As I Wake

The Bell Test 2.0

"Come on, Quorra. Don't give me the cold shoulder," Kakashi pleaded as we walked to the training grounds. "I needed to make up some excuse, didn't I?"

I stuck my nose in the air and walked in front of him. Needless to say I was still mad at him.

He could have came up with a better excuse!

Kakashi sighed as he rubbed the bump on his head that I greeted him with this morning.

He deserved much worse.

I was not only mad at him for telling everyone that I am the world's worst gymnast but also because I had to retake the bell test. I didn't understand why. I already passed, proved what I needed to prove. Kakashi explained that it was because I needed to pass a part of the test that I couldn't have passed before, whatever that meant. Either way, today was already starting off sour.

We arrived at the training grounds with the trio already there to greet us.

"Morning everyone, ready for your worst day?" Kakashi greeted.

"HEY, YOU'RE LATE!" Naruto and Sakura yelled.

"Well, a black cat crossed our path so we had to take the long way." Kakashi came up with the most pitiful excuses.

No one was buying it. Naruto mumbled something about him being a big fat liar. Sakura folded her arms and pouted. Sasuke was still and emotionless as always.

"Let's get started." Kakashi moved right along. "Your assignment is very simple. You just have to take these bells from me." He jingled three bells in front of us. The annoying chime rang through us. I moaned in remembrance.

"That's all there is to it. If you can't get them by noon, you'll go without lunch and you'll be tied to those posts." He pointed to three posts behind us, "and you will watch as I eat my lunch in front of you."

We all gave Kakashi a bitter look. That's why he didn't want us to eat breakfast. That sneaky bastard.

"Wait a minute," Sakura said. "There's four of us. How come there's only three bells?"

Kakashi gave an approving look. "Well that way, at least one of you will end up tied to the post and ultimately failed the mission. That one goes back to the academy. Then again all four of you can flunk out, too. That includes you, Quorra. Everyone, but Quorra, can use any weapons, including shuriken. If you are not prepared to kill me, you won't be able to take the bells."

From the look at his dark eye, he was not kidding. He wanted us to attack him with full force, with the dull intent of killing him. How was Team Seven supposed to do that? A sensei was a mentor, a person you had respect for and looked up to. Kakashi was asking us to abandon all common courtesy and respect, to throw that out the window.

Damn. It was a disadvantage enough that I couldn't communicate, but now I couldn't use weapons because of the deal with the Third Hokage. I was to compete with shinobi that have been studying and training for years. I was screwed.

Sakura yipped. "But, Sensei! Those weapons are too dangerous!"

"HAHA-yeah," Naruto added. "Especially since you couldn't even dodge that eraser." Naruto laughed again from the memory.

Matter-of-factly, Kakashi replied, "class clowns are usually the weakest links. You can safely ignore them, lowest scores, losers."

Oh, that was harsh. Naruto crossed his arms and stuck his nose in the air, 'hmph!'

"When I say 'start' you can begin."

I tried to conjure up some sort of concrete plan, but Naruto already made his move before Kakashi gave the go. The wild child attacked Kakashi with a kunai knife.

Kakashi fluently turned Naruto's arm so that his weapon aimed at the back of his head.

"Don't be in such a hurry. I didn't say start yet," Kakashi warned.

Naruto struggled to free himself, but Kakashi had a solid lock on him. He growled in frustration.

"But you came at me with the full intent of destroying me." Kakashi gave a smirk from under his mask, giving Team Seven their first non-insulting comment. "I am beginning to like you guys. Get ready and… Start."

At that instant, Kakashi pushed Naruto away and everyone made their first moves. I ran to the closest cover, bushes. Sakura and Sasuke concealed themselves as well while Naruto stood in the open.

Naruto shouted a battle cry and charged at Kakashi, who, cockily, pulled out a book and began to read. Naruto swung his kunai knife which Kakashi dodged with ease. He turned the page, bored, infuriating the yellow-haired ninja.

"Shinobi battle techniques part one, taijutsu, the physical part," Kakashi said.

I remembered Kakashi mentioning taijutsu when testing me. He thought that was my main fighting style until I made a clone, blowing that theory.

Stubborn, Naruto tried his luck with a kick this time which Kakashi blocked with his non-reading arm. Naruto yelled and continued to attempt to lay a hit on his Sensei, each time failing miserably. Naruto's final punch hit air as Kakashi snuck up from behind him. Kakashi was crouched with a seal that displayed two fingers.

