Chapter Three: The Final Verdict
With a goal in mind, Naruto and I rush out into the field in search of our teammates. In less than five minutes, we manage to find them. However, we found them in an unorthodox manner. Sakura lying on the ground, unconscious, while Sasuke was literally inside the ground. Apparently Onii-chan used his Headhunter Jutsu on him. I couldn't help but laugh inside my head. Now this was funny as hell. The all-powerful Uchiha incased in hole. I just remain quiet and approach the trapped Uchiha, looking at him with an unimpressed look.
"Are you about ready to abandon your lone wolf act, Uchiha?" I ask. "Have you finally realized that teamwork is the last and only choice you have in order to get a bell?"
"Hn." Was he's response.
Narrowing my eyes dangerously, I kneeling down before the dark-haired male so I could look him dead in the eyes. While Naruto was trying to get Sakura to wake up, Sasuke and I were continuing our little glaring contest with one another. I was getting really tired and annoyed with this freakin’ kid. He always thought he was superior to everyone, and that especially went for his teammates.
"Look, neither one of us will get a bell unless we work together. But apparently you are too freakin stubborn to realize this yourself!" I howl. "This exercise was created to help us realize that teamwork is the only way to complete the mission or any mission for that matter! Not. By. Your. Self."
"Hn, you're too weak. You and the others will only slow me down." Sasuke states in a matter-of-factly tone. I just narrow my eyes even more.
"That's it!" I yell as I return back to my full height. Turning on my heels, I walk over to Sakura and kneel down beside her down form. "Sakura! Wake the hell up!"
With that, Sakura quickly shoots up and quickly gets to her feet. All the while, she franticly looks around trying to figure out what was going on. Seeing that she was up, I walk back over to Sasuke and got him out of his earth bound prison. Once everyone was up, Sasuke was about to walk away but I caught him by his shirt and turned him around so he was facing me.
"Look here Uchiha! I won't tell you again!" I growl. "If we are to get those bells, we need to work together! And I'm tired of preaching this to you!"
"And like I told you, I don't need your help!" he growls back.
"You're nothing but a stubborn asshole!" I snap back. "You continue to tell us that you're the best. And yet, I don't see a bell that proves that fact!"
"Why you…?" he growl.
As we continue to stand there arguing and glaring angrily at each other, the sound of the timer going off instantly catches my attention. I just swore in my head. I couldn't believe that I just wasted the remaining small amount of time arguing with an obstinate Uchiha. When I release Sasuke's shirt, he simple turns around and proceeds back to the poles with Sakura following closely behind him, looking like a loss, love struck puppy.
"Damn Uchiha." I mumble as I start walking with Naruto right beside me. Before long we reach the poles and just sat there in silence.
"Oh my. Listen to those little stomachs growl!" Kakashi tell us. "By the way, I have an announcement about this exercise. None of you…need to worry about going back to the academy."
"YEEAH!" Naruto cheers.
"THIS ROCKS! IT MEANS ALL FOUR OF US…" Sakura and Naruto cheer together.
"Are hopeless. More schooling would be pointless." Kakashi finishes for them. "None of you will ever be a shinobi! Just give up!"
"What do you mean, 'give up'?" Naruto screams. "Give me a break! Okay, so none of us got our hands on one of your stupid bells…..but why the hell should we quit over that?"
"Because, not one of you…. has what it takes!" Kakashi answers him.
With that, Sasuke rushes forward to attack Kakashi. However, he's attempt only ended with him being caught. Kakashi slams him into the ground and places his foot on top to keep him in place. Sasuke could only growl in frustration as he was held there.
"What you are, are a bunch of spoiled brats!" Kakashi mutters bitterly.
"Don't step on Sasuke! GET OFF OF HIM!" Sakura screams.
"Sakura! You ignored Naruto, countless times when he needed your help. You kept your attention mainly on Sasuke, even though you didn't know where he was. Throughout the exercise, you have abandoned not only Naruto but Kazumi as well.” He says, causing the pinkette to look down in shame.
“Naruto! You tried to do it single-handedly, when it should have been done with the work of all four of you." Kakashi lectures, causing the blonde to think about what was said.
"Sasuke! You had already decided that the other three were weak and would only be in your way. You felt that it was only about you and that you were going to succeed.” Kakashi tells him while keeping him pinned to the ground.
“And you, Kazumi! I’ll admit that you were the only one who suggested teamwork and constantly tried to pull your teammates into the plan. However, you cannot allow your emotions to get the better of you.” he says, causing me to stare at the pinned down Uchiha.
