were actual crickets! Where were they coming from?!

"Yes, it's quiet a bizarre accident but she will recover in no time," Kakashi said with dismay, patting my head.

I am going to kill him!

"In the meantime, we will all get to know her as we work together. As I was saying, we will be having our first mission tomorrow."

Naruto asked, "What kind of mission are we going to have?"

"It's a task that the five of us will do together, a training exercise," Kakashi replied.

"What what what? What!" Naruto screamed.

Sakura was confused as well. "I thought were supposed to have a mission. We already did this stuff at the academy. That's how we got here."

"This isn’t like your previous training," Kakashi explained.

"So, huh, what kind of training is it?" Naruto asked.

Kakashi chucked, evilly. Amusement in his eye. Sakura asked what was so funny as Kakashi continued to chuckle. "Well, if I tell you the answer, you're not going to like it."

We waited intently for him to explain further. Even Sasuke seemed to be at the edge of his seat.

Finally, he spilled the beans. "Out of the 27 graduates that just came here, only 9 of them will be accepted as genin. The other 18 will be weeded out and sent back to the academy. In other words, this is a make it or break it pass-fail test. And the chance that you'll fail is at least 66%."

Four mouths opened, staring at him. Even though I was not a shinobi, I couldn't help but feel nervous for Team 7. They went through years of schooling to get here. Kakashi just shattered their dream like it was nothing.

"See," he concluded. "Didn't I tell you you wouldn't like it?"

Naruto was furious. "That's crazy! We worked hard to get here, believe it!"

"That's how it is. I decide whether you pass or fail. Be at the designated training ground spot at 5 a.m. and bring your ninja gear. That's it your dismissed. Oh, tomorrow you better skip breakfast or else you'll puke."

The students stood nervously. I couldn't imagine the thoughts running through their minds. Their future all relied on this one mission. Kakashi would be determining their faith from this point out.

"Right then, see you all tomorrow. And remember, don't be late." Kakashi said, happily.

I rolled my eyes. Don't be late my ass.

We de-grouped and I was about to walk away with Kakashi when Sakura ran up to me. "Hey Quorra! Want to go shopping?"

Dumbfounded, I didn't know how to reply. Why would she want to go shopping with me? Did I look that terrible?

Looking down at my same white t-shirt and navy capris outfit from yesterday, I concluded that, yes, I looked God awful. It was Kakashi who supplied me with these clothes, after all.

Kakashi intervened, "Quorra, I forgot." He handed me a small velvet pouch. "The Hokage gave you some money. Why don't you get some lunch, clothes, and such?"

I snapped back to reality and nodded to Sakura. Yes, I will go shopping with the socio-erm. I mean Sakura.

In town, Sakura and I drifted from shop to shop. She bought everything her eyes could possibly lay on. From shoes, to clothes, to accessories, you name it. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if there was an ancient artifact dating back to a thousand years ago in one of the sea of bags she was lugging around. Unlike her, I was carrying one small bag filled with some toiletries and what-not that I needed for the apartment. I also thought it would be smart to buy a notepad and pens so I could actually communicate with society.

I hope I get my voice back soon.

We were about to enter a clothing store called Flirty Girl when Sakura stopped dead in her tracks. I almost bumped into her as she stared intensely at something behind me.

I turned to see that the pink-haired shinobi was actually glaring at someone. A girl with long, straight blond hair pulled up into a ponytail walked towards us with a snooty face. Her long bangs covered much of her face but her big, pupil-less blue eyes didn't fail returning Sakura's death glare.

The girls were barely inches away from each other. "Trying to fix your pitiful wardrobe, Billboard Brow?" the blonde snarled.

“In your dreams, Ino-pig! I’m extenuating it. You wish your sense of style was as good as mine!”

This Ino girl was wearing a short purple vest with a bunched-up collar along with a purple skirt featuring slits on either side. She had bandages around her stomach and legs with purple and white elbow warmers. Her forehead protector was around her waist to complete the look. Ino had a great sense of style. Sakura would demolish me if I ever admitted that.

They continued fighting and throwing insults at each other. Sakura called Ino a talentless, fashion-deprived hooch while Ino called Sakura a wide-forehead dud. Suddenly, Sakura mentioned that Sasuke was hers and, well, all hell broke loose. If I thought Sakura was obsessed with Sasuke before, I really knew now that she was crazy for him and apparently Ino had mutual feelings. I didn't understand why he was so special. He didn't seem to associate himself with anyone.

As they continued to fight over who would be Sasuke's lover, I heard someone call my name. I turned towards sound and the two bickering girls paused from their love quarrel, both wondering who it was.

The owner of the call was the boy that I bumped into at the Hokage's Residence, Kiba. He waved excitedly as he approached me. With him were two other shinobi. One was a girl, the other a boy.

Akamaru hopped off his owner's head and dashed towards me. I was greeted with slobber, lots of slobber and happy yips. I smiled and cuddled with the energetic pup. Sakura and Ino made a noise of disgust. Ino remarked how repulsive and grimy the pup was. Guess they weren't fans of puppies, or dog slobber. But I didn't freaking care, Akamaru was just trying to say hello. Dogs drool, so what.