"Don't let your enemies sneak up from behind you all the time," Kakashi scolded.

I heard Sakura warn Naruto to get out of the way as Kakashi yelled, "Too late! Leaf village secret finger jutsu. A thousand years of death!" His jutsu sent Naruto soaring into air. His hands covering his bottom as he soared away.

He basically shoved his fingers up Naruto's ass, I sighed.

Kakashi continued reading his novel. Naruto threw shurikens. Kakashi caught them with his fingers as if it was child's play.

"What are you doing now?" Kakashi asked, displeased. "You know you won't get lunch unless you take a bell by noon."

"I know, I know! You told us already!" Naruto yelled in frustration. "How am I supposed to fight as I'm starving to death!"

Kakashi must have gone easy on me. He wasn't even using a fraction of his energy. I needed to come up with some sort of plan. Naruto was eating dust out there.

Naruto looked up at Kakashi with determination in his eyes. "I'm going to pass this test and not get sent back to the academy," Naruto declared. "Believe it!" His demeanor shined, his passion for success, even though at this point, it was highly implausible.

When it seemed hopeless, multiple shadow clones of the rash boy came jumping out of the water. The amount of clones he could make was incredible, compared to my one. Naruto may not have brain but he did have power.

The determined clones charged at Kakashi. "You can't beat me with this jutsu, Naruto. You're still the worst student," Kakashi said, condescending.

After that moment, one of Naruto's clones jumped onto Kakashi's back!

"What?" Kakashi yelled. "He got me from behind?"

I couldn't help but be happy for the rambunctious boy. He was really trying to prove everyone, including myself, wrong.

The blues in his eyes sparkled with lush and excitement, "Didn't you say don't let your enemies get behind you? Good advice, Sensei. Believe it."

Shadow clones piled upon Kakashi, leaving him hardly visible as the sea of orange jumpsuits overpowered him.

"I am going to get a bell!" the real Naruto yelled as he ran towards Kakashi to throw a punch. With all the shadow clones pinning Kakashi down, it seemed like there was no way Kakashi could get out of this predicament.

"This is for nailing me in the butt earlier! You are mine and so are those bells!" Naruto screamed, finally gaining the upper-hand.

All hope was lost; however, when Naruto's fist hit one of his shadow clones instead of Kakashi.

I was just as astonished as Naruto. Where did Kakashi go?

Naruto yelled how the clone must be Kakashi in disguise and the mountain of clones started pummeling each other, desperate to find him. Fists were flying, screams were heard, and hair was pulled. Knots of limbs entangled each other.

Finally, Naruto realized that if he undid his jutsu, the real Kakashi will be the only one left. And lord behold us, when all the clones disappeared, left was just a very bumped and bruised boy.

I sighed in disappointment. Never mind, Naruto is completely hopeless.

If things couldn't get any worse, I saw the battered boy's eyes widen as he spotted something by the nearby tree.

Is that a bell? Wait… Naruto!

But shortly after, the Knucklehead fell for the trap as he grabbed the bell and a rope tied around his ankle and hung him from the tree. He was flaying and screaming.

Kakashi reappeared to grab the bell. Sighing, "Think before you use a jutsu or else your opponent might use it against you." Naruto moaned.

"Oh," he continued. "And if the bait is obvious, don't take it. A ninja must see threw deception."

Kakashi disappeared as I heard, in a different direction, two sets of feet, followed by a girl's scream, which could only be from Sakura. Hesitant for a moment, I ran towards the sound. I might not be much help, but I can't just leave her.

Running from bush to bush, I slid behind a tree when I spotted both Kakashi and Sakura. Kakashi was forming some sort of hand seal as leaves flew around Sakura. She looked dazed, zombified. I never seen something like this before.

Her eyes grew wide and she began to shake and scream with fear. I tried to identify what she was so scared of but there was nothing surrounding her.

"Shinobi battle skill number two, the illusion jutsu. Sakura studied it in class but she still couldn't see it coming," Kakashi said in pity with the book still in his grasps.

If this was an illusion jutsu like Kakashi said, then this could be an example of genjutsu.

Sakura screamed in fear again and passed out. Whatever she was seeing must be truly frightening. Kakashi was one cruel shinobi.