“You are a team. Work as one." He concludes.
I just sat there quietly. Kakashi was right. I had a problem with my emotions and I knew they could get the best of me. With my attention still on Sasuke, I saw him looking at me as his expression changes. I could see that he finally realized what I’ve been trying to tell him all along. Even Sakura and Naruto had glum looks on their faces. About time they finally figured it out.
"Here's an example for you." I hear Kakashi say. He pulls out a kunai and brings it forward, holding it close to Sasuke's neck. "Sakura! Kill Kazumi and Naruto right now or Sasuke dies."
"What!" Sakura gasps in shock.
"You see, this is what can happen on missions." Kakashi informs us. "You can find yourself in a situation like this and in the end, someone ends up dead."
Kakashi soon pulls the kunai knife away and places it back into his pouch. He soon gets off of Sasuke and walks over to the Memorial Stone. As he stands there, he places his hand on it. I just looked down as I slowly return back to my feet.
"This stone. Have you realized all the names covering it?" He asks. "These names are the Heroes of our Village."
"That's it! I just made up my mind! I'm going to have my name on the stone!"" Naruto cheers loudly.
"No you don't, Naruto." I says quietly, catching his, Sasuke's and Sakura's attentions.
"Huh? How come, Kazumi-chan?" Naruto questions.
"All these names are of ninja that were K.I.A." Kakashi answers. "And among them includes the names of my best friends."
"Not just his friends, but our parents’ names are on the Memorial Stone as well." I thought.
"Uh, what's K.I.A?" Naruto asks.
"Kill in Action." I state simply. With that said, everyone quickly becomes quiet. And it was quiet for a good minute but soon Kakashi broke that silence.
"I'll give you guys one more chance." Kakashi tells us. "You may eat the bentos, but if you share with Naruto, you will automatically fail. This is his punishment for trying to eat them all by himself."With that, Kakashi hands Sasuke, Sakura and I a bento box and disappears. Once he was gone, I was just standing there, staring at the box, for a minute or so.
"I can go without lunch…no problem!" Naruto laughs. Standing there, I could hear Naruto's stomach as clear as day, protesting against what he just muttered. After hearing Naruto's stomach, I pick up my bento box and removed the lid as I slowly approach his tied up form. Within seconds, I was standing right before my tied up best friend.
"Open up." I say quietly.
"Huh? Wha…." Naruto starts to say but was stopped as soon as I popped a rice ball into his mouth.
"Now, hurry and swallow." I tell him.
"Kazumi, Kakashi-sensei said…" Sakura began but was stopped when I raised one hand into the air at her.
"Kakashi-sensei is probably far away right now. Besides, we can't have Naruto fight on an empty stomach. We are going to need his help if we are to snag those bells." I explain. “It’s going to take every single one of us to retrieve those bells.”
I continue to feed Naruto as well as eating a little myself. Before long, Sakura stand up from her seat and starts to feed Naruto some rice. After a minute, Sasuke finally joins. As the three of us ate and feed Naruto, there was a sudden explosion that caught us all off guard. We turn around to see Kakashi had appeared with dark clouds around him.
"You… You all disobeyed my orders!" he yells.
Dropping my bento box, I quickly turn around, shifting myself into a ready stance. Sakura and Sasuke repeat the same actions while Naruto looks forward with a horrified look on his face. The three of us were standing side-by-side in protective stances before Naruto. If there was going to be a fight, then we were going to be ready for one.
"You said we should all work as a team!" I state in a determined tone. "So we are!"
"And that meant we need everyone to do their part, including Naruto." Sasuke adds.
"So we couldn't let our teammate starve!" Sakura states as well.
"Yeah, yeah, all for one and one for all!" Naruto yells.
"So you all agree with this?" he asks.
"Yes!" we all yell, clearly agreeing with one another.
"Fine. Then you all…" Kakashi growls. "…pass." He says in a surprisingly calm tone.
"What?" Sakura asks.
"You pass." Kakashi states again.
"Okay, but, but how?" she asks.
"You've all taken a big step forward by showing me you care for one another." Kakashi explains. "Ninjas who violate the rules and fail to follow orders are considered trash. This is true; however… those who do not care for and don't support their fellow teammates are worse than trash."
I look over at my teammates and watched as their faces lit up a little. At least they understood the lesson. I just hope it stays with them. I was already given this lecture and knew everything about it. In fact, I also decided to live up to this, just like my brother. Smirking to myself, I take out a kunai and cut Naruto free.