"Hey, Quorra!" Kiba said, "How's it going? How do you like the village?"

I smiled and nodded. The village was interesting to say the least.

Kiba smiled back. "Ah, these are my teammates, Hinata Hyuuga and Shino Aburame."

"H-hello, nice to m-meet you," Hinata greeted. She was a small with short dark blue hair. She had a cream hooded jacket and navy blue pants. Her newly earned forehead protect laid around her neck. Shino remained silent behind his high-collar jacket and round sunglasses. I waved hello.

"You're really not talkative are you?" Kiba concluded.

"She can't talk," Sakura explained. "She had an accident and fell throat first on a set of monkey bars and damaged her vocal chords," she said matter-of-factly.

I shuddered. Hearing my horrible accuse was terrible the first time. Hearing it again made me want to hide myself under a rock. My face felt warm as everyone stood in silence. I hung my head down as deeper shades of red appeared.

Fuck me, sideways.

"Wow," Ino said. "That's pretty pitiful."

Okay, I take it back. She has an awful sense of style. Judgmental ogre.

"Well things happen. I once fell into a thorn bush while I was chasing Akamaru. Let's just say mom had to pull thorns out of my ass for the rest of the afternoon," Kiba admitted, rubbing the back of his head with guilt.

I smiled shyly at Kiba. Thank the heavens, Kiba understands my pain. Even though it is a complete lie.

I could feel Sakura and Ino itching to say something insulting when something, well someone, caught their attention. At that moment, Sasuke walked through the market and passed us without a single glance.

As if the girls were on fire, Sakura grabbed her endless amount of bags and quickly dashed to Sasuke. "Hey, Sasuke! Wait up!" with Ino right behind her. Neither one of them said goodbye.

I stared in awe. Thanks for shopping with me, Sakura!

After a moment of disbelief, "Wow, what a bunch of obsessed freaks," Kiba derived.

"You're just jealous that there aren't any girls drooling over you. The only ones drooling for you are your dogs," Shino criticized.

"What! No!" Kiba was so startled that poor Akamaru fell off his head into his arms. Kiba's face turned shades of beet red. "Why would I want girls all over me with every move I made?"

"I- I think it's sweet. They just care for Sasuke," Hinata whispered.

Kiba grunted. "Whatever."

I smirked. Liar, you're so jealous.

"Well-l I have to go now. Father wants me home to train," Hinata said as she walked away, waving goodbye. "Bye, Q-Quorra. It was n-nice meeting you." I waved goodbye back.

Shino walked away as well. "Yeah, got to go too."

Within minutes, the group went from six people to only two. Might as well continue shopping, I still hadn't bought a new outfit yet. I waved goodbye to Kiba and walked away.

"Hey!" he yelled. "What are you doing now?"

I grabbed my newly bought notepad and wrote how I needed to buy some clothes.

"Cool! I can tag along if you want," Kiba's face turned red again.

Was he that bored that he was willing to go shopping? With a girl? I shrugged. Sure, whatever. Better than shopping alone.

"Sweet." Kiba placed Akamaru back upon his head and caught up with me.

We were in front of the shop Sakura was going to drag me into, Flirty Girl. The shop's window display had mannequins wearing frilly skirts and lace blouses, all in different shades of pink. I snorted. Fuck that.

Kiba laughed, amused at my disgust and we continued on our way.

I stopped short when my eyes caught a store called Jammin' Leather. The mannequins were wearing black leather jackets and pants. One article caught my eye. Perfect! I grabbed Kiba's wrist, which spun him, and dragged him inside. Both Kiba and Akamaru yelped in shock.

Inside, the store had a very dark atmosphere. Heavy music was playing and the wall décor was filled with bizarre and unique things. Skulls, guitars, depictions of Satan and such covered the walls and sculptures.

Kiba looked uncomfortable. "Huh, what do you want in here?"

I searched the store to find the precious piece of clothing that wonderfully entered my life. My eyes flickered with glee when I spotted it, ran, and instantly grabbed it. The article was a burgundy leather jacket with many compartments and gold hardware. I love it!

Kiba laughed witnessing me jump with joy. "You love leather, don't you?"

I shined a ridiculous smile and purchased the new love in my life along with a few pairs of black knee-length leggings and plain, loose-fitting, white V-neck T-shirts.

I waltzed out of the store with a healthy amount of bags. Success! Goodbye old lame Kakashi hand-me-downs! Hello, new beauties!

Walking back on the main street, Kiba asked if I wanted to get lunch. I obliged since I worked up some appetite.

We went to Ichiraku Ramen and both ordered miso ramen. As we chowed down, we conversed for a bit. Kiba told me a little about his life. He'd been with Akamaru since the pup was born and have been inseparable ever since. He has a sister named Hana and a mother named Tsume. His father left at an early age because, apparently, his mother was a "Madwomen" as he put it.