It was remarkable. Two members from Team 7 have been defeated and it wasn't even mid-morning. Naruto acted too rash and Sakura didn't act at all. If I wanted to succeed, I needed to learn from these shinobis' mistakes.

Leaving Sakura, I snuck through the scrubs and greenery in search of the last standing shinobi from Team 7.

Faint sounds of metal clashing caught my attention, so I stealthily followed the noise. Hiding, I witnessed Sasuke and Kakashi sparring it out.

Sasuke's movements, compared to Naruto's and Sakura's were out of this world. They were more calculated as he threw his weapons at the nonchalant ninja. Whenever Kakashi dodged the first attack, Sasuke would try to trick him with the next.

Sasuke's defensive skills were just as impressive. He performed substitution clones whenever he was in a tight situation. He moved too fast for my eyes to track him.

Kakashi fought Sasuke without once glancing at his book, proving how much on a different level Sasuke was. Kakashi didn't look like he was struggling, but you could tell he had all his attention aimed toward his quiet, yet powerful, student.

At one point, Sasuke almost grabbed one of the bells. He used all his limbs to his advantage. With a kick and a punch, that didn't stop him from twisting his whole body mid-air, to build up speed for an additional kick from his other leg. Kakashi had to push him away to give distance. It was breath-taking.

"Well, you are different from the others. I'll grant you that," Kakashi said, pleased, but he wasn’t convinced. Sasuke was strong, but strong and witty enough to out-smart Kakashi, I wasn’t sure.

Sasuke was far from done with this battle. The look of vengeance and rage screamed in his onyx eyes as he performed hand seals. Sasuke began to pull back, sucking in air, it seemed. I had no idea what he was doing.

But Kakashi did, "What!? Impossible! Genin can't do that, takes up too much chakra. There's no way!"

I never saw Kakashi so shocked before. He was always either bored or bored, but never shocked.

Sasuke exhaled flames that licked of orange and yellow. He was blowing fire!

The inferno shot at Kakashi, swarming him to the point where I could no longer see him.

Chills ran up my spine. The pure power and intensity Sasuke possessed was immense. Fire breathing sounded like something you heard in fairy tales and make believe. I never expected shinobi had this much potential. It was overwhelming.

The hell fire extinguished, leaving behind a massive crater and Kakashi was nowhere to be found. Where did he go?

Sasuke wondered the same thing as he searched frantically for him. Looking above, in front and behind him, we both didn't know where Kakashi disappeared to.

A hand rocketed from the ground underneath Sasuke's feet. The undead came back to life!

"I'm where you least suspect me," muffled the voice that was Kakashi's.

Sasuke's face grew with true terror has the undead sucked him into the Earth. His head perched above ground was all that remained of him.

Kakashi squatted in front of Sasuke's head. "Right under your feet. Earth style, Head Hunter jutsu."

Sasuke struggled to get out of the mole hole he was sucked into.

"Can't get out, can you?" Kakashi tsked. "That was ninjutsu, the third shinobi battle skill. You have talent and you are different from the others, but different isn't always better. They say the nail that sticks up is the one who gets hammered down." With that, Kakashi disappeared, leaving a stuck and confused shinobi.

I walked out from my hiding spot with a look of confusion and shock. Sasuke looked up with total utter frustration.

"Ugh!" he yelled.

You totally got yourself screwed there didn't you, buddy?

At that moment, Sakura dashed past us. She woken up from the genjutsu. Almost missing us, she stopped short at the sight of Sasuke. She froze, unable to fathom that all that was left of Sasuke was a head.

"Sakura?" Sasuke questioned.

The realization hit her that that was indeed Sasuke and proceeded to scream and then faint.

Oh, boy. Not again. It's not her day.

Sasuke and I looked at each other in disbelief, like she was the one who was body-less.

Sighing, I walked over and fanned her with my notepad. Come on, Sakura. I need help getting Sasuke out of the ground.

She came back to reality with a groan. "What happened?" she asked. "I could have sworn I saw Sasuke..." she said as she simultaneously rechecked her suspicions and behold, Sasuke was still a Whack-A-Mole.

"Sasuke!" She screamed. Her eyes were rolling to the back of her skull, ready to faint again.

Oh, no you don't. I grabbed her shoulders and shook her violently.

"Sakura! I'm alright but get me out of here," Sasuke called.