"This exercise is now concluded." Kakashi tells us as he walks over to stand beside me. "Ready to head out, Imouto?"
"I'm ready whenever you are, Onii-chan." I tell Kakashi. "I'll catch you later guys."
With that, Kakashi and I disappear, leaving the others inside the training grounds. But a few seconds later, we reappear inside a different training ground. Once there, Kakashi and I create some space in between us. Standing there, Kakashi and I were staring each other down, readying ourselves for what was about to occur.
"Okay, Imouto. Are you ready for a sparring match?" he asks.
"Yeah, I am." I reply back.
"All right, we'll start with Ninjutsu and Taijutsu." He informs me. "This also means that you can use your weapons. Understand?"
"Understood." I state sternly.
"All right them." Kakashi states as he shifts his form a bit. "Come at me and don't hold back."
Kakashi and I just stood there, not attempting to look away. A few moments later, I rush forward. Once I was within arm's reach, I send a kick to Kakashi's side. Of course, he catches me by my ankle and pushes me away. Flipping myself up and successfully land on my feet. Not wasting any time, I quickly jump into the air and throw a couple of shuriken his way. Instead of jumping out the way, he takes out a kunai and reflects them.
"Ugh! Give me a break. Damn show off!" I growl in my head. I quickly perform a few hand signs for my next move. "Ninja Art: Shadow Clone Jutsu!"
With that, two clones appear to my right and left as we all land on the ground in a straight line. We move forward and surround my brother in a triangular formation. While still in the formation, we begin to run around him. As our speed increases, I begin to perform another set of hand signs. As soon as I complete the needed signs, I was ready to attack. But before I did so, I perform the spar sign.
My clones and I continue to run while Kakashi stood there. He was about to take out his book when he suddenly spots something coming right towards him from overhead. He looks up to find a clone of mine hovering above him. She was holding the spar sign and was looking directly at him.
"Now!" we all exclaimed. Wind Style: Wind Dragon Breath!"
From my clone high in the air, along with me and my clones on the ground, we all blew out strong jets of wind. All four jets of wind were aiming straight for Kakashi. Surprisingly, our attacks collided, creating a large gust of air that made a small crater in the earth. Or so I thought. As the dust was settling, Kakashi was nowhere to be found. I quickly glance over the field but couldn’t find him in sight.
"Come on, come on. Where did he go?" I ask myself, still looking around. My unspoken question was soon answered when I felt my ankle grabbed. "Oh, damn it."
Before I could do anything, Kakashi pulls me down. Now I was stuck in the ground, just like the Uchiha was not too long ago. Looking up, I find Kakashi kneeling right beside me. He had his eye-smile expression on his face. As I stared at him, I just narrowed my eyes in annoyance. I had a feeling that he knew I was laughing at the Uchiha for falling into his trap. Now here I was in the same damn predicament.
"You should watch your surroundings, Imouto." He taunts playfully.
"Heh, I'm not done yet, Onii-chan." I state in the same tone.
"Huh?" he hums.
Setting my sights onto him, I send him the same look right back. At that moment, I disappear in a cloud of white smoke. Once again, it was a clone. Meanwhile, I appear with my sword drawn, aiming to strike Kakashi with a well timed hit. As I close the gap, Kakashi returned back to his full height and turns to look at me. He takes out his kunai and easily blocks my sword. I push against his kunai, trying to break his defense. But in the end, I lost that fight and was sent to the ground. I just sat there as I looked at Kakashi, who was kneeling in front of me.
"Darn it. I almost had you!" I groan as I folded my arms against my chest.
"Heh, almost." He says, sending me his smile of his. "You're certainly improving, so you just might get me one day."
"Hmpf, one day?" I scoff as I turn my head to the side. "I hate losing, especially to you."
"Well, you hate it when I let you win too." He points out. I just kept my head turned to the side but I manage to look towards his direction while narrowing my eyes. "Don't worry, you'll get better. Just keep training." He says as he gently ruffles my hair.
"Yeah, you're right." I tell him as my expression softens. "I just want to become a strong ninja. Just like you, Otou-san and Okaa-san."
"Hmm? I see." Kakashi mumbles quietly. "And don't worry, you will."
"Huh?" I manage to say.
"You'll get strong, stronger than you could ever imagine." He assures me. "But like I said, you must continue to train and study hard in order to do so."
"Right." I murmur, nodding my head.
"You may not know it, but you just may surpass me." Kakashi thought. "Come on, let's head home. After all, we start our missions together."
"Yeah." I agree, jumping back to my feet. Kakashi and I soon leave the training grounds, heading home.