"She once threw the hairdryer out a second story window," Kiba said. "She was pissed that it wasn't working. Later we found out that that was because she forgot to plug it in." She sounded like a very nice woman.

Kiba asked about my life, of course. I complied and told him how I didn't know jack-shit about it. After he told me a bit about his life, I felt it was okay to tell him mine. By the looks of it, he generally seemed distraught about it. He felt bad which was nice of him to care but I didn't want to be pitied. I waved him off, and soon after, he told me more stories about the Madwoman.

After we finished our ramen, I fished for my coin pouch so I could pay for us both, in a way of saying thanks for being my shopping buddy. Let's just say he was not having it.

“No way! You don't need to pay for me!”

I wrote in my notepad: YES I DO, ITS MY WAY OF SAYING THANKS!

“You don't need to say thanks! I offered to join you!” Making a huge scene, he put money on the table.

I pushed his money away as I counted mine. Kiba instantly pushed it back.

"I'm PAY-ING..." he pronounced slowly. Like I was mute and deaf.

Stubbornness got the best of me as crumbled his money in a fist and threw it in his face. One of the coins bounced off his nose. He wore a look of disbelief as I slammed my payment down and waved goodbye to Teuchi and Ayame, sticking my tongue out at Kiba as I walked out of the restaurant.

Kiba was stubborn too, but he followed behind, crossing his arms in defeat. "Thanks," he grumbled.

You're Welcome!

Kiba offered to walk me back to the apartment complex. We were almost there when a very, very interesting individual ran towards us. This kid was wearing an unnecessarily tight green jumpsuit with orange leg warmers. The kid had the perfect bowl haircut, too.

"Hello, Kiba! Hello, erm…"

"Quorra," Kiba informed.

"Hello, Quorra! I'm Rock Lee." He enthusiastically said as he jogged in place followed by jumping-jacks. I didn't know who was more energetic, this Rock Lee kid or Naruto.

"What's going on Lee?" Kiba asked.

Now doing push-ups, "I'm," push "making it," push "my personal mission," push "today, to hug," push "all my friends," push "to spread the youth" push up, push up, push up.

I looked at Kiba with a raised eyebrow. He definitely had the energy to accomplish it.

"How many friends have you hugged so far?" Kiba asked.

As if I became a mouse and Lee the hawk, he abruptly jumped up and gave me a rib-breaking hug. As he squeezed tighter, I felt all my breath leave my body. Oh my God! I can't breathe! I tried to flair my arms but they were pinned down to my broken spine.

I can't even tell him he's suffocating me!

Lee continued to strangle me via hug with a huge smile on his face. I'm actually going to die! Lee!

Thankfully, he loosened his death grip and I crumbled to the floor. I gagged for breath, coughing furiously. I looked up at Kiba who was staring frighteningly at Lee.

"Quorra was my first hug of the day!" Lee said as he stared devilishly at Kiba.

Kiba backed away slowly. "Lee, it's okay. I don't need a hug." Akamaru barked.

"Don't be ridiculous! You're my friend! That means you need to be hugged!"

Kiba ran away, causing poor Akamaru to fall off his head. Lee skipped with joy after him with Akamaru barking behind. The three of them chased each other in all directions. It was actually a comical sight. Kiba was running as fast as he could while Lee was peaceful skipping, like he could do this all day. I refilled my lungs with much needed oxygen and pulled myself back up.

Poor Kiba couldn't outrun him for long before Lee caught up and gave his well-known hug. I heard Kiba yell as the bones in his spine cracked. He went limb in defeat and groaned in pain. Once Lee was satisfied with the hug, he released him. Broken Kiba fell to the ground.

I walked over to see if he was alright, or you know, still breathing. Luckily, Kiba recovered soon enough and I helped him up.

"Got to go friends! I must hug more people and spread the youth!" Lee said as he waved goodbye and ran off, leaving a trail of dust behind him.

I think he's going to accidentally kill someone. Definitely not a youthful move.

"Man that guy is something," Kiba said, rubbing his back.

I nodded in agreement as I started to rub my own. I will never see hugging the same way again.

After recovering from that traumatic experience, we continued walking until we ended up in front of my complex.

"Well, I guess I'll see you around."

I scribbled in my notebook a thank you note for hanging out with me.

"Sure, no problem," he rubbed the back of his head, sheepishly. "That's what friends are for."

I stared at him with shock. I guess we were considered friends now. My first real friend since I arrived. Well, second, if you include Lee because apparently we were friends or else he wouldn't had attempted to snap my spine. I gave him a big smile and we said our goodbyes as I watched him leave with Akamaru trailing behind him.

He turned to wave and I waved back. It was crazy but I felt the most relaxed around Kiba. He was stubborn and got hot-headed quickly, but he was still a fun person to hang out with. I'd say today was a good day.

"See ya later Quorra," he continued to wave. "Watch out for those monkey bars!"

I stopped waving mid-wave and turned red.

Kakashi! I'm going to karate chop you in the fucking throat the next time I see you!

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