The voice of her love snapped her back to reality. The gears in her head began turning.

"Oh, Sasuke!" she pushed me aside without showing any gratitude, landing me face-first in the dirt. I was completely invisible as she ran to Sasuke.

"What happened? Was this Sensei's doing?" She caressed his cheek. I sat with soot everywhere, left behind.

Sasuke knew exactly what to say to Sakura. He could tell her to help him take over the world and she would oblige. "Yes. Now can you both help get me out of here! We don't have much time left!"

We helped Sasuke out of his dirt tomb. Sakura was so glad he was finally freed, she gave him a bear hug.

"You're okay, Sasuke. I was so worried." Her grip grew stronger.

"I'm fine. Let go of me!" Sasuke said. Annoyance tinged his voice as he tried the pry the love lust girl off his torso.

Reluctantly, she let him go. "Sasuke, come on. Kakashi-sensei is a jonin. There's no way we can defeat him. None of his students have been able to." She grabbed Sasuke's shoulders, "Let's just give up."

"I will not give up," he wrenched his arm away. "That will set me back from my goals. I'm an avenger. I need to destroy him."

I rolled my eyes. He's so dramatic.

"If you want to give up, Sakura. Go ahead, but I'm not," Sasuke concluded.

Sakura looked hurt by his comment, but she idolized every word. "Okay, Sasuke. Okay. But how would you get a bell?"

Sasuke, frustrated, ran his fingers through his hair. "I don't know. He is strong and we are not."

The three of us stood, contemplating how we could pull it off. But, truthfully, Sasuke was right. Kakashi was crazy strong and extremely skilled. Sasuke was by far the strongest, most capable of pulling it off and even he failed.

Damn it, Kakashi. I get you went super easy on me, but why do I have to do this stupid test again? Now that he stepped up his game a thousand-fold, how could any of us compete with that? There were only three bells and four fighters. I can't do it, I can't do it on my own.

...on my own.

Kakashi said I had to retake it to pass a certain part I couldn't have done before. What if that was because I was on my own?

I stared at Sasuke and Sakura. They are just as baffled as I was. It suddenly clicked, it made sense now. The only difference between this test and the last was the fact that I wasn't alone this time.

I smacked my palm on my forehead. How could I have been so oblivious?

None of us can defeat Kakashi alone, but together we potentially could. It was highly unlikely, but that was what Kakashi was testing. If we could do it.

Sasuke recognized the awareness of my expression. "What is it, Quorra?"

There was no time to explain. It was almost noon. I flagged them to follow me. We were going to need the Knucklehead for this.


Naruto was still hanging from the tree.

"Oh, hey guys," Naruto said, face red from the buildup of blood to his head. "How's it hanging?" He laughed at his own joke. "Get it? Hanging? 'Cause I'm upside-down, hanging?"

"Now's not the time for jokes," Sasuke scolded, cutting Naruto free. He fell with a thump. "Quorra has a plan to get the bells."

Naruto rubbed his head. "Geez, Sasuke. You could have warned me before you cut the rope."

Sasuke smirked, "Heads up, Loser."

"Oh, bother," Sakura sighed.

"So, what's this plan of yours, Quorra?" Naruto asked.

I reached in my pocket for my notepad to find the spot barren. Where did it... fuck.

I took it out to fan Sakura before and I must have left it there. Just my luck. There's no time to get it now.

Three paired of eyes stared at me in wonder. I tried to act out what my plan was. Pointing at each of us, including myself, and comically made punching movement, to resemble us all fighting together.

"Wait," Naruto said, confused. "You want us to fight each other?"

My palm hit my forehead once again. At times like these, I really wished I had a voice. I replayed a very theatrical game of charades with them.

"Punch a tree!" Naruto yelled. "No, no fight with air! Fight with air? Quorra, that won't work."

I hung my head in defeat. They don't understand me. I could crawl up in a hole right there.

"Naruto, you dunce," Sasuke reprimanded. "She doesn't want us to fight each other, she wants us to fight together."

"You mean like teamwork," Sakura stated.

Yes! Yes! Someone finally gets me.

I shook Sakura again, this time with glee and danced to demonstrate my happiness. My faith in humanity was restored.

"Well, Quorra. What's the plan?" Sasuke asked.

Team 7 looked at me, eagerness in a form of flames behind their eyes. They wanted a plan and I was happy to supply them with one.